I pretty much subscribe to the “throw it all in and wish it luck” method of cooking. I read recipes but it turns out I’m actually piss-poor at following detailed instructions. So, I use recipes mostly as inspiration and go on my merry sometimes wine fueled way.
I also try to coordinate meal ideas with what’s on sale at the local grocery. I don’t drive myself nuts matching up coupons to sales, etc but I do try to be mindful. I hate throwing away uneaten or spoiled food. I equally hate spending too much time slopping around in the kitchen. My cooking needs to be quick, relatively nutritious, and taste good enough to keep my Husband interested in any left-overs.
We were busy hiking yesterday and had a late lunch so last evening we had good old spaghetti for dinner. When I’m in a hurry, I make a sauce with one jar of decent quality sauce and add a can of diced tomatoes to it. I like the chunkiness, it stretches the more expensive sauce, and if you use no-sodium-added tomatoes, it proportionally reduces the amount of sodium per serving. It does right? I’m sure I didn’t make this up. This must have a scientific basis. . .Google here I come (again)!
We had a little sauce left over. And I had part of a large red bell pepper I needed to use. Hence, Tuna, Couscous & Tapenade
1. Prepare whole wheat couscous according to package directions.
2. Heat a little olive oil in a pan. Add a little minced garlic and a handful of diced red onion. Soften the garlic and onion, but don’t dare burn the garlic!
3. Reduce heat and add the left over pasta sauce/tomatoes plus diced red bell pepper. Simmer on medium heat for a few minutes. Bring to bubbling and turn heat to low. (Note: If you don’t have left over pasta sauce, you could easily substitute a few sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, or a partially drained can of diced tomatoes (or all three! or none!). I seldom use fresh tomatoes for anything because their quality is so questionable in this area for most of the year.
4. Add chopped kalamata and green olives to taste – we like lots of olives. Simmer for a minute or two and turn off heat. Prior to serving salt, pepper, add red pepper flakes to taste. Be careful with the salt at first. We add so many olives, salt isn’t necessary.
5. Fire up the grill or broiler. Cook the tuna steaks to your liking. Also, cook some asparagus in similar fashion until crisp/tender. For this dish we use Ahi Tuna steaks, the wild caught, flash frozen kind you can purchase at Trader Joes or similar.
6. Plate up tuna on a bed of couscous topped with tapenade. Place asparagus on the side. Drizzle a wee bit of olive oil over the plate and sprinkle everything with shaved/shredded Parmigiano or feta cheese (or BOTH!!!).
One of the nice things about this dish is that the couscous, tapenade, and asparagus can be served at room temperature. So you can make them a bit in advance obviously be mindful of basic food safety.
This could look like a pretty special meal if you prefaced it with an impressive antipasti tray and some super fab crusty bread and wine. Perhaps follow it with a really nice lemon sorbet (bonus points for serving in hollowed out lemons!) or similar plus simple shortbread cookies, dark chocolate and coffee.
Try it. You can be all kinds of awesomesauce.
You are all kinds of awesomesauce already!