We all need a little help with dinner from time to time, whether it’s getting your (older) child to peel carrots or simply throwing your hands up and calling for pizza delivery. There’s a helpful book that can help on those days you’re not sure you can make it all come together. It’s called “Homemade in Half the Time” and it’s by Shea Waggoner.
The author uses some pre-made or frozen ingredients and some fresh foods to come up with some “meet you halfway” homemade meals. There are lots of different flavors in these recipes: Asian, Cajun, Italian, Mexican, Southern, Indian and more. She also includes some quick breakfasts and desserts. Here’s a recipe we enjoyed at our house:
Curried Chicken, Broccoli and Penne Pasta Bake
1/2 box (1 pound) mini penne pasta (2 cups)
2 bags (8 ounces each) broccoli florets
1 cup prechopped onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 bag (20 ounces) cooked chicken breast strips (2 cups)
1 carton (16 ounces) creamy small-curd cottage cheese (2 cups)
1/2 cup preshredded Parmesan cheese
Cook the pasta according to the package directions but for half the normal cooking time. Add the broccoli during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 13″x9″ glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine the onion, oil, curry powder, thyme and pepper in a small glass dish or measuring cup, preferably one with a handle. Cover with plastic wrap, leaving a small corner vent. Microwave on high power, stirring once, for 5 minutes, or until sizzling. Using a rubber spatula, carefully scrape the spice mixture into the prepared baking dish. Add the chicken, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese and the reserved cooking water. Mix completely. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil. Bake for about 20 minutes longer, or until golden and bubbling.
Written by: Shannon Oelrich