If recent snows have turned your thoughts to bubbling pots of lasagna and creamy pots of macaroni and cheese, chances are a nasty surprise greeted you once you finally made it across the ice to the ‘grocery store. Everyone had the same thought at the same time, and the pasta boxes had become as elusive as four-leaf clovers under all that snow.

While there’s nothing like pasta’s ability to soothe the body and mind after shoveling snow, pushing a pre-race workout, clearing broken branches, or overcoming all sorts of daily challenges, No-Cook Cooking cooks have learned to be resourceful and creative at the same time. No pasta? No problem. You have this.

Whether the shelves are spared due to virus variants, supply disruptions, or the Central Virginia snow panic, you’ve learned a thing or two in the past two years about cooking great meals from this which is available. And while we’re on the subject of garden varieties, there’s no better place to start strategizing than the produce section.

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Keep an eye out for all those plastic potato bags for smaller packages that will allow you to steam small potatoes right in the bag.

Read labels carefully, because if the instructions recommend cutting the tiny potatoes into wedges or chunks, you’ll want to do so to ensure delectable tenderness. Then you’ll add a little olive oil or butter and any seasonings you like – rosemary, black pepper and dill, anyone? – before sealing the bag tightly and placing it in the microwave for about eight minutes. Putting fresh produce on the table has become almost a sin, and you’ll have plenty of time before dinner to steam a bag of collard greens or spinach to go with it.

Now experiment with the different versions to see if you prefer small red or white potatoes, and you can put a tasty meal on the table no matter what meats are available in the butcher’s crate. And as spring approaches and you start dreaming of barbecues, think how much easier and faster it will be to whip up fresh potato salad with your new secret weapon.

If you’re craving a comforting side dish and trying to cut carbs at the same time, my heart goes out to you. I share this particular pain, and I have another idea for you from the product section.

Prices have been pretty good for cauliflower lately, so two heads are better than one. Get ready to experiment and have fun. If you’ve built a collection of No-Cook Cooking spices and spice blends, here’s your chance to go as Italian, Pan-Asian, or Cajun as you wish. You will end up impressing yourself.

Before you get started, be realistic: replacing rice, potatoes and pasta with cauliflower won’t fool your taste buds at all, so don’t even pretend. Enjoy your cauliflower because you love its flavor and versatility. Conjuring up the flavors of some of your favorite dishes, however, is fine, and it will give you the opportunity to shake up your menus for the week and let your imagination run wild.

My version of Buffalo Cauliflower has recently been a hit at home. The super-simple combination of steamed cauliflower tossed with hot sauce, flaked red pepper, and a tiny bit of optional margarine was especially tasty alongside ham this winter. If you’re playing up the Buffalo flavor profile by adding thinly sliced ​​celery, remember to reduce any other sources of sodium going into your dish.

I’ll open a new bottle of sweet chili sauce to give this week’s version a little curvature, and add some to my pineapple chicken stir-fry later in the week to top off a dollop of marmalade. orange , thinly sliced ​​red and orange bell peppers, chunks of pineapple, cauliflower florets and a good pinch of five Chinese spices. The ginger from the Chinese five-spice seems to be the ideal final note; it hovers over the dish like a descending soprano.

If you’d like dirty rice, but your diet (or your doctor) says no, consider tossing your steaming ground cauliflower with a mixture of poultry seasoning and ground sage, a pinch of Cajun spice, a sip of robust olive oil and a good hot crumble of vegetable chorizo ​​or other sausage. Chop some celery, green pepper, and red pepper as finely as you can to brown them with the chorizo, and while you’ll up the vitamin-rich vegetable quotient, the side of you that craves comfort food will tune out. the noise of nutrition and skip straight to familiar flavors as deprivation takes a vacation.

No one at your table will care how empty the shelves were – and no one needs to know how healthy some of your favorite comfort foods can be.


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