Archive for the ‘Easy’ Category

Sheet Pan Fried Rice

March 26, 2019

What if I told you that I had a recipe for a dinner that fits this description:  It’s super easy.  It’s cheap to make.  You can make vast quantities at once.  You can put in whatever veggies and proteins you like.  It can be vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian,  no red meat, only red meat, whatever you want.  It’s good at room temperature and it’ll reheat like a dream.  It can sit out without spoiling so it’s perfect for a potluck.  Would you not make it every week?  I just might.

I haven’t had a ton of luck with sheet pan dinners.  I always end up with some parts cooked well and others not so much.  Not so with this fried rice!  And this is the perfect dinner for nights when you come in a little late and need a 30 minutes meal with very little cleanup.

This is where you should make it easy on yourself.  I made two packages of minute rice yesterday and put the rice in the fridge overnight.  Make it even easier by picking up some steamed rice at a local Chinese restaurant.  Just do it the day before.  You want this rice to be cold and dry when you start.  And this is the time to buy pre-chopped vegetables too.  You want these vegetables to be chopped pretty small and you don’t want to spend all night doing it.  I found this “super 8” mix at Lidl for cheap.  Use garlic and ginger pastes if you have them.   I also bought the shrimp that are quick peel.  They’re de-veined, but not peeled.  Get the peeled ones if you want, just make sure they’re raw.  Then all you have left is to beat a couple of eggs, which is optional anyway.

Here’s what you need (ish):  to feed 3-4

  • 2 C cooked rice, cooled and dry (leftover is best)
  • 2 C finely chopped vegetables
  • 1 T grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/8 C canola oil
  • 1/8 C soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 lb shrimp, peeled and de-veined

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 475.  (This is the most important step)
  • Combine rice, vegetables, ginger, garlic, canola, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil in a large bowl.


  • Mix until the rice is well coated
  • Spread onto a sheet pan


  • Bake 15 minutes
  • Use a metal spatula to stir the rice and spread it out again
  • Pour the eggs over the rice
  • Place the shrimp on top


  • Cook another 7-10 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp


  • Use your spatula to break up the rice where the egg has stuck it together
  • Top with soy sauce or sriracha or green onions, etc.



Chana Dal – take 2

March 25, 2019

My Indian cooking journey continues!  It’s a cool, rainy evening in Central Virginia and I’ve been thinking about making dal for dinner all day.  My plan was to try a new recipe for “Everyday Dal” with red lentils.  I even checked the cabinet to make sure I had them.  Sadly, while there is some red stuff on the bag, my lentils are green lentils.  Ugh.  On to Plan B.  I also had some chana dal, yellow split peas.

Several weeks ago I made Palak Chana Dal for the first time.  I really enjoyed that.  Two things have changed since then.  First, I went to an Indian restaurant in London so I could see what it’s actually supposed to be like.  Theirs was a lot soupier than mine.  Honestly, I like it better a little thicker.  Second, I got a new cookbook with a recipe for Chana Dal with Golden Garlic Tarka.  If you’ve been following along, you may recall that I cautioned that this is NOT a weeknight dish.  I did not recall that.

This recipe, like that one, says to cook the split peas 40 minutes.  And this time, like that one, mine were not nearly done in 40 minutes. I let them simmer an hour and they still weren’t creamy, but I was hungry. (Last time it took 90 minutes before they were soft and creamy).  I have no idea what the deal is with this.  Next time maybe I’ll soak them first.

My other mistake, other than doing this on a Monday night after work, is that I made a half recipe.  I’m trying to control the amount of food that gets stuck in the freezer only to be seen again in the event of a power outage; or that gets thrown away because I’m sick of it.  My advice?  If you’re going to make a dish that requires the peas to simmer 60-90 minutes, make a whole bunch.  I feel confident that this would freeze well and I like it so much that I’m sad I only have one meal of it left.

Other than that, this is an easy recipe.  Only onions and garlic to slice.  A few spices and some canola oil.  Done. I added some chopped spinach because I had a little left in the fridge.  That was a nice addition.  I ate mine without rice or naan.  I’m making fried rice tomorrow, so rice was out, and I have zero bread in the house at the moment.  I didn’t miss it except that I might be hungry later.

Here’s what you need: to serve 4


  • 14 ounces chana dal (dried yellow split peas)
  • 4 T canola oil
  • 1 T cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 t garam masala
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 mustard seeds
  • fresh red chiles (optional)
  • chopped spinach (optional)

Here’s what you do:

  • Rinse the dal until the water runs clear.  (Seriously.  This is not optional.)
  • Add dal and 5 1/2 C water to a large pot and bring to a boil
  • Simmer until the dal is soft (anywhere from 40-90 minutes, see above)


  • In a frying pan heat 2T oil
  • When the oil shimmers, add cumin seeds and onion.
  • Cook 10-15 minutes until the onion is caramelized and add half the garlic
  • Cook for 1-2 minutes.  Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  • When the dal is done, add the onion and garlic mixture to the pot
  • Stir in the garam masala, chili powder, and salt


  • Use a dry paper towel to wipe out the frying pan
  • Add remaining 2T oil and heat over medium heat
  • Add the mustard seeds to the cold oil and heat until they begin to pop
  • Add the rest of the garlic and fry until it’s golden; add the red chiles if using
  • Drizzle over the dal
  • Add the chopped spinach and stir until it wilts
  • Serve plain or with rice or naan



Buffalo Cauliflower Salad

March 18, 2019

I love pretty much anything with Buffalo sauce on it.  But Buffalo Wings fall into the “buy” category, not the “make” category at this house, so about the only Buffalo dish here is Buffalo Shrimp.  This month Eating Well magazine (the slightly sad replacement for Cooking Light) is featuring cauliflower.  I know, who isn’t these days.  I wasn’t hopeful.  I’m not a huge fan of pretending like cauliflower is a magical food that will replace pizza crust, potatoes, rice, and presumably someday petroleum and cleaning products as well.  Then I saw the recipe for this salad and this seemed like a good idea.

I’ll admit that I cheated.  I used store-bought blue cheese dressing instead of making my own buttermilk dressing and adding blue cheese crumbles.  I just got back from out of town so I don’t have buttermilk or blue cheese in the house.  I actually don’t even have milk in the house.  I also had no celery so I used radishes instead.  All good.

This is super easy.  And it’s really good if you like foods in Buffalo sauce.  Is it dinner?  I’m not sure it is.  I have a feeling I’m going to be in the kitchen making cheese toast before the night is over.  You could add some chickpeas to the roasting pan for the last 10 minutes or so.  Or you could toss some cooked, diced chicken in with the cauliflower when you coat it.  I recommend trying that if you’re planning to serve this as a one dish meal.

Here’s what you need:

  • Medium head of cauliflower, cut into pieces
  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Matchstick carrots
  • Radishes, thinly sliced
  • Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 T hot sauce (Frank’s)
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • blue cheese dressing

Here’s what you do:

  • Heat the oven to 450 degrees (F)
  • Toss the cauliflower with olive oil and spread in a pan in a single layer
  • Roast for 20 minutes
  • Create a salad from the vegetables


  • In a small bowl, melt the butter and stir in the hot sauce and lemon juice
  • Toss the cauliflower with the Buffalo sauce


  • Dress the salad with blue cheese
  • Top with cauliflower


Cilantro Chutney Chicken (or Paneer or Tofu)

March 10, 2019

I’d been needing a cookbook of Indian food that I felt like I could actually make.  As much as I love my Rasika cookbook, a lot of it intimidates me.  A few weeks ago I found Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen by Meera Sodha.  This is my first meal from it and I’m super excited!

This is really easy. No lists of 37 ingredients.  No need to marinate overnight, which I rarely notice until I’ve got everything prepped.  No special pots.  Just a blender for the chutney and a frying pan. (Plus a pot for rice if you’re using it).

A few things I’d do differently next time.  I’d make the chutney spicier.  It has amazing flavor and is wonderful as it is, but I’m missing the heat.  I’d use a bigger pan.  There really needed to be room to spread the chicken out in a single layer.  Since my chicken was all piled on top of itself it braised more than it seared.  Still good!  And I’d add more chutney.  The dish was a little dry in the end. Fortunately I have quite a bit of chutney left so I can add some to the leftovers.

What do I love about this dish?  Most things.  The chutney is really wonderful.  I’ll admit, I’m not normally drawn to chutneys.  Usually they’re pretty chunky and very acidic.  I love that this one has the texture of pesto and is not so sharp.  I also love that the recipe invites you to adjust the sugar, chili, and lemon juice to your liking.  Feel free to make it ahead to make dinner prep even easier.  I made mine this morning.

