Fusilli and mushrooms in a pesto sauce and salad. 5/17/23

Note: This will be my last post for a while. I hope to start up again on a regular basis in July.

Salad with tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, and carrots topped with blue cheese dressing and Gorgonzola crumbles

We started off dinner with a large platter of salad for the three of us. I have been enjoying my salads with Gorgonzola crumbles lately.

Then we moved on to fusilli and mushrooms in a pesto sauce. It was a good use of the leftover basil from last week’s Thai dish.

Fusilli and mushrooms in a pesto sauce
Posted in Easy, Italian, Pasta, Salad, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Weeknight dinners | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Grilled hamburgers, chips, and salad. 5/15/23

Grilled hamburger, potato chips, and salad

We will probably be having this dinner frequently over the summer. John grills the burgers and I make a prepackaged salad and open a bag of potato chips. What an easy dinner with minimal mess!

It does remind me however that I do not have very good control when it comes to potato chips, my absolute favorite snack food. Next time I need to have a different easy side. There is no use in trying to keep my weight stable if I sabotage myself. Sigh.

Posted in American, Beef, Easy, Grilling, Healthy tips, Salad, Vegetables, Weeknight dinners | Tagged | 1 Comment

Tossed salad with egg. 5/14/23

Tossed salad with egg

Although you cannot see them in the picture my dinner salad is full of tasty tidbits. Hiding under the lettuce and scrambled egg are tomatoes, mushrooms, green onions, ham strips, croutons, Gorgonzola crumbles, and a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of rice wine vinegar. This was so good that I may make another one for lunch tomorrow!

Of course you can put in whatever components you have on hand. I might go a more Asian route tomorrow adding edamame, shredded cabbage, a sprinkle of furikake, and a soy vinaigrette. Keep your salads interesting and you are more likely to make them and enjoy them!

Posted in American, Easy, Eggs, Healthy tips, Kitchen tips, Pork, Salad, Vegetables, Weeknight dinners | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Chilean sea bass, new potatoes, broccoli 5/13/23

Roasted Chilean sea bass, steamed new potatoes, and broccoli

This look like a pretty simple dinner. In fact it is quick and easy. But the quality of the components is so good that a simple piece of fish with vegetables can become a special occasion dinner.

I am, of course, talking about the Chilean sea bass which is the just the most delectable fish. It is pricey but the results are so good that it is worth the splurge. John cooked the fish in a 400F oven for 14 minutes and it was perfect. The fish flaked apart in unctuous pieces.

I steamed the potatoes and sautéed the broccoli. A squeeze of lemon over the fish and potatoes and a sprig of tarragon was all that was needed for garnish.

Posted in American, Easy, Fish, Methods, pescatarian, Special occasion, Vegetables | Tagged | 2 Comments

Thai basil eggplant with tofu. 5/12/23

Spicy Thai basil eggplant with tofu

Every time John and I have made this dish we are hoping it will turn out like our favorite dish at a nearby Thai restaurant but it doesn’t. Of course we keep making the same recipe so there is no reason to think it will miraculously transform itself. Maybe we should just get take-out.

Tonight’s dish turned out too salty. I love salty foods but this was over the top even for me. The sauce has quite a bit of fish sauce in it which is quite salty. If you add any additional salt (which we did) it becomes way more salty. Saltiness aside, the tofu was quite tasty and the red bell pepper pieces were very good.

If you use a vegan fish sauce this is potentially a very delicious vegan dish. John marinated the tofu in nuoc cham and then you stir fry the tofu, onion, red bell pepper, and eggplant together adding the nuoc cham marinade and the basil in at the end. Serve with rice.

Posted in Asian, Easy, Methods, rice, Thai, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Weeknight dinners | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Grilled lamb chops and potatoes, glazed carrots. 5/11/23

Grilled lamb chops and potatoes, glazed carrots

If we are going to eat red meat there are only two ways I like it, as hamburgers (or it’s cousin meat loaf) and lamb chops. I tend to think of lamb chops as a special occasion meal but it is just as good on a Thursday night. John did a great job grilling these and they turned out with some good grill char while still being pink inside.

I microwaved the potato halves until they were pretty much done and then after spritzing them with olive oil spray and throwing on a dash of salt, I handed them off to John for some char on the grill.

The glazed carrots I made were following a recipe for Vichy carrots by Jody Williams and adapted by Sam Sifton of The NY Times. My further adaptations are in parentheses. My carrots took about 25 minutes to cook and we’re not too glazed. This is probably due to using brown sugar instead of honey. They were good though.

