My husband and I both love to cook, especially making dinner for one another. But when he gears up to prepare a dinner he needs advanced planning: look up a recipe, make a shopping list, go to the supermarket and then cook (and make a mess). He’s always amazed at the meals I am able to throw together by using what’s already in the fridge and cabinets.
Admittedly this is not always easy and we’ve ended up with some funky meals from time to time. But one of my tricks is to always keep my cabinets and freezer stocked with a few key staples, and then there’s always something to throw together at the last minute, or when it’s simply too hot to leave your home!
Here’s a few of the staples I like to keep around and some easy dinner ideas:
What can’t you do with some pasta, rice or quinoa!? Use whatever veggies you have lying around (even frozen), and saute in olive oil with onions and garlic. Cook pasta (or rice, quinoa, cous cous, etc.) per directions on the package and toss with veggies, olive oil, salt and pepper. If you’re serving a dairy meal grate some parmesan cheese on top. If you have leftover chicken in the fridge, cut into pieces and throw it right in.
Other easy cabinet items to mix into pasta: chick peas, roasted red peppers, olives, or cannellini beans. One hearty dish and dinner is served!
Diner night at home is super easy to throw together with a few things from your cabinets and freezer. I love these sweet potatoes fries from Alexia products, although they make them in a number of different varieties as well. Bread, tuna, mayo and cheese and you have tuna melts! No tuna? Throw some veggie burgers into the oven or pan. You might even want to indulge and make some homemade milkshakes to go along with the meal.
Pizza night is one of my favorite dinners to put together. I love coming up with different combinations of cheese and veggies such as ricotta, fennel and kalamata olive or spinach, mushroom and goat cheese. But in a pinch, its super easy to throw together a simple cheese pizza. Whole Foods, Trader Joes and even Fresh Direct all sell their own pizza dough which is either refrigerated or frozen. One important tip: make sure to bring the dough fully to room temperature before working with it otherwise you might not get the results you want.
Make sure you keep plain crushed tomatoes or your favorite jarred tomatoes sauce, like Barilla Traditional Marinara Sauce, on hand. You can use these to make a perfect pantry pasta as well. You can also keep a block of mozzarella in the freezer! Just thaw and grate for your perfect pizza.
I don’t know about you, but after indulging in hot dogs, potato salad and other fattening goodies I need to detox for a few days. This week’s Shabbat recipe round up is chocked full of fruits and veggies to give your bloated belly a bit of a reprieve.
Eleven Madison Park is currently recognized as the best restaurant in Manhattan, and Food 52 has the restaurant’s recipe for Strawberry Gazpacho – a fun and seasonal twist on the traditional Spanish cold tomato soup.
Yes, yes veggie skewers are an easy and pretty way to serve some extra vegetables for a dinner or party. But these Lemon Pesto Vegetable Skewers from The Shiksa are truly a step above – packed with fresh flavor from lemon and herb pesto.
I love fennel particularly for its refreshing, distinctive flavor. If you also love fennel then this recipe for Roasted Fennel with Tomatoes will make a perfect easy side dish.
Chicken thighs are underrated for their flavor and versatility not to mention affordability! For an easy and flavorful main dish try this Roasted Chicken Thighs with Artichoke Panzanella.
Shabbat Shalom and happy cooking!
There are many different varieties of Charoset – from Bubbe’s traditional apple and Manishewitz to various Sephardi styles with dates and other dried fruit. I know each family has their own recipe, but I think its nice to change things up every now and then during the holidays.
The first time I made Seder for my family, I tried this recipe and adapted it over time to the recipe below. If you don’t want to make your own candied walnuts, go ahead and buy them! Fairway, Trader Joes and other major supermarkets will carry candied walnuts or pecans which you can certainly substitute.
4 gala apples, peeled and diced
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup Manischewitz
1/3 cup pomegranate juice
1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest (optional)
1 cup walnut halves
4 cups vegetable oil
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl.
In a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil to 350°F. Fry walnuts until golden brown, about 30 seconds, being careful not to burn. Using a slotted spoon, transfer walnuts from skillet to bowl containing sugar mixture. Toss walnuts in sugar, then spread on baking sheet. Cool 15 minutes, then chop roughly.
Combine nuts, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, apples, pomegranate seeds, zest, wine and pomegranate juice. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Winter may not seem like the ideal time to experiment with salads, but with all the different varieties of citrus fruit that are in season currently, its a great time get ready to peel! Not to mention, a little bit of citrus may be just what you need to help get over the winter blues.
My new favorite citrus inspired salad is easy to make, and super flavorful! I use blood oranges, pink grapefruit, cucumber, avocado and edamame in my Winter Citrus Edamame Salad.
A great flavor pairing is fennel and citrus, and if that gets you excited, try this Winter Citrus Salad featuring fennel, citrus, goat cheese and olives.
Looking for a salad that can serve as more of a meal? Try this Winter Chicken Salad with Citrus and Celery. (Leave off the cheese!)
And if you’re looking to drink your citrus, not eat it, well forget the salad – try this Blood Orange Margarita, which is one of my favorite combinations of flavors.