Jambalaya des Herbes with Shrimp

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: From "How to Cook Everything Fast," by Mark Bittman.

• 3 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 large onion

• 2 celery ribs

• 2 green bell peppers

• 3 garlic cloves

• Salt and pepper

• 1 1/2 c. long-grain white rice

• 2 large ripe tomatoes (1 lb.)

• 1 tsp. paprika

• 1/2 tsp. cayenne

• 1 tsp. dried thyme

• 3 bay leaves

• 1 bunch fresh parsley

• 1 lb. peeled shrimp

• Hot sauce for serving, optional


Put 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Prep: Trim, peel and chop the onion; add it to the skillet. Trim and chop the celery; add it to the skillet. Trim, core, seed and chop the peppers; add them to the skillet. Peel and mince 3 garlic cloves; add them to the skillet.

Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until they soften, 5 to 10 minutes.

Put 1½ cups rice in a large pot; add a big pinch of salt and water to cover by about ½ inch (2 ½ cups water). Bring to a boil.

Prep: Core and chop the tomatoes.

When the water boils, adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles steadily but not vigorously; cover.

When the vegetables are soft, stir in 1 teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon cayenne and 1 teaspoon dried thyme. Cook, stirring, for a minute.

Add the vegetable mixture, tomatoes and 3 bay leaves to the rice; stir and cover. Cook, checking occasionally until the rice is just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. If the rice begins to get tender and there is too much liquid in the pot, remove the cover and continue cooking to let some of the liquid evaporate.

Prep: Chop 1 cup parsley.

When the rice is just tender, fish out the bay leaves, add the shrimp and parsley, and toss with a fork. Cover and cook until the shrimp turn pink and cook through, 2 or 3 minutes.

Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve, passing a bottle of hot sauce at the table if you like.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories320Fat8 gSodium85 mg

Carbohydrates46 gSaturated fat1 gCalcium90 mg

Protein18 gCholesterol104 mgDietary fiber4 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 vegetable, 2½ bread/starch, 1 lean meat, 1 fat.

Three-Cheese Lasagna with Fresh Noodles

Serves 8.

Note: Egg roll wrappers, which are simply fresh pasta sheets, are usually found in the refrigerated section of the produce aisle, near the tofu. These will substitute for the usual lasagna noodles. Customizations are endless for making this to your own tastes: Along with the sauce and the cheese, layer sautéed greens or mushrooms with garlic, creamed spinach, roasted squash, olives, capers, cooked crumbled bacon, etc. From "How to Cook Everything Fast," by Mark Bittman.

• 3 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan

• 4 garlic cloves

• 4 oz. Parmesan cheese (1 c. grated)

• 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes

• Salt and pepper

• 1 c. ricotta cheese

• 1 1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese (6 c. grated)

• 15 egg roll wrappers


Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Put 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Prep: Peel and mince 4 garlic cloves. Grate 1 cup Parmesan cheese.

When the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a bubble, then adjust the heat so that it bubbles gently but steadily.

Add 1 cup ricotta to the tomato sauce, then add the Parmesan. Stir to incorporate the cheeses; taste and adjust the seasoning. Simmer until you're ready to assemble the lasagna.

Prep: Grate 6 cups mozzarella.

Grease a 9- by 13-inch baking pan with a little olive oil. Put down a layer of the egg roll wrappers, using a knife or kitchen scissors to cut them as necessary so they cover the pan but don't overlap too much. You'll use 3 wrappers per layer, for a total of 5 layers of noodles.

Spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce on top of the wrappers, followed by a heaping cup of mozzarella. Make 4 more layers like this, being sure that the final layer is topped with mozzarella.

Bake the lasagna (with a rimmed baking sheet underneath in case it drips) until it's bubbly and brown, about 15 minutes. If you want some additional browning on top, put the dish under the broiler at the end. Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories610Fat31 gSodium1,130 mg

Carbohydrates46 gSaturated fat15 gCalcium890 mg

Protein37 gCholesterol76 mgDietary fiber3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 2½ bread/starch, 4 medium-fat meat, 2 fat.

Molten Chocolate Cake

Serves 4.

Note: A four-star dessert that bakes in less than 10 minutes. From "How to Cook Everything Fast," by Mark Bittman.

• 1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan

• 4 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

• 4 eggs

• 1/4 c. sugar

• 2 tsp. flour, plus more for dusting the pan


Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Prep: Put 1 stick of butter in a medium bowl and melt it in the microwave. Chop 4 ounces chocolate.

Add the chocolate to the melted butter and stir until it's melted.

In a separate bowl, crack in 2 eggs. Separate 2 more eggs and add the yolks (discard the whites or refrigerate and save for another use). Add ¼ cup sugar and beat or whisk the mixture until it's light and thick, about 1 minute. Add the egg mixture and 2 teaspoons flour to the chocolate mixture and beat to combine.

Butter four (4-ounce) ramekins and dust them with flour. Tap to shake out the excess flour and divide the batter among them.

When the oven is hot, bake the cakes until they are slightly puffy and the tops are barely set, 7 to 9 minutes. They should still jiggle when you shake them. After a minute, put a plate over each ramekin and invert the ramekin onto the plate. Wait 10 seconds and remove the ramekin from each cake. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories486Fat39 gSodium41 mg

Carbohydrates29 gSaturated fat22 gCalcium48 mg

Protein7 gCholesterol246 mgDietary fiber2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 other carb, 1 medium-fat meat, 7 fat.