Easy Pasta Dinner

Pasta sauce is one of the most forgiving recipes. It’s easy to make corrections if you make any mistakes and it’s something that’s great reheated for later in the week. If you’re like me and sometimes have zero time to cook, all you have to do is throw this in the microwave for a minute with pre-made pasta and you’re good to go.

For my recipe, I suggest using a bucatini for the noodle, but if that’s not your jam it’s cool, just use your favorite pasta instead. I wouldn’t necessarily suggest any stuffed pasta or something too heavy like gnocchi since this sauce is pretty substantial, but it’s up to you.

smoked-bucatini-2

Image credit: honestlyyum

Serves: 4-7 people or just yourself…

Pasta

Buccatini (See above, or any other types you want, bucatini is my go-to)

Instructions for the pasta

Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot:

  • 1) Throw pasta into to the pot when you get to step 9 of your pasta sauce steps
  • 2) Follow package cooking directions depending or on how done you like your pasta
  • 3) Drain pasta

Let’s get saucy

Sauce ingredients

  • 1/2 package hot Italian sausage (You can vary this depending on preference: turkey versus pork, sweet versus hot, or you can skip it all together)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion chopped (see how to chop an onion video)
  • 1 5.5oz can tomato paste
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomato (make sure it’s not salted)
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt (to start)
  • 1 tablespoon pepper (to start)

1) Heat your skillet or a large deep pan (3- 4 inch sides) over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes.

2) Depending on the type of meat you get, if the sausage is in casing, you want to squeeze the sausage out from the casing into the pan; about 2 ½ links worth. If it’s just packed like ground beef, then just plop half that meat brick into the pan. The rest can be frozen for later.

3) Start breaking up the meat as it browns so that it begins to crumble. Cook over medium-high heat until piece look lightly browned and have zero pink throughout the meat, roughly 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.

4) In the same pan, add about 3-4 tablespoons olive oil. Since the pan will still be hot, it will only need to heat for about a minute.

5) Throw in the sliced up garlic and let that sauté for about 1-2 minutes until lightly browned. This is infusing the oil in the pan with garlic flavor.

6) Throw in the onion and brown as well for about 3-4 minutes.

7) Take the bowl holding the browned meat and dump into the onion and garlic mix.

8) Add in tomato paste. You want to integrate this well with all other ingredients in the pan. This is where the infused oil comes in to play. The oil will help cut the tomato tang out of the sauce. Heat through for about 2 minutes.

9) Add crushed tomatoes, Oregano, and salt and pepper to mixture and stir until everything is well integrated and bubbling.

PS This is where you want to start boiling your pasta

10) Turn down heat to low and let simmer for about 8-9 minutes. This is where you want to start taste-testing the sauce. Don’t be afraid to add salt for flavor. I suggest only two teaspoons to begin, but seasoning is extremely important and based upon personal preference, so feel free to salt and pepper to how you like it. After about ten minutes the flavors should be ready for serving.

11) Take cooked pasta and put in a bowl. Top with sauce and cheese of your preference. Enjoy!

Now that you’ve got the basics down, feel free to change up the ingredients. Different vegetables and meat or lack there of can change the taste and texture. Experimentation is key to finding out your favorite sauce. Personally I like adding roasted bell peppers and zucchini to the mix.

Happy eating!

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Quick and Nutritious Salad That Tastes Like Candy

Do this once on Sunday and have prepped chicken and greens for the week! It’s a nutritious and delicious meal for lunches that’ll get you through the rest of the day energized with zero indigestion (because no one liked a gassy or complaining colleague).

First choose your type of chicken. To save time I would recommend chicken breasts. They’re easy to cut into small bite size pieces for the salad, however a whole chicken can work it’ll just take longer.

I like one chicken breast a meal but ill leave that for the reader to decide.

Click here for a quick video for chicken marinade

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 1.53.15 PM

Ingredients you’ll need for marinade:

  • 1 ½cups buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1cup packed basil leaves
  • ¼cup packed chives
  • 2garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2anchovy fillets (optional)
  • 1scallion, white and green parts
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1lime
  • 2teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1teaspoon black pepper
  • 1(4- to 5-pound) chicken, halved through the breast and back bones, patted dry with paper towels
  • 1 to 2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Ingredients for salad:

  • 50/50 Baby Arugula/Spinach Mix or any type of mix greens. A little Kale doesn’t hurt.
  • 3 lemons
  • Pepitas or Pine Nuts
  • Parmesan or Feta
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Herb Mix: Dill, Parsley, Chive
  • Jalapenos for a Kick

Salad Dressing:

70% Lemon Juice 30% Olive Oil

Step 1:

  • After you’ve completed the marinade (hopefully adding jalapenos) let the chicken sit for a couple hours or over night.
  • After either cooking the chicken on stove or grill. (Cut up chicken first before cooking on stove to speed up process)
  • On grill cook chicken six to seven minutes a side.
  • Check out the blog post on cooking meat perfect each time.

Step 2 The Greens:

  • Grab two handfuls of your greens. Sprinkle on Pepitas/Pine Nuts.
  • Add Parmesan and herbs daily to the greens to keep them fresh.
  • Cut lemons in half and then half again with open face down on cutting board. Use two quarters for each salad.
  • Cut tomatoes in half on Sunday or quickly in the morning before heading out.
  • Step 3 Getting Out the Door:

Throw the mix of greens and chicken into a to go contained and go on with the day.

Cooking Playlist

Really Good Music | Backyard BBQ Playlist

Getting together with friends on a sunny afternoon, grilling burgers, drinking a cold beer and anticipating a huge food coma sounds like the right ingredients for a perfect BBQ. But we all know it’s not complete without some really good tunes. I mean, it could be fun to listen to your Mom ask you if you’re really going to have another drink, but we’re pretty practical and old-fashioned. We ignore her, crack two in front of her, and turn up the tunes and share some good vibes all the way into the evening.

A good playlist really makes a difference, and it’s often overlooked. And I get it, your Dad might want to DJ. But when he’s done telling you how much he’s really liking T-Swift these days, and when you can’t handle him shredding the air guitar to the Free Bird solo, plug this playlist in and tell people you’ve got it covered, then hide the cord.

We hope to get you looking like this:paul rudd animated GIF

Also these can be listened to whenever and wherever so don’t discriminate.

Backyard BBQ Playlist

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/146369731″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

 

These Fish Tacos Are The Tits

We aim for easy meals here at The Daily Twenties because no one has time to play around in the kitchen. Fish tacos are a go-to meal. The ingredients are common, the prep is easy, and they can feed plenty of people.

What you need for some killer fish tacos that won’t kill you. Serves 1 person because I know you’re living alone.

Ingredients

  • Tilapia or Cod (You can pick up a bag of frozen cod filets at Ralphs or another grocery store)
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Onion
  • Mango salsa
  • Garlic powder
  • Cilantro
  • Tortillas (smaller ones)
  • Avocado
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Hot sauce

Instructions

  • 1 hour before you want to eat. The cod has to thaw before you can start making anything. Fill up a bowl of water and submerge the filet in it (sealed in the plastic) for about an hour.  So I recommend taking it out of the freezer first thing when you get home. Or you can thaw it in the microwave if you’re in a hurry.
  • While its thawing take out your other ingredients and wash them.
  • Start dicing your tomatoes and onions.
  • Cut some strips of lettuce and slices of avocado.
  • Set your spread up on a plate for easy picking and put in the fridge.
  • One hour is up.
  • When your cod is thawed, turn your burner to medium heat, add some olive oil and wait until it starts to bubble.
  • Lay your filet in the pan. Cook 3-5 minutes each side. Sprinkle the lemon, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cilantro evenly across fish. Just so it takes on some flavor.
  • You know it’s ready when then fish turn from a transparent white to a thick cloudy white.
  • When you’re about 5 minutes away from finishing your fish, start up another burner for the tortillas.
  • Spray some Pam on there. Each tortilla should take 2 minutes. Flip after 1 minute. Make as many as you want.
  • Put your tortillas on one plate, your fish on another, and break out your toppings.
  • Grab a beer and enjoy!
Cooking Playlist

Feed your soul while you feed your belly with this Spotify playlist to cook to.