whatcha got cooking?

Elizabeth over at Delightfully Tacky recently posted a sweet list of things to do when you're feeling lonely and bored. as someone who's moved around the world several times, I thought it was a pretty great read! it got me thinking about things I can do for myself while I'm not allowed to work. (right now only Brandon has a work visa; I'm here as a dependant.) 

of course the list would be even better suited to my needs if it were only free things to do, since while not working gives me plenty of alone time it does not leave me with a lot of money to spend on myself. maybe I'll make a subcategory-type list called "stuff to do when you're poor and alone." 
in that vein, I thought I'd share a simple, quick recipe that works well if you're either. 

side note: I don't usually share a lot of recipes on the blog. mostly because I often stick to recipes I've stolen from other parts of the web, and it's not like my kitchen endeavours are all that worthy of documentation. but I love food (duh), and I happen to think that I'm a pretty decent cook. so maybe I'll add a few, and maybe someone will use them.

lately I've been trying to use up anything and everything we have in our cupboards before restocking on groceries. this means a lot of thrown-together concoctions and experimentation, but most of the time it works out deliciously!

here is an easy dinner that I made on one such occasion; I call it, "pasta a la poor."


we use a lot of frozen and canned vegetables because they're cheaper, but if yer all fancy and healthy and I dunno, rich and stuff, I'm sure fresh would work exactly the same.

what you'll need:
- 1 16-18 oz. bag of frozen vegetables, Italian variety
- pasta of your choice (Brandon chose shells for us!)
- 1 red pepper
- 1 large onion
- 1 large can of diced tomatoes (I used the seasoned variety so the flavour isn't watered down)
- 2 tbsp. low-fat cream cheese*
- a clove of fresh garlic
- 2 or 3 heaping tbsp. sour cream*
- spices to taste (about 2 tsp. each); I used Mrs. Dash, an Italian blend, basil, brown sugar, and crushed chillies.
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 2 cups shredded cheese of your choice (optional)

*measurements are approximate because I just do everything to taste. use your own judgement, and also the photos for reference!

step one: chop garlic, red pepper, and onion. add to a frying pan with olive oil and sauté on medium heat till they start to soften. I like to sprinkle a little brown sugar in here to get some caramelizing action going on.

step two: add the vegetables and generic seasoning (Mrs. Dash + Italian blend) to the pan. stir everything together. meanwhile, add pasta to boiling water to cook.

step three: add tomatoes, sour cream, and cream cheese to vegetables. mix well, until everything blends together in a kind of thin orangey sauce. stir in spices while everything simmers.

step four: when pasta is cooked and drained mix everything together in a large container. serve with a sprinkling of cheese, and enjoy!

see, easy, right? I think the steps are fairly obvious but I had to pretend I was explaining things to morons, otherwise this wouldn't be much of a post at all. also, please forgive my poor excuse for food photography; obviously if I'm making a pasta named for being poor I can't really be bothered with pretty dishes or aesthetically-pleasing cooking utensils. these are the real things I cook with and eat off of.

this is just a simple dinner, but it was really yummy and full of veggies! some people hate pasta in the summertime, but this is so easy and the sauce is so light that I think it works. and it's good leftover and eaten cold.

you can change pretty much anything in this "recipe" or make substitutions and it would still work. that's the beauty of pasta! use different vegetables, make it spicy,  add meat, use flavoured cream cheese, try different noodles, bake it with cheese; the possibilities are endless! I like sriracha on mine, of course.

if anyone actually makes this, let me know what you think! and tell me any brilliant changes you've made. :)

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