1) Roasted Veggies with Chili Oil & Goat Cheese
- Sturdy vegetables, i.e. turnips, beets, carrots, butternut squash, peppers, onions, potatoes and/or parsnips
- Chili Oil
- Goat Cheese
- Salt, Pepper and an Herb (dried or fresh thyme, sage or rosemary)
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Peel, clean and chop vegetables into 1-inch cubes. If squash or potato heavy, consider smaller cubes or 3 minutes in the microwave to speed cooking time.
- Toss cubes with salt, pepper, chili oil to coat and a few dashes of herbs. Personally, I'm in a dried thyme phase.
- In a roasting pan or tinfoil boat (much less clean up!), roast the vegetable for 35-45 minutes, tasting for readiness.
- Remove from the oven. While piping hot, mix in a bowl with a tablespoon or two of goat cheese which will melt into a tangy and perfect coating.
- Green vegetables, e.g. Pole beans, string beans, broccoli, chard, kale, snap peas and/or brussel sprouts
- Lemon Olive Oil
- Clean, trim and chop green vegetables into bite sized pieces.
- Lightly steam (3-4 minutes for the soft greens, a minute + for the beans, a bit longer for broccoli or brussels). Steam in a glass dish with water in the microwave, stove top in a steamer basket or in a set like ours. Just avoid steaming in plastic, a no-no according to my dietitian friend, because of possible chemical transfer (phthalates and BPA, eek!).
- Toss the veggies with a few glugs of artisanal lemon flavored olive oil* and serve along side grilled chicken or fish.
- If you don't have lemon olive oil on hand, combine a few healthy squirts of fresh lemon juice with regular olive oil, (then read the note below and contemplate an order!)
3) Pasta with A Quick Homemade Sauce
When I first went "public" with this blog, a dear friend jokingly remarked she enjoyed it even though heating up pasta sauce was daunting to her. I laughed... then started obsessing about quick homemade sauce recipes for her. Below are my general guidelines. Is the end result fine-dining? Probably not. Is it an easy and enjoyable homemade supper? You betcha.
Ingredients (must have and totally 100% optional)
- A large white onion
- Herbs of some sort (basil, thyme, oregano)
- 4-6 fresh tomatoes or a a can of whole tomatoes
- Parmesan Cheese
- Salt & Pepper
- 100% totally optional ingredients: Protein (ground chicken, sausage, lamb etc.), Fennel, Carrot, Celery, Garlic, Hot Pepper Flakes or Cayenne
- Meat base: Over medium heat, break up and begin to brown the ground or chopped protein of your choosing (turkey, chicken, beef, lamb, veal, sausage). About 1/4th a pound per person, though the end result will easily freeze if you have left overs. I love meat combination's here (lamb and veal, chicken and sausage) and just as often stick with straight veggies.
- Veggie base: Add a few glugs of olive oil to a saute pan and continue.
- Add one half a chopped onion to the meat or olive oil (or a full onion if serving more than 4 people), and saute over medium heat until glistening. If you have it on hand, this is where you can add chopped fennel, carrots or celery sauteing it all for 5-7 minutes.
- Add freshly chopped tomatoes (4 for two people, more for additional eaters), or a can of tomatoes to the pan, and lower heat to medium low.
- Add in the chopped or dried herbs (a pinch of dried oregano, a few full basil leaves...its not scientific), and a few cranks of salt and pepper.
- Optional: Add 1-2 cloves of chopped garlic, and/or a dash of cayenne or a dash of hot pepper flakes to kick it up notch.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes, mixing every 5 minutes or so to break down the tomatoes.
- Meanwhile, bring pasta to a boil on the neighboring burner. When it's done, add 1/2 cup of starchy water from boiling the pasta to the sauce pan to loosen it up.
- Pasta + sauce + grated cheese = dinner in about an 35 minutes including chopping.