- 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.
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!
I got sick a week or two ago – some stomach thing that meant I took my first-ever trip to Urgent Care and left me feeling like I’d been hit by a truck for a couple days before disappearing without a trace. After the first couple days, I eventually felt well enough to contemplate sick-person food. Canned chicken noodle soup mostly tastes like salt to me, and gives me headaches if it’s not the low-sodium stuff, but luckily making it from scratch only takes like 20 minutes, and you can take breaks.
- couple chicken thighs
- some kind of grease (butter, olive oil, vegetable oil, whatever)
- handful of noodles
- bouillon cube or low-sodium broth of some kind
- frozen veg if you’re feeling particularly ambitious and coordinated
Get out a non-stick pot and cut your chicken into it with kitchen shears. Add a bit of your grease and turn it to medium, then ignore it for like five minutes. Move the chicken around a bit, then toss in your bouillon cube, seasoning (I used paprika, garlic, salt and pepper), and a couple cups of water. Turn the heat up a bit – or don’t, whatever, this is not meant to be a mentally involved cooking exercise – and, when it comes to a boil throw in the pasta. Small pasta’s probably easier, but if fettuccine’s a necessary part of your comfort food experience, go for it. The pasta should take as long as indicated on the box. If you’re doing veggies, throw them in when you’ve still got a couple minutes to go.
When the pasta’s tender, you’re ready to go. Most recipes I see give servings, and some even apply the magic power of math as applied to measurement for calories, but this is a judgement-free zone. This made a bowl each for T and I, but it’s easily alterable and if you’re feeling as sick as I was it’s a tremendously legitimate life choice to just sit down with the whole thing and a sleeve of crackers and devour the whole thing.
The little corner store near the dorm had a corner that contained both ready-made soups like ramen and also spices. The seasoning I used for this was from that corner, so I honestly have no idea if it was supposed to be vaguely tomatoey seasoning or some king of tomato-vegetable soup. Student life and linguistic incompetence for the win.
- can of corn
- pound of ground chicken
- salt and pepper
- like half a packet of whatever seasoning that was
Start the potatoes boiling and the meat browning about the same time and the timing works out pretty well. Put salt and pepper on the chicken while it’s browning so that it has at least some flavor starting out.
The potatoes probably take ten minutes if you’ve cut them into chunks, but periodically stab one with a fork to check for texture. Stabbing is probably the most fun way to check doneness in anything. When the potatoes are done, drain them and add them to the chicken. Drain the corn and throw that in, too, then add a couple squeezes of ketchup and some other seasoning. If you have access to weirdly fancy things like ‘spices you know the names of,’ then any kind of spice you’d associate with a summer barbecue flavor would probably complement it well.
It takes two pots, which is more than what I’d usually prefer for something I’d call quick and easy, but it also takes less than half an hour total, which is pretty good.
- pasta of choice
- chicken breast
- seasoning salt, coriander, cumin, paprika
Start a pot of water boiling – add a little salt. In a large pan, start a generous chunk of butter melting on medium-low. Add like a pinch of half-sautéed onion and a tablespoon of diced garlic and let that all kind of mellow together for a couple minutes.
Start cutting up your chicken. One breast is enough for me and T, though we’d probably use two thighs if we had them. Chuck that in the pan, sprinkle like a tablespoon of flour and the spices on top. The flour makes a sort of pseudo-breading that works quite well.
It should be time to add the noodles to the water now – chuck in your favorite pasta.
Turn the chicken, then turn down the heat to low: it’ll still get a little crispy on the outside from the higher heat, but then cook all the way through and be delicious.
When the pasta’s done, scoop the pasta and like a quarter cup of pasta water into your pan, swirl it around so it’s all got some of the same flavoring, and serve.
I’m tired and just had to turn in another draft of a paper, so this took . . . 20 minutes, maybe?
- head of broccoli
- handful of pasta
- lemon garlic butter (leftover from another thing) or butter and any seasoning you want
I cooked the pasta and chopped up the broccoli into florets while it was in. If you like your broccoli more done, toss it in when there’s a minute or two left on the pasta.
If you like it just barely cooked at all, like I do, drain the pasta and add the butter to melt it and then add the broccoli to that. Fast, easy, and vegetarian.
Also it contains vegetables. See, mom, I do eat veggies.
I’ve wanted to learn to make half-decent steak stroganoff for a while, since T gets it semi-regularly when we go to Noodles. The first time I tried it was from a Hamburger Helper box and . . . yeah, we haven’t tried that again.
But now it’s winter, and also we haven’t gone grocery shopping in ages, so it was as good a time as any.
- 1lb stew beef
- all purpose flour
- garlic salt
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
So I started my pasta water on high and a large non-stick frying pan with butter in on medium. Then I put a couple teaspoons of flour in a bowl and added a little pepper and a little more garlic salt. I just stirred the flour thing with my finger, because it’s not important that it be well mixed: you’re using it to coat the meat. Just, like, drop pieces in, make sure there’s white on each side, put it in the frying pan.
Brown the meat – which, let’s be real, I have no idea how to gauge. I turned the meat a minute or two after it was all in, and cooked it until the pasta water came to a boil. Added the pasta to the water, added a bit of my pre-sautéed onion and a teaspoon of diced garlic to the meat pan. Let that go another minute or two, then dumped the can of mushroom soup on top and added half a can of water. Mixed that sort of frantically because it looked disgusting and lumpy, and had to turn the heat down low. Probably add a little more pepper now, and some salt if you want it.
When the pasta is done, get a call from the mortgage guy at the bank about initial information stuff and panic wildly while frantically trying not to let the pasta get overcooked. Alternatively, add the pasta to the meat whatever and stir.
Fresh sautéed mushrooms would also be nice, but it’s really good as is, and great for things you can throw together.