Monday, August 1, 2011

Dinner in 30

I love to cook, it isn't a secret anymore since this blog has gone public.  However, there are many nights where the thought of cooking makes my toes curl.  These are the nights where I pull out supermarket splendors like Gorton's Fish and Ragu sauce to make a filling meal that I find oh-so-comfy.

Step 1: Preheat oven according to box directions for the frozen fish of your choice.  At the same time, boil a large pot of water with a bit of olive oil in it.

Step 2:  Put 1 jar of your favorite sauce (I use Ragu Traditional) in a large sauce pan.  Add approximately 1 Tbsp of dried basil, dried oregano, and red pepper flakes.  Add approximately 2 Tbsp garlic powder and about 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.  Cook on medium high until bubbling and take off heat.

Step 3:  Start fish cooking in oven.  I prefer Gorton's battered fish fillets, which take 12 minutes on each side at 425 degrees F, totalling a 24 minute cook time.

Step 4:  When the water is boiling, place pasta in the water, and boil for one minute less than the lowest cooking time on the box.  I tend to use Ronzoni's Thin Spaghetti, which lists a 9-11 minute cook time.  I would cook the pasta for 8 minutes and strain but not rinse.

Step 5:  When the pasta is finished cooking and has been strained, place the sauce back on a low heat setting and add all the pasta and 4 Tbsp of the pasta cooking water and mix it all well.*  This adds the starch to the water and creates a nice consistency in the sauce.  Cook the pasta and sauce together on low heat for about two minutes, until heated through and combined nicely.

 *note: I like to use cooking tongs instead of a spoon to mix the pasta. I find I have much more control over the pasta and it ends in much less sauce splatter.

Step 6:  At this point the fish should be finished and ready to be plated.  The fish is cooked when the outside is golden brown on both sides.   Now it is time to plate.

Step 7:  Plate your food.  I like to add a bit of parmesan cheese on top of the pasta.  I also heat a can of green beans in the micro, but choose a veg of your choice.  You might prefer a fresh crisp salad on a hot summer night, or perhaps you have a bag of frozen veg in the freezer that needs a bit of steaming in the microwave or over a pot of hot water.  If you prefer fresh vegetables, you can quickly steam some asparagus or green beans or broccoli etc over a pot of boiling water.  All choices take about 5 minutes.

For dessert I like to cut up some fresh fruit.  Tonight I chose to cut up some canteloupe as they have been really sweet lately and I couldn't resist as I them by in the produce section.

So, dinner in 30, and you didn't have to cut anything (well I cut canteloupe but if you really must avoid a knife at all costs, have a summer peach.)  Better yet, you didn't have to partake of the fast food craze that has become the Nouveau American Cuisine.  You will still have preservatives in your food because you are using canned sauce and frozen fish, but if you think ahead, you can have jarred homeade sauce on hand for nights such as these, and if you have a fish market by you, they often sell pre-breaded fish for your baking pleasure.  Unfortunately, I haven't started canning as of yet, but I will as soon as I start my garden.  Apartment living isn't conducive to gardening.  I know, I know, stop the excuses.  Well, at least I stopped the drive-throughs.
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