Quick Weeknight Dinners

Weeknight dinners are hard. It is completely understandable why people default to things like Hamburger Helper, Kraft macaroni & cheese, or whatever other processed foodstuff helps you get through an evening when the kids are hungry, you get home late from work, and no one has the energy to really cook.

Sorry, but putting an uncooked pizza from Papa Murphy’s does not count as cooking.

Granted, my family has our default easy weeknight dinners. The favorite is organic roasted red pepper soup (in a box from Costco) and grilled cheese. Nothing satisfies the taste buds of family members 35 to eighteen months old quite like warm soup and melted cheese. However, one cannot eat the same thing five days a week and leftovers from the weekend’s usual cooking extravaganza only last so long.

What to do?

The answer seems to be pasta. Not a box of $1.00 dried pasta and jar tomato sauce, although that would not really be so bad in the grand scheme of what I see people buying at the grocery store in an average trip, but something a little more fresh and a little more exciting.

Somewhere on the Internet I ran across the use of sour cream as a base for cream sauce. In my house the go to cream sauce base is actually béchamel, which works really nicely with bacon and pesto for a wicked quick weeknight dinner. Looking for something different I decided to try the sour cream sauce route.

The key to everything, however, is good pasta. With the opening of the NewBo City Market in downtown Cedar Rapids I now have access to fresh, local pasta from Pappardelle’s. Last week it was a sun dried tomato fettuccine. This week I am going to use a black bean chipotle tagliatelle.

It is just wonderful to have so many different kinds of pasta available from a local vendor.

The sauce comes together super easily. While the pasta is cooking, heat some olive oil in a saucepan and sauté a couple cloves of garlic until it becomes really fragrant. Add in any additional ingredients you want to at this stage. With the black bean chipotle tagliatelle I went with some pico de gallo. Heat everything through and add a cup or so of sour cream. You could add more or less depending upon your preferred ration of sauce to pasta, but about a cup seems right for about a pound of pasta. Bring to a boil and let it simmer while the pasta finishes. Just toss it all together with a little cheese and you have yourself an easy weeknight dinner everyone can be proud of.

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