Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fancypants Chicken

This week's "different" recipe is Almond Crusted Chicken with Asparagus and Scallion Beurre Blanc. n Served with quinoa, which was a new thing for this family.

Sounds very fancy, yes?  It's almond chicken with a scallion cream sauce.  It's from Rachael Ray's "2-4-6-8" cookbook, which I found myself perusing over the weekend.  I don't venture into that one too often, I prefer the one with 365 30-minute meals.  (for obvious reasons)  But it came together fairly well, and we really enjoyed it.  Especially the quinoa, which Brian didn't find in the store over the weekend.  (Thanks to all my Facebook friends, for steering us to the right section!)

Three things about recipes by Rachael Ray:

1.   I'm rarely disappointed.  Just about everything I've ever made from one of her books has been really good, if not great.

2.  She is not a "light on the dishes to wash" kind of girl, you will need to run the dishwasher (if you have one) after one of her recipes.  This meal took four pots.  And I'm the one doing the dishes tonight.  (yay!!!!)

3.  You can tell on some of these recipes that there's a sous chef helping out.  For example, the sauce for this recipe is started way too early, it cooked down to dry rather quickly.  Come to think of it....the chick's probably not doing her own dishes, either!  :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Banana + Nutella = Delicious

This morning before grocery-shopping and meal planning, I found myself with three overripe bananas.  I find myself in this predicament a LOT.  Some days I make smoothies for the kids, other days I just throw them away and don't care.  Today, I reached for the other thing that I sometimes do:  make banana bread.  It's a rainy Sunday here in Central MA, so it's perfect for baking.

I love banana bread!  It's so simple, yet so delicious.  The kids love it too, a slice for breakfast or an afternoon snack.  I like mine with walnuts or pecans, and sometimes I put chocolate chips in for the kiddos.  I've made it once with peanut butter and it was good (but not stellar) and I've even seen a recipe for one featuring lime juice and coconut.  (And while I'm intrigued, I'm afraid I'd be the only one to eat it.)  So today, for a variation, I married two recipes:  my favorite "standby" recipe for banana bread in "The Bible" (aka Joy of Cooking) and this butter cake recipe from Pinterest.  The cook suggests putting a ribbon of Nutella on top of a butter cake batter to "marble" into the cake.  I thought to myself, "Self, we have Nutella in the lazy susan, let's hit it!"

The Nutella was a little difficult to swirl like marble, based on the fact that it "globbed" on the top of the banana bread.  I got it though!  (Also, as an aside:  I read in a magazine this week that there's a class action lawsuit against Nutella, because people say that the folks at Nutella ran ads that claim it to be healthier than it really is.  To that I say, it's chocolate, hazelnuts and milk.  If you thought it was healthy and were eating it by the spoonful out of the jar, then shame on you.  Read the label)

The finished product:

Cooling on the countertop, lookin' all sassy and delicious.  I will resist until cooled, though.   I suspect a slice of this serving as a bed for a scoop of ice cream might be out of this world!  :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Garden 2012

Ready for another season of gardening!  I'm hoping for more success this year than the last two.  Since this is likely the last garden that we'll plant at this house (hopefully if all goes well next Spring) I'm going big.  Going with the usual suspects:  green beans, zucchini and of course a tomato plant.  But this year, I'm adding lettuce, beets and WATERMELON to the mix!  I've heard that lettuce is ridiculously easy to grow, and I really enjoyed beets that much when we had them.  Planting will hopefully start first week of May, going to do it early this time!  Wish me luck.

Pork Medallions

Dinner on Tuesday night:  Pork medallions with a citrus-balsamic sauce.

This smelled SO GOOD while it was cooking!   And it did not disappoint.  The recipe is from Joy of Cooking, which also never disappoints.  The recipe said that it was an easy weeknight dinner, but it took like an hour to make.  Tuesday, however, was a night that no one had to be anywhere after work (or school) so it was OK.  The sauce was so tangy, I wanted to lick the plate. And a surprise ingredient:  heavy cream.  Not too much, just a bit to thicken the sauce into the beautifully velvet texture that it was.  We'll definitely be making this one again!

Whenever we have something from a recipe in a book that we really liked or didn't like, I always make a note and the date in the cookbook.  People tend to forget as time goes on if they've made something, so this really helps.  Three stars for this one.  :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Summer Crockpot

Marathon Monday here in Massachusetts, and over 85 degrees!  (Too soon, too soon.....)  

Here's a surprise:  using a crockpot for dinner on a warm (read:  hot) day is a good idea.  It keeps the heat from your oven or stove down to a minimum.

Tonight's dinner, courtesy of Pinterest.  Honey Sesame Chicken.  

Served with white rice and steamed sugarsnap peas.

It was delicious!  Makes a lot of leftovers though, so I will have lunch for the next few days.  This meal would've been a great candidate for basmati rice instead of long grain white rice.  There was ample sauce to moisten basmati rice, but I just ran out of time.  I also  forgot to add the sesame seeds at the end, so I guess it was more "Honey Chicken" but oh well.  I'd definitely make this again!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Breakfast Buddies

Will and Sean enjoying their orange-vanilla waffles and bacon on this beautiful, sunny Sunday!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Cheesy Dish

Last Tuesday Night:  Mac n Cheese with Bacon and Broccoli.  Believe it or not, this came from Cooking Light.

Believe it or not, it just didn't have enough bacon in it.  Two crumbled slices, my eye! We added a bit more.  Not an obscene amount of bacon, but enough to give it a little more flavor.  Having said that though, I wonder what an obscene amount of bacon would look like?

This is one of those meals that tastes better as leftovers, I don't know if it needed time to rest in the fridge to blend the flavors together or what.  All I know is that it was "eh" at dinner, nothing too special.  But for lunch the next day, I give it a hearty two thumbs up!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tasty Delights on the Road

Brian and I traveled this weekend to New Hope, PA for his younger brother's wedding.  It was a gorgeous wedding, one of the prettiest that I have ever been to!  We made it down in time for the rehearsal dinner, which was held at an Italian place.  It was something like four courses, with bruschetta, salad, a pasta course and then family-style chicken marsala (!!!), eggplant parmesan and some sort of European fish.  I didn't have any of the fish, I was too enamored by the first two choices.  Dessert was our choice, and I had a limoncello, raspberry and white chocolate tart, Brian opted for chocolate hazelnut cake.  Everything was delicious.

The next morning, we got up early to do a little local shopping.  The wedding wasn't until 2pm, so we went and got breakfast and then found a local yarn shop.  (Naturally!)  Breakfast was across the border in New Jersey, at Perkins Restaurant.  We LOVE Perkins!  There's no Perkins at home, which is probably a good thing.  Because if there was, we'd frequent it a lot!  I don't remember what Brian had, but I had this potato pancake, with bacon, eggs and cheddar cheese filling, and you dip the whole thing in applesauce.  Amazing. 

After the wedding ceremony and with over an hour to kill, we found ourselves starving.  So we went to a local Wawa, and WOW there is another thing that we don't have at home!  It's a combination convenience store and gas station.  But it' not your typical convenice store, it also has fresh-to-order sandwiches and other things.  We ordered some chicken quesadillas to go, and picked up some Tastycakes too. There is Tastycake pastries in the grocery store here, but they're a Pennsylvania thing and they don't have as good a selection here as they do there.  We sat in our hotel room, chowing down in our dress clothes and enjoying every bite. 

There was other stuff too, but these are the things that stand out.  I love road trips.  :)