Vichy Carrots

1 pound carrots, young ones if possible, or older ones cut into lengths of around ½ inch by 2 inches, trimmed and peeled
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons honey (I used 1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I used 2 teaspoons)
1 medium-size shallot, peeled and finely diced
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

Put carrots in a sauté pan, season aggressively with salt and add a tablespoon of the vinegar. Add cold water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the carrots. Set pan over high heat and bring liquid to a boil.

Turn heat down to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are just cooked through, about 15 minutes. If pan appears about to dry out during this process, add a splash or two of water.

Once carrots are cooked through, discard any excess liquid in the pan. Add remaining tablespoon sherry vinegar to pan, along with the honey or brown sugar, olive oil, shallot and thyme, and cook for about 2 minutes to glaze the carrots. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or at room temperature, or cold from the refrigerator.

Posted in American, Easy, Grilling, Methods, Recipes, Vegetables, Weeknight dinners | Tagged | 1 Comment

Noodles and zoodles with mushroom scampi 5/10/23

Fettucine with zoodles topped with mushroom scampi

I made a mushroom scampi sauce for the first time last week and it was a big hit with John. All you need to do is sauté the mushrooms and a shallot in a tablespoon each of butter and olive oil, then add 4 minced cloves of garlic followed by a half cup each of white wine and water. Let it reduce a bit, season with salt and pepper, and the sauce is ready for the pasta.

John cooked fettuccine and made me some zucchini noodles or zoodles. When the pasta was ready he drained it reserving a half cup of pasta water. I mixed the zoodles with the mushrooms and he added the drained pasta. The heat from the pasta is all the cooking that the zoodles need. At this point I added a little reserved pasta water, stirred the whole thing together, added some parsley, and it was done.

Posted in Easy, Italian, Methods, Pasta, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Weeknight dinners | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Chicken Marsala with mashed potatoes and green beans. 5/9/23

Chicken Marsala with mashed potatoes and green beans

Here is another idea for using rotisserie chicken.After taking the meat off the chicken (and turning all the bones and bits into stock) we sliced one of the breasts into several smaller pieces. John made the Marsala sauce by creating a roux with a scant 2 tablespoons of chicken gravy mix (taking the place of flour), a tablespoon of Marsala, a tablespoon of white wine, and a tablespoon of butter. After cooking this mixture he added chicken stock until it was the consistency of a sauce. The chicken pieces were reheated in the sauce and the mushrooms were sautéed separately and added during plating.

I made the mashed potatoes which were yummy and the green beans which I found inedible. I don’t like fat green beans so I had gone to the expense of buying slender French green beans or haricot vert. These had an unpleasant mealy texture.

Next time I will buy regular green beans and put them through my frencher which cuts them longitudinally. If you are as old as I am you may remember seeing a rectangular box with three little blades in it on the end of your peeler. That was so you could push the green beans through and they would come out in 3 or 4 long strips. There are separate kitchen tools to use these days.

Old fashioned frencher on top of peeler
Modern frencher

Posted in Italian, Kitchen tips, Methods, Poultry, Vegetables | Tagged | Leave a comment

Seared shrimp with polenta and broccoli. 5/8/23

Seared shrimp with polenta and broccoli

John and I really love this dinner and we probably make it twice a month if not more. The shrimp cooks in about five minutes so you just have to prepare the polenta with a 20 minute lead time. We make ours 6 parts liquid to 1 part Bob’s Red Mill polenta so a little polenta goes a long way. The only down side is that you have to keep stirring it. John and I take turns. The broccoli is simply steamed and tastes great with the polenta as a kind of sauce.

Posted in American, Easy, Kitchen tips, Methods, pescatarian, Shellfish, Vegetables, Weeknight dinners | Tagged | 1 Comment

Grilling with the family. 5/7/23

Our son’s wife is on a trip with her folks so we had him and his two teens over for lunch. Two favorites were on the menu – Zaydeburgers and Beeba mac ‘n cheese. We also had salad, chips, and Viennetta for dessert.

Zayde burger (grilled hamburger) and salad

My part in the dinner was easy. I made a pre-packaged salad, a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese, opened a bag of chips, and served an ice cream confection. I am not known for my culinary expertise so expectations are low. But I know what they like and everything was a hit!

Posted in American, Beef, Easy, Grilling, Lunch, Salad, Vegetables | Tagged | Leave a comment