Food is the cornerstone of my life. When we travel, that's what I'm most concerned about. What new food can I try? What iconic locale can we eat it in? I celebrate each book release with a splurge of sushi and sake. No date night is complete without food. In the five love languages, they forgot food. Yeah sure, my basic language is "quality time" but really? It's food. How we relate to it, share it, spend time with it. It's quality time, but it isn't quality without the food! So when it comes to my crazy life (mom of two, wife to overworked engineer, badass writer extraordinaire) time to cook and eat is not something I'm willing to sacrifice. I hit a dark time last year when choices had to be made and cooking got sidelined. There is an art to the science of cooking. It is a perfect blend of those two things I love so much, and not being able to explore and invest in that creative process ultimately drove me slightly insane.
Therefore my goal in 2016 was to find a way to keep cooking and food in my life despite the fact that we're in the middle of the crazy years of life. Over the next few weeks I'm going to be sharing my favorite recipes, short cuts, tips and tricks. Some of it is a life saver for being able to eat quality home cooked food with zero time to spare, some of it is the complicated dishes I loose myself inside because I need to put my earbuds in, sip on a nice glass of good red wine (or bourbon) and tune out the world. I've been promising this series for a long time, so here it is, dear readers!
I'm kicking off with one of my favorites: Chicken Meatball Pasta
Aidells Italian Style Meatballs
1 cup of chicken broth
1 box of pasta (the orecchiette pictured is awesome, but we usually end up using bow ties)
2 cans of diced tomatoes
a handful of chopped spinach and fresh basil
1 cup of shredded parmesan
1 cup of shredded mozzarella
Brown the meatballs in a large pan ( I use the pan pictured below. They call it a one-pot pan because you can make all these one-pot meals in it!) Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Add the chicken broth and tomatoes, scraping any bits of meatball off the pan that have been browned on.
Let this simmer for five minutes. Sprinkle in some of parmesan and let it melt. Add the spinach and basil, stirring occasionally until everything starts too look yummy (about three to five minutes.) Add the rest of the parmesan and mix. Then top with mozzarella. Turn off the stove and let stand five minutes. Serve and devour.
Tip: add pasta in batches. When I use the orecchiette I use the whole box, but the full box of bow ties is too much.
The beauty of this recipe is that it can be as pre-made or freshly prepared as you prefer. When I'm in a hurry I use the canned tomatoes, shredded mozzarella and parmesan, and sometimes skip the spinach. But when I have the time to really cook, I shred my own parmesan, dice fresh mozzarella, dice my own fresh tomatoes, and really enjoy the process of watching all those fresh ingredients come together.
The other beauty of this recipe is that you can save it and eat it later. It is best fresh off the stove, but we've started cooking all our meals for the week on Sundays. It reheats beautifully and is almost just as good as it was freshly cooked.
This is my awesome one-pot pan: