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It's 3pm...quick, what's for dinner?

We’ve all been there, that dreaded moment at 3pm when we realize nothing is planned for dinner. So what do you do? Go out to eat? Make a frozen pizza?  

As an intern in the test kitchens here at Land O’Lakes, deciding what’s for supper after a long day of being in the kitchens at work can be a dilemma. Between planning a wedding and late work hours, my fiancée, Adam, and I have fallen into the groove of “we don’t have time to cook, so let’s just go out to eat.” Not only is this bad for the wallet, it’s bad for our waistlines, too! We recently made a pact that we would start cooking at home more, and began to look for quick meal ideas. We’ve found that if we plan out our meals for the week on Sunday and shop for all the ingredients at once, we’re more likely to stick with it and it cuts back on trips to the grocery store.

A few weeks back, I was testing some recipes for the Land O’Lakes website. One of the recipes, Fu-Silly Chili Skillet, was so ridiculously simple, I doubted that it could “wow” me with its flavor. But boy was I wrong! Who knew that a recipe with 5 ingredients could pack such a flavorful punch? I knew since I would be home a little later than usual that night, this would be a fast, simple recipe to throw together for the fiancée. If only I would have known what I was doing when I introduced him to this recipe…since I first made it, he has made it for me 3 times! I have a feeling this one is going to become a fall (and winter, and spring) staple for us.

The recipe calls for fusilli pasta, which is a corkscrew-shaped noodle. I like to get creative and change up the pasta shape when I make this, so I usually choose from various shapes. Here are some of my favorites:

Get your big pot of water boiling and cook whatever pasta you choose to use (I decided on Cavatappi). After 12 minutes of cooking, my noodles were perfectly al dente, which means they were firm but not hard.

Drain and set aside, the pasta will be added at the end of the recipe.

Next, get your sausage. I am the self-proclaimed “Queen of Substitutions” so if I want to make this a more Mexican-style dish, I’ll substitute chorizo (Mexican flavored sausage). It tastes wonderful! You can also find spicy sausage links with jalapenos in the meat section of the grocery store, which is what I used in this dish.

Cut the links into bite-sized pieces.

Grab a 12-inch skillet and cook the sausage until it’s no longer pink. Since these particular sausages were pre-cooked, I just needed to warm them through, but if you are using raw sausage, make sure you cook until no pink remains.

Oh boy, if I could only insert an aroma into a blog post! It smelled so good in our apartment at this point - even the neighbors were asking what was for dinner.

Now, this is where the magic happens. All you have to do is dump 2 cans (the beans and the tomatoes) into the pan. If your pan is still hot, the liquid from the cans will help de-glaze the pan.

What is deglazing, you might ask? Once the liquid is in the pan, scrape the bottom to get all of those brown bits from the sausage off. Basically, you’re just adding more flavor, and that is always a great thing!

Let it cook for a few minutes until the mixture is warmed through. Now, stir in the sour cream. This will give it a creamy texture and help bring all the flavors together.

Add the noodles…

…and toss to combine.

Since it’s just the two of us in our apartment, we always have leftovers for lunch the next day. This helps us save up some bucks, too, since we don’t have to buy food at work!

While I was making the meal, Adam was busy getting ready for the Halloween party at his office tomorrow. While I was making dinner, he was whipping up some of his famous guacamole to bring to the party - or so I thought. When I turned around to ask him for some help…this is the surprising sight I saw. He decided to model part of his costume for me. Charming, no? Never a dull moment in our apartment!

Once he realized dinner was done, the mask was long gone and he was enjoying one of his favorite meals.

A meal in 15 minutes with lunch ready for the next day, too? That’s what I call a win-win situation. If we can sneak in enough time at night to make dinner, you can too!

Have a Happy Halloween, and give Fu-Silly Chili Skillet a try and let us know what you think by rating and reviewing the recipe or leaving a comment here.

Come back on Monday to see a fun, Halloween-inspired dip from Liz!

Mallory is an intern in the Test Kitchens at Land O'Lakes and writes for our Recipe Buzz® Blog.


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Fabulous. Loved the pix!! Thanks so much! I will try it this week!

Posted May 10 2011 by Lori
Test Kitchen Comment


Thanks, Lori! Hope you enjoy the dish as much as I do. It's a quick dinner that everyone will love. Make sure to come back and let us know how it turned out for you!
Posted May 19, 2011

Hi Debbie, thanks for your comment! If you look towards the beginning of the blog, you will see the name of the recipe (Fu-Silly Chili Skillet) underlined. If you click on the name, it will bring you to the recipe where it lists the sizes and amounts of ingredients you will need. Hope this helps!

Posted Oct 28 2010 by Mallory

This might be a great recipe .. but call me old fashioned I like to have all the ingredients listed somewhere. beans and tomatoes come in many many sizes

Posted Oct 24 2010 by debbie

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