I am so glad that it is finally cool enough in the evening to make one of our menu dinners! This is chicken Marsala is super simple. Rather than make a cream sauce, we use a packet of McCormick’s chicken gravy. John uses a little less water than the packet calls for to start with and after the gravy has thickened up adds 1/4 cup Marsala. He then boils it to cook out the alcohol. After cooking the chicken he deglazes the pan with a little chicken stock and adds that to the sauce. I sauté the mushrooms separately and they are added at the end.
About rutabagas, when we first came to California I was excited to see fresh, unwaxed rutabagas in the grocery stores. However, I have learned over the years that the giant waxed ones are sweeter than the fresher ones. Maybe this is a case of the vegetable needing to be cured? I make the rutabagas in the Instant Pot. They are cooked for 15 minutes at high pressure in a steamer basket with a cup or so of water and then cooled for 10 minutes before we release the steam. I mash them up with a little faux butter. The green beans are sauteed in a pan with a little water and butter.
This is a yummy dinner. Pretty to look at and delicious to eat!
Last week we had to toss a lot of our menu plans due to the unprecedented heat. For the next week, though, it looks like the temperatures will be pleasant again so I am hoping we will be able to actually carry out our plans. This week I have planned a “Meatless Middle” with vegetarian and/or vegan meals on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
We had a family cookout on Saturday in honor of our two dads, John and our son. The grandkids were excited to have “Zayde burgers” and we had some tasty salads and a banana cake (made by me!) with vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries.
On Sunday our daughter made her dad a boule of soda bread with caraway seeds and raisins. So far today we have managed only to eat half of it. We have shown great restraint.
It is still quite hot here, maybe not quite as hot as yesterday, but still a salad kind of dinner day. This spicy chicken salad is one of our go-tos when the weather demands a no-cook dinner. I buy pulled chicken breast from Costco in 2 lb. blocks and use it for sandwiches at lunch, salads, and even a hot dish of chicken in gravy with mashed potatoes or squash, and a green vegetable. I freeze half of each pack and then thaw it when we have finished eating the first half. Rather than going to a restaurant or getting take-out, I know I will always be able to rustle up some sort of dinner from my pantry and fridge.
Our town hit 108F according to the gauge on our car. I suggested to John that maybe our planned dinner, White Beans and Kale Stew, was probably not the best choice. Since we were visiting Costco we picked up some tuna and a bag of kale salad for an alternative dinner.
I made some nuoc cham to use a salad dressing and a dipping sauce. It is salty and sour and sweet. John seared our thick pieces of tuna for two minutes on each side. Then he encrusted the outside with black and white sesame seeds. It was nice, light fare and perfect for a hot evening.
Tonight was supposed to be our traditional Pasta Wednesday but the idea of boiling a big pot of water when the outside temperature was in the 90’s made it a non-starter. We decided our fallback dinner would be a BFD or Breakfast For Dinner. While John opted for a breakfast sandwich with egg, cheese, and a veggie patty, I went for a vegetable stir-fry with egg zoodles.
I am not sure that zoodles is the right term but my “egg noodles” looked a lot like the zucchini zoodles that I made on Monday. I made them by whisking two eggs and just pouring them into a medium hot pan to set. Then I slipped my egg disc out of the pan, rolled it up, and sliced it into fettuccine sized noodles.
The stir-fry portion of my dinner was pretty straightforward. I looked in the refrigerator for any vegetables I had and them cooked them in a stir-fry manner and seasoned them with soy sauce, ginger powder, rogan josh, and garlic.
I really like the cheery yellow look of the egg zoodles. They really brightens up the dish. I garnished my plate with sriracha and black sesame seeds for color, spice, and texture.
Delicious dinner tonight coming from John’s great ability to accurately judge the doneness of meat on the grill. Flank steak is a very tasty cut of beef. It is important, though, to understand that giving it a dry rub and cutting it properly will insure a tender, delicious piece of meat. John used salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika as a dry rub. When slicing the meat after cooking cut it in thin slices across the grain.
For my part I defrosted the butternut squash that I had cut up a week or so ago. You can freeze it raw. I steamed the squash for 10 minutes and then mashed it up with a teaspoon of butter. Check the salt level because this squash needs a lot of salt. Lastly I steamed the broccoli. Include the stems!
If you look at the picture of my plate you will see that the majority of the plate is taken up by vegetables. I try to aim for at least two-thirds vegetables to one third protein. Eating this way is healthy and satisfying.
When I was thinking about what to prepare for my BFD (Breakfast For Dinner) I first thought about just keeping it uber-simple and make scrambled eggs, a veggie patty, and toast. Problem with that is it really takes too short a time to eat it. I need to linger over dinner until my brain catches up to my satiation level. So even though it is a lot more work I decided on stir-fried vegetables with scrambled eggs on top.
For my vegetable portion I cut up and stir-fried mushrooms, scallions, carrots, celery, asparagus, and rainbow kale. As usual I started with the longer cooking veg and finished with the leafy segments of kale. I flavored my concoction with garlic powder, rogan josh, soy sauce, and sesame oil. A few tablespoons of vegetable broth insured that all the hard vegetables would be cooked through.
After taking the vegetables out of the pan, I sprayed it with some cook oil and cooked the scrambled eggs. I considered a couple of fried eggs and maybe I will try that next week. I garnished my BFD with additional soy sauce and sriracha.
In the interest of making the cooking and clean-up as easy as possible we cooked our entire dinner in the oven. The last time I made butternut squash I had a bunch of cubes leftover so I froze them raw and they were already totally prepped when I needed them tonight. I gave the squash a 10 minute head start in a 425F oven and then added the asparagus. The fish also went in the oven at this point. Everything cooked an additional 14 minutes and finished at the same time.
I had asked John to make extra of the fish because I love it so much. It was absolutely delicious! The butternut squash did not brown as much as I expected and I think that was due to it having been frozen. The asparagus, I thought, was a little under-done but John thought it was perfect. This was a fabulous Saturday night dinner and we will be off to Costco this week to buy more of their exceptionally economical and beautiful Chilean sea bass.
We are trying a recipe from the show, The Kitchen, that we saw last week. It is for a Thai green curry using zucchini zoodles. We are substituting tofu for meatballs. It should be interesting. Otherwise, the week is pretty standard except for the lack of fish or shellfish.