Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mom's Meatloaf

I had to get my tooth pulled this past weekend. It was definitely not as bad as a root canal, in which I have had a few, but I was not to eat anything hot or crunchy, so after the first day, I was sick of baby food and cottage cheese, so I thought I would make meatloaf. So off to call my mother-in-law, to make sure it was something Matthew would eat. Simple, yummy, and a great comfort food:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together:

2 lb. groung chuck
1 c. seasoned breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1 can Campbell's tomato soup
3 T. dry minced onion

Try not to overmix. I used my hand, and it seemed to work well. Make into a loaf, put into a loaf pan, and add a Layer of Katsup. Cook for approximately 2 hours. Cool and serve!

Matthew loved it. I am finding the elegant eater is more interested in basic home cooking than the food he eats in the restaurant industry...I may be better at this than I thought!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta Salad

Sometimes, it is a simple dish that I wanted to make for myself that he loves the most. I left for Kalamazoo, MI on Sunday, and Matthew had asked that I make some food that he can have while I am away. I made the common chicken salad, which I have probably made 3 times already in the past 2 months. I also made some potato salad, but nothing exciting, just your regular, run of the mill potato salad with potatoes, celery, onions, mayo, mustard, salt and pepper. After cleaning the house, cooking and doing laundry all day Saturday, I just wanted to make something simple, flavorful, and not with lettuce. So, with basil I got at the Farmer's Market that morning, and things I found from around the house, I made a Mediterranean pasta salad, based on our friend Carly's pasta salad that she made during one of her fabulous BBQ's...
In a food processor, add:

1 c. basil
1/2 c. pine nuts
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
2 T. crushed garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste

Grind together, but keep texture. Add: 

Olive oil

as much or as little as you want. Start small, mix, then add more if desired. The more there is, the thinner and more liquidy it is.  In a separate bowl, add:

1/2 lb cooked pasta (any 'short' pasta will do)
Homemade pesto (recipe below)
1 roasted red pepper from a jar, chopped
1/2 can of olives, sliced
1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
2 large grilled chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste

Mix until combined. Put in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. The longer it is in the refrigerator, the better it will be!

1/2 lb cooked pasta (any 'short' pasta will do)
Homemade pesto (recipe below)
1 roasted red pepper from a jar, chopped
1/2 can of olives, sliced
1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
2 large grilled chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. basil
1/2 c. pine nuts
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
2 T. crushed garlic
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Matthew loved it. Called it a keeper...this means good things! Although I said it in previous posts, it does not always take deep thought and planning to make a dish he will love...sometimes it just takes some laziness :-)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Asian Night: Beef Lo-Mein and Egg Rolls

Matthew knows that once a week, I will be making something for dinner that takes preparation, thought, and planning. I like to get his opinion on what to make, if possible, but typically his answer is "whatever you want" or " I don't know". So I was pleasantly surprised when he came up with Lo-Mein! He also told me that many of his favorite dishes are Asian, with lots of vegetables. I guess I will need to become good friends with Asian store down the street, although...well, more on that later. 

So I got on-line, and checked out Food and Wine , my favorite site to go to first. Unfortunately, that was no help, so I went to Emeril. I love his show on Planet Green! Anyway, I found a great Cabbage Lo-Mein recipe, and turned it into my own...I had some beef left over from the Beef Satay, and a red pepper sitting around. I also wanted to try to make Egg Rolls from scratch, and still had a half a head of red and a half a head of green cabbage lying around from the Asian Slaw I made with Megan. I was not looking forward to grating all that, but, thanks to my Mother-In-Law, I had a beautiful food processor I had yet to use since I received it for our, I went off shopping.

This was a took two hours to gather all the ingredients, primarily because baby bok choy and Chinese egg noodles are not readily available at your usual grocery stores, including Whole Foods (hint, hint, Whole Foods). Also, the problem truly arose when I actually went to the Asian food market up the street, only to have them sell me RICE noodles, even though I continuously asked for egg noodles. Nothing is in written in English, so I was lost. Obviously, so were they...I settled for "Lo-Mein" noodles from Whole Foods, although they were flour noodles, not egg, but, they seemed to work in the end. So, two hours and 3 stores later, I was ready to get down to business:

Beef Lo-Mein

12 oz. Chinese Egg Noodles (as I said, the dry Lo-Mein noodles I purchased from Whole Foods were fine, but I am looking forward to trying the egg noodles, when I can find them. The texture was not exactly right, but adequate)

Cook the noodles as directed. Put in the serving bowl.