For the chicken, which I really think could very successfully be replaced with paneer or firm tofu, there’s not a ton to do.  I used a mini food processor to make the ginger-garlic-chili paste so I only had to slice the onions and cube the chicken.

The longest part of this process is caramelizing the onions for the top.  They do add a very nice touch and you do them alongside everything else, but if that’s more than you want to take on, leave them out.  Just leave all the onions in the pan with the chicken rather than removing half to another pan.

I won’t have any trouble at all finishing these leftovers!  I’m already looking forward to lunch tomorrow.  And don’t be surprised if that chutney ends up on some scrambled eggs this week!

Here’s what you need: (for the chutney)


  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 ounces peanuts (I used salt and pepper peanuts because that’s what I had)
  • 2 chilis/peppers (I used jalapenos but it wasn’t hot enough for me in the end)
  • 4 t brown sugar
  • 4 T lemon juice
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1 t salt

Here’s what you do:

  • Throw everything in the blender and puree.  Add a little water if you need to reach a pesto like consistency)


Here’s what you need: (for the chicken or paneer or tofu)

  • 2 inch piece of ginger
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano or other hot pepper
  • salt
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 6 T (or more) cilantro chutney


Here’s what you do:

  • Put the ginger, garlic, hot pepper, and salt in a mini chopper or food processor.  Process into a paste.


  • In a frying pan (with a lid), heat the oil
  • When the oil shimmers, add the onions
  • Cook 8-10 minutes, until they look golden


  • Remove half into a frying pan over low heat (if you’re planning to caramelize some for the top)
  • Add the paste.  Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly


  • Add the chicken.  Sear on all sides


  • Stir in the chutney


  • Cover and cook over medium-low heat 15 minutes, until the chicken is done.
  • While the chicken is cooking, stir the onions in the frying pan occasionally until they are dark brown and soft
  • Serve with rice or naan, topped with caramelized onions


Mediterranean Pasta Friday

March 8, 2019

I’ve been eating Taco Soup for four days.  I briefly considered making some macaroni and having Taco Mac for Pasta Friday, but I really needed a break.  Not a ton of fresh stuff in the house by the time I get to Friday so I have to dig in the refrigerator drawers a little.  Tonight I had some chard and some feta to start me off.  A jar of olives and a lemon and you’ve got Mediterranean pasta.  I made it with spaghetti, but orzo would have been good too.

All in all I was really pleased with this.  I only made 2 servings and I’ll definitely eat the leftovers.  I made one error.  It seemed like fun to chiffonade the chard.  Long ribbons of greens to go in long pasta – good, right?  Not so much.  The chard gets all tangled in itself and it’s pretty hard to eat.  Next time I’ll just chop it.

Here’s the best part of this dish.  You really only have to cook the pasta.  I did heat some olive oil to help cook the garlic, but mostly the chard cooked with a little pasta water and then finished when I tossed the hot pasta in.  The feta and olives just warm up.  Of course I cooked the chicken that I put on top, but that was kind of an after thought and honestly didn’t add much.

The key here is to squeeze the lemon juice onto the pasta after it’s been plated so it’s really fresh.  If you stir in the lemon juice while the pasta is still on the heat it loses some of it’s brightness.  And you really need that to give a little balance to the brine of the feta and olives.

This is really a 15 minute meal.  The whole thing takes only as long as it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta.  Perfect for a Friday night after a long week.  Or any night after a long day.  Or any night.

Here’s what you need: (plus some pasta, and minus the chicken if you don’t want it)


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 4-5 leaves green swiss chard, stemmed, rolled, and cut into a chiffonade (or just chopped)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10-12 kalamata olives, halved
  • 2 ounces feta
  • 1-2 T fresh lemon juice

Here’s what you do:

  • Cook the pasta to al dente, reserve some of the pasta water
  • While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil until it shimmers
  • Add the garlic, cook until it’s fragrant
  • Add the chard and a splash of the pasta water


  • Drain the pasta, reserving 1/8 C of the water
  • Add the hot pasta to the chard, stir until the chard is wilted
  • Stir in the feta and olives
  • Add more pasta water if the dish seems too dry


  • Serve the pasta and squeeze the lemon juice over each bowl
  • Top with freshly ground pepper


It’s Taco (Soup) Tuesday!

March 5, 2019

Happy Mardi Gras, y’all!  What could be better than a Taco Fat Tuesday?!  I’ve been busy stuffing myself with the things I’m giving up for Lent (chocolate and Coke), so honestly, a not so fat dinner is pretty appealing.  This is one of those dinners that can be adjusted to pretty much any level of fat or spice and with any kind of toppers you want.

The recipe calls for beef or pork stew meat, but I used ground beef just like I would in tacos.  Well, actually, I cut the fat by using half Boca crumbles and half ground beef.  You could use all veggie crumbles to make it vegetarian.  Or chicken if you’re not a red meat person. Or extra beans and thrown in some shrimp at the end.  See?  You can do just about anything with this.  I’ve used black beans, but any beans you like, or no beans, will do just as well.  I used canned corn and canned tomatoes, per the recipe.  Then I realized there were no green chiles or jalapenos called for so I dumped in some salsa.  Finish with the taco seasoning packet of your choice.  Or use a home blend if you’re feeling industrious.

What else do we love?  This is a slow cooker recipe so you dump everything in the pot in the morning and come home to a house that smells like tacos!  Ground beef frozen?  Totally fine.  Throw it in there.  You’ll have to break it up when you get home, but that’s no big deal.  Using shrimp?  If they’re frozen, throw them in when you get home.  They’ll be done by the time you get your clothes changed and everyone gathered up for dinner.  If they’re fresh (or thawed), throw them in about 7-8 minutes before you want to eat.

What’s even better?  I keep Boca crumbles and salsa in the house pretty much all the time.  I got everything else at Lidl, including the toppings, so this whole pot of soup cost me about $5.

What about the toppings?  Sky’s the limit.  Sour cream, cheese, olives, hot sauce, pickled jalapenos, tortilla chips.  Think of this as a big bowl of nacho topping!  I’m using some chopped romaine lettuce, avocado, and plain yogurt.  I hear it’s good eaten with Scoops instead of a spoon!  Sounds like a crowd pleaser to me.

This is eighteen different kinds of good.  How could it miss?  It’s tacos in a bowl!  And it doesn’t disappoint.  Don’t wait for next Tuesday.  Make it tomorrow!

Here’s what you need:


  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb (equiv) Boca crumbles
  • 1 can beans, drained
  • 1 can corn, undrained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1/2 C salsa

Here’s what you do:

  • Dump everything in the Crock-pot
  • Cook on low 6-8 hours
  • Top with your choice of toppings




Grits and Greens with Sausage

March 4, 2019

I’m home!  Business travel isn’t all bad.  I tried a bunch of new restaurants.  But I’m so glad to be home and in my own kitchen.  The secret, for me at least, is to take the day you get back as a recovery day – dog walking, unpacking, laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping.

I know that not everyone loves the meal planning process.  It’s hard.  It’s a challenge to find something new to make.   And I’m finding that online searches are now full of recipes for air fryers and instant pots, which maybe you, like I, don’t have.  I hope this blog helps with some of that.  I love to look through my cookbooks.  It’s amazing to me how you can find something new in a cookbook you’ve had for ages just because you’re into a new ingredient or in a different mood.


Tonight I found this recipe in a magazine.  Apparently Eating Well has replaced Cooking Light.  I’ll save my feelings about that for another time.  I found this recipe in a section on “Easy Dinners.”    That’s about right for my energy level at the end of today.  The recipe is  for “Creamy Polenta with Sausage and Chard.”  Fancy.  In this kitchen creamy polenta and chard translates to grits and greens.  The sausage can stay.

It is an easy dinner.  I made it a little bit harder by using stone ground grits instead of instant polenta.  I don’t have instant grits in the house.  Sometimes Quaker Quick Grits, never instant.  Don’t get me wrong. I’ve eaten many, many mugs of instant grits right out of the microwave.  My life just allows me to opt for the others now.  I used 2 cups of broth and 2 cups of water instead of 4 cups of water.  Make whatever call works for you.  If you’re planning to use them a bunch of different ways throughout the week, probably the plainer the better.

And then I made it a little bit easier with the baby kale.  You don’t have to stem it.  Just run a knife through it. I also used some chard.  I had some time to kill waiting for the grits to cook so I stemmed and chopped a few stalks.

