I confess, when I am the weakest and wanting to go out to dinner, instead of making it, is when I have been running all day. After a busy day away from home, cooking is the last thing I want to do. But I find having a full pantry helps me suck it up and cook dinner. I rely on my pantry when money is short. When I see some goody at Target (I really do not need) and use my last $10.00 of grocery money (shock), tell me I am not the only one who does that ;-) Plus I find they are budget friendly recipes.
This menu of the week is based on pantry items. I love pasta con la sardine, but I find most recipes much more time consuming then I want to put into it. Also it has fennel bulbs, saffron, pine nuts, which are all a bit pricey. I decided to use ground fennel seeds to give me the flavor, leave out the saffron and splurged on the pine nuts. But I used less (I look for deals on them and then keep them in the freezer). I also simplified the recipe. I know currants, sardines and fennel may sound weird but it really is an amazing combo.
Since the winter is citrus season, I am making a lot of salads with them. I love this green onion vinaigrette, by pureeing it, it makes a creamy vinaigrette. The only drawback to this vinaigrette, is it does not do well sitting around for a long time. I think the honey cake would be delish served with some fresh citrus to, like grapefruit.
I hope this inspires you to look at your pantry and see what you can add to it, how you can use it better, to use it to make your life easier xoxoxo
PS. Photo of my mother's house
Pantry Pasta Con La Sardine
1 pound pasta
1/3 cup dried currants
1 can of sardine in oil, drained
1 lemon, zest grated, then juiced
2 garlic cloves finley chopped
1/2 a bunch of Italian parsley leaves, ruffly chopped
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs, I use panko
1/4 cup pine-nuts
1 TBL fennel seeds, grind up to a powder (a coffee grind works best)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Start pasta to cook.
2. While pasta is cooking in a dry hot pan, toast pine nuts and put them in a large serving bowl. Now toast bread crumbs, BUT set them in a separate bowl and set aside. You will add them to the pasta when you are ready to serve.
3. To pine nuts add 1/8 of a cup (a big bloop) of olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, currants, ground fennel seeds, crumble or chop sardines, parsley, some salt and pepper.
4. Add cooked pasta, toss all together, taste and see what is needed. If pasta seem dry drizzle a bit more olive oil. When ready to serve toss in bread crumbs and serve with Parmesan cheese.
Romain salad w/ orange and green onion vinaigrette
Spears of romain set on a plate with slices of peeled orange on top, then dress with dressing. You could add a few chopped green onions, toasted nut, sliced avocado or parmesan shavings over the top.
Green Onion Vinaigrette *Note
1/2 cup olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon or to taste
3 green onions, trimmed of ends
1/2 small garlic, peeled
1 tsp. of Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in a processor or blender and blend till smooth.
*note, feel free to adjust all these amounts to suit your palette. You can also use orange juice instead of lemon.