Wow, my abs hurt. And not from laughing too much.
Dan and I are headed to Mexico in five weeks for an adults-only trip with a few other married couple friends. While we’re both relatively active, health-conscious people anyway, we’ve been stepping up the workouts lately to keep the “OMG IT’S FALL AND FOOTBALL SEASON SO LET’S EAT ALL THE FOODS” tendencies at bay for a few weeks longer. I mean, bathing suits in November should almost be illegal with all the comfort food that comes with this season. We’ve also been stocking up on ingredients for green smoothies, salads, detoxifying soups, and healthy one-pot pasta dishes like the one I’m sharing with you today. Sure, we splurge for the occasional burger here and there, but what’s life without a treat every now and then?
This pasta skillet is a workhorse of a meal. Not only is it quick and easy to throw together (you only dirty one pot!), but it tastes great and is loaded with veggies and lean protein. Sure, some pasta and cheese are thrown in there for good measure, but carbs are not an enemy in my world. And they never will be. And cheese…well…its basically its own food group in our house.
This recipe is especially awesome because it’s an entire meal in one pot (protein, veggies, carbs, and dairy), and given my still-relatively-new-at-being-a-mom struggles, I’ll take all the help I can get in the time department when it comes to our weekday meals. I love that I can spend a few minutes prepping this and getting it going, but that the bulk of the cooking happens on its own. Which gives me more time to make sure my son isn’t falling down the stairs that he insists on climbing every two seconds or eating random things off of our much-in-need-of-a-vacuum floors. #momprobs
The base for this meal is a quick turkey chili that comes together with some basic pantry ingredients. Once you’ve got that part done, you basically throw in some pasta and let the whole shebang simmer away until things are tender and the flavors are melded, and then you top it with a little bit of sharp cheddar and some fresh herbs. And just like that, dinner is ready. No side dishes necessary.
But it gets even better! This pasta skillet makes A LOT of food! Which means that you can enjoy it for several meals…which makes busy moms like me very happy.
Another fun thing about this recipe? It’s totally customizable. For instance, if you weren’t worrying about your calories so much, you could make this with some juicy ground beef or pork sausage and really have fun with the cheese options. You could even drizzle in a touch of heavy cream to make it a bit more luxurious. Not a bean fan? Neither is my husband, and he devoured this several nights in a row. If you have a serious aversion, though, you could cut down the amount of beans or eliminate them entirely by bulking up your veggie quantity. Butternut squash chunks would be fabulous in this. Just sayin’. The options are really endless, which means that you can make pasta skillet after pasta skillet week after week and no one will tire of them!
Well, I can’t promise that that last bit is true…but you catch my drift.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to finish this last set of burpees (God help me) while Kieran naps. Then you’ll find me in the kitchen, refueling with a hot plate of this goodness. Obsessed!
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 lb ground turkey breast
1 lb Italian turkey sausage (casings removed)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (15-oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes
1½ cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup dried elbow macaroni (or short noodle of choice)
¼ cup pickled jalapeño peppers, chopped
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Scallions, for garnish
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
Plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream), for garnish
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add turkey and sausage to the pan with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until rendered and browned in spots. Remove from pan and drain off drippings.
Add another teaspoon of olive oil and then add in the onion, garlic, jalapeños, spices, and tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes.
Return the meat to the pan. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, chicken stock, macaroni, and pickled jalapeños. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover skillet and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the mixture is thickened and the pasta is tender.
Remove the skillet from heat and evenly sprinkle cheese over the top. Cover the skillet again for a minute or so until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately garnished with chopped scallions, cilantro, and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt.