Sunday, February 25, 2018

Italian Night

We try to keep a “regular” dinner schedule, however it isn’t as formal as several meal planning methods you have seen on Pinterest, I am sure.  We use “theme nights” to give me a little more fluidity throughout the week rather than having to stick to a schedule.  I previously shared our Taco Tuesday routine, but I wanted to share a favorite “theme” which is Italian Night.

For me, the theme changes with the seasons, ie, what is in my garden that I need to eat before the squirrels get it!  When I have fresh tomatoes, we have homemade spaghetti. In the late summer we have eggplant parmesan fresh from the garden.   When the weather is cooler, I turn to pesto made from basil from my aero garden and marinara for a bruschetta chicken spin. 

Italian night is a fun theme because it can be as simple as spaghetti and homemade meat sauce (my basic recipe is below), or as fancy as stuffed shells with a caesar salad and breadsticks. 

I enjoy the fluidity of these theme nights because it takes the guess work out of meal planning much like formal meal planning, but due to our ever-changing schedules, I don’t feel like I’m tied to spending two hours in the kitchen after a 12 hour work day!

Basic Homemade Meat Sauce

1 lb Ground Turkey

1 large can (about 2.5 cups) tomato paste

1 can (about 1.5 cups) diced tomatoes

Cook the ground turkey in a large sauce pan.  Once completely cooked pour in the tomato paste and diced tomatoes and let simmer for 10 to 20 minutes.  Add herbs to taste, try oregano and basil!  This recipe does not have to be exact and can be changed up to include fresh tomatoes or different types of herbs to taste.

For other “Italian Night” related recipes, click here.

How do you get out of your dinner rut?  Have you ever tried theme nights instead of a formal meal plan?

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