How's this for easy: Dinner tonight using 9 ingredients or less -- and each dish comes together in 50 minutes or less. Because sometimes you want dinner simple and fast, yet still filling. We understand.
Lentils with sausages: "Among a few staples that I keep in the cupboard, just in case a friend stays for supper, is a bag of lentils, one of the ingredients I always turn to when I need a last-minute dinner," writes cooking legend Marion Cunningham in the introduction to her recipe. This comforting one-dish meal comes together in 45 minutes using only a handful of ingredients.
Quesadillas stuffed with mushrooms and goat cheese: For a wonderfully rich, meaty-tasting filling, try adding sauteed mushrooms cooked with shallots and butter and a touch of mint. The recipe comes together in minutes, perfect after a long day.
Noodles with cabbage, poppy seeds and pepitas: This simple dish contains only a handful of ingredients and comes together in about 50 minutes. Shredded cabbage is cooked with chopped onion to tenderness, then combined with pasta, the finished dish tossed with poppy seeds and crunchy toasted pepitas. You can find the recipe below.
NOODLES WITH CABBAGE, POPPY SEEDS AND PEPITAS
Total time: 50 minutes / Servings: 4
Note: You can cook the cabbage-and-onion mixture ahead and keep it in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Pepitas, or shelled pumpkin seeds, are generally available at well-stocked markets. Poppy seeds are also generally available at well-stocked markets, as well as at Eastern European and Middle Eastern markets.
1 small head cabbage (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 onions (about 1 pound), chopped (2 3/4 cups)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
8 ounces medium-width noodles or fettuccine
5 teaspoons poppy seeds
3 tablespoons toasted pepitas
1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
1. Quarter the cabbage lengthwise. Put each quarter on its side and shred with a heavy knife by cutting the cabbage in thin slices, first crosswise, then around the core; remove the core and any thick ribs. You should have 11 to 11 1/2 cups shredded cabbage.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a wide, heavy stew pan. Add the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they begin to turn golden, about 18 minutes. Add the cabbage, and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook uncovered over medium heat (the cabbage will seem like a very large amount at first, but it will cook down), stirring often, until the vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes. While the cabbage is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
3. Sprinkle the mixture with sugar and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, cook the noodles uncovered in the boiling water until al dente according to the instructions on the pasta packaging (check the pasta 1 to 2 minutes before the time indicated to make sure it isn't already done). Drain, reserving one-half cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
5. Add the noodles to the pan of cabbage. Toss over medium-low heat for 1 minute. Add about 3 tablespoons of the reserved noodle cooking liquid, or enough to moisten the mixture lightly, and cook until the noodles are well coated with the cabbage mixture, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the poppy seeds. Off heat, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
6. Stir most of the pepitas and parsley with the pasta and cabbage, leaving about one-fourth of each to sprinkle over as garnish. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as desired. Serve hot, sprinkled with the reserved pepitas and parsley.
Each serving: 485 calories; 14 grams protein; 64 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams fiber; 21 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 48 mg cholesterol; 13 grams sugar; 53 mg sodium.