I’m not into cooking separate meals. In this house we are extremely fortunate to have dad home in time for an early dinner, so we eat as a family every night. I love this ritual. C and the kids are all in bed early which means the only time we all get to connect with each other, discuss our days and practise the dying art of conversation, is at the dinner table. Little R has just graduated from the high chair and is absolutely delighted to sit beside his big brother. Mind you, that’s an invitation for all sorts of Tom foolery…
Anyway, the challenge with eating an early dinner, means that I’m always looking for fast and simple dishes that will please everyone. Something I can throw together in half an hour with whatever I can find in the pantry and at the bottom of the crisper. This versatile dish is perfect for such occasions.
Dice whatever veggies you have on hand. If you having nothing fresh or fabulous, use the packet of frozen peas/carrots/corn in your freezer. If you don’t have this in your freezer, put it on your shopping list. Now!
1 small leek. (I generally use red onion but I just pulled a beautiful fresh bunch of leeks from my garden.)
1 celery stick
1/2 green capsicum
1/2 yellow capsicum
kernels from 1 fresh corn cob
(You could also use: garlic, grated carrot, zucchini, red capsicum, peas, silced green beans, silver beet, tinned corn, etc…)
You can use 2 or 5 vegetables. Either way, it will still be delicious!
Sauté vegetables in a tablespoon of butter or olive oil for a few minutes until soft.
Add 1.5 cups of good quality stock, preferably homemade. (If you’re a bit light on with the veggies just use 1 cup.)
Let this simmer on high for about 10 minutes until stock reduces slightly.
Meanwhile, get your pasta happening. I use gluten free spaghetti as I find wheat difficult to digest. You can use whatever pasta you like. Zucchini noodles are a delicious option if you’re not into grains.
1. If you’re cooking for kids, break the pasta up into smaller pieces while raw by bending the packet over the edge of the bench. This makes it easier to stir through the sauce and means you don’t have to cut up their dinner for them later.
2. Gluten free pasta in particular, does not like to be crowded in a pot. Make sure you use a large pot with a generous amount of water to prevent clumping and give it a shuffle with a pair of tongs every now and then.
Meanwhile, add a drained 425g tin (or 2x185g) of responsibly fished tuna to the veggies and stock. (“Pole and line caught” is the most ethical commercial practice for tuna fishing as far as I know or white albacore is always a good option.)
When the pasta is ready, drain and stir it through the veggies, tuna and stock.
Turn the heat off and stir through 4-5 heaped spoonfuls of Greek or natural yoghurt. I’ve recently discovered the “five am” brand of natural organic yoghurt. If you’re in Australia give it a try, very yummy! I bought it at Woolworths.
Serve on a bed of baby spinach and top with fresh herbs and grated cheese. (I used chives)
Quite often, this jar of pasta bake sauce used to be my “go to” quick and easy family meal. It is free of artificial flavours, colours and preservatives which is great, however it is still highly processed. Frankly, why would you eat that from a jar, when this meal is just as easy, a million times more delicious and so much better for you?
Check out my Facebook page