- ground turkey
- salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic
- half a package of cream cheese
- half a box of pasta
- can of artichoke hearts
- balsamic vinegar
Ground meat tends to be cheaper than most cuts, largely because of the whole ‘made out of unidentifiable bits’ thing. It’s also really versatile, though, and does well stashed in the freezer until the day before you want to use it.
I browned the turkey and garlic in the pot I intended to cook the pasta in, throwing a bunch of Italian seasoning in as I went. Turkey being very low fat, I didn’t have to drain it when I was done, just add a couple splashes of balsamic vinegar, a spoonful of pesto, and salt and pepper. Mix that up, throw the half a package of cream cheese on top, then add your pasta. I used linguine broken in half, but anything you can get to lie fairly flat works well. Add enough water to just cover your pasta.
I then stuck the artichoke hearts on top of that – they don’t need to cook, but I wanted the flavor incorporated, and putting them on top of the pasta ensures that the pasta stays under the water where it belongs. Bring to a simmer, put a lid on, and walk away for twenty minutes- pasta takes longer to cook with stuff than on its own.
When the noodles are the texture you want them, mix it all up: you’ll be able to tell you’ve got a unified dish rather than layers when you stop seeing distinct streaks of cream cheese. Serve with parmesan.
- ground beef
- taco seasoning
- chili pepper
- tortilla chips
- shredded cheese
- whatever else you like on nachos
Brown the ground beef on the stove. When it’s close to done, start the oven preheating to 425°F. Get out a large baking sheet and spread a thick layer of tortilla chips on it.
Add seasoning to the beef, and whatever else you want: I like diced jalapeños, but T hates them, so I forewent those. I did add some salsa con queso. The benefit of mixing all of that in with the beef is that you get maximal even distribution with fewest passes of sprinkling things over the chips.
Spread some shredded cheese over top, then another layer of tortilla chips and another layer of beef and stuff. Top with the rest of the cheese and stick the whole pan in the oven for 15 minutes. Best served hot – and to a group – as they do not reheat well.
Fresh from the oven, though, they’re delicious.
Recently I decided I didn’t want to always be fussing with cooking raw chicken before I made everything, so I got some frozen pre-cooked chicken. I also got frozen veggies, because we need to eat more of them.
- half a bouillon cube
- whatever other seasoning seems like a good idea
- frozen peas and carrots
Throw your broth basics, pre-cooked chicken pieces, and however many peas and carrots you want in a larger pot than you think you need. Add about a cup of water for every bowl of soup you want to end up with.
Put that on high and get out a bowl to mix your dumpling dough. Add a couple cups of Bisquick, salt and pepper if you want it, and enough milk to make a quite moist dough – think something like a Betty Crocker brownie mix that you pour into a pan. Mix that with a spoon.
Is the water boiling yet? If it is, drop spoonfuls of your dumpling mix in. Simmer that for the like ten minutes or until the dumplings are as done as you want them. Serve immediately!
We had a friend in who liked my pizza rolls before, so I tried making them a little fancier this time: with a breading type thing.
- frozen bread dough
- block of cheese
- pasteurized egg mixture (substitute real egg if you have it on hand)
- olive oil
- bread crumbs
- garlic powder or salt
The topping should be mixed in a bowl in whatever proportions taste delicious to you, but I suggest lighter on the salt than you think you need because the pepperoni is salty.
So basically, you roll out the bread dough super thin and then cut it into squares – it’s easier than ripping and flattening because then the edges stick together better. Cut up little squares of cheese and put one of those and a pepperoni in each bit of bread dough. Wrap them up, trying to make them as seamless and dumpling-like as possible.
Dip them in the egg mixture, then in the topping. Stick them on a non-stick baking sheet. Start preheating your oven to 375°F at some point while you’re filling a tray – these can take a while, especially the first time you make them.
When the sheet is full stick it in your preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Best served still quite warm.
Wine makes everything better
I finished all of my finals, and it was amazing. I celebrated with spaghetti, meat sauce, and most of a bottle of the cheapest Cabernet Sauvignon I could see at Target.
- pound of ground beef
- jar of red sauce
- some Italian seasoning
Start browning the meat on medium-low and add a spoonful of minced garlic to it. It’ll smell delicious. While that starts up, pour yourself a glass of wine and fill a pot with water. Salt the water and put that on high on another burner.
When the meat is browned, add the jar of red sauce plus, depending on how thick you like sauce, a little bit of water. Throw on some more Italian seasoning and a generous splash of red wine, and whatever sauce you bought for as cheap as you could find it now tastes amazing. Making sauce from scratch takes hours and a lot of somehow dealing with tomato chunks, but this is a fast track to delicious.
Is the water boiling yet? Hopefully! Whenever the water comes to a boil, add however much spaghetti you want and cook according to package directions.
When the noodles are done and the sauce is hot, serve and enjoy with a well-deserved glass of wine.