5 easy dishes you can whip up in a jiffy
I start Christmas shopping in November, which means I like to whip up fast and easy dishes after a hard day at the mall. An open-faced sandwich, a steak stir-fry, pasta with veggies, a 15 minute soup and shortcut Stromboli fit the bill quite nicely.
Avocado and Egg Sandwich with Sriracha Cream
Add more Sriracha sauce if you like it hot. Additional milk will yield a thinner sauce, if desired. Instead of fried eggs, try poached. To choose a ripe avocado, press it gently; it should yield slightly under your thumb.
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp Sriracha sauce
6 bacon slices
2 English muffins, split and toasted
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
4 slices tomato
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, whisk mayo, milk and Sriracha. Set aside.
In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp, about 7 to 8 minutes. Drain, chop into pieces and set aside.
Drain off all but 1 tbsp bacon fat from the skillet. For sunny-side up eggs, cook eggs in hot skillet over medium high heat until almost set, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with a bit of water, cover and cook about 1 minute longer.
Arrange avocado slices on 4 toasted muffin halves. Top with tomato slice, bacon and egg. Top each with Sriracha sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
Match: Serve with champagne and orange juice.
Sesame Beef with Broccoli
Mirin is a rice wine with a low alcohol content. You can substitute dry sherry for the mirin. Sambal oelek is a spicy chili paste. If desired, substitute crushed red pepper flakes to taste. When preparing broccoli florets, chop the stems and save for salads, soups or stews.
250 g sirloin steak, thinly sliced across grain
2 tsp mirin or dry sherry
2 tsp cornstarch
1 bunch broccoli florets, thinly sliced
1 tbsp canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
4 cups cooked brown rice
Stir Fry Sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin or dry sherry
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp sambal oelek
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tsp water
In a large bowl, whisk mirin with cornstarch mix. Add steak and toss to coat. Set aside.
Place broccoli in microwave safe bowl. Add ¼ cup water. Cook in microwave until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
In a small bowl, whisk soy sauce, mirin, hoisin sauce, sambal oelek, brown sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.
Add 1 tbsp canola oil to wok or large skillet. Add steak, broccoli, garlic and ginger. Stir fry about 3 minutes or until steak is cooked through. Add Stir Fry Sauce. Cook, stirring, until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Divide rice among 4 plates. Top with steak stir fry. Drizzle each serving with sesame oil and garnish with sesame seeds.
Match: Delicious with a Gewürztraminer.
Orecchiette with Baby Kale and Goat Cheese
Orecchiette, or “little ears,” is a small pasta popular in southern Italy. You can use any smaller pasta for this dish, such as farfalle or pasta shells. Instead of shallots, use a small thinly sliced onion. Although this dish is meatless, you can add cooked Italian sausage for a heartier meal.
1 package orecchiette
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 small shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped baby kale or baby spinach
Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 cup goat cheese
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
Cook orecchiette according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add kale and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and pepper flakes.
Toss with orecchiette and pasta water. Divide among 4 pasta bowls. Top each serving with a dollop of goat cheese and a bit of lemon zest.
Match: Serve with a light-bodied white wine such as Soave.
Chicken Corn Soup
As long as you have chicken broth on hand, you’ve got soup in less than 15 minutes. There are many good-quality low-sodium canned chicken broths on the market but I like to make my own. I bring a rotisserie chicken home for dinner and use the remaining meat and bones to make broth and this soup. If making your own broth, be sure to refrigerate it overnight. Skim fat from top before using. To make croutons, cut stale multi-grain bread into cubes. Toss with melted butter. Transfer to cookie sheet and bake in 350 degree oven until croutons are golden brown, about 15 minutes.
1 tbsp butter
4 scallions, chopped
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
2 cups chopped chicken breast
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 package frozen corn, thawed
4 cups chicken broth, homemade or store-bought
12 butter croutons, homemade or packaged
Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add scallions and celery. Sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in chicken, salt, pepper, corn and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until heated through. Divide among 4 bowls. Top each bowl with 3 croutons.
Match: Serve with Riesling.
Store-bought pizza dough and pizza sauce make this an easy weeknight meal. However, if you’re a purist, feel free to use homemade dough and sauce. Vary the ingredients — ham, red onion, pickles and swiss cheese; beef, hot peppers and cheddar; prosciutto, eggplant caponata and mozzarella. If you prefer to roast your own red peppers, place them whole on a cookie sheet under the broiler, turning with tongs as each side blackens. Let cool, remove stems, seed and slice. The charred skin can be removed or left partially intact for extra crispy flavour.
500 g store-bought pizza or bread dough
8 slices Genoa salami
8 slices capocollo
8 slices provolone cheese
1/4 cup jarred roasted red bell peppers, patted dry and chopped
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 large egg mixed with 2 tbsp water
Store-bought pizza sauce
Preheat oven to 400˚F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured cutting board. Roll into a 12-by-10-inch rectangle.
Layer salami, capocollo and provolone over dough, leaving a 1-inch border on all edges. Top with peppers and Parmesan cheese. Brush edges with egg wash.
Starting at a long end, roll the dough tightly into a French bread shape. Pinch seam and ends to seal. Transfer, seam side down, to prepared baking sheet.
Coat a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray. Tent stromboli loosely with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. Bake 20 minutes.
Remove foil and continue cooking until crust is golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer to wire rack to cool about 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve with a side of warmed pizza sauce.
Match: Open a Chianti Classico.