Monday, October 1, 2007

Side Dishes

While it's fun to contemplate new foods, fancy main dishes and the like, too often we are cooking "same stuff, different day". In these cases, the side dishes make all of the difference.

This one is Penne in Alfredo Sauce. I've always loved Fettucini Alfredo, and I don't know where I came upon the information to make Alfredo sauce. It's deceptively simple to do. First, cook your pasta; then pour it into the colander to strain. Put the pot lid on the colander to keep it hot. Return the pan to the stove. Melt one stick of butter, add a cup of heavy cream, 2 eggs and freshly ground pepper to taste. Pour the pasta back in, stir in 1/2 cup parmesan, and add milk to thin up the alfredo sauce to the desired consistency. Stir for about a minute and serve. The heat from the other ingredients cooks the eggs.
Years ago, I got tired of paying big bucks for Rice-A-Roni and similar products, and came up with this alternative. Saute 1 minced onion and one shredded carrot in 1/2 stick butter; add 2 cups rice, 4 cups water and 4 chicken bouillon cubes. After about 5 minutes, add 1 diced tomato. 2 to 3 minutes before the rice is finished, add 1 tbsp dried or fresh parsley (cooking for too long takes away the pretty green color), and serve. To serve with beef, use beef bouillon cubes instead of chicken bouillon cubes, and add 2 tbsp tomato paste. My second daughter dubbed this "Party Rice" when she was 8; when I asked her why, she responded that it looks "like a party in the house!"

Another thing we love is Pizza tomatoes. Quarter tomatoes and arrange in a baking dish. For the topping, mix 1/2 stick melted butter, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 cup parmesan, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp oregano. They do sort of taste like pizza.
Plan on at least 1/2 tomato per person.

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