Tag Archives: cooking

That time Eric cooked a three-course meal

Blog hijacked! I’m taking control of Katy’s blog to talk about a three-course meal I made (with her help) for Sunday dinner: Chicken francese, homemade mac and cheese, and a tomato and corn salad. Technically, there was a 4th course: Brownies! But I don’t think using Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Mix counts here. (Just a note about me, one of my favorite foods is chocolate so if I really did hijack this blog, it would look like Willy Wonka swooped in since every post would be of treats.)

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to cook something healthy and homemade at least once a week. Recently, I have made dishes like pasta salad with chopped cucumber, garbanzo beans, roasted red peppers and goat cheese and Mediterranean flat bread pizzas with hummus and fire roasted tomatoes — with Katy acting as my sous chef

These are step-ups from my single days when I was mastering the art of cooking spaghetti and frozen pizza. The three-course Sunday meal below is another small step for me, and one giant step for your taste buds (if you don’t know, Katy loves space-related things).

This meal is recommended for 3-4 people (or leftovers for 2 people), so it didn’t hurt that her mom joined us for dinner. She gave it rave reviews, as did we. It didn’t hurt that the wine you use for the chicken francese recipe can also be used to drink, too.

The first of two things I recommend (besides drinking the wine) is to make the salad before anything else and set in the fridge so the flavors soak together. The cold, crispness of the salad compliments the non-healthy creaminess of the mac & cheese. The other recommendation is to prepare/cook the chicken while the mac & cheese is in the oven. This is so both dishes come out hot and ready at the same time.

Thank you to my wife for letting me write this – and for letting me cook new things for her!

Here was the spread:

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The Chicken Francese recipe was via Rachel Ray. I followed it pretty closely, subbing in chicken tenderloins for the chicken cutlets since that is what we had on hand. The recipe also calls for the chicken to be served alongside pasta or bread, but we had enough carbs coming from one of the side dishes…

BAKED MACARONI AND CHEESE. We used this recipe, which was rated as one of Food Network’s Top 10 best recipes of 2013. Katy handled the majority of the prep for this, which included making a roux and then a bechamel. But It was worth the effort.

We figured we should have some sort of vegetable on the plate to counteract the pan-fried chicken and carb-filled mac and cheese. We had some tomatoes on hand and I thought we could whip up some sort of salad to go with it. So voila. This was what we came up with. We used frozen corn since, but this would be so much better with fresh corn on the grill come summetime.

Tomato and Corn Salad

3 vine ripened tomatoes, diced
1 cup corn (either frozen or off the cob)
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp. Penzey’s Sunny Paris Seasoning (this is really the key)
Salt and pepper

1) Heat one tsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallot and saute until translucent. Add the corn and cook for about five minutes.

2) Add the warm corn to a bowl with the diced tomatoes. Sprinkle on the Sunny Paris and the salt and pepper and mix together. Let cool in the fridge until ready to serve.

 

 

It doesn’t always have to be perfect

The other night while scrolling through my blog roll, this article from The Kitchn popped up and I immediately bookmarked it. It basically talks about food bloggers don’t usually post about the ordinary things they cook and eat. They try to make every post about something amazing or groundbreaking. But not everything that comes out of the kitchen is something new and amazing.

I’ve been feeling bummed about my lack of posting as of late, but the truth of the matter is, that is the way life goes sometimes. While Eric and I are getting in to our new routine with my new job — not going to lie — there’s been a lot of convenience food for dinner. Frozen pizzas. Eating out. And as a lover of cooking and food, it pains me. But there has been nothing as of late that has felt worthy of sharing on here and I don’t want to clutter your feed with less than stellar posts.

But that is also a cop out. Just because I haven’t been cooking doesn’t mean I don’t have stuff to share. Until I get back in the routine of trying out new recipes and what not, I am going to try to at least blog about what I’ve been doing or loving at the moment. For example, if you are in the market for a frozen pizza and can find California Pizza Kitchen ones on sale near you (they can be kinda pricey), the Greek one is excellent. Thin crusted, delicious flavors. I highly recommend it. It’s a great easy dinner served alongside a salad or some quickly cooked up veggies.

