I made a very good dinner last night. I have to admit that since Presley has been home, dinner has been somewhat challenging. Planning a meal, shopping, having energy at the end of the day when you children are all having meltdowns, and then having to turn on a stove or oven on an Arizona August evening is just not a fun thing to do! Meals here have consisted of spaghetti, anything frozen, and scrambled eggs at least 2 nights a week. I dusted off my old house manager binder and determined to get organized this week. I found these 2 recipes in my recipe box that I haven't made in a long time and I forgot how good they were! I'm definitely not a gourmet cook by any stretch of the imagination and the only things I can cook without a recipe are spaghetti and grilled cheese sandwiches. These recipes are easy, look good with lots of color, and taste good too. My kids loved it. The only person that wasn't super thrilled was Presley, which surprised me because she gets overjoyed with a piece of toast!!
Tomato and Olive Penne
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 lb penne or other short pasta (I use Barilla Plus because it has lots of protein and fiber)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (I just used a teaspoon of minced garlic)
2/3 pounds cherry tomatoes (2 cups), halved or quartered
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional, but it doesn't make it too spicy)
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced (I just use a small can of regular olives)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I omitted this because I didn't have any)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the penne according to package instructions until al dente, about 13 minutes. Drain.
2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cooking, stirring, until just golden brown, about 1 minute. Add the cherry tomatoes, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring until tomato juices run clear, about 3 minutes.
3. Add the penne, olives, parsley, and Parmesan to the skillet and toss to combine. Serve with more cheese if desired.
Green Bean and Mushroom Medley
(I found this at http://www.allrecipes.com/.)
1/2 pound fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 carrots, cut into thick strips
1/4 cup butter (okay, fattening I know, but who can resist mushrooms sauteed in butter!!)
1 onion, sliced
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp salt (I omitted since we try to watch our sodium)
1/2 tsp seasoned salt.
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp white pepper (I just used black pepper. I have never even used white pepper before and couldn't find it in the store.)
1. Place green beans and carrots in 1 inch of boiling water. Cover and cook until tender but still firm. Drain.
2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions and mushrooms until almost tender. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in green beans, carrots, salt, seasoned salt, garlic salt, and white pepper. Cover and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.