a simple tomato sauce with penne

I hate to waste food. I had  grape tomatoes that we never ate because we got tired of salads, and half a package of penne languishing in the cupboard. Then I got inspired by a recipe I saw on Skinnytaste and came up with my own version of pasta with fresh tomato sauce.  It all came together in one skillet. It wasn’t bad!

Simple Tomato Sauce with Penne
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2  pounds grape tomatoes, halved (3 cups)
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt and fresh pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil plus
Chopped parsley and scallion to garnish, optional

4.5 oz. pasta, e.g. penne
1 cup mozzarella cheese or Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions
In a large nonstick pan, heat the oil on medium high heat. Sauté the garlic, onion, and peppers until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer 15 minutes. Uncover the pan and add the chopped basil. Cover and cook 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside. Spoon pasta into a bowl, add 1/4 cup of cheese and a cupful of tomato sauce. Toss. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and scallion, if desired.

sirloin spinach burger patty with provolone

It’s  the first day of Cycle 2 on the 17 day diet. We can finally eat something other than chicken or fish. To celebrate I made these ground sirloin patties and served them without buns. This is an updated version of the Popeye Burger that I found in a kids’ cookbook. I seasoned the meat with a generous sprinkle of garlic powder, black pepper, and Montreal Steak Spice. I blanched the spinach and lightly salted it then squeezed out the excess water  before coarsely chopping it and adding it to the ground sirloin. I cooked the patties in a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet for 5 minutes on each side (each patty was  4 oz. of meat). I turned each patty once and topped it with a slice of provolone cheese.