Since having the new truck (it’s been 11 days now), we’ve already saved hundreds of dollars on eating out; literally hundreds. I am back in the kitchen eliciting oohs and ahs from my audience of one. It’s been years since I’ve cooked on a regular basis and I’m really enjoying getting back to it.
Breakfast is always something simple for me; yogurt, cottage cheese and fruit, cereal or instant oatmeal. Ed will do oatmeal, but he’d rather have something more substantial for his first meal of the day so I’ve made him a cheese omelet with a side of bacon with wheat toast or a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich for something a little more portable. And always a pot of fresh coffee. He’s really liking the fresh coffee.
Lunch consists of grilled cheese sandwiches with a side of chips and a pickle, turkey and swiss sandwiches on wheat toast, beef barley soup with a half sandwich and my personal favorite, homemade chicken salad on toast with lettuce and tomato. Yum!
Dinner allows me to be a little more creative and I’ve started to make some of my old favorites. I go to the grocery store every couple of days since our fridge is small, but I don’t mind since everything is fresh and it allows me to come up with a new idea for dinner.
So far, some of the dinners I’ve made are as follows:
...Roast Chicken with mashed baby red potatoes, corn and a salad tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
...Angel hair pasta in a homemade marinara sauce (I never, ever, ever do sauce from a jar) with garlic toast and a side salad.
...Grilled Porterhouse steaks with garlic mashed potatoes, peas and a salad with chunky blue cheese dressing.
...Penne alla vodka with chicken breasts sautéed in garlic and olive oil.
And one of my favorites, a staple when I was growing up; a simple dish we just called “Broccoli and Macaroni”.
We never said “pasta” in my house. All “pasta” fell under the Italian word, maccheroni. I don’t know what they do in Italy, but to this day we don’t say pasta. Whenever we have a meal that includes what you all know as pasta, my mother and other family members will say they are making macaroni. The response is always, “What kind?” That’s where you get more specific; penne, rigatoni, farfalle, linguini, fettucine, spaghetti, capellini, orrechiette, acini di pepe, etc.
So for the first time ever, I’m going to post my family recipe for Broccoli & Macaroni. Enjoy!
Broccoli e Maccheroni (Broccoli and Macaroni)
1 head of broccoli, cleaned and cut. (You can use just the florets or the florets and stalks – your choice.)
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 lb. box of Penne (I also like Rigatoni, Gemelli, or Rotini)
1. In your macaroni pot, put your water on to boil. Add a little salt to the water. Let it boil. Don’t look at it!! Haven’t you heard the old wives tale of a watched pot never boiling? Sheesh!
2. OK, now in a deep saucepan or frying pan, put your olive oil. I can’t give you an amount because I’ve never measured. Just coat the bottom of your pan with olive oil; try to eyeball it so you have enough to coat the broccoli and the macaroni once you’re done. You’re going to toss it so if you think you need more, just add it.
3. Add your garlic and sauté. Try not to burn it. It can happen quickly, so watch it!
4. Once you think the garlic is nice and soft and sautéed, add the broccoli and stir until the broccoli is coated with the olive oil and the garlic pieces. At this point add your salt and pepper (to taste) and a little water; you’re going to cover the broccoli so it steams and gets infused with the garlic flavor. I like my broccoli a little on the hard side, as mushy broccoli in my opinion doesn’t work all that well. But you do what you want – you have to eat it.
5. If your pasta water is boiling, throw in your roni’s (that’s short for macaroni). Time it or cook till al dente, whichever way you prefer.
6. Just before your roni’s are done, take a little of the macaroni water and put it in with your broccoli. A ladle or two should be enough. It makes the meal nice when it has a little broth in the bottom to swish around in.
7. When the macaroni is done, transfer to a colander and drain.
8. Put the macaroni back in the pot, add the entire saucepan of broccoli and toss with the macaroni until everything is coated. You can serve right from the pot or transfer to a serving dish, but do it quick ‘cause you’re gonna want to eat it and you don’t want it to get cold!
9. Now all that’s left to do is mangiare! (eat!)
Click HERE for a copy to print out.