In the Kitchen with George and Joe

Foodie Friday

Apr 15, 2011 by

I admit to a very un-feminist yearning.  I would love to have a man around the house who would cook for me.  Growing up, we were always thrilled when Daddy decided to cook.  He did something delicious with pork chops in gravy that I’ve never been able to equal. He was also a king of the barbecue grill and made a spectacular winter soup that used to simmer on the stovetop all weekend while he added meat and vegetables as needed to keep the pot full while we all helped ourselves.  (More on that as cold weather approaches.)

Then I got married.  My husband never cooked.  (To be fair, neither did his mother, so he never learned.)  My daughters have been far cleverer.  Both of them have managed to find husbands and/or boyfriends who love to cook and are good at it.  Even my baby brother turns out great bread, homemade pizza and dozens of other yummy specialties.

Here I sit in my empty nest, opening cans (for the cats) and cooking for myself.  Nevertheless, I have managed to find TWO terrific guys to help in my kitchen: George Foreman and Trader Joe!

The Foreman Grill is my life saver.  I grill everything: mushrooms (my favorite!) zucchini, shrimp, chicken, sugar snap peas–basically anything edible that will sit still long enough to cook and won’t slide off into the drip pan. Trader Joe is fantastic for sauces, soups (frozen and shelf-stable) appetizers and pasta. The recipe below (my latest take on what my kids used to call “miscellaneous pasta”) is simple, delicious and easy to fix, and requires a minimum of pans!

Killer Pasta

A handful of fresh veggies:  I always use mushrooms; zucchini and summer squash are great. Some, like sugar snap peas need to be lightly steamed in the microwave before grilling. Even tomatoes are wonderful if slightly firm and grilled lightly.

Salad dressing: your favorite bottled or homemade vinaigrette (The third man in my kitchen is Paul Newman – I love his balsamic vinaigrette!)

Fresh cream

Seasonings: I use a dash of horse radish, maybe some sesame oil and, of course freshly ground salt and pepper.

Trader Joe’s lemon-pepper pappardelle


  1. Put the water for the pasta on to boil
  2. Slice your veggies into appropriate sizes for grilling, dip them in salad dressing and arrange them on the grill.
  3. Add the lemon-pepper pappardelle to the boiling water (If you are going to do a bunch of vegetables, you may have to grill in shifts.  If so, put the pasta in when you start your last batch of veggies.)
  4. While the veggies are grilling, take the dish from which you plan to eat the pasta and put a couple of tablespoons of cream plus your favorite seasonings into the bottom of the dish and stir.  Put the dish in the microwave until the cream and seasonings are very hot, but not boiling.
  5. When the veggies are done, toss them with the hot cream mixture.
  6. Drain and add the pasta
  7. Add salt pepper and grated cheeses to taste.

Optional: If you want to add protein, chicken and shrimp are also excellent grilled.

With a nice Italian wine and some fresh fruit you have a quick, easy, healthful and delicious meal! Enjoy!

About the Author

Tani Wolff Has Written 17 Articles For Us!

I also write for a college admissions blog and create marketing materials. However, my true passion is preparing articles about Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ upcoming festival season. I spend eight to ten months each year researching the composers, librettists, time periods and performance records of our productions (as well as the music) to put together pieces that will enhance the enjoyment of our fabulous and devoted patron community. It is truly a labor of love.
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1 Comment

  1. Tani – love your fresh approach. it’s perfect for spring and summer veggies. I must admit to having a crush on TJ also 😉 By the way, their coffee and vanilla ice cream is great and a nice treat after a healthy meal!

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