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Friday, June 25, 2010

Mexican Night

On Tuesday, Matthew was off, so we were able to eat together. This happens a few times a month, once a week if we're really lucky. As I walked through the grocery store, I suddenly had the urge for Mexican food. We are trying to eat healthier, so decided against rice, but just to make tacos...soft shell...corn. Simple, light, but yummy...it's been so hot out! I had some corn at home, so I was going to make some corn salsa, maybe a salad...ooh, and margaritas!!!

After getting home, I started defrosting chicken, and Matthew called, asking what I was thinking for dinner. I was pleasantly surprised when he was all for the Mexican...but there is always a catch...he wanted fajitas, not tacos, and of course we had to have Spanish rice! So, although I had already been there, he stopped at the grocery store on his way home to purchase what he wanted.

Once he got home, what I had originally thought would be me making a simple, light dinner from scratch, turned into the following:

Jewel Prepackaged Taco Dip
Fajitas, the chicken marinaded in Newman's Own Mesquite with Lime Marinade
Knorr's Spanish Rice (from a box)

Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed with the amount of processed ingredients in the dinner, but, I guess it did make my life a bit easier. So, I got started:

After defrosting 3 chicken breasts, I cut them in strips (remember that as the chicken cooks, it will expand, so cutting the strips thinner rather than thicker is recommended). I added the strips in a bowl with the marinade (just make sure the marinade covers the chicken) and put it in the refrigerator, covered in plastic wrap. Let it sit no less than 30 minutes.

Veggies for the Fajitas:

1 Red Pepper, sliced
1 Yellow Pepper, sliced
1 Orange Pepper, sliced
1/2 Red Onion, sliced
1/2 White Onion, sliced
1-2 T. Garlic, depending on preference
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

While the chicken was marinading, I sliced the veggies for the fajitas and put them in a bowl.

Corn Salsa:

2 leftover ears of corn, kernels only
6 slices peppers from veggies for fajitas, diced
4 slices onion from veggies for fajitas, diced
2 T. cilantro, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

I had to have something that was basically all made from scratch, and I had the control of sodium content. I put it in the fridge until we were ready to eat.

I added olive oil to a pan heated to medium low. I added the peppers and onions and let them sweat.

I then heat another pan next to the peppers at medium low. I added the chicken, using tongs so as not to add too much marinade. As I cooked the vegetables, I cooked the chicken.

I added the garlic, salt and pepper, and raised the heat of the pepper mixture to crisp up the peppers and onions. During this time, I also made the Spanish Rice according to the directions on the box.

Once the chicken and vegetables were done, I put them in two separate serving platters. In the pan I had cooked the vegetables, I quickly heat up some tortillas.

All was put on the table...

Verdict:

I am not a fan of the Spanish Rice, primarily because it was both rice and pasta, and I didn't realize it, so I overcooked it. Otherwise, I just didn't like the way it tasted.
I was pleasantly surprised with the marinade, and would definitely recommend it for chicken. Not too salty, simple and clean.
I would combine a corn tortilla with the chicken and corn salsa, then, the next one would be chicken with the pepper mixture. I liked them both. I also had some chopped lettuce on the table, and would add that, too.
And yes, the Jewel Taco Dip was pretty good...but we added a whole mess of black olives to the top, which totally made it :-) By the end of the meal, Matthew was full...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tip Roast with Roasted Red/Yellow Pepper Sauce

Today, I made a tip roast. I was interested in making a larger cut of beef, and something different than Pot Roast, which is my typical "nicer" meal, and something I know that he will like. I marinated this cut although, I don't know that it needed it. I don't know that I tasted a difference in it, whether I had made it with just some cracked pepper and crushed salt, or how I did it:

1 C. red wine
1 T. crushed garlic
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
A few sprigs of Thyme
A few sprigs of Rosemary

Marinade for 30 minutes, up to 1 hour 30 minutes. (I was safe, marinaded it for the longest period of time.)

After cooking it, which I will go over later, I did not notice anything "special" in the taste, maybe it was a very thin marinade, without much substance.

However, the rest of the dish, did go well. I mixed the following vegetables:

1 lb. mini tomatoes, whole
1 lb. small red potatoes, cut in half or quarters, to keep them all the same size
8 oz. pearl onions
1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1 1/2 inches
A few sprigs of Thyme
A few sprigs of Rosemary

Mix everything together with olive oil, to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, cook the vegetables for 30 minutes.

While cooking the vegetables, sear the meat, 2 minutes on each side at medium to medium high heat, depending on your stove.

Add the meat to the vegetables, and add the herbs that were marinating in the wine. Pour a few soup ladles of the marinade over the meat, making sure you get some of the garlic.

Bake for 15 minutes per pound, if you are looking for medium rare, which is what we like. I have to be honest, I am not sure what to cook it at for a more well done cook of meat.

While it is cooking, baste it every 15 minutes. When the meat is done, take it out and keep it covered for at least 10 minutes before you cut. Mix the vegetables and leave them in the oven for another 10 - 30 minutes, depending on how well done you want the potatoes.

For the roasted red, pepper sauce:

Roast 3 peppers ( I used one red, one orange and one yellow pepper) for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until they start to burn and blister on each side, it all depends on your oven. Put them in a bowl and cover them for at least 20 minutes, if not more, to make it easier to remove the skin. Once the skin is removed, you can put it through running water to get rid of the remaining skin.

In a saucepan, at medium low heat, add:

Enough olive oil to coat the pan
1 whole white onion, chopped
1 T. + 1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 T. + 1 tsp. dried oregano
3 T. dried parsley
The 3 peppers, chopped

Cook until the onions are translucent.

Cover with chicken broth, cook until the broth has reduced,about 20 minutes.

Put all into a blender, the hole removed to let out the steam. Mix. Add about 1 cup Parmesan cheese. Add more if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a glass bowl until ready to use.

Put meat and vegetables on a plate. Add sauce to meat. Serve.

My opinion: wall together the dish turned out well. Without the sauce, I think the beef might be a bit land...however, I am waiting for the verdict; I will keep you posted :-)