Thanksgiving dinner and leftovers night. 11/25-26/21

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate in the U.S. I hope your dinner went well and you were able to enjoy being with your friends and relatives this year.

John and I hosted 10 people and the preparations were done a lot in advance so that actual Thanksgiving day was easier (except for all the dishes and glassware.) We set out a buffet style table and then sat at our dining room table for dining.

Dining room table ready to receive guests
Buffet table from bottom to top, Brussels sprouts, macaroni and cheese, broccoli casserole, roasted stuffed turkey thighs, roasted creamed onions in the covered dish, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry chutney. Gravy and rolls were served on the dining table.
John’s stuffed turkey thighs hot out of the oven

Since of course I forgot to take a picture of my plate because, yum, Thanksgiving, I am posting my leftovers night plate.

Clockwise from top, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, roasted creamed onions, and turkey thigh slice. Cranberry chutney is in the center.

Everything turned out well and everyone brought something to share. Our daughter made the onions, our son made the broccoli and rolls, his wife and her sister collaborated on Martha Stewart’s macaroni and cheese, and the in-laws brought three delicious pies, pumpkin, mixed berry, and cranberry walnut.

It was a great evening!

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Whole grain penne with pesto 11/22/21

Whole grain penne with pesto

A couple of months ago I made a bunch of pesto out of backyard basil and parsley, olive oil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese. It is simple enough to make, just pop all the ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor, give it a whiz and then drizzle in the olive oil until it is the right consistency.

My batch of pesto was too much for just one meal so I bought an ice cube tray that makes 1/4 cup ice cubes. I filled the slots with the excess pesto and put it in the freezer. When it was frozen I transferred it into a zip loc bag and it has been in the freezer since waiting patiently for us to remember that it is in there.

This week is the perfect time to pull it out and make a really simple and quick dinner. I defrosted it and it became the star of our delicious dinner on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

No post tomorrow as we will probably just eat some scrambled eggs in between preparing everything for our feast for 10 on Thursday!

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

Vegan! Ethiopian spicy red lentils plus Ethiopian cabbage, potatoes, and carrots (atakilt wat). 11/22/21

Spicy red lentils and atakilt wat

Our family loves the food at Zeni’s, an Ethiopian restaurant in San Jose, but it is kind of a schlep to go there and, of course, pandemic. So every once in a while John and I try to make a dinner reminiscent of the fabulous dishes we get there. Zeni’s entrees are served atop injera, Ethiopian bread, but sadly we have no source for it.

SUGGESTED CHANGES TO FOLLOWING RECIPES: Tonight’s foray into Ethiopian cuisine was definitely better than others we have tried. On the Atakilt wat I need to use less cardamom and cinnamon. Also cabbage in bigger chunks than the recipe calls for and smaller chunks of potatoes. I definitely needed some broth for cooking it without burning. On the lentils watch out for using too much Berbere. Ours is super hot and 1/2 teaspoon is plenty. Both dishes required more salt than suggested.

Here is a link to the spicy red lentils recipe I used – https://recipekeeperonline.com/recipe/3ecHiACkhU2tH9rHb7Tq0Q

And here is the one for Atakilt wat – https://www.veganricha.com/atakilt-wat-ethiopian-cabbage-potato/

Posted in Ethiopian, Kitchen tips, Legumes, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Weekly menu November 22 – 28, 2021

It is Thanksgiving Week, the crowning food week of all U.S. holidays. It is important to include in your Thanksgiving menu foods that are traditional for your family, maybe something new, and dishes that will appeal to grandkids and granddads!! Not an easy task.

For the remainder of the week I am planning mostly vegetarian fare and things that are easy to make. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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Lentil stew with turkey sausage and vegetables. 11/20/21

Lentil stew with turkey sausage and mushrooms, carrots, celery, and kale

Yesterday we went car shopping. It is as bleak as you have read. But our lease is expiring in February so we thought we should take a look at what is available. Short answer, not much. In fact although we were looking at a car that was not our first choice and we offered to pay or lease off the sticker price, it was not enough for the price-gouging vultures at the dealership. We walked and hopefully will be able to find something as the supply chain improves. I am saying this to explain why we did not go with the plan for dinner.

After getting home close to 6 PM we decided to make lentils with turkey sausage because it is easy and we had all the ingredients. I have to admit that this was the perfect comfort meal. By 7 PM it was ready to eat. I loved all the vegetables and just a little bit of turkey sausage, the perfect dinner after a stressful day.

NOTE: This is easily a vegan or vegetarian meal with the omission of turkey sausage and substitution of vegetable stock for chicken stock.

Posted in American, Easy, Legumes, Poultry, stew, Vegetables | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Chicken enchiladas with spicy slaw. 11/19/21

Chicken enchiladas with salsa verde and spicy slaw

In the recipe for these chicken enchiladas there are four sections.1) cook the chicken 2) make the salsa verde 3) heat the tortillas in hot oil and 4) assemble and bake in a casserole dish. Daunting!

