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Clever Ideas Worth Knowing

 

Today’s blog post is compliments of Friend With a Job, my very good friend who is one of my biggest cheerleaders and leaves Comments here periodically. A few weeks ago she emailed me all these lovely ideas and household tips, many of which I did not know. At the time I thought to myself these would be perfect for MTTD on a day when I had nothing to write about.

That day has arrived.

That does not happen often as I have opinions about everything. And there is almost always some sort of food news or other news that I want to write about and/or that I think you might find interesting.

But today: Nothing.

So with a big thank you and hug, Kudos to Friend With a Job for sending me this email. You saved the day!!! Are you sure you are not SuperWoman? 

Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store.  If you leave them  connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!

Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating.                                                                           Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking. 

Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef.  It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

RAH speaking: Why that is important I don’t know. Can anyone enlighten me?

Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste, and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic. 

Scrambled Egg Recipe

To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them  up.

Cool Brownies

For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints in double broiler and pour over warm brownies.  Let it set for a wonderful minty frosting.

RAH speaking: Really cool.

Leftover Snickers

Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert.  Simply chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes!!!  Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream. Yummm! 

Leftover Pizza

Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat  till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.

Deviled Eggs

Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. 
Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture  into egg.
Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.

RAH speaking: Thank you FWJ for three more recipes today.  

Let’s all give Friend With a Job a big hand for her help on today’s blog post.

Featured Recipe        Pasta Shells with Tuna, Olives, and Capers

You knew that some time this Meatless Meals week I would share a pasta recipe. Pastas are a great and delicious way to go meatless.

I have three other versions of this recipe. This one is kind of a hybrid of the other three.

I first saw this combination of ingredients about seven or eight years ago. It was excellent, but a bit complicated. Well, not so much complicated, as time consuming. I have to fry the capers. Then I have to use a channel knife/zester to get long thin strips of lemon zest and fry those before I do anything else. This recipe, and I don’t know which magazine it came from, used fettuccine.

As I said, it is wonderfully delicious, but I did not make it often because of all the trouble. I am kinda, sorta lazy like that. What can I say?

A few years ago I found another similar recipe; again I don’t remember which magazine. In those days, (BB – Before Blog) I just cut recipes out of magazines and tried them. This recipe used penne pasta and white wine in place of the lemon juice. The first recipe did not use white wine.

Then about a year or so ago I found a third recipe that used sea shell pasta and mint. I have never cared for mint so you know what happened with that. 

So today’s recipe is a bit of this recipe and a bit of that recipe with a bit of the first recipe thrown in for good measure. I take the best of each, from my perspective. It tastes just as good as the very time consuming recipe, but without all the time consuming work.

As the original Lazy Cook this works out just perfect for me. And I hope now for you.

The flavor mix of tuna, lemon, capers, and olives is just absolutely fabulous!! Made in heaven.

What is also nice is that YOU can decide which ingredient you like best and add  more of it to the dish. Want more tuna? Go ahead…add another can. Love capers, add more. Want a stronger lemon flavor, add more zest or juice.

BUDGET FRIENDLY RECIPE

This recipe is also perfect for showing how using  just a little bit of pasta and a little bit of tuna (or meat) together can stretch inexpensive foods into a complete meal.

I made enough for three today. But the recipe can easily doubled.

LEFTOVERS

This pasta is also just as delicious served cold, so the leftovers are perfect for taking to work or to school for lunch the next day.

This is what you need for 3 people:

4-5 ounces pasta shells or other pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 tablespoons chopped onion

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Juice of half a lemon

1 large clove garlic

1 can tuna fish drained

2-3 tablespoons black olives

2-3 tablespoons capers

Salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do.

Put a large pot of water up to boil.

While you are waiting for the water to boil chop the onion, dice the garlic, and cut the olives in half. Zest the lemon using a zester, and squeeze the juice into a small bowl.

Also get your pasta ready, open the tuna fish, and place capers in a small bowl. OK! So I am overly organized here. It is the MONK in me. I can’t help it!

When the water is boiling add the shells and cook al dente according to package directions, usually about 7-8 minutes.

NOTE: I do not salt the water for the pasta in this dish because the capers make the dish salty enough. I know real chefs say you absolutely MUST add salt to the water when you cook pasta. But I think that is a personal choice and one you have to make with your health in mind.

NOTE #2: Before you drain the pasta you will want to reserve some of the water the pasta was cooked in for the pasta sauce. TRUE CONFESSIONS: I often forget to do this when a recipe calls for it. Oh My!! So, what I do is set a measuring cup next to the cooking pasta so that I remember to get some water before throwing it all down the sink. [Picture below.]

Now once the pasta is in the water you have to move pretty fast.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.When hot, add the onion and garlic.

Sauté until translucent.

Then add the lemon zest and mix and heat through.

Isn’t that a pretty color combination?

Then add the tuna and the olives. Mix and heat through.

Add the capers to the tuna mixture and mix well.

By now the pasta should be done. If it is not, lower the heat under the tuna mixture till the pasta is done.

REMEMBER to save about ¼ cup of the pasta coking water before draining. You may not use it all, but better to have more than not enough.

Drain the pasta and then add the pasta to the tuna mixture. Add the lemon juice to the skillet too.

Mix it all together. If the mixture looks a bit dry add a little of the pasta water. Keep doing that till you have the consistency you want.

Then spoon onto serving plates and serve with a salad with black olives and capers to carry the theme of the main dish over to your salad. Let each person add salt and pepper to taste to his or her portion.

Bon Appetit!!!

Cost

4-5 ounces pasta shells        $0.55

2 tablespoons olive oil          $0.24

2-3 tablespoons onion          $0.28

Juice of half a lemon            $0.30

1 teaspoon lemon zest         Included in cost above        

1 large clove garlic               $0.04

1 can tuna fish drained         $0.69

2-3 tblspns black olives        $0.30

2-3 tablespoons capers        $0.76

Salt and pepper to taste

Total Cost = $3.16
Cost per person = $1.05

Quote of the Day:

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think!

Winnie the Pooh

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