Sorry, I Burned the Pine Nuts

In digging through my draft posts, the ones that never quite saw the light of the blogosphere, I came across this one … sharing an easy pasta recipe with sautéed spinach on the side.  I have mentioned before that my husband is the primary cook in this house; not that I don’t know how or am not willing, but for him it is a hobby and an art, and I willingly enjoy the products of his creativity.  Often when I cook, it is because my husband and boys are gone for the evening or weekend, and I go looking for something quick to put together, so I can pour a glass of wine and hunker down with a good chick flick!

Rigatoni with broccoli and brie ingredients

On one of these occasions when I found myself on the cooking rather than eating side of the food equation, and felt my blog had been sparse on the food posts, I tried to keep the mayhem (and cat hair) in the kitchen at a minimum as I cooked, with an occasional photo along the way.

Feline kitchen help

Four ingredients: whole wheat pasta, broccoli, brie and pine nuts.  Really can’t get much simpler than that.

Whole wheat rigatoni

Broccoli steamer
My old Pampered Chef microwave steamer pot is ideal for quickly steaming veggies.

The challenge is to not eat the brie while chopping it into cubes as the pasta boils!

Brie cubes for pasta

Actually, the real challenge is not getting distracted while the pine nuts are toasting in the skillet.  As usual, I multi-tasked one too many things, and soon the smell of burnt pine nuts was filling the house …. but it was not a loss, and I took one for the team, filling a bowl with a healthy portion.

Pasta with burnt pine nuts ..... aka Creamy Rigatoni with Broccoli

And for an additional dose of green leafy vegetables, and another of my favorite quick and easy sides, I couldn’t screw up the Barefoot Contessa’s Garlic Sautéed Spinach (my kind of recipe — advertised prep time: 6 minutes, cook time: 4 minutes!).

Garlic cloves for sauteed spinach

A good olive oil, generous portion of garlic cloves, and fresh spinach leaves mix together for a wonderful wilted dish. It stands alone or would be tasty mixed in with pasta for another pasta with greens option.

For the Garlic Sautéed Spinach recipe, click here.

Garlic Sauteed Spinach

For the Creamy Rigatoni with Broccoli and Brie recipe, click here.

Creamy Rigatoni with Broccoli and Brie

Ciao! ~ Kat

Dessert for Summer Potlucks When You Have No Time to Cook (If the Cat Licks the Beaters, Even Clean Up Goes Quickly)

Kudos to those who enjoy and/or have time to spend hours crafting an elegant dessert that creates a memorable end to a meal.  I tend to be the one who thinks as I am working, “Crud, what are we going to make for the neighborhood gathering tonight?” and then runs a quick lunch-hour errand to pick up ingredients to throw together shortly before departing for the event (or frankly, runs an errand to pick up the end-product dessert itself!) .

Freshly washed berries

As we enter the season of family get-togethers, potluck celebrations, and graduation parties, I just had to share the newest of my “when you have no time to cook” recipes: Pillsbury’s Mini Fruit Pizzas While you are certainly welcome to make sugar cookies from scratch, I dutifully followed the recipe and gratefully placed the refrigerated sugar cookie dough squares on my cookie sheet (and thought to myself, “This could go even more quickly if I purchased plain sugar cookies from the bakery!”).

With time to spare before the oven timer went off, I whipped together the three-ingredient frosting (8 ounce package cream cheese, 2 Tablespoons frozen limeade concentrate and 1/2 cup powdered sugar), and set it aside as the cookies cooled.

Frosting the sugar cookie mini fruit pizzas

One of our cats, recognizing the time crunch I was in before we needed to head to the neighbors’ house, pitched in and took care of the pre-wash rinse cycle for the beaters.

Pre-wash rinse, courtesy of the cat

The recipe called for three cups of fresh berries and kiwi fruit, and I lazily went with items I could just rinse off, no cutting required!  Blackberries, blueberries and raspberries topped my fruit pizzas this time, but the kiwi suggested by the recipe would add a nice touch of contrasting color, don’t you think?!

mini fruit pizzas 5_24_13

Or perhaps strawberries, pineapple?

mini fruit pizzas 2 5_24_13

The small bite dessert was enjoyed by all, no serving utensils or plates required, making clean up a snap (even without the cat’s help).

mini fruit pizzas 3 5_24_13

I was rushed in dropping berries on the frosted rounds, but the possibilities are endless for creating mini works of art!

mini fruit pizzas 4 5_24_13

The full recipe for Mini Fruit Pizzas can be found on the Pillsbury website, here.

Ciao! ~ Kat