Dinner in Minutes: Memorable Meals for Busy Cooks

Dinner in Minutes: Memorable Meals for Busy Cooks

by Linda Gassenheimer

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547997094
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 05/11/1999
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 343,207
File size: 979 KB

About the Author

Linda currently lives in Miami, Florida.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

SOUP, RICE & PASTA DINNERS

Pasta & Bean Soup Italian Lettuce Salad Herbed Bread

White Bean Vichyssoise Red Pepper Pizza

Italian Fish Soup Romaine & Bean Salad Crusty Bread

Get-Together Rice Chicken & Mushroom Soup

Green Peppers Stuffed With Rice & Tuna Chick-Pea & Arugula Salad

Penne Pasta Primavera Toasted Bread With Goat Cheese

Pesto Spaghettini Tuscan Tomatoes

Italian Stuffed Shells Colorful Greens & Bean Salad

Penne Pasta With Tuna Sauce Green Bean Salad

Pasta & Bean Soup, Italian Lettuce Salad, Herbed Bread

I created the mainstay of this meal, Pasta & Bean Soup, for my son and his college friends, who needed something filling and delicious when they returned from rowing crew at night. Their other requirements: The dish had to be made from staples, it had to be vegetarian, and it had to simmer while they showered and be ready when they came back to the kitchen.

If you, like my son, are pressed for time, serve the soup on its own with some crusty bread, and use any type of salad greens you have on hand with your favorite bottled dressing.

Shopping List

1 small bunch celery
2 jalapeño peppers
1 bunch fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 small bunch fresh oregano or dried
1 small head romaine lettuce
2 small Belgian endives
2 small heads radicchio
1-ounce piece Parmesan cheese
2 cans cannellini beans (19 ounces each)
1 French baguette

Staples

garlic
2 cans whole tomatoes (28 ounces each)
small pasta (acini di pepe, orzo or riso)
olive oil balsamic or red-wine vinegar
2 cans chicken stock (14 1/2 ounces each)
salt black pepper corns

Serves 5.

This meal contains a total of 758 calories per serving with 26 percent of Calories from fat.

Pasta & Bean Soup

Known as pasta e fagioli, this may be Italy's most famous soup, after minestrone. The combination of pasta and beans is satisfying and inexpensive as well as nutritionally correct. My son would probably leave out the fresh basil, but the addition of fresh herbs perks it up considerably.

2 19-ounce cans cannellini beans
2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes
6 stalks celery, diced
4 medium cloves garlic, crushed through a press
2 medium jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
4 cups defatted chicken stock
1/4 cup olive oil
8 ounces, or 1 cup, pasta (any small size or leftover pieces)
1 cup chopped fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Drain and rinse beans. Place beans, tomatoes and their liquid, celery and garlic in a large pot. Add jalapeño peppers and chicken stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes, breaking up tomatoes with the side of a spoon. Add oil, pasta and basil and return to a boil. Boil, uncovered, about 10 minutes, or until pasta is cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in large soup bowls, and pass Parmesan to sprinkle on top.

Italian Lettuce Salad

There are no tomatoes in this salad, making it a good choice for a midwinter supper. Instead, lively color is provided by the crisp, contrasting leaves of the deep red radicchio, green romaine and pearly white endive. Radicchio and endive, incidentally, are particularly quick greens to prepare.

2 small heads radicchio
1 small head romaine lettuce
2 small Belgian endives
2 tablespoons balsamic or red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Wash and dry radicchio and romaine. Tear into bite-size pieces. Wipe endives with a damp paper towel, and slice into 1/4- inch pieces. Mix vinegar, oil, salt and pepper together in a salad bowl. Add lettuce leaves to the bowl and toss.

Herbed Bread

The garlic doesn't overpower this simple bread topping, and its taste is freshened by the addition of herbs. If using dried oregano, add it to the parsley when chopping.

