I love Italian food. Bursting with flavor and robustness, and mingled with a rustic quality that invites us to think about a different time and place. There are few food experiences more comforting for me than a great Italian meal spent with those I love.
That said, I also love simple food and easy recipes that are famiglia-friendly and can be cooked up in a flash!
This is a dish that I’ve just starting making in the last few months, but so far it has been a big hit at the family dinner table.
Here’s my “cheater” version of a hearty, yummy, spaghetti Bolognese.
1 box dry spaghetti (I only use Barilla) or 1 pound fresh pasta (if you’re feeling fancy)
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
1 pound ground beef (you could also substitute ground pork or lamb)
1-2 tablespoons minced garlic, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
Cook and drain pasta, set aside. In a large pot (I use the same pot I used to cook the pasta, while the pasta stays in the colander for a moment) add olive oil and ground meat. Flavor the meat with salt and pepper and brown completely. Add diced tomatoes and garlic, and simmer for a few minutes. Sauce should be very thick and chunky. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir. Allow the pasta to soak up some of the sauce for just a few more minutes. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.
I think this dish would also be great with some fresh basil or oregano thrown in, if you happen to have those handy!
Enjoy! And stay cozy.
Over the course of a decade I have developed a few VERY simple dinner plans that are both a breeze to prepare and mostly nutritious.
This meal includes a protein, a carbohydrate (our household nutrition needs demand one), and a green vegetable (yes, I insist it must be green).
Tonight I cooked some boneless pork chops in a skillet with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I steamed some simple white rice (though I usually prefer jasmine or brown) and used a steamer bag of mukimame. This meal, especially with the help of the steamer bag, took 20 minutes to prepare, tops!
I added my favorite Hoisin sauce tonight as well- Soy Vay Garlic Hoisin, yum! There are countless ways to modify this meal plan, below are our favorites.
Simplest Dinner Plan(s)
Protein– pork, chicken, beef, or veggie patty sautéed in frying pan with your choice of oil and salt and pepper.
Carbohydrate (optional)- rice (traditional or steamer bag), sweet potato done in the microwave, couscous, or quinoa.
GREEN vegetable– I don’t care what it is as long as it’s a vegetable and it’s green (I often let my son choose for us).
I find this to be an easy formula on nights when I just don’t know what to make for dinner or if I have very little time. I adore the simplicity of it in preparation as well as flavors; although, I do sometimes add any sauces we happen to have on hand when I need to jazz it up a bit.
Hope this is helpful! Stay cozy.
What do you do with a few items from two seemingly very different cuisines? Put them together of course!
My family has had Taco Tuesdays installed in the meal plan for awhile now. Although we always stick with a few regulars, like shells and tomatoes, we try to jazz it up a bit now and then. This week it was simply a matter of what was left in the fridge, I’m ashamed to say.
For reasons that will have to be hashed out in another post, I happened to have ground lamb and feta cheese in the fridge. As experiments go, I was pretty happy with this one!
1 pound ground lamb
1 packet mild taco seasoning (I prefer McCormick’s)
1 diced tomato
feta chunks or crumbles
Simply brown the meat and stir in the taco seasoning mix per the package directions. Then assemble, or let your hungry family create their own Greek-ish Tacos.
We tried a few of the usual suspects, like salsa and sour cream, and they did add some nice flavor. A few sliced cucumbers or some Tzatziki sauce would go nicely too. A quick, simple meal with a twist to keep those taste buds guessing!