Like it or not, I’m starting to realize in all my posts about baby food that I don’t have a baby at home anymore. It has only taken me 7 years. Sorry Carter, my 7 year old son who’s not a baby anymore…and Eric my 17 year old son who’s nearly an adult.
While I will continue to live vicariously through all the other families with babies out there and continue to talk baby food, I will start to evolve slightly to share some of our quick, go to family friendly recipes as well. But, as I always continue to say, baby food is just real food for babies, so even the family friendly recipes are great for babies 12 months + as long as you are mindful of the spices added and adjust accordingly.
We all need quick and easy go to healthy meals for those mid-week chaotic evenings when the last thing we feel like doing is cooking. If we serve one more chicken nugget we’ll be giving the fast food moguls a run for their money, so let’s not. Let’s save fast food for treats and bribery.
The below recipe can be whipped up in about a half hour and if you make the sauce on the weekend when a half hour of free time is more likely to happen, all you have to do for your mid-week dinner is re-heat it and boil the pasta! Oooh, dinner on the table in 15 minutes and it’s not a bowl of cereal?
Another tip to speed up the cooking of the sausage for this recipe is to butterfly them and flatten slightly then throw them into a grill pan to cook about 5 minutes per side instead of leaving them whole to cook longer in a pan or in the oven. Thanks to this tip from Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute Meals, he has aided in my quest to have dinner on the table, cleaned up and kid bathed all in time to for me to watch Survivor live on Wednesdays! #goals.
I love the versatility of this recipe. You can leave out some of the veggies or sub with other favorites and it will still taste great because of the tomato sauce base and sausage. If you have picky eaters that don’t like mushrooms…leave them out. Don’t like zucchini? Don’t stress, no one will label you an abomination…leave them out! Don’t like vegetables at all…my deepest sympathies.
Sausage Ratatouille over Brown Rice Pasta
Age – For the whole family! Due to the addition of spices you may want to wait until baby is 12 months + for this one and/or adjust the spices accordingly.
- 3 Italian sausages (pork or beef)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ a Spanish onion diced
- 2 cloves of garlic diced
- 1 zucchini sliced
- 2 cups of sliced mushrooms
- 1 red pepper seeded and chopped
- 1 can 28 fl.oz. no salt added diced tomatoes
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- ½ tsp. coarse salt
- 1 tsp. dried basil (or a couple tbsps. of chopped fresh)
- 1 ½ tsp. dried oregano (or a couple tbsps. of chopped fresh)
- 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper spice
- 1 raw sugar cube
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 3 cups brown rice penne pasta
- Grated parmesan to sprinkle over dish when serving
- Chop and prep all veggies and set aside.
- Butterfly sausage and flatten slightly. Cook in grill pan over medium heat for approx. 5 minutes per side or until cooked through and golden brown. Set aside.
- In a large sauté pan over medium heat while the sausage is cooking in the other grill pan, add olive oil and let warm up for a few minutes. Add diced onion and garlic. Cook for approx. 5 minutes or until tender and onions are translucent. You can turn heat down a bit if the onions and garlic get too brown to quick.
- Add zucchini, peppers and mushrooms to sauté pan and continue to cook approx. 5 more minutes until veggies begin to soften.
- Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, all spices, balsamic vinegar and raw sugar cube to the veggies in the sauté pan. Stir together well.
- Chop the cooked sausage you had set aside and add to the sauce. Stir and cover and continue to simmer over medium/low heat while you cook the pasta.
- Cook the pasta following the package directions and when done rinse well with hot water in a colander to remove traces of starch which tends to collect when boiling brown rice pasta.
- Serve sausage ratatouille over pasta and sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese over top.
Makes – Approx. 4-6 adult sized servings
Note – If you really want to save time getting mid-week dinners on the table, make this sauce on the weekend then during the week when the last thing you have is time, you simply have to re-heat the sauce and boil the pasta. In fact, you can use the sauce over pasta one night, and over rice another. Voila! 2 mid-week dinners ready and on the table within 15 minutes with zero blood sweat and tears involved!
There you have it. Give it a try and let me know how it goes and what you did with your extra mid-week time...which is probably sleep.