Posts Tagged ‘quick’

Tortellini Soup

Tortellini Soup

I’d spotted a recipe for hearty pasta soup on the BBC Good Food website and decided to give it a go as it had a lot of very high ratings and we had a pack of tortellini in fridge for which we had no plans. This is a really simple recipe that takes minimal preparation (chopping an onion and a couple of carrots). I used kidney beans instead of the green beans because we’ve had a bit of a green bean overload recently! The kidney beans were microwaved for a couple of minutes beforehand to ensure they’d be soft.

It was nice enough, but definitely seemed to be lacking something – perhaps some chilli. I think this is probably something that would appeal to kids whilst getting some vegetables into them. I doubt we’d make this again as it is, but I’d definitely try some kind of tortellini soup again.

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Pork and Chorizo Burgers

Pork and Chorizo Burgers

Erika is out for the day so I had an opportunity to do something a bit different for dinner. I prefer to try new things on myself first as it costs half as much and inconveniences half as many people should it go wrong. Sadly, my plans for dinner this evening fell through when Robert Dyas was closed due to a power cut. I needed to buy a utensil, and without it I couldn’t have the meal I’d planned. So I needed to think of something else.

As Erika doesn’t eat beef, pork or lamb I thought I ought to be using one of the three and this made me remember something I saw yesterday. Last night I was browsing Eat Like a Girl, and saw a recipe Fresh Garlic, Chorizo and Pork burgers. It sounded fantastic and although I commented on the post saying that I’d like to add chilli, I thought it would be best to have them the first time as per the original recipe. Unfortunately I was still outside Robert Dyas and I didn’t want to come home just to open my laptop and find the post; thankfully the wonders of modern technology saved the day and I had it on my iPhone in a matter of seconds. Then it was off to the supermarket to pick up the ingredients.

I scaled the recipe to use 200g of pork mince and about 40g of chorizo, although I didn’t have any fresh garlic. Looking around the kitchen for an alternative, I spied some spring onions looking a bit lonely in the fridge so finely chopped two of them and added them instead.

10 minutes on the griddle later and the burgers were done. I served them in some toasted ciabatta alongside sliced tomatoes, cucumber, rocket and a few slices of mature cheddar cheese. I used ciabatta instead of the recommended pita because I knew I’d have some unused chorizo in the fridge. Ciabatta and chorizo go wonderfully together with a drizzle of olive oil and some peppery rocket – I’ll look forward to that for lunch next week.

As for the chilli, I’m happy I left it out: the burgers were delicious without it. To be honest I’m not sure that it’s necessary, what with the peppery rocket and paprika-spiked chorizo. I’d gladly eat this again tomorrow.

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Chicken arrabiata

We’re trying to use up things in the freezer at the moment and needed some way to use up a lone chicken breast. We reasoned that it would probably stretch furtherst in a pasta dish and decided upon making an arrabiata sauce to go with it.

A quick Google search tells me that our sauce wasn’t entirely authentic, but we just chose to make up a spicy tomato sauce and go with it!

Chicken Arrabiata
Serves 2
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins

1 chicken breast
160g pasta (we used conchiglie, but would have used penne if we’d had any!)
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 green chilli, minced (red’ll do too!)
1tbsp tomato purée
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tsp dried oregano
olive oil
salt & pepper
Grana Padano/Parmesan, to serve (optional)

1. Put the chicken breast in a pan and cover with boiling water. Bring to a slow boil and poach for 10-15 minutes or until cooked. When cooked, remove it from the pan and leave on a plate to rest.
2. Meanwhile, soften the onion in olive oil for 5 minutes before adding the crushed garlic and minced chilli. Cook for a further minute.
3. Add the herbs and then stir the tomato purée through. Leave it for 30 seconds or so before adding the chopped tomatoes. Season to taste and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.
4. While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta according to the instructions.
5. When everything is ready, shred the chicken with your hands (or a couple of forks if it’s still too hot!), drain the pasta and then mix everything in together before serving with a sprinkling of Grana Padano/Parmesan.

This was the first time we’d poached chicken and it worked really well, cooking it through whilst keeping it soft and moist. The sauce had a pleasant warmth from the chilli (if you want more of a kick, you’ll want to add more) and was all in all a really nice, quick and easy meal.

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Sausage and tomato pasta

When we were deciding on dinners this week I was thinking of what we had in the freezer and remembered that there were some pork sausages, which gave me inspiration for tonight’s dinner. Once again it’s a simple dish, taking 25 minutes in total, and tastes delicious. Add more or less chilli depending on your personal preference.

Sausage and Tomato Pasta
Serves 2
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Three sausages
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red chilli, minced
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1tbsp tomato purée
150g pasta
basil leaves, torn
salt and pepper
grated Grana Padano, to serve (or parmesan if you prefer)

Start by dicing the sausages, then fry them in the olive oil for 5 minutes until they are browned. Add the garlic and chilli, and cook for a minute or so, before adding the tomato purée and tinned tomatoes. Season to taste and simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet and drain. Stir the sauce through the pasta, add the basil and serve with a sprinkling of cheese.

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tortellini, baby spinach and cherry tomato salad

We have a friend coming tomorrow to stay with us for a few days and the flat has been looking like a bit of a disaster recently. Rob was out this evening and I got home at about 7pm knowing that I had a good couple of hours of cleaning ahead of me. Two hours of tidying, vacuuming and scrubbing later and the last thing I wanted to do was cook a proper dinner!

Tortellini really does offer a remarkably quick and easy dinner option but, unlike the ready meals that may be an obvious choice, it also tastes fantastic and I’ve often chosen it even when I’ve all the time in the world!

Tonight’s dinner took no more than 5 minutes to prepare. While the kettle boiled, I chopped up some baby spinach and halved some cherry tomatoes. I then brought the water back to the boil in a pan and added a pack of spinach and ricotta tortellini (no matter what else I try, I always come back to spinach and ricotta, mmm!). A minute later, I drained the pasta and then drizzled it with olive oil. Half went into tupperware for tomorrow’s lunch and the other half was mixed up with the spinach and tomatoes. Once plated up, all it needed was a few grinds of pepper and it was ready to devour! Delicious!

I always used to make a tomato sauce to go with tortellini, but just using the olive oil really makes you appreciate the flavours of the filling so much more (plus it makes it that much quicker!).

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