I had some ricotta and provolone in the fridge and thought of making a lasagna but I didn’t have any lasagna noodles and was too lazy to make my own from scratch so I hunted down a recipe that used penne, ziti or medium shells for a casserole type dish. I had penne rigate so that’s what I went with. And, in place of the doctored marinara the recipe called for, I used a jar of mushroom and green pepper pasta sauce. The results were pretty good. And I now have enough pasta for five more meals.
Cooking for one or two can be fun even if you end up with half empty cans of things. Next time, I’ll use the entire can of cream of mushroom soup and a bit more milk to end up with a creamy sauce.
Diced turkey breast (or a combination of white and dark meat), frozen green peas, green onion, cream of mushroom soup/milk, a dash of garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. Not much of a recipe.
Baked until the top was browned and the inside was hot and bubbly.
I’ve been cutting back on my grocery shopping trips so when I had a craving for potstickers/gyoza, rather than going out and buying a couple of packages of the ready made wrappers, I finally buckled down and decided to make them from scratch using this recipe.
The ingredients are simple: flour and salt and boiling water. And time … to let the dough hydrate and to roll them out.
Pleating also takes some time and, of course, practice.
After all that, I’m quite pleased with the results for a first try and WILL be making them again.
Another pasta dish which is fast and easy to prepare and not that pricey, depending on the protein used.
Today’s post features shrimp and mushrooms. I like to pair a protein and a vegetable.
Basic Alfredo Recipe for One
90 gm pasta (fettuccine, linguine, spaghetti)
2 tbsp butter, extra virgin olive oil or equal parts of each
3-4 mushrooms, thickly sliced
100-125 gm raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh or dried parsley and more grated Parmesan for garnish
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
In a large saute pan over medium high heat, add one tablespoon of butter and when it has melted and starts to bubble, add the mushrooms. Cook until golden brown on one side, turn and repeat with second side. Remove the mushrooms to a large bowl and reserve. Depending on how much butter remains in the pan, add a second tablespoon and when it melts, add the shrimp. Saute quickly, flipping over until both sides have begun to turn pink, then remove to the bowl with the mushrooms.
Add the minced garlic and saute briefly, stirring, until the garlic barely begins to pick up some colour, turn down the heat to medium and add the whipping cream and Parmesan cheese. Stir until the mixture starts to bubble, the cheese melts and the mixture begins to thicken. Add the cooked pasta, mushrooms and shrimp, stirring to coat with the Alfredo sauce.
Transfer to a plate and serve immediately garnished with some more grated Parmesan and parsley for colour.
Other options: chicken and asparagus or ham and green peas.
The simplest Italian pasta dish is spaghetti aglio e olio, pasta with garlic, red pepper flakes and olive oil. If you’re on a budget, this is an inexpensive dish when paired with a big bowl of soup and a salad.
But you can build on this basic dish if your budget is more generous.
Instead of olive oil, you can use butter (or use both) and add some leftover roasted chicken. Or shrimp if you’ve just been paid. A bit of shrimp (100 gm per portion) can make you feel like you’re dining out at a fancy Italian restaurant, especially if you add a glass of a dry white wine to your meal. Clams or mussels are other protein options. Or a nice piece of salmon. If you’re avoiding meat but still want some protein in your dish, add a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas.
Add some jarred pasta sauce to the previous meal for a change in colour and flavour. And tomatoes are veggies, aren’t they? If you have tomatoes in your garden, dice up one and add that to the meal above. Grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half, are another option.
If you’re not in the mood for tomatoes, transform your aglio e olio into an Alfredo sauce with the addition of whipping cream and grated Parmesan cheese. Sometimes the cheese goes on sale and it freezes well, grated or ungrated.
Another option is to add some whipping cream to the tomato sauce. The result is a fancy ‘blush’ or pink sauce. You can add white wine to thin out a leftover Alfredo sauce if you’ve got some in the your cupboard or fridge. Vodka is another add-in to a blush sauce instead of the white wine.
And, if you’re a veggie fanatic, add blanched spinach or Swiss chard or kale to your pasta dish.
Kale is a bit on the bitter side so you may want to blanch it ahead of time or sautee it with your olive oil and garlic. Asparagus is another alternative. And, of course, you can sautee your favourite mushrooms in the olive oil until golden brown and remove them from the pan before adding your garlic, and return them to the pan along with your cooked and drained pasta to warm through.
Today’s supper came to the top of the posting queue because it’s an amazing combination of two simply prepared dishes, a main and a pasta side, and a green salad of your choice.
I’ve made pan fried breaded chicken cutlets before so that wasn’t a big deal. It was the pasta dish that took it over the top.
The recipe came from this Youtube video but the ‘bones’ of the recipe are very simple: whipping cream, the zest of one lemon and a tablespoon of butter. Simmer together for a few minutes in a large saute pan until the sauce reduces a bit, add some grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and your freshly cooked pasta, stir it together tasting for seasoning (salt and pepper) and then serve with some more grated cheese on top. The recipe suggests adding some lemon juice as well, but, in my opinion, it didn’t need any. If you have a fetish for something green for a garnish, sprinkled some freshly chopped parsley over the top.
And gobble it down before it gets too cool.
Forget taking pictures for your blog.
FORGET it, I tell you!
Last post today … I promise. I was on a roll.
I get my ideas/recipes from ‘only the best’ people.
Like this beef chow fun (beef and rice noodles) which came from the blog, “The Frugal Hausfrau”. I followed the recipe exactly and didn’t have to make any substitutions because I HAD all the ingredients. (So proud of my pantry.)
The wide rice noodles (the red package) took 5 minutes to cook. Then I drained, ice shocked and drained them well and set them aside just before assembly.
I blanched the bean sprouts by placing them into a stand drainer and pouring the boiling water from cooking the noodles over them. They were still crunchy after being added to the beef and sauce along with the noodles and tossing together just long enough to coat the noodles and warm everything through.
REVIEW: An amazing dish. Easy to make and cook with some judicious planning/prepping. Make it. You won’t be disappointed.
Meal planning strategy: I haven’t cooked anything Italian in some time, there was a jar of capers languishing in the fridge and a couple of boneless, skinless, chicken breasts in the freezer, so I looked for a recipe for Chicken Piccata that used ingredients that I already had. The breasts weighed a bit over a pound so I split them horizontally into four, more or less equal sized portions, and made some adjustments to the recipe I found here since I wanted to toss the pasta in the sauce.
Chicken Piccata – serves 2, generously
200 gm fettuccine, linguine or spaghetti
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, ~1 pound/454 gm
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
For flouring chicken cutlets
1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
pinch ground black pepper
1 1/2-2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
For lemon sauce
3/4 cup chicken stock, or a dry white wine
1/4 cup whipping cream (optional)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp brined capers, drained
1 clove garlic, finely minced or 1/8 tsp garlic powder (optional)
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley or 1-2 tsp dried parsley, for garnish
3-4 thin slices of lemon, for garnish
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, stop the cooking by transferring the noodle to cold water and then, if needed to wait for the sauce, transfer the noodles to warm water.
To make chicken cutlets, cut each chicken breast horizontally into two equal sized pieces or butterfly and cut in half. If the thickness of the cutlets is uneven, put them between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them with a meat hammer to 1/4 inch thickness.
In a shallow pan or pie tin, mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan. Rinse the chicken pieces quickly in water, drain well and dredge them in the flour mixture, until well coated.
Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium/medium-high heat and when heated, add the chicken cutlets. Do not crowd the pan to ensure even cooking. Cook in half batches. Brown well on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer to a plate with a rim to retain any juices that may be released by the breasts. Cook the other breasts in the same manner. Cover to keep warm.
Add the chicken stock or white wine, lemon juice, and capers to the pan. Use a spatula to scrape up any browned bits. Reduce the sauce by half. (NOTE: For additional lemon flavour, add the sliced lemons at this point so the lemon oil from the zest can infuse into the sauce. If your sauce volume seems low or you want a creamy sauce, whisk in the whipping cream and let reduce for a few minutes.)
Whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter (cut into 2-3 pieces), a piece at a time until each piece just melts. This may not be necessary if you’re using the whipping cream as that will thicken the sauce.
Drain the pasta well. Add the pasta to the saute pan so it can warm in the sauce, if it’s cooled down. Divide the pasta between two plates.
Plate the chicken over the pasta and serve with the sauce poured over the top. Sprinkle with parsley before serving and add a slice or two of the lemon for garnish.
I didn’t notice that I hadn’t sprinkled the parsley over the top until after I’d plated the dish. Oh well…
I set aside two of the cutlets for use in other dishes as there was too much chicken for two servings.
The website where I found the ‘for one’ cake recipes also has savoury dishes. Especially pasta dishes.
Like this Ham and Pea Alfredo for One … I made it with linguine
I improvised this Turkey Cutlet Parmigiana with a quick and easy marinara sauce and one of the cutlets from my freezer.
Turkey Cutlet Parmigiana for One
Turkey Cutlet Parmigiana for One
1 turkey cutlet
1/4 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
100 gm dry pasta, cooked according to package directions
Quick Marinara Sauce for One – enough to dress about 100 gm dried pasta
1 cup canned, diced tomatoes, with juice
1/2 tbsp butter or margarine
1/4-1/2 cup water, as needed
1/8 tsp minced onion
1/8 tsp dried oregano
pinch of garlic powder
salt to taste
fresh oregano (sprig) and 2-3 fresh basil leaves, torn (optional)
sugar, as needed
In a large saute pan, combine the tomatoes, butter, 1/4 cup water, onion, oregano and garlic. Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer, cover the pan, and simmer for 10 minutes. Puree the tomato sauce.
Add the fresh herbs and a pinch or two of salt. Add more water if needed. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. taste and add sugar and salt, as needed.
Add the cooked pasta and toss in the sauce.
Push the pasta to one side of the pan. Add the turkey cutlet, sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top and put the lid on the pan. When the cutlet has warmed through and the cheese has melted, transfer to a serving plate. Garnish with fresh herbs.