Day 5 – How To Cook With 5 Ingredients…

Some days you just need to throw dinner together and get the hell out of the kitchen.  With a smartly stocked pantry and a few freezer ingredients, you can have dinner on the table and be off to karate or dance class with the kids in no time.

  1. Keep some basic staples in the pantry –  Pasta, rice, cous cous, stock, frozen veggies, canned beans, and jarred sauce are things that I am never without in my pantry.  They are easy, and for the most part inexpensive to stock up on.  Look for sales, a lot of times you can find boxes of pasta for $1 or even less.  A lot of times you can even find frozen rice in steam bags as well.
  2. Stay simple –  The best quick dinners don’t require more than one or two pots.  Boil your pasta or cook your rice in one pot and make the rest in the other.
  3. Have a good frying pan –  There are two things I can’t live without in my kitchen.  My 14 inch high walled frying pan and my crock pot.  I use that frying pan almost every day.  It’s great for just about anything and big enough to give you the room you need to toss pasta in with veggies, sauce, whatever.
  4. Semi-Homemade is not overrated –  One of the best things on the planet right now are roaster chicken from the store.  You can use them in a million ways and they taste awesome.  Same goes for the deli case, with chicken cutlets or pre made salads.  It’s one less thing you have to do and it takes no time at all.
  5. Use the internet –  Don’t be afraid to try something you saw on a food blog, or on Pinterest, or on the food network website.  Use those resources.  There are a ton of options out there for you if you need inspiring ideas.  However, you know what you like and what your family likes.  Go with your instincts, and if you think you might like it, you probably will.

Here’s a couple recipes to get you started.  I don’t count spices as ingredients, but if you do, these are a little more than 5:

Broccolli and Sausage Pasta

1 lb bulk sausage (sweet or hot, pork or turkey, whatever you want)
2 medium onions (or 1 package diced frozen onions)
1 package frozen chopped broccoli
2 cups chicken stock
2-3 Tbsp flour
Salt, pepper, garlic, hot pepper flakes (optional)
1 lb of pasta, any kind

Ok so this one has 6 ingredients, whatever.  Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Don’t forget to salt your water!

Brown the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks, add the onions and broccoli and season liberally with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic.  If you like it spicy, add in some red pepper flakes and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes.  Sprinkle the flour over the sausage mix and cook for another minute or two to incorporate it together and cook the flour off a little.  Add in the chicken stock, stir well and let the mix cook for another few minutes.  Check the seasoning and add more salt if needed.

Toss in the pasta, mix well, and serve it up, some parmesan cheese goes well with this too.


Quick Beans and Rice

1 lb of chicken, ground or breast (diced)
1 package of frozen diced onions and peppers
2 cans of dark red kidney beans
1 can of plain tomato sauce
1 package sasson, adobo and pepper to taste (all can be found in the international food aisle in your grocery store)
2 cups cooked rice

Brown the chicken, add the onions and peppers and season with the sasson, adobo and pepper.  Cook through and add the beans and tomato sauce.  Do not drain the beans completely, keep some of that juice.  Stir well and let cook for about 5-10 minutes to meld the flavors.

Serve over cooked rice, if you like it spicy, add a few shots of hot sauce!

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