Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Which leads me to the apology. After driving home in said wind and struggling to keep the car on the road all the way, I had no desire--zip, zero, zilch--to stop at the grocery store then come to grill. So, when the going gets tough, the tough get going--to a drive through. Yes, I hate them, but sometimes, necessity calls. Tonight was one of those nights. So, hopefully, tomorrow night will be the mystery kebabs.
Monday, July 30, 2007
On the other hand, if you're looking for a good, moist grilled chicken for multiple uses, this would work. You could easily make a double batch and freeze the meat in individual or family portions. It is innocuous enough to work on a salad or in a casserole, even as the chicken in chicken tacos. So maybe I will make it again--just to put some in the freezer.
Since I never did any real grocery shopping, I just pulled a couple of frozen portions of the Broccoli and Rice Casserole out of the freezer and stuck it in the microwave while the chicken was on the grill. I didn't even take pictures. All the food was beige. And you've seen grilled chicken before, right? And since I ditched the grocery store, I don't even have any herbs or green onions--or anything--to garnish with. So, that's all for tonight. Hopefully, tomorrow's dinner will be a little more exciting. It's the mystery kebab. Check back to see!
Sunday, July 29, 2007
I'm not completely sure just yet what this week will bring in the cooking realm. I just haven't pulled it together enough to make a comprehensive shopping list and a real meal plan--that's never good! I'm just going to grill some burgers this afternoon and serve them on the leftover Moomie's Buns that are stashed in the freezer, and I think I'll roast some potato wedges to go with them. I have chicken thawing now to go into a sweet and tangy (supposedly) marinade for tomorrow night's dinner, and I'm also tossing around the possibility of another kebab dinner that has a surprising, new to me ingredient threaded onto the skewers with the meat and vegetables. That's assuming, of course, that I don't invoke the 12-hour rule! Check back in to see what happens.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Moomie's Beautiful Burger Buns have long been a favorite around our house. I'm not sure where the recipe is from originally, but I think it might be from King Arthur Flour. I got it off the CLBB. This recipe easily lends itself to subbing healthier whole-grain flour for most, or all, of the white flour called for. (My favorite is King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour, which is lighter than regular whole wheat, but shares the same nutritional profile. It's just a different, lighter, type of whieat.) Granted, the bread is a little denser with whole-grain flour, but the addition of a heaping tablespoon of vital wheat gluten helps solve even that. I make these in the bread machine, where they truly are idiot-proof. I've also made them by hand, and even using the Kitchen Aid mixer and it's magical dough hook. As written, the recipe makes 8 really large hamburger buns. Typically, I make a dozen out of the recipe, which yields a more standard supermarket-sized bun. Frankly, I don't eat a burger patty big enough to fill these up when made to yield 8.
For dinner tonight, I made a "morph" recipe (Robin Miller's term for planned-overs) from Thursday's Balsamic Roasted Pork Tenderloin. (Other recipes included for the planned-overs include wonton soup and pork fried rice.) I morphed the recipe a little more, adding antioxidant rich red and green bell peppers and chopped onion. While her recipe calls for a 5-minute simmer, I threw everything in the pan, covered it, and went and did other things for about 45 minutes. I didn't have to, but I couldn't figure out how to shred the pork tenderloin in it's original form, so I just sliced it really thin, then simmered it until it began to fall apart. It didn't change the taste, just made me happier. And it IS all about me! I was a little uncertain about the corn in this, but it ended up being quite good. Unlike most sloppy joe recipes, this one contains cumin and chili powder. It is also thinner than most, due to the addition of a can of diced tomatoes and their juice. I upped the ketchup a bit; I don't know how much--I just eyeballed it. I just didn't have enough liquid, and I wanted what was there to be a bit thicker.
This recipe was by no means a jaw-dropping WOW!!! But, it would definitely work for a weeknight. In fact, I've already packaged up two nights' worth of sloppy joe mixture to pull out of the freezer at a later date. All part of my move toward eating at home instead of eating out. I mean, seriously. This may not be a WOW!!! but it's gotta be better than Taco Bell! I've also packaged up diced pork for the Pork Fried Rice, and sliced pork for a morph from another recipe. They're vacuum sealed and in the freezer, ready to pull out for some quick, easy dinners later. Another bonus--one pan dirty. That's it!
Friday, July 20, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
At any rate, I really like the premise of her book. She has some really quick-fix meals, meal kits, and lots of "morph" recipes, where you cook LOTS of one thing, but there are numerous alternate recipes in which to use it. She's also big on pre-preparation of food for easy weeknight eating. All of her recipes include an "If you stop here" note, letting you know what to put together if you're not eating it the day it is originally prepped. She also has lots of variations, and doesn't get hung up on the "follow the recipe, stupid" like some others do. Not that that's a bad thing! Her recipes also include a note identifying prep time, active cooking time, and walk-away time, so you should be able to plan pretty well to make these meals fit into your life.
