- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 3, 2009

You know how to multitask. You may be reading this column while you’re listening to your Two’s Company partner and mentally creating your grocery list. You can rely on some foods to multitask as well: Use them in a wide range of dishes, each time getting new flavors.

Build your recipe repertoire around multitasking foods, and you can trim your food bill while you serve delicious dinners.

To start, choose ingredients that reflect your style.

If you want to include more fish and seafood, stock up on canned salmon, frozen shrimp, scallops and fish fillets. You’ll have the fixings for salads, sandwiches, soups and stews.

If, like me, you enjoy hearty meat dishes but want to cook simply and healthfully, I recommend you try raw turkey sausage with either hot or mild Italian seasonings.

Purchase the sausage in link form. Each link is one serving, and you can freeze what you don’t use immediately. Use turkey sausage in place of ground beef, in meat sauce, patties, grilled links, soups or stews.

When preparing turkey sausage, don’t use high temperatures that toughen the turkey. You’ll find the sausage cooks in minutes, so you don’t need to rush.

Sausage and scallop stew

Makes 2 servings.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small red onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 link (4 ounces) raw hot Italian seasoned turkey sausage

3/4 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried crushed oregano

1 cup diced canned tomatoes

1 cup chicken broth

8 ounces frozen bay scallops

1 cup cooked rotini, penne or bow tie pasta, preferably whole wheat

2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Remove casing from turkey. Add turkey to pot, breaking up with a spoon.

Brown turkey sausage over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Stir in paprika, oregano, tomatoes and chicken broth.

Bring to a simmer. Stir in frozen scallops. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until scallops thaw and are cooked through. Stir in pasta and heat through. Sprinkle on parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Each serving (without additional salt) has: 400 calories; 14 grams total fat; 34 grams protein; 34 grams carbohydrates; 73 milligrams cholesterol; 1,300 milligrams sodium and 3 grams dietary fiber.

• Bev Bennett is the author of “30-Minute Meals for Dummies” (John Wiley & Sons).

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