American Chop Suey
All the built-in vegetables help make this dinner staple a true one-dish meal. And for picky eaters, all the robust flavors help mask the fact that you’re using whole-wheat pasta. I like pancetta because you can buy it already diced. It also has a big, bold flavor. But you also could use chopped bacon or, for something lighter, finely chopped ham steak.
Lunch ideas: Leftover American chop suey is delicious warm or cold on a bun (think sloppy Joes). If you want it warm, heat the chop suey and pack it in a thermos (with the bun packed separately). At lunch, spoon the chop suey onto the bun and enjoy. Rather not bulk up on bread? Pack a thermos of warm chop suey with large Boston lettuce leaves on the side for DIY lettuce wraps.
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 red bell peppers, cored and diced (about 3 cups), divided
15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
3-ounce package diced pancetta
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds ground bison or lean turkey
141/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cups beef broth
12 ounces whole-wheat elbow macaroni
Salt and ground pepper
In a blender, combine the onion, two-thirds of the diced bell peppers, the tomato sauce, soy sauce and Italian seasoned. Puree until smooth. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, brown the pancetta for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and remaining bell pepper and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the bison and brown, breaking up any large clumps. Add the onion-bell pepper mixture from the blender, the diced tomatoes, broth and pasta.
Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Source: Adapted from J.M. Hirsch’s “Beating the Lunch Box Blues” (Atria, $18).
Per serving: 400 calories 27 percent from fat, 12g fat (4.6 g saturated, 3.1 g monounsaturated), 66 mg cholesterol, 33 g protein, 40 g carbohydrates, 5.7 g fiber, 862 mg sodium.