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Archive for the ‘Main dish’ Category

Super easy lasagna

Lasagna2

I’m suddenly surrounded by Cubs fans. And last night I found myself in front of a giant living room TV rooting on a team that is perfectly acceptable to support in the middle of Red Sox Nation because (1) they are not the Yankees and (2) the Cubbies clubhouse is packed with former Red Sox affiliates. Plus, nobody understands a Cubs fan’s pain quite like a Red Sox fan.

So GO CUBS!

I offered to bring lasagna to the watch party and settled on this super easy recipe because I didn’t have a lot of time in between weekend activities to boil my own noodles and prepare a lot of vegetables.

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Pasta1

Fresh asparagus, peas, salty bacon, and pasta make this dish an easy weeknight meal. The highlights of lemon enhance the taste of springtime freshness.

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Hoppin' John 1

Hoppin’ John is a Southern dish of black-eyed peas and rice traditionally served on New Year’s Day.

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ThanksgivingTable

You’ve probably already had enough turkey by now but tuck this recipe away for the next time you crave it but just don’t want to roast a whole bird. Especially after Thanksgiving, some stores offer big sales on “turkey parts,” which you can store in the freezer until you are ready. Braising dark turkey meat in cider will give you a fall-off-bone tender morsels.

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salad

As a city dweller, I don’t have the luxury of stepping outside onto the cool night grass to fire up the backyard grill and fill the air with the smell of smoky burgers, marinated chicken breasts, and melt-in-your-mouth salmon fillets.

So when the urge strikes for a bit of warm salmon to toss into a salad or serve alongside tender-crisp asparagus I turn toward this technique for oven-roasted salmon perfected by America’s Test Kitchen. It is hassle-free and provides some consolation to the fact that it is illegal to grill off my deck three stories up. (Apartment and condo dwellers across Boston break this rule all the time but my condo association happens to be very, very vigilant. My next-door neighbors moved in not knowing this rule and days after they had set up their brand-new grill they were harassed for months until they finally found a buyer for it.)

salmon

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BuckyBadger

My parents were academics so I was born in a college football town (Go Big Blue!) and even though we moved away while I was a preschooler, our family has been branded with blue and gold forever. Michigan is the team we root for, and for awhile we gave all our family pets names that began with the letter “M.” Last year, I gave everyone rally socks in their Christmas stockings. My niece and nephew, who have no connection to Michigan other than my brother’s enthusiasm, can sing all the words to “Hail to the Victors.”

When I was checking out the recipes in “Taste of the Town,” by ESPN college football analyst Todd Blackledge I was hoping to find a U of M recipe to test out. But the only Michigan reference in the cookbook was to that other Michigan college town that shall not be named.

So I went with plan B: The University of Wisconsin. We moved to Madison from Ann Arbor and even though we lived in Wisconsin longer than Michigan for some reason we never switched our allegiance. But I will admit two things: (1) “On Wisconsin” is a really catchy tune and (2) I do have a special place in my heart for the Badgers because, well, I met Bucky Badger.

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ratatouille

With August’s arrival comes the abundance of fresh tomatoes. A slow-simmered dish like ratatouille is a delicious use of right-off-the-vine tomatoes and should be part of your summer’s repertoire.

Ratatouille, which comes from the French word “touiller,” meaning “to toss,” is literally a tossing in a pot of summer vegetables and simmering them in olive oil: tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, onion, and seasoned with fresh garlic, basil, and perhaps a bay leaf. There are many varieties of ratatouille. There is the Disney version, made popular by the Pixar film “Ratatouille”; Julia Child sautées the vegetables separately; Alice Waters creates a “basil bouquet” bound with kitchen twine to enhance the flavors of the vegetables as they cook.

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