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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pasta with Smoked Salmon & Spinach

We had this for dinner on Tuesday. It was a slightly more expensive meal than we normally eat, because of the smoked salmon, but still very affordable. It also took only five minutes more than the time it took to cook the pasta. This meant I didn't have the oven on or the stove on for very long. It was a light (tasting) and filling meal for summer, didn't take long to make and only required a pot, strainer and spoon to prepare.

If I had been able to find spinach at the farmer's market, I probably could have knocked more than a dollar and a half or more off the total cost, but it still was only about $11.82 for the whole meal for the eight of us, including the melon we had for dessert. Not bad, really, especially since the salmon was wild caught. Since there are a lot of $5.00 dinner challenges out there, but they generally are feeding four people, this would almost work for them. That's only $5.91 for four people. If I had been able to get the spinach at the farmer's market, it would have been at least a dollar and a half less, maybe more, so it would have made the meal about $10.32 for the eight of us or $5.16 for four.

Had I used a similar amount of smoked, organic chicken, it would have cost $8.73, unsmoked, organic chicken that I had cooked ahead of time, it would have been $7.86 and had I used leftover chicken from another meal, it would have been a negligible cost and the entire meal would have been $6.88. For eight people. It isn't as hard as people think to make inexpensive, good meals for a family. Even without using instant foods, canned or boxed preparations. I bought most of the ingredients at the Grocery Outlet and the farmer's market, the pasta at Fred Meyer.

So, without further ado, here is your lovely summer recipe.

1 pound whole grain pasta of your choice
Splash of olive oil
1 large bunch of spinach, washed and dried, or bag o'spinach
1 large or two medium tomatoes, diced (I mean large, ours was about a pound)
1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced (if you buy them at the store and plant the ends with the roots, they will grow back)
8 oz feta cheese, crumbled (we used the kind with kalamata olives, basil and sun dried tomatoes in it, because that was what was at the store)
8 oz smoked wild caught salmon, flaked and mostly off of the skin
salt and pepper to taste

Large cantaloupe, sliced for dessert

Bring a large pot of very salted water to a boil. Toss in your pasta and cook as long as the package directs. Prepare your other ingredients while the pasta cooks.

Drain the pasta, return to the pot in which it was cooked. Drizzle with a little olive oil and stir. Add the spinach and cover for two or three minutes to wilt it a little. Stir it in along with the scallions, tomatoes, feta cheese and salmon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with ice cold water to drink, or juice, or white wine or whatever you like. We just had water that night. Eat your lovely melon that is perfectly ripe and sweet for dessert.

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Ah, this sounds so perfect for a quick summer meal! I tend to keep cooking at a minimum most summer evenings... Might have to throw this into my meal rotation. Thanks!
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