Savoy Cabbage, Beef, and Pasta

That was about as quick and easy as it gets for some fork-licking toothsomeness.

While we got a pot of salted water going for 1 lb of shell pasta we browned 1 lb of beef with some olive oil; got it nice and crunchy and spiced it up with salt, pepper, and red pepper spice.

In the meantime we chopped up 1/2 big onion and sliced 1 head of savoy cabbage into wide strips.

When the meat was done, we added the onion for another minute or two.

We removed the beef, set it aside, and

sauted the cabbage with more olive oil, while loosening the fried beef bits. Then we added 1/2 cup of water and let it simmer for about 15 minutes with the lid on.

That gave us enough time to set the table, add the pasta to the boiling water, squeeze the juice from 1 lemon, and rummage for the creme fraiche.

When it was all done, we added it all together: the pasta, beef, cabbage, lemon juice. and a few chunks of creme fraiche and adjusted the taste with a little more salt.
It was absolutely delicious.

We found the recipe in a monthly magazine from Tim Mälzer (German star cook, Hamburg restaurant owner, and cook book author extraordinaire).

Camembert and Ziti

This came from the pages of Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Food Revolution. An easy 30 minutes of cooking that makes you think you are hanging out in the Provence somewhere. (As a matter of fact this asked for such a lazy prep time, we probably should've cracked open a bottle of wine while cooking ... and fruit juice for the girls.)

For starters we turned our oven to 350F. Then we opened a 8 oz box of Camembert, unwrapped the cheese and placed it back into the bottom container. Then we sliced off the top and loaded it up with 2 sliced cloves of garlicleaves of 1 stick of rosemarypepper, and olive oil.

We filled a pot with salted water for 1 lb of Ziti pasta, turned on the heat, and stuck the cheese into the oven on a baking tray for 25 minutes.

Now there was a lot of time left with not much to do. All we had to contend with was washing about 6oz of spinach leaves, and grating 5 handfuls of Parmesan.

When the pasta was done we added the spinach for a quick bath, just about ten seconds or so.

We drained the pasta and spinach, catching some of the cooking water. Then we added most of the Parmesan, keeping some for the table fun. We added back a little of the cooking water to thin this thing out a bit.

Last but not least we rescued the Camembert.  Look at it. That's about as much fun as it gets.

We added the cheese to the pasta, and

Voila! It was delicious.

Cajun Alfredo with Shrimp

Shrimp, cream, and pasta. What's not to like. Well the kids said the shrimp. They boycotted it out right. And you know this might just be very nice prepared without the shrimp. But to get it right we did the whole thing, another recipe from Lisa Leake and her blog turned cookbook 100 Days of Real Food. Sure enough at least a few of us loved it. It was fun to make.

First we cranked up the heat under a big pot of water to prepare 1 pound of fettuccine pasta.

Then we diced up 1 half of a big red onion and 1 red bell pepper.

We heated up a pan and melted the onion for a few minutes in 3 chunks of butter. Whaaat?? Yup. A whole bunch of butter, YUM! We call that real and therefore healthy. BAM!

Next we cleaned up 1 pound of shrimp. We had bought it deveined but not peeled. As a compromise between trouble and cost. We got the shells off fairly quickly.

When the pasta was tossed into the salt water and the onion looked good and the aroma was to die for, we added the pepper, shrimp, and

our own version of Cajun spices: garlic salt, celery salt, dried oregano, chili powder, pink salt (how cool is that?), dried thyme, and red pepper. All to taste. Well; and some extra pink salt, since Lena, Lily, and Lucy each had to have a turn. (And as such we real-fooded it up a notch from the original recipe. Mmmmh-huh.)

Then Lily cleaned 3 handfuls of spinach.

We chopped up the spinach as well as 2 cloves of garlic.

They were added to the mix after the shrimp had cooked for five minutes and looked ready.

After a minute or so we added 1 cup of cream and 3 (Lily-) handfuls of freshly shredded Parmesan cheese. We brought it to a simmer and thickened the sauce up for a few minutes.

