What's for dinner?
The dreaded question that no spouse or family member can seem to answer. This conundrum leaves you scratching your head as you look into the abyss of your pantry. This scenario happened to me recently with a small twist.
"What's for dinner tonight, honey?" says my husband. Oh boy - here we go.
"Well, we have a bag of frozen ravioli in the freezer," I tell him.
"That sounds really good," my beloved says with a smile. Only one problem, no tomato sauce. Ugh! So close. What to do, what to do…
Luckily, I also have a beautiful veggie garden chock full of tomatoes. That's at least something. Can't have a tomato sauce without tomatoes - right? Now I just need to rummage through our pantry to add something to those tomatoes so we can increase their already wonderful flavor.
After a short search, I just happen to have a bag of real bacon bits in the cabinet. Gold! Bacon goes with everything! My brain squealed in delight. Now I just need some other basics to kick up this recipe a notch. I pulled some peppers and basil from my garden and voilà I had a fabulous foundation for the perfect sauce. Into the kitchen I went, dicing and simmering my beautiful vegetables and herbs. The result? One of the quickest and easiest pasta sauces I have ever made IMHO (in my humble opinion).
Having my vegetable garden as a go-to second pantry really opens up the possibilities to feed a hungry crew in a pinch. It doesn't take more than a few tomato plants, some flavorful herbs, and a container of greens to produce homegrown flavor.
Now's the perfect time to start your edible garden! Click on our Find A Store tool to get ready-to-plant vegetables and herbs.
So now that you know the story, here is the recipe that goes with it:
Speedy Tomato Bacon Pasta Sauce with Cheese Ravioli
4-5 tomatoes, diced
1-2 peppers, diced
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
¼ cup real bacon bits
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. salt
Parmesan cheese, as garnish
Wash and prepare tomatoes, peppers and basil; set aside. In a large sauce pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Toss in the bacon bits into the saucepan and continue to cook over medium-high heat. Add a splash of water. Cook until the water evaporates and the bacon begins to brown; this will not take long since the bacon is already pre-cooked. Add in diced tomatoes, peppers and basil. Continue to cook over medium-high heat until sauce begins to bubble. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
While sauce is simmering, fill a large pot with 2/3 water and bring to a boil. When the water comes to a boil add a heavy teaspoon of salt and add the frozen ravioli to the water. Stir immediately so none of the ravioli stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook uncovered 4-6 minutes. Thoroughly drain the ravioli and place back into pot. Drizzle a light coating of olive oil over pasta to prevent sticking and gently stir.
Place desired amount of ravioli with a generous amount of sauce over it in a serving dish, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy!
Be sure to drop us a line and let us know what's for dinner tonight from your garden in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!