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Category Archives: Meals!

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to make Shepherd’s Pie tonight for dinner. I did a pretty traditional recipe from Alton Brown, except I substituted ground sirloin for ground lamb.  I also added a handful of shredded jack/cheddar cheese mix and a sprinkling of garlic to the potatoes because I like interesting potatoes.  I also put a good twist on the Shepherd’s pie by making it into cupcakes! I found some jumbo muffin size foil wrappers at the grocery store today and they made a much nicer serving size than the regular cupcake sized liners were. They were a little harder to fill and smooth the potatoes on because they are a bit flimsier than a real cup would be. I just picked them up in my hand and held them closed while I got the potatoes nicely spread on it.

Shepherd’s Pie
Adapted from Alton Brown’s Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Ingredients

For the potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes
1/4 cup milk
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup shredded jack and cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

For the meat filling:
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
1 12oz package button mushrooms, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup frozen peas

Directions:

Wash the red potatoes and place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Put the pan on high heat with a lid, until it boils. Once it boils, uncover it, and turn it down to a simmer. Cook the potatoes until they are fork tender, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a microwave safe bowl, in your microwave for about 30 seconds – just until it is heated through. Once the potatoes are ready, put them in the bowl of a standing mixer and add the milk/butter mixture plus the cheese and salt/pepper/garlic powder. Mix them until they are whipped nicely. If you don’t have a mixer, you can put them back into the saucepan with the other ingredients and mash them with a potato masher.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, carrots, and mushrooms and saute just until they start to brown. Add the lamb, salt and pepper, and garlic and cook until everything is nice and brown and cooked through. Sprinkle the flour around the pan and mix it well. Let it cook for another minute and then add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, and thyme. Stir it well. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook it until it is thick like a gravy. This took me around 5 minutes but it could take up to 10-12 depending on the heat of your pan.

Add the corn and peas to the meat mixture. Line a baking sheet with foil Jumbo muffin liners in a 3×4 grid. Using an ice cream scoop, fill the liners almost to the top with meat filling. The mixture should fill 12 liners. With a smaller scoop or tablespoon, put a spoonful of mashed potatoes on each one. Flatten and smooth with a spatula. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are nice and brown on top.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2012 in General Food, Meals!

 

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Lasagna Cupcakes

I was reading through my food blogs on Flipboard one night and I found a recipe for these lasagna cupcakes. I modified it a little bit because I have made lasagna quite a few times and I know what I like in it. The original recipe is from Tablespoon.com but I changed it so much that I am going to just re-write it in my own words here. I chose to use gyoza skins instead of wonton ones because they are already round. I liked the way they came out when I used them whole but they can also be cut to size to allow you to see the layers a bit better when you take the cupcake out of the liner to serve it. The gyoza skins end up being soft like regular noodles.  If you use a whole one, the top layer skin sticks out of the sauce just a little bit and becomes crunchy, just like the edges of a lasagna baked in a 9×13 pan!  I used my family’s classic ricotta mix from our lasagna recipe I have been making since I was a kid. The sauce, I kind of made up as I was going along but it is the basic meat sauce I always make really. I love these so much and I am currently dreaming up all the different recipes I can turn in to cupcakes now!

Lasagna Cupcakes
Makes 22 cupcakes

For the Sauce:
3 8oz cans no salt added tomato sauce
1/2 a large, yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp fresh basil
1 tsp fresh parsley
1 lb ground turkey, browned
salt and pepper to taste

For the Filling:
1 8oz container ricotta cheese
a handful of grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

44 gyoza wrappers
mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat the oven to 350F.

To begin, brown the onions and garlic in a little bit of olive oil. While they cook, put the sauce into a medium saucepan. Add the onions and garlic to the sauce and use the same pan to cook the ground turkey. I seasoned the turkey itself with salt and pepper and a little bit of garlic powder as well but you don’t HAVE to do that. Once the turkey is done cooking, add it to the sauce as well. Let the sauce cook while you mix up the ricotta cheese and until you are ready to assemble. I left it for a good hour while I made dessert tonight. The longer it cooks on low, the better it will be.

Mix the ricotta, Parmesan, parsley, garlic powder, and salt/pepper in a bowl. Taste it. If it needs more of anything, you can add it now.

To assemble the lasagna cupcakes, line your cupcake pan with foil cupcake liners. I found these to be much easier clean up than spraying the pan itself and building them that way. Spray the liners with a little bit of cooking spray. Place one gyoza skin in the bottom of each well. Add a tablespoon or so of the meat sauce, then about a teaspoon of ricotta, then a sprinkle of mozzarella. Place another gyoza skin on top of that, then another teaspoon ricotta cheese, a tablespoon of sauce and another sprinkling of mozzarella. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until they are golden on top and bubbly.

When I got to the last 4, I ran out of ricotta cheese. Instead of ricotta, I layered gyoza, meat sauce, pepperoni slice, mozzarella, gyoza, meat sauce, pepperoni, mozzarella. These were a touch smaller than the other ones but still just as tasty! Now for the pictures.

In the beginning…

First layer, complete:

Baked!

Close up!

366: Picture 73

Plated:

I can’t wait to make some more of these to freeze for lunches. It is such a great idea that can be applied to a bunch of different recipes! I might actually do this with shepherd’s pie for tomorrow night’s dinner. Hope you enjoy!

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2012 in General Food, Meals!

 

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A nice dinner

My sister reminded me last night that I haven’t written a blog post since October so I thought I would throw one up tonight after I finished making dinner. I even have pictures! 😀

I decided that since it was a beautiful day out today, I would open all the windows in the house and clean. Once I got started, I ended up wanting to cook a nice dinner as well. The spring air makes me so happy 😀 I made cheeseburgers with animal sauce, caramelized onions, pretzel rolls, and salt and vinegar chips. I was intending to grill the burgers and potatoes but the grill ran out of propane after the potatoes were done. I ended up making those in a cast iron skillet instead.

I didn’t really change the recipes that I used for each thing so there aren’t too many comments to make.

Adapted from Bobby Flay’s Salt and Vinegar Grilled Potato “Chips”

I saw Bobby Flay make these on a commercial for his grilling show the other day. They were pretty delicious. I made them with Golden Potatoes that were pretty small but I still cut them in coins before I put them on the grill. Pre-boiling them really does make them cook so much faster!

Ingredients
6 golden potatoes, scrubbed
Canola oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Red Wine vinegar (Malt would have been better)
Kosher salt

Heat the grill to medium.
Place potatoes in a pot of cold water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and cook for 10 minutes once it starts boiling. Drain, let cool more than I did and slice into 1/4-inch slices.

Toss the potato pieces in a little oil, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Place them on the grill until they are golden brown and cooked all the way through, about 10 minutes.
Take the slices off the grill and move them to a platter in an even layer and immediately drizzle with the vinegar and season with salt.

Pretzel Rolls I have made quite a few times and every time, they are amazing. This time was no exception. They don’t have a lot of ingredients and they are pretty easy. I use my mixer so my recipe varies a bit from what the original says to do. I got the recipe from Serious Eats, along with the ones for the animal style sauce AND the caramelized onions. I highly recommend Serious Eats whenever I can.

Pretzel Rolls

Ingredients
2 3/4 – 3 cups bread flour
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup and 1 tablespoon hot water
1/3 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup cornmeal

Place the bread flour, instant yeast, kosher salt, and sugar into a mixing bowl and mix with the beater until it is well combined. Swap to the dough hook and stream the water in while the mixer is on low speed. Once all the water is mixed in, set the mixer on 3-4 and let it mix for a few minutes until the dough forms a ball. Put the dough ball into a greased bowl and let it double in size (30 minutes or more).

Once doubled in size, punch the dough down and separate it into 8 equal pieces (I ended up with 7 this time) and form each piece into a ball. Slash the tops with an X and let them rise for another 30 minutes.

During this time, fill a stock pot with water and let it come to a boil. Heat the oven to 375F. Once it starts to boil add the baking soda and sugar to the water. Do it slowly because the baking soda will make the water froth! Once 30 minutes are up, boil the pretzels for 30 seconds on each side. Place them on a baking sheet that has been greased and sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle the rolls with Kosher salt while they are still wet from their bath. (The original recipe says to use egg whites but I didn’t want to waste an egg)

Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes, until they are golden brown and look like pretzels!