I muffed the finishing touches on the greens and sausage.  I added the balsamic vinegar and red pepper, but not the broth so I didn’t have a “sauce” at the end.  I’m not sure that balsamic vinegar and vegetable broth really counts as a sauce so that’s ok.  I will say that while the balsamic vinegar was good, I think cider vinegar might have been better.  Slightly sharper acid as a nice balance for garlic.  Or maybe my mouth is just used to cider vinegar with greens.

Would I make this again?  Sure.  There are many variations of this dish so I’ll probably make a different version next time.  I also got so carried away with the recipe that I forgot what I know about grits. They multiply.  One cup of grits uncooked turns into enough grits to feed 8 easily, not 4.  Pay no attention to the measurements on the package or in the recipe.  Trust me on this.  I’m going to be eating a lot of grits this week.  A lot.  In fact, throw an over easy egg on top of a serving of this dish and you’re looking at breakfast!

Here’s what you need:


  • 12 oz sausage; I used Sausage Craft San Miniato (pork, garlic, salt, pepper)
  • 4-6 C chopped greens
  • 2 C broth; I used homemade vegetable broth (carrots, onions, mushrooms, garlic)
  • 2 C water
  • 1 C grits
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 t crushed red pepper
  • salt

Here’s what you do:

For the sausage and greens:

  • Cook the sausage in a pan large enough to hold the greens
  • When the sausage is cooked remove it from the pan
  • Slice the sausage


  • Add the greens to the pan, stir until wilted, 2-3 minutes


  • Return the sausage to the pan
  • Add balsamic vinegar and pepper
  • Stir until greens are softened

For the grits:  Start the grits when you put the sausage on

  • Boil the water and broth in a medium pot
  • Stir in the grits
  • Cook the grits covered, stirring occasionally 15-20 minutes

Serve the greens and sausage over the grits.




Sheet Pan Fried Rice

February 15, 2019

I’m not sure what my deal is with rice these days, but I’m eating a ton of it.  I had a carton of leftover rice from takeout the other night, and sheet pan fried race calls for exactly that.  Rice that’s leftover so it’s dry.  I had a bunch of stuff that’s been in the vegetable drawer just this side of too long.  And I almost always have eggs.  Dinner!

This is super easy.  You mix your rice and veggies with some sesame oil and soy sauce.  Pour it on a sheet pan and bake.  That can be the end if you want.  I decided to add some eggs to mine because all the other protein I have in the house is frozen.  One tip. Put a teaspoon or two of canola oil on your sheet pan and spread it around.  Put the  pan in the oven as it heats.  That way the oil and pan are hot when you add the rice and it starts to fry immediately.

If you’re going to use a protein like chicken or beef, partially cook it in the sheet pan before you add the rice.  Then it will finish cooking with everything else.  If you’re using shrimp, add it about halfway through the rice cooking so it doesn’t get rubbery.

Here’s what you need: for 2-3 main dish servings


  • 2 t vegetable oil
  • 1 pint leftover cooked rice
  • chopped vegetables
    • mushrooms, peppers, onions
  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 2 green onions, chopped

Here’s what you do:

  • Spread the vegetable oil on a sheet pan
  • Heat the pan in the oven to 375 degrees
  • While the oven heats, mix the rice, vegetables, sesame oil and soy sauce in a bowl


  • Spread the rice mixture on the sheet pan in a single layer


  • Bake 10 minutes
  • Create 3-4 wells in the rice, pour in the egg
  • Bake 5 minutes
  • Stir the partially cooked eggs into the rice and spread it back into a single layer
  • Cook another 4-5 minutes
  • Add green onions
  • Season with more soy sauce as needed


This is a good meal.  Easy, cheap, good for using up leftover vegetables.  What would I do differently?  I’d heat the oven hotter to get a little more crisp on the rice.  I might also add some garlic and ginger to make the flavors a little more complex.  Maybe I’ll try that the next time.  And there will be a next time!

Oh, and hang on to the takeout rice container.  You can put your leftovers in it!

Curried Chickpeas with Eggplant

February 11, 2019

This one’s for you my vegetarian friends looking for some spice!  Another winner from Melissa Clark’s Dinner.  Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients. It’s long, but the recipe isn’t difficult and most of the spices are things you probably have on hand.  The hardest thing about this is not eating all the roasted eggplant while you make the rest!

A few tips.  Do use a brush to apply a little oil to the eggplant.  I have one with silicone “bristles” because it cleans up easier than real bristle brushes.  Using a brush allows you to apply the oil evenly and very little of it.  If you try to pour a little and then spread it with your fingers you’ll use 2-3 times as much and have greasy eggplant.  Tip number two.  If you don’t have garam masala and you’re not starting an Indian cooking adventure, don’t buy it.  You can make a reasonable substitute with 1/2 t each of cumin, cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper.

I made a few substitutions just based on what I had on hand.  I didn’t have a fresh chile of any kind so I added crushed red pepper instead.  And I don’t generally buy fresh tomatoes in February. With the exception of grape tomatoes, they’re pretty expensive and don’t taste like much this time of year in central VA.  I do have a basement full of summer tomatoes that I canned myself.  I’ll take those as a substitute for cooked winter tomatoes any day!  And I used canned chickpeas instead of homemade, because, well, the recipe said it was ok and in the make versus buy equation, chickpeas come out on the buy side every time.

The recipe recommends that you serve this with rice or flatbread if you’re using it as a main dish.  I don’t have any flatbread in the house.  I tried to buy naan over the weekend, but Wegman’s was out of all the naan except their store brand, which I don’t think is very good.  And no rice for me because in the last week I’ve eaten more rice than in the previous few months combined!  I’d recommend some bread or rice though.  The yogurt did a good job of balancing the heat, but a little something else would have been nice.  And it’ll stretch your dish a little further as well.  Maybe a little cucumber salad on the side would be nice as well.

What else.  Don’t skip the step where you cook the spices for a minute.  Giving them a chance to toast just a little really helps.  Also, I don’t usually like mint in savory dishes.  In my world mint is for juleps and tea, but it added a really nice sweet note in this dish.  I used spearmint, not peppermint, which I think is a good choice.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced and roasted
  • 1/2 a large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced or 1/2 t crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala (substitute described above)
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1/8 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb fresh tomatoes, chopped, or one pint canned tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • lemon juice to taste

For garnish:

  • chopped green onions
  • chopped fresh mint leaves
  • plain yogurt (optional)

Here’s what you do:

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in large skillet, then add the onions.
  • Cook until softened and golden, about 4 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
  • Add spices and cook for 1 minute, then add tomatoes, chickpeas and 2 tablespoons water.
  • Partly cover the pan and let the mixture simmer until tomatoes start to break down, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Add eggplant to the pan and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until sauce thickens.


  • Serve with any combination of the garnish, rice, and flatbread


Linguine with Garlicky Chard and Scallops

February 9, 2019

This morning I ran a long way.  This afternoon I did a lot of cleaning.  Which means that tonight I’m both super tired and also feeling like I deserve a nice dinner.  Nice dinner in 20 minutes, coming up!

Seafood usually signals a pretty nice dinner and it cooks in minutes.  Scallops are especially awesome because they don’t have to be peeled or skinned or scrubbed or cut.  Just patted dry.  Pasta is easy and always on hand.  Chard is a nice Winter green, hardier than spinach and softer than kale.  And garlic goes with pretty much everything.  A squeeze of lemon and a pat of butter and you’re done!  If you’re not a seafood person add some white beans or some more greens and maybe some crushed red pepper.

The one thing that you have to keep in mind for this is what order to do everything in.  If you do things in the right order everything will be ready at about the same time and hot when you throw it together.  Pasta, garlic, greens, seafood.  That’s the order.  As always, it helps if you get everything ready to go before you start.

Here’s what you need for 2 servings: (plus a little lemon and a little butter)


  • 4 oz linguine
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, still in the paper
  • 1 bunch green chard
  • 1/2 lb sea scallops

Here’s what you do:

  • Start the pasta water
  • Put the garlic in a 350 degree oven
  • Remove the stems from the chard and chop it


  • Pat the scallops dry
  • Add the pasta to the water.  When it’s about half done, continue
  • Squeeze the garlic out of the paper and smash it with the side of a knife


  • Heat a good sized pan with 1T olive oil for the greens
  • Heat 1t olive oil and 1 pat butter in a frying pan
  • Add the garlic and greens to the large pan.  Add a little pasta water
  • When the butter browns and the frying pan begins to smoke add the scallops
  • Cook the scallops 2 minutes on each side.  Do not move them except to flip them once.
  • Toss the pasta in with the greens


  • Add a pat of butter and a squeeze of lemon juice
  • Top the pasta with the scallops


Four real ingredients and twenty minutes for a very elegant dinner.  Honestly I could have eaten both servings easily.  I still might!