Stardust

Writings from my little corner of modern domesticity.

Dinner Challenge

Since we’re on a stricter budget than previously, and both of us are now very aware of how much food we have in the apartment (mostly the canned goods- egads, the canned goods!), Ryan and I have issued ourselves a challenge to not go grocery shopping for a month. We decided this on the 18th, so until October 18th, we’re limited to only the food we have in-stock already. The only exception will be to things with short shelf-lives like milk and fresh fruit, and things we really don’t know how to do without, like orange juice. But those are likely the only ones- even my cookie supply is now rationed. (Happy thoughts, Mandy, happy thoughts…)

This is going to lead to quite the challenge for dinner, or a lot of pasta, which I keep on-hand for easy, quick meals. The one thing I know I can rely on is our supply of frozen veggies- I’m in love with those Green Giant Steamers, because they come in generous two-serving portions and a wide variety of sauced and sauceless mixes. Even the buttered Brussels sprouts taste good, and I haven’t had good Brussels sprouts since 9th grade.

I’m glad for it, though- it both ensures that we’re only using our kitchen for what we’ll actually use and forces us to spread our cooking wings a little; put to the test the skills and knowledge we’ve gained with what we’ve cooked. Still proud of my creamy eggplant/bell pepper rigatoni from this summer. Super tasty. And the alfredo/rosemary tortellini I’m enjoying as I type.

If nothing else, we do have four boxes of cereal and a stash of bread and cheese. And the PB&J should hold out for a while…

Wish us luck! We’re gonna need it. In the meantime, enjoy the recipe for the rigatoni:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Creamy Eggplant/Bell Pepper Rigatoni

Serves 2, single portion seen above.

  •  1/2 box dried rigatoni pasta (~6 oz.)
  • 1 medium eggplant (I used the long, skinny kind), sliced and halved
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 c cream cheese
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese to taste
  1. Make pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, toss eggplant and peppers in olive oil in a skillet until eggplant is tender, or however you like your veggies. Turn down the heat.
  3. Either return the pasta to the pot and add the veggies, or add the pasta to the veggie skillet. Either way, stir the mixture up so the veggies get distributed nicely.
  4. Add grated Parmesan cheese and stir over low heat. After it seems melty and distributed, add the cream cheese 1/2 cup at a time, stirring to coat pasta. Add reserved pasta water if necessary to help distribute cheese.
  5. Turn off the stove and serve with shredded Parmesan on top.

I didn’t bother serving sides with this because there were so many veggies in there already, and I used the pasta water because it’s got good stuff in it, and the starch that comes off in there helps the cheese adhere to the pasta surfaces. Yum!

It was off-the-cuff at the time to use an eggplant I harvested at work, so cheese amounts are approximate. I just kinda added cheese until it looked right, so don’t be afraid to mess with the quantities there. I probably used more than that, really. The pepper chunks are also rather large- about a square inch or so. However you like it.

 

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