Tag Archives: dinner

Cauliflower is better than rice

Hear me out. Rice is dumb. It takes a long time to cook, has to be heavily seasoned to taste like anything and can easily turn into mush.* I also think of it as a “nothing” food similar to pasta — it’s taking up a lot of space in my belly without bringing a lot of flavor or nutrients. I mean, I’m not best friends with cauliflower or anything, it also doesn’t have a lot of natural flavor (it’s no beet if you know what I mean) but it only took 5 minutes to cook and served the same purpose as rice underneath this sugar and soy-free beef and broccoli dish we had last night.

I’d make cauliflower like this again. The beef? Maybe. Fur sure once I can add brown sugar and soy to it. It was fine. I think I cut it the wrong way and cooked it a little too long, and everyone knows cooking beef past medium rare is letting the terrorists win.

I loosely followed this recipe. Maybe if I’d had less hubris and followed it more closely, the meat would have been more tender? Flavors were there, don’t get me wrong — I know how to make food taste good. Once again, it’s salt, people — the answer is salt.

Cauliflower is just finely chopped, sautéed in a pan with olive oil, garlic and ginger and spct (salt, peppie, cumin, turmeric — my classic four) cook over medium 5-8m. Looking forward to trying this caulirice with curry next week. Stay tuned.

*Real talk — I’m just bad at cooking rice.

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Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese

So here’s how it went down:

Last week I was dying for something cheesy and delicious so I suggested we hit up our local favorite, Queens Comfort, a magical place that boasts the most fabulous macaroni and cheese. The only problem was mi amor. He too wanted some delicious mac and cheese, but alas Queens Comfort serves theirs with bacon and my boy is of the tribe, so bacon is a deal breaker.

So I suggested instead that I would make a delicious baked mac and cheese at home that was nutritionally appropriate for both of us. Then, while at the market, a non-kosher lightbulb went off, and we decided to kick it up a notch and add some buffalo chicken. BAM. And we’re off!

buffalo mac and cheese, mac and cheese, buffalo chicken, recipe

Melt butter with garlic & onions.

The first (and most complex) step was the sauce, which began with 3 tbsp butter. To this I added garlic onions and some jalapeño (cause I’m spicy). After this began to simmer, I whisked in 3 tbsp flour, effectively creating a roux.

buffalo mac and cheese, mac and cheese, buffalo chicken, recipe

Whisk in the flour.

Once the mixture turns a lovely shade of brown, add in 3 cups of milk. Then start slowly adding whatever cheese you fancy. We used cheddar here:

buffalo mac and cheese, mac and cheese, buffalo chicken, recipe

Add milk and cheese.

Then once it’s all melty and delicious, lower the heat, but stir occasionally whilst getting the rest of the dish together.

buffalo mac and cheese, mac and cheese, buffalo chicken, recipe

Marinade chicken in buffalo sauce.

I had my chicken marinating in buffalo sauce for about a half an hour, then into a buttery pan until it looks good enough to eat. I then moved the chicken to a cutting board to cool before I sliced it into bite-sized pieces. Then everything into the pan!

buffalo mac and cheese, mac and cheese, buffalo chicken, recipe

Add broccoli and pasta to pan.

Return the chicken the skillet, followed by whatever kind of pasta you enjoy. We used whole-wheat elbows to convince ourselves this dish was healthy. See also: use of broccoli in this dish.

buffalo mac and cheese, mac and cheese, buffalo chicken, recipe

Close up of the magic.

Because I’m naive enough to think you can just send a man to the grocery store and expect him to know what you mean when you say “foil baking pan,” I got to coin the soon-to-be-world-famous “mac and cheese pie” with these babies:

buffalo mac and cheese, mac and cheese, buffalo chicken, recipe

Top with bleu cheese, breadcrumbs and butter.

