As far as my culinary skills are concerned the microwave and toaster oven are my best friends. I grew up in a house where cereal was a dinner staple and the take-out menus were always at the ready in the top drawer. While I can certainly appreciate good food, I’m not the most kitchen savvy individual. However there are a few recipes that I have mastered and have managed to make on a regular basis without setting off my smoke alarm.

I’m not a big meat person, so my favorite recipes tend to involve pasta or vegetables and because I have fairly non-existent culinary skills it needs to be a low maintenance recipe. Pasta with peppers, onions and mushrooms is one of my favorite dishes to make, mostly because it requires minimal effort and it has the heartiness of comfort food while tasting much fancier than my standard pot of mac and cheese.

With the temperatures dropping I’m looking forward to making this more often as I usually have most if not all of the ingredients on hand. I also love to make it when I’m cooking for others because it seems fancy enough that it leads guests to think I really took the time to cook for them. In reality this takes me all of 20 minutes to make. I also find that this recipe is pretty easy to adapt to your tastes. You can choose to substitute some of the ingredients for their low sodium or low fat counterparts without impacting the taste. I also don’t always have fresh garlic in my house but I usually have a jar of minced garlic on hand, which certainly does the trick and saves me from hustling through my local grocery store. If you really like mushrooms (like I do) you can always toss in a few more without throwing off the overall flavor of the dish.

Pasta with peppers, mushrooms and onions

Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cups sliced mushrooms

2 cups sliced bell peppers

2 garlic cloves (or two tablespoons minced garlic)

2 ½ cups caramelized onions

1 cup chicken broth

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

¾ cup sour cream

1 pound pasta

Pour the olive oil in a skillet and coat the bottom before tossing in the onions to caramelize on medium-high heat. While the onions are in the pan chop peppers and mushrooms and place them to the side. Once the onions are done caramelizing, start boiling the water for the pasta. While waiting for the water to boil sauté the peppers and mushrooms in the skillet with the onions for four minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the broth, salt and ground pepper, and bring it to a simmer while the pasta cooks. Once the pasta is done remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the sour cream. After draining the cooked pasta stir it into the mixture and serve.

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