Photo: Lynn AndrianiBy Lynn Andriani
1. Spaghetti with Garlic and Olive Oil
Put a pot of water on to boil. Separately, sauté 10 whole peeled garlic cloves in olive oil. Cook the pasta, drain and then toss with the garlic, grated Parmesan, a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and chopped parsley. Depending on how much cheese you use, you may not need to add salt.
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2. Chicken Sausage Hash
Use chicken sausage that's fully cooked (this is the only way we've ever seen it sold), so all you have to do is warm it. Brown the sausage in some olive oil, take it out of the pan and add peeled, diced turnips. Let the vegetables brown for a few minutes, then pour in a cup of apple cider. Scrape up any bits of sausage or turnip that have stuck to the pan, season with salt and pepper, put the lid on and simmer until the turnips are soft, about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and keep simmering until the cider reduces to a glaze. Put the sausage back in the pan and continue cooking until hot. Serve with buttered noodles.
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3. Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Garlic
The key to this recipe is a very hot oven (475°). Turn it on as soon as you get into the kitchen so it has ample time to preheat. Rub two pork tenderloins (each about a pound) with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and any other spices you like (oregano and rosemary are two that go nicely with pork). Put them on a rimmed baking sheet with whole cloves of peeled garlic that you've coated with oil. Roast for about 20 minutes, being careful not to overcook the pork. When an instant-read thermometer registers 145°, take the meat out and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Spread the now-soft garlic on the pork or on bread.
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4. Personal Pizzas
To make this old standby, set your oven to 400°. Spread Trader Joe's pocketless pitas or the bigger-sized Thomas' English muffins with jarred pizza sauce (we like Barilla Marinara and Rao's Homemade Pizza Sauce), slices of fresh mozzarella, basil and any other toppings you like. They'll cook in about 12 minutes.
5. Sushi Bowl
Start with precooked rice, like Annie Chun's sprouted brown sticky rice. Add steamed shrimp, shelled edamame (frozen ones will cook in the microwave in minutes) and slices of cucumber, avocado and scallion. Top with a dash of soy sauce and rice vinegar; wasabi optional.
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6. The Simplest Stir-Fry
You can use chopped onions, broccoli florets, sliced mushrooms, diced carrots or practically any other vegetable you've seen in Chinese takeout. Stir-fry them in a tablespoon of oil, adding harder produce such as broccoli and carrots a few minutes before quick-cooking mushrooms. When a sharp knife can be easily inserted in the vegetables, add a tablespoon each of chopped garlic and ginger, plus cubes of chicken, shrimp or tofu, or thinly sliced beef or pork, seasoned with black pepper. When the protein is almost cooked (5 to 7 minutes for meat, 2 to 3 minutes for seafood or tofu), pour in a half-cup of water and a few spoonfuls of soy sauce. Once everything is hot and bubbling, pour it over rice or lo mein noodles.
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7. Roasted Pepper-Tomato Soup
Put two jars of roasted red peppers (minus the liquid) and a can of whole tomatoes (we like Muir Glen Organic fire-roasted tomatoes for their rich flavor) in a blender. Toss in a few cloves of garlic and-the secret ingredient-a spoonful of brown sugar. Whirl until smooth, then warm on the stove. Bonus points for serving this with cheesy garlic bread.
8. Veggie Chili
Sauté an onion and some garlic in a saucepan; add a can each of black beans, red kidney beans and diced tomatoes (if you can find one with green chilies, even better). Sprinkle with chili powder, paprika, salt and black pepper, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and cornbread.
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9. Fish Tacos
Either pan-fry frozen fish fillets that you've defrosted in a bowl of cold water and broken into chunks, or follow the cooking directions on a package of frozen fish sticks. Pile them into whole wheat tortillas with shredded lettuce and Monterey Jack or pepper jack cheese, chopped tomatoes, salsa and sour cream. If you have a lime, add a squirt; if you have a ripe avocado, layer a few slices on top.
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