Boxed dinners may seem convenient, but here’s an alternative to avoid all the refined ingredients, additives and preservatives that come with them. It really doesn’t take that much longer to put one together yourself, so instead, try one of these.
- 1 lb. ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken, pork, or lamb)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup chopped large onion (about ½ large or 1 medium)
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped or pressed)
- 1 15-oz. can beans (red, black, pinto, kidney (about 2 cups, with liquid))
- 1 14.5-oz. can chopped tomatoes or tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or alternative given below)
- 1 teaspoon salt (if Italian seasoning is unsalted)
- 1 teaspoon granulated or powdered onion
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 cup broth (beef, chicken or vegetable)
- Pepper to taste
- 3 cups cooked pasta (such as whole-wheat elbow macaroni)
- In wide skillet over medium heat, cook the ground meat, breaking it apart, until mostly cooked.
- Drain off any excess fat from the meat.
- Add olive oil.
- Add onion and garlic, stir to mix and continue to cook until onion is softened
Add Italian seasoning, granulated or powdered onion, pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and cook for 1—2 minutes more.
- Add tomatoes, beans with their liquid, and broth.
- Bring to a simmer, turn on low and cook for about 15 minutes.
- You can add cooked pasta; heat for a few minutes and serve; or serve the pasta separately and let individuals combine their own in the quantities they prefer.
- A salad completes this entrée nicely.
Add one or more of the following along with the onions:
- 1 cup roughly chopped green and/or red sweet peppers
- 1 cup diced zucchini
- 1 cup peas
- 1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms, or one 7-oz. can
Instead of Italian seasoning, use the following for a Southwest flavor
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder