Fresh Dinner Ideas

Today I have a few quick and easy dinner ideas that have been recent hits around here.

Sunday Dinner from the Cupboard –

A few weekends ago my family and I had hit up the local farmers market in the morning – our Sunday tradition.  We gathered our treats and met in the early afternoon at my parents’ house to swim, relax and feast on our market finds.  Our table was full with cheeses, salami, smoked salmon, barbequed oysters (sauce recipe to follow), and my Dad’s homemade sausages.*

*Side story – My dad has just started making homemade sausages with his two friends who also he makes homemade wine with.  The TreAmici (as the wine is called) have been making wine since 1998 and loving every minute.  Just ask them and you’ll here every detail from 1998 to today (I’ll spare you), and you will get some great wine to drink while you listen.  We all enjoy the wine they make, but we especially love the wonderful times we have sharing it over great food and with great friends and family.

This spread lasted us through most of the day and by the time dinner rolled around no one was interested in going to the store but all were up for a little something to cap off the evening. I scoured the cupboards and fridge and came up with a great light pasta that was enjoyed by all!

Tomato and Sausage Capellini –

1. Mix some fresh chopped tomatoes with a can of roasted diced tomatoes in a sauce pan with olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes to create a light sauce. Once the sauce was going I added in what was left of the barbequed sausages from earlier.

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2. Tossed cooked capellini pasta with sauce.

3. Top with fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese.

Add a salad and glass of wine and you are set!

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Barbequed oyster sauce –

On the stove melt butter then add olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes, chives, crushed garlic, and cracked black pepper.  Spoon the sauce over the open oyster as it finishes cooking on the barbeque.

A weeknight favorite – Chicken Sandwiches

1. Bake chicken breasts with your favorite seasonings in the oven.  I use seasoned salt, creole seasoning, garlic powder, lemon pepper and itialian seasoning and a small pat of butter on each chicken piece.

2. Sautee sliced bell peppers and onions on the stove.

3. Make lemon/garlic aoli to spread on the sandwiches.  Mix mayonnaise (I use light mayo as it saves calories and fat and tastes the same when mixed together), crushed garlic, fresh lemon juice and cracked black pepper.

4. Toast the bread or buns for the sandwich, then spread the aoli on both sides.  On the bottom piece, layer sliced chicken breast, peppers and onions, then a slice of cheese (provolone or jarlsberg are great on this).  Put this under the broiler or on broil in a toaster oven until the cheese is melted.  Add the top bun and you are ready to go.

I serve this with lots of different sides – from roasted veggies, to salad, to homemade sweet potato fries.

Leftover Tips

Lately, a staple in our house has been store bought pizza dough.  Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods both sell a great one.  The beauty is, I never buy toppings for the pizza as we use it to catch all of our leftovers as the week goes on.  From the recipes above, the chicken breasts, peppers and onions and even left over smoked salmon make great toppings.  It’s also a great way to throw in veggies.  We’ve topped our pizzas with corn, spinach, zucchini, even left over roasted brussel sprouts.

For the mom’s reading, my little loved the pasta and can’t get enough of our left over pizzas.  She even helps add the toppings, and stands and watches the pizza bake saying “pizzia, pizzia cooking!”.  For the sandwiches, I make her a similar version minus the aioli and with just a few bell peppers and onions.

Enjoy, use and adapt these recipes with your families this week!

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