Saturday, March 28, 2009

March 29 - April 2

Happy happy spring!  The tulips and daylily leaves are poking through the ground.  Makes me want to eat light lovely things.  The weather forecast says snow.  Makes me want to lay in bed and eat soup.  So this week, we'll compromise...

Another note:  I'm aware of the amount of pasta and potatoes that show up in this menu...  My miles are really starting to increase in my training, and I'm compensating by eating lots of yummy noodles.  So, no pasta-abuse intervention is necessary.  I don't have a problem and I can quit whenever I want.  Honest.

We're gonna roast a giant chicken!  We bought it a while ago at the farmer's market -- it's almost 8 pounds.  EIGHT.  It's been in the freezer waiting for a time when we'd:  1.  have time to roast the sucker, and then, 2.  have time later in the week to make lots of chicken-using dishes.  And apparently, that time is now.

Giant roast chicken -- no idea how long that'll take to cook
Oven-roasted brussels sprouts and potatoes

Pasta with chicken, pesto, mushrooms, artichokes, garlic, etc.


but without the salami...  

roasted sweet potato

Sunday, March 22, 2009

March 22 - 25

We finally went to the grocery store!  We have actual food again...  on Friday I had to count the fruit snacks (that I usually just eat when I run) as, um, produce.  But no more!  

So, in celebration, we'll cook yummy stuff this week.  And I'll also post that German potato salad recipe that makes my mouth just water and water.

homemade bread:  I'm trying a recipe for crusty white peasant-style pot bread from my new favorite cookbook, Kneadlessly Simple.  You let the dough do a long slow rise (like, 24 hours...) and the slow time compensates for the lack of kneading.  There's science involved.  Then you heat up a dutch oven (love my bright green cast-iron enamel one!!!) and put the dough in.  It makes a big round ball inside the oven, and you cook with the lid on for most of the time, so the steam keeps the inside moist, then you take the lid off for the last 10 - 15, so it gets crusty and lovely too.  I'm excited to taste this version!

Venison fajitas:  saute onion, garlic, strips of venison steak, red pepper, mushroom, other veggies, etc.  Add fajita-like seasoning ( I think I've shared previously that my standard for fajita-like seasonings is anything red or orange that isn't paprika).  Add some liquid, simmer.  Steam tortillas, fill with stuff, top with avocado, tomato, cheese, sour cream, salsa, whatever.
(This is kind of a "whatever looks good when I open the fridge/spice rack) kind of meal.)

Roasted corn and goat cheese quesadillas.
Had these a few weeks ago, and the goat cheese flavor in there is really kind of wonderful.  They might be my new favorites.  

You saute an onion ("Really?"  you might ask.  "Really," I answer.).  Add some corn and cook for a while.  I don't know how long.  I don't think it really matters -- until it looks done to you.  Dump the onion and corn into a bowl, add a little log of goat cheese and mix it all together.  Spread on a tortilla, put some salsa in.  Top with another tortilla.  Cook in nonstick skillet, flipping when one side is toasty brown.  The joy of the goat cheese, besides the great flavor, is that it keeps all the other ingredients in place so there's no flying ingredients when you flip the quesadilla.

Another random dinner:  pasta with stuff in it.
Saute an onion, other good looking veggies.  Maybe some Italian turkey sausage.  Or scallops?
Cook some pasta.  When it's almost done, use a slotted spoon to put it right in with the veggies/sausage mix.  The starchy water makes a nice sauce and keeps the stuff sticking to the pasta.  Add pesto.  Season with salt and pepper.   Cook up for a few minutes until it's all rightly mixed.  Top with some lovely cheese.

I'm thinking leftovers or maybe take out.  It's shaping up to be an exhausting Thursday.

And now...  German potato salad!
This comes from Grill it Right, a cookbook Phil has had since college and the days of his indoor plug-in grill.

3 med. potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
4 slices bacon
1 med. onion, chopped
1/2 c finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp pepper
1/3 c water
1/4 c cider vinegar

1.  Cook potatoes in boiling water for 10 minutes.  Drain, cool slightly.
2.  In large skillet, cook bacon till crisp.  Crumble.  Drain, reserve 2 tbsp drippings.  Cook onion and celery in reserved drippings until tender (I know, it makes me cringe to write that, but we don't eat it very often, so it can't be that bad, right?)  Stir in flour, sugar, salt, celery seed, mustard, pepper.  Add water and vinegar.  Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.  Remove from heat, stir in bacon.
3.  Use a 36 X 18 pc of aluminum foil.  Fold in half so you have a double thickness 18 x 18 square.  Put potatoes in center.  Pour dressing over.  Bring 2 opposite edges of foil together and seal with a double fold.  Fold remaining ends to completely enclose potato mixure, leaving space for steam to build.
4.  Grill foil packet on the grill rack of a grill directly over medium to medium high heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.

Monday, March 16, 2009

No plan yet, sorry

I just got home from a reading conference -- been out of town since Friday.  It hit me driving home that I'd have to re-enter the real world a little bit -- think about something besides reading and thinking and lofty stuff like that.  I'd have to remember about laundry and, oh yeah, what the heck will we eat this week?  Do we even have any groceries?

When I got home at 5, Phil was chopping and cooking.  He made a lovely dinner tonight -- German potato salad and shish kebab...  just an excuse to grill.

I'll post the potato salad recipe when I'm not so sleepy.

And this might be another quesadilla week.  We'll see what my motivation is like tomorrow!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

March 8 - 12

Did you ever have a week where you didn't think you had an extra 30 minutes to cook dinner?  That was last week.  I didn't post, and I'm a bit embarrassed to recap now...  just not a good dinner week.  We did have quesadillas one night with goat cheese...  that was good.  I'm so glad Mike made quesadillas all the time when we lived together in Alma -- I learned it from her, and it's my super-fast-fallback-food now.

Anyway, we plan to do better this week:

We're roasting a chicken!  Mix up a bunch of chopped garlic, some lovely herbs, salt and pepper, olive oil, white wine, then loosen the skin so you can shove the mixture between the skin and the meat.  I even read a recipe for Psycho Chicken once...  basically the same ingredients, but you stab the chicken repeatedly with a big knife (hence the "Psycho") so the good stuff gets down into the meat even more.  A bit more salt and pepper on the skin, then tent with foil and into the oven at about 400 (maybe a bit less).  After about an hour, take the foil off and keep cooking until it's done.  I use a meat thermometer -- I can't remember now what the internal temperature should be.

We'll roast sweet potatoes too -- cut in chunks, dress with olive oil, salt and pepper, spread on a pan for about 30 minutes.

Baby broccoli -- steam/saute for a few minutes.

Quesadillas again -- use the leftover chicken!
Saute an onion, some garlic, the chicken, maybe a few black beans.
Put a tortilla on a warm skillet (you can spray with cooking spray first), spread mixture out on the tortilla, sprinkle cheese, add another tortilla, cook until 1st side's toasted, then flip.  That's the messy part, but you get to snack on anything that flies out of the quesadilla.  It's the rule.

Salsa, sour cream, chopped avocado on the side.


Random pasta night:
Saute an onion (confession:  95% of the things I cook start this way)
add some mushrooms, whatever other veggies are left over/laying around -- a bit of zucchini?  a tomato?
Cook up pasta.  When it's almost done, add to the veggie saute, add some pesto, a bit of the pasta water, simmer a bit until the starchy water and the pesto make a sauce, add some salt and pepper, sprinkle with cheese.


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