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This is a recipe that was a mainstay at my house when the kids were small and up into their teens. It is the simplest recipe, anyone can make it. Gussied up, it is good enough for snooty guests!

Poor Mans Pasta


Enough Pasta to feed everyone in your house (or Rice if you are out of Pasta)
Sliced Onions (2 should do it, your choice of onions, I like Spanish reds)
Sliced Green, Yellow and/or Red Sweet Pepper (or a mix!) (1 or 2 work nicely)
Minced Garlic (do it yourself or use the stuff in jars with oil, again a couple cloves…to your taste)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (4 Teaspoons or so)
Meat (if you have it!) Italian sausage,sliced smoked sausage, ham or pepperoni chunks are good for this
2 Tablespoons butter (use margarine ONLY if you have to)
Italian seasoning or a mix of finely chopped fresh herbs (however much you want)

Optional…depending on your family’s tastes and how *gussied up* you want it:
a handful of olives, sliced
mushrooms (either fresh or dried…I HATE those canned/jarred slimy things)
Cheese (Parmesan, mozzarella, Fontana, feta…whatever you like)
Tomatoes, cut into chunks (I prefer Roma tomatoes) OR Dried Tomatoes--minced (the ones packed in oil do well)
Toasted Slivered Almonds (my oldest son added this…nice touch if you can afford it)
Pine Nuts
Broccoli or other veggies
Snow Peas


1. Cook Pasta, drain and set aside.

2. Toss onions and meat into good-sized frying pan, skillet or wok and sauté until it meat is done and onions are transparent. Add everything else (except cheese and fresh tomatoes) and sautée about 5 minutes more.

3. Chase cat off of counter.

4. Toss sautéed stuff into large bowl with pasta, throw in cheese and chunked fresh tomatoes

5. Toss well, serve hot in bowls with a good sized chunk of garlic bread, if you have that.

6. Make sure the little ones get their fair share… and put a bit in a bowl for the cat so it won’t jump on the table.


I usually don't measure a darn thing which makes for interesting results. But I did raise seven kids and they all loved this. Remember everything is to your taste, adjust, add or subtract as necessary! This was an end-of-the-month-and-we-are-broke recipe.

Now, for a Fancier dish, toss everything together, put in a casserole dish and top with cheese and Italian bread crumbs and broil just until cheese is melted and bread crumbs are a bit browned.

All my kids can make this dish. Son Daniel has made it with Ramen noodles and added sweet red chili sauce (Asian cooking mainstay) and 3 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter. Nice and spicy and it rocks! Thai noodles!
Son Gregory adds a cup of shredded carrots to the sautée and omits the butter and uses low fat cheese(he is on diet).
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