Usually, I have a piece of toast or some yogurt for breakfast. After that, I eat every 3-4 hours, which means lunch is around 11am. However, I wanted to get to the gym for a run around lunchtime today, which meant starting the day with something a bit more substantial. Thus, scrambled eggs with chopped ham and a bit of sharp cheddar cheese served over a warm corn tortilla and topped with Frank’s (of course)–enough to tide me over until 2pm.
When I got home from the gym, I had a big spinach salad with shredded celery root, carrots, apples, almonds and roast chicken breast.
We have reached a milestone where J is comfortable making dinner for the two of us on his own. Thursdays are a long school day for me and I don’t get home until close to dinner time…at which point I am starving and in no mood to cook. We had pesto in the freezer from when we made pizzas, chicken andouille sausage, shitake mushrooms, and a medley of whole wheat pastas. Easy, delicious pasta!
We also found a recipe for roasted cauliflower, chickpeas and olives in Cooking Light that was a nice variation to our usual roasted cauliflower. It was delicious, easy and we are definitely making it again. I could easily eat a big bowl of this alone for dinner…could also throw in some pesto for additional flavoring (if we weren’t already eating pesto pasta).
All in all, a quick weeknight dinner that’s easy enough for the frightened, novice cook. Who doesn’t love coming home to a hot meal?
Told you we’re on a seafood kick! Until very recently, I couldn’t eat cooked scallops. Not because I don’t love scallops, but because I had scallop overload during a two week work trip to the Boston area a few years back. Only recently have I gotten over this overindulgence (I also had a bout of vegetarianism in college due to an oversupply of bbq chicken one weekend).
We picked up 6 large scallops and a hunk of parmesan cheese from Dirk’s and had everything else we needed at home. Joel had accidentally bought napa cabbage instead of regular cabbage (which I was going to use to make slaw for the fish tacos but that would have been too much) so that was going to be our vegetable for the night.
We sauteed the 3 remaining strips of bacon (in retrospect, 3 was too much and 1, if any, would have been more than sufficient) and then sauteed the cabbage in the remaining fat. When the veggies were done cooking, we chopped the bacon and put it all back in.
For the spaghetti, we made a half portion of spaghetti with cheese & black pepper from Smitten Kitchen substituting whole wheat spaghettini–simply delicious. Joel has been in charge of the pastas lately and I think he’s getting more comfortable in the kitchen. In fact, our entire next meal (to be posted soon) was prepared solely by him.
Finally, when everything else was almost done cooking, I seasoned the scallops with salt & pepper (I was obsessed with making sure it was properly seared so I oversalted it a bit…now I know for next time). I pan-seared it according to Alton Brown’s recommendations cooking it on very high heat in butter & olive oil for 1.5 minutes on each side. They came out perfectly!
And there you have it–a quick, yummy dinner for two! Based on everything else on the plate, I would recommend only two large scallops per person. We each had a scallop leftover which Joel had for lunch over a spinach salad the next day.
And finally, I am now the proud owner of a brand new KitchenAid mixer, thanks to my persistence on Craigslist:
Can’t wait to make our own pizza doughs!
As previously mentioned, we’re making a conscious effort to cook more seafood…both as a learning experience and in an attempt to eat a bit healthier. I grew up eating a lot of seafood…because my parents are from a coastal country where seafood is plentiful and because my dad had a past life as a fisherman. Both of my parents loved seafood, so I grew up eating a lot of fried fish, salt & pepper shrimp, clay pot catfish (ca kho), sour fish soup (canh chua ca), and tamarind crab (cua rang me), to name a few. When I have cooked seafood, it has almost always been shrimp (which is easy to gauge doneness) or catfish (which is great in stews and difficult to overcook)…I’m a bit wary of undercooking my seafood yet abhor overcooked seafood. So I always just let the restaurants (or parents) do it for me. Fish tacos turned out to be a very simple first stab at seafood.
We had already made plans for fish tacos, so when a friend asked if we wanted to do another Mexican night, it was a done deal. She made delicious grapefruit margaritas, buffalo shrimp, and a celery/red pepper slaw for the first set of tacos. Basically, the shrimp were sauteed in equal parts butter & hot sauce:
Joel made his world famous guacamole for us to munch on while we cooked:
I made a simple green apple & cucumber salsa to go on top of the fish tacos (diced green apples, cucumbers, sugar, apple cider vinegar, and chopped cilantro). Yes, its very green…and next time, I would probably cut matchsticks so they stay in the tacos better:
We used tilapia filets and sprinkled them with chili powder, salt & pepper before cooking them on the grill pan:
And there you have it…quick & easy shrimp & fish tacos.
Risotto, to me, seems to be the Italian version of a cross between a rice porridge and fried rice for Asians. You can put whatever you want in it and it’ll basically turn out delicious. However, it does take a little more attention than rice porridge and a little more time than fried rice. That said, it isn’t difficult to make…it just requires a lot of adding and stirring. I found it hard to walk away from…you basically have to watch it for 25-30 minutes.
I love the creaminess of risotto…which doesn’t hurt my stomach since its just the starch from the arborio rice that makes the dish creamy…and not actual cream. I cooked this at my apartment and only had my point and shoot, hence the picture quality.
I didn’t make any mind-blowing adjustments from the Food & Wine recipe:
- Used extra mushrooms (16 ounces of sliced baby bellas)
- Used boneless, skinless thighs instead of breasts (I prefer dark meat)
- Supplemented the onion with some shallots (as always)
- Store-bought chicken broth from TJ’s (regular sodium–tasted just fine)
- Champagne instead of dry white wine (got to drink the rest–fun!)
- Quattro formaggio (from TJ’s) instead of parmesan because its what we had
- Fresh ground white and black pepper because we both love pepper
This recipe seems to be pretty flexible so next time I’ll try doing shrimp and asparagus…or some other combination of whatever I have access to.
I’ve been roasting a chicken approximately once a week. Why not? It’s so cheap, easy and delicious. Oh, and Ruhlman does it too. Of course, there’s always leftovers…what do I do with them?
Pasta salad: chopped roast chicken quickly sauteed in some of its own fat tossed with whole wheat penne pasta, chopped spinach/parsley/carrots, quattro formaggio cheese, capers, mustard, cracked pepper, and wasabi mayonnaise.
Other things I’ve done but don’t have pictures for: fried rice, on top of cheesy toast (basically the picture above but toasted with melted cheese), on top of a leafy spinach salad, and dropped into instant noodles. The salads usually look something like this: