Weekly Menu December 28, 2020 -January 3, 2021

Let’s ring out this terrible year with something delicious. I am planning on seared scallops. I am starting the new year with a traditional Southern U.S. dish, Hoppin’ John. It is basically beans or black-eyed peas with rice and some sort of pork. I will be substituting in a smoked turkey sausage for the pork. As a side I am making collard greens. This dish is supposed to bring you good luck and good fortune for the year to come. After this past year we could all use some good fortune.

Happy New Year from John and me at Omnivore!

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Shrimp stir-fry over cauliflower rice. 12/26/20

As I promised myself, I stopped eating out of control on Saturday. So while John was enjoying more lasagna I made a vegetable laden stir-fry with a few shrimp and served it over cauliflower rice. I made a lot so I would feel satisfied because after you have been overeating you are hungrier than you normally are. It is a cycle that you have to pay attention to and break.

Stir-fry shrimp and vegetables over cauliflower rice

I seasoned my plethora of vegetables with soy sauce and a little sesame oil and finished the dish with some sriracha for spiciness. I can report that if you don’t mix cauliflower rice with regular rice, it doesn’t taste or have the mouth-feel of rice. Anyway I gained about four pounds enjoying my juggernaut into everything I like best. As of Sunday morning I have lost two or them so I figure in another couple of days I should be back to weighing what I want.

Just a word of caution, if you have been overeating it is time to stop. It is very easy to lose a temporary weight gain and much harder to do so if that gain is not short-lived. Be sure to fill this week coming up with lots of vegetables and lean proteins. I am drawing up my weekly menu today and I plan a low-calorie elegant meal for New Year’s Eve and a pared down traditional dish for New Year’s Day. End the terrible old year and begin the hopeful new year off right!!

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Christmas Day eats. 12/25/20

Our Christmas Day starts out with our traditional breakfast, bagels and lox, capers, red onion, and cream cheese. This is washed down with a Schneider’s Brewery Tap 7 Hefeweizen. Having beer for breakfast is probably not what most people do but here is the story behind it. Maybe 20 or so years ago I accompanied John on a work trip to Munich. After arriving and in our jet lagged state, we stumbled into the Schneider’s in the morning while we were still on Pacific Time. We ordered some weisswurt, potatoes, and sauerkraut. Since we were at a restaurant known for its beer, I asked John what would be a good breakfast beer. We settled on Schneider’s Tap 7. It was slightly sweet and creamy. Perfect! Often hard to find stateside, we always try to have it with breakfast on Christmas.

Christmas breakfast of champions!

Since we had quite a substantial breakfast, we skipped lunch and had an early Christmas dinner. We spent the afternoon grazing on the leftovers from Christmas Eve and watching “Die Hard”. I cannot understand why this is characterized as a Christmas movie. It is mostly just violent.

Our daughter was in charge of dinner and she made a wonderful lasagna.

Lasagna

The story behind having lasagna for dinner has nothing to do with us being Italian because we are not. Way back when the kids were little I was frustrated with making traditional Christmas dinners that they would not eat. So I asked them what would they really like (and eat) on Christmas. They answered lasagna. So that is what we had and continue to have 35 years later (except when we have dinner at our son’s house where he makes a prime rib. Very delicious!)

Finally we had panettone for dessert. Two years ago the whole family spent Christmas in Florence, Italy. Downstairs from our apartment was the bakery, Forno Top. Since we were unable to procure bagels for our breakfast we opted to buy one of their fabulous panettone. Our daughter decided that she would learn how to make it for future Christmases. It is very involved with lots of risings and hanging the just baked panettone upside down so that it does not crush itself. It is about one foot high and filled with raisins and citron. Fabulous!

Panettone. Hard to tell from the picture but it is about a foot high.

Inside the panettone

Now for two days I have eaten and drunk everything that I could possibly desire. The scale says I am up about 4 lbs. Not surprising. On Saturday I will not continue eating like this. I will go back on my diet for a week or so and lose what I have gained. In the past I might have continued through the weekend and eaten more cake and the rest of the lasagna but not this time. I will post what happens next.

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Christmas Eve hors d’oeuvres. 12/24/20

Usually we have a big family party on Christmas Eve but 2020 is not usual. So we scaled everything down to accommodate three people rather than ten.

Chicken liver pâté with homemade bread, chips and dip, crudités and olives

I made the chicken liver pâté. Our daughter has a food blog and she told me to use the recipe that she had posted. Easy enough but she had three recipes and I picked the wrong one. Oh well, it still tasted good. I also made pigs in blankets which is basically hot dogs wrapped up in crescent roll dough. Finally John made pot stickers (from frozen) and our daughter contributed chocolate chip and spice cookies.

Pigs in blankets

We watched two Christmas movies, Trading Places and A Muppet Christmas Carol. We ate too much and drank wine and enjoyed it all.

