You may have seen the One-Pot Spaghetti recipe and pictures on Facebook, Pinterest, and various blogs. I’m not sure of the true origin, although many roads lead to Martha Stewart. I’ve seen a lot of references, but I chose the Italian Wonderpot recipe from Budget Bytes to guide me.
Most of the ingredients are pantry staples, and you can assemble the pot within just a few minutes. Some versions include red pepper flakes for a little extra heat. I kept thing simple with minced garlic and Penzey’s Pasta Sprinkle.
Although this doesn’t have the complexity of a gourmet pasta dish, it has a good taste and works well as an easy meal. There’s plenty leftover for lunches too. Double win!
One Pot Fettuccine
2 c. vegetable broth
2 c. water
1 (12 oz.) package whole wheat fettuccine
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 onion, chopped
1 (8 oz.) package sliced mushrooms
1 (16 oz.) package frozen spinach
2 t minced garlic
1 T Penzey’s Pasta Sprinkle, or Italian seasoning
Place ingredients in a large pot, in the order written. Make sure that ingredients are covered by liquid. Cover pot, and bring to a rapid boil. Remove cover, and boil for 12-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
How would you like to throw a bag of vegetables in the microwave, open up two cans and drain, and have a fabulous salad ready in less than 10 minutes? This salad is colorful, delicious, and has a balanced mix of protein, carbohydrate, and fat. So if you don’t end up cooking anything else for dinner, you don’t have to lose any sleep over it.
The salad tastes even better the next day, although the beets stain the white beans so that they’re pink. Besides the stain factor, this salad would make a great dish for any picnic. And I do believe it’s finally time for those fun summer picnics!
Two Beans and a Beet Salad
1 (12 oz.) package frozen green beans, cooked and rinsed in cool water
1 (15 oz.) can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can sliced beets, drained
1 T canola oil
2 T lime juice
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Asparagus is here! A sure sign of spring, even if there is still snow on the ground. I was so excited that I went ahead and bought 2 bunches.
I had seen this recipe on Serious Eats, but I had to make things a little simpler. This is really just like traditional egg salad, with over a cup of steamed asparagus mixed in. There’s enough vegetable to provide some flavor and crunch (well, it would have been more crunchy if I didn’t overcook the asparagus like I always do!) The dressing of mayonnaise, mustard, and vinegar gives the salad some tang.
This makes a great spring lunch, and you’ll forget all about that white stuff that still litters the ground.
Asparagus and Egg Salad
5 medium eggs, boiled for 10 minutes, peeled and chopped
1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1″ pieces, and steamed
1/3 c. light mayonnaise
2 T mustard
2 T red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Place egg and asparagus in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, mustard, and red wine vinegar. Mix dressing into eggs and asparagus. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in pita, or on top of a green salad.
I am just getting started with cooking apps on my Iphone. (It’s about time, right?) I pretty much only use free apps, and iCookbook Diabetic was highly rated in a magazine and free right now, so I decided to try it for fun.
I found a recipe for Rosemary-Garlic Scallops with Polenta, and adapted it just a bit. The scallops were great, and made for a quick but ‘fancier-than-usual’ meal. I would like to eat seafood more often, and this was a simple, healthy recipe.
However, the polenta was far too thick. If you want to serve the scallops over polenta, just use a standard 4:1 ratio of liquid (such as vegetable broth) to cornmeal. Or if you have more time, you could make these cute Polenta Triangles.
Scallops with Zucchini and Red Onion
1 T olive oil
1 t minced garlic
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1″ pieces
8 oz. bay scallops
2 t Penzey’s Mural of Flavor
1/4 t black pepper
Heat oil in a medium frying pan. Add garlic, and stir for 1 minute. Add onion and zucchini, and saute for 10-15 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add scallops and seasoning, and cook for 3-5 minutes, until scallops are done.
I did get to the grocery store before the Blizzard of 2013, but 1) I didn’t have time to make a list beforehand, and 2) I was pretty overwhelmed by the crowds. I picked up a few pieces of fruit, a box of cereal, and a quart of milk. I have so much food in my freezer and pantry that I wasn’t too worried.
