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Wicked Simple Recipe Help

One of my best friends is getting married. She is a lovely woman who is prediabetic (Type 2..and is petite and active).

She does not love to cook, but can manage the basics. She's looking for recipes that are main course, and not soups or salads (I know, I know....but she's a meat and taters gal...or was).

Can you give me your simplest hot dish recipes in terms of ingredients and techniques. Warning: she probably won't do ocean food beyond scallops, and can handle only mild spice for now. Her husband to be is a mensch, happy to eat anything.

Why I'm asking--each guest at her engagement party has to bring two recipes!

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  1. My DH and I love these simple kebabs from Epicurious, which go well with any number of vegetable sides:

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

    I add a good squeeze of lemon and some lemon zest to the marinade, and I usually double the garlic and add lots more cayenne. Also, don't forget to salt! Flap meat is my favorite cut for these but the marinade works on any kebab-friendly cut. Really tasty given the simplicity.

    1. When I make this, I use rutabaga chunks in place of carrots, but using some carrot might not hurt. I also butterfly the chicken and spread it over the veggies so it's all crisp skin, but she might not want to: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in... The butter and high temp make a great crispy skin.

      Also, I don't have a recipe, but estimating a lb of ground lamb mixed with, say, 1/2 cup of feta cubes, 1/3 cup chopped red onion and a 1/4 cup of halved pitted kalamata olives, some Greek oregano (or not) and grilled, fried or baked is great by itself, or with yogurt sauce if ambitious, and salad or spinach.

      From Fran McCullough's Low Carb Cookbook; I keep a bag of frozen pepper strips in the freezer just for this:

      This is more or less Mom's meat loaf, with a couple of twists. To save
      carbs on ketchup, you can spread a little salsa over the meat loaf before you
      add the bacon strips. Drain it on a strainer first to get rid of extra liquid.

      Serves 6

      2 Wasa sesame rye crackers, crushed in a food processor
      1/3 cup milk
      3 pounds meat loaf mix (veal, pork, and beef), at room temperature
      2 Tbs. butter
      1 large green bell pepper, minced
      1/2 cup chopped onion
      6 large garlic cloves, pressed
      1 tsp. dried thyme
      2 large eggs, lightly beaten
      1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
      1 tsp. paprika
      1 tsp. salt
      1 tsp. ground black pepper
      2 Tbs. ketchup or strained salsa
      4 bacon strips

      Per serving: Protein 41.8 grams; fat 74.7 grams; carbohydrate 5.9 grams

      Preheat the oven to 350. Put the Wasa crumbs in a small bowl and pour the
      milk over them. Set aside.

      Put the meat in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a skillet and add the
      green pepper and onions. Cook gently for about 3 minutes or until soft, stirring
      often. Add the sauteed pepper and everything else but the ketchup and bacon
      to the meat and mix it lightly with your hands.

      Put the meat loaf into a glass loaf pan and spread the ketchup over the
      top. Lay the bacon over the ketchup and bake the loaf for 1 hour and 15
      minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

      1. What great ideas. This is a woman who lives on take-out salads topped with protein, which is fine, but her H will want hot meals. Thank you!

            1. re: happybaker

              works well either way.

              have also served it with ratatouille as a side dish or with well sauteed mushrooms poured over it (the mushrooms need to be cooked long enough to have all their liquid released and cooked off).
              both those side dishes work well at room temp or warm

              this is the easiest, most flexible, most forgiving recipe that i have in my file.
              p.s. i skip the olives entirely
              the dish is much better without them.

                1. re: pinehurst

                  also, do NOT add any salt because usually the parmesan cheese, by itself, contains enough salt for the entire dish.

                  imho, pepper, like the olives, detracts, so skip that too.
                  in any case, if it turns out you disagree with me, salt and pepper can be added after serving;
                  they can't be removed after serving though. . .

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    Roger that. I love parm (I snack on it sometimes) so I'll omit all add'tl salt. Funny how I want ideas for the engagement party and I'm using the recipes like a usurper. All in the name of research!

            2. re: westsidegal

              with a substitute for the bread crumbs, that could really work. Almond flour or ground pork rinds would cut the recipe by about 70-80 grams of carbs for her diabetic control.

              1. re: mcf

                if you look at how the bread crumbs are used, you will see that most of them end up in the trash.

                you coat the pan with butter. swish the crumbs around.
                the crumbs that don't stick to the butter (which is most of them) get dumped in the trash.

              2. re: westsidegal

                I think I'll tweak the recipe and try this soon. Nice!

              3. This greek veg casserole is very hearty and a great main dish, leftovers save really well too
                http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/gree...

                This shakshuka recipe is quick and very easy, adjust the amount of hot peppers as preferred, best served with pita and salad
                http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/0...

                4 Replies
                  1. re: Ttrockwood

                    Hi Ttrockwood. The shakshuka looks like a more elegant version of what my nana called Eggs in Purgatory. I know her husband-to-be would love it if she's brave enough to try making it! I hope she does!

                    1. re: pinehurst

                      I think eggs in purgatory is the Italian version.

                      1. re: pinehurst

                        Yes, the dish goes by many names and essentially the same idea with different spices or flavors- not just easy but cheap too!

                    2. Does she have a slow cooker?

                      I love to cook, but do a lot of basic slow cooker recipes because I'm chronically ill, and sometimes I just need to bang something out for the family when I'm having a rough day.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jw615

                        You know, I'm not sure. I use my slow cooker(s) a lot, so I am totally with you on the ease-of-use.

                      2. A quiche is a very easy dish, easily changed up. Basic recipe: defrost a box of frozen chopped spinach (or equivalent kale, chard, etc.). Squeeze all of the water out. Saute onion or shallot til soft then add the spinach, nutmeg, s&p til mixed well. Put the mixture in a pie crust. In a measuring cup, combine 3 eggs with enough milk or cream to measure 1 1/2 cups. Season with aforementioned seasonings. Pour over spinach mix. Top with shredded Jarlsberg or cheese of choice (1/4 cup-ish). Bake at 375 for 35 minutes. Not fancy but basic, quick, convenient and other vegetables can be substituted or added.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: gourmanda

                          Thanks for the pointers, I'm planning my first quiche this weekend.

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            With all of your cooking accomplishments you haven't done quiche? I'm surprised. But I'm sure it will be a success!

                            1. re: gourmanda

                              I think it was the whole milk/cream thing. Since I don't drink it I rarely have milk on hand so I just resigned myself to eating frittata. I'm trying to increase fat intake so recipes with heavy cream are on my radar. I love frittata so I'm sure I'll love quiche too, I assume it's just a different texture.

                            2. re: fldhkybnva

                              You can make it crustless, too, works really well. I love Jarlsberg as a melty quiche cheese, or Comte gruyere.

                              1. re: mcf

                                Great, thanks. The plan is definitely to go crustless. I'm planning to make it Sunday for lunches throughout the week.

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  Do you have a muffin tin? I've made tofu based frittata muffins often in a muffin tin for grab and go- somehow easier to eat by hand than a slice...

                                  1. re: Ttrockwood

                                    Yup, I rarely use it. Now it might have a purpose. Can I chill for a few days in the fridge?