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Seriously, my family would starve to death if I were solely responsible for coming up with ideas of things to feed them. Fortunately, I get by with a little help from my friends who write cookbooks (OK, they’re not really my friends, but I spend so much time with their words that it honestly feels like I know them). In this post, I share three of my go-to dishes – the ones I can count on to always take less than thirty minutes and always taste amazing. Trust me, if I can make something several times without screwing it up, it’s a great recipe.

1. Mediterranean – style green beans and tomatoes

This one is out of the Mediterranean Diet Cookbook. It’s super simple, super nutritious, and super yummy.

You need:

two cans of stewed tomatoes

about four fistsful of fresh green beans (don’t use canned)

an onion

3 garlic cloves

1 cup of water or vegetable or chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

Wash the green beans and snip the ends. If you want it to take less time to cook (are there folks out there who don’t want it to take less time to cook?!) snap the beans in half. Set them aside in a bowl.

Heat some oil (olive, vegetable, canola, your call; it doesn’t seem to make much difference) in a fairly large skillet with a lid. Dice the onions and mince the garlic cloves, and throw them in the skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the stewed tomatoes and water/broth, then add beans and stir to combine. Salt and pepper, stir again, and bring the lot to a biol. Allow to boil for a few minutes, then turn down the heat and cover with a lid. Let simmer for about twenty minutes, or until beans are cooked through. I like to serve this in a bowl because the juice goes everywhere if you don’t. The juice is particularly yummy for sopping with bread and butter.

2. Quinoa with peas and toasted pine nuts

This recipe is actually more or less self-created based on several quinoa recipes found in Alicia Silverstone’s Kind Diet Cookbook. Essentially, once you learn how to cook the quinoa, you can toss pretty much anything in there with it. I have found this combination tastes particularly yummy and satisfying.

you need:

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water, vegetable or chicken broth


1/2 – 3/4 cup pine nuts

1 freezer bag of peas

Combine the quinoa and water in a pot with a lid, add about a teaspoon or two of salt, and bring to a boil; then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Toast the pine nuts, either in a toaster oven or the oven. (It seems like it would be unnecessary to toast them, and I suppose technically you don’t have to, but toasting them releases their flavor and makes the whole dish pop just a little more.)

Cook the peas according to the directions on the bag (the ones I buy read, “put this bag in the microwave. This side up. Nuke for 4 to 6 minutes.” Like I said, I’m not all that gifted in the cookery department, so I choose foods with directions a gifted chimpanzee could decipher.)

Combine the quinoa, pine nuts and peas and stir to mix.

3. Spicy Corn Quesadillas

This one is from The Moosewood Restaurant Cooks At Home cookbook, which is full of yummy recipes. It’s a little more involved, but definitely worth the extra chopping time.

You need:

2 tablespoons oil (again, olive, vegetable, canola – you pick)

1 medium onion, diced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 carrot, grated

1 fresh chile, minced. Or, 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

3 cups frozen, fresh or canned cut corn

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1-2 teaspoons chopped cilantro (we actually up this to about a quarter-cup, because it’s so yummy)

1.5 cups grated cheese (we actually use more than that, probably closer to 2.5 cups, because the girls like cheese. Vegan cheese works fine for this recipe, but make sure you get the Follow Your Heart brand, because it’s the only one that melts to an approximation of regular cheese).

salt and pepper to taste

4-6 tortillas (use the large flour ones)

Heat the oil in a skillet; throw the onions and garlic in and saute until they are transparent, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in grated carrot and saute another 2-3 minutes. Add the chile/cayenne, corn, cumin, coriander, and cilantro and cook covered for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Add salt and pepper, stir, and remove from heat; stir the cheese into the hot veggies. Cover and let stand a few minutes so the cheese melts into the veggies. Spread filling on one side of the tortillas, fold over, and grill/ pan fry/ the way you normally make quesadillas. Cut each into four triangles and we like to add a dollop of sour cream to each. We also have added sliced avocados on top of the corn mix before folding the tortillas over and grilling, and that is double-yummy.

So – there are three of my favorite go-to recipes. Got any of your own to share?