Monday, November 22, 2010

Sausage and Roasted Red Pepper Pizza

Bradley's most favorite food group is pizza, so expectations were high for tonight's dinner. My expectations on the other hand were fully met. The pizza took about 15 minutes to prepare, cost about $11 total (which was a little steep, but I splurged on the sausage and cheese), and required very little clean up. Plus there's leftovers for lunch tomorrow. My only criticism was that the pizza was a little dry. Two things could have been done differently: 1. use a different crust, 2. use a little more olive oil to coat the crust. 
I would like to note that I bought a bag of spinach 3 nights ago and have used it in the last three recipes. Great use of money and ingredients. I've noticed that we have been wasting very little food since we started using this cookbook. 

Anyway, on to the pizza. The recipe says you can pick whatever gourmet sausage you want so I picked up some garlic, spinach and fontina cheese sausage at Trader Joe's this weekend. $3.99 and worth every penny.

I used already prepared thin crust from Kroger, it came in a package of two, so I figured I'd fix 'em both up. 

 So pretty. 

They went in the oven for 8 minutes, 

and viola!

Soux chef gives this one:

One thumb up. We'll eat it again!

It was very filling. I ate half of one of them and I'm stuffed. 

That's it for a while. You all know what we're having Thursday night for dinner. I hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving. Then we're off to Boston until Monday. Check back next week. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Simple Salmon with Spinach Feta Stuffing and Frozen Banana and Cookie Dessert

Simple Salmon was ahhhmazing!! I don't think you could get anything better at a restaurant. The most unbelievable part was how easy it was and with so few ingredients. I've been wanting to try this recipe since I bought the cookbook. There is a picture of the recipe in the cookbook that looks unbelievable. Mine didn't turn out as pretty as Holly's but it was still delish. I am curious how many times the dish had to be cooked to get such a wonderful picture. I cheated a bit on the recipe. I used two frozen salmon filets, placed one on the baking dish, layered the stuffing on top, then laid another filet on top of the stuffing. The filets that I used were a bit thin to begin with so I don' think it would have worked if I had tried to create the recipe the way the book recommends. Tonight's dish cost $3.80 a serving (not including the leftovers from last night). Dessert cost about $1.00 a serving. I already had the Bailey's in the fridge so I didn't include that. 

I served it with lemon pasta leftovers from last night: 

It looks like a salmon sandwich. and the pasta was just as good the second day!

Soux chef said he would have given this one three thumbs up, but since that's impossible...
Soux chef says:

Clean up was a jiff, I used a cutting board and a casserole dish. That's it! It only took about 10 minutes to prepare, then 25 minutes to cook. I can't believe how easy this recipe was!

For dessert: Frozen Banana and Cookie Dessert

I loved it. It was light and not too sweet. Not to mention a little taste of Bailey's before bedtime, Perfection!

I made these earlier today to save some time tonight. They took about 10 minutes total to make and they saved perfectly in the refrigerator. 

Soux chef says:

One thumb up. A nice change from the usual ice-cream. 

Tomorrow night: Pizza!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Terrific Tuscan Chicken and Lemon Angel Hair Pasta with Pine Nuts

First of all, I want to make sure everyone has taken the time to look at my followers. There is a very special follower, Holly Clegg! Thanks Holly, the entire family loves the cookbook!

Well Bradley just feels like he's died and gone to Heaven. He worked all day today and when he walked in the door dinner was ready and the kitchen was cleaned. 

Butters spent a little time today picking out what recipe she wanted for dinner tonight:

For a side dish she picked Lemon Angel Hair Pasta with Pine Nuts. Two things about this dish. One, I've never zested anything before so I used a cheese grater, it worked just fine. Second, I love pine nuts. They make me miss Serops in Baton Rouge. The pasta was great but all of the good stuff sank to the bottom. I think it may have been better if I didn't add the reserved cooking water to the finished dish. 

I toasted the pine nuts nice and slow just like the recipe said: 

Then added the pasta and the rest of the ingredients to make this:

For the main dish Butters picked out the Terrific Tuscan Chicken. It was a very nutritious mix of vegetables served over chicken. Scrumptious!

First you had to literally beat the chicken to make it thin and I broke the chicken beater. Oops!
Piece of junk. The chicken was still a tiny bit frozen when I was beating it.

Then you add all of the vegetables, I think it's pretty. Very colorful!

 Put 'em together on a dish and you get this lovely meal:

 You can't see the chicken, but it's under the vegetables on the right. I sprinkled some shaved parmesan cheese on top and it was amazing!

Soux chef says:

Two thumbs up. Look at that big smile! His only complaint was that there wasn't enough for leftovers to bring for lunch tomorrow. If I make it again I'll double the recipe. 

Great dinner. The total cost is hard to determine because there were a bunch of ingredients, but I only used about half of most of them. I would estimate it cost around $5 a serving. The capers and pine nuts were a bit pricey, but the recipe would not have been as good without them. Clean up took as long as it did to cook the meal, which, by the way, took about 30 minutes. I used 3 pots, two different cutting boards (because of the raw chicken), the pasta strainer and a mixing bowl. Worth it though, I just wouldn't make this one after a long day at work.

Tomorrow night Simple Salmon with Spinach Feta Stuffing and leftover noodles!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pork and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Yummy!! Tonight's dinner was delicious. 
Tonight's dinner was supposed to be last night's dinner, but somebody ended up working until 9:30 last night. So I had all of the prep work done yesterday. I cut up the pork tenderloin, shredded the carrots and sliced the vegetables It all took about 30 minutes. Then when I got home from work today all I had to do was throw all of the ingredients onto the stove top. The recipe says it makes 4 servings, but I would say that it makes about 6 (not counting the servings Jason and Bradley had for seconds). We invited Jason over to share our feast so we didn't end up eating leftovers for days. We're still eating the brussels sprouts.

I was so excited to find this huge container of sesame seeds at the grocery store, and even better, they're already toasted! It was in the ethnic food section. The last recipe that called for sesame seeds I had to buy in a container like the dill seed pictured below, then I toasted them myself. It makes a pretty big mess. I found a sesame seed next to the sink in the bathroom last week. No telling how it got there. 

This container ought to last a while!

I had to buy a lot of ingredients at the grocery store that I've never purchased before, such as rice vinegar and hoisin sauce. I've never even heard of hoisin sauce. It tastes like the sauce you get on broccoli and beef at Chinese buffets. Yummy! I didn't mind buying all of the different sauces, they were mostly pretty cheap and they are used in a lot of the recipes. 

I would guess that tonight's dinner cost about $3 per serving if you divide it by 6 servings. Aunt Patti asked how I calculated my costs. Tonight I'm only including the meat and the vegetables. I didn't include the staples like rice, and the sauces. 

Here's a pic of the final creation:
 That's the close up. 

That's the skillet I cooked it in, it's great for stir frying things. Notice the rice cooker in the background. You can't make good rice without it. 

We enjoyed our dinner by a cozy fire. 

It's rainy and cold here today. 

Served over a bed of rice:

Jason getting seconds:
Poor Jason, he didn't know what he was getting into when he agreed to come over for dinner!

 Soux chef and Jason say:
Look at Jason's thumb's. They're double jointed!

What a fun dinner!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Edamame Dip, Festive Pasta Salad, and Open Face Pulled Chicken Sandwich

This is a late post from Friday night, but a very special post none the less. 
Mom, Susie, and Aunt Patti came to visit this weekend. We had a lovely time. They spent the morning at a museum in Nashville, the afternoon in Franklin and then we met that evening for some wine and tapas at Arrington Vineyards. Arrington is a vineyard right outside of Nashville owned by Kicks Brooks from Brooks and Dunn. They have wine tastings and a lovely jazz band on Friday nights. So we just sat under a little heater on the deck and drank wine, ate tapas and enjoyed some music and good company. It was a wonderful evening. 

We started with a true tapas: Edamame dip

I loved it! It's light and lemony, a wonderful, healthy snack. It was hard not to compare it to hummus though, it sort of looks like hummus, but light green. 

Here's the edamame dip:

I had a request for closer pics, but this one was hard to get in the dark. I added some Joe's Seasoning, which is a low sodium cajun seasoning, and feta cheese for garnish. We used pita chips for scooping. 

The critics say:

Bradley gave it a sideways thumb. 

Next up was Festive Pasta. 
This was the hit of the evening. It's a unique, light pasta with a little crunch. Very unusual, but delicious. The recipe called for two ingredients that I didn't add because the serving bowl was already overflowing, but I think it was perfect without them.

Again, I apologize for these pictures, it was dark outside and the flash wasn't cooperating.

For the Festive Pasta Salad the critics say:

Not pictured, Bradley and Aunt Patti gave this a unanimous two thumbs up!

Served with the pasta pictured above is the Open Face Pulled Chicken Sandwich. 

I think I would have liked this one better if someone else had made it and I didn't know all the work that had gone into preparing it. It was tasty, but not memorable. It may have been better served with baked beans. The pasta salad was so fantastic that I think anything that was served with it would have not seemed worthy. 

The critics say: 

Bradley and Aunt Patti gave this one two sideways thumbs as well. 

It was a wonderful weekend full of yummy food. 
Check back tomorrow night for a new post!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Crunchy Fish with Lemon Sauce and Brussels Sprouts Stir

Let me start by saying that I had last nights leftovers today for lunch and it was even better today!

Now, on to tonight's meal. I did fish and a side. 