Next up, the caramelized onions! These are part of the Serious Eats spread on how to make an In-n-Out burger at home. I followed the directions for the onions and also for the animal sauce.
Serious Eats In-n-Out Burger Recipe

Ingredients
2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

To make the onions:
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt to skillet. Reduce heat to medium low, and cook, tossing and stirring occasionally until onions are well browned, about 15 minutes. Once onions begin to sizzle heavily and appear dry, add 1 tablespoon water to skillet and stir. Continue cooking until water evaporates and onions start sizzling again. Repeat process, adding 1 tablespoon of water with each iteration until onions are meltingly soft and dark brown, about 3 times total. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

To make the sauce:
Put the mayo, ketchup, relish, sugar and vinegar in a bowl and mix until it is combined.

Finally, I made a tomato mozzarella salad with basil, parsley, scallions and vinegar/oil for the dressing. It is something I make in the summer all the time so I thought it would go well with this dinner. This is the recipe I followed originally for it. Tomato Mozzarella Salad is based on a caprese salad. I use a pint of regular red grape tomatoes. Unfortunately, it is not the season for tomatoes so these were a little bit too tart.

The last photo is the best, I think! Everything all finished and ready to eat 😀

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2012 in Meals!

 

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Pulled Pork

Today I thought it would be good to make some pulled pork shoulder. If you make pork shoulder, you gotta have BBQ sauce and buns and coleslaw to go with it, so I made those too! After finding a plethora of recipes this morning, I went to the store and got my supplies.

When I got home, I started the bread rising. I used a recipe for hamburger buns that I will for sure make again. I found the recipe months ago when I was reading food blogs with Flipboard on my iPad. The buns were light and fluffy, even with whole wheat flour subbed for half the regular flour. The recipe can be found here: Hamburger Buns and I can’t say enough about how many things I have learned from this website. They have a lot of really helpful, basic recipes that I have been trying lately.

Homemade Hamburger Buns (Makes 8 buns)
From thekitchn.com
1 tablespoon active-dry yeast
1/2 cup (4 oz) warm water
1/2 cup (4 oz) milk (2%)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour

In the bowl of a standing mixer (or a large bowl, if mixing by hand), stir the yeast into the warm water and let it sit until dissolved. My mixer’s dough hook couldn’t reach the water/yeast mixture so I stirred it by hand.

In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil, sugar, and salt. Add this to the yeast mixture and stir until combined. Add all the flour and stir until it forms a shaggy dough. Knead at low speed (around 2 on my Kitchenaid), or by hand against the counter, for 10 minutes. The finished dough should be smooth, feel slightly tacky, and spring back when poked.

Cover and let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about an hour.

Dust your work surface with a little flour and turn out the risen dough on top. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape each into a tight ball. I ended up with 9 rolls because some of mine were a little smaller Transfer the balls to a baking sheet and let rise until they look puffy and hamburger-sized, roughly 30-40 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
Bake the buns until golden, 15-18 minutes.
Let the buns cool to room temperature before slicing and using. They are best if eaten within the next day or two, but will keep in an airtight container on the counter for up to a week.
Additional Notes (from the original post):
• For Whole Wheat Buns – Substitute 1/2-1 cup of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour and prepare the recipe as usual. The texture of the buns will be a bit more dense, but still very delicious and burger-worthy. – I followed this suggestion and they turned out awesome.
• Doubling the Recipe – Double all of the ingredients except for the yeast. To make even more buns, it’s best to prepare separate batches as the dough becomes too cumbersome to work with easily.
• Freeze Buns for Later – Wrap the buns in aluminum foil and then store in an air-tight container or freezer bag. Let them thaw in their packaging overnight on the counter. Foil-wrapped buns can also be thawed more quickly or re-warmed in a 300°F oven for about 10-15 minutes.

