The Fastest Dinner in the West?!

Now that Nanowrimo is here, kitchen time needs to be replaced by writing time. Blogging time needs to be replaced by fiction time. Researching new recipes from the world’s greatest runners was great fun, but now I need to be much more efficient. I need to restock my freezer with made ahead meals. So this month, I will primarily cook meals from Mary McDougall’s excellent book, The Quick and Easy Cookbook.

The cover says, “… you can prepare in fifteen minutes or less.” Well, not really. That is a bit of hyperbole, although some recipes could be that fast. It is true that they are all quick and easy, no lie there. So with a name like “Fastest Dinner in the West”  (p. 146) I had to try it.

The most time consuming part of it was simply cooking the pasta. It took a few minutes to boil the water and then my pasta needed 14 minutes to cook. So I actually added more to the recipe simply because I had the time. The recipe is to heat through a cup of salsa and a can of stewed tomatoes before adding cooked pasta. Easy! I made three changes:

  1. I added a can of kidney beans for more substance
  2. I sauteed some carrot and celery
  3. I forgot the stewed tomatoes

It came out fine, and cooking the extra veggies made the salsa less Mexican in flavor. The stewed tomatoes would have been very good, so next time. It made a nice large bowl for dinner, then lunch the following day. For lunch, I ate it as a salad over mixed greens.

The Recipe, as it Should Have Been

1 C mild salsa

1 can stewed tomatoes

1 can beans

1 carrot, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

8 oz. whole grain pasta


Cook pasta according to package directions.

While pasta cooks, saute the carrot and celery in a little water until softened

Add salsa, tomatoes, and beans

Add drained pasta and heat through.

You could add other veggies while you wait for the pasta. You could use spicier salsa, or change the seasoning. But don’t get carried away, or it won’t be the gunslinger’s delight that it is!

About vegpedlr

Plant powered off-road triathlete
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