Friday, May 4, 2007

Pablo and Dinner Ideas

Pablo is the newest member of the Dowler family. He is a green anole (or American Chameleon) that inhabits the ten gallon tank in our living room. We first had gotten two Cuban Tree Frogs as a belated birthday gift to Daniel from his mom. She chose to get him a small animal because he loves them and because it would be interesting for Maya. The frogs didn't do well. We had named them Miguel and Sapo and Sapo died not too long after we had bought him. Miguel was doing really well until recently when he stopped eating. We had to force feed him--which involves a credit card and me shoving a cricket into his pryed open mouth. He died a couple of days ago. After Sapo's death we had decided that we should get an anole since Daniel had had some when he was young and Miguel needed a tank mate. We named him Pablo and he has done very well. Maya absolutely loves him. She loves when we take him out (and we have confirmation that he is male--he displayed acts of male agression like doing push-ups when he encountered himself at a mirror in one of his outings) she insists that we put him on her arm and she loves to walk around with him there.

Now for the dinner ideas portion. I was making dinner and I thought that it would be cool to post up every once in a while some ideas that I have for dinner. So I wanted to post up a quick meal that any of you can make.

Spaghetti alla ceci (with homeade garlic bread and salad)

the recipe:
a can of garbanzo beans
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
crushed red pepper flakes (however you like it)
italian seasoning (thyme and oregano)
ground black pepper
14 oz can crushed tomatoes
olive oil
approx. 1/2 c. chicken broth
chopped up onions and/or mushrooms

You want to use a skillet or deep pan for the sauce. Heat some olive oil in the pan on medium heat (about 2 tbsp.) with the garlic and the crushed red pepper flakes. Let the garlic release its fragrance.
Here, you can add the onions or mushrooms or you can just skip these all together.
Meanwhile drain the garbanzo beans and grind them up in a small food processor, add this to the oil and garlic. Next add the italian seasoning (about 1 tbsp. or however much you like). Add the chicken broth and let it cook for about 3 minutes. When the liquid starts to evaporate add the crushed tomatoes. Add the ground black pepper to your taste. let it cook for another minute or so. During all of this you can start to heat up the water to cook your spaghetti.

Also, you can make the garlic bread at this time and preheat the oven to cook the bread. Also, this is a good time to get your salad together.

When you add the spaghetti into the water go ahead and stick your bread into the oven. Set your table.

when the pasta is done you can either add the pasta to the sauce or the sauce to the drained pasta or just ladle the sauce over the plated pasta. Top with grated parmesan and enjoy!

Our dinner that we had tonight!

And proof that it actually was ok.....

Some tips:

1. Try washing the dishes as you are cooking. This really lightens the load of dishes after dinner.
2. If you can spare 5 minutes after your meal, go ahead and do the dishes then.
3. I use a lot of garlic when I cook. So, I mince up a bunch of garlic cloves ahead of time and keep them in a small glass jar in the fridge. This saves a lot of time. Sometimes I even make enough that I have an extra bag in the freezer ready for me when I run out of the fridge supply.
4. If you wash fruits ahead of time then you don't have to bother about washing them when you want to eat them, especially if you don't have a lot of time. This goes for herbs as well. However, do not wash any type of berries ahead of time (for some reason they go bad faster).
5. For those with kids, I usually will dish out Maya's portion before I am completely ready to have dinner. That way her food is completely cooled down and we can all enjoy dinner together.

There are really a lot of things you can do to save time while cooking dinner. We really can eat healthy and have good meals even though we may be working or having homework to do.

Bon Apetit!!!


Nancy said...

Maya looks so cute with her little buddy on her arm!

Posting your dinner ideas is a great idea because you have such tasty meals!

Vickie Sue said...

I like the dinner ideas, because I don't have very many ideas so I need all the help I can get. I felt like I was watching a cooking show, except with pictures instead of video. Maya is such a doll. I bet she is just such a joy for you!!