While the buns were rising, I cut up the onions and got the tomatoes ready for the pulled pork shoulder recipe I was following. The recipe can be found here: Pulled Pork Shoulder I decided to use a basic recipe to start out with and when I got the hang of making it, I would try something new. I changed two things when I made it today. First, I didn’t use carrots because I thought it would be a waste. We probably wouldn’t eat them after they had cooked for 3 hours so they would have just gotten thrown away. Secondly, I added chili powder to the dry rub. I did 1tsp of cumin and 1tsp of chili powder instead of 2tsps of cumin. Cumin is one of those spices that is very strong and I don’t like a lot of it in anything I eat.

Shredded Pork Shoulder
Adapted from thekitchn.com
3.5 pound pork shoulder, bone-in
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into wedges
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 12-ounce beer (I used Blue Moon Honey Wheat Ale because it looked tasty)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Trim the pork shoulder of any thick layers of fat. Mine had barely any fat on it so I just left it all. Combine the brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the pork all over with the spice mixture. Make sure you get it in all the little nooks and crannies. Let the pork to sit out for 30 minutes. (This was just enough time for me to bake off the hamburger buns)

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the pork on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the pork from the pot. Add the onions, garlic, tomatoes, and beer. Bring it to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to bring up any browned bits.

Return the pork to the pot. Cover and put in the oven for 3 hours or so, checking once or twice, until the meat is extremely tender and pulls away from the bone easily or reaches around 200F. My bone ended up being a tiny shard of a bone so it came out pretty easily. I made sure to check the temperature of the meat before I took it out, just to be sure. Shred the pork in the pot, using tongs to separate the meat from the fat. This worked pretty well for me but toward the end, it was easier to take the meat out and put it on a cutting board to get the fat off and shred it. If you do it this way, just add it back to the pot when you are done shredding it. I threw away the bone but you could just as easily use it for some kind of soup or something if you are so inclined.

While the pork shoulder was bubbling away in the oven, I started on the barbecue sauce. This recipe came from Bobby Flay and Foodnetwork.com. I used only the sauce recipe on this page: BBQ Sauce I have to say that I was disappointed in the sauce at first. While it cooks, it is really thin and chunky. I didn’t want it to be that way. The flavor was really good but I did change a couple of things in this one as well. First, I had a bunch of stewed tomatoes so I used those instead of diced tomatoes. Second, I decided to blend the mix to make it semi-smooth. I had used the food processor to do the onions for this recipe anyway so I thought it would be a good idea to throw it in there to get it the consistency I wanted. I also put the very first jalapeno from my garden this year into this recipe! 😀

First Jalapeno!

BBQ Sauce:
Adapted from Bobby Flay

1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 large yellow onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 (15-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
2 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt
Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook until soft. I burned mine so I had to swap out pans! Be careful with this step! 😀 Add the fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes and juices, vinegar, honey, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce, and cook until the sugar has completely melted and the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened. The sauce never really reduced down and it filled my house with vinegar gases! I cooked it for a good 2 hours and it reduced, it just never got thick. If you are looking for a thick BBQ sauce, just pulse it a few times in the food processor and put it back in the pot to keep it warm. Season with salt, to taste.

Finally, while everything else was simmering away and the buns were cooling, I made the coleslaw. I wanted a pretty basic traditional recipe for this and it turns out, Bobby Flay has one! Coleslaw
I adapted this recipe by changing up the amounts of mayonnaise and sour cream. I don’t like to use that much mayo in anything I am making so I cut that and added a little more sour cream to the mix. I think it came out pretty awesome! It worked perfectly with the pork and the BBQ sauce.

Coleslaw
2 bags shredded coleslaw mix (without dressing)
1/2 cup best-quality mayonnaise
1/2 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons grated yellow onion
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons celery salt
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:
Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, onion, sugar, vinegar, mustard, celery salt, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl, and then add the cabbage mixture. Mix well to combine and taste for seasoning; add more salt, pepper, or sugar if desired. I don’t like it to be too sweet so I didn’t add any more sugar. It did need a touch more salt and pepper though.

