Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

Birthday/Anniverary Dinner – Strawberry Basil Lentil Salad and Filet Mignon

June 1, 2011 1 comment

First off, thank you readers! My little blog has surpassed 10,000 views this week! Wow!

Yesterday I finally cooked a real meal again. I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I did something other than boil pasta or throw some meat and veggies on the Foreman grill.

For Charles’ birthday, I promised him a home cooked dinner (AND I’d do the dishes. That was almost more exciting to him than the dinner!).

I had actually planned to make this last Thursday, but at the last minute he decided we should go out. A couple weeks ago Lauren posted this recipe to her blog and Charles saw it and thought it looked good. I was surprised. Given that he hates lima beans and quinoa, I wasn’t sure how he’d feel about lentils.

And I was right. He told me I undercooked them. I told them they were supposed to be a sort of meaty texture! I think he would have cooked the hell out of them if I let him!

I followed Lauren’s recipe to a T, except for the tuna. My grocery store doesn’t carry fresh fish, and I didn’t want to risk it with something frozen. So I went for a nice juicy steak to grill instead. Yum!

I can’t serve Charles a plate that doesn’t have something green on it. I meant to sautee some spinach and use it as a bed for the salad, but I forgot to get spinach. It would have been great though. Thankfully, I had grilled eggplant from TJs in the freezer to save the day. And a fresh loaf of challah, it doesn’t get any better.

Charles and I both thought the best part was the balsamic reduction. I think I could eat a shoe if it was coated in that.

The strawberries and basil make a perfect summery salad. And we both felt good for eating something so healthy!


Chicken Pot Pie, and I don’t care!

February 23, 2011 2 comments

I promised Lara I would post this blog early, so she could make these yummy pies for dinner tonight!

For weeks now, I’ve been meaning to make a chicken pot pie recipe I saw on Emily’s blog. Charles planned to come over to dinner last night, so I asked if that was something he’d like. He said sure. I found out later, he figured I was buying them pre-made at Trader Joe’s or something.

But yay for fresh semi-homemade pies!

The ingredients are easy enough and 90% of them I have on hand most of the time:

  • Chicken (I use frozen tenderloins from Trader Joe’s)
  • Pie crust (I love the frozen kind from Pilsbury. Ever since Martha suggested them as a shortcut, I’ve been hooked! They’re the closes to Mom’s that I’ve found in a pre-made crust. And I HATE making crust).
  • Cream of Chicken soup (I followed Emily’s recommendation and went 98% fat free instead of low sodium. I don’t add any salt to the dish, so it works out great).
  • Mixed Frozen Veggies. It took me a while to find a mix that didn’t contain lima beans. I remembered Charles doesn’t like them (he never had Giggie’s!). And he even commented while eating his pie, “Where did you find mixed veggies without lima beans?” Score one for me!
  • Herbs. You can spice as you like. I used about a Tablespoon of rosemary and a Tablespoon of thyme. I’d use less rosemary next time.

To make it even easier, I grilled my chicken on the Foreman grill. I feel like I can do other things while meat grills on there. If it was in a pan, I’d feel the need to watch it so that it doesn’t stick. And the grill requires no oil!

While it was grilling, I put my veggies in a big mixing bowl and microwaved them for about 4 minutes (just to get the frost off – stirring halfway through). When they were done, I cut up the chicken, threw it into the bowl, and added the can of soup.

After mixing well, I scooped about 1 cup into each of my mini-casseroles and ramekins which already had a bottom crust in them.

Remember how I don’t like to make crust? I don’t really like working with it. I went more for flavor than look on this dish. Working a large crust into a small, deep bowl isn’t fun.

I did top and bottom crusts, but considering the crust is the most indulgent thing in the recipe, you might choose to do just one or the other. Top only would be easiest, but my father wouldn’t allow me to do it. There wasn’t much he hated more than turning a pot pie out of it’s pan and having gravy spread all over his plate because there was no bottom crust!

When the pies were constructed, I gave a quick egg white wash to the tops and baked them at 350 for about 40 minutes (just until the crusts started to brown. I like them a little doughy).

Would Charles eat them again…Yes!!

Charles’ Thanksgiving Dinner

January 25, 2011 4 comments

Yep. That’s right folks. It’s January and I’m posting about Thanksgiving!

Due to a free-throw bet that Charles lost (to a girl), he ended up having to make a turkey dinner… with all the fixinings (even green bean casserole was specifically requested).

This weekend, he made good on that bet and cooked for about a dozen of our closest friends.

The turkey was grilled (his second time attempting this). It was basted in butter and stuffed with veggies before being thrown onto the flames, and toward the end was slightly smoked with some added hickory chips. He’s found this a successful way to make a juicy crispy bird.

There were a plethora of side dishes! Grilled asparagus and lemon, stove top (one of two shorcuts), sauteed squash, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and the infamous green bean casserole. Oh, and Rolls! OH! The rolls… Ask Bob about Grands Biscuits. He ate about 9 of them.

Weinies and meatballs hung out in barbeque sauce in the crock pot.

How pretty is that bird? Doesn’t it look delicious? I could eat this meal all over again right now (but perhaps that has something to do with the disgusting chicken salad “sandwich” I had for lunch).

We all ate. And ate and ate. And ate and ate and ate some more.

Then we tried Katrina’s bourbon brownies…OMG. I don’t particularly like brownies (they’re too sweet) and I don’t particularly like bourbon (um…no comment) but together? A perfect marriage. The bourbon cuts the sweetness.

And since it was Sunday, we finished the day with football. And I was so excited to see the next day on the news, that yes, that guy did just pick his nose and wipe it on his teammate.

