Deconstructed stuffed cabbage. 9/21/21

Ground beef, rice, and chopped cabbage meatballs with cabbage in a sweet and sour sauce

This was our last dinner before leaving on vacation. I made it in the Instant Pot. Even though it was simpler than actually stuffing the cabbage leaves it was still a lot of work. Delicious, though.

Since we were celebrating Sukkot our daughter made a wonderful four strand challah.

Table ready for a festive al fresco dinner
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Chicken parm with pasta and zucchini. 9/17/21

Chicken parmesan with whole grain spaghetti and tomato sauce plus zucchini, onions, garlic, and red bell,pepper

Excellent dinner tonight! John took one chicken breast and cut it into four pieces which he pounded out, seasoned, and cooked in a skillet with a spray of olive oil. I had made a tomato sauce with fresh and dried oregano, red onion, and garlic to go with it. I used the stick blender to get a smooth consistency. I also sautéed some batons of zucchini and yellow squash along with onion, garlic, red bell pepper, and mushrooms. When the chicken was done John put an ultra thin piece of cheese on top and I ladled on some tomato sauce and doled out the pasta and vegetables. A shower of parmesan finished our plates.

Each of us ended up having half a chicken breast and 2 oz. of pasta along with the vegetables. I was afraid that the portion size would seem woefully weensy but it actually seemed like quite a bit of food. I am hoping that this revelation shows nutritional growth on my part!

Posted in American, Healthy tips, Italian, Kitchen tips, Pasta, Poultry, Vegetables | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Salmon with cauliflower rice and broccoli. 9/16/21

Pan roasted salmon with mango salsa, broccoli, and cauliflower rice with parsley and grated carrot

While I liked everything in tonight’s dinner I really think that the mango salsa was the star. Mangoes are so sweet and delicious! They pair especially well with cut up red onion, red bell pepper, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime juice. A little salt really perks the whole salsa up. I have found that a couple of days in a paper bag with an apple helps to ripen the mango. I use the peeling technique where you slide a piece of mango over the edge of a glass. The peel stay in your hand and the flesh falls into the glass. Try looking up “peel a mango with a glass” on Google and you will see several video choices showing you how it is done.

I went with cauliflower rice with no real rice mixed in tonight. I am atoning for my overindulgence on John’s birthday. I added some parley and grated carrot (they are in the same family) and a little soy sauce to give it more flavor. The broccoli was simply steamed.

John and I are still trying to figure out the best way to cook salmon. It is a work in progress. John covered the pan towards the end of cooking it to cook the top without flipping it. The salmon was fine but needs some browning I think. It is hard to cook it on both sides without overcooking it, though. We will try another method next time we have salmon.

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Whole grain penne with pesto. 9/15/21

Last week I harvested a bunch of basil from my two backyard basil plants to make pesto. Since I did not have quite enough I used some store-bought Italian parsley to supplement the basil. I used this recipe from the Cookie and Kate website. https://cookieandkate.com/how-to-make-basil-pesto/#tasty-recipes-24855-jump-target

I did not add the lemon juice and I tried to scrimp a little on the oil by adding an ounce of water. You just put all the ingredients in a blender and let it rip. Be sure your oil gets all the way down to the bottom of the blender before you turn it on. It made about 1 3/4 cups of pesto. I bought a 1/4 cup ice cube tray and froze all but one portion and then transferred the individual cubes into a zip-lock bag after the cubes were set. The 1/4 cup I left in the refrigerator was used in tonight’s dinner. We cooked 8 ounces of penne and the 1/4 cup of pesto and 1/2 cup of pasta water were all that I needed for the sauce.

We started our dinner with a tossed salad with green leaf lettuce, kale, cherry tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, and pepperoncini. The salad was dressed with Skinny Girl ranch dressing. We ate fairly lightly the rest of the day so we could enjoy and extra ounce of pasta tonight. I am so glad I have 6 other pesto meals waiting in the freezer!

Posted in Easy, Healthy tips, Italian, Kitchen tips, Pasta, Salad, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Birthday dinner! Scallops, new potatoes, collards and corn. 9/14/21

Seared sea scallops, steamed new potatoes, and sautéed collards and corn

This simple but delicious dinner was John’s choice for his birthday. I must admit that I had to put him to work cooking the scallops and he did his usual wonderful job. I steamed the potatoes and sautéed the collards and corn with some garlic in butter.

We also had some very nice wine and the pretzel rolls our daughter made especially for her dad on his birthday. She is such a terrific baker and even though I don’t have a sweet tooth I still fall prey to her creations. She made 15 small rolls and by Wednesday lunch they were all eaten. It was not a good diet day for me!

Pretzel rolls
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Turkey sausage with sauerkraut and BBQ beans. 9/13/21

Turkey sausage with sauerkraut and BBQ beans

I enjoyed this dinner so much! Plus it only took about 20 minutes to make!

First, the sauerkraut. I read somewhere that the tastiest sauerkraut is Libby’s in a can. Sauerkraut does not like light so to stabilize the kraut in bags and jars they have to add chemicals so it won’t turn ugly looking. Read the ingredients. Choose the one with no chemicals in a can. (I used Walmart’s canned brand.)

To brighten up the taste I use a recipe from Loaves and Fishes – https://www.loavesanddishes.net/how-to-cook-canned-sauerkraut/ It uses a little sugar, apple, and caraway seeds. Since you drain the kraut and add some chicken stock it is less astringent. It is always a winner at a cookout.

For the beans I use a simple can of pinto beans. I add a tablespoon of BBQ sauce, a little ketchup, and a glug or two of Worcestershire sauce. Then I tasted it. It was too sweet for me so I added a few drops of fish sauce. Perfect!

John microwaved for 2 minutes my 4 ounce piece of turkey sausage (not raw but like Jenny-o that you find near the hotdogs in the grocery store). The beans and the sauerkraut heated up on the stove top. And there you have it, a super easy, super fast dinner!

Posted in American, Easy, Kitchen tips, Legumes, Poultry, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged | 1 Comment

Weekly Menu. September 13 – 19, 2021

This week’s menu includes a celebratory birthday dinner for John. Because I rarely cook meat, poultry, or seafood proteins, I am afraid he will have to cook the scallops for himself but I’ll do the rest and maybe even wash the dishes!

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Stir-fried shrimp and vegetables. 9/11/21

Stir-fried shrimp and vegetables over white rice/cauliflower rice mix

Tonight’s division of labor had me doing all the chopping and John doing all the cooking. Normally what I would have done is cook the mushrooms, add the onions, and then the rest of the vegetables in order of hardness. When all the vegetables were cooked I would have taken them out of the pan and then cooked the shrimp.

John, on the other hand, is much more meticulous. He cooked each vegetable individually to perfection and then did a fabulous job cooking the shrimp. I have to say that his way of doing things results in a better dish. Will I start doing things his way? Probably not. I am a turn-the-heat-up and get everything cooked as quickly as possible kind of person.

I did do an excellent job heating up the rice in the microwave, however.😝

Posted in American, Kitchen tips, rice, Shellfish, Vegetables | Tagged | 1 Comment

Rhode Island clam chowder. 9/10/21

Rhode Island clam chowder

We finally got around to making clam chowder since the weather has cooled down some. Rhode Island style chowder is much lighter than its super thick and creamy cousin to the north. Of course I have pared down the cream even more and my recipe only calls for two tablespoons. We lived it up a bit and used 1/4 cup .

I make this from time to time and here is a link to my blog post that includes the recipe.

Clam Chowder. 5/21/21

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Gazpacho and chickpea salad. 9/9/21

As the temperature keeps hovering in the mid- to upper 90s, I am finding ways to keep from heating up the kitchen. On Thursday I made gazpacho from the myriad Roma tomatoes that our daughter brought home from the Community Garden.

Spicy gazpacho

Making gazpacho is as easy as putting a bunch of vegetables in the blender and letting it rip. In addition to the 2 pounds of tomatoes I added a can of Rotel spicy tomatoes, some onion, garlic, white wine vinegar, a good glug of olive oil, and plenty of salt. I don’t even strain it. Putting the blender on liquify for a few minutes does a good enough job on the tomato skins. Anyway, some fiber is good for us.

Since I figured we would still be hungry after the gazpacho, I made a salad with chickpeas, carrots, onion, celery, yellow and green summer squash, and tarragon on top of some lettuce leaves. The dressing is a couple of tablespoons of light mayonnaise and a tablespoon of Skinny Girl ranch dressing.

Mixed vegetable and chickpea salad

Tomorrow it is supposed to cool off so I am hoping we can return to our menu and make delicious Rhode Island style clam chowder. Any entrees leftover from this week I will put on the menu for next week.

Posted in Healthy tips, Legumes, Mediterranean, Salad, soup, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tagged , , | Leave a comment