So here it is finally completed. I couldn’t wait to eat at this point, after smelling it all afternoon so the first shot is a little blurry. I loved this and I would absolutely make it again. Next time, I would mix the pork with the BBQ sauce AND the juices/onions it cooked in, I think. 😀 Even though there are subtle changes I would make or add to each recipe, they are still delicious the way they are!

Carter’s plate:
365: Picture 219

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2011 in General Food, Meals!

 

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Since I had made pizza at my inlaws’ house on Monday night, I had an extra pizza dough here to use this week. I get it from Fresh and Easy and it really tastes homemade. I decided to go with BBQ Chicken Pizza because it has been a long time since I made it last and I am much better at making pizzas now than I was the last time I made it.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

2 Chicken breast halves
1/4 bell pepper, sliced thin
1/4 red onion, sliced thin
handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar/jack cheese mix
3/4 cup barbecue sauce of your choice
1 ball pizza dough

Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally so they cook faster on the grill. Drizzle with a little oil to prevent sticking, and then sprinkle with Montreal Steak Seasoning. (Salt and Pepper would work for this step as well.) Grill the chicken until cooked through (Mine takes about 15 minutes on medium heat, flipping halfway through)

While the chicken is cooking, slice the vegetables and get everything ready on a board to take out to the grill.
Once the chicken is off the grill, turn it back up to high and clean off the excess spices from the chicken. Just before you put the dough on, turn the heat down to medium. Dice the chicken and mix it with a tablespoon or two of BBQ sauce to prevent it from drying out.

Roll out the dough and brush one side lightly with oil. This will stop it from sticking to the grates. Flip it on to the grill and let it cook until it is golden in color. This will not take very long, around 2-5 minutes depending on your grill. Brush the top side with lightly with oil and flip the dough over. Working relatively quickly, put some BBQ sauce on the pizza, then layer on the cheese, diced chicken, peppers, onions, and cilantro. Turn the heat to low and close the lid of the grill. Let the cheese melt and the vegetables become tender. They won’t cook completely because there is no heat source on the top. This works out fine for us because we don’t like to have cooked veggies on top of our pizza.

To get the dough turned over and also off the grill, we use a big pair of grilling tongs. They work pretty well in conjunction with a big grilling spatula.

Here is the finished product:

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2011 in General Food, Meals!

 

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Pork tenderloin and grilled vegetable salad

I was watching the food network this morning and Bobby Flay was cooking up something that looked delicious. It was a Pork Tenderloin Gyro and a Grilled Vegetable Couscous salad. I thought it looked good so I made a list of supplies and went to the store. Unfortunately, my regular grocery store was closed because the power was out 😦 I had to hit up the Albertsons nearby. Not only did I pay more than I thought was necessary but I also ended up with sub-par produce.

I have never made pork tenderloin before and it is one of those things that I was unsure about trying. I know that everyone eats their pork at medium rare now but seeing it that way always freaks me out. When I was a kid, pork was cooked until it was white. I consulted the newly updated USDA website and they did indeed say that pork tenderloin can be cooked to 145F safely. With my thermometer in hand, I started my first pork tenderloin meal.

The recipes can be found here:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/pork-gyros-with-yogurt-tomato-sauce-recipe/index.html
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/toasted-israeli-couscous-salad-with-grilled-summer-vegetables-recipe/index.html

It turns out that I followed the wrong recipe for the couscous salad. I watched the Mediterranean episode this morning. When I did the search on the iPad for the recipes, I just searched for “grilled vegetable couscous.” He made a couscous grilled vegetable salad with lemon-balsamic vinaigrette but I made the recipe above. LOL @ not paying attention when doing a search. (I wondered why I remembered a shallot being in the dressing but it wasn’t on the list. I bought one anyway in case I had just missed it. Now I have a spare shallot!)

Couscous:


Pork Tenderloin:

Yogurt-Tomato sauce:

The Whole Meal:

I grabbed Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon for the “dry red wine.” I am not a drinker at all but I know the merits of red wine in a marinade. I consulted Google for an article about a dry red wine and the first one recommended was a Cabernet. I decided to grab the Cupcake Vineyards one because I liked the name. Apparently, it is pretty good (according to Carter, who had a small glass after dinner). yay red wine!

