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By Casey Barber

Around the world in three ingredients: Make a one-pan Indian chickpea stew, a fresh spring pasta, a tropical shrimp-and-pineapple dinner, and more using just three items from the pantry or market—not counting salt, pepper or oil.

Whole-wheat linguine with roasted asparagus and ricotta


Seek out the slimmest stalks of asparagus for this pasta dish. The gorgeous green strands blend beautifully with linguine to make a perfect spring supper.

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus (the thinnest stalks you can find)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 pound whole-wheat linguine
  • 3/4 cup fresh ricotta

Preheat the oven to 425˚F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Trim the woody ends off the asparagus and slice in half lengthwise if the stalks are thick; the stems should be about 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide.

Toss the asparagus with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Spread evenly on the prepared baking sheet.

Roast for 15 minutes, until the asparagus is tender but still bright green and just starting to brown in spots.

While the asparagus cooks, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the linguine. Cook until al dente according to package directions.

Drain the linguine and toss with the roasted asparagus.

Divide between 4 bowls and top each bowl with 3 tablespoons of ricotta, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

One-pan Indian chickpea stew


No need to pack your spice cabinet with canisters: Use a jar of chutney to bring all the warm, spicy flavors of Indian cuisine to this this simple-to-prepare stew.

Makes 4 servings

  • 2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 10.5-oz jars of chutney (for instance, Geeta's papaya-orange chutney)
  • 2 cups roasted, salted cashews
  • kosher salt

Stir the chickpeas, chutney and 2 cups water together in a wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until the chickpeas are very tender and the sauce is bubbly and thickened.

Stir in the cashews and taste, adding a pinch of salt if needed. Serve immediately.

Chicken breasts stuffed with feta and scallions


Need a tasty insurance policy against dry, bland chicken? Bone-in breasts get even moister and juicier when stuffed with a tangy Mediterranean mix of feta and scallions.

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 4 scallions, minced
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 375˚F.

Stir the feta and scallions together in a medium mixing bowl.

Place the breasts skin-side up on a large cutting board. Cut a deep pocket along the length of each chicken breast, slicing horizontally through the meat just until you reach the bone-in side of the breast.

Generously fill each pocket with the feta-scallion mixture, dividing the mixture evenly between the 4 breasts. Sprinkle salt and pepper over each breast to season.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet or other large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until the pan is searing hot.

Add the oil, then add the chicken breasts skin-side down. (You may need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your skillet.) Cook for 5 minutes to crisp the skin, then flip the breasts.

Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 165˚F.

Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes to redistribute the juices before serving.

Sweet potato, chorizo and quinoa hash


A versatile dish you can serve any time of day, this healthier spin on a Southern hash makes a surprising weekend breakfast, a filling and nutritious office lunch, or a quick but satisfying family dinner.  

Makes 4 servings

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 pound (4 oz.) chorizo, sliced into 1/4-inch half-moons
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring 3/4 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and the quinoa, and reduce to a simmer.

Cook for 15 minutes, until the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid. Remove the pan from the heat and let the quinoa sit, covered, for 10 more minutes.

While the quinoa cooks, heat the olive oil in a large (12-inch) cast iron skillet or other heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes until the sausage is browned.

Add the sweet potatoes and stir to combine. Press the chorizo and potatoes into as much of a single layer as possible in the pan. Cover the pan and cook for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

Stir the cooked quinoa into the chorizo and potatoes and press into the bottom of the pan again. Cook for 5 more minutes to crisp up the quinoa. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed, and serve.

Seared shrimp with pineapple and cilantro


The enzymes in pineapple make a quick and powerful marinade for all types of meat and fish, like the shrimp in this vibrant tropical dish. No need to start prepping overnight; just a 10-minute soak will do.

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and roughly diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon whole cilantro leaves and 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • 1 pound large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Blend 1 cup of the diced pineapple and 1 tablespoon whole cilantro leaves in a food processor until a chunky puree forms. Pour into a bowl and add the shrimp, tossing to coat. Let the shrimp marinate for 10-15 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup of the pineapple in a single layer (you may need to do this in 2 batches) and cook without moving the pieces for about 2 minutes, until the pineapple begins to char and caramelize. Flip and cook for 2 minutes more, then transfer the pineapple to a large cutting board.

Add the remaining tablespoon oil to the skillet. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and add to the skillet in a single layer (again, you may need to do this in two batches). Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, just until the shrimp is no longer translucent in the center.

Chop the caramelized pineapple into a chunky salsa and toss with 1 tablespoon minced cilantro and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Serve alongside the shrimp.