Harvest Grains Salad

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Over the last weekend my boyfriend was out of town, so I decided to experiment with light meals that might not be enough for him to eat for dinner, but would be fine for me. Namely, I had saved a few recipes of grain-based “salads” that would be quick, cheap and at least moderately healthy. One of them was a couscous recipe from Serious Eats (from their “Healthy & Delicious” series, natch). I substituted a lot of different things in this recipe, but the backbone is still there; in fact, you could argue that the recipe itself is like a template that can easily be adapted for various ingredients. To call this a salad is really kind of a misnomer; it’s a salad in the same way that any mix of vegetables and grains can be considered a salad. This dish can be served hot or cold, as a main course or a side, and it’s dead simple, with few, low cost ingredients. Read more…

Fresh Tomato Pan Frittata

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Here they are: the first tomatoes from my garden. Small, but plump and red and juicy. What on earth was I going to cook with these, the first tomatoes I had ever grown myself? This frittata was born out of several things. First, I had lovely, fresh tomatoes, and I wanted to showcase them in something simple and something they wouldn’t disappear in. Second, we needed breakfast and I had eggs and cheese. Third, I didn’t want to wait for a breakfast casserole/quiche to bake forever in the oven, but I was bored of the standard omelet. And so the pan frittata was inspired. Not really a true frittata, which is usually cooked mostly on the stovetop and finished under a broiler, because the pans I have access to are not oven-safe, so all the cooking had to happen on the stovetop. In the end it did turn out to be a tasty breakfast that was filling and perfectly showcased the ripe, fresh tomatoes. Read more…

Gnocchi al Sugo di Maiale

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This is the first recipe I’ve tried out of my new Culinaria Italy cookbook. I really like the Culinaria series (I own Culinaria Greece as well) because they are packed with information and great pictures of the food and region, and contain tons of information about the ingredients and the food itself, not just recipes. The book gives the english name of this recipe to be “pasta with pork ragout,” and as given in the recipe this is true, as it originally calls for gnocchetti, not gnocchi, as the base. Gnocchetti are made of semolina, not potatoes like gnocchi, and are often dried. Not knowing the difference when I was buying ingredients for this dish, I substituted gnocchi, which worked out fine. Read more…

Macaroni and Cheese for Dinner

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When I make dinner, I’m not big on main dish/side dish combos, especially when I’m cooking on a weekday. It’s just so much easier when everything is in one dish and you can get your veggies and your main course at the same time. It also easier to save for leftovers for the next day, which is a prerequisite for most of the meals I make. I’ve always associated macaroni and cheese with a side dish, but when it was requested that I make macaroni and cheese I figured, why couldn’t it be dinner? Add in some extras like prosciutto, tomatoes and a pepper, and it becomes a main course. Read more…

Chunky Veggie Pasta Sauce

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This is a dish that I make fairly often. I don’t really remember when I started putting together my own pasta sauce, but I won’t go back to the jarred stuff now. Since I use canned tomatoes my sauce isn’t entirely built from the ground up, but they save time in the process, which makes this a great week night dinner. Read more…