27 December 2013

Scraping together a meal when the kitchen is bare, or, why people hate the holidays, # 789534262

In all the holiday-themed travel I have experienced the past month, I am often left making do with very little in the kitchen the night before a flight.  I hate the thought of food spoiling in my fridge while I’m in another part of the country, and so I stop shopping for groceries at least five days before I leave, but as a result, those last dinners before the long trek to the airport can look pretty dire.  Or perhaps you have stayed home this year and allowed a band of marauders (like your family, for instance) eat all of your food, and you just can't stand grocery shopping yet again. Fortunately, a few staples we all tend to have around can save the day.  Well, that and booze.  Plenty of booze.

Pasta with tuna, lemon, and capers

Serves 4

1 can water-packed tuna, drained
1 small lemon
½ pound dry spaghetti, linguine, etc.
1 cup frozen spinach (optional)
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoon capers (or roughly chopped olives)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
bread crumbs (optional)

Bring a pot of salty water to boil.  Cook pasta according t package directions.  Add the frozen spinach in the last minute of cooking, if using.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the tuna (break it up a bit with a fork), juice and zest of the lemon, capers, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle a little bit of olive oil in and stir to combine.

Drain cooked pasta and toss with the tuna mixture and serve on four plates.  Sprinkle each serving with bread crumbs if desired.

Santa Fe Roasted Potatoes

Since we tend to eat light dinners like soups and salads, this stands alone as an evening meal before an early flight out in my house.  However, you could easily combine this with some cooked meat or seafood for more protein.

Serves 4

4 large russet potatoes, washed and cut into 1-in cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen broccoli
1 4-oz can chopped green chilies
1 small lime
Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, if you have it

Preheat the oven to 425°F.  On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, toss the potatoes, olive oil, chili powder, and salt to coat evenly.  Spread out into a single layer and bake until golden, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, thaw the frozen corn and broccoli under hot water in a colander and leave to drain. Sprinkle with a little salt to taste. When the potatoes are done, toss them with the thawed vegetables, canned chilies, and cilantro, and squeeze the lime over the top.  If you have any leftover crumbly cheese, like feta or queso, you can sprinkle that on top, as well.