Main dish / Pasta / Quick meals / Salad

Summer fast food

We’ve got swimming lessons EVERY evening for two weeks (I can’t recommend Wildkits Aquatics at ETHS in Evanston highly enough, BTW).

This little guy charmed his way into his siblings' swim class.

This little guy charmed his way into his siblings’ swim class.

Add to this very full days of work and entertaining kids between school and camp, and there’s not much time to make dinner.

Below are a few quick dinner ideas we’ve been managing to inhale over the past week. Many of them are perfect for on the road, and all of them are quick. Because in the summer, busy or not, who wants to cook?!

CHEESY FISH TACOS

He inhaled two.

He inhaled two.

1lb. of fish (I use Tilapia)
1T butter or olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
2T zahatar
1t soy sauce
corn tortillas
mozzarella cheese
handful of spinach
Salsa verde

Saute the fish over medium heat in oil or butter until brown and slightly crispy on the edges. Add the minced garlic and soy sauce and sauté one more minute. Lay on tortillas and cover with spinach and cheese. Microwave for 30 seconds. Add salsa for those who like it.

 

QUICK SUMMER TACO SALAD

Perfect for eating outside.

Salad:
Shredded lettuce
1 chopped tomato
corn from 2 cobs or 1 can
1 diced cucumber
3 roughly chopped scallions
Shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup prepared beans of choice (black, kidney or pinto)

Combine all ingredients in a large salad bowl.

Mexican “Meat”
1/2 package of Tempeh (available at Whole Foods or Trader Joes, near the tofu)
1T chili powder
1t olive oil
1/2t salt
Tabasco sauce to taste

Crumble Tempeh into small bits and saute in oil on medium heat until brown (about 5 minutes). Add spices and salt and saute for 1 more minute.

 

ITALIAN GARDEN PASTA

The pine nuts are the best part, unless you devour them before you serve the dish.


1 package of your choice pasta
1/4 cup pine nuts (dry roasted pine nuts don’t need kosher supervision, according to the CRC)
1 chopped onion
3 cloves chopped garlic
4 handfuls chopped kale or spinach (do not use frozen)
2T butter
2T dry white wine
3T freshly chopped basil
salt and pepper to taste
2 chopped tomatoes
1/2 block feta cheese

Prepare pasta according to package. Roast the pine nuts over a dry pan on medium heat for 2 minutes. Shake pan and roast 2 minutes more. The smell is divine, so restrain yourself and do not to eat them all.

Saute onion and garlic over butter on medium heat until soft. Add kale or spinach and saute until soft (1 minute for spinach and about 5 for kale).

Add wine and spices. Pour vegetables over pasta and add fresh tomatoes and feta. Top with pine nuts.

 

BURRITOS

Easy enough to make yourself.

1 cup cooked brown rice
1 can or 1 cup dried black beans
Tortillas (I like Trader Joes because they aren’t filled with unnecessary ingredients)
1 tomato
Spinach (optional, but must be fresh)
Chedder cheese
Optional toppings: Sour cream, salsa (see my post on the food processor for a homemade recipe), cilantro, green onions, avocado

All that’s required to prepare for this meal is the rice (and beans if you use dried). I cook the rice, then add the beans (and spinach if you’re using it) to the same pot, and then spoon it on top of a tortilla for each person. Add the cheese and pop it into the microwave for 30 seconds.  Add the toppings to each person’s liking.

For Cuban flair, add plantains to the top: slice ripened plantains and saute over vegetable oil (not olive!) on both sides until brown. Add salt and juice of one lime.

 

SHAVED ASPARAGUS PIZZA (from The Smitten Kitchen)

P1020421
1 pizza dough (see my recipe below)
1/2 pound asparagus
2t olive oil
1/2t course salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
mozzarella cheese
1 scallion thinly sliced
(I also used tomato sauce, but Smitten Kitchen omits this)

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Shave the asparagus into strips with a good peeler by holding the large end of it. Place the strips in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out your dough and then sprinkle it with Parmesan and then the mozzarella. Pile on the asparagus shavings and bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese bubbles and asparagus looks slightly browned. Remove from oven and sprinkle on the scallions.

EASY WHOLE WHEAT PIZZA DOUGH
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup gluten (optional, but this makes it softer and more doughy)
2t sea salt
2t yeast
3T olive oil
1 cup warm water

Mix the flour, gluten, salt and yeast in a food processor. While it’s running, slowly add the olive oil and the warm water. If the dough is not wet enough, add a little more, a teaspoon at a time. If it’s too wet, remove it and knead in a little more flour. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover it with a wet towel. Keep it in a warm place (like your oven with just the light on) for at least an hour.

 

 

LENTIL VEGGIE BURGERS

P10202121 cup raw lentils
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 chopped onion
1/2 cup mushrooms
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Old Fashioned oats
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2t salt

Prepare the lentils by rinsing them and placing them in a pot with water to cover. Add 1 clove garlic and some salt. Bring to a boil and then let simmer until soft (about 30 minutes). Drain lentils.

Add lentils and remaining ingredients to the food processor and puree until it forms a thick mixture. Place mixture in the fridge for at least 10 minutes or overnight.

Heat a frying pan with olive oil on medium heat. Scoop spoonfuls  of burger mixture into pan and let brown for a few minutes and flip to brown other side. Serve warm on bun with hamburger toppings of your choice or try the special sauce below.

VEGGIE BURGER SPECIAL SAUCE
1/4 cup plain yogurt (could try using veganaise or mayonaise)
1t red wine vinegar
1T ketchup
1 clove chopped garlic
2T freshly chopped basil
1/4t salt

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