The Orange Slate

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Monday Meal

June 20, 2011
I love trying new recipes and expanding my food repertoire. There's just one tiny obstacle: the reality of time. In reality, I have a job that generally requires me to leave my before 7:45 in the morning; during a typical week I don't ever get home before 6:00 and often walk in the door after 7:00. 
This is not an unusual dilemma…..most of my friends, acquaintances, and colleagues also work (or study) between 40 and 60 hours a week.
I refuse to eat dinner out for the sake of time. If I am spending time with friends over a meal, fine. But I have fully boycotted eating out or relying on fast food simply to save effort. Among other reasons, eating out tends to be both less healthful and more expensive than cooking. 
So how does one balance a desire for healthful, beautiful food with the reality of a crazy work week? Building an arsenal of quick yet healthful recipes takes time, but there are many healthful, creative, lovely meals that can be prepared with a minimum of time and effort.
For a while, Mondays around here will be dedicated to these kinds of recipes. I'm determined to build my repertoire and I hope you'll share in my search! For now, I'm going to share one of my go-to week-night meals.
Pasta with Veggies and Basil
1/2 a bell pepper
1/2 a red onion
Fresh basil leaves
Garlic
Pepper
Olive oil
Farfalle (bow-tie) pasta
Mozzarella cheese
Tomatoes
Fill a small pot with hot water. Add 2 tablespoons (all measurements are approximate) of olive oil and stir. Let the water come to a full, rolling boil and then add pasta. Let the pasta boil for about 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Wash and chop the bell pepper, red onion, and fresh basil leaves. Place the chopped vegetables and basil in a medium frying-pan with about 1/8 cup of olive oil. Sprinkle generously with garlic and pepper. Saute on a medium-low heat until onions are transparent and peppers are pliable. 
Meanwhile, chop tomatoes. Place in a cereal-size bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese over the tomatoes. When the pasta is done, drain well and add to the bowl. Add sauteed vegetables. Stir. (The vegetables and pasta should be hot enough to melt the cheese.) Enjoy!