We might have lost an hour today, but we had plenty of time to make this super quick and flavorful dinner.
It might look like pasta with a cheese sauce but there is actually only a half cup of Parmesan in there. It’s pumpkin! And sure, today might have finally felt like spring but this sweet and savory dinner hit the spot.
Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce (ours is with rotini) is quick because it has only a few ingredients and minimal chopping and it makes a lot so there are plenty of leftovers. I highly recommend trying it.
We were able to cook dinner again tonight and we tried a recipe that I took out of Cooking Light last year.
Honey Cashew Chicken with Rice was really easy for us to make together and the results were amazing for a weeknight stir fry. We used brown rice instead of white and asparagus instead of broccoli but otherwise followed the recipe.
What makes this dish is the sauce which is a combination of rice vinegar, honey, soy sauce and Sriracha. It’s got a bit of heat to it but mixed with the sweetness it’s subtle and delicious.
Mike suggested we make this regularly because it was just that fabulous.
This is a dinner I make without a real recipe. Right after I graduated from college, I started watching 30 Minute Meals. It was 2001 and no one really knew who this Rachael Ray woman was but I loyally watched after work. This was when my cooking skills were still pretty novice and unless Jenn (who was my roommate at the time) and I were eating together, I was mostly making simple things for just me.
I remember seeing Rachael make Apricot Chicken and I started trying to make it myself. I never followed a recipe, I just did what I remembered her doing. I haven’t made this in at least two years so tonight’s version is probably very far from the original (like cooking whisper down the lane) but it still tastes delicious.
half an onion chopped
one pound of chicken cut into one inch(ish) pieces
some chicken broth (maybe 3/4 of a cup?)
half a small jar of apricot preserves
teaspoon of cornstarch
I heated some olive oil in a pan over medium high heat and added the onion. When it was soft, I added the chicken and cooked it until I couldn’t see any more pink. I deglazed the pan with the chicken broth. After it came to a boil, I lowered the heat to medium low and stirred in the apricot preserves and let it simmer for about five minutes. I added some cornstarch to thicken up the sauce and let it simmer on low until the sides were ready.
The stir fried green beans were a little more done than I like but also simple. I just heat some olive oil in a pan, add the beans, cook to my liking (or more tonight), then I toss them with some teriyaki sauce and cook a minute or so longer. At the end I stir in some crushed red pepper and sesame seeds.
The sweet apricot chicken and the salty slightly hot green beans go great together. For a weeknight meal, it’s relatively simple and quick. I don’t know why I haven’t made this in years.
We followed the recipe using an onion instead of shallots and fresh ginger instead of dried. And we added in chopped dried apricot and prunes as well. The result was so flavorful with a bit of heat. I definitely recommend this recipe as it was easy to make and tasted delicious.
Last week I stayed with my parents one night while traveling for work. They made me taste a bit of this soup that they made from a newsletter that my mom got at work. The soup didn’t have a name but I really liked it so we made it tonight.
This was super easy to throw together and worked out great because just as it was starting to simmer for fifteen minutes, Butler got his head stuck in the handle of a plastic bag. We could just ignore the soup on the stove and move the bed that he decided to hide under wrapped in a bag. He was fine by the way and got the bag off himself before we got to him. Chica followed him under the bed and stayed by his side through the whole ordeal.
Anyway here’s the recipe:
1 med onion chopped
2 tbsp veg. oil
1 can 15 oz black beans, drained
1/2 can refried beans
1 can 11 oz corn, drained
1 can 14.5 oz chicken broth
1 cup bottled chunky salsa
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper
Saute onions in oil until tender. Add the other ingredients, simmer for 15 minutes and serve.
The soup is hearty, thick and creamy and very filling. I used medium salsa so that it would have a bit of heat. I didn’t put in the salt or pepper and I felt it didn’t need either although Mike said it needed some pepper. Maybe my sense of taste is a bit off because I have a cold.
We had cheese quesadillas on the side. I found these high fiber flour tortillas at Giant that were only 80 calories. They were softer than usual but toasted up perfectly in the pan and tasted just as good as regular tortillas.
For such a quick, easy dinner, it really was very cozy and homey. Perfect for a weeknight.