Entertaining no longer means starting making stocks, cooking grains, marinating proteins and preparing sauces three days in advance of the party.
Today my pantry is full of sauces, condiments and spice mills. I have canned grilled long-stemmed artichoke hearts, marinated cannellini beans, dried lemon pepper pasta and at least five spice blends in their own mills.
Here are some recipes I put together from pantry items paired with fresh produce and a few other nonperishable ingredients. They can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.
PASTA WITH PESTO, ROAST PEPPERS AND ARTICHOKE HEARTS
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 (12-ounce) bag radiatore pasta, cooked al dente and drained
1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup jarred grilled water-packed artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup prepared pesto
1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese
Makes four servings.
Heat olive oil in a large, nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the cooked pasta and saute two minutes. Add the chopped peppers, artichoke hearts and pesto.
Continue to cook and combine well another two minutes until mixture is heated through. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.
Nutrition information per serving: 506 calories, 31 percent calories from fat, 17 grams total fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 8 milligrams cholesterol, 69 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams total fiber, 2 grams total sugars, 63 grams net carbs, 18 grams protein, 228 milligrams sodium.
SINGAPORE CUCUMBER SALAD
6 mini seedless cucumbers or 1 large seedless cucumber, thinly sliced on the bias
12 red, yellow or orange mini-bell peppers, cored, seeded and thinly sliced or 1/2 yellow bell pepper and 1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup thin-sliced red onions
1 navel orange, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce or sambal oelek (chili paste with garlic)
2 teaspoons brown or black sesame seeds
Makes four servings.
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and allow to sit 10 minutes before serving.
Nutritional information per serving: 81 calories, 5 percent calories from fat, trace total fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, 15 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams total fiber, 9 grams total sugars, 12 grams net carbs, 2 grams protein, 164 milligrams sodium.
Steve Petusevsky is a freelance writer in Coral Springs, Fla. If you have questions for him, write Vegetarian Today, Sun Sentinel, 200 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-2293. Or send an e-mail with your full name, address and telephone number to dhartz@Sunsentinel.com with “Vegetarian Today” in the subject line.