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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The "Chopped" dinner....

Well, this has been a long week with graduation ceremonies and masses and winding down my current job.  By the time I got home from work, I had exactly 30 minutes to whip up something to eat.  I felt like one of those cooking show contestants on TLC's Chopped that have to put together a meal in under 30 minutes!  I wonder what the judges would have said!

I decided to go the pasta route.  Easy, quick, and who doesn't like pasta!

While that was cooking, I defrosted a package of sweet sausage and popped them into the Forman grill.  Time to start cutting up my favorites.... vidalia onion, red pepper, and bella mushrooms.  I cooked the onions and peppers first, added fresh garlic last.  Then shut off the heat and added the mushrooms....There are just a few folks that I shared my trick about adding mushrooms, which is to only cook them by the heat of the food and not the stove... and now a lot of people know this! They come out perfect, heated through but still have a little crispness to them.
The pasta was cooked so I threw that into the mix.... 15 minutes down, 15 to go.  Cut up the sausage and tossed that in.  Then I defrosted and add some chopped spinach and cut some cherry tomatoes in half and added them...I treat the tomatoes the same as the mushrooms.  No need to cook them either! 
Ok, so my meal is almost complete.  Just need to taste it and add the final touches.  This is where the magic happens!  I need something to pull it all together, something other than tomato sauce, so I grab the mayonnaise....yup, the mayo!  A couple of spoonfuls, 3-4 handfuls of parm cheese, a sprinkle of crushed red pepper, a whole bunch of fresh basil, and now I taste....   I have 5 minutes to plate this dinner.... A few tweeks of more garlic and some parsley, and S&P.
So...... how does it look?  I have to tell you, I made it in exactly 30 minutes and the 3 judges in my house decided not to chop me, so I guess they liked it.   

Lucky for you all, I will be back another night!  Just wish I could win the $10,000 prize......

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