A very good friend of mine requested a while back for a recipe that could be done in about 30 minutes. Understandably, as she is not only an Army wife to a special forces soldier, a mother of a daughter with a baby boy on the way, as well as a full time soldier herself with multiple deployments under her belt. She’s a busy woman. In addition, she’s probably one of the most selfless people I know, helping out friends and soldiers alike whenever they are in need. This one is for her.
Trying to come up with an under 30 minute recipe isn’t very easy, however. Many are familiar with the concept of cooking a quick dinner thanks to Rachel Ray’s tv show, as well as the plethora of quick and easy recipes from big food companies such as Kraft and Campbell’s. In either case, most of these meals are prepared from pre-made foods, which are typically processed and/or have funky ingredients in them. I try to keep things as from-scratch as I can when cooking.
I do have a go-to meal that I use quite often when time is short. I buy tortellini or ravioli in the cold section of the commissary, combine it with Italian sausage, and make a pretty simple pasta dish from it. It’s a good compromise when it comes to my concept of scratch cooking, as I would rarely make tortellini or raviolis from scratch anyways, and the quality of these refrigerated pastas are usually pretty good. From start to finish it can take up to 45 minutes with a little multitasking, but if it’s planned out and parts of it are cooked ahead of time, it can easily be cut down to half an hour final cook time.
It’s also a great meal for utilizing any leftover vegetables in the fridge. I always have stuff in my crisper that I’m not sure what to do with. Maybe there’s a small bit of baby spinach in a bag that won’t make enough for a side dish, or I have some asparagus that is starting to dry out and I need to use it quickly. The vegetables I used in this recipe were examples of that, and can be substituted for anything in your fridge that you feel is appropriate.
The following recipe is exactly how I cooked it on this particular iteration, but just keep in mind what I mentioned above. Substitutions are possible and even encouraged in this case!
Remember, this is an extremely flexible recipe, especially considering the different types of filled tortellini and raviolis you can buy and all the different types of vegetables you could add. For a little kick and variation, add the juice and zest of a whole lemon to the chicken stock and some sliced fresh basil leaves at the end, and it completely changes the flavor of this dish.
If dividing this into six servings, nutrition comes in at the following: 452 calories, 20 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, and 25 grams of protein per serving.