15 Jul Special of the day: Easy as 1,2,3 All-in-One Entrees
A recent request by my daughters to replicate “Chopped”, the Food Network show in which contestants have a limited amount of time to make a dish using required “basket ingredients”, had me hopping around the home kitchen whipping up an entrée and dessert using the unique items they had selected (plus allowable pantry items) in less than thirty minutes to serve them for lunch. Whew!
While it was a bit of a challenge, in the end it turned out to be a whole lot of fun. Working against the clock, I decided to keep it as simple as possible and use hot sautéed zucchini and cooked pasta to melt brie into a fast, fresh and fabulous sauce.
The “Chopped” meal came together so quickly and easily with such delicious results that yet another cooking column idea was hatched. Three super simple steps. Ready, set, lunch (or dinner) is on!
Giving you one for the meat and potato crowd, a second for the seafood lovers out there and a third meat-less dinner dish is this week’s Special of the day: Easy as 1,2,3 All-in-one Entrees.
Recipes and food photography by Sydne George.
Pasta with Sautéed Zucchini and Brie
2 cups large shell pasta
3 tbsp. butter
1 small zucchini, sliced into thin coins
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. basil, minced
½ pound brie, cubed
Cook pasta in salted boiling water for about 8 minutes, just until al dente.
While pasta is cooking, heat butter in a medium sauté pan over medium high heat until melted and hot.
Add zucchini and sauté briefly. Add garlic powder and basil. Set aside.
Drain pasta and add to sautéed zucchini in sauté pan. Add cubed brie and stir to combine. Let cheese melt, then stir to distribute.
Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.
Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
Angel Hair Pasta and Scallop Packets
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp. fennel bulb, chopped
½ cup grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup angel hair pasta
½ cup white wine
1/8 tsp. salt
1 pound bay scallops
Heat a medium sauté pan over medium high heat until hot.
Add oil. When oil is hot, add garlic, fennel and tomatoes and sauté until softened.
Add pasta, white wine and salt. Cook briefly, just until softened.
Lay out stacks of two sheets of foil (about 9 inches by 11 inches) to make 4 packets.
Divide sauce among 4 packets. Top with bay scallops.
Fold edges of foil of each packet in toward the center and crimp together to seal.
(Can be made ahead to this point, assembled and refrigerated until ready to grill. Bring to room temperature before grilling.)
When ready to grill, preheat BBQ grill to 350 degrees.
Place packets on preheated grill and cook 5 minutes, until sauce is bubbly hot and scallops are opaque.
Transfer packets to serving plates, slice foil open and garnish with fresh fennel fronds.
Steak and Potato Skewers with Crispy Prosciutto and Blue Cheese
½ pound fingerling potatoes
2 tenderloin steaks, about 6 ounces each, sliced into thin slices
¼ pound prosciutto, thinly sliced
4 ounces blue cheese (wedge), cut into thin slices
Preheat BBQ grill to 375 degrees.
Parboil potatoes in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain potatoes into a colander in the sink to cool.
When cool, slice parboiled potatoes horizontally in half.
For each skewer:
Thread a thin slice of tenderloin back and forth like a ribbon onto a skewer.
Next to the tenderloin, thread a slice of prosciutto back and forth like a ribbon.
Then, thread a potato onto the skewer lengthwise.
Repeat threading to add one more slice of tenderloin, prosciutto and one more potato.
Place assembled skewers on preheated grill.
Grill for 2-3 minutes, then turn and grill an additional 2-3 minutes, for medium.
Remove from grill and transfer to a cutting board.
Top grilled tenderloin ribbons with slices of blue cheese and allow cheese to melt.
Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at https://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.