The yogurt sauce was interesting to make. It had the essence of tzatziki sauce but with different hints of flavor from the capers and tomatoes. We chose to use baby spinach in the gyro to make it even more healthy.

Since I had never made couscous, I bought two 10oz boxes. The recipe said a pound of it so I thought I would need both. When I got home, I read the instructions on the box and it said that one box is 5 servings. I used one box and only the 2 cups of stock (The store didn’t have low sodium vegetable stock, so I used low sodium chicken stock instead.) instead of the stock and water.

All in all, I think it came out pretty good. I would have liked to have marinated the pork for longer than the 4 hours the recipe calls for. It had a good flavor but overnight would have been so much better. It easily fed 5 people with at least half of one of the tenderloins leftover. (I am thinking of doing a pork fried rice with the leftovers.) I really liked the couscous. I couldn’t find the Israeli one at the store but the small one was tasty anyway. I was a little worried that I had undercooked the pork but according to a million websites, I was right on target at 144-145F. The half we didn’t eat was slightly pinker than I would like it to be so when I eat the leftovers, I will just heat it up a little.

I took half the meal to my MIL’s house so she wouldn’t have to struggle with cooking tonight with her injured hand. They haven’t called to tell me if they liked it or not. Carter said he just isn’t a fan of pork but he really liked the yogurt-tomato sauce and also the couscous. I think if I had marinated the pork for longer, it would have had better flavor. I might try it again with chicken instead though. I don’t know if that would be weird with red wine.

I am going to go enjoy some of the new Jell-o that I found and also possibly some snickerdoodles from last night’s baking spree! 😀

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2011 in General Food, Meals!

 

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Asian Chicken Salad

I couldn’t think of anything new to make for dinner tonight. I asked Carter to choose something for me to make and started listing things: Meatloaf? No. Meatballs? No. Pasta? No. Roasted Chicken? No. Grilled Chicken? No. Then he said why not Chinese Chicken Salad? So I went to the store and got a chicken, mandarin oranges, and almonds. Now that I know how to roast a chicken, I can’t justify buying an already made one from the store so I got a raw one. I stuffed some butter, garlic and lemon thyme under the skin, salt and pepper on the outside, and chopped some carrots, celery, and onions into big chunks for in the pan around the chicken. Fresh and Easy has some amazing quality meats with no hormones and all that good stuff PLUS they don’t give you all the gross organs inside the chicken. It comes already trussed and ready to bake! 😀 I started it at 400F for the first 15-20 minutes then lowered the temp to 375F. It roasted for about an hour and a half before it reached 165F.

While the chicken was baking, I got the salad ready. I used a highly modified version of This Recipe

Ingredients for the salad:
1 head iceburg lettuce, chopped or shredded (however you like it)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
4 medium carrots, grated
5 green onions, chopped
20 Wonton skins, sliced and baked
1 cup Dole Mandarin Oranges in juice, drained (one single serving cup)
a handful of sliced almonds

Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl. Toss til combined.

Ingredients for the dressing:
6 tablespoons hoisin sauce
4 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
3 teaspoons brown sugar
1.5 teaspoons hot chile paste
1.5 teaspoons ground ginger
5 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil

Mix all the ingredients in a jar and shake it til it is mixed nicely. I had to use a spoon to break up my peanut butter because I keep it in the refrigerator. It will be super thick. If it is thicker than you like, you can add a touch of water to it, like I did.

When the chicken finished, I let it cool for a few minutes and then broke it down to get rid of all the bones.

As the chicken was cooling and being broken down, I baked some wonton skins that I had sliced up in the 375F oven for 10 minutes. This gave me fantastic crispy wontons without having to deep fry them!

To put the salad together, I layered the salad mixture on the plate, then added however much chicken Carter and I wanted. After the chicken, came the oranges and almonds, sprinkled randomly around the plate. I put the wonton skins around the outside of the plate so they wouldn’t get soggy with the dressing. It turns out that this is probably not necessary because the dressing is so thick. Finally, the dressing got drizzled on top and it was done!

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2011 in General Food, Meals!