last minute meals, last minute meal, Trueheartgal, prawn linguini, jamie oliver, dinner, recipe, pasta dinner, quick meal, quick and easy recipe, 20 minute meal,

My Favorite Last Minute Meal

last minute meals, last minute meal, Trueheartgal, prawn linguini, jamie oliver, dinner, recipe, pasta dinner, 20 minute meals

Do ever find yourself trying to figure out what to cook for dinner at about 5 pm? Me too. It’s late. I’m out of ideas. I’m in the grocery store, and I don’t have a shopping list. I am hungry, my husband is probably even hungrier. I want something good. but most of all, I want something easy and quick. I am desperate for a last minute meal.

last minute meals, last minute meal, Trueheartgal, prawn linguini, jamie oliver, dinner, recipe, pasta dinner

For moments like this, I downloaded the “jamie oliver 20 minute meals” app on my phone. You can scroll through several easy, quick recipes in a plethora of categories, including: Delicious soups, Easy pasta, Simple risottos, Fast fish, Quick curries, Gorgeous puds (meaning puddings, which I guess is the English way of referring to desserts). A few of the recipes for great last minute meals include: Leek and potato soup with taleggio, Rigatoni arrabiatta, Garlic prawns & veg on herby lentils, Chicken tikka masala, Grilled fruit and lime creme fraiche. Sound good? I think so too.

After you click on a recipe that sounds good, the app provides a shopping list, along with any equipment you will need. Finally, you get step-by-step directions of what to do when you return home. If any of the steps seem tricky, you can view quick videos that provide additional how-to assistance.

My favorite last minute meal on this app is Jamie’s “My Favorite Prawn Linguini.” It’s ridiculously easy and it never ceases to knock our socks off, and my husband would be happy to eat pasta every night of the week.

last minute meals, last minute meal, Trueheartgal, prawn linguini, jamie oliver, dinner, recipe, pasta dinner, quick meal, quick and easy recipe, 20 minute meal,

Give it a try. Let me know what you think.

 

last minute meals, last minute meal, Trueheartgal, prawn linguini, jamie oliver, dinner, recipe, pasta dinner, quick meal, quick and easy recipe, 20 minute meal,
My Favorite Prawn Linguini
Print Recipe
This dish is enough on its own, but add a simple salad and warm Italian bread, and you will have a quick and easy feast.
Servings Prep Time
2 Servings (pretty big) 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 Servings (pretty big) 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
last minute meals, last minute meal, Trueheartgal, prawn linguini, jamie oliver, dinner, recipe, pasta dinner, quick meal, quick and easy recipe, 20 minute meal,
My Favorite Prawn Linguini
Print Recipe
This dish is enough on its own, but add a simple salad and warm Italian bread, and you will have a quick and easy feast.
Servings Prep Time
2 Servings (pretty big) 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 Servings (pretty big) 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Servings (pretty big)
Instructions
  1. Fill a pot for your pasta and get it boiling. Preheat the oven to the lowest setting and place your plates in to warm. (My grandmother used to warm her plates, which is never something I think about anymore, but this is a nice reminder, as pasta cools so quickly.)
  2. Peel and slice the garlic. Halve, deseed and finely slice the chili. Pick the basil leaves from the stalks and put to one side. Finely chop the basil stalks. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
  3. Cook your linguini in boiling salted water according to the instructions. Stir it occasionally to make sure none of the pasta is sticking together.
  4. Put a good sized (but not huge) frying pan on a medium heat.
  5. Add a splash of olive oil to the hot frying pan and add the garlic, chili, basil stalks and prawns. Fry together for a minute or two, stirring.
  6. Add the cherry tomatoes to the pan with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Turn the heat up to high and keep stirring so nothing sticks.
  7. After the prawns are pink and cooked through (3 - 5 minutes), turn the heat off and drizzle over a splash of the olive oil.
  8. When the linguini is cooked, scoop out a cupful of the hot water to keep, then drain in a colander.
  9. Add the pasta to the frying pan. Toss everything together, and if the sauce is a bit thick, add a little of your reserved cooking water to thin it out slightly. (This is the genius trick to many pasta dishes that I never knew, but it makes all the difference.)
  10. Have a taste then season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cover with a lid or tin foil to keep warm.
  11. Get your warmed plates out of the oven then use tongs to divide the linguini between them. Scatter your basil leaves over the top. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and enjoy.
Recipe Notes

Let me know if you try this, or any of the other recipes on the Jamie Oliver 20 Minute Meal app, I'd love to know what you think.

XO

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Summer memories, potatoes, recipes, Trueheartgal, midlife, midlife blogger, Sonoma

Summer Memories – Potatoes

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The moments and days of this year’s summer are once again disappearing as quickly as they appear.  Spitting out watermelon seeds as juices drip down your wrist. Children playing Marco Polo and screaming in delight as they dive and jump to avoid being “it.” Ice cream melting on peach cobbler still warm from the oven. A lonely bachelor mockingbird singing through the night for a mate. Picking blackberries in the hot sun. Waving to everyone in the Fourth of July parade.

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Sitting in the shade sipping cold wine on a warm evening. Grandchildren and their cousins playing baseball and squabbling over each call. Slicing strawberries for homemade ice cream. Laughing like a child during the County fair’s bumper car ride, and paging through my old favorite cookbooks for my tried and true recipes to make for visiting loved ones.

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The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins is a source of many old reliable recipes. It is somewhat out of fashion these days, but it was a big favorite in the mid-80’s. I love how the book is divided by seasonal special occasions, complete with much-appreciated menus (I wish every cookbook offered them), quotes about the joy of eating and food along with delightful tips on entertaining, and historical notes on foods like this beauty:

Next to the apple, the peach is the most widely cultivated fruit tree in the world. When Madame Recamier, a great French beauty of the nineteenth century, was ill and refused all food, a dish of peaches in syrup and cream restored both her appetite and will to live.”