My four steps are 1) shred the rotisserie chicken 2) open a jar of salsa verde 3) spray tortillas and heat in oven and 4) assemble and bake. Easy!

With all my spare time I made a spicy slaw which was a package of cabbage mix, green onions, bell pepper, and sliced kale. For the spicy part I made a dressing of mayo and medium spicy salsa with a dash of cumin.

In our house shortcuts are definitely acceptable!

Posted in Easy, Kitchen tips, Mexican, Poultry, Southwest U.S., Vegetables | Tagged | 1 Comment

Flank steak, baked potato, Brussels sprouts. 11/18/21

We had a change of plans tonight because I bought a bunch of Brussels sprouts and wanted to see if I could reheat them successfully for Thanksgiving. Our three remaining meals for the week were Chilean sea bass, chicken enchiladas, and Ethiopian lentils and none of them seemed sprout friendly. Ergo, grilled flank steak and Russet potato.

Grilled flank steak, grilled potato, and Brussels sprouts two ways

I made the sprouts two different ways, in the oven and on the cooktop.The oven ones were tossed in olive oil and salt and roasted in a 425F oven for about 20-25 minutes until they were brown and crispy. The stove top sprouts were cooked in a little water, dry sherry, and butter. They were seasoned with salt and sugar. After the water and sherry evaporate, they browned on their cut side in the remaining butter.

To be honest both methods produced pretty yummy sprouts. And both reheated in a 350F oven. (So that is a relief and now I can make them earlier in the day.) The oven roasted ones were crispier and had a bunch of very crispy leaves that had fallen off but the interior of the b. sprouts were a bit overcooked. The stove top ones were delicious, not over cooked, but not as crispy.

For the rest of the dinner John cooked the flank steak and already microwaved potatoes on the grill. The steak took about 5 minutes to cook and then had a little rest before cutting it into serving slices. Note: it is important to slice the flank steak across the grain. Otherwise you will end up with very chewy pieces.

Posted in American, Beef, Easy, Grilling, Kitchen tips, Methods, Vegetables | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Orecchiette with mushrooms and homegrown kale. 11/17/21

Whole grain imported Italian orecchiette with mushrooms and lacinato kale

I decided that today is the day that I should pull out my two kale plants and use the leaves for dinner. My plants have never amounted to much since our back patio gets almost zero sun. I cannot even get flowers to bloom. The kale had a modest amount of leaves and I bought some at the store to supplement my crop.

We discovered the last time we made this orecchiette that it takes a long time to cook, probably about 15 minutes. While John watched the pasta pot, I sauteed the mushrooms and when they were browned I added onions, garlic, and oregano. When the pasta was almost done, I put in the lacinato kale. John then drained the pasta reserving a cup of the pasta water.

Once the orecchiette was added to the mushroom and kale mixture I stirred it around over a medium flame and added the pasta water to make a sort of sauce.

We enjoyed the pasta with orecchiette, mushrooms, and kale very much. Our Pasta Wednesdays are always a favorite since they are so good tasting, satisfying and easy.

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Seared scallops, new potatoes, leek and zucchini. 11/16/21

Seared sea scallops, steamed new potatoes, sauteed leek and zucchini

Tonight we had a special occasion dinner. Except there was no special occasion. Sometimes it is just nice to treat yourself. A dinner like this for two people including a bottle of wine would probably cost at least $100 at a restaurant. Our dinner clocked in at about $45. Another perk of making your own nice dinner is that you do not have to get dressed up to eat it!

John did his usually great job searing the scallops in two teaspoons of oil. He added a teaspoon or so of butter right at the end. In the meantime I steamed the potatoes and made the tartar sauce. Then I sauteed the leeks with some garlic until they were soft before adding the zucchini for the last couple of minutes.

We opened at bottle of Imagery Winery 2020 White Burgundy to have with our scallops. It was very good and we have decided to serve it for Thanksgiving for those who prefer white wine.

Treat yourself!!

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

Lunch out. 11/15/21

On Monday John and I went up to Wine Country to pick out some wine for Thanksgiving. It was great fun chatting with the winery workers and trying sips of different wines that they thought would be good.

Afterwards we went out for a late lunch at a Nepalese place called Yeti Restaurant. It was a delicious vegetarian lunch but we ended up not making dinner because we were too full!

Dal makhani, aloo gobi, naan, basmati rice

Dal Makhani (top) is lentils and kidney beans simmered together with onions, chili, ginger, fresh cream and butter and garnished with cilantro and green onions. Aloo gobi is cauliflower and potatoes cooked with herbs and spices. These were served with a giant naan and basmati rice. It was all very delicious and filling!

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