I scooped it all into two of these pans, then covered them with a little more cheddar, a few bleu cheese crumbles and some breadcrumbs. Then pour on another 1/2 cup of butter and into the oven at 400!

buffalo mac and cheese, mac and cheese, buffalo chicken, recipe

Cook at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

And in approximately 25-30 minutes, this is what you’ll have. Yeah. Mmm.

buffalo mac and cheese, mac and cheese, buffalo chicken, recipe

And enjoy!!

Take THAT, Queens Comfort!

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BBQ Chicken with Scalloped Potatoes

On my final night in Blue Eye, Mary must’ve known I had just crossed the Mason-Dixon and was hankering for some BBQ because she made my absolute favorite: Barbecued chicken with scalloped potatoes au gratin. BAM!

She started with the potatoes:

potatoes au gratin, scalloped potatoes, bbq chicken, barbecue, chicken, recipe

She began by slicing the potatoes and onions, to which she added cream and milk.

For 3 lbs of potatoes, add 3 cups milk and 1 cup cream. Let this simmer until it gets thick. Then remove the pan from the heat and layer the potatoes into a casserole dish with a good melting cheese in between each layer. Add the milk from the pan to the dish, which should cover the potatoes. Then shred some cheddar on top and pop that baby into a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until it looks like this:

potatoes au gratin, scalloped potatoes, bbq chicken, barbecue, chicken, recipe

…I’ll wait while you wipe the saliva from your lips…

I wish I knew what Mary’s secret was for baking chicken because she manages to do it in such a way that it turns out fork tender and this is something I’ve not been able to master. She assured me it’s not that hard, and I did see one trick I’m going to try: she pokes holes in the chicken, which allowed the sauce to get into the chicken, making it cut like butter:

potatoes au gratin, scalloped potatoes, bbq chicken, barbecue, chicken, recipe

Served in a Kentucky-Style BBQ sauce

potatoes au gratin, scalloped potatoes, bbq chicken, barbecue, chicken, recipe

with cauliflower, carrots and broccoli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To my extreme delight, there was plenty of this meal leftover for lunch the next day. It was tasty, it was tender, it was cheesy, it was perfect:

potatoes au gratin, scalloped potatoes, bbq chicken, barbecue, chicken, recipe

An insanely delicious southern dish.

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Gnocchi with Lamb Bolognese

I was feeling rather bored with all the typical dinner choices this week. Everything seemed meh until my man suggested something he loves that I’ve never really given a chance: gnocchi. I consented, albeit rather hesitantly.

Then, as we were walking through the super-est of the markets in our neighborhood, we happened up some ground lamb. YES! Something new. I was elated.

I made the tomato sauce with garlic, onions, basil, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper

I cooked the lamb with garlic and onions. Drain the fat before adding it to the sauce

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never having cooked lamb before, I wasn’t exactly sure how to do it. But it looked like beef so I just did it like beef and guess what? It worked. I kept it a little pink in the pan because I knew it would cook more in the sauce.

Let the sauce and the meat simmer together for 20-30 minutes.

I added the gnocchi just at the very end and then a little romano cheese on top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This being my first time really eating gnocchi, I didn’t think it best to try my hand at making it, so we bought a package and dropped it in some salty boiling water until it floated to the top, which I’m told indicates it’s finished. It was tasty and potatoey– a very decadent dish.

Served with salad and a nice Chianti... yes I considered fava beans... no my man did not get the joke... did you?

This salad was actually rather intense, it had your basic lettuce, tomato, carrot, onion, cucumber, but I also had some left over avocado, asparagus and feta in the fridge. WINNING.

It was a tasty supper and something we’ll definitely be doing again 🙂

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Mushroom and Feta Stuffed Chicken

Last week, a discussion was had in my home regarding the lack of vegetarian dinners had by us. I suggested we do a mushroom-based dish, which is a big concession for me because I don’t particularly care for mushrooms, but I thought it might be a nice change. Somehow, after vast discussion, we decided on mushroom-stuffed chicken. Yes, I realize that’s not vegetarian. No, I’m not sorry. Why? Because it was delicious. And it was insanely cheap. We bought one portabella mushroom ($1), a small hunk of feta ($1), thinly sliced chicken cutlets ($3), one potato ($.50). We already had the olives and the asparagus.

