an army wife's guide to life

food and homemaking goodness

Making Canned Alfredo Sauce your own

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It’s been a while, I know, but I’ve been busy and not making anything all that interesting lately. I’ve been in a blah mood food wise (honestly, I’ve been more excited about getting Mexican food, lol). Also, this isn’t any kind of sponsored post, I just really like Bertolli brand. (I’m putting that in for future reference when this blog is awesome and has a ton of followers…not that I’m counting on it).

This is one of my favorite things to do, though, when I don’t feel like putting a lot of effort into dinner. You can use whatever brand, but this is my favorite, and I still can’t make sauce like I can buy yet…that’s a work in progress. Here’s a list of simple dinner ideas using canned sauce:

  1. Chicken and Pasta. But everyone adds chicken, don’t they? Still, if I didn’t add it, I’d feel weird.
  2. Broccoli and Pasta. I love this. It’s so good.
  3. Pour it over fresh, steamed cauliflower. It could be as a side dish or add some meat in with that, too and make it a one pot sort of meal. If you haven’t worked with fresh cauliflower, you don’t know what you’re missing.
  4. With Tortellini or Ravioli. Especially the meat filled kind to make you feel like you’re getting everything in one place.
  5. Make it spicy! This is my favorite, one, too. Add spicy Italian sausage or a ton of crushed red pepper to the sauce when you’re heating it up.
  6. Add tomatoes.
  7. Add sun-dried or oven roasted tomatoes.
  8. Add Mushrooms.
  9. Add Extra Garlic…or roasted garlic…or garlic powder…mmmm, garlic…garlic is good
  10. Add Sausage. Cased or uncased. Any Italian variety is good and I really wanna see how diced Andouille is in the sauce. Cajun Pasta is usually pretty good.
  11. Make Lasagna. Or stuffed shells. Or manicotti.
  12. Add veggies. Zucchini, eggplant, spaghetti squash, whatever else sounds good.

I’ve found that pretty much anything you do with Alfredo sauce turns out pretty good. Just follow my tasting guidelines and you should be fine. That advice is, of course, add a little, taste it and keep adding until it’s perfect. If you aren’t sampling as you go, you’re doing it wrong. Tonight, for example (and the whole inspiration for this post), I’m doing homemade oven roasted tomatoes and meat tortellini. I’ll probably add a little spice with some crushed red peppers. And, as always, a little extra salt and pepper.

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Tomato-Alfredo Tortellini

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Or as my husband called it: something you could get at the Olive Garden. Which is high, high praise in his book, since the Olive Garden is the have all and be all of Italian cooking.

This is a super easy dish to throw together, and really, it doesn’t have to be tortellini if you don’t want, it’s just way more filling and that’s what counts here since I have an active husband (he ate all of his and finished my bowl after I was full). My original plan was to use bowtie pasta, and that would work just as well. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 jar of Alfredo Sauce (or make your own, which I did not)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, in sauce
  • Fresh or frozen tortellini (portioned for your family’s needs)
  • Garlic powder
  • Crushed Red Peppers
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper

Cook the tortellini according to the package directions.

In a medium saucepan, pour half a jar of alfredo sauce (I use Bertolli’s Garlic Alfredo), your can of diced tomatoes, and the seasonings (to taste) and heat over medium heat. I would taste the sauce before adding any seasoning, to see if you prefer it that way, but I find the the sweetness of the tomatoes is a little overwhelming for me (I don’t like sweet meals much). I went moderate on the spices with this one, only adding a little bit of each, to get the sauce to what I wanted it. If you don’t like spice, completely omit the crushed Red Peppers, but I didn’t really taste the spice too much, and my husband didn’t comment on it if he tasted any real spice, either.

To serve, just put the tortellini in a bowl and ladle the sauce over top. I wanted to add fresh basil as well as a garnish, but since it’s the dead of winter in Kansas, it’s not really something I can easily find for a reasonable price. You could also use parsley as a fresh garnish if you’d like.

This meal took less than 30 minutes to put together, from the time I put the water on to boil until it was on the table. To make this a non-vegetarian meal, I’d add a single link of spicy¬†Italian¬†sausage, freed from its casing and crumbled.

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