Grilled burger and black-eyed pea salad 5/25/22

Grilled hamburger with black-eyed pea salad

We do not eat much red meat at our house but when we do I choose ground beef over any other cut. Forget your prime rib or filet mignon and just give me a straight up burger (or meat loaf, meatball, spaghetti sauce, or lasagna.) We changed our set menu for some extremely warm weather dishes, food that does not make the kitchen/family room hot. Grilling outside and making a salad accomplishes that goal.

John seasoned the meat with salt and garlic powder and added baking soda to keep our low fat hamburger juicy. I took yesterday’s leftover bean salad and added a can of black-eyed peas and some more vegetables and dressing for a slightly different bean salad. It was all delicious and I really wished I could have had two burgers as did John. Good thing we only bought enough meat for one apiece.

On Thursday cooler weather should be setting in and we will finish up the week with Moroccan chickpea stew, seared tuna, and a vegetable grain bowl. Flank steak fajitas and fettuccini arrabiata will have to wait for another week.

Posted in American, Beef, Easy, Grilling, Hot weather meals, Kitchen tips, Legumes, Salad, Vegetables | Tagged | Leave a comment

Turkey kielbasa with sauerkraut and bean salad 5/24/22

Extremely hot weather here in NorCal means we have had to switch gears for our dinner preparations. Our daughter said to me, ”You’re not making a stew and pasta on Tuesday and Wednesday, are you?! Temperatures for those days border on almost 100F. So, no, we are not making stews and boiling pots of water. We are trying to keep the kitchen as cool as possible. Ergo, turkey kielbasa and sauerkraut that we can make with brief cooking in the microwave and a bean salad.

Turkey kielbasa with sauerkraut and bean salad

The turkey kelbasa split in half lengthwise took 90 seconds of full power microwaving. I go to a little more trouble with the sides. The canned sauerkraut is enhanced by using this recipe:

Sometimes I do more of it than others. Tonight it was just some sweetener, caraway seeds, onion and garlic powders, and half of a diced apple. I read once that the best sauerkraut is Libby’s from a can. So you can forget about fancy jars and plastic pouches with their fancy prices and just buy a can of sauerkraut (I used WalMart’s own brand) for less than a dollar.

For the beans I rinsed a can of black beans and strained a can of Rotel for my base. Then I chopped up small portions of carrot, celery, jalapeño, and bell pepper. I also threw in some defrosted corn. The dressing consisted of a tablespoon of lite Italian dressing, and a teaspoon each of cider and balsamic vinegar. Salt to taste and add Tabasco sauce and/or sriracha also to taste. I have some left over which I plan on using on Wednesday with the addition of another can of beans (maybe black eyed peas or cannellini) and more veg and dressing. It should go nicely with the hamburgers we are planning on grilling OUTSIDE since it will still be damn hot on Wednesday.

This heat wave caught me with few good plans for hot weather meals. I am going to have pay more attention to the forecasts and start looking through my recipes for hot weather meals.

Posted in American, Easy, Hot weather meals, Kitchen tips, Legumes, Poultry, Recipes, Salad, Vegetables | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Chicken with gravy, rutabaga, broccoli 5/23/22

Rotisserie chicken with gravy, mashed rutabaga, steamed broccoli

Since it is getting pretty hot out we are trying to keep the kitchen cool by using some convenience foods and the microwave. John made up a packet of chicken gravy and then heated up the rotisserie chicken over a low flame. I cooked the rutabaga in the microwave. It is a hard, tough vegetable so I cut it in fairly small cubes and put the cubes in some water. It took 25 minutes at high power to get the rutabaga tender. I mashed it with a plunge blender leaving some chunks whole. The broccoli took about five minutes of steaming.

This is a very homey kind of dinner with flavors that recall Thanksgiving. Whenever we make it we always say, ”Mmmm, this is so good. We should make it more often.”

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Vegetable stir-fry with chicken 5/22/22

Vegetable stir-fry with chicken

Tonight I just was not feeling our usually eggs on Sunday so I switched the eggs to a little chicken that we had. The chicken is a very small part of my stir-fry, more like a condiment than a main dish protein. In fact my stir-fry looks a lot like my null soup that I make frequently for lunch. Instead of using Asian spices I sprinkled on oregano, red pepper flakes and some Worcestershire sauce for a different taste. I served my vegetables and chicken over a half cup of rice.

John had his usual omelet.

Posted in American, Easy, Poultry, rice, Vegetables | Tagged | Leave a comment

Weekly Menu May 23 – 29, 2022

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Chana dal with rice and kale 5/20/22

Dried split chickpea stew with kale and rice

Chana dal are dried split chickpeas and this stew is a snap to make in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot. We make ours with spicy Original Rotel plus sriracha on top for even more zing. I love the whole cumin seeds in it plus ginger, garlic, onion, and an array of spices, yum! My rice mixture is half cauliflower and half white rice and the raw kale I use is Trader Joe’s shredded kale. This is my favorite Indian dinner!

Posted in Easy, Indian, Instant Pot, Legumes, rice, stew, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tagged | Leave a comment

Fusilli with mushrooms and asparagus 5/19/22

Fusilli with mushrooms and asparagus

This is a delicious and filling pasta dinner that I make every week. It always includes some shape or strand of pasta, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and a vegetable. This week I used asparagus. It is one of my favorites. The sauce is a combination of juices from the vegetables, pasta water, and olive oil.

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Fish taco with spicy black beans and rice 5/18/22

Talapia on a corn tortilla with condiments plus spicy beans and rice

Underneath the cabbage, tomatoes, onion, and salsa verde there is a fish fillet and a corn tortilla. This is my version of a taco, a whole bunch of things piled on a tortilla. Folding a tortilla up and eating it out of hand means that the whole experience happens too quickly. I like my dinners to last longer than a few minutes!

The fish we used was talapia that John roasted in the oven. I sauteed some red bell peppers, poblano peppers, and onions and then put half of that mixture in a can of black beans and the other half in cauliflower rice and white rice. The rices and beans also had half of a can of Rotel, a healthy dose of cumin, and some cilantro. This was an easy and fun dinner with everyone choosing the toppings they liked best.

Posted in Fish, Vegetables, pescatarian, Legumes, rice, American, Easy, Methods | Tagged | Leave a comment

Leftover red lentils with kale and cauliflower rice 5/17/22

Red lentils with kale and cauliflower rice

We had some leftover lentils from the other night so we heated them up in the microwave. I always have cauliflower rice in the freezer and the microwave is good for heating that up too. The kale was served raw. I added a dollop of yogurt which you would omit for a vegan preparation unless you have some plant-based yogurt. I finished my plate with some spicy sriracha.

Posted in Afghan, Easy, leftovers, Leftovers For Dinner, Legumes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Salmon bowl 5/16/22

Salmon over rice with cucumber, edamame, snow peas, cabbage, and avocado

For a vegan or vegetarian preparation see note below.

This salmon bowl is half hot entree, half salad, and one hundred percent delicious. John cooks our salmon on one side after a 20 minute brine starting in a cold pan over low heat. When the fish is cooked to around 125F, he turns off the heat and flips the fish over so that the top surface has a little sear from the still warm pan. He removes the skin at this point.

My job is to prepare the vegetables and make the dressing. The snow peas were a new addition so I had to blanch them before adding them to the salad. Everything else is merely sliced up although I did have to get the edamame out of the shells.

The dressing is what really makes this dish especially yummy. We also dust the top with furikake which is a Japanese condiment.

NOTE: We also make this dish with shrimp but it would be delicious with no fish or with tofu that you could marinate in the dressing. Also no fish sauce in the dressing.

Salmon bowl dressing

  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 chopped scallions
  • 3 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Stir together. The dressing does not emulsify. Sometimes I use a touch fish sauce to correct. I also use a little Splends instead of sugar and I do not like things sweet so you may need more sugar.

Posted in Asian, Easy, Fish, Legumes, pescatarian, Recipes, rice, Salad, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Leave a comment