1 lb. flank steak
1 c. teriyaki sauce
1 T. crushed garlic
1 T. grated ginger
Salt and Pepper to taste

Marinade flank steak in teriyaki sauce, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper for a minimum of 30 minutes.

1 red pepper, julienne and cut in half
5-6 baby bok choy, separated
1/4-1/2 red cabbage, thinly sliced and separated
1/4- 1/2 green cabbage, thinly sliced and separated
2 c. snow peas, cut in half
1 c. bean sprouts

Cut everything and put in a bowl.

1 c. chicken stock
1/4 c. orange juice
3 T. oyster sauce
2 T dark soy sauce
2 T. honey
T. sesame oil
2 tsp. chili garlic sauce (optional)

Combine and whisk, add to the noodles. Mix a bit to loosen noodles.

For cooking and garnish:
2 T. peanut oil
1 T minced garlic (I buy it in a jar, longer shelf life)
2 tsp. minced ginger (I buy it in a jar, longer shelf life)
1/4 c. green onion chopped
1/2 c. crushed peanuts

Cooking Instructions:
Add peanut oil in a pan over medium low heat. With tongs, transfer beef to the pan. Try to limit the marinade you add to the pan. After cooking, if there is too much liquid, pour out. Add minced garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 minute, mixing with beef with tongs. Add vegetables. Mix with tongs. Cover. Cook until bok choy is wilted.

With tongs, transfer to noodles and sauce. Garnish with peanuts and green onions and serve.

DO NOT BAKE THE EGG ROLLS!!! Fry them...I haven't tried it yet, but the Egg Rolls turned out gummy, instead of yummy. Otherwise, they would have been fantastic! The filling is perfect!

Matthew really liked the Lo-Mein. Said it was salted enough, but his suggestions were as follows:

1) Add more vegetables (Because they were raw, you don't realize that you really aren't putting in that much. Maybe not double, but I would have definitely added more of each.)
2) Use Egg Noodles (duh)
3) Cut the red peppers smaller (originally, I just julienned red peppers. My recipe above calls for them to be cut julienne and in half, which includes his suggestion.)

Otherwise, it was definitely a success, and something I would make again!

Arroz Con Pollo Follow-Up

Unfortunately, Matthew was not as big of a fan as I was...I was not aware that he did not like the combination of chicken and rice...which I definitely do not understand...however, I finished it off, could not get enough, so maybe the fact that he doesn't like it is a good thing :-)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Arroz Con Pollo

So, I was in the mood to make something fun, something yummy, and something easy...I don't know if he will like it, as he is not the biggest fan of ethnic, this is chicken and rice, so I am hoping...

Marinade in:
2 T. olive oil
2 T. paprika
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste

Leave in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Slice up:
1 Yellow Onion
1 Red Pepper
1 jalepeno pepper
1/4 C. cilantro, chopped
4 Scallions, mostly the white and light green parts

2 C. white wine
2 C. chicken broth
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. paprika
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 can diced tomato
1/2 can tomato paste

Heat a pan (with a top) with 3 T. olive oil at medium high heat. Prior to putting in the pan, dredge the chicken in:

1 C. flour
2 T. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook at 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan, put aside on plate.

Lower heat to medium/medium low, depending on your stove. add onions, cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 C. rice, brown ( 2 minutes). Add 1 T. garlic and jalepeno. Cook 1 minute. Add red pepper, cook, 1 minute. Add chicken back in. Add wine/chicken broth mixture, bring to a boil. Bring heat to medium low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Check. If the rice is ready, the dinner is ready. Transfer to a large plate. Garnish with green onions and cilantro.

