You may think, based on all the dessert posts I have on the blog, that all I eat is laced with some form of sugar or another.
While a good scoop of vanilla ice cream served with something warm/sweet/carby (apple crisp, say), most of what we eat is rather simple (boring?). I’m serious when I say we eat beans & rice, a lot.
And when April (& other readers), have commented that they’d like to see more recipes, particularly frugal simple ones, I’m a little sheepish.
It’s hard for me to think that my humble bean soups can compete with what’s now in vogue in the online food blogosphere.
Truth be told, I don’t fancy myself much of a recipe developer these days.
We’ve had family in town for the last week, & before that, it was the stomach bug, before that more house guests. And then everything in between like school, laundry, dishes, walks, dentist appointments, emergency room visits (Hyrum broke his wrist) & other regularities.
I guess what I’m saying is that, I just don’t have time to really bang it out in the kitchen like I used to.
My main goals with meals are:
1) use what we have
2) don’t waste any food (getting much better at this) by using leftovers & digging into the pantry & food storage
3) make something that the kids & Joseph will eat without much of a fuss
4) & if the first 3 are satisfied, it’s an bonus if I enjoy what I’m eating.
I don’t mean to sound like everything I make is something served from the kitchens of David Copperfield’s orphanage, but rather, my creations, for the most part are born of necessity & frugality.
I’m not so utilitarian that I forget good taste & a bit of flourish, but overarching it all, I have 5 other people to feed, with little time & a tight budget on which to do it. So, often, my best dishes emerge under pressure.
The 20 minute meal
On a recent night, I was in no mood to be in the kitchen.
I had been in the house for most of the day, cleaning up creative messes (mostly “art” made of tape, glue & crayons courtesy of my 2 & 4 year old), & working on getting the house in order (which seems to be a bit of a pipe dream, I’ve realized).
Dinner time rolled around, out of nowhere it seems, as it so often does. I had 20 minutes.
This is what I threw together.
The total cost for entire meal that served 6 with no leftovers:
or about $.68 a person
Not our cheapest meal, but it’s a reasonable price for a colorful, fresh meal.
Everything but the noodles came from Costco.
I bought the noodles via vitacost.com (free shipping on orders over $50 & no sales tax!).
pine nuts $.60
olive oil $.10
5 c. brocolli $.75
Gluten-free, vegan fettucini with pine nuts & olives
- 1 14 oz. package brown rice fettucini (I like the Tinkyada brand)
- 1 14 oz. can black olives (170 g)
- 3 carrots, julienned
- 4 c. raw spinach leaves, washed & dried
- 1/4 c. pine nuts
- 2 TBS. baslamic vinegar or lemon juice
- 1-2 TBS. cold-pressed olive oil (optional)
- 1/4 tsp. salt (or more, to taste)
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried garlic/parsley blend
- non-dairy parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (optional)
- Cook noodles according to directions.
- If using brown rice noodles, rinse & drain noodles, place back into pot.
- Cut olives into slices & add olives, carrots, spinach to noodle pot.
- Drizzle with balsamic vinegar/lemon juice &/or olive oil. Toss in salt, pepper, & garlic/parsley blend.
- Toss thoroughly.
- Serve immediately & if you want, top with non-dairy parmesan cheese &/or nutritional yeast.
Additional nutrition info, per serving: 333 mg sodium, 48 g carbs, 5 g fiber.
For added protein, add 1 1/2 cups drained & rinsed canned garbanzo beans (about 1 can). Adds 2 grams of protein, & 3 g fiber per serving.
P.S. I updated my blog roll, check it out.