There it is. Yummy! It looked like the pros had a go at it. 
Thanks again Lisa for a wonderful dish. I hope we did your recipe and love for good healthy food justice. We sure enjoyed this one.

Pasta with Rocket and Prosciutto di Parma

Okay. So just when the last thing on your mind is to prepare a meal and you've about had it, and are starving, try this dish. It took us just as long to make as to cook the pasta.

So here is how this thing went down. While we started a big pot of salted water for 1 pound of linguine we chopped up half a big onion and slowly melted it with a chunk of butter for about five minutes. 

Then Lena quartered 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes and

tossed them with the onion for another five minutes.

Then she busied herself with 8 slices of prosciutto di Parma, cutting them into small pieces, (A few went mysteriously missing.)

When the pasta was about halfway done, Lena added a 250g pack of mascarpone to the veggies and let it melt to a silky sauce.

We washed 2 handfuls of rocket lettuce (arugula).

And just as all the yummy was getting too much to watch, we tossed it all together, pasta, veggies, rocket, the ham, and some reserved cooking water. Bam! Total fork-lickin' scrumptiousness.

(To the girls' rolling eyes Papa took the opportunity and recounted for the umpteenth time, how as a child he and his folks were crossing the Alps on the way to Sienna, when Papa's dad, Opa, brought the family's old Mercedes to a screeching halt on the market square of some old Italian village. He scampered out of the vehicle and returned within minutes cradling gingerly a whole leg of dry-cured ham. "This, kids," he exclaimed,"is a real Prosciutto di Parma", took a pocket knife, and skillfully cut off thin slices of tasty goodness, passing them around. The traveling party was, of course, within shouting distance of the city limits of Parma.)
We thank Tim Mälzer for the recipe.

Chicken Not Pie

This came from the pages of The Runner's World Cookbook. Loaded with vegetables and an absolute winner with the girls, it took but 30 minutes to prepare.

For starters we halved and sliced up 2 sticks of leek.

For five minutes we sauteed them in a little olive oil with salt and pepper.

Then we added 1 glass of white wine, 1 cup of vegetable broth, and

some chopped thyme. While we brought all that to a boil and a few minutes of simmer, we sliced up 2 chicken breasts.

We cooked the chicken for about 6 minutes. That gave us some time to peel and chop up into bite-size chunks 3 yellow potatoes.

Then Lily retrieved the chicken and placed it on the side.

We added the taters and boiled them for about five minutes.

In the meantime we prepared 1 carrot and 1 parsnip, added them for another couple minutes while the sauce was thickening.

Then we prepared 1 handful of sugar snap peas, and 1 bushel of green asparagus and added them, too, for just about three minutes.

To wrap it up we added the chicken, the juice of 1 lemon and some fresh parsley.

Not bad for  fast and furious weekday evening. It sure got our yummy going. Enough to make us polish our forks.

Kale Pesto and Pasta

We opened to page 274 of Charlotte's food blogger Lisa Leake's book 100 Days of Real Food, incidentally the name of her blog, and started cooking.(we apologize for any substitutions or irregularities we mixed into the affair, her original recipe is much better).

It was by the by a 30 minutes worth of easy preparation. We started with getting a pot of linguine going (here is a link to our steadfast rules to cooking pasta). While that was settled we scrounged up 2 handful of kale, 1 handful of basil leaves, 3 cloves of garlic, a small handful of pecan nuts, and 1 handful of freshly shredded Parmesan cheese,

All that we whizzed up in a food processor with a few gluggs of olive oil.

That's when we stuck a finger into the pesto and licked it off - Whooooa! nothing but jam-packed tastes and shudders down the spine. Delicious.

When we chugged the pasta in the boiling water we melted 2 chunks of butter and added a 3/4 cup of heavy cream and thickened it up for just about five minutes. Then we  mixed in the pesto and added it all to the drained pasta. We made sure to reserve some cooking water and to add a ladle worth of it to the dish to keep it all silky.

Since we had such a mellow time preparing it all, we chopped up a quick salad with avocado, small yellow and red tomatoes, juice of a lemon, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper,

And then we dug in. It was an instant hit. Thank you Lisa for the great inspiration.