Showing posts with label menu ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label menu ideas. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

csa on a stick

When my CSA comes each week its like a little celebration. It reminds me of when I was little and I got to go to the fair. Rides, funnel cakes, carnival games - it was fun at every turn. And all the food on a stick. Candied apples, foot long corn dogs - you name it the food was fun too. So when my CSA came this past week, I decided to recreate the feeling in a way...a fresher and more healthy way...but still on a stick!

You need the following:
1-2 spring onions
2-3 summer squash
several cherry tomatoes
2 tblsp of olive oil
fresh herbs like basil and oregano
salt and pepper, to taste

Soak your kabob sticks in water for at least twenty minutes. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Slice the onions and squash. Place in a large ziplock bag with the tomatoes. Chop the fresh herbs and add them in. Finally pour in the oil. Seal the bag and toss til well coated. Add in salt and pepper and toss again. Let marinate at least an hour. Skewer veggies and place on grill. Cook for about eight minutes, turning every 2-3 minutes.

menu ideas:
I had these grilled veggies along with brown rice and green beans. The hubs grilled his own shrimp kabobs at the same time.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

purple majesty

With two toddlers in the house there is lots of talk about colors. What color is that leaf you found? What color shirt do you want to wear today? What color are your eyes? And so on...My son is went through a stage where he wanted everything pink. I am certain this is because when baby sister came along there was a sudden influx of pink things - and attention on her. But, now he was decided his favorite colors are dark blue, silver, and manatee. Don't ask, I'm not sure what that last one is either.

And since colors are such a big topic of conversation, I try to make our meals as colorful as possible too. Imagine my excitement when these purple potatoes showed up in my CSA bag. I couldn't wait to cook them for the kids.

To make your own you will need the following:
8-10 purple potatoes
1/2 stick of organic unsalted butter
kosher salt, to taste

Rinse potatoes in cold water and brush away an excess dirt. Slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Place in medium pan and boil until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to pan. Toss with butter and salt until well coated.

I mean who wouldn't be at least a little interested in taking a bit of the pretty purple potatoes? And it turns out they taste just like any other new potato, so the whole family ate them up - because everyone likes potatoes.

menu ideas:
We had these majestic potatoes with sauteed green beans and breaded chicken (well, I have a meat-free version of chicken and the family had the real deal - but you get the idea).

Sunday, June 2, 2013

pizza party

I am probably the most adven-turous eater in my family. That means a couple of things -1) when I see a new recipe for a swiss chard gratin and get excited, I'm probably going to be on my own, 2) when I try to convince my family that grilled brussel sprouts are amazing, I'm gonna get silent stares, and 3) occasionally, I have to cave and give them pizza.

That doesn't mean, however, I have to eat fattening fast food pizza or order a cookie cutter "veggie lover" pie. I can give my carnivore his pepperoni pizza, make the kids one covered in multicolored olives (their favorite), and still give myself a special treat. Take this pizza, for example. It has whole wheat dough, a pesto base, and is topped with artichokes, sundried tomatoes, and fresh arugula from my me at least.

You will need:
1 ball of whole wheat pizza dough
1/2 cup of pesto
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of marinated artichoke hearts
1/4 cup of sundried tomatoes in oil
1 cup of fresh arugula

Roll out the pizza dough and place on a stone. Smear pesto all over. I used my collard green pesto, but a regular basil one will do. Cover the pie in cheese. Top with artichokes and tomatoes. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove from oven and scatter arugula on top. Slice and serve with fresh parmesan if desired.

It was like a little pizza party in my belly! And the carnivore and kiddos were equally excited with their pies. Happy foodie, happy family!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

grill master

My husband has no manfort or man cave to speak of. He has no real place to escape the chaos that the kids and I create. Unless you count the garage. But despite my son's insistence that he lives out there, dirty floors, rusty tools, and discarded furniture are no haven from my hellions. His one place of peace may be his grill. He can survey the yard (which he has made many improvements to) from his deck (which he stained and fixed up himself) and cook his favorite food (meat).

But, I have to sheepishly admit that I am making inroads into this sacred spot too. Generally I stick to the kitchen when I cook, but I have actually ventured outdoors a few times lately to make a meal. I had to. I mean what would a carnivore like my husband do if I asked him to grill brussel sprouts and radicchio...other than ask what that last word was? I am no grill master yet, but this dish was delicious.

