I don't know how this economy is going for you, but things are a little tight out here on the west coast. One of the first things we did to tighten our belts was to cook in a lot more often. Judging from the blogs I follow, most of you are doing the same thing too.
The next thing we did was to start baking, rather than buying, nearly all our bread. It's been SO much fun. We do it the lazy way, using the bread machine to work the dough and the oven to bake it. The Hamilton Beach breadmaker I was blessed to inherit from my sister does a good job mixing, kneading, and raising the dough, but is horrible for baking in.
Finally- I've become a refrigerator tyrant. We try really hard to use it all-- leftovers, scraps, whatever's in the fridge is game (sometimes almost literally ;-) for the next meal. So far, mostly good... a few failures, which I'm choosing to call lessons, have occurred, but by and large it's made me a much more creative and confident cook.
We utilize pasta about twice as much as we did before; which is to say almost daily. Yesterday at lunch I made a One-dish (one skillet in this case) with Lemon Pappardelle and canned tuna from Trader Joe's.
Pappardelle and Tuna --- Quick and Yummy
Cook the Pappardelle according to package direction, or make your own (Check out the video on Food2- www.food2.com - with Adam Roberts!)
Meanwhile, drain two cans of Trader Joe's albacore tuna in olive oil and reserve about 2 Tbl to heat in a skillet. Enter chopped fresh onion and fresh garlic chopped to the skillet to taste. (no- I'm sorry, I can't tell you how much. I don't know what your kids will eat or, most importantly, what you've got in the pantry, which is what this is about). After sauteing for a bit, I added some
roasted red pepper also from TJ's and a can of their artichoke hearts, drained (not marinated) to heat with the onion and garlic for a minute or so. I added about a tablespoon of lemon juice and, the tuna, after giving it a quick dice. Add freshly ground black pepper (in this instance, it was a blend of white and black) and one lemon sliced and put a lid on the skillet for a couple of minutes whilst the pasta drains.
Pasta in a bowl, the contents of the skillet on the pasta, a bit of grated parmesan or.... a bit of lemon zest and --- yum!