I’m an amateur at pretty much every aspect of life–that’s part of the fun, right? I certainly don’t claim to be an expert of anything, including (or especially?) when it comes to cooking. Since I’ve moved to San Francisco, I’ve started cooking a lot more–a combination of being frugal, needing to eat a healthy diet, and more time than I’ve ever had on my hands!
I love trying new recipes, but I’m not exactly an adventurous chef–if a recipe has unfamiliar techniques or an ingredient list longer than a few seconds of glancing at it, I’m more than likely to pass it by. In fact, rather than a fancy new dish, I’m more proud of the fact that I’m starting to reach the point where I can look at what I have on hand and throw together a quick and healthy meal.
Here are two such dinners that I’ve made in the past few weeks, when I didn’t have a plan or a new recipe to follow, and just “wung it.” (There is no way in this world that “wung” is a word, I realize, but what is the past tense of “wing it”??)
Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli
What I had on hand:
- half a jar of alfredo sauce
- half a box of penne pasta
- leftover steamed broccoli
- two chicken breasts in the fridge
How I threw it together: In one pot, I boiled the pasta. I cubed the chicken breasts and sautéed them with some olive oil in a separate skillet. When the chicken was starting to brown on each side, I added the Alfredo sauce and broccoli to warm the leftovers up. Drain the noodles, throw it all together, and Ta-da! Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli!
Couscous with Peas and Shrimp
What I had on hand:
- one box of Near East couscous
- frozen peas
- half a bag of frozen (cooked) shrimp
How I threw it together: In one pot, I boiled the water with butter for the couscous. Add the couscous, cover, remove from heat for 5 minutes (seriously, it’s that easy!) In a separate skillet, I sautéed the (still frozen) shrimp with some butter. When the butter was sizzling, I added the peas. Fluff the couscous, throw everything together, and Ta-Da!
(I made popovers too, from a recipe in Real Simple magazine, but I honestly can’t recommend them. The popovers were super easy to make and looked really good, but they were pretty bland and doughy, even though they were baked through thoroughly.)
I’m still an amateur home cook, but I’m proud of myself for stepping away from the recipe occasionally and throwing together a quick and (relatively) healthy dinner on the fly. Go, me!