Back-to-School: Easy & Nutritious Dinners

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – When the kids go back to school, schedules often get chaotic. Chef Bill Collins, from chefbill.com, showed us how to make quick and easy dinners for the school year, like savory omelets and a pasta with shrimp and fresh vegetables.

Omelets

There are at least three techniques for making omelets. Two of the easier ones are listed below.  The key is to let the pan sit on a medium-low heat for approximately five minutes, then turn the heat up to medium for another minute before adding the eggs.  It’s important that the pan should NOT be too hot.

Starting your omelet:

2-3 eggs, beaten well
2 tablespoons of milk or water
A pinch of salt, a 1/2 pinch of pepper
1-2 tablespoons butter for the pan
An omelet pan, approximately 8”-10” in diameter
1 heat-proof rubber spatula

Combine the first four ingredients, and add the butter in the hot pan before you add the eggs.

 

Omelet Technique #1

eg

After adding the eggs to the hot pan, let the eggs cook for 30 seconds or so, or until the outer edges of the eggs start to cook. As the edges cook, gently lift up the edges, and tip/spill the uncooked egg underneath the edges.  Do this until there is no more uncooked egg to tip/spill under.  There will still be some uncooked egg on top, but not enough to tip.

Take your fillings, and put them on just-under one half of the omelet, going from the center to the edge. After they’re in place, take your spatula (or two) and fold the half without the fillings, over the other half.  Continue to cook the omelet for another 1-2 minutes, or until it’s cooked through.

With the omelet now looking like a half moon, arrange it so the pan’s handle is right in the middle of the omelet. Slide the omelet to the opposite side of the handle, and gently flip the omelet onto the plate.

Serve immediately.

 

Omelet Technique #2

Add two tablespoons of butter to the pan. Wait until after it’s melted, and starts to turn brown.  Add the eggs, and stir immediately.  Keep stirring.  As the eggs on the outside of the pan start to cook, bring them to the center of the pan.  Continue to stir the uncooked eggs, until there’s just a thin layer of uncooked egg on the top.

Take your fillings, and put them on just under one half of the omelet, going from the center to the edge. After their in place, take your spatula (or two) and fold the half without the fillings, over the other half.  Continue to cook the omelet for another 1-2 minutes, or until it’s cooked through.

With the omelet now looking like a half moon, arrange it so the pan’s handle is right in the middle of the omelet. Slide the omelet to the opposite side of the handle, and gently flip the omelet onto the plate.

Serve immediately.

Hints/Comments/Fillings

  • If you’re concerned about burning your omelet, add water instead of milk to the eggs
  • Fillings can include almost anything, from herbs and cheese to breakfast meats (ham, bacon, etc) to “themes”. Themes can include a Mediterranean omelet with kalimata olives, feta cheese, and roasted peppers, to Mexican, with salsa, Monterrey jack cheese, and scallions
  • You can use Pam spray instead of butter

Pasta & Seasonal Vegetables
http://www.chefbill.com

shrimp p

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup white wine (optional)
1 summer squash, chopped into ¼” pieces
1 zucchini, chopped into ¼” pieces
1 pound cooked shrimp (optional)
4 cups cooked pasta
6-8 basil leaves, sliced
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat a large skillet over a medium heat. Add the olive oil, then the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
  2. Add the tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Add the wine, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.
  3. Add the summer squash and zucchini, and sauté until it begins to soften.
  4. Add the shrimp pasta, and stir until they’re warmed through.
  5. Add the basil and Parmesan, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 servings

 

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