As the flakes started to fly on Friday night, I decided to try my hand at a homemade tuna noodle casserole. I used this recipe as a loose guide, and bulked up the dish with extra vegetables. Except for the milk, all of the ingredients were things I had on hand.
This recipe certainly isn’t gourmet, but it turned out to be a fine pantry meal. I liked the creamy sauce, and the seasoned breadcrumbs added in just a bit of flavor and crunch. With just a little bit of creativity, it’s possible to make a balanced meal even during one of the biggest snowstorms ever!
Snowstorm Tuna Noodle Casserole
1 c. dry whole wheat rotini
2 c. frozen mixed vegetables
1 T Smart Balance spread
1 T flour
1 c. skim milk
1 (5 oz.) can tuna, drained
2 T seasoned breadcrumbs
2 T Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta and vegetables in boiling water until tender. Drain, and set aside.
Place Smart Balance in a sauce pan over low heat, and melt. Add flour and stir. Keep stirring as the mixture browns slightly. Add in 1/2 c. milk, and whisk until blended. Add in remaining milk. Cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened. Add tuna and cook for a few more minutes until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Mix pasta, vegetables, and sauce in a large bowl. Add breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.
I know at least some of you are very disappointed that the Patriots aren’t playing in the Superbowl. And I understand, but you still have to eat during the game, right? I saw these Pizza Pinwheels from Recipegirl and knew I had to make them – with my own twist of course. Her recipe makes it look easy, and even has step-by-step photos!
There are so many possible variations on this recipe that my head was spinning. But for my first attempt, I decided to try a spinach-garlic flavor. The dough is pretty easy to work with, although I couldn’t roll it out quite as thin as intended. It’s also a little tricky to transfer the pinwheels onto the baking sheet, but it’s OK if a couple fall apart. The final product was still great; these pinwheels are both tasty and cute, which is exactly what you want for party food.
I am going to try other versions, but I couldn’t wait to share this one. You might want to make a trial version of these before the big day. My only regret was not having homemade sauce ready for dipping, and I won’t make that mistake again.
Spinach Pizza Pinwheels
1 c. self-rising flour (you don’t have to buy it; make your own here)
1/2 t sugar
2/3 c. 2% plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 T garlic-flavored olive oil (such as Garlic Gold)
1/2 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
3/4 c. reduced fat cheddar and mozzarella blend, divided
Sift together flour and sugar. Add yogurt, and stir until blended. Use your fingers if needed to mix the ingredients into a smooth dough. Knead briefly on a floured surface. Roll into a large 8″x12″ rectangle.
Spread oil onto dough. Spread spinach on top of oil. Sprinkle 1/2 c. of cheese on top of spinach. Roll dough into a log. Cut into approximately 10 equal slices. Place each slice on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray or parchment paper. Sprinkle remaining cheese onto pinwheels.
Bake at 350F for 20-24 minutes, until lightly browned.
-Lightly adapted from Recipegirl
I really do like to eat seafood, I just hate cooking it. I feel like you need to plan so that you can buy the fish fresh and make it that day. It also doesn’t work as well as leftovers, and I rely heavily on leftovers for meals during the week.
In an effort to overcome these challenges, I bought frozen tilapia fillets at Trader Joe’s. I wanted to see if frozen fillets would streamline the process without sacrificing quality. There’s just one catch; you need to defrost the fish in the refrigerator for 24 hours before cooking. So it still requires a little planning, but not a trip to the store.
A note on sustainability: I am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t check the label carefully when purchasing this fish. I have the Monterey Bay Seafood Guide right on my phone so there are no excuses. Depending on where tilapia is farmed, it can be rated a Best Choice (US Farmed), Good Alternative (Central/South America Farmed), or Avoid (China/Taiwan Farmed). The fish packaging was already in the dumpster when I sat down to write this post, but I promise I’ll check next time!
The fish was fully defrosted by the time I got home for dinner, and I decided to loosely follow this recipe for Chili-Rubbed Tilapia. It was so quick and so delicious. Tilapia can be a little bland but I loved the spicy flavor. I also sauteed some spinach, and I think this meal was on the table in less than 20 minutes! I am calling this experiment a success.
