Parents love back-to-school season because it gets the whole family back on a schedule. Parents hate back-to-school season because that schedule usually leaves too little time to get dinner on the table. And it usually takes a solid month of shakedown to work out the bugs in that schedule, sorting out which days leave time for a home-cooked meal, and which simply demand take-out.
The meals we do make during that month need to be particularly fast and easy. The start of the school year simply isn’t the time to reach for new culinary heights. That was the inspiration for this pasta dinner, a rethinking of the classic steak and cheese grinder, but as a comforting bowl of carbs. If rice is more your style, the cheesy steak and onions would be just as good served over that. Or if you are watching the carbs, you also could spoon the mixture over bowls of steamed or roasted vegetables.
Easy Steak and Cheese Pasta
Start to finish: 25 minutes Servings: 6
12 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti or other pasta
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
1 large green bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds flank steak, sliced very thinly across the grain
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
Nutrition information per serving: 510 calories; 140 calories from fat (27 percent of total calories); 16 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 60 mg cholesterol; 51 g carbohydrates; 6 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 42 g protein; 650 mg sodium.