It's been a long day - and an even longer night - and you can't remember your last meal. It's after midnight and you are starving! You look in your refrigerator and cabinets and all you see is eggs, cheese, maybe a little yogurt, some kind of vegetable, ground beef and, of course, pasta. Well, you are in luck-¦all of these items plus about 30 minutes will give you a delicious late night dinner. When that midnight craving strikes, whip up these simple and mouth-watering dishes that will satiate your rumbling tummy.
These late-night recipes make four to six servings, which means you can feed a few other night owls or enjoy the extra helpings for lunch or dinner later.
Macaroni and Cheese
Makes 4 servings
1/2 cup butter
2 cups dry elbow macaroni
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons minced green pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard or 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1. Heat butter over medium-high heat in a medium-sized frying pan. Add macaroni, onion, green pepper, salt, and mustard. Pour in 2 cups of water and let boil.
2. Lower heat to low and place a lid on pan. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until pasta is tender and almost all the water has evaporated. Take pan off of heat and mix in cheese until melted.
Note: Onions and peppers are optional, depending on your particular craving and availabilit
y in your kitchen. You can use any kind of cheese on hand or a combination of a few cheeses. In addition, any kind of meat or vegetable can be included to make many macaroni and cheese variations.
Makes 6 servings
1/4 cup crème fraiche, yogurt or sour cream
1 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups thinly sliced shallots (5 to 6 shallots)
6 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1. Preheat broiler. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk eggs with crème fraiche and cheese and set aside.
2. Heat oil and butter in a large oven-proof frying pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, about 3 or 4 minutes.
3. Add mushrooms and thyme and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Pour the egg mixture over the mushrooms and heat over medium-low heat. Cook until the bottom begins to set, about 5 minutes.
5. Transfer frying pan to oven and broil about 2 minutes or until top is cooked through. Remove pan from oven and top eggs with chives.
Note: Use any vegetable you have on hand as well as any cheese. Milk can be substituted for crème fraiche, yogurt or sour cream, but the frittata won't be as creamy. But the beauty of late-night meals is that you use the ingredients that are readily available and you make the best of improvising.
Curry Pita Burgers with Yogurt Sauce
Makes 6 servings
Ingredients for the yogurt sauce:
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seed
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ketchup
Small pinch sumac, curry, or cumin
1. Toast mustard seeds in a frying pan over low heat for 1 minute. Grind seeds in a spice or coffee grinder.
2. Combine all yogurt sauce ingredients and chill until ready to use.
Ingredients for the burgers:
1/4 yellow onion, minced
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded, minced
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, minced
1 1/4 pounds ground beef or turkey
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Ground black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 small fresh mint leaves
3 large pita breads
1. Combine onion, jalapeno, cilantro, beef and spices in a bowl, mixing well.
2. Form the mixture into 12 mini patties.
3. Grill burgers on grill pan or fry in a skillet for about 2 minutes per side or until preferred degree of doneness.
3. Cut pita into 12 circles with a cookie cutter. Place burgers on pita circles and top with mint leaf and yogurt sauce. You can also cut 12 extra circles if you have enough pitas to top the burgers.
Late-night meals are fun on occasion but if you find yourself frequently in need of late-night food, you might want to check into getting better sleep. For info on how to get a better night's sleep, check out these links:
Tips to get a better night's sleep
Six tips to sleep better tonight