Archive | February, 2018

One Dish Wonder

18 Feb

Dirty dishes. I don’t like doing them. But since I love to cook, dishes happen. So when I can cut down on some dishes, well, that is a worthy goal! Sometimes I make a one dish dinner. Less dishes. Goal achieved.

I made a very robust pasta dishes that covered the bases for a yummy satisfying dinner. I chopped up an onion. I like a sweet Vidalia onion-but any onion you like will do.

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Next I chopped up some celery. I use every inch of the celery stalk, including the leaves. Yum! Don’t waste a tiny tidbit of flavor!

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I put the onion and celery into my big green pot. I heated up a few tablespoons of olive oil first, and let the veggies cook a tiny bit.

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Then I added some chopped garlic. You want your garlic sweet and nutty, so I added it with the beef (it can burn easily). By the way, you could add whatever protein you have around, like ground turkey or pork, but tonight, high quality ground beef was what was on hand. Don’t forget to sprinkle a little salt and pepper into the pot as you layer your flavors.

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It only takes a few minutes over medium heat to get the meat brown. At this point, I used a few paper towels to sop up some of the rendered fat-being very careful not to get burned.

Onto the next step. With the beef brown and the veggies soft and succulent, I added some tomatoes. I used petite diced, but canned stewed tomatoes would also be an excellent addition here. Helpful int here-tomatoes add delightful acidity to a dish, but I usually sprinkle just a touch of white sugar in when I cook with canned tomatoes. It balances the acidity.

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And just to jazz up the flavor a bit, I stirred in some basil, oregano, parsley and (oh do I love a little heat!!) some red pepper flakes.

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The flavors came together as this simmered for a bit over a medium low heat. The delicious aromas were filling the house with a warm “this is home” feeling. Mouthwatering scents wafted about, and I started to get really hungry!

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This was going to be a hearty pasta dish but I had zero interest in making more dishes. No, this pasta was going into my big green pot with the vegetables. Since the tortellini I had on hand needed some liquid to cook in, I added some broth to the pot.

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When the broth was good and bubbling away, I added tortellini. I gave that all a couple of good stirs, and let my one pot dinner simmer its way to greatness. It only took a couple of minutes for the pasta to cook to perfection-that is the beauty of using refrigerated pasta.

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I keep an herb garden, so I picked some basil and did a quick chop of the leaves. The fresh basil and some roughly grated parmesan cheese made just the right garnish.

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I served this in a pasta bowl and Voila! An easy one pot dinner was on the table. Now how easy is that!

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I could have added some arugula, spinach, mushrooms, or any number of other vegetables to further customize this dish. I used what I had in my pantry and fridge that day.  It was simple, hearty, and left very little clean up. Goal achieved. Oh, and did I mention that there were incredible leftovers for lunch the next day?

Let me know what one pot meals you are making, For more food tips, follow me on twitter @amykgarman, and find me on facebook at Amy M Klingele. Food is fun!

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Basics

12 Feb

If you don’t have one, run out and get one. What in the world am I talking about? A cast iron skillet. It is a kitchen must have. A basic. But don’t go to an expensive kitchen store to get one. Go to your local hardware store. You will find the best brand at your good old hardware store-Lodge.

As I love to cook, I have a couple cast iron skillets. One  of my favorites has ridges to sear a lovely tenderloin, grill some delicious hamburgers. or make a creamy warm panini. There are a zillion ways to use your cast iron skillet. If you keep it seasoned, it will also become something you can hand down through the generations. Here is one of my well seasoned cast iron skillets.

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How do you season it you ask? It is easy. But remember, you need to continue to season your cast iron skillet every so often. Here are some tips to season your skillet:

  • Wash the cookware with hot, soapy water.
  • Rinse and dry completely.
  • Apply melted solid vegetable shortening (or cooking oil of your choice) to the cookware inside and out. Too much oil will result in a sticky finish so keep your application thin.
  • Set oven temperature to 350 – 400 degrees F.
  • Place cookware upside down on the top rack of the oven to prevent pooling.
  • Bake the cookware for at least one hour. After the hour, turn the oven off and let the cookware cool in the oven.
  • Store the cookware uncovered
  • Repeat as necessary
  • When I use and wash my skillet, I dry it not with a towel but over low heat on a burner.

I recently used this skillet to sear some zucchini for dinner. I simply split the zucchini lengthwise, and sprinkled it with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Next, I got my cast iron skillet good and hot on the stove. Then I seared the zucchini halves with the flesh side down first.

Grilled zucchini in my (very inexpensive) cast iron grill pan.  It was sizzling and searing.  Yum! I seared it much like a piece of meat. After searing one side, I turned it over and seared the second side. I flipped the fleshy side of the zucchini up and put a little freshly served parmesan on top. Ooh! So yummy!

I flipped the fleshy side of the zucchini up and put a little freshly served parmesan on top.  Ooh!  So good!

This recipe is a keeper.  It was super quick, hardly any ingredients, and so very tasty!  It was beautiful on the plate as well.  So look for variety not only in your food, but in ways to prepare them.