1 T Chili 3000 (from Penzey’s)
1 t garlic powder
2 tilapia fillets (10-12 oz. total)
2 t olive oil with garlic (such as Garlic Gold)
In a plate, combine chili and garlic powder and spread over the surface of the plate. Gently press the tilapia fillets into the spices. Turn fish over and press the other side. Use your fingers to make sure that the outside of the fish is completely coated.
Heat oil in a frying pan. Place tilapia in pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
I took a field trip with a few friends to the Penzey’s spice store. (For local Boston readers, it’s on Mass Ave. in Arlington. For central CT readers, there’s a store in West Hartford center.) It’s a mecca of spices – row after row of little jars and bags. I could take in the scents all day!
Santa had been good to me, and I didn’t really need to replenish any spices, but I did pick up a jar of their Chili 3000. It includes ancho chili powder, garlic, cumin, onion, cilantro, paprika, cayenne, lemon peel, Mexican oregano, black pepper, natural smoke flavor, and jalapeno pepper. Whew – that’s a lot of spice!
I wanted to come right home and start whipping up a batch of chili, but I really had a lot in my refrigerator at that point. I also had some pita that were one short step away from stale, so I decided to whip up some pita chips instead! They came out really well, and I love the spice. I didn’t use a lot because I wasn’t sure how hot it would be, but it was totally fine. I can’t wait to make a pot of chili using the spice soon! In the meantime, making these pita chips was fun too.
Chili Pita Chips
Pita, sides separated and cut into triangles
Chili 3000, or other spice blend
Spread a very thin layer of Smart Balance on each chip, and sprinkle seasoning. Bake at 400F for 7-8 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
On the night before Christmas Eve, after our big gingerbread project, my family sat down to some Indian food. I made Chicken Tikka Masala (replacing eggplant with chicken), homemade naan, and a spinach dish inspired by this Saag recipe. It certainly wasn’t a traditional meal for us, but it turned out to be a great way to kick off over 48 hours of non-stop Christmas activity!
Since the chicken was a bit spicy, I kept the spinach dish fairly mild. The ginger provided a lot of the flavor here, and the yogurt made it creamy without any additional fat. Using frozen chopped spinach saved a lot of time. The original recipe provides a lot of variations for this dish and it could easily be a main course with the addition of tofu or legumes. I usually have chopped spinach on hand, so I’ll try one of those variations soon and let you know how it goes!
Indian Spiced Spinach
1 T canola oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 T minced fresh ginger
2 t minced garlic
2 t coriander
1/2 t turmeric
1 (20 oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed
1 c. water
1 c. nonfat plain yogurt
Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onion, and saute for 15-20 minutes, until browned. Add ginger and garlic, and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add spices, and saute for 1 minute. Add spinach, water, and salt. Simmer for 10 minutes, until spinach is cooked. Add more water if necessary. Add yogurt and stir to mix well. Reduce heat, and cook just until heated through.
This was a spur of the moment recipe inspired by the last bit of leftover turkey in my refrigerator. I also had a containter of leftover brown rice from the Thai food we ordered the night before Thanksgiving. Rest assured, I made this several days ago, and am just getting around to posting it now!
This isn’t exactly a fool proof recipe, because a lot of the rice stuck to the bottom of the pan. I was trying not to use too much oil, but that also meant I should have been watching the rice a bit more carefully. The end result was still pretty good, considering I pulled this together within a half hour using just what was in the house. The sesame oil added at the end contributes a lot of flavor, so try not to skip this ingredient. Good things happen when you force yourself to use those leftovers in the refrigerator!
Turkey Fried Rice
1 T canola oil
1 t minced garlic
1 c. chopped turkey
1 1/2 c. cooked brown rice
1 c. frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, green beans, and peas)
1 egg, beaten
1 T low sodium soy sauce
1/2 t sesame oil
Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add garlic, and saute for 1 minute. Add turkey, and cook for 3-5 minuntes. Add brown rice and mixed vegetables, and cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The goal is for the rice to brown, without burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Make a well in the center of the pan. Coat well with cooking spray. Add egg, and stir to scramble. Incorporate cooked egg into mixture. Add soy sauce and sesame oil, and stir well. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until heated through.