Chicken brushed with olive tapenade, filled with feta cheese and mushrooms.

First, I sautéed the mushrooms with garlic, ginger and olive oil. Then after brushing the chicken with the olives and throwing a hunk of feta down, I scooped in as much of the garlic-ginger-mushroom mixture as I could.

Wrap them up carefully, pin with toothpick, roll in breadcrumbs and douse with butter!

I’m sure this would taste fine non-breadcrumbed and buttered, but I’ll never know for sure cause it’s too delicious like this 🙂

It goes into a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, giving me just enough time to get the side dish together!

Potato and Asparagus Hash

We were originally going to have just grilled asparagus, but having once enjoyed a potato and asparagus hash at a restaurant, I thought, “I bet I can do that! It’s just cutting up everything into small pieces.” And I was right. I threw in the potatoes first, let them brown, then threw the garlic in, let it crisp a little, then only did the asparagus for the last five minutes so it stayed nice and crunchy.

I put food on top of other food because it makes me feel fancy.

This was a very pretty dinner we had that was packed, and I mean PACKED, with flavor. It was crispy and gooey and crunchy and yummy. AND it cost less than $3 per serving. I dare say… POP POP.

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A Passover Seder

This was a very busy weekend for anyone who celebrates either Passover or Easter and an especially busy weekend for people who celebrate both! In my case, we celebrated two Seders and an Easter dinner, all of which were very special. The first of these, a Seder for the first night of Passover, was at the home of my mother and father-in-law-without-nuptiuals, who knowing my love of cooking, were gracious enough to let me help them cook! Mazel Tov to me!

First the veggie stock: onions, carrots, parsnips, water. Let simmer.

Then drop in the matzah balls and let them expand in the liquid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

First we made the matzah ball soup. I got the honor of mixing the matzah balls, which we made whole wheat and I also tended to the stock, which was completely veggie.

Salmon marinated in a balsamic reduction with lemons and herbs.

I got tricked into cutting up the beets... purple hands all night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The salmon was the only non-veggie item at this seder and it was tender and delicious. These beets were also used to paint the horseradish red. A little tip, by the way, about dealing with fresh horseradish: open a window, open a door, get some goggles and warn the household, cause that stuff is NO JOKE.

Roasted vegetables, salmon, pesto lasagna, homemade horseradish, Mmmm...

This is the cutest seder plate all filled in. So lovely!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pesto lasagna used matzah as pasta, had mushrooms and was insanely delicious. My favorite part of any meal in this home: the spinach salad with homemade tahini-lemon dressing… Mmmmm…

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend and whatever traditions you observe! L’Chaim!

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Fancy Food on the Cheap

For dinner last night, I continued with the Mediterranean theme for the sake of both my tastebuds and my pocketbook. Our market has chicken breasts two to a package and I used one for the skewers on Sunday so that left me with a second one, which I cut in half long-wise to make two portions, which I then stuffed with spinach and feta cheese. Serving this with the leftover chopped salad, also from Sunday, I’d say it’s one of the least expensive dinners I’ve made (and one of the fanciest)!

This entire process took less than an hour (including cooking time) and it’s a lovely and frugal way to serve yourself or guests!

I started by sautéing the spinach in olive oil, garlic and ginger until its wilted.

Then, after cutting the chicken and spreading a bit of olive paste on it, I mixed the spinach with the feta cheese and loaded up the breasts.

Then I wrapped-eems up and pinned them with a toothpick, rolled them in breadcrumbs and poured over 1/2 cup of butter. Then into the oven at 350 for 30 minutes!

Once it's brown and crispy (and the juices run clear!) just add some salad and enjoy!

Stuffing chicken is something I thought was super hard and is, in fact, super easy. What’s more is you can stuff chicken with anything! You want spicy? Stuff with beans and jalapeños. You want fresh? Stuff with veggies and some citrus. Such a versatile recipe, make your own version and let me know what you come up with!

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