I'll start with the fish. The recipe called for trout or catfish, but I used Tilapia since that is what they had at Trader Joe's. I bought it frozen yesterday, thawed it overnight, and it was ready for dinner. The crunchy crust is panko bread crumbs. I wasn't sure what the big deal was about "panko" bread crumbs since I have never used them before and I almost used the regular bread crumbs I had in the pantry. But since I needed to go to the grocery store anyway, I decided just to see what the fuss was about. Let me tell you, the crunchy crust couldn't have been this crunchy with regular bread crumbs. It was definitely worth taking up extra room in the pantry for the box of panko. 

The recipe included a lemon sauce to dip the fish in. It was delicious, and broth based so pretty healthy as well. 

Now on to the Brussels Sprouts. I love brussels sprouts and always buy them frozen. Today I used fresh because when we were at Trader Joe's on Sunday I found this:

It's a brussels sprout stalk. I didn't even know how brussels sprouts grew. I thought they grew out of the grown like little baby lettuces. I thought that the stalk was cool and it would be fun to use it tonight. And it was fun... for the first 10 minutes. I turned that big stalk into this:

and 30 minutes later it made this much waste:
Which I threw in the back yard for the deer. I have a new appreciation for frozen brussels sprouts. Thank you whoever cleans and cuts them at a factory. I'm sure you don't get paid enough. 

Moving along, I eventually sauteed the sprouts with onion and lots of salt and they came out delicious.
The total cost of tonight's dinner was around $3.50 a serving. I had all of the ingredients in the pantry except the fish, sprouts and bread crumbs.  That price doesn't include the 10 servings the brussels sprouts made. We'll be eating those for a while.  Clean up took forever. I used about 3 pots, the strainer and the cutting board. I'm not sure how it happened, but there was corn starch and bread crumbs covering the stove and floor. 

Here's the final result:

Soux chef snuck a bite before I had a chance to take a picture. 
Notice the lemon sauce bowl...another pottery class creation. 

Soux chef needed lots of time to think about tonight's rating... I thought he was going to fall asleep. 

The final score was:
One thumb up! Can you tell soux chef is getting a little tired of this game? He's a good sport, we'll give him a little break for a while. 

No more posts until Friday. It's a busy week. Mom, Aunt Patti, and Susie are coming to visit.  Friday we are going to Arrington Vineyards to enjoy some local wine, live music and of course, some home-made tapas, which we will blog about. Have a lovely week!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sweet Potato Chili over Couscous

Tonight we had an interesting dish that I wasn't quite sure about, but tried anyway because we already had most of the ingredients. I just had to buy the couscous, beans and red bell pepper. The recipe calls for Louisiana yams, which I substituted for homegrown Tennessee yams, courtesy of Janet and Rick's summer garden. The part I wasn't quite sure about was the chipotle seasoning and sweet potatoes. An odd combination, but strangely it worked. 

Here's a pic of the ingredients before: 

Love the Le Creuset pot! Thanks Aunt Patti and Uncle Richard!

Total the ingredients cost about $4, the recipe made 6 servings, so thats $0.75 a serving!

The dish took about an hour overall including prep and cooking time. There was a lot of chopping. The sweet potato took forever to chop in to 1/2 cubes. The clean up was okay, I used two pots, a strainer and cutting board. 

Here's a pic of the final product:

Soux Chef says:

 If you will notice the clean plate...I enjoyed it. I probably would have given it one thumb up. I would definitely cook it again. A great fall dish, lots of color, and very nutritious. 

P.S. We are using a Likert scale for the thumbs up system. The scores are as follows:

Two thumbs up: Very Good, Exceptional! 
One thumb up: Good, a definite keeper!
Sideways thumb: Ehh. May or may not cook again.
One thumb down: Okay, but probably would not cook again. 
Two thumbs down: Yucko! Give it to Butters!

Stay tuned for Crunchy Fish with Lemon Sauce tomorrow night!
Then no post for a while because we will be eating left overs forever.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chicken and Sausage Jiffy Jambalaya

Tonight's menu was a one dish entree: Jambalaya! A tribute to hometown cooking. The recipe only took 30 minutes to prepare and cook, and clean up was easy. I only needed one pot, the cutting board and the rice cooker. Not bad! This would have been an excellent week-night dinner to prepare after work. I must say my favorite part about Holly Clegg cookbooks are the small number of ingredients and the nutritional information included with each recipe. I also think it's genius that she uses substitutes salsa for green peppers, onions and tomatoes. This saves a tremendous amount of time and you can keep it in the pantry forever.  This recipe was chosen for tonight because the chicken and sausage were on sale at the Kroger and the protein content is 42g. Bradley ran 17 miles this weekend and his body is screaming for protein. I, on the other hand, need the low calorie, low fat portion...327 calories and 7 grams of fat. Not bad considering I had a full belly afterwards. I did enjoy it with a glass of red wine though. 

Here's a picture of Bradley's portion (I put the cookbook in the photo so you could see it too):

And here's mine:
Notice the bowl. It's one I made in my pottery class. I love it because it makes a small portion look bigger. 

Soux Chef says:

Two very enthusiastic thumbs up! It's a keeper!