Speedy Weeknight Bolognese

Speedy Weeknight Bolognese

If you know anything about bolognese, you know it is usually a long cooking, time intensive endeavor. This one is quicker cooking, meant for quick get-it-on-the-table nights, but no less flavorful. Courtesy of my daughter, Charlotte Kilroy, the master of wing-it cooking.

Ingredients:

1 lb long pasta – spaghetti, fettuccini, etc

1 lb ground beef

2 cloves garlic

1 small/medium onion

1 carrot

1 stalk celery, peeled

1 bay leaf

¾ cup heavy cream

1 cup chicken stock

¼ cup tomato paste

1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp oregano

⅓ cup wine (optional)

salt

Method:

Process in a blender or food processor the garlic, onion, carrot and celery to a coarse puree, or finely minced.  Heat a saute pan over medium. Give the beef a generous sprinkle of salt and cook until almost cooked through but still a bit pink.  Remove from the pan and add the minced vegetables. Cook these until soft and aromatic, about 5-7 minutes. Add beef back in as well as the ½ cup chicken broth and the wine, if using.  Cook this down for a few minutes. Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, herbs, cream and the rest of the broth. Simmer this for 20-25 minutes on low heat. While it is simmering, cook the pasta.  When it is done, remove the bay leaf from the sauce, then use tongs to move the pasta from the water to the pan with the sauce. Toss to coat well.

Chicken and Broccoli Honey Sriracha Quinoa

Chicken and Broccoli Honey Sriracha Quinoa

Ingredients:

1-½ lb chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces

5-6 cups broccoli florets

1 cup quinoa

2 tbsps butter, melted

2 tbsps honey

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsps (or more, to taste) sriracha

Oil for the pan

Salt  

Method:

Place the quinoa and 2 cups of water into a pot. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Cook for 15-20 minutes, until tender. Meanwhile, heat a bit of oil in a saute pan over medium high heat.  Add the broccoli and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes, until the florets are tender but still have a hint of crunch left.  Remove these to a bowl then return the pan to the heat. Add a little more oil, followed by the chicken pieces. Give these a generous sprinkling of salt and a stir. Cook the chicken for as little as 5 minutes or as much as 10-12, depending on how large or small you cut your pieces and how crowded or not they are in the pan.  When they are cooked, turn off the heat and return the broccoli to the pan.

In a bowl that can fit all components, mix the butter,honey, soy sauce, and sriracha.  Add in the chicken, broccoli, and quinoa. Toss until it is all well coated. Taste to make any flavor adjustments before serving.

Curry Lentil Balls

Curry Lentil Balls

Ingredients:

1 cup lentils

3 cups stock, divided

1 small onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp grated ginger

4 tsps curry powder, divided

2 tsps cumin, divided

1 tsps garlic powder

½ cup rolled oats

1 egg

3 tbsps tomato paste, divided

2 tbsps yogurt

Large handful of baby spinach, roughly chopped

½ cup almonds, whole, slivered, or sliced

2 tbsps butter

Salt

Oil

3-4 cups cooked rice

Method:

Place the lentils and 2 cups of the stock, as well as ½ cup of water, into a pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until they are tender but not mushy.  Scoop about ⅔ of these into a blender or food processor. Add to this 1 tbsp of the tomato paste, 2 tsps curry powder, 1 tsp cumin, the garlic powder, oats, egg, and a large pinch of salt. Pulse this until it is mostly smooth but not totally.  Remove all but about a tbsp of this into a bowl and mix in the rest of the lentils. Heat the oven to 375. Roll the mixture into about 2 inch balls and place onto a lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes. While they bake, start the sauce by heating a bit of oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add to this the remaining 2 tbsps of tomato paste, 2 tsps curry powder, 1 tsp cumin and a large pinch of salt and cook another minute or two. Pour in the remaining cup of stock, then add all this to the blender with the reserved tbsp of lentil mixture.  Add the yogurt and almonds. Blend until smooth. Return this to the saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the spinach and butter. Once the butter has melted, take off heat and taste to adjust salt level. Serve the lentil balls and sauce over the rice, topped with more almonds, if desired.

Basic Quiche

Ingredients:

1 ¼ c flour

1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into cubes

½ tsp salt

3-4 tbsps cold water

5 eggs

1 c heavy cream

1 c cheese, grated

1-2 cups protein, vegetables (cooked), or mix

Salt and pepper

Method:

First, make the crust.  It’s ok, this is much easier than you think.  Just keep these general rules in mind – cold and quick.  Place flour and salt in a mixing bowl and add cubed butter.  Toss the butter around to separate and coat the cubes. Now, either with your fingers (my preferred method), or with a pastry cutter, incorporate the butter into the flour until you have the texture of coarse crumbs (think panko rather than bread) with some larger pieces.  Next, add in water a tablespoon at a time until it all starts to come together and there are no powdery bits. Now collect it together and press into a disc shape. Lightly flour a surface (counter, table, board) and your rolling pin and roll the crust into a roughly 12 inch circle.  Place into your pie tin, crimp the edges and place into the refrigerator while you mix the filling.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix together the eggs and cream.  Add your add ins and cheese and toss in a small sprinkle of salt and pepper to your liking, about  ¼ – ½ tsp depending, or 3-5 cranks from a grinder. Pour this into the crust.

Bake for about 40 mins or until browning on top and only very slightly jiggly in the center.

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