1 French baguette
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 medium cloves garlic, crushed through a press
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried

Preheat broiler. Cut bread in half lengthwise. Mix oil, garlic and herbs together. Spoon over center of bread. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil and broil for 5 minutes, or until crisp and golden.

White Bean Vichyssoise, Red Pepper Pizza

This soup is a favorite on those nights when we don't feel like a huge meal but want something satisfying. Light yet filling, it is made with canned beans, and it can be served hot or at room temperature, accompanied by a colorful French- bread pizza. If you're pressed for time, just buy a French baguette, cut it in half, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and toast in the oven.

Shopping List

2 leeks
2 stalks celery
3 red peppers
1 small bunch each fresh rosemary, thyme and sage; or dried
1 small bunch fresh chives or scallions
1-ounce piece Parmesan cheese
8 pitted black olives
1 small tin anchovies
2 cans cannellini beans (19 ounces each)
1 French baguette

Staples

onions (2)
garlic bay leaves butter or margarine dry white wine
3 cans chicken stock (14 1/2 ounces each)
salt black peppercorns

Serves 4.

This meal contains a total of 724 calories per serving with 16 percent of Calories from fat.

White Bean Vichyssoise

On a trip to New York City, I stopped at the Union Square Café and tasted a delicious vichyssoise with white beans and leeks. I have adapted this recipe to make a quick soup. If you prefer a soup with a very smooth consistency, strain the pureed mixture through a wire-mesh sieve.

4 teaspoons dry white wine
4 medium cloves garlic, crushed through a press
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 medium leeks, well washed and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 19-ounce cans cannellini beans
2 14 1/2-ounce cans defatted chicken stock
2 teaspoons each chopped fresh rosemary, thyme and sage or 1/2 teaspoon each dried
2 bay leaves Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or scallions for garnish

Heat white wine in a small nonstick skillet. Add garlic and cook over a low flame without browning it, for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat butter in a medium-size nonstick saucepan. Add leeks and celery and sauté gently until wilted and lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse beans. Add to leek mixture along with chicken stock and herbs. Add garlic mixture and simmer for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves. Puree in a blender or food processor. Serve warm or at room temperature with a sprinkling of chives as a garnish.

Red Pepper Pizza

With its black olives, red bell peppers, garlic and anchovies, this pizza combines the sweet, salty and sharp flavors that are characteristic of Mediterranean cooking, providing the perfect counterpart to the mild bean soup.

1/4 cup defatted chicken stock
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
3 medium red bell peppers, sliced thinly
2 medium cloves garlic, crushed through a press
1 French baguette
4 anchovy fillets, cut in half
8 good-quality black olives, pitted and quartered
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tablespoon dried
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat chicken stock in a nonstick skillet and add onion. Cook for 5 minutes and add red peppers and garlic. Cook for 10 more minutes. Onion should be golden and peppers soft. Slice baguette in half lengthwise and place each half, crust side down, on a baking tray lined with foil. Spoon red- pepper mixture evenly over both halves. Scatter anchovies and olives evenly on top. Sprinkle with thyme, Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Place in oven for 5 minutes, or until bread is toasted and cheese begins to brown.

Italian Fish Soup, Romaine & Bean Salad, Crusty Bread

Though it's amazingly easy to prepare, this aromatic fish soup is a meal to anticipate, for it retains the individual flavors of fish, clams and shrimp. A simple salad of soft-textured beans on crunchy lettuce and a crusty loaf of bread round it out.

Shopping List

1 pound yellowtail, grouper, cod halibut, swordfish or flounder
1/4 pound clams (about 4)
6 ounces shrimp (8 large)
2 stalks celery
2 carrots
1 head romaine lettuce
1 small bunch fresh parsley
1 pound fresh plum tomatoes or canned
2 bottles clam juice (8 ounces each)
1 small tin anchovy fillets
1 can cannellini beans (19 ounces)
1 loaf Italian bread

Staples

lemon onion garlic butter or margarine Dijon mustard olive oil dry white wine chicken stock salt black peppercorns

Serves 4.

This meal contains a total of 842 calories per serving with 24 percent of Calories from fat.

Italian Fish Soup

Every coastal town in Italy has its own fish soup based on the types of fish found in that area. I've simplified and adapted the basic recipe, using the varieties available in this country.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, crushed through a press
2 anchovy fillets
2 fresh parsley sprigs
1 pound yellowtail, grouper, cod, halibut, swordfish or flounder fillets
2 cups dry white wine
4 clams, in shell (little necks, cherrystones or steamers)
1 pound plum tomatoes (about 4 medium) or canned, drained
2 cups bottled clam juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 large shrimp, shelled and deveined

Heat oil in a large saucepan and add carrots, celery, onion, garlic, anchovies and parsley. Gently sauté ingredients until onion, turns golden, about 10 minutes. Do not let vegetables burn. Cut fish fillets into 3-inch pieces and add to pan. Carefully stir in wine, trying not to break up fish. Simmer gently for 5 minutes to reduce wine slightly. Scrub clam shells. Add clams in their shells, tomatoes and clam juice to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Bring soup to a boil, add shrimp, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Check seasoning and add more if necessary. Serve in large soup bowls.

Crusty Bread

1 loaf unsliced Italian bread
1 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place bread on a piece of foil and brush with melted butter. Bake in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until crusty.

Romaine & Bean Salad

To save clean-up and preparation time, mix the dressing in the bottom of your salad bowl and toss the beans and lettuce right in the bowl.

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons defatted chicken stock
2 teaspoons olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 head romaine lettuce
2 cups cannellini beans

Whisk lemon juice and mustard together in the bottom of a salad bowl. Add chicken stock and oil and whisk until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Break lettuce in half, then into quarters. Wash, dry and tear into bite-size pieces. Drain cannellini beans. Rinse under cold water and drain again. Toss beans in salad dressing and then add lettuce. Toss all ingredients together.

Get-Together Rice, Chicken & Mushroom Soup

In the same amount of time that you can get Chinese takeout, which often has a gluey sauce, you can make this fried rice and soup. The sauce on the rice is light, and the vegetables stay crunchy. This dinner is the perfect excuse to celebrate Chinese New Year, which falls at the end of January or the beginning of February, depending on the year.

Shopping List

1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
6 ounces lean ham
1 bunch scallions
1/4 pound fresh snow peas
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms
1 small package fresh bean sprouts
1 bunch watercress
1 small bunch fresh parsley
2 cans chicken stock (14 1/2 ounces each)

Staples

onion long-grain white rice sugar low-sodium soy saucese same oil canola oil dry sherry salt black peppercorns

Serves 4.

This meal contains a total of 683 calories per serving with 19 percent of Calories from fat.

Get-Together Rice

This recipe was given to me by a delegate to the All-China Women's Federation who visited me. It is a simplified version of a traditional Shanghai dish that her family serves on the New Year. The many ingredients are supposed to symbolize the union of families during the holiday.

1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1/4 medium onion, chopped
4 sliced scallions
6 ounces diced lean ham (1 1/2 cups)
1 cup snow peas, trimmed, cut in half
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/4 cup dry sherry
4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce or more to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley Salt to taste

Fill a medium-size saucepan with 2 to 3 quarts water and add rice. Bring water to a boil and let rice boil freely, uncovered, about 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain and stir in 1 tablespoon oil. While rice is cooking, wash and cut vegetables and ham. Mix sherry, soy sauce and sugar together. Heat a wok or skillet and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. When it is smoking, add onion and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add scallions and continue to fry for another 1/2 minute. Add ham, snow peas, bean sprouts and rice and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Push ingredients aside, making a hole in the center, and add soy sauce mixture. Tossing all ingredients together, continue to fry for another 4 to 5 minutes. Add parsley and toss. Taste for seasoning. Add salt if necessary.