There should be a post going up soon from Eric about the meal we (mostly he) cooked this weekend when my mom came over. And one of the recipes is definitely worth sharing. I just have to get him to write it. If you know Eric in real life, tell him to get on it!

Friday Faves

It is now time for me to share the news I alluded to last week. No, it’s not a baby…it’s a new job!

Today is my last day at my current job and I start my new one on Monday. I’m going to miss my old co-workers, but I’m super excited about this new opportunity. I’m going from working from home to commuting and being back in an office, so it’s going to be a bit of a transition. I’m going to have to be a better planner when it comes to blogging so I don’t leave y’all hanging!

The reason I’ve been so absent the past few weeks is because I was in and out of phone interviews and in person interviews and then doing my current work on top of it. Blogging sort of fell by the wayside. But I’m going to make a conscious effort to stay on top of things because I love this blog and want to keep it going. But hang with me through the next few weeks of transition. I’ll figure things out eventually.

1) One of my faves this week — and going forward — is Eric’s new goal to start cooking for me more. With the new job, him taking over cooking duties a few nights a week is going to be awesome. He’s already started to show some skills. The past two weeks he has made a couple of super tasty dinners.

UntitledOn the left, grilled ratatouille pasta. On the right, Mediterranean flat bread. Both delicious — an nutritious! He knows I have been trying to eat better so he has been cooking a lot of vegetables. And he is very good at it.

2) My birthday is this weekend! I enter the final years of my 20s on Sunday. Eric is taking me to Canoe in Atlanta for my birthday dinner and I’m super excited. It has been on my must-try list since we moved back. We also have some friends coming to stay with us on Saturday. We plan on heading to Fox Bros  on Saturday night, and I’m already dreaming about the Frito Pie. We are also going to hit up Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams tomorrow afternoon. My friend Lauren and I have been talking about it pretty much every day since they booked their trip. I will be sure to report on all of our weekend eating adventures next week.

3) Anyone have any good recs for places to eat in Charleston? We’re heading there in a few weeks for a friend’s wedding and are looking for a good place for dinner and brunch. We’ve never been. so we are relying on other people to tell us what’s good so let me know in the comments!

 

The beauty of fauxmade

First of all, let me say greetings from snowy Atlanta. As some of you might have seen, we got about 2 inches of snow yesterday and it turned in to a total nightmare. Luckily, I work from home and Eric made it home before the roads got super bad, so we weren’t stranded in our cars. But I know plenty of people who were. Fingers crossed things thaw out soon.

Now on to the post. I have written before about my love of semi-homemade baked goods, and sometimes, you need to extend that practice to other aspects of cooking. I like to call this fauxmade (did I make that up? Probably not, but it sounds good). To me fauxmade is when you take some precooked ingredients or other shortcuts to make something that tastes like you slaved over a hot stove all day. Only part of the effort but still a delicious result.

soup

This was a pot of chicken and rice soup I made a few weeks ago. Instead of making my own stock with chicken and bones, I used bouillon and the juices and meat from a rotisserie chicken. That combination made for a rich, delicious soup  that both Eric and I slurped down. We preferred it to a chicken and rice soup I tried before that cooked all day in the crock pot. The above soup came together in about an hour.

Rotisserie chickens really are a fauxmade chef’s best friend. I have used them before to make soups, salads, tacos or quesadillas — even a stuffing for homemade/fauxmade ravioli. A $5 rotisserie chicken from Costco will feed Eric and I for at least two dinners, maybe even more.

I was inspired to write this post yesterday after I took a can of Manischewitz matzo ball soup and doctored it up to make it taste a bit more like the soup my mother-in-law makes.

51dAEkz9UiL._SY300_I put it in a pot with a little bouillon and water, added some carrots and parsley. It was quite tasty.

What are some of your favorite fauxmade cooking tricks?