Tag Archives: diced vegetables

Lightening Fast Pasta For One! (Spaghetti with Garlic, Tomatoes & Capers)

I walked into my house last night at 8.05pm and was sitting eating this lovely dinner with a glass of wine by 8.20pm – talk about Fast Food!

my version of Fast Food (Spaghetti with Garlic, Tomatoes & Capers)

My version of Fast Food (Spaghetti with Garlic, Tomatoes & Capers)

You know those nights when you arrive home late and all you can think about is food? This can go a few ways: you can grab a microwave-able dinner, eat something like a hunk of bread with cheese, or take one moment longer to think about what you could cook and go for that. Last night I choose the latter.

I felt really hungry yes, but I also knew that I deserved something good and something that I would actually enjoy once I had taken my coat off and sat down. We go that extra mile for so many things that are less important than moments like this and I have learned to recognize those moments.

everything I would need for dinner ready in a flash

Everything I would need for dinner ready in a flash (spinach, cheese, garlic & capers)

Within 5 seconds I had scanned the fridge and saw a jar of capers and the lovely parm cheese. The next thing I did was put a pot of water on for pasta and made a vow to have the whole thing ready by the time I was draining the spaghetti. There was even time to pour a glass of wine while I waited for the pasta water to boil!

My dinner was more lovely than you can imagine and I slurped up every last bite like it was my last supper.


*This recipe is for one but multiply the ingredients according to how many you would like to cook this for, and it will work out just as fab!*

You will need:

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 cups chopped spinach

1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped

1/2 cup diced tomatoes with juices (I used a good quality canned variety – you should always used canned when tomatoes are not in season –  a Summer tomato is welcomed here however)

1 heaped tbs capers (don’t even bother rinsing)

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (chili flakes)

1/4 cup (or more if you like) Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated

spaghetti for 1 (I just took a handful from the box that I thought would work for me)


1 – Immediately put pasta water on to boil: Add a tsp of salt and a drop of olive oil to the water and cover with lid so the water comes to a boil faster. Add the spaghetti when water boils and cook according to instructions. When ready to drain, scoop out about a 1/4 cup of pasta water and reserve for your sauce. Do not rinse pasta. You will be transferring hot pasta directly to your cooked pan sauce.

cook spaghetti..

Cook spaghetti…reserve some cooked pasta water and do not rinse noodles when cooked!

2 – Prep ingredients as instructed above. When you add the pasta to the boiling water start to make your pan sauce. Put saute pan (big enough to hold the completed dish) on medium/low heat and add the oil. When it warms, add the tomatoes and juices and let it cook for 1 minutes. Add the garlic and capers and stir.

tomatoes, then garlic & capers

Tomatoes, then garlic & capers

3 – Add the chili flakes and cook everything for a minute or two.

stir adn cook for a minute or two

Stir and cook for a minute or two

4 – Next toss in the spinach and stir everything together. Spinach will wilt and begin to cook into the sauce after a minute or so.

add spinach

Add spinach

5 – The moment the timer goes off on your pasta, scoop out a 1/4 cup of water and add to your pan sauce. Drain the pasta and immediately add to the pan. Turn off heat and mix everything with the help of two wooden spoons.

Serve with lots of grated Parmagiano reggiano

Serve with lots of grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Tip the entire dish into a waiting warmed bowl or plate and garnish with the grated cheese. Drizzle with a good quality olive oil if you have it.

Colorful Rice with Asian Chicken or Salmon (serves 8)

 I have been luxuriating in Ireland for the past six days, and what a glorious few days it has been. I have left the Crappy Kitchen to embark on a trip that has taken me back home to Ireland, then on to Italy to work, before winding up the adventure back in Ireland in May.

I have been in the best company ever; my sisters! Each day we take mini trips to town for lunch, or to some historical site (to satisfy the children), and in the evening, wine is opened, and the cooking begins.

Colorful Rice with Asian Chicken (option 1!)

It is not surprising that on the second day of my visit, I was whisked away to town to buy an apron (also, I didn’t want to get any olive oil on my new clothes and boots!).

I have been enjoying my time in a kitchen that is quite the opposite of “crappy”, and staying up way too late basking in the company of my favorite people in the world.

This dinner was concocted amidst loud talk and laughter.

More please.


You will need: 1 onion, small dice, 1 large carrot, small dice, 2 celery ribs, small dice, 1 red pepper, small dice, 1/2 lb streaky bacon, chopped, (* omit pepper and bacon if blood type A devotee), 8 to 10 cups cooked basmati rice, 1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or, 1 good quality bouillon cube & 1 1/2 cups water), 4 chicken fillets, 4 salmon fillets, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup mirin, 1 tsp fine sugar, 2 tbs finely grated ginger (peeled).

1 – To cook rice for eight people you will need about 3 cups of rice or 4 cups of rice if you are making rice in a rice cooker, and using a rice-cooker measure. Cook according to instructions, and set aside to use later in the recipe.

2 – Prep all veggies before you start cooking. Put big saute pan on medium heat and cook bacon for about 10 minutes. Add the oil and allow to warm., Add all of the vegetables (except the ginger), and saute for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

saute veggies and bacon

3 – While vegetables are cooking, mix the mirin, soy, sugar and 1 tbs of ginger in a bowl. Place the chicken and salmon in shallow bowls and divide marinade between the two dishes.

marinate chicken

Allow to marinate for about a 1/2 hour.

marinate salmon

4 – Add the thyme to the veggies after about 15 minutes. Turn heat up to high and add the stock.

add herbs

5 – When it comes to a boil,  turn down, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cooked, rice and stir all of the ingredients together. Turn off heat (or keep warm while frying fish and chicken).

add stock, then rice

6 – Put two pans on stove top on medium/high heat (or 1 pan at a time, if that is what is available to you). Add 2 tbs of oil to each and when it is hot, add the chicken and/or fish to each pan. Cook chicken for about 7 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.

Cook fish for about 3 1/2 minutes per side.

Colorful Rice Salmon, (option 2)

Serve rice with either a piece of fish or a portion of chicken.