Make a Quick Nutritious Meal

Do you ever find yourself dragging in after work, tired, hungry and ready for a quick meal? Standing in front of the refrigerator, shuffling from one foot to the next, moving to the pantry and wishing for something to fly off the shelf ready to eat? The temptation to call for pizza delivery is strong.

This week I experienced one of those nights. I was wiped out and muddling around the kitchen, my brain was tired of thinking. Coming up with an idea for supper was almost beyond the remaining energy available.

For times like this, I have found the best solution is to always stock the ingredients for one or two simple meals. One of our Farm favorites is pasta with homemade marinara.

Pasta is a simple food, quick to prepare and easy to find a dried version that has limited mystery ingredients. Our marinara is made in the summer when tomatoes are plentiful, then frozen in one cup portions. (You can find the recipe in my book Simply Delicious, but if you stock canned crushed tomatoes and Italian herbs in your pantry, you can make an excellent version.)

On this particular evening I did not want to eat meat so used mushrooms sauteed with garlic in olive oil to give a meaty texture and extra flavor to the sauce. Pour over hot pasta and serve.

Pasta like this needs a green salad. We were blessed to have fresh late season garden lettuce and a few remaining tomatoes. The tomatoes were picked green just before frost and allowed to ripen in the garage. I added some crumbled home made buttermilk cheese, salt, pepper and a simple dressing of balsamic glaze and olive oil.

In less than thirty minutes a salad, pasta and bread were on the table. My desire for fast home-cooked natural food was satisfied.

The time it took to prepare and freeze the sauce in the summer made tonight’s meal warm, easy and satisfying.

You can do this too. Decide on a few meals with simple quick cooking ingredients that can be stored in your pantry or freezer. Keep those items on hand and you will be ready to fix a homemade meal at a moment’s notice. You will be glad you did.

Pasta with Marinara for Two

1 cup home made frozen marinara or 1 can crushed tomatoes + 2 tsp Italian herb seasoning blend

4 ounces diced fresh button mushrooms

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp olive oil

Pasta of choice cooked according to package directions

Heat olive oil in saute pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes, then add garlic. Continue to cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. If using canned crushed tomatoes and Italian herbs, add the herbs and saute for 1 minute, then add canned tomatoes. If using home made tomato sauce, add to the mushroom mixture and cook until flavors are blended and heated through. Serve over hot pasta.