Monday, April 25, 2011

April 24 - 29

Happy Easter! Happy Spring! This is my new attitude -- I'm going to pretend it's warm and springy and maybe it will be, eventually. So the electric blanket got put away, along with the tall boots and the thick black tights. I'm wearing open-toed sandals in 40-degree weather, but I'm sure that if I think warm thoughts, the weather will follow, right?

And I'm carrying that philosophy into dinner, too. Enough with the slow cooker and the soup for a while. (But I love soup, right? So I'll probably be back to it soon, craving heavy all-day-cooked stuff in, say, July. But oh well.)

So this is the plan:

Dinner is mainly to recover from brunch. Oh, that damn dessert table!


City Slicker Omelets: There's this little breakfast place up north in Alden, MI, that has these lovely omelets. They're called City Slicker omelets, but they're basically just filled with tomato, onion, and feta cheese. I get a little crazy and have them add mushrooms too. So tonight I'm having a City Slicker omelet. Can't speak for what Phil will choose to put in his, but I'm pretty sure tomatoes won't be there. :)


Grilled chicken breasts (maybe with barbecue sauce!)
Grilled green beans -- put them in foil with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Leave the top of the foil open so they don't just steam, then put on the grill for 10 minutes or so, tossing them from time to time so they can get sort of browned and lovely.


Sole with capers: Put a piece of sole on foil, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper (yes, just like yesterday's green beans -- it's my fall-back grilling method) and sprinkle capers all around it. Grill it on fairly high heat so the bottom gets a little brown and the edges a bit crispy. Drizzle fresh lemon juice at the end.

We'll have grilled zucchini and tomatoes to go with, and also salad.


Probably a leftover night... nothing too exciting!


Don't usually post Friday night dinners, because it's often random take-out, but I'm planning this one already. I have my last really long training run (in preparation for the Bayshore Marathon) on Saturday, and my pre-race/pre-long run dinner is pizza... (as many carbs as spaghetti -- or so -- and more delicious!).

And I'm loving the crust that I make in my Kitchen Aid -- it's my best crust ever -- so I'll be making homemade pizza Friday night.

The crust is crazy easy: Dissolve 2 and 1/4 tsp. yeast in a cup of warm water, then add a half teaspoon of salt, 2 tsp. olive oil, and then 2 and 1/2 cups of flour (I do an even mix of white and whole wheat flour). Mix for about 4 or 5 minutes in the mixer with the bread hook, then put in a greased bowl to rise and cover for about an hour.

Punch it down and spread it on a baking stone (I put a bit of oil and cornmeal first) then add toppings:

  • pizza sauce
  • Italian chicken sausage
  • red onion
  • roasted red pepper
  • mushrooms
  • spinach
  • any other available veggies (asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, etc.)
  • mozzarella (my favorite is to get a ball of it -- someday I will learn to make this! -- and slice it in thin pieces and spread it all over.
Bake for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees.

Have a great week!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

April 17 - 21

I'm so ready for it to be spring for real, but it just doesn't seem to be sticking. So as I'm sitting on my couch watching the wind whip around the bare branches in the yard, I'm thinking that a week full of grilling might not be the best plan. But deep down, that's what I want.

and so, instead...


Pasta! I'm craving fat noodles (at least linguine, if not pappardelle). I'll make a sauce like this: Saute a chopped onion. Add some Italian turkey sausage, cook until browned and crumbly. Add some sliced mushrooms, garlic, a bit of red bell pepper, some canned tomato. Season as needed (salt, pepper, maybe some red pepper flakes for a bit of bite). Stir in a bit of pesto (ours is in ice-cube squares -- we make a bunch in the fall and then freeze baggies of the cubes) and some spinach leaves. Mix in the cooked pasta with a little bit of pasta water (the starchy water helps everything stick together) and let it cook down for a minute or so.

That's it.


This is one of my new favorite things, and I bought a bunch of sweet potatoes last week, so why not?

(The recipe is for spinach-stuffed baked potatoes, but I use sweet potatoes, just because orange food is fun.)


Okay, I have to let the grill have a little bit of action. Couldn't handle the thought of a whole week cooking on the stove...

Grilled salmon (there will probably be a bit of barbecue sauce on it, because that's been happening a lot lately)
Sauteed veggies (onion? mushrooms? red pepper? green beans?)
Rice pilaf


Fried rice with chicken and veggies:

I'm sure my fried rice method is far from authentic, and equally far from what happens at take-out places. But I like it:

Cut up a whole bunch of veggies (red onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper, mushroom, zucchini, maybe cabbage or some edamame). One ingredient at a time, saute them in a big pan. I start with the toughest veggies (onions, carrots, celery) and work my way to the most delicate. Get some tiny pieces of chicken in the saute at some point as well. When everything's cooked, add some pre-cooked brown rice, some soy sauce, some chile paste or Sriracha. Maybe a bit of rice wine vinegar for zip. Chopped green onions on top to garnish.


Big old salad night! Woo hoo! With yummy toast for dipping, and maybe feta cheese and sunflower seeds in it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

April 10 - 14

Our menu is back on track! (We hope, anyway...) A few weeks of crazy nights, then broken internet, then vacation means I haven't visited this page in a while. But after a week in Florida eating tourist food (you know -- things that come with french fries and cole slaw), I'm ready for some actual cooking and actual veggies.

It's gorgeous and around 80 degrees, and so we'll put the grill to work tonight.

Chicken kebabs (marinating chicken breast chunks in white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sriracha, salt and pepper -- will skewer it up and grill it!)
Grilled veggies (we're making lots of extras, so we can put them on salads and things all week... baby portabella mushrooms, hunks of zucchini, giant sweet onions, grape tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, and lovely asparagus)

Big old salad topped with lots of leftover grilled veggies from last night. We'll also add some cannelini beans and parmesan. Balsamic vinegarette.

Bacon and Cabbage soup (from Irish Farmers' Market cookbook)
It's an Irish cookbook, so the measurements were in grams and ounces. I've listed the ounces in the recipe, but I'm figuring I'll just eyeball everything, like I usually do with soup anyway. Just keep adding good stuff until the pot is full!

2 oz butter
3 1/2 oz diced bacon
4 1/2 oz potatoes, peeled and diced (Karen's note: I don't peel potatoes. Just because.)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 1/2 oz onions
10 fl oz hot stock (chicken or vegetable)
10 oz chopped fresh tomatoes (though I'm thinking I'll use canned since it's December and fresh tomatoes taste like straw)
10 oz cabbage, shredded
salt and pepper

Melt butter, stir in bacon, potatoes, garlic and onions (can you imagine this smell?). Cook about 10 minutes on medium heat, covered.

Add stock and tomatoes, bring to a boil. Add cabbage, reduce heat and cook for about 5 minutes until veggies are tender. Season with salt and pepper and serve with gorgeous bread.

Corn, black bean, red pepper, green and red onion salad

Spinach salad with strawberries, grilled chicken, red onions, and blue cheese

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