*Your protein here* Cacciatore
2 cans of stewed tomatoes (remember to check the ingredients for added sugars!)
1 green bell pepper
About a cup of chopped mushrooms
About half a cup of onion
About 3 cloves garlic (totally optional)
About 2 tbsp olive oil
Oregano, pepper, salt, and tarragon to taste
Your favorite pasta
Be sure to use a saucepan with a lid for this one. Saute onions and garlic, if you're using it, in some olive oil. Cook those until they're translucent (about 5 minutes), and don't let them burn! Add in the green bell pepper and mushrooms, and cook them for a couple minutes, until the mushrooms start to brown and soften. At this point, add in your protein. Whatever you're using, you can pretty much just throw it in there, as you're going to be letting this thing cook for a long frickin' time. When all the ingredients are having a nice little party in the pan, cover it, turn the heat down to a simmer, and let it sit for 45 minutes to an hour. The longer it sits, the better it tastes. Serve it over your favorite pasta; bowties work really well with this.
You can sneak in all kinds of veggies to this one. So far I've only tried green bell pepper and mushrooms, because that's what I had around at the time. But I think spinach would be good, maybe zucchinni and yellow squash, some carrots, maybe some potatoes . . . Have fun with it. Keep in mind, though, that not all flavors are going to mesh with the cacciatore theme. For example, cucumbers? No, I wouldn't go there, if I were you. Additionally, some veggies aren't going to work well together. I wouldn't do spinach, zucchinni, and carrots all at once. If in doubt (i.e. if you have no intuition for this kind of creative cooking), comment or e-mail me and we'll discuss harmonious veggie combinations. Or you can just try it and never do it again if it ends up tasting like ass.
Also, this is a great dish for crockpot cooking. Saute the oil, garlic, and onions along with your protein to get the flavors going. Then dump everything into your slow-cooker/crockpot and let it sit there while you're at work (or on your long bike ride, maybe). When you get home, you'll be greated with delicious and nutricious smells, and the only thing you'll have still to do will be cook your pasta. And if you're like me, you probably have leftover somewhere in the refridgerator, anyway.
Try the food, guys. Let me know what you think.
Brief and unrelated note: I've got a lot of stuff in the works, but everything's taking way too long to get up on the site. I'm currently working on a couple of installments of the "Stop Slouching" series, I have a new series coming up (tentatively titled "The Dumbass Chronicles"), I have a video installment of Runner's High which will (cross your fingers) be up tomorrow, and I'm working on a fresh spinning podcast. Thanks for sticking with me while I've suffered through burnout, guys. It means a ton to me.
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