September 25th, 2013
I was going to post something else today, but I’ve shifted things around to share last night’s dinner. It’s not the prettiest meal I’ve ever made, but it is wholesome, healthy, and took 20 minutes to cook. I also used only ingredients from my pantry and freezer, and everyone like it.
Last week was crazy, then we went away for the weekend. By the time I returned home on Sunday night, I had no meal plan, no food in the house, and a busy week of work ahead. Ever been there? I’m thinking that you have, which is why I’ve interrupted our regular programming to bring you this service announcement:
A thoughtfully stocked pantry will SAVE you.
Maybe you’ve heard this message before. Maybe it doesn’t seem like much of a revelation. But I’ll tell you this: when you’re able to whip up a tasty dinner like this one with a protein-rich pasta and side veggie, you’ll feel pretty amazed.
Since I want you to be amazed by yourself and your cooking skills, let’s break down last night’s dinner, Pasta with Tuna and Chickpeas with Butter Sautéed Artichokes and Peas:
And that was that. Dinner served.
Check out more specific cooking instructions for the pasta below. (The veg really was just a quick butter sauté—nothing more to it.) You can also check your pantry against my How to Stock Your Pantry checklists:
My checklist for what to keep in your fridge and freezer is coming soon but, in the meantime, always have a bag of frozen peas on hand and tell me:
What’s your best quick, all-pantry meal?
Quickest Pantry Pasta with Chickpeas and Tuna
(Can be adapted for kids 6+ mos)*
1 lb favorite cut pasta, such as penne
1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, such as Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
1-2 5-ounce cans olive oil packed tuna, such as BumbleBee Tonno in Olive Oil
1. Bring one gallon of water seasoned with 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil. Add pasta, stir, then begin measuring cooking time; cook pasta 2-3 minutes fewer than indicated on the package. Drain pasta saving 1/2 cup of cooking water. Do not rinse the pasta; set aside.
2. In the same pot that you used to cook the pasta, heat olive oil and butter over medium flame. Add chickpeas and tomatoes, along with any juice in the can. Stir and allow to warm through, about 2 minutes. Return pasta to pot, along with reserved cooking water. Toss to coat pasta and continue cooking until tomatoes and cooking water thicken into a light sauce; it should be enough just to coat the pasta and bottom of the pot.
3. Remove pot from heat and add tuna—one can if you want the dish to be light on fish, two cans if you want more. Finish with a healthy glug of olive oil and hearty seasoning of salt. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve warm.
*Note: This is an easy dish to share with eaters as young as 6 months old. Just pull out whatever you want to share with them—chickpeas, chickpeas and tuna, pasta and tuna, everything—and pulse or chop into an age appropriate consistency.