I thought I'd try another recipe from one of my Pampered Chef cookbooks 29 Minutes to Dinner: Volume 2. Thankfully, I can freely share it with you because it is also available online. This is a pasta dish called Orecchiette with Spinach, Sausage and Tomatoes.
Modifications/Substitutions: I didn't go with orecchiette pasta because what I could find was a bit expensive, so I went with gemelli instead. Also, I didn't have garlic cloves on hand so I used garlic powder. Red pepper flakes were optional and I'm glad I didn't use them (especially one whole teaspoon) as the recipe was plenty spicy because of the sausage. Finally, I also omitted the grape tomatoes for no particular reason.
Ease: This was a one skillet meal, which is always nice. Also, there was little prep-time involved, which made things very easy. I'll give this recipe 4 stars.
Affordability: This was one of our more "expensive" meals, though it was still affordable. Let's break it down, just because:
Sausage - $3.23
Diced tomatoes - $2.25
Spinach - $2.50
Pasta - $0.80
Total - $8.78 ($1.46 per serving)
3.5 stars for affordability
Taste: We were very pleased with the taste. This was a nice light pasta dish that I think is perfect for a spring/summer evening - 4.5 stars.
Family-Friendly: When I dish out food for the girls I typically pick and choose (and even separate) bits and pieces of meals that have multiple ingredients. This time, I just scooped up and plopped the pasta on their plates. They did tend to stay away from the spinach, but Abigail did eat it when we encouraged her. Also, both of them ate some of the sausage (which surprised me a bit). Abigail loved the tomatoes, while Sarah could live without them. Overall though I would say this was a successful dish as far as family-friendliness goes. I'll give 4.5 stars.
What's Cooking Rating: 4.25 stars (rounded up to the nearest 0.25)