This one's for you, Eszter. Because you were the only person to complain about the lack of recipes over the last few weeks.
Why? Because it's dirt cheap, but looks and tastes like something you'd get at a fancy restaurant (as an aside, I was once thrown out of the Olive Garden, which was at the time my standard for "fancy" for abusing the breadstick/salad all-you-can-eat policy).
Pasta with Spiced Sweet Potato and Yogurt
First up, this will take 45 minutes, but most of the time, you don't have to do anything. So settle in with a beer or a nice glass of zin.
1# sweet potato, diced into 1cm cubes
2 tbsp olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
Put these first three items in a bowl and swish them around until the potato chunks are oily and garlicy. Now put them on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Take them out halfway through and toss them around to make sure they don't burn or stick.
At the same time, cook half a pound or so of pasta (any kind you like). Set it aside.
Next, put the following in a saucepan and cook until they smell nice (and don't burn them):
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried chili flakes (steal from a pizza place if needed)
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon coriander (these are cilantro seeds, did you know that?), crushed (you can do this with the flat of a knife on a cutting board, or in a mortar/pestle if you're a cooking geek)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Now add the pasta, the sweet potato, and a cup of plain yogurt, mix up, and serve. The other ladies at the potluck will be ashamed of their jello salads and you'll be the toast of the town!
Or something like that.