May is always a very busy month…and this one has been no exception. Two college graduations, a multitude of birthdays (including my own), leaving my 8 to 5’ish job, and having visitors – all of a sudden I cannot believe that it is almost June! Many meals have been light snacks or potlucks, happy hours or small bites late in the evening. We did manage to get this some-what homemade meal on the table a week or so ago…and it is one of my favorite quick dinners.
This particular evening, we used 1 package of fresh pasta (from the refrigerated section of the grocery store), half a package of bacon, 2 eggs and some grated parmesan cheese. First – cook the bacon using whatever method you like the best. When the bacon is close to being done, boil some water and salt it heavily. Cook the pasta according to the package directions and then drain it, but make sure to keep 1-2 cups of the cooking liquid. Meanwhile beat the eggs and season with salt and plenty of fresh cracked pepper I throw the pasta back into the pot (make sure the heat is off) and then add 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of the cooking liquid and stir a bit. Next you are going to slowly pour in the beaten eggs into the very warm pasta and the heat from the pasta helps cook the egg a bit and the starchy pasta water helps turn it into a delightful sauce. It will thicken quite a bit, so don’t be shy with the pasta water. Sprinkle in the parmesan cheese and the crumbled bacon and top with some fresh chopped parsley or thinly sliced green onions and another hit of black pepper. Serve immediately.
Dinner is done!
Sometimes we’re fancy around here and spend a lot of time and effort planning and cooking a meal…and others…it is just about filling your stomach for the evening. These are the evenings when having some random ingredients in the fridge and pantry comes in handy!
Although pizza dough is incredibly easy and relatively quick to make…every so often I grab a bag of dough from the refrigerated section of Trader Joe’s – it can be so versatile. So…we happened to have one just waiting to be used.
Throw in a leftover half an onion, some green olives and some roasted red peppers and whatever remnants of cheese you have along with some herbs and seasoning…and all of a sudden, you’ve got a delicious calzone. I tend to leave the sauce out of the calzone and serve it warm on the side…otherwise, it can make everything a bit soggy. We split this one between the two of us and it was a nice light meal.
What are your go-to pantry meals and creations?
Very satisfying, very quick and seemingly exquisite.
Fresh fettucine pasta cooked al dente, tossed with butter, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, piled on a plate and topped with plenty of mizithra cheese. Mizithra is a greek cheese, almost like an aged and dried version of feta.
In a bowl, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice, sprinkle in salt and grind in some pepper, stir a bit and then add some good olive oil…just before serving, toss in fresh arugula and coat with the dressing, pile high on the plate and top with shaved parmesan.
The bite of the arugula balances out the richness of the buttery pasta.
So you arrive home from work. You’re hungry. You want something home-cooked and comforting and you’re hoping it can magically appear in front of you any moment now.
Throw this quick dish together (with the help of Trader’s Joe’s).
Find a small bag of pasta in your pantry that you’ve been ignoring because it isn’t quite enough for a full meal, cook that up. In the meantime, get the oven going according to the package of frozen breaded chicken tenders from Trader Joe’s and bake them for a bit. If you’re like us, you probably have a half of a jar of some kind of pasta or marinara sauce in your fridge, so warm that up. Now put everything together. Toss the cooked pasta with some of the sauce and layer in an oven proof dish. Place chicken tenders on top, cover with additional sauce, and top with some mozzarella cheese. Put the whole dish back in the oven on broil for a few minutes. Watch it carefully…when it’s bubbly, pull it out and serve it up.
Tada! Chicken Parmesan! Top with some fresh parmigianno and a sprinkle of fresh parsley!