Friday, January 9, 2009

Dinner in seven minutes flat.

Sometimes I just don't feel like cooking. And sometimes I don't even feel like eating. But even when stress has the best of my appetite and my culinary skills are taking a night off, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. And they're tasty tricks according to the boys.

One of the current favorites is made with favorite items of the boys, but things that I don't eat. Ham and peas. I hate them both. And yet, because they are loved by all of the Argilla men, we always have them on hand. I threw this little combination together one night I was going out and it has been a frequent repeat.

Pasta with things mommy hates.

1 package fresh tortellini (I use the Trader Joe's tortellini cheese or pesto both work and I'm sure any other variety would also be successful, so a package of tortellini, but not the dry kind)
1 cup of frozen peas
1/4 lb. sliced black forest ham (I use sandwich sliced ham because we have it in the house. I don't personally eat ham, but this is what the boys like, so I'm calling out b black forest style. Again, probably any ham would work)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (grate it yourself, that powder in the green can might as well be scouring powder for all the similarity it has to real Parmesan cheese)
2 tbsp butter

Boil your water (ok, this is going to make it longer than 7 minutes, but if you start the timer once the water is boiling, it really comes close). Once the water is boiling, drop the pasta in the water. The Trader Joe's tortellini cooks in 6 minutes if you've frozen it, and I always do. So set your timer for 6 minutes (or whatever time the package of pasta you're using says for cooking time)

Put a frying pan on another burner and melt your butter over medium-high heat. While the butter is melting, slice the ham into strips, about 1/2 inch wide. Fry the ham in the butter until the edges are a bit crispy and brown.

At the 4 minute mark, toss your peas into the pasta water. When the timer goes, drain your pasta and peas. Toss the pasta and peas into your butter and ham mixture and toss to coat. Add the shredded cheese and put it on a plate. You're probably right at the seven minute mark. Awesome, no?

Feed this wonder of modern mother/slacker innovation to your family and relax.

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