I love it when a plan comes together. Or, more appropriately in this instance, I love it when a meal comes together. Especially when I walked into the kitchen at 5:00 with no idea what was going to be dinner. Not one piece of meat defrosted. Not a clue in sight. Nothing. Nada, Zip. What I did have, however, were ingredients. Ingredients that were waiting in freezer and pantry for their rightful place on the dinner table. I’d say they found it.
8 oz Penne pasta
1 lb ground beef
1 cup frozen (or fresh) chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic (or 1 whole clove)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream (change it up and use prepared alfredo sauce, pesto, heavy cream)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (or mozzarella; just about any cheese you like)
Prepare noodles according to package directions. Preheat oven to 375.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brown beef with onion, garlic, oregano, and salt. Add tomato sauce, water, and sour cream. Stir to combine and allow sauce to bubble.
Drain pasta and return to pan, add meat and sauce mixture. Stir together. When completely mixed, add to a casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Top with cheese. Bake about 20 minutes until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly. Serve with warm French bread and salad.
Wine Pairing Suggestions:
Serves 6 to 8
Total time: 30 minutes
*Original Serves4 Recipe
I know, I can hear everyone now, “Another weeknight pasta?! How many weeknight pastas does one needs? Aren’t they really all the same??” Like Sugar Skulls, I can never have to many weeknight pasta recipes. Somehow, there is always a little twist. And quite frankly, everyone has those, “Oh man, I don’t want to make dinner, nor do I know what to make for dinner” moments. Weeknight pasta is the perfect solution and it’s simple! I don’t like simple – said no one ever.
8 oz uncooked pasta (any small shape that you’d like, I used a mix of what I had on hand)
1 Tbs olive oil (such as my new fave, garlic extra virgin olive oil by Sciabica’s)
1 lb lean ground beef (I use 90%, but 80% is great, too. Or sub with chicken)
1/2 onion, minced
2 tsp dried oregano (if you haven’t tried LiteHouse freeze-dried herbs, I urge you to. Run, don’t walk, to your local market and check out all of the options they have)
1 tsp minced garlic (as always, pre-minced, such as Spice Island)
28 oz crushed tomatoes (I love Cento)
2 cups beef broth (helps boost that meaty flavor)
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste (yes, you finally get to use the WHOLE can!!)
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
Parmesan cheese for topping.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil to medium high. Add beef, onion, and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent. Add crushed tomatoes, broth, tomato paste, oregano, salt, and sugar. Stir well. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 20 – 25 minutes. Drain pasta and add back to the pot. When sauce is done, slowly add sauce to pasta, stirring to mix thoroughly. Top with pasta and serve with warm, crusty bread.
Wine Pairing Suggestions:
Total time: About 40 minutes
*Original Serves-4 Recipe
I came across this recipe on Eating Well. My first thought, “Who does not like chicken wrapped in prosciutto.” Just so we’re clear: Wrapped. In. Prosciutto. This is taking chicken thighs, which have about a million ways to be yum, and wrapping them in prosciutto. That’s like taking bacon and wrapping . . . well, ANYTHING. But saltier and tastier. Then you’ve got the mushrooms. Mushrooms and sauce are amazing. And yes, of course, I made mashed potatoes. While this dish came together in at least 45 minutes, but more like an hour, as opposed to the 35 minute “total time” suggestion from Eating Well, it was still amazing. The hubs even commented that he didn’t realize he was coming home to a 5 Star Meal. Today is Veterans Day, and I’m a Veteran, of course you’re getting a 5 Star meal!
4 boneless, skinless thighs
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
4 thin slices prosciutto (If you are not familiar with prosciutto, accept that it will quickly become the higher-power of your bacon God)
4 tsp olive oil – divided (use extra-virgin if you’d like)
1 large shallot, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbs finely chopped fresh oregano plus 1 tps, divided (ok, I don’t always have time to mess with fresh herbs, especially with the wonderful freeze-dried options, such as those available by Lighthouse)
8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms (I used 10 oz pre-sliced because that’s how it came and I’m not tossing out 2 oz of pre-sliced mushrooms)
1/2 cup Marsala or dry sherry (the best advice I can offer here, if you aren’t willing to drink it, don’t cook with it. Look in the wine section of your grocery store. Avoid “cooking” anything wines . Cooking wines tend to be higher in sodium and less flavorful.)
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth (you want to go with a nice ‘meaty’ broth here. There are so many that as you pour they look watered down. My tip, if they look watered down, they are, and that will translate to your dish.My personal favorite is Pacific Foods – Organic)
2 tsp cornstarch
Sprinkle chicken thighs with 1/4 tsp pepper and wrap each thigh with a slice of prosciutto.
Heat 2 tsp olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides and cooked through, 4 – 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; wrap with foil to keep warm.
Reduce heat to medium and add remaining 2 tsp oil, shallot, and 1 tbs oregano to pan. Cook, stirring, until shallots are beginning to brown (about 1 – 2 minutes). Add mushrooms and cook, stirring until browned (4 – 6 minutes). Add Marsala (sherry will work here, too) and cook about 2 minutes.
In a separate small bowl, whisk broth, cornstarch, and the remaining 1/4 tsp pepper in a small bowl or measuring cup. Add to pan, stirring. Return to simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened (about 4 minutes)
Wine Pairing Suggestions:
Total time: About an hour
*Derived from Eating Well
This was supposed to to be a traditional chicken Vesuvio, except I was missing, well, the Vesuvio. Or, the red-skinned potatoes and artichoke hearts. ” so I attempted to make do without. And boy, did I make do. This got a thumbs-up from my R Jr., foodie. And it was literally a thumbs-up because he had a mouthful of food. Does it really get better than that? I think not. I’m going to go ahead and add in the ingredients that I didn’t have, since it’s from Giada De Laurentiis, I think I’m safe 🙂 Everything with a * I did not have / did not do.
3 Tbs olive oil
4 skin on & bone in chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1½ lb small red-skinned potatoes, halved (I did not have this)
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
¾ cup dry white wine (ok, everyone MUST keep this on hand)
¾ cup chicken broth
1½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
8 0z frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (I did not have this)
2 Tbs unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 450° F.
Heat olive oil in a large oven proof pot on high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, cook chicken in pot until golden brown on all aides, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a bowl. Carefully add the garlic and onions to the pot and cook until softened. *Add the potatoes and cook until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the broth, oregano, and thyme. Return the chicken to the pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Once a boil is reached, cover the pot and bake until chicken is cooked through, about 20 – 25 minutes. Remove pot and transfer chicken to platter. *Arrange potatoes around chicken.
*Add artichoke hearts to sauce in pot. cover and simmer over high heat until artichokes are tender, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Turn heat to low. Stir in butter. Add artichokes to chicken and potatoes, pour sauce over dish and serve.
Wine Pairing Suggestion:
Total time: About an hour
Derived from: Giada De Laurentiis
This was amazing and so simple! I knew it was truly a hit when my Mexican husband gave it two thumbs up. Another major bonus? Leftovers to be used in countless ways. This will be added to my rotation, for sure.
2 lbs boneless pork shoulder
Salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Mexican blend seasoning
1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 minced cloves of garlic
1 orange, halved
After pork has been rinsed and patted dry, generously add salt & pepper. Mix oregano and Mexican blend seasoning with olive oil and all over rub pork. Place pork in slow cooker and top with onion and garlic. Squeeze the juice of the orange and drop in the two halves. Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 hours.
*Derived from Food Network