Baby Cakes called me on his way home from a guy’s trip Saturday afternoon to ask me if I had eaten yet because he was starving. (What he was actually asking me was “Baby, I’m really really hungry, could you, would please make some dinner and maybe have it ready when I get there?”.) So I forced myself off the couch, sigh, and went to the kitchen to see what I could throw together. I hadn’t thawed out any meat. I hadn’t pre planned. I guess I assumed we would eat out like most Saturday nights. But, then I caught something from the corner of my eye pushed into the deepest corner of the deep freeze- chicken nuggets. A scan of the stock shelf and I see that I also have pasta, and lots of it and I know I have a ton of canned pasta sauce (also on sale a week or two ago) and then it dawns on me.
You know those ready-made frozen meals you can find in the freezer section at the grocery store? Well I love them. They are so easy and fast to cook. And although not a true home cooked style meal it is fairly good and hey, it get's the job done. Well one of those frozen bags is what dawned on me and became the inspiration for this recipe.
Chicken Parmesan Pasta
26 ounce can chunky vegetable pasta sauce
6 ounce can tomato paste
4 ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, with the juice
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 large tablespoon of chicken base or 3 chicken bouillon cubes
12 ounce package of shredded mozzarella cheese
12-16 chicken nuggets, baked according to package directions
14.5 ounce box of rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained
In a large saucepot combine all the canned items together as well as the ketchup, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and chicken base. Stir to combine. Simmer over medium low heat for 30-60 minutes stirring occasionally.
Once you have cooked and drained your pasta and the chicken nuggets are baked toss all the items together until coated in sauce. Add the cheese and combine once more until melted.
Serve warm with a cold crisp side salad.
First, a little note regarding the picture. I know that it doesn't look cheesy but it is. If I had though aesthetically before I used the whole bag of cheese I would have reserved some to top it off with but as it were I didn't have any to make the picture pretty with. Maybe one day I'll post a cheesier picture (that's a good thing in this case, grin).
So could this be improved? Most likely; perhaps with homemade chicken nuggets or homemade pasta sauce but for a quick thrown together meal this is perfect.
In regards to the man I made this for, Baby Cakes, he ended up fat and happy. He was passed out asleep on the sofa after downing a large dish full, so, my job was done. Now about those dishes…