30 Minutes or Less

Deconstructed Shish Kabob

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Deconstructed Shish Kabob

1/4 c olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 t dried or 1 T fresh oregano
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

6 cups bell peppers and zucchini; cut into 1.5 inch dice for peppers and 1/4 inch coins for zucchini
2-3 4oz beef tenderloin fillets

1 pt grape or cherry tomatoes

Combine first five ingredients in a small bowl. Chop vegetables (I used yellow red and green peppers this time because they were all cheap and it looked pretty) and put them into a large Tupperware (Rubbermaid, whatever) bowl with lid. Cut beef into segments - Steve likes rare and I prefer medium so I always do one filet into four equal pieces and the other into eight equal pieces. Same cooking time thus produces different degrees of doneness. Add beef to bowl. Add olive oil-garlic marinade, put the lid on and give the bowl a few good flips to evenly distribute everything.

Put in the refrigerator for fifteen minutes or all day or overnight.

We bought a cheap rectangular grill pan from Target that we use for this (also nice when grilling fish.)

Spray pan with cooking spray (or take a paper towel and rub it with a little vegetable oil.) Heat grill to medium-high and place pan on grate. Add beef and vegetables, spreading them out as much as possible. Cook for five minutes, turning once with tongs/spatula. Add tomatoes and cook one more minute. You want the tomatoes to be hot and starting to split, but not pulverized into mush.    

Notes: After five straight days of chicken I was ready for something different. Tenderloin is expensive but it is the only cut that I have found that can be cooked very quickly with no fuss and always be tender. I would love to hear other cut suggestions, though. In the meantime I just use a little beef and a lot of vegetables.

I served this with brown rice and it was enough for all of us with some leftover vegetables. Edward had those for lunch the next day.


Fernanda Pasta

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I went to visit my friend Fernanda several years ago and she made a version of this pasta. When I later mentioned how much I liked it she was embarrassed and said, "Really? I didn't make you an actual dinner?"

I now make this about once a week. First, I like it. Second, I almost always have everything I need on hand and I can go from oh hell what's for dinner to eating in twenty minutes. Third, I start by combining the pasta, tuna, and black olives and then pull out portion for Patrick who is suspicious of basil and feta and ALL FLAVOR... anyway. It lends itself well to adaptation. Recently I started adding the toasted garlic and when tomatoes are in season (and I have an afternoon to kill) I like to roast them and throw them as well.

Fernanda Pasta

16 oz box farfalle

2 cans tuna in olive oil, drained and flaked

4 oz package crumbled feta (my grocery sells a black pepper feta we like)

toasted garlic in 1/4 c olive oil

1/4 c fresh basil, slivered

2 T red onion, finely minced

1/2 c kalamata olives, chopped

3 c slow-roasted tomatoes

Make sure to add salt (I use about 2 T) to the pasta water. While the farfalle is cooking, start the toasted garlic. Cook pasta al dente, drain and toss with about 1 T of olive oil. Let cool slightly and then (provided you do not have a seven year old who needs customization) add feta, red onion, basil, tuna, toasted garlic with oil and olives. Top individual servings with coarsely chopped roasted tomatoes and ground pepper. I find this to be salty enough as it is (and I like salt) so be sure to taste before adding any more.