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Vegetable stew with chickpeas and ditalini 12/23/20

Vegetable stew with chickpeas and ditalini

Making this vegetable stew is a snap especially when you have all the vegetables cut up for you. John was my sous chef while I was out running errands and cut everything up. When it came to the cooking basically all I had to do was sweat all the vegetables, add the chickpeas and stock, bring the pot to a boil, and add the ditalini. As soon as the pasta was cooked and the seasoning adjusted, dinner was ready. It was so good and so good for me that I had to have a second bowlful!

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Sous vide chicken breast with Instant Pot rutabagas, and broccoli. 12/22/20

I have got a lot of appliances working here today. The great thing about sous vide chicken is that your timeline is much more flexible because your chicken can wait for the rest of the dinner without overcooking.

Sous vide chicken breast with jus, mashed Instant Pot rutabaga, and broccoli

With the chicken perking away in its hot bath set at 159F for 1 1/2 hours I peel and cut up the rutabaga and pressure cook it for 15 minutes with a 10 minute cool down before releasing the pressure. It is mashed up with a little faux butter. I will reheat them in the microwave when we are ready to eat.

Finally there is a quick steam/sauté of the broccoli finished with a teaspoon of butter. This dinner is like a familiar hug. It is not fancy or exotic but it is really tasty. By making the rutabaga early in the day and reheating we have part of the clean-up done and the sous vide clean-up is just dumping out the water.

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Salmon with porcini risotto and green beans.

Happy Christmas week! Although things are pretty bleak in California with the virus surging and everyone under stay-at-home orders, John and I are doing our best to keep things merry. We will be delivering presents, watching Christmas movies, listening to carols, and, of course, cooking! In addition our live-in daughter will be baking cookies, a panettone, and a lasagna!

Our weekly menu is already a bit mixed up and it is only Monday! We are still making mostly the same dishes but in a different order. To start off our cooking week we made pan-seared salmon, a porcini risotto from a mix, and green beans with mushrooms and shallots.

Pan-seared salmon, risotto con porcini funghi, and green beans with mushrooms and shallots

The risotto comes from a packet by Alessi and relieves you of standing and stirring. My sister sent it to me for my birthday. It is good although not quite like the real thing which I have eaten in Italy. Also it is kind of salty which means it must be very salty since I am a salt lover. We added additional mushrooms to the risotto and cooked it in lower sodium chicken stock instead of water.

Alessi mushroom risotto

John kept his eye on the risotto and, when it was almost done, pan-seared the salmon filets. They were done in less than 5 minutes. I took care of the green beans, sautéing the mushrooms and shallots first and then adding them back in at the end of the bean cooking. John said they were the star of the dinner (he is so nice!)

I think we are moving our sous vide classic chicken to Tuesday and repositioning our vegetarian dish to Wednesday before the heavier holiday fare. Eating reasonably is going to be a challenge. I have already eaten three cookies!

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Lunch and Breakfast for Dinner. December 19-20, 2020

I am catching up from the weekend. We had a Zoom party to go to on Saturday and I ate some junk food and I lost enthusiasm for making something more remarkable for dinner. What I did was to combine some of the leftover Chana dal with some shredded chicken breast and broccoli and thinned it out with some chicken stock. Voila, soup!

Chana dal, chicken, and broccoli soup

On Sunday my Breakfast For Dinner was English style eggs, toast, mushrooms, tomatoes, and beans. In probably an un-English way I spiced up the beans with cumin, garlic, and sriracha. The mushrooms I sautéed in a pan and the beans were microwaved. Sunday night is all about easy.

English style Breakfast For Dinner (BFD)

This week I will tell you about our Christmas traditions which are probably not like yours, if you celebrate. We have food traditions, gifting traditions, and decorating traditions. It makes our holiday peculiar to us!

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Christmas Week Menu. 12/21-27/20

This is week is filled with traditional (for us) things to eat.  We always have a big do at our house for Christmas Eve when the grandkids open their presents, we sing carols, and we eat hors d’ouevres and dessert. This year we are doing some of that but are scaling down the goodies to just a few things since we are only three people. On Christmas morning we have always had bagels and lox as a nod to John (and because it is our favorite breakfast). Hefeweizen beer was added some years ago after our daughter, John, and I had some really fine beer at Schneider’s in Munich.  Finally our Christmas dinner is lasagna ever since the kids were little and I was tired of making things that they would not eat and asked them what they would really like.

I am aware that most of our celebratory food is not “dining lite” but, just like your birthday, what you eat on a holiday does not make you fat. It is overeating all the other days of the year that does. Eat what you like and has meaning to you and then the next day go back to eating in a sane manner. Any weight you gained will disappear in a few days.

 

 

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Lightened up shrimp scampi. 12/18/20

I am definitely getting behind with all the things involved with Christmas, like wrapping presents, planning menus, and buying food. So I am posting Thursday’s dinner which was a lightened up shrimp scampi . I got the recipe off the internet from Food Network and we followed it pretty much except we used only 2 teaspoons of oil and added some pasta water at the end. We did not bother cooking the shrimp separately but just put them in the sauce to cook. Oh, and we subbed in capers for olives. It came out really tasty and it was quick and easy to make. We will definitely make this one again.

Lightened-Up Shrimp Scampi

Lightened up shrimp scampi

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