Tag Archives: pasta

Quick Fix: Shrimp, Orzo and Green Beans

Tomatoes (I also used yellow), garlic and parsley
Tomatoes (I also used yellow), garlic and parsley

I’ve been taking to heart some meal-planning and time-saver suggestions given by readers. There were some great tips, some of which I’ll elaborate on in the future.

One of the things that helps when faced with a late night and the need for a quick meal is having a well-stocked kitchen. I read through simple food guru Mark Bittman’s suggestions for core supplies.

Fresh out of the oven
Fresh out of the oven

Among the suggestions (and one I was a fan of anyways) is a bag of frozen shrimp. It’s really a versatile little critter than can be cooked quickly in a million different ways.

In the past couple years, I’ve seen several variations of recipes including shrimp and my favorite tiny pasta, orzo. A couple weeks ago, I threw together my variation based on what I had in the house. I made double what I noted below because if you really want to save time, you eat leftovers. Let me know if you try this out and if you make or should make any variations: Continue reading

Quick Fix Dish: Italian Sausage, Peppers and Penne Pasta

Sometimes I get so caught up in the idea that a decent meal has to require a fair amount of work in the kitchen. It’s not true at all, as I was reminded by recently reading an older New York Times article Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less

It’s especially not true when I still find myself at work at 8 p.m. and really, really don’t want to hit the local fast food joint.

So here’s a quick meal I made last night, which I don’t think is too horribly unhealthy and is way better than a similar dish I used to make when I was in college (I used to douse spaghetti noodles in butter with parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, which doesn’t provide much nutrition, but tasted way better than Top Ramen).

The longest part of the whole process was boiling the noodles. It’s not fancy, but it’s filling and makes for an easy meal.

Italian Sausage and Penne Pasta (recipe follows):

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Fettuccine Carbonara with Pork and Broccoli

I tend to go grocery shopping at the worst possible time: when I’m hungry. I’ve gotten better at not grabbing every snack item on the shelf, especially since the more I cook, the more I avoid many of those tempting middle pre-processed snack foods aisles.

January 2009 cover
January 2009 cover

But one thing I can’t stop myself from doing is seeing those gorgeous snapshots of dinners-that-could-be staring back at me from the checkout stand. Cooking Light, bon appétit and others promise me delicious, fancy food, easy, sometimes affordably.

Well, last weekend I harkened the call yet again and picked up the January edition of bon appétit, mostly for the “Eat Better for Less” recipe suggestions.

Long story short(ened), I varied one of the recipes last night, my first attempt at a carbonara, which is a fairly simple dish that uses eggs and cheese as the basis for a pasta sauce and includes pancetta, a thinly sliced Italian bacon, and I really, really like bacon.

The bon appetit version of Fettuccine Carbonara with Fried Eggs was what was pictured on the cover, and the recipe as it originally stands looks delicious. But I had to very it for several reasons:

1) I could feel my arteries pre-emptively hardening at the thought of just one more egg in that dish

2) I didn’t have pancetta on hand and I was not about to go to the grocery store again this week

3) my local grocery store does not carry broccoli rabe, so plain old brocolli would have to do and

4) I had to use up some leftover pork tenderloin I’d made a couple days before

5) When it’s late and I’m hungry, I don’t really care if it’s a true carbonara

Here’s the result and slightly modified recipe:
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