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I love Food. Cooking it. Eating it. Experiencing it. As a result, that's what this blog has evolved into: A journal of my gastronomical journeys abroad, as well as my culinary creativity at home. I hope you enjoy what I have to say, and I'd love to hear your comments... Cheers!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Crazy Busy Week...Crazy Easy Recipes

This week is one of those that happens to young families quite often. We find ourselves facing a proverbial Perfect Storm of activities, happenings, and responsibilities that all seem to descend simultaneously upon us like those first few, ginormous-sized drops of rain that fall, that (combined with that unmistakable smell in the air) is the precursor to a major, imminent downfall. It feels like it's happening in slow motion; like you have time to prepare, but the suddenness of it all is still shocking, leaving you running for cover.
The eye of the aforementioned storm is the pending arrival of many family members, who will be in town for Jill's baby shower this Saturday (EDITOR'S NOTE: stay tuned for the strata recipe I pulled out of the archives as my contribution to the festivities!). Preceding that event is my beloved's annual obligation to host Bunco (it rotates b/w about 12 girls once a month), called for Wednesday night. Throw in a pre-school Thursday night art show, and deadlines to meet for some video productions I'm finalizing (Aloe Glow is done! We'll be testing it on the air within 2 weeks!... new videos for Family & Friends available at www.familyandfriends.com/Rich !) & you can begin to understand how life in the HOD household is a bit, shall we say, tense (oh, & did I mention I have a wife who's due in 2 weeks, and looks like she could be delivering the next great sumo wrestler?!)...
It is therefore completely understandable why Jill's only orders -- errrr, requests -- to me as it relates to our weeknight menus were: keep it simple; keep it clean. One outta two ain't bad....

We're not big steak eaters, but I want my baby boy in my baby mama's tummy to have some manly protein, so I reached for this tasty recipe we've made before. Comes from Southern Living, and it's about as easy as it comes. As for not making a mess, well...
  • Rub 1 flatiron steak with salt and pepper (1 steak was enough for both of us to share)
  • Sear it off on both sides in hot olive oil in a saute pan (about 5-7 minutes each side)
  • Remove from pan and set aside; keep warm
  • In same pan, saute 2 chopped cloves (1 tbsp) garlic, stirring for 30 seconds.
  • Add 1 container sliced mushrooms (I love baby bellas); saute for a few minutes.
  • Add 1/4c balsamic vinegar to pan and continue sauteing 5 minutes, until tender.
  • Pour over steak and serve.

I tend to like to use a bit more oil in my dishes, so there was a fairly significant 'splatter' factor to this dish.... but it's worth it!


This ingenious twist on making pasta comes from Real Simple mag, so you know it was simple. And it scored points not only for taste, but for easy cleanup, too...

  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in pasta pot
  • Saute 2 tbsp chopped garlic until golden
  • Add 7c (yes, 7c!) chicken broth to pot, along with 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper, 3/4 tsp salt; bring to a boil
  • Add 1 box spaghetti or angel hair, cooking until liquid is almost totally absorbed (about 8 minutes).
  • Stir in 15 oz. rinsed chickpeas and 1c (less if you're not that crazy about) parsley.
  • Sprinkle with 1/2c (more if you love it like me!) Parmesan cheese & 1/4 chopped almonds

If this is an old-world way to do pasta, I never knew about it, but DAMN it was so hearty and flavorful. This was the most 'comfort food' pasta gets without being mac & cheese!

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