So, the other day my 15-year-old daughter said this to me: You know how everyone thinks you're a great cook? That's because they don't live with you.
Huh. That's what you get when you have a 15-year-old.
So, I've been trying to step it up a bit. To be honest, she eats a fair amount of take out. I hate to pull the single mom card, but especially during the beginning of the school year, I do work a fair amount in the evenings. And, I have an inordinately hard time figuring out what I want to cook for an entire week, so I tend to use what I prefer to call the "European" method (as it sounds better than the "unorganized" method). And I usually shop – at several different stores – several times a week. Sometimes I picture myself on my deathbed regretting all of the shopping I did, so I get take-out. Sometimes I picture myself on my deathbed regretting all of the take-out we got, so I shop. It depends on the week.
Here are a few of the meals I've made recently in response to the teen comment. I don't think I've received any compliments, but I haven't had many complaints either.
Don't make anything with shrimp paste in it. From me to you.
And (from the top of this post):
Which definitely deserves the exclamation point for it's deliciousness and its week-night ease. Make it – it's the perfect foil for Sevan Subs or Panera or Rod Dee Thai or Chef Changs or El Oriental de Cuba or Anna's Taqueria or....
Fettucini with Chard, Mushrooms, and Pancetta
Adapted from a recipe called Fettucini with Peas, Asparagus, and Pancetta in Bon Appétit, May 2010. (I found the chard and mushrooms more seasonal at the moment)
- 12 ounces fettuccine or penne
- 3 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
- 2 lbs swiss chard, cleaned and chopped
- 10 oz mushrooms, any kind you like
- 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced, white and pale green parts separated from dark green parts
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided
Meanwhile, cook pancetta in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon drippings from skillet. Add mushrooms to drippings in skillet; sauté 5 minutes or until soft. Add chard, white and pale green parts of green onions, and garlic; sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add vegetable mixture, 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid, dark green parts of green onions, 1/2 cup Parmesan, cream, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, half of parsley, and half of basil to pasta. Toss, adding more cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if needed. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to large bowl. Sprinkle pancetta, remaining parsley, and basil over. Serve, passing additional Parmesan cheese.