No More Take Out Excuses

March 3, 2009

Linguine with lemon, garlic and mushrooms...delish!

Linguine with lemon, garlic and mushrooms...delish!

Last night, I made an excellent pasta dish with lemon, garlic and mushrooms from Nigella Lawson‘s Nigella Express cookbook. She’s on the Food Network Saturday mornings at 8am. I had never watched her show before, but someone mistakenly hit the remote control after a Curious George was playing from the DVR, and we wound up on her show. Austin thought the pasta she was making looked good. I remembered that someone had given me that cookbook as a gift, so I pulled it out and voila! This recipe and others can be found on the Food Network’s website.

I like her book because the dishes really don’t take hours to prepare. Nothing is worse than when a recipe bills itself as “simple” and it’s anything but. Even so, you still need 30 – 45 minutes to make it happen. Here are a few ideas for dinner when you really have no time — you get home from work late, your kids are acting up, you have a headache, and you and your significant other just need to eat. It’s a way to beat the take-out blues. I’m not saying they’re fancy, they won’t win you any cook-offs, but they are pretty healthy, tasty and, most importantly, truly fast.

Omelettes: Who says you can only eat them for breakfast? Crack some eggs, add a little milk, whisk it with a fork, cook it with some spinach, tomatoes or broccoli and add some cheese toward the end of cooking. Serve with some oat bran toast and you’ve got your protein, vegetables and whole grains covered.

Pasta: I always keep a jar of sauce and a package of pasta in the cupboard for the inevitable evening when I need it. Use the time it takes to boil and cook the pasta to make the sauce. You can cut up an eggplant, cook it in a little water til it’s soft, then add the sauce. You can add frozen spinach and red pepper flakes to the sauce. Open a can of tuna fish, drain it and add it to the sauce as it’s cooking for a Mediterranean flavor. (Add capers if you have them.) The possibilities are really endless, depending on your taste buds. Experiment.

Tacos: If you keep a package of ground turkey in your freezer and a packet of taco seasoning in the cabinet (Bearitos makes a good one), in about 15 minutes you can whip up tacos. If you don’t have tortillas or taco shells, get out some lettuce and make taco salads. If you don’t have ground turkey, heat up some black beans and make bean tacos.

Lunch meat: Just as omelettes aren’t just for breakfast, sandwiches aren’t relegated to lunch. Keep some good rolls in the freezer — I found some whole wheat challah ones by Zomick’s at Whole Foods that I like — and break open in an emergency. Serve with turkey, some honey mustard, a side salad and maybe some soup. Whatta meal!

That should keep you and your families munchin’ in a crunch…

Sweeeeeeps!

February is traditionally sweeps month for TV, when ratings matter. That’s why all of your fav shows will have new episodes every week of the month and local news will have the craziest tune-in spots to get you to watch. So I thought it was odd that Gossip Girl was in repeats a couple of weeks, and Letterman was on vacation one week. Then I figured out that because of the DTV switch that was supposed to happen in February, they pushed sweeps to March. So buckle up for some great television this month!

Snow Day!

So the East Coast got hit with a storm. I think we’re all so used to the weather forecasts being wrong, when they’re right it’s kind of surprising. Austin’s nursery school follows the closings of the NYC public schools, which hadn’t closed for snow since before he was born, so that was a first for him. He wanted to go out and shovel with a cute personalized plastic shovel he had gotten as a favor at a friend’s birthday party (thanks Paige!). Unfortunately, he was a little too ambitious and on the second shovel it broke! Our superintendent, who had just gotten through shoveling all of the snow for real, thought this was hilarious. Undaunted, Austin went upstairs, got his sister’s shovel, and continued on with a lighter touch. I myself don’t mind the snow but I am petrified of ice, so I am hoping it doesn’t get all matted down and slippery tonight. Salt your sidewalks people!!

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