Come November some days seem to have fewer hours than others and yet we still have to prepare meals for hungry family members. We want to share with you some ideas for easy delicious meals that can be made with ease and which give a new meaning to leftovers because the first meal becomes the beginning for the second.
I was walking one morning with a friend and was trying to come up with my portion of this exercise and she shared how she, like me, had cooked on Sunday for three or four days when her children were young and she worked.
When she suggested making a tomato sauce that could be transformed into a meat sauce of pasta one night and chili con carne the next, I was set. It brought to mind, my mother’s chili which was always a treat and so these two recipes from my childhood come your way this month.
1. Basic Sauce
The first meal is very easy. Make your favorite salad to go with the Italian meal. We like to add fresh fennel to our Italian salads. For dessert, enjoy some fresh fruit and low fat cheese.
2. Pasta Sauce
Our second meal is a Chile Con Carne that you may not recognize because my mother made it up and I grew up in Philadelphia where chili was unheard of. I’ve added some spices and heat, but you can omit those if you want.
Serve the Chile with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes as well as a dollop of fat free sour cream or a teaspoon of shredded fat free cheddar cheese. We like to end a hot meal like this one with the chill of a no-fat, no- sugar-added frozen dessert.
When we wrote our Quick and Easy Cookbook, our editor suggested that we develop a recipe for a basic beef and onion mixture made in the microwave and frozen for later use. Such a simple concept, but one that held great appeal with those of us who like to cook once for several meals.
The first time we use the beef mix in a hearty pasta dish. With this, we’d serve a large tossed salad with fat free Italian dressing, thinly sliced red onion, chopped fresh basil, and a few shreds of low-fat mozzarella cheese. Dessert is an assortment of red and green grapes.
Our second meal from the beef and onion mix uses another convenience item that we keep in our freezer-a 16-ounce (480 g) bag of frozen chopped spinach. With it, we’d serve a quick toss of chunks of tomato, cucumber, green bell pepper, red onion, and fresh mushrooms tossed with a drizzle fat free Italian dressing and a sprinkling of Parmesan Cheese. Fresh pears make a quick and delicious dessert finish.