10 Quick and Easy Meals
I am actually a people’s person. Well, kind of. I love having friends stay over. I love throwing out parties, preparing menus and mixing drinks. People laughing, people dancing; drinking and eating good, real stuff. No frozen pizzas, and no ready-to-go sandwiches. I do enjoy being a good hostess, and the quintessential part of it (in my mind) is never to be caught off guard. Fortunately or not so much, we all have a couple of friends, who apparently are not familiar with the existence of mobile phones, and show up at your door for no apparent reason at whatever time of the day they just feel like. If you are lucky, they’d go straight to your alcohol depot, drink and go. But what if they actually want to eat? Now that, a good hostess like me would not let a guest, even an unexpected one, to leave on empty stomach! So, here you go the list of my top 10 quick and easy meals, which would leave your guests satisfied and your reputation as a great hostess would remain unspotted!
10.Mediterranean lentil salad
If you don’t have a can of lentils in your pantry already, then make sure it is on your next grocery list. Lentils are great; even the canned kind makes up for a great side dish or salad – plain with great dressing, some roasted vegetables or like in this version with crumbled goat cheese on top. You can make the salad even more filling by adding rashes of prosciutto, or any other cured ham; or even fried chorizo sausage – which goes surprisingly well with lentils!
- Chicken salad with beetroot and goat cheese
Who does not like roasted chicken – with crispy browned skin and succulent meat? But on the second day leftovers are nowhere as appetizing as the whole bird the day before. Solution? Salads! You can mix up your own, say, roasted peppers, prosciutto, arugula, and parmesan shavings. But I personally absolutely adore this one, featuring one of my favorite flavor combos – beetroot plus goat cheese. Good thing – if you have no baguette to dice for croutons, you can load all the ingredients into… pita! Not kidding; it is absolutely delicious!
- Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe
Dense, salty, and pleasantly pungent Pecorino Romano is my dream cheese. Like, seriously. For a very brief period it was sold everywhere around, and I used it for everything: toasts in the morning, mixed with breadcrumbs to fry chicken, shaved on top of salads, with eggs and roasted vegetables. But the best you can – and you should – do is this amazing pasta. Sounds easy, does not it? Pecorino, parmesan, a tad of butter, and some freshly grind black pepper. And yet when the flavors blend in together, the result is just mind-blowing. Honestly, I never actually bothered grating parmesan and made the dish only with pecorino. But take in mind that it is rather piquant, and the flavor might be too overwhelming for someone who is not as big fan of this cheese as I am.
I know, you’ve been told that a classic French omelet takes years to master, and that might have limited your egg repertoire to fried and scrambled. But Italian frittata is nothing like its French counterpart – it is easy, delicious and so versatile! Throw in tuna and green beans; spinach and feta; and my favorite kind – zucchini with goat cheese; there are infinite options out there, you just have to experiment. The best thing – double the eggs, take a larger pan – and you’ve got a great meal to feed the crowd!
- Everything with avocado
There are very few foods which make me as excited as avocados. Why? Because honestly, what can you not do with them? Slice onto your plate as garnish, mash into paste to make a dip, squeeze between two slices of bread, pit and fill with your favorite salad. One of my recent discoveries – eggs baked in avocado halves! Crazily delicious and prepared in no time at all!
- Pasta salad
Who does not have a package of pasta in the pantry? I always do! When you are short on time, when unexpected guests are waiting at the table – pasta is one of those versatile foods, simple to prepare and pairs nicely with almost everything. If you love greek salad as much as I do, you’ d definitely enjoy this recipe.
- Cheese sandwich
Is there any food out there, which can make you feel as welcomed, as a warm, crusty sandwich with lots of delicious gooey cheese inside? I don’t think so! It can be as humble as that, but you can do even better by mixing in sliced tomatoes and pesto; artichoke hearts and roasted peppers; you can sub cheese you’d normally use for goat cheese or feta, and smear bread slices with olive tapenade, or even cranberry jam, if you have any leftover from the Christmas dinner. Check out the inspirational recipes over here.
- Tuna salad with white beans
Forget about your dull and boring typical tuna salad. This is the tuna salad of the century! Tiny cannellini beans, a spoonful of capers just to spice things up, sweet cherry tomatoes, and fragrant basil leaves – now, what can possibly be better! And even better news – high chances, you’ve got almost every ingredient stashed in your cupboard and fridge!
- Savory crepes
Ok, it might require some effort to make the batter – especially, if this is your first time. Otherwise, crepes are insanely easy to prepare. They admit all sorts of fillings and flavors, but the most traditional one – and arguably the most delicious – is a simple combo of ham and cheese (Gruyere is preferable, but any other kind which melts nicely is good enough).
I love sharing food. There is something peaceful about the act of sharing – something which literally warms both your tummy and your heart. Dips are made for sharing. Spoon it into a huge bowl, scatter crackers around, and invite your guests to join in. There are numerous recipes out there; but I prefer the simplest hummus. If you have all the ingredients on hand(canned chickpeas are absolutely fine), there is just no excuse not to make it. I also love to serve my dips with warmed pita bread – cut it into wedges, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and your favorite spice.