Pasta and Broccoli

I’m tired and just had to turn in another draft of a paper, so this took . . . 20 minutes, maybe?

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Steak Stroganoff

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.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb stew beef
  • all purpose flour
  • butter
  • pepper
  • garlic salt
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • garlic
  • onion
  • pasta

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.

Stroganoff: tastes way better than it looksBrown 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.

Artichoke Heart Creamy Pasta

I love artichokes in all their forms, and lemon juice, and capers. So I stuck them together with pasta. Quick and dirty, because I had a paper to finish.

Ingredients:

  • cream cheese
  • 1 can artichoke hearts
  • capers
  • lemon juice
  • garlic
  • pepper
  • butter
  • pasta

I started the butter on low and the pasta water on high while I drained and quartered the artichoke hearts. Then I put that and the garlic and the rest of the thing of capers that I had and a generous splash of lemon juice in the pot with the butter. The cream cheese came next – in the normal course of things I’d’ve preferred to make a roux, because they’re not complicated and then you have more control over exactly how it tastes. But this version turned out pretty well, with about three tablespoons of cream cheese. Probably? A fair chunk, anyways. Then I sprinkled a little bit of pepper on top. Not a lot, because T hates pepper, but it really works well with the lemon.

Keep that on medium heat until the pasta is done, combine, and serve.

Add chicken, I guess, if you want more protein, but it’s delicious as is.

Lemon Pepper Chicken Pasta

A couple days ago I took a couple chicken thighs out of the freezer – okay, I should probably back up.

We don’t grocery shop very often, and we go to a 24 hour grocery store, so we shop at midnight and stock up. And it’s cheaper per unit to get the family packs of chicken, so we get those. Then, as soon as we get home, part of putting the groceries away is opening up the packages of chicken and putting them in locking sandwich bags in sets of two – unless I’m planning something like Tortilla Soup, in which case I put as many as I want in that batch in its own bag. Then whatever I don’t plan to use in the next couple days goes in the freezer for later convenience. It’s slightly more effort than just getting them in two packs or something, but it’s lower packaging (you can re-use the bags! or not, I don’t judge), stores easily, and is an inexpensive way to go.

Okay, so I got a couple chicken thighs out of the freezer, and then added lemon juice, pepper, lemon pepper seasoning salt, a little bit of vegetable oil and a tiny drop of honey, squished the air out of the bag, and stuck that in the fridge a couple days. You can have it ready later the same day if you let it thaw on the counter in the marinade, but I like to get it good and marinated and also tend to forget about things I leave on the counter for more than the length of an episode of something on Netflix.

Then for dinner tonight I started water for pasta and then got the chicken out of the fridge and dumped it in a non-stick frying pan and turned the stove on to medium heat. I also added a little more lemon juice and lemon pepper seasoning salt, but whether or not you want more liquid is gonna depend how much marinade you had to start with. When the chicken started making really enthusiastic noises and showing beige around the edges, I flipped it.

The pasta water (salted! always) started boiling, so I added a couple handfuls of rotini (any brand but Barilla). Then I cut up the chicken into bite-sized chunks. Okay, I say ‘cut,’ but what I did was spear them and then use kitchen tongs to cut bits off. Less fussing with touching hot stuff and trying to cut it up, less fussing with cutting boards, it works for me. Then I turned the pan down to medium-low heat and added butter. Butter makes everything delicious. Measuring is for jerks, of course, but I used a chunk that was slightly more than a cube cut off a stick. Use however much butter makes you happy, though.

Cook the pasta following package directions, bearing in mind that al dente is the morally correct choice. When it’s done, don’t drain it, though: use tongs or a slotted spoon or one of those pasta scoops to put it in the pan with the sauce. You want to include a bit of the pasta water in the sauce, and your pasta will never stick together this way. Mix together and serve. I didn’t get any pictures because I spent all day working on school stuff and this was pretty much the only non-school and non-avoiding-living-in-filth thing I did between 9 am and midnight, so w/e. I have an essay to get back to.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken thighs
  • honey
  • vegetable oil
  • pepper
  • lemon pepper seasoning salt
  • lemon juice
  • butter
  • pasta

Simplified directions:

Apply everything but butter and pasta to chicken. Marinate. Apply medium heat. Cook pasta. Cut up chicken in little bits. Apply butter and pasta to chicken.