2 The Five-Ingredient Challenge

Here’s the challenge. Find five ingredients in your pantry (or fridge) and make a delicious meal. The “delicious” part of the challenge is the most difficult for me. 
Here’s an example of a “delicious” (you might even say “restaurant quality”) five-ingredient supper. And yes, it’s called supper around here, not dinner, but I’ll forgive you if you’re partial to the latter.
1 box of penne pasta (either white or whole wheat)
1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
1 jar of roasted red peppers
1 small container of crumbled goat cheese
1 jar of basil, garlic, pine nut pesto spice 

Choose your five ingredients and get them out. (Hey, I give basic directions because I do not take even the most minor cooking skills for granted.)
Pour a glass of wine and take a sip. (That's right, beverages do not count in the ingredient total.)
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. (Remember to salt the boiling water prior to adding the pasta.)
Roughly chop about 1/4 of a cup of the sun-dried tomatoes and about 2/3 of a cup of the roasted red peppers. (You can eyeball it; I always do.)
Take another sip of wine. (In fact, go ahead and repeat this step whenever and however frequently you like. It’s your kitchen, after all, and no one's judging on this blog.)
Mix 2 tablespoons of the pesto spice mix with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a few tablespoons of water and set aside. (The reason I’m not counting the olive oil as a sixth ingredient is because I usually have pre-made pesto sauce from the grocery store on hand, in which case the additional olive oil is unnecessary.)
Once cooked, strain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the hot pasta water. 
Add the desired amount of goat cheese to the pasta pan, and then add the tomatoes, peppers, pesto mix, and strained pasta. Stir well, adding enough of the reserved pasta water to create an incredible, cheesy sauce. (You can decide how thick you want the sauce to be.) Continue to stir, and add salt and pepper to taste. 

This dish is great served hot, room temperature, or chilled. You can serve it alone, or it would make a great addition to baked chicken or salmon and a simple green salad. (Then you’ve gone way outside the challenge, but I won’t tell.) 

Depending on your appetite, this should serve somewhere between 4 to 6 healthy eaters.

Now, if breakfast (or I guess I should say brunch) is more your style, and if you're lucky enough to spend time with someone who enjoys making it for you, then here’s another way to take the five-ingredient challenge (and we tried to go as local as possible with this one, for bonus points).

Local, organic eggs
Carolina white grits
Provolone cheese
Local Kingstree sausage from the Sewee Outpost in Awendaw, South Carolina
Frozen cheese biscuits, also from the Sewee Outpost (These things are ridiculous; I'm just warning you.)


Meet a nice boy or girl who enjoys cooking breakfast on Saturday and/or Sunday mornings. Wake up and take the dogs out. Get your computer out and play with your blog while the nice boy or girl prepares your breakfast. Make some coffee (your weekend treat), and set the table. Sit down, enjoy a delicious homemade breakfast, and offer to do the dishes, hoping he or she will tell you not to worry about it and to just sit and enjoy your coffee and your blog.

(For actual cooking directions on this one, I guess you’ll just have to talk to him because all I know is that he adds a little bit of provolone cheese to the grits, which is amazing. Even the dogs sit at our feet the whole time just hoping they’ll get a little nibble of sausage or some eggs.) 

Another great thing about this meal: it tastes great any time of the day, at least if you ask me.


Anonymous said...

I will try the pasta dish. Looks easy and yummy and available, And...brunch looks and sounds fabulous. I also want the guy who does the cooking to show up at my house, and of course,to cook and clean up. Yummy Thanks nester.

Nester said...

Hey, I think you're on to a good business idea there. He can be a traveling brunch chef (who brings all of the ingredients and then cleans up after himself). On second thought, I'm not sure I'm willing to give up my homemade brunches.

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