A Weekend of Cooking!

January 24, 2011 3 comments

By my standards, this weekend was incredibly productive (well, Saturday was at least). I did about 5 loads of laundry, got rid of three bags and a giant rubbermaid container of stuff in my basement (either put away, put in piles to go home, or put in the trash, yay!) and managed to cook a delicious meal. (Some day I’ll get that basement completely unpacked…someday.)

So back to the meal. It was probably 5 or 6 years ago that LK first introduced me to the idea of putting veggies in a burger. Turkey burgers were all the rage, and, lets face it, they’re pretty dry and tasteless.

Add in some zuchinni and BAM! A whole new burger.

Since I’m attempting to use up anything in my freezer that I can’t remember the purchase date of, I’ve been looking for ways to use chicken. I have a bag of frozen tenderloins and I got so sick of eating chicken breasts that I had to figure out more inventive ways of cooking them than just grilling or baking.

Enter, the zuchinni dill chicken burger. The zuchinni and dill give a sort of “Greek” flavor to the burger, while the veggies keep the meat nice and moist (unlike plain chicken or turkey burgers). Plus, with all the added bulk with the veggies, two (normal sized, not huge) servings of chicken end up making four burgers. And they’re pretty big burgers! (That’s a “sandwich plate” pictured above. Not a huge dinner plate. I hardly ever use big plates because they make my food look so tiny!)

I took the chicken out to defrost in the morning in the fridge. By 5 p.m., they were still slightly frozen in the middle, but that made for an easier job of grinding using my KitchenAid meat grinder attachment.

An hour or two before I made dinner, I shredded the zuchinni (two medium ones). It helps if you put them in a colander and let them drain for a while. I think overnight would be best, but after an hour I pressed them between paper towels to dry them the rest of the way (wet veggies = burgers that fall apart. So don’t skip this!).

I mixed them with the two servings of ground chicken, added 1.5 Tbsp dill; 1 Tbsp minced garlic (the jarred kind); 1 Tbsp dried onion flakes; and one beaten egg.

Cook on a HOT grill (and make sure it’s clean. There were little bits left behind from the first two that caused the second two to stick unevenly).

I served mine on Trader Joe’s sandwich thins, topped with Trader Joe’s Yogurt Cilantro Chive dip (homemade tzatziki is also great). In fact, the entire meal was bought at Trader Joe’s (with super yummy honey wheat pretzels on the side!).

Using Up Veggies, and Grains

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

This weekend, I had a lot of my harvest grains leftover, and I had at least 10 lbs of produce left (after eating all the bananas and apples by Saturday morning. Oops!).

Part of what I love about getting veggies delivered is figuring out what to do with what I get.

Saturday for lunch, I sauteed 3 red potatoes in some olive oil, added fresh green beans (at least 2 cups, cleaned) a couple handfuls of spinach, and, just for flavor, a couple teaspoons of chutney.

Meanwhile, I microwaved the leftover grains just so they weren’t all lumpy and cold (not recooked all the way through) and then stirred them in to the pan.

The chutney formed a delicious glaze on the potatoes! I ate it twice over the weekend for lunch it was so good!

How do you like dem apples?

November 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Yesterday I was SUPER excited to get a delivery from Washington’s Green Grocer for the first time in nearly two years. When I first heard of them, I was living in my apartment and LOVED that they’d bring me a box of nice fresh produce and all I had to do was click a button on my computer. And unlike many CSAs, they’ll allowe you to “order at will” so you aren’t tied in for an entire season, and you can choose foods you never want to recieve.

Yesterday’s box included lettuce, spinach, red peppers, potatoes, green beans, apples, pears, bananas and an avocado I opted out on tangerines and grapefruits. I’m pretty sure I got all the extras in apples. It was a lot of apples!

But the apples looked amazing! I love apples. They’re so simple, but such a great fruit.

But…there’s not many things worse than thinking you’re about to bite in to an “eating” apple, and discovering it’s in fact a “cooking” apple.

I love a nice, crisp, juicy apple to eat.

I HATE a soft, mushy, grainy apple. I ate maybe half of it and threw out the rest.

Looks like this weekend I’ll be whipping up a bunch of Mom’s famous cinnamon apples. Stay tuned next week to learn what the secret ingredient is!

Squash Hash

September 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Inspired by Healthy-Delicious, last night I finally made myself stop at the grocery store and made a REAL dinner!

Last week I had seen butternut squash on display outside Trader Joe’s, but I didn’t have a recipe in mind so I passed them by. Just a couple days later this recipe landed in my inbox. It was a sign!

I used Lauren’s recipe from last year because I liked the ingredients better (beer and bacon? what’s better?!).

4 slices of bacon (1 oz each) (next time, I’d probably double this! More bacon more better as Charles would say!)
1/2 red onion, chopped
8 oz. of small red potatoes, diced
1 small butternut squash, diced
6 oz. of lite beer (I used Miller Lite)

Optional: poached eggs

I fried the bacon, draining off the grease, until crispy. Shred the bacon, then add the onion until it’s soft. Add the potatoes, squash and beer, cooking over medium heat until the veggies are softened and the beer has reduced.

Meanwhile, poach the eggs if you like (which I totally failed at. I forgot to grease my cups and they overcooked on the bottom and didn’t set on top. I’ll have to try that again!).

Serves 4 (slightly more than 1 cup a serving.

The nutritional info for this dish is approximately 160 calories, 3 grams of fat and 5 grams of fiber (that’s without the egg).

Including the eggs, my grocery bill came to about 2.56 a serving! And that’s with 10 eggs and 8 slices of bacon left over. A great deal if you ask me!