Welcome to our first in a weekly series called Texas Health-y Home Cooking!
You’re cooped up at home and coping with the new reality of stay-at-home life. But despite the current state of crazy, dinnertime comes around as usual, the kids are hungry — and your hunger pangs are kicking in, too. So, what are you supposed to do?
Many have turned to social media for tips from their favorite television chefs, such as Food Network veteran chef, Alton Brown.
Dry beans, grains, canned tomatoes, maybe some eggs. Oh, dry pasta and capers, tinned fish…gin. We can get through this.
— Alton Brown (@altonbrown) March 16, 2020
But we were inspired to take a look in our own backyard and asked some top chefs/restaurant owners in North Texas for their recommendations on healthy meals that can be prepared with items you likely already have on hand — think canned beans or tomatoes, whole wheat pasta, or the fresh or frozen produce chilling in your fridge.
Chef Ryan Carbery is kicking us off in this series of healthy meals you can cook at home.
Ryan Carbery, NOSH Bistro
8611 Hillcrest Road, Suite 100, Dallas
Chef Carbery is both a professionally trained Chef and a busy father, so he knows a thing or two about putting together a quick, healthy meal with ingredients that are on hand in his home kitchen. Chef Carbery says he’s been cooking regularly from the pantry, refrigerator and freezer these days.
“My mainstay ingredients for meal prep are whole grain pasta, beans, garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, frozen veggies like broccoli and peas, chicken or vegetable stock, green chiles and spices,” he says. “With many more people cooking at home, there are a number of simple ways you can pull together a meal or main dish, and if you want to make extra, you can also freeze a portion for leftovers.”
Chef Carbery offers up this quick and delicious recipe:
Whole Wheat Pasta with Tomatoes and Chili
- One package (16 oz.) whole wheat pasta — capellini is his favorite
- One or two cans of chopped tomatoes, drained
- One can of your favorite variety of beans, optional
- Chili flakes, optional and to taste
- Grated parmesan cheese
Boil water with a dash or two of salt. Separately, sauté garlic and add tomatoes and beans, if you like, and season with chili flakes if you like spice. Drain the pasta when it’s at the desired consistency, top with tomato mixture and grated parmesan. This one’s terrific as a vegetarian main dish, but you can add chopped chicken, for a heartier meal.
Chef Carbery also likes combining veggies — canned or frozen — that he has on hand. He likes mixing green beans or peas with tomatoes (drained, if you prefer) with sautéed garlic. He adds, “Garlic is key to almost every dish in our house.”
He also suggests using this time when we’re all homebound to experiment a bit with your cooking, especially with spices.
“I encourage home cooks to try new spices like smoked paprika, which adds a wonderful dimension to tomatoes,” he explains. “We have a great opportunity now to share cultures and recipes thanks to TV and the internet, so let’s take advantage of that while we’re spending more time cooking at home.”
Just because we can’t enjoy dining out at our favorite restaurants right now doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy delicious, restaurant-style food at home. Just take a cue from these well-respected North Texas chefs. And if you like the recipes, be sure to swing by and thank the Chefs once restaurants are once again open for dine-in.
Remember, now is an opportune time to get inspired, try something new, and expand your culinary skills. So grab the apron, open the pantry, ask the kids to help out, and enjoy some family cooking time! And if you’d like additional inspiration from celebrity chefs, this story is chock-full of ideas to keep you cooking for days!
In need of a great breakfast recipe? We’ve got the perfect Overnight Oats recipe for you here.