As I was warming up my dinner last Thursday my roommate walked into the kitchen with a surprised look on her face, “You’re still eating that, Alex?”
Yes, I cooked a feast on Sunday afternoon and I was still enjoying the delicious meal on Thursday. Did the meal taste as good as it did on Sunday? Almost. Did I mind eating the same meal for dinner several nights in a row? No, it was delicious. Did I appreciate the miniscule time I had to dedicate each evening to warming up a gourmet dinner? You bet.
In case you would like to discover the wonderful benefits of cooking one meal that lasts the whole week I have included a few of my favorite recipes. My promise to you: a delicious meal in fewer than ten minutes, five nights a week.
Pan- Fried Butternut Squash Farfalle
Makes 6 servings
1 medium butternut squash
1 medium Vidalia onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoons dried sage (or ½ cup fresh sage, fried and crushed)
2 tablespoons rosemary
1 pound farfelle pasta
½ cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Cut butternut squash in half, scoop out seeds and strings, peel and cut into 1 inch cubes. Toss with onion, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Also toss in about half the sage and rosemary. Roast on baking sheet at 375F or until squash is soft. Meanwhile, boil the pasta until al dente.
Put away the squash mixture, pasta, spices, pine nuts, and Parmesan in separate containers and store in the refrigerator.
When ready to eat, heat olive oil in pan on medium-high. Fry 1/6th* pasta, 1/6th squash mixture, 1/6th sage and 1/6th rosemary for about 5 minutes. Add in 1/6th pine nuts and fry for another minute. Finally stir in 1/6th Parmesan and serve.
*May choose any proportion according to the number of meals you would like to get out of the recipe
Paneer Butter Masala
Makes 4 servings
2 cups paneer cubes (buy at Indian Grocery Store)
3 tbsp canola oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
4 Roma tomatoes
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoons garam masala
1/3 cup half and half
2 tablespoons ketchup
Cut paneer into ½ inch cube, place onto pan and bake at low temperature (150-200 ̊F) for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Cook the onions in a pan with canola oil over low heat until very soft. Then add the garlic. Fry for a few more minutes and add ginger. Peel and chop tomatoes, then add them to pan with onions. Add the fresh ginger. Stir in little hot water so onions don’t stick to pan. Add turmeric, chili powder, coriander, salt, and butter. Blend with back of spoon. Continue cooking on stove until the oil begins leaving the onions and tomatoes. Add garam masala. Stir in hot water until mixture turns into a thick gravy. Add paneer and stir. Now add half and half as needed for consistency. Cook for 20 minutes to foster masala flavor. Now add ketchup and stir. Then season to taste with garam masala and salt. When dish is done keep covered for 5 minutes to let spices blend.
Put in container and store in fridge. Heat up portions in microwave for 1-2 minutes. Serve with rice or naan bread.
Mom’s No-boil Lasagna
Makes 6 servings
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1 pound fresh mozzarella, chopped
½ cup Parmesan, grated
1 box of Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles
2 jars pasta sauce
Pre-heat oven to 375F and grease 9x13x3 baking pan.
In a large bowl beat eggs. Then stir in ricotta, ½ lb. mozzarella and parmesan. Spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce in bottom of the pan. Layer 4 uncooked lasagna sheets. Top with 1/3 of cheese mixture, ¼ lb mozzarella and 1 1/4 cup sauce. Layer 4 uncooked lasagna sheets. Top with 1/3 of cheese mixture and 1 3/4 cups sauce. Layer 4 uncooked lasagna sheets. Top with the remaining cheese mixture and 1 1/4 cup of sauce. Layer with 4 uncooked lasagna sheets, the remaining sauce, and ¼ lb mozzarella.
Cover with tin foil and bake for 50-60 minutes. Lift foil and cook for 5 additional minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes. Cut a slice and eat now. Cover with tin foil and refrigerate for up to 5 days. At dinnertime remove from refrigerator, slice and microwave for 1.5-2minutes.
Goat Cheese and Berry Salad
Makes 4 servings
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
8 cups mixed greens, washed.
½ cup blueberries
½ cup strawberries, sliced
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
½ cup pistachios, shelled
Whisk olive oil, balsamic, Dijon, honey, and garlic until ingredients come together in a smooth vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Store dressing and remaining ingredients in refrigerator until ready to use.
Place two cups of mixed greens in large bowl. Add 1/8 cup of blueberries, strawberries, goat cheese and pistachios and then toss. Add a quarter of the dressing and continue tossing until well dressed. Serve immediately.
Slow Cooker Black Bean Casserole
Makes 4 servings
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans black beans, drained
1 jar salsa
¾ cup water
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 bag tortilla chips
Combine onion, garlic, black beans, salsa, and water in slow cooker. Cook on low for 5-7 hours.
Remove and store in container. When ready top 1/4 bean mixture with 1/4 c. mozzarella and warm in microwave for 1 minute. Serve with tortilla chips.