Before you head to the grill you will need these ingredients on hand:
2-4 cups of baby brussel spouts
1 head of radicchio
2 tblsps of olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 a large red onion
1/4 cup of crumbled cheese, I used goat but feta or blue would also be nice

Clean and halve the sprouts. Place in a large bowl and toss with 1 tblsp of oil, salt and pepper. Place on grill safe veggie plate (see picture). Cut radicchio in half and brush with oil. Place down on same veggie plate. Grill on medium direct heat for about four minutes. Toss sprouts. Grill for three more minutes, just until char marks show. Return sprouts to mixing bowl. Chop radicchio and add to bowl along with remaining ingredients. Toss and serve warm.

menu ideas:
As you can see the night I made this, I also grilled chicken legs for the meat eaters in the family. I served them along side whipped potatoes and sauteed green beans.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

good sense

When I cook for the carnivore I obviously can't taste the food, so I have to rely on my other senses. I listen for the sizzle of the steak in the pan. I look at the browned skin on the chicken thighs. I feel the thick cut of the bacon. And finally, there is my sense of smell, which I used in this recipe. When I made these crockpot carnitas, my whole house smelled like a Mexican restaurant. I knew before the meat hit my man's lips that this recipe was going to be a repeat in out house.

Now, I should start out by saying that as my carnivore hubs pointed out to me, carnitas is traditionally made with pork. This recipe, which I found on this great blog - eat, live, run - called for beef and that is what I used. If you want to substitute pork I think you could. In fact, the original recipe called for flank steak, but I could only find a flat iron. I made a few other adjustments too. Here is what you will need to make this marvelous Mexican dish as I did:

1.5 lbs flat iron steak
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red chili pepper, seeded, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Start by mixing the spices together in a small bowl. Then rub the mixture generously over the meat. Place the steak in the crockpot. Cover with the chopped onions and peppers (ours came from either our backyard or our CSA). Turn the heat on low and cook for eight hours. Shred the meat in the pot with two forks. How easy is that?

Serve on your favorite type of tortilla - flour, corn, or even whole wheat. I was lucky to get my carnivore to eat the peppers that had marinated in the meat juice all day, and that was only because he grew some of them. But, if you have a less veggie averse meat eater you can top your tacos with avocado, cilantro, salsa and lime juice.

You can almost taste it now just reading this, right?

menu ideas:
Since I didn't have to worry about the carnivore's main dish after I put it in the slow cooker after breakfast, I made my own soy crumble tacos. Mine were complete with avocados, tomatoes, and all the fixins. We also had grilled corn in the husks and seasoned black beans.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Remember when Sean Combs became Puff Daddy and then he was Puffy. Or maybe it was the other way around. And then he was P.Diddy or some craziness. It devolved from there I'm sure. I guess we have Prince to thank for all of this. I bring this up for two reasons - (1) I just heard Snoop Dogg is trying to change his name to Snoop Lion after a life changing trip to Jamaica. Not happening. He can clean up his songs and his image all he wants, but he still resembles a dobberman pincher. (2) This recipe has puff pastry and it also made me think of Puffy, or whatever his name is now.

Sorry for the the digression, but now to the food. This gorgeous dish is thanks to the over abundance of tomatoes in my house this time of year. My carnivore won't eat them unless they are in ketchup or marinara form, but he will grown them - lots of them. That combined with the numerous heirloom varieties I get in my CSA mean I have to come up with lots of ways to use tomatoes. And this dish couldn't be easier.

To make your own tomato puff you will need the following:
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
flour for dusting
several small tomatoes
fresh goat cheese, about half a small log
5-6 fresh basil leaves
a drizzle of olive oil
fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Roll out the pasty to form a long rectangle. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray and place the the dough on. Slice the tomatoes and layer them on the pastry. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with goat cheese crumbles. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pastry puff and gets golden brown. Once ready, chiffonade the basil leaves and put on top. Slice and serve warm.

This dish is sinfully good and simply stunning. It is my favorite puffy of any kind, whatever you call it.

menu ideas:
This would make a beautiful starter at a dinner party. I had this as my main course along side sauteed green beans and buttered brown rice. The carnivore had grilled chicken with the same sides.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

viva la mexico

Maybe its the fact that it is finally warming up or  that my son was born on Cinco de Mayo, but I find myself day dreaming more and more lately about making a trip back to Mexico. The carnivore and I were married there several years ago. A mariachi band and margaritas - the whole shebang. We promised all our guest we'd have a reunion in five years. Time is almost up and what can I say? These kids, they are the most rewarding and adorable time and money suck you can imagine. As such, all I am planning these days is a Cat in the Hat themed bday bash for the little man who will turn two in a few days. That doesn't mean I don't let my mind wander to warm beaches and cold beers. Oh, and the best guacamole on this planet. And they will bring it right to you beach chair for just a few pesos.

In my opinion avocado is the most perfect food. I am happy to report my kids feel the same way - even if my husband doesn't. I fell in love with it in law school. I was on a trip to Tanzania and this amazing cafe served it simply halved, coated in olive oil and kosher salt. It is hard to improve upon that, but let me try. Introducing my fried avocado tacos inspired from this recipe the carnivore sent me.

To make your own you will need:
1 large avocado
1 cup of flour, and a bit more for dredging
1 cup of beer
1/2 tsp of baking powder
vegetable oil
salt, pepper, and other seasonings of your choosing (I added chili lime hot sauce)
sour cream
fresh cilantro
lettuce, tomato, etc. for topping
lime wedges

Start by preheating 1/2 inch or so of oