British Columbia

How to save time and money by keeping it simple in the kitchen

Do you find yourself strapped for time in the kitchen, or maybe lacking in culinary inspiration of late? On the Coast food columnist Gail Johnson says, sometimes, keeping it simple can work wonders.

On the Coast food columnist Gail Johnson shares tips on how to KISS — 'Keep It Simple, Stephen'

Orzo is a type of short-cut pasta. Scroll down for a simple tomato and lemon orzo recipe from Dirty Apron chef David Robertson. (Steven Jackson/flickr)

Do you find yourself strapped for time in the kitchen, or maybe lacking in culinary inspiration of late?

On the Coast food columnist Gail Johnson says sometimes, keeping it simple can work wonders.

Johnson says she's been thinking about simple recipes ever since a conversation at last week's food bank forum with Aart Schuurman Hess, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society.

"He was saying how a lot of people think that cooking from scratch takes a lot of time," Johnson told On the Coast host Stephen Quinn.

"In his view, we've actually really lost the art of cooking nutritious, affordable meals with just a few ingredients."

Johnson says eating well at home doesn't have to be a daunting prospect. It can be as simple as just a hot protein and a cold salad.

Chef David Robertson of the Dirty Apron Cooking School agrees. He shared one of his favourite simple recipes for tomato and lemon orzo pasta. Try it out yourself:

Tomato and lemon orzo pasta

Serves four.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup orzo.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil.

  • 2 cloves garlic (minced).

  • 16 cherry tomatoes (halved).

  • juice and zest of 2 lemons.

  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley.

Method

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

  2. Add the orzo and cook for eight to 10 minutes, or until al dente.

  3. Drain the orzo, transfer to a serving bowl and toss with olive oil.

  4. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, tomatoes, lemon juice and zest, and the parsley. Pour this mixture over the pasta and toss together until combined.

  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot or cold.

Chef's note: feel free to use a different type of small pasta such as penne or even couscous if you don't have orzo on hand.

With files from CBC Radio One's On the Coast.

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