Quick and Easy Recipes for Harried Authors (and others)

Confession: In an earlier life, I used to write a weekly cooking column. This was the fun part of my job, since I actually like to cook. However, at times there are just too many other things going on in your life. Like looming deadlines.

These are recipes for the harried author (or anyone else) whose family insists on eating dinner when she doesn’t have time to cook and nobody can face another slice of pizza.

The first step in these recipes is to put on the water for the pasta. By the time the water has boiled and the pasta is cooked, these sauces are done. Serve with a large bowl of salad—from a bag, with bottled dressing, to minimize preparation time. And if a pound of pasta is too much for you and yours, well, tomorrow you stick the leftovers in the microwave, and voilà! Dinner is served again.

Note that you don't really have to do the cooking. All of these are well within the abilities of spouses, significant others, and any child big enough to use a knife and lift up the pasta pot. 

Peppers and cream

3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup onions, diced
1 cup green peppers, diced
1 cup red peppers, diced
1 cup yellow peppers, diced (If you can’t get yellow, use more red)
salt, pepper
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 pound pasta shells or other pasta
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)
grated parmesan

In a large frying pan, sauté the onion in the butter and oil over medium heat until pale gold. Add the peppers, raise the heat slightly, and cook until tender, stirring from time to time. Add salt and pepper and the cream. Turn up the heat and cook till the cream reduces a bit. Toss with cooked pasta, sprinkle with parsley and grated cheese, and serve.

This is also a delicious sauce for plain chicken breasts or veal.

 

Zucchini and carrot sauce

2 cups grated carrots
2 cups grated zucchini
4 tablespoons melted butter (or more)
½ cup grated parmesan (plus additional)
1 pound thin pasta or noodles

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the pasta or noodles. Two minutes before the noodles are done, drop in the carrots and cook for about a minute. Add the zucchini and cook for about half a minute more or to taste. Drain, toss with the butter and grated cheese.

Note that this is even easier if you have a food processor to do the grating.

 

Spinach Sauce

1 pound fresh baby spinach or a 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup grated parmesan
1 cup (8 ounces) ricotta (or cottage cheese)
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
salt, pepper

Thaw the spinach if frozen. Sauté the onion in the butter until soft. Add the spinach, and cook to evaporate any excess moisture. Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan, ricotta, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Makes enough for a pound of pasta.

 

 

Comments

I love easy meals!

My family is among those who insist on having dinner. Sheesh. Every day, like clockwork.

I love these recipes - especially the spinach and ricotta. That's 'us' all the way. I have all the ingredients in the house and will try this one tonight! Woot! Dinner is planned. lol

And it's even "healthy"!

And it's even "healthy"!

quick recipes

I'm a great believer in quick and easy, the first has an excellent variant in onion, bacon and random veg from the freezer [we like green beans] with half a pack of spreadable cheese and some oregano slung in with it.

Another one, which takes a little preparation which can be done whilst evolving a plot in your head: soak chana dal [red lentils] for an hour, then cook them, skimming scum until it's gone, throw in some chopped onions and garlic, cardomon pods or powdered cardomon, fennel seeds, black cumin seeds and cook until the lentils mush. garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot or cold with cold meat and salad or cook mince in it as well and substitute clove and cinnamon for the fennel and black cumin [nigella]. Or instead of mince use peppered mackerel broken up.
You can ring the changes with the kinds of dal you use and the mix of spices, and use chick peas in it for a bit of texture. You can cheat and add a teaspoon of mild curry powder instead of individual spices. You can throw in peas and beans and chopped or canned chopped tomatoes. This is a dish which is also excellent for diabetics.

Thank you, Sarah. I always

Thank you, Sarah. I always love new recipes, and I can see that you are a lover of Indian food. So are my son and daughter! (My son was very happy to discover an Indian grocery store near where he lives.)

All over the spinach

The spinach sauce sounds awesome Lil. Throw in a few complimentary veggies and some gluten free pasta and you have a classic! I'm cooking now!

It's essentially the filling

It's essentially the filling for ravioli or tortellini, but it's much easier to put it on top of the pasta instead of inside.

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