Special of the day: Get out of the kitchen fast recipes

26 Dec Special of the day: Get out of the kitchen fast recipes

Fast and Fabulous French Onion Soup

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, that’s for sure, this festivity-filled season that gathers up family and friends around the holidays. But honestly, by now, the thought of baking one more cookie or whipping up yet another dip seems downright daunting. Whew!

I’m just craving a break from the kitchen, and I’m guessing I am not alone when I say that. Thinking about you, the home cook, who by now has cooked your little heart out and is in need of a much-deserved break.

But your job is never done, I am afraid. Family members seem to keep getting hungry again and again, day after day, despite the fact that you are feeding them on a continual basis.

Keeping that fact in the forefront of my mind, I rustled up some easy 1, 2, 3 recipes that come together in no time and with minimal effort on the part of the cook: a satisfying soup, a flavorful pasta and a delicious dessert.

Wishing you a bit of relaxation during the rest of the holiday season with week’s Special of the day: Get Out of the Kitchen Fast, Easy as 1,2,3 Recipes with recipes for Fast and Fabulous French Onion Soup, Presto! Pesto Cream Sauce and Magical Chocolate Mousse. Happy (Easy) cooking!

Fast and Fabulous French Onion Soup

Fast and Fabulous French Onion Soup

(Makes two small bowls of soup. It can be multiplied for a larger group.)

 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 sweet onion, sliced into thin rings

2 thick slices baguette or other left­over dense white bread

2 tbsp. grated mozzarella cheese

1 cup beef stock

1. In a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and cook onion until softened. Increase heat slightly and brown onion, stirring constantly to prevent burning.

2.Preheat oven to broil and move rack to upper third of oven. Heat beef stock in a small microwavable pitcher in microwave for one minute to warm.

3. Assemble soup in two small bowls or ramekins. Divide onions evenly between bowls. Top with a bread slice. Pour beef stock over bread slices. Top with cheese. Broil in pre­heated oven until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Pasta with Presto! Pesto Cream Sauce

Presto! Pesto Cream Sauce

(serves two, can be multiplied for a larger group)

Pasta for two, cooked according to package instructions

2 tbsp. prepared pesto

2 tbsp. heavy cream

Freshly ground pepper

Fresh basil leaves

Parmesan shreds, for garnish

1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add pesto and cream and whisk until combined.

2. Simmer pesto cream gently until slightly thickened.

3. Transfer cooked pasta to sauce and toss to coat. Season with freshly ground pepper. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and Parmesan shreds. Enjoy!

(You could always add grilled chicken, sautéed shrimp, or roasted vegetables to make this a heartier meal.)

Magical Chocolate Mousse

Magical Chocolate Mousse

(serves two, can be multiplied for a larger group)

1 cup heavy cream

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 tsp. almond flavoring

1. Heat cream in medium saucepan over medium heat to a simmer.

2. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and almond extract and allow to sit briefly. Whisk until completely smooth. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3. Remove from refrigerator, transfer to electric mixer and beat until soft beaks form. Pipe into dessert dishes. Garnish with whipped cream and almonds, if desired. Enjoy!

(This is a versatile recipe. As long as you do 2 parts heavy cream and one part chocolate and chill it overnight, it works. That said, timing is key on the chilling. If you don’t chill in long enough, it won’t beat to soft peaks, if you chill it longer than overnight, it gets too hard. White chocolate is a nice variation, milk chocolate works, and you can substitute whatever flavorings you wish.)

Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at sydnegeorge@hotmail.com . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.

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