Chicken & Mushroom Soup

Soup is generally served in the middle or at the end of a Chinese meal rather than at the beginning, as in the West. Clear stock or boiling water is added to whatever is left from the main dish, and the mixture is quickly-heated and served as an instant soup.

1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
4 cups defatted chicken stock
1 bunch watercress leaves, washed
1/2 pound mushrooms, washed and sliced (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 teaspoons sesame oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 scallions, sliced

Thinly slice chicken breast and marinate in soy sauce for 15 minutes. Bring chicken stock to a rolling boil; add chicken and soy sauce. Cut off stems of watercress and discard. When soup starts to boil again and chicken floats to the top, add watercress leaves and mushrooms. Remove from heat and stir in sherry and oil and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve in individual soup bowls and sprinkle scallions on top.

Green Peppers Stuffed With Rice & Tuna, Chick-Pea & Arugula Salad

The arrival of big, sweet bell peppers in the market is my cue that it's time to make this quick and easy light supper. Serve with a salad of warm garlicky beans over arugula or romaine lettuce, with bread and a glass of chilled Chardonnay.

Shopping List

4 medium green bell peppers or a mixture of 4 green, yellow or red bell peppers
1 bunch fresh basil or mixture of fresh parsley and dried oregano
2 bunches fresh arugula or 1 head romaine
1 loaf Italian bread
2 cans water-packed solid white tuna (6 1/8 ounces each)
2 cans chick-peas (27 ounces each)

Staples

long-grain white rice onion garlic
1 can crushed tomatoes (19 ounces)
balsamic vinegar olive oil chicken stock salt black peppercorns

Serves 4.

This meal contains a total of 655 calories per serving with 15 percent of Calories from fat.

Green Peppers Stuffed With Rice & Tuna

No antipasto table in Italy is complete without stuffed zucchini, mushrooms, peppers or even onions. This dish combines two Italian favorites, firm green peppers and good-quality canned tuna. Both the stuffed peppers and the salad may be served warm or at room temperature.

4 medium green bell peppers or a mixture of 4 green, yellow or red bell peppers
1/2 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
3/4 cup defatted chicken stock, divided
1/2 medium onion, sliced
2 medium cloves garlic, crushed through a press
2 cups crushed canned tomatoes Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
26 1/8-ounce cans water-packed solid white tuna
1 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 cup fresh parsley chopped together with 1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 loaf Italian bread

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot with 3 to 4 quarts of water to a boil. Place whole peppers in boiling water and simmer 4 minutes. Remove and immediately refresh under cold water.

Cook rice in boiling water, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes and drain. Heat 1/4 cup chicken stock in a nonstick skillet and sauté onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and cook for 5 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix rice, tuna and basil together. Add oil. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Be careful: There may already be enough salt from the tuna.

Cut peppers in half lengthwise and remove core and seeds. Place peppers in a small roasting pan or baking dish. It should be just large enough to fit them snugly together. Pour remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock into pan. Spoon rice stuffing into peppers. Spoon tomato sauce over peppers. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Peppers should be cooked through but still slightly crunchy.

Warm bread, slice and serve in a basket.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Dinner in Minutes"
by .
Copyright © 1995 Linda Gassenheimer.
Excerpted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Title Page,
Contents,
Copyright,
Dedication,
Acknowledgments,
Introduction,
Timesavers,
Staples,
General Helpful Hints,
Special Meals & Wine Recommendations,
CHAPTER 1: SOUP, RICE & PASTA DINNERS,
CHAPTER 2: POULTRY DINNERS,
CHAPTER 3: FISH & SEAFOOD DINNERS,
CHAPTER 4: BEEF DINNERS,
CHAPTER 5: PORK DINNERS,
CHAPTER 6: LAMB DINNERS,
CHAPTER 7: VEAL DINNERS,
CHAPTER 8: DESSERTS,
Index,

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