Tag Archives: dinner

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:

20140330_190040

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.

 

 

Advertisements

Crispy polenta with kale and tomato sauce

Polenta is one of my most favorite things in the entire world. It’s like Italian grits — a great vessel for everything from eggs to stews and veggies. Polenta can be cooked in a variety of ways. I like it soft and creamy, almost like a bowl of porridge. But these polenta tubes are much more convenient and allow you to whip up a meal in no time.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

I usually stock up when I go to Trader Joe’s, but I think you can find them at almost any grocery store. If for some reason you cannot and are feeling very ambitious, you could always cook up polenta the old fashioned way, form it in to a tube and let it cool down to reach the same effect. But that seems like way too much effort.

This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite frozen meals, Amy’s Light and Lean Roasted Polenta. I try not to eat those pre-packaged entrees too much, but sometimes, they are so darn convenient. This one makes for a great lunch, but I recreated it for dinner last week.

photo

It was delicious and oh so easy.

Crispy Polenta With Kale and Tomato Sauce

1/2 tube polenta, cut in to 1/3 inch slices
1/2 can crushed tomatoes (I go for the fire roasted variety or the basil and oregano)
1 clove garlic
1 cup kale
Olive oil

1) Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Coat the bottom of the pan in olive oil and allow it to heat up. Drop in the polenta slices and cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until they are browning just slightly.

2) While the polenta is on, heat another skillet over medium heat and add about a teaspoon of olive oil. Add in the kale and garlic and saute for a few minutes. The kale should be softened and the garlic fragrant. Add in the tomatoes and continue to cook until the whole mixture is headed through.

3) Remove the polenta rounds from the pan and pat off excess oil (this helps to keep the rounds nice and crispy). Put polenta on a plate and top with the kale and tomato mixture. Top with parmesan cheese if desired.

Falafel-Crusted Chicken with Hummus Slaw

I’m a control freak when it comes to cooking. This should really come to no surprise to anyone who knows me. I like everything to be done a certain way and in a specific order. I also rarely ask for help. This sometimes annoys Eric because he likes it when we cook together and sometimes I’ll insist on doing everything myself. What annoys him even more is when he says he is going to cook for me, and then I butt in and help out when he doesn’t even ask for it.

The other night, Eric cooked dinner for me and I stayed in the living room, drinking wine and watching “Nashville” on our DVR. And you know what? It was magical.  I helped him out only when he asked, but I mostly stayed out of it. And he made a delicious, delicious meal.

photoI could definitely get used to this.

Falafel-Crusted Chicken with Hummus Slaw (From The Food Network)

3 chicken breasts (Eric used chicken cutlets)
1 tablespoon  olive oil
1/2 cup falafel mix
2 pitas, halved
6 tablespoons hummus
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
4 cups shredded coleslaw mix
6 radishes, halved and thinly sliced

1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
2) Set a rack on a rimmed baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Toss the chicken with the olive oil in a large bowl, then add the falafel mix and toss to coat. Arrange the chicken on the rack and bake until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. While the chicken is baking, stack the pita halves and wrap them in foil; warm in the oven, about 5 minutes.
3) Mix the hummus, lemon juice, hot sauce and 3 tablespoons water in a large bowl. Remove 2 tablespoons of the hummus sauce and reserve. Add the coleslaw mix and radishes to the remaining hummus sauce and toss. Season with salt.
4) Divide the chicken among plates and drizzle with the reserved hummus sauce. Stuff the slaw in the pitas and serve with the chicken.