I need a spaghetti or taco night every week -- a meal that I can (1) make without a recipe (shop for without consulting a list), that is (2) fast and (3) cheap, and that (4) everyone likes.
When Bob and I were first married, I started throwing together this (somewhat) more nutritious alternative to spaghetti night (we still have regular spaghetti night, too!), and we've been eating it probably once every six weeks for thirteen years. You could figure it out by looking at the photo above and adding pasta . . . there's not much to it! . . . but here's a recipe of sorts if you want directions. :)
one or two boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch (or so) pieces
one medium yellow onion, chopped
two or three cloves of garlic, minced
one red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch (or so) pieces
one or two zucchini, peeled and cut into 1-inch (or so) pieces
one jar of spaghetti sauce (I just use Ragu Roasted Garlic, because it's sweet)
a box of fettucini (you could use whole-grain penne or something, but we always just stick with the fettucini . . . I've never found whole-grain fettucini, have you?)
Cook the fettucini according to package directions. Saute the chicken, onion, and garlic in a little olive oil. Once the chicken is no longer pink and the onion is translucent, add the red pepper and zucchini. When the pepper and zucchini are a little soft but not mushy, pour in the jar of spaghetti sauce, and stir it together. Serve the sauce on top of the fettucini (or mixed all up with the fettucini) and sprinkle some shaved parmesan on top.
You probably could have just looked at the photo and figured this all out! :) But everybody in our house likes it; it's fast, cheap, and easy; I remember the ingredients and don't need a recipe; and it has vegetables in it. That works for me! :D
ps If you make your own spaghetti sauce and have some frozen or canned, you could throw that in there instead of store-bought, to class this up a bit, and I guess that would still count as "fast." But if you make sauce just for this meal, then you've moved out of the realm of "spaghetti night" into "regular meal" night, and that's missing the point of "spaghetti night." :D