They certainly aren't all gourmet, but there are lots that sound promising. She also tries to focus on healthier choices and ingredients. I think this is going to be my current focus for cooking--until I get distracted by something else.
Anyway, back to tonight's dinner. One of the options she mentions is to halve or quarter some Yukon Gold or red potatoes and toss them in the roasting pan with the pork and sauce. I did, and man, were those some good eatin'. They soaked up the sweet and tangy sauce and meat drippings, but also roasted to a crispy golden brown. We ended up just having meat and potatoes, but it was enough. They were yummmmmmy!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I urge you to put this recipe in your to-try pile, though. A few minutes of marinade assembly the night before leaves you with a company worthy dish. I hear a rumor that it's good with pork chops, too, but I haven't tried it yet.
Monday, July 16, 2007
To prove what a truly unselfish person I am, I packed up the leftovers for the Husband's lunch. It wasn't easy, though. He owes me...maybe the Hope Diamond.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
It's been a busy, busy day--and a busy weekend. Following a busy week. I guess they all are. I suppose my life will be happier when I remove the concept of "down time" from my thoughts. Tomorrow is back to work after five weeks off, and I'm just having some trouble gearing up for it.
We went out for lunch at a new neighborhood place today, and after that, really felt the need for some good, home-cooked food. I did cheat a little; I had some Trader Joe's Garlic and Herb "Marinated" Shrimp in the freezer. I say "Marinated" because I think somebody told a little white lie. If they were REALLY marinated, they probably would not have been cardboard dry. Whatever. Note to self: This is why you don't buy things in boxes in the freezer case!
I did make some Broccoli Rabe with Garlic from The Barefoot Contessa at Home (bet you thought she was gone, didn't you?), and had a replay of her Mustard-Roasted Potatoes. I'm pretty sure that roasted potatoes in any form will be what we eat all day in Heaven; yum. I also made some corn on the cob, but despite it's nice, full appearance, it wasn't very good. It didn't pass the fingernail-pop test, so I should've known.
There is cooking planned for tomorrow, again from Barefoot Contessa. In case you're wondering, this cookbook came up on the Sunday Game of the Week over the Cooking Light Bulletin Board. It's number 141 on my book shelf--this week's lucky number. I have a couple more recipes planned from that, then an old stand-by that I haven't seen for years. I found it when I was cleaning out a closet. Stay tuned, and I'll reveal that one on Tuesday.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
It's not my fault. Really, it's not. It all started with a trip to Trader Joe's. Normally, I don't even look at premarinated meat, but the Maui Short Ribs were calling to me. Somehow, they ended up in my basket, and have been staring at me every time I open the refrigerator since then. Somehow, the purchase of this convenience product resulted in a developing a couple of recipes and an afternoon of cooking. Very convenient, huh?
The "Maui" in the meat led my thoughts to pineapple, in two forms. The first was a Pineapple Vinaigrette drizzled over smokey greens and scallions wilted on the barbecue while the meat cooked, then given a rough chop before hitting the salad plate. I'd still like to work with this dressing a little bit, but it was very good even on this first go-round. I used some coconut oil in the dressing to continue the tropical theme. A little bit of serrano chile added just enough heat to wake up the taste buds.
Another go-with was Tyler Florence's Cold Sesame Noodles. These were good, although I think I need to step away from the Asian influence for a few days. The same notes are showing up too often! The Sesame Noodles would be a great picnic dish, as there is absolutely nothing in there to go bad, and they can be served cold or at room temperature.We finished off with a dessert of pineapple and bananas brushed with coconut oil, brown sugar, and cinnamon before being sizzled on the grill, then topped with honey-sweetened Greek yogurt and chopped almonds. (I wanted macadamia nuts, but they were $20 a pound at Whole Foods--and they were rancid. Um...thanks anyway!) I also used a little bit of Tuesday night's fresh raspberry sauce to decorate the plate and add another burst of flavor.
The best thing about this meal? I was going to say that it only required six tiny minutes at the grill. But...I think the really best thing was the Husband's satisfied noises as he proclaimed each and every dish a keeper. For isn't that why we engage in this game of cooking? To satisfy the hearts and bellies of those we love.
In the mixing bowl of a food processor, combine the following:
1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3 tablespoons mild oil, such as canola oil
1/4 serrano chile, seeds and ribs removed
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro