One-dish wonders for winter
Well 2021 has got off to a weird start with a Capitol riot and a tragic number of deaths internationally from Covid-19.
But while it’s easy to focus on the doom and gloom, a big YAY for US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris; how amazing to have those two in office versus the polarising antagonist that was Donald Trump.
Also, vaccines have hit our shores and we all have a little more freedom than before – things are looking up. And if it wasn’t for a bizarre icy hurricane headed our way I would be feeling decidedly optimistic. Having said that, I’m pretty sure a storm in winter is better than a storm in summer. I’d rather be keeping cosy under blankets than sweating in August without AC. As far as problems go, how lucky we are in Bermuda. It could be so much worse.
So rather than stressing about this storm, I’ve decided to just embrace it. If only my kids were younger; we could all dress up in Elsa dresses and have a Frozen party. The chances of that are slim to none so, instead we’ll have to stick to card games, candles and some warm and wintry food. Even if we lose power, we have an amazing camping stove that’s easy for heating up a one-dish-wonder. I do love dishes that have everything all in one, especially when they are made in advance and you just reheat!
I know I share a lot of recipes here but a lot of my cooking is very random – all based on what we happen to have in the fridge or what looks fresh in the store. Rather than choosing a recipe and then buying ingredients, I tend to buy ingredients and then choose a recipe that fits – or just make something up. We call this concept “cooking in reverse” and I love it! It does mean that almost everything is an experiment. And the key to kitchen experimentation is accepting that for every “hit” you have, there will likely be a “miss” too. I once made chicken in a blueberry sauce that was decidedly grey. It tasted OK, but I never made it again!
However, if you’re less tolerant of the misses, or afraid they will be completely inedible, then here are some tips for making dinner just using one dish (or one dish and a sieve)! All of these are good for winter. They’re warming and nutritious and easy to heat up on a camping stove, or on your BBQ if need be!
The pasta hummus classic
I discovered this back in the day when my kids got bored of hummus, but I still wanted to sneak it in as easy vegetarian protein! All you do is cook pasta, drain it and then pop the pan/pasta back on the stove. Pour in a good quality pasta sauce and 1 to 2 tbs of hummus per person. Stir through and reheat. It’s creamy, tomatoey and totally delicious. Serve with a big handful of leaves on the side, or add frozen veg as you cook the pasta (and then drain it all at the same time).
The shortcut with soup
Using great quality soup as a base for a healthy meal is easy. I love the fresh Waitrose soups, options at Marks & Spencers or – obviously my favourite! – the Nutrifit soup from Miles. (We have a coconut curry super-soup at the moment and it’s so good!) If you pick a soup that already contains protein (eg chicken), simply add pasta to bulk it out. So, you cook the pasta, drain it, add the soup and heat through. If there isn’t any protein, simply add diced cooked chicken or a tablespoon of hummus should the flavours match.
A casserole with protein, carbs and veg
If you make a beef casserole, make sure you include carrots or sweet potato for your carbs, and then towards the end of cooking, add frozen peas for your greens. One of my favourites is my chicken, butternut squash and apple casserole which is another one that you can easily add peas too. You could add zucchini as well, just make sure the pieces are large so they don’t disintegrate.
Here’s hoping we all keep power while this icy storm passes. Otherwise, cosy up under the blankets and I will see you next week!
Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram