Quick and Easy Elbow Pasta with Lentils

This pasta dish was a go to from my childhood. I remember my Mom and my Nanie making this for dinner or snack in a pinch.

I like it because it can be adapted for what you have in your pantry and/or fridge.

Quick and Easy Elbow Pasta with Lentils

Serves 4-6  approx. 15-20 min.
Quick and Easy Elbow Pasta with Lentils

Quick and Easy Elbow Pasta with Lentils

Mise En Place

  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup of white wine, I used the Riesling that was left on my counter 😉 *
  • 540 ml can of lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1-450 g bag of elbow(no.26) pasta, cooked

    Mise En Place for Quick and Easy Elbow Pasta with Lentils

    Mise En Place for Quick and Easy Elbow Pasta with Lentils

  • 2 cups of reserved pasta water
  • 4 tbsp fresh salsa, used Garden Fresh
  • 2 cups of our favourite jar of sauce, PC Marinara is mine **
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • fresh dill, chopped
  • parmesan or romano cheese, grated for garnish
  • salt, pepper,and red pepper flakes to taste

Cook elbow pasta in heavily salted water according to package directions. Before straining pasta, reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid.***

Using a low to medium heat olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add the finely grated garlic until it becomes fragrant. Don’t overcook or burn the garlic will become bitter. Add the white wine and cook until the alcohol has evaporated approx. 1-2 minutes.

Add the can of lentils, salsa and marinara sauce. Simmer until heated through. Add the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce to your desired consistency.

Add the fresh chopped basil and fresh chopped dill. Check the flavour and season appropriately with salt and pepper.

Add the cook pasta to the finished lentil and marinara sauce and tossed.

Garnish with grated parmesan or romano cheese and red pepper flakes, if for some added kick.

Serve with a fresh side salad.

Quick and Easy Elbow Pasta with Lentils

Quick and Easy Elbow Pasta with Lentils

** A homemade pasta sauce is always a better option but in a pinch find a sauce at the supermarket that has only real ingredients. My go to sauce is PC Marinara.

*** Tip: Sometimes is your final sauce for pasta not up to par?  Why add plain old tap water too thin or adjust your sauce when you are going to dump this goodness down the drain?  I always reserve at least 1 cup of the starchy, salty flavourful cooking liquid before straining the pasta.

Hamburgers using My Flavour Enhancers*

Hamburgers are synonymous with BBQ, camping and summer at the trailer for my family. I like to make my own hamburger patties. I can control the ingredients and seasonings that are in my burgers. The flavour enhancers that I made add that extra punch and moisture to the burgers. Think of the package soup mix from the past without the added chemicals or salt. These burgers can be made ahead and frozen for the next BBQ.

We had these hamburgers over the Victoria Day weekend. My DH grilled them over very hot charcoal on a beautiful evening. The hamburgers were moist, and very tasty. 😀

Hamburgers Using My Flavour Enhancers*

Serves 4-6 approx. 7 burgers
Charcoal Hamburgers at the campsite!

Charcoal Hamburgers at the Campsite!

Mise En Place

  • 7.6 oz extra lean ground turkey

    Mise En Place

    Mise En Place

  • 5.6 oz mild Italian ground sausage
  • 1 lb. medium ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice of bread, torn and soaked in milk
  • 5 tbsp. mushroom, flavour enhancer*
  • 4 tbsp. onion, flavour enhancer*
  • ¼ tsp of each salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. toasted onion spice**
  • 1 pkge. of hamburger buns


In large bowl, mix egg with both flavour enhancers and toasted onion spice. Add turkey, Italian sausage and beef.

Squeeze excess milk from the soaked bread and then add the bread into the meat mixture. Discard leftover milk.

Mix just until combined. Form each portion loosely into a 3/4-inch-thick burger (6 oz. patty) and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb.

It is very important to push a ½ inch indent into the center of the patty–this is what prevents the patty from becoming a dome. 😉

(Make-ahead: Layer between waxed paper in airtight container; refrigerate for up to 24 hours or freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator.)

Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.



Heat a gas grill to high or heat coals in a charcoal grill until they glow bright orange and ash over. Brush the burgers with the oil. Grill the burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the first side, about 3-5 minutes. Close lid and grill. Turning once; flip over the burgers. Cook burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the second side, 4 minutes for medium rare or until digital thermometer inserted sideways into centre reads 160°F (71°C), approx. 12-14 minutes.

Add cheese, if using, to the tops of the burgers during the last-minute of cooking and top with a basting cover, close the grill cover, or tent the burgers with aluminum foil to melt the cheese.

Charcoal Hamburgers at the Trailer

Charcoal Hamburgers at the Trailer

Sandwich on toasted hamburger buns.

Assemble the burgers and serve with tomato, avocado, lettuce or your choice of toppings!

*Link to Flavour Enhancers for Future Recipes | the 5 o’clock rush

** This toasted onion spice blend contains garlic, dry onion flakes, vegetable bouillon, sea salt and Worcestershire flavourings. I have a huge assortment of spices at my disposal. A spice can instantly change the flavour of a dish from Tex Mex to Persian. I’m always picking up different spices and blends from Homesense or Zehrs. 


Pictures From Weekends at the Trailer

Spinach and Artichoke Dip Pasta

Spinach and Artichoke Dip Pasta

While I was searching through my fridge for dinner options, and I came across some almost too sad baby artichokes and leftover cooked spinach. This is when it hit me. Why not make dinner with all of the flavours of spinach and artichoke dip in the form of pasta!

This spinach and artichoke pasta comes together in less than 30 minutes making it a perfect weeknight meal and it’s so addictively good!

FYI I thought this was some groundbreaking pasta dish but apparently others are a sharp as me. 😉 LOL!

Spinach and Artichoke Dip Pasta

Serves 4-6
Spinach and Artichoke Dip Pasta

Spinach and Artichoke Dip Pasta

Continue to the Recipe

Flavour Enhancers for Future Recipes

Flavour is a huge component to a dish and to cooking it. If a dish is under or over seasoned it can really affect the taste and experience of the dish. Simply over salting a dish will make all that work inedible and you will be ordering pizza in. 😉

As I was rummaging through my fridge, I found some ingredients that once cooked and purée would be similar and even better than a store-bought version of  ‘marinade’ or ‘spice package’. I can control the amount of salt, fat etc. leaving the chemicals out.

Bonus: Not wasting the mushrooms that might be on the edge….

The following are recipes for what I’m labelling as ‘Flavour Enhancers’.

I will be using them in future recipes on the 5 o’clock rush

Continue to recipes

Cinco De Mayo Taco Night

Yesterday was May 5th or Cinco de Mayo, so the plans for dinner were going to involve the tastes and flavours of Mexico. In my house, taco night is a family favourite.

Tacos are simple, inexpensive and adjustable to what the kids like in their tacos.

I chose to use lean turkey as my main filling for the tacos and the kids did not miss the beef component once the spices were added.

Cinco De Mayo Taco Night Recipe

Serves 4-6
Soft Tacos with Peach and Mango Salsa

Soft Tacos with Peach and Mango Salsa

Continue to the Recipe