Result: I LOVE IT..I will keep you posted on whether or not he likes it :-)

Beef Satay Appetizer with Asian Coleslaw

A favorite I make for parties, this appetizer is easy, quick, and makes enough for leftovers when it is just the two of us (or, this time, made for me and Megan, and he ate leftovers :)) This a recipe from The Food Network, from Emeril Lagasse, and although it seems like a lot of ingredients, they are ingredients you can keep for a long time, and should have on hand if you like to make Asian cuisine.

Beef Satay with a Peanut Dipping Sauce

2 lbs. skirt, flank or sirloin tip steak, cut into thin, wide strips against the grain
1 C. teriyaki sauce
1 T. minced ginger
1 T. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt

Mix teriyaki sauce, ginger, garlic and salt together. Add steak, mix, cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator while you make the dipping sauce.

Peanut Dipping Sauce:
1/4 C. smooth peanut butter, plus 1 T.
1/2 C. unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 T. lime juice
1/2 tsp. Thai fish sauce
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 T. chopped cilantro
1 T. toasted chopped peanuts

Whisk peanut butter, coconut milk, ginger and garlic together until smooth and combined. Add each ingredient in individually, mixing as you add, until you get to the cilantro and peanuts.

Heat a grill or grill pan, and grill the meat about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side for medium rare, depending on the thickness of your steak strips. Right before serving, add the cilantro and peanuts to the dipping sauce.

Since this was an Asian dish, and Megan and I are trying to cut out carbs, we made an Asian coleslaw. It was okay, although I used all the dressing, when it only called for half, because it was a bit bland at first. For leftovers, I will add some chicken and cilantro to make it a lunch, or light dinner dish.

Asian Coleslaw with Miso-Ginger Dressing
1/2 small red cabbage, shredded
1/2 small green cabbage, shredded
4 medium carrots, shredded
4 radishes, shredded
3 large scallion, white and light green parts only, julienned

1/4 C. unseasoned rice vinegar
3 T. white (shiro) miso
1 T. mayonnaise
1 T. lemon juice
1 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
pinch of sugar
3/4 C. grapeseed oil
Salt and Pepper

In a food processor, mix the ingredients for the dressing, except the grapeseed oil. Mix until smooth. Add grapeseed oil, mix thoughroughly. Put in a large bowl. Add the cabbage, carrots, radishes and scallions. Mix and serve.

As always, the beef satay with the peanut dipping sauce was a great hit, and, thankfully, we have leftovers. I love mixing it with lettuce, and using the peanut sauce as a dressing (maybe using the coleslaw?)...this dish is one of my favorites, because Matthew will love it whether it was just made, or as a late night snack. And it really is so versatile for leftovers. I definitely recommend it, but I still have to play around with the coleslaw...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Back to the Basics: Layered Chicken Salad

Update: I needed to update this, because I tried to use it when I wanted to make the chicken salad, and realized I had missed some ingredients!!!  Goodness, updated now...this is a great dish for any BBQ, pot luck lunch, or picnic.  Remember, you need to make most of it the night before, then leave it in the refrigerator overnight, and finish it off before the event. 

Note: I like to go and buy the disposable roasting type pan with a lid for this.  The lid makes it easier to not mess up the top when putting it in the fridge and it is a perfect depth!

I went to Long Island with my mom, sister and niece, so I had to leave Matthew to his own devices. However, I did leave him a classic, a dish his mother has been making for years, her chicken salad. It isn't your typical chicken salad, it is more of a layered salad, and he loves it.

Half a head of lettuce, chopped (I have actually started using a whole head of lettuce)
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 cup diced celery
1/2 c. chopped red onion
4 chicken breasts, cooked, cut up into 1/2 inch chunks
1 small package peas, thawed, not cooked
1 pint mayo
1 package bacon, cooked and chopped
1 package shredded cheese

Layer each in that order, but stop at the mayo. Between each layer, lightly salt the item.

Put 2 T. sugar on top of the mayo. Refrigerate overnight. The next morning (I can never wait more than that), layer on the bacon, then the cheese. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

This dish never lasts very long. The recipe makes a lot, but it goes fast! Seriously, I have stopped measuring, except the lettuce. Just make sure there is enough to make each layer. Enjoy!