 

I found the following recipe in a menu the perfectly titled, “Summer Memories” and it included:

Creamy Chicken and Jalapeño Nachos
Swordfish Marinated with Lime and Coriander
Stir-Fry of Three Cabbages
Potatoes Fontecchio
Avocado with Rasberry Vinaigrette
Strawberry Hazelnut Torte
White Zinfandel

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Potatoes aren’t often the stars of a meal, and they are difficult to ruin, but when you add fresh mint from the garden and more garlic you thought possible to consume, they are unforgettable.

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summer memories, Trueheartgal, potatoes, mint, garlic, recipe, ROTD, gardening,

Enjoy!

Summer memories, potatoes, recipes, Trueheartgal, midlife, midlife blogger, Sonoma
Potatoes Fontecchio
Print Recipe
As a waitress during college, my nickname was "the Spud Queen," because I ate potatoes during every pre-shift meal. But my husband eats only those he cannot resist, like these. Super easy, they go great with most any grilled fish or meat.
Servings Prep Time
8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
2 hours
Servings Prep Time
8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
2 hours
Summer memories, potatoes, recipes, Trueheartgal, midlife, midlife blogger, Sonoma
Potatoes Fontecchio
Print Recipe
As a waitress during college, my nickname was "the Spud Queen," because I ate potatoes during every pre-shift meal. But my husband eats only those he cannot resist, like these. Super easy, they go great with most any grilled fish or meat.
Servings Prep Time
8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
2 hours
Servings Prep Time
8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
2 hours
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Scrub the potatoes and prick each one about six times with a fork. Place in a shallow roasting pan and roast for 2 hours. (Now I was sure there was a misprint because the recipe doesn't ask you to rub the potatoes in oil, or wrap them in foil. No - you roast them dry, so they come out a bit crispy.)
  3. Cut potatoes in half.
  4. Toss the warm potatoes with the garlic, oil, mint salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving.
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My hubby and me.

Between the Lines Trueheartgal

My hubby and me.

My hubby and me.

When I first started this blog in May 2011, I did so with the intention of giving folks interested in our Trueheart Petite Sirah wine an inside look at life on our vineyard. While I love our two acres of award-winning grapes, and am constantly awed at the beautiful and ancient rhythm of growing and making wine, I simply do not know enough to write about it regularly and passionately.

What can I write about regularly? What am I passionate about? Midlife. Aging. I am fascinated by how other women are or have navigated this road. How my mother, aunts and grandmothers did it, how are my friends younger and older, movie stars, my sister, strangers on the street, women on Instagram, and women in magazines doing it? How do I want to do it – especially given that I can still hardly believe I’m on the road?

As I have been committing myself to blogging about midlife, I have been reaching out to other midlife bloggers to build a community of women. I recently discovered an opportunity to be showcased in the “Between the Lines” series featuring women over 50 writing about blogging at midlife, created by and hosted by Katie of Katherine’s Corner. Katie is typical of many women who are blogging at midlife, she is encouraging, helpful, curious, competant and helpful.

I feel so lucky to be aging at this time. Women my age (I am 57) are allowed to be beautiful, strong, sexy, athletic, smart, successful, creative, playful, fashionable, smart-ass, inventive and wildly adventurous. In other words, we are allowed to be full, vibrant human beings, a luxury denied to in large part to my mother, and wholly to my grandmothers. In addition, I have been blessed with good health.

While I feel lucky to be aging now, many aspects remain difficult. As a young person, I could sleep anywhere, anytime and wake up rested. Now, I sleep with a mouth guard and a C-PAP, and I wake up exhausted. My dermatologist tells me, “there are sinkers and saggers – and you are a sinker” (a thin face with hollowed out cheeks, and temples). Doctors start every sentence with the phrase, “as we age.” Arthritis limits my flexibility and my endurance. I had a frozen shoulder for two years, and now that it’s gone (after a painful procedure and tons of physical therapy), the other shoulder hurts. My sex drive – once strong and healthy – is now, well… neither. I can’t see my food unless I wear readers. I have developed acid reflux, so I take a daily pill,  elevate my head when I sleep and watch my diet. No matter how much makeup I wear, the best I can hope for is, “you look so rested.” I cannot remember any names or nouns, I mostly remember verbs – “what’s her name went over to that place, oh, whaddaya call it?” I have yet to find a church I can relate to, develop a spiritual practice, meditate regularly or learn yoga.

My relatives are aging (which is a good thing as my husband would say), and I have already lost friends. My 40th high school reunion is taking place this summer and it seems just impossible that some of my classmates have already died.

I have been reluctant to write about these topics. They are personal and sometimes less than attractive. I am not a former fashion editor, spiritual guru, award-winning author or a gerontologist. I just want to write about what I struggle with, what I’ve found that works, and seek answers for challenges that I, and many other women face.

When I talk with friends, we are all trying to figure this out. We are all doing it differently. We are all a bit shell shocked. It seems we blinked and our youth vanished. We opened our eyes to find ourselves in midlife. Perhaps, in my case, not getting married until I was 42, and not having children made me blind to my own aging. Perhaps I spent years unconsciously denying it, holding on to my youth too long.

I will still write about relationships, share favorite recipes, tell stories about our miniature Bantam chickens, two acres of Petite Sirah grapes, life in Sonoma and the Northern California wine country, being a step-grandparent, aunt, daughter, sister, friend and the deeper questions. But I will be adding occasional posts about midlife. I hope you’ll join me on this journey.

 

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