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My husband and I work long hours, and I'm in charge of cooking, so I really appreciate recipes that are easy, fast, and made with ingredients that I always have at hand. I never spent any time in the kitchen before I got married, either, so I like detailed recipes that don't leave me wondering how to do a step.

This recipe came about after experimenting with different ingredients. The inspiration was a recipe I printed out many years ago from kraftrecipes.com, called "One-Pan Spring Pastas." Since then, I have not been able to find the original recipe online again. However, this variation has become a favorite of ours.

Step 1: Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef. I use 95% lean (5% fat) when I can find it.
  • 1 jar (16-oz) southwest-style salsa, such as Newman's Own Black Bean and Corn.
  • 1 tsp dry basil leaves.
  • 1 tsp salt.
  • 3 cups water.
  • 2 cups bow-tie pasta, such as Barilla Farfalle. If using a different shape of pasta, you may need to vary the cooking times slightly.
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen pepper strips, including red, green, and yellow.
  • Optional: Shredded cheddar cheese or grated Parmesan cheese to sprinkle.

Step 2: Directions

  1. In a large skillet, brown the beef over medium-high heat, stirring until no longer pink.
  2. Add salsa, basil, salt, water, and pasta, stirring until well combined. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the corn and pepper. Increase heat until boiling, then cover and return to simmering for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.

If desired, pass some Parmesan cheese for an Italian flare, or Cheddar for a slightly Mexican twist.

Step 3: Notes

Makes 6 servings of approximately 500 calories each.

This can be made in a large saucepan instead of a skillet. You may need less water in this case.

This particular combination of ingredients is our favorite, but the recipe is quite versatile. Another good option is to use frozen peas and carrots instead of the peppers.You can try it with different vegetables, or even different meats. Be creative! Enjoy.

<p>Great looking meal. Thanks for sharing. </p>

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