You might call this skillet supper a designer meal. It’s one with several elements that you mix and match depending on what you have on hand or what flavors you like. It involves meat (or not), vegetables, and seasonings. That’s it.
Use fresh, ground beef or pork, chopped fresh chicken, deli roast chicken, or left-over chicken. Or, if you prefer, leave out the meat. Set aside prepared meat.
In a large skillet, make a soffritto. That simply means to use drippings or oil to sauté chopped onions, garlic, sweet peppers (I like the small, colorful ones), and chopped carrots. Add some salt and fresh ground pepper and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
Vegetables and Broth
Add any, or all, of these vegetables: chopped potatoes, chopped sweet potatoes, canned garbanzo beans, frozen peas, chopped fresh green beans, fresh corn, and chopped zucchini. Keep vegetable about the same size so they cook evenly. Towards the end, stir in the cooked meat, a big handful of fresh spinach, and some chopped green onions. Pour in a bit of broth from time to time (vegetable or chicken), so mixture doesn’t stick.
Here’s where you have fun. Add one of these seasoning recommendations to the base recipe above. Or divide the mixture in half and make two varieties. I’ve suggested light seasoning, but feel free to add more to suit your taste.
Mid Eastern: Add at few teaspoons each of turmeric and curry powder and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Throw in some yellow raisins or dried cranberries and slivered almonds at the end. Sometimes I add canned coconut milk for a thicker, creamier, sauce. Serve over rice.
Asian: Add a tablespoon each of soy sauce, hoisin, and rice wine vinegar. Add Sriracha to taste. Cook to blend, thickening sauce, if desired, with a slurry of 1 Tbs. cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbs. water. Top with green onions and peanuts or cashews. Spoon over rice or soba noodles.
Italian: Add a tablespoon, or so, of tomato paste (or ketchup), a dash of hot sauce, a sprinkle of basil. Break capellini noodles into thirds (they’re very thin and cook quickly) and add directly to mixture. Add more broth, if needed. Top with shredded cheese before serving.
After selecting seasonings, put lid on skillet and simmer until noodles and/or veggies are cooked through. Taste and adjust seasoning.