Tuesday, July 15, 2008

50.5 Quick Family Dinners

This is fun. Today I bring you items 11-20 on my list of 50.5 Quick Family Dinners You'll Love, Your Kids Will Love and You Wouldn't Be Embarrassed to Admit in a Man-on-the-Street Interview (cf: Dino Nuggets)... or something like that.

11. Spaghetti a la Marcella
1 28 oz. can of tomatoes (nothing but tomatoes in there) + 1/3 stick of butter + 1/2 onion (not chopped). Simmer for 45 minutes. Pull the onion out. Toss with whole wheat spaghetti. (Marcella is Marcella Hazan, Italian cooking maven.)

12. Pasta and stuff
You need some meat stuff, some vegetable stuff, some liquid stuff, and some pasta. Brown the meat stuff if it's raw (wait until the end if it's cooked), brown the vegetable stuff, but don't over cook, add the liquid (broth, canned tomatoes), simmer about five minutes. Stir in just-under-al-dente pasta, cook a little more. Got some parmesan? Add that.

13. Chicken sausages
Tasty, relatively healthy, quick. Serve 'em in buns, wrapped in lettuce, wrapped in tortillas, sitting on a pile of polenta, or naked as the day they were born.

14. Green spaghetti
Take whatever oddball green stuff you need to use up (We get fennel tops, garlic scapes, and pea shoots in our CSA box. These you have to boil for about 5 minutes.) or some non-oddball green stuff like arugula or basil (no cooking necessary). Throw it in the food processor with oil, salt, and parmesan for a quick and dirty pesto. Toss with spaghetti or whatever pasta you've got.

15. Homemade pizza
This is so much easier than it sounds. Make the dough the night before--takes five minutes, I'll post the recipe some time--take it out of the fridge and preheat the oven as soon as you get home. Voila.

16. Pizza on a baguette
Ooops. Forgot to make the pizza dough the night before.

17. Chicken paillards
Thin meat cooks fast. Pound out chicken breasts with a skillet. Season and cook on a grill pan for a couple of minutes. Makes great sandwiches.

18. Lazy spaghetti carbonara
Put water for pasta on. While the pasta boils, fry some bacon. No bacon? Then cut up hot dogs. As soon as the pasta is done, scoop out a cup of pasta water, drain it, toss it in the hot pan with the bacon, crack an egg in there (fast, fast, fast!) and stir. Top with lots of parmesan.

19. Lazy mac-and-cheese
Pasta + white sauce + cheese = on the plate in 15 minutes.

20. Papa's chili
I don't actually know how he does this. It involves a can of vegetarian chili, a can of beans, and a third can. There's no shame in that.

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