pizza, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.
This one is
about real food.
froufrou, food-writer food. No scallops of veal or veal of
scallops, no soupçons of creme anglaise or artistically
arranged swirls of demiglace.
This one is
about real food. This is about the food you cook when you
come home after your commute was longer than your work day,
after you noticed your boss hinting about job openings you
might like at other companies, when you have to take one kid
to hockey practice and another to Girl Scouts and another to
band practice, and you’re pretty sure you only have two
I asked my
colleagues in the Features department about their go-to
foods, the food they cook when everyone is hungry and they
just don’t have the time or the energy or maybe even the
ingredients to make their usual Tuesday night foie gras
responded with delightful, easy-to-make ideas that tasted
great. Each one, incidentally, included a starch, a source
of protein and vegetables. When you’re tired and hungry
and pressed for time, apparently, you want the nutritional
requirements for an entire meal in one dish.
Even the most
exotic of the responses is simple, because it makes use of
prepared items you get at the store. Tikka Masala Naan
Pizzas begins with premade naan flatbreads, which you then
spread with tikka masala sauce that you spoon on straight
from the jar.
works so well because that tikka masala sauce from a jar can
be awfully good, if you like spicy food. And while the
store-bought naan can’t match a freshly made sample from a
restaurant, it is certainly good enough for our purposes.
cooked chicken and sauteed mushrooms to the naan pizza
(which is to say the non-pizza), topped it with shredded
mozzarella cheese and added a few leaves of spinach more for
visual appeal than flavor. A few minutes in a hot oven
melted the cheese and browned the edges of the naan.
It was an
easy-to-make Indo-Italian masterpiece.
the Italian-ish theme, I next made Hahnilini. This is
clearly the creation of a woman who has two children: It is
fast, efficient and filling. It looks nice, and it tastes
begins with a pretty form of pasta — bowtie, shell or
fusilli (which the recipe’s creator calls “scroodle
noodles”). This you boil as usual, but a couple of minutes
before it will be done, you add some broccoli to let it cook
with the pasta.
right? You drain the pasta-’n’-broccoli and toss it with
chunks of cooked chicken, garlic salt, butter and shredded
As the recipe
puts it, “serve on pasta plates, bowls or regular plates.
and tell your family to be happy about it.”
Next up is
instant ramen with a difference. Perfect Instant Ramen takes
your standard packet of ramen — I bought one for 25 cents
— adds broccoli, poaches an egg in it and tops it with
butter, scallions, sesame seeds and, um, American cheese.
The recipe is
actually an adaptation of a recipe by a Los Angeles-based
chef that ran in the New York Times. It’s Korean comfort
food, said the chef, Roy Choi; it is how he used to eat
ramen when he was growing up and still loves to eat it
made by my colleague is the broccoli. The broccoli rounds
out and deepens the flavor, and provides nutrients to an
environment that is otherwise as rich in sodium as it is in
I made a quesadilla that is defined less by specific
ingredients than whatever you happen to have left over in
the fridge. That’s what happens when you’re pressed for
time and you need a go-to dinner.
I wanted this
one to be vegetarian, which is how the woman whose recipe it
is often makes it. I put broccoli in mine (I had some left
over from the other recipes), plus sautéed mushrooms and
diced tomatoes, plus, of course, shredded cheese — I used
whose recipe it is took one look and said, “you put more
stuff in yours than I do.”
It was good,
though. That’s the advantage of a What’s in the Fridge
Quesadilla. Pretty much anything you use is going to taste
1 1/2 cups
tikka masala simmer sauce (from a jar)
thighs, cooked and diced
1 1/4 cups
shredded mozzarella cheese
mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
1/2 cup fresh
to 400 degrees. Place the naan on baking sheets and heat for
2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oven and spread with the tikka
masala sauce. Top with the chicken, mushrooms and cheese.
Place whole leaves of spinach on top. Bake until cheese is
melted and naan is browned at the edges.
642 calories; 24 g fat; 10 g saturated fat; 168 mg
cholesterol; 47 g protein; 63 g carbohydrate; 13 g sugar; 5
g fiber; 1,338 mg sodium; 315 mg calcium
Yield: 4 to 6
bowtie pasta, shell pasta or fusilli
1 head broccoli, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 to 3 cooked
chicken breasts, diced
shredded Parmesan cheese
according to package directions. During the last 2 to 3
minutes of boiling, add the broccoli. Drain. Add chicken,
garlic salt, butter and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Toss.
Serve on pasta plates, bowls or regular plates, and tell
your family to be happy about it.
(based on 4): 640 calories; 13 g fat; 6 g saturated fat; 82
mg cholesterol; 41 g protein; 87 g carbohydrate; 4 g sugar;
5 g fiber; 821 mg sodium; 178 mg calcium
Valerie Schremp Hahn
1 pack ramen
noodles with flavor packet (save on sodium by using 1/2
1 large egg
toasted sesame seeds
green part only, thinly sliced on the bias
1. Bring 21/2
cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the
broccoli and cook for 2 minutes. Add the noodles and cook 2
minutes. Add the flavor packet and continue to cook 30 more
2. With the
broth at a low simmer, carefully add the egg. Do not stir;
pull the noodles over the egg and let sit for 3 minutes to
everything to a serving bowl, add the butter, cheese and
sesame seeds, and mix everything all together. Garnish with
732 calories; 44 g fat; 22 g saturated fat; 257 mg
cholesterol; 27 g protein; 58 g carbohydrate; 4 g sugar; 4 g
fiber; 2,607 mg sodium; 672 mg calcium
Amy Bertrand from a New York Times recipe by Roy Choi
THE FRIDGE QUESADILLA
1 cup cooked
shredded cheese, such as Colby Jack
fillings are only suggestions. Use whatever you have
leftover in the refrigerator.
1. Heat oil
in a skillet until hot and add 1 tortilla. Cook 1 minute,
then remove. Place the other tortilla on the skillet and
scatter evenly with the broccoli, mushrooms and tomato. Top
with the cheese. Place the other tortilla on top, oiled-side
up. Cook 1 minute until bottom tortilla is nicely browned.
quesadilla and cook until cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes. Cut
into quarters and serve immediately.
485 calories; 20 g fat; 7 g saturated fat; 25 mg
cholesterol; 19 g protein; 60 g carbohydrate; 4 g sugar; 3 g
fiber; 659 mg sodium; 456 mg calcium