Sunday, July 3, 2011

Keeping it Simple: 3 Ingredient Dishes

If you don't read Real Simple magazine, I recommend it enthusiastically.  Per my mantra, cooking should not be overwhelming.  Simplicity is essential to encourage people to spend more (er, less) time in the kitchen.

One of the things I love about Real Simple is that the magazine (and blog and website) consistently delivers articles that inspire my entire week's meals and grocery list.  A good example is this month's issue, which included this article: 53 Simple 3-Ingredient Recipes.  Sold!  In fact, Real Simple has an entire mini-campaign built around it, with readers posting and tweeting (use @RealSimpleFood and #3Ingredients) their favorite three ingredient dishes.  Awesome!  I'm waiting for the three ingredient cookbook - it's coming, right?

In fact, based on that one article, I whipped up a menu for the week that highlights many of their recommendations, with my own twists as always.  A sampling:

A dinnertime rift on the Grilled Provençal Shrimp Skewers: I marinated mine in a mix of olive oil and orange juice and topped them with an orange pepper blend I picked up at my favorite gardening and spice mecca: Planter's Seed & Spice Company in downtown Kansas City.  It's a must-visit, by the way.

As a side item, I played on their Corn and Avocado Salad, but I replaced the scallions with some fresh tomatoes - I was craving them, and the color combination was fantastic.

After a date night Friday night, we hopped up and enjoyed croissants, brie, fresh raspberries and some fantastic Bee Friendly Coffee on the porch and then set off for holiday weekend time at the lake with burgers and hot dogs (and grilled portabellas for me).

Made my version of the Pasta with Goat Cheese & Basil Oil: just a couple of slight tweaks.  I used a whole wheat rotini and instead of making the basil oil, substituted some fantastic Mediterranean Garlic Oil full of herbs from the pantry.  I did mix in the goat cheese and some fresh basil from the garden, and I served more of the oil on the side for dipping with an Italian herb focaccia from the grocery store and some fresh farmstand peaches.  Trust me, it was a fantastic summer lunch.

We'll do the neighborhood Fourth of July parade, grill lunch with friends and family and then end the day with a "snacky dinner:" caprese, salami, prosciutto and cheese... inspired by the Real Simple spread as well!

We're planning on the Glazed Salmon and Bok Choy & Pineapple Slaw, but having not found red curry paste I'll make my own with some existing ingredients from the Asian market.  Stay tuned for that debacle.  

Quesadillas are a staple Chez Stephens, so we'll do a round of chicken quesadillas and a sauteed version of the Grilled Portabella Quesadillas.

We'll round out the week with our version of breakfast tacos, inspired by "the best tacos in America" (they really are) at Taco Taco in San Antonio, Texas.  We've been making them ever since craving them after my sister attended Trinity University.  Our version: skillet potatoes, scrambled eggs, shredded cheese and salsa in fluffy homemade tortillas.  Mmmmm.  And no - for some reason, it's enough of a departure that it isn't reminiscent of our quesadillas on Wednesday night.

Your marching orders: read/subscribe to Real Simple, and try your hand at easy, three ingredient recipes.  You'll find plenty on this summary of the 3-ingredient challenge.

Oh, and be sure to stop by my fabulous friend's blog: nwaFoodie.  She just did a great post on the best food bloggers to follow in northwest Arkansas, and I was tickled to be included.  She's really the top (food) dog, and you must keep up with her blog.  As she says on her blog: Eat well, my friends.  Eat well.


  1. I'm excited to learn about the #3Ingredients challenge! Great post... now what 3 things would I create? Hmmmm.....

    Thanks for the shout-out!


  2. I love this "3 ingredient" idea!!! It makes cooking so much easier and less intimidating. I totally get what you mean about "spending more (er, less) time in the kitchen." I want to be cooking more consistently, but spending less time on the prep and clean up. Thanks for the tips!!!

  3. Thanks, sweet girls! Seriously, this is the neatest concept ever.

    As for my preference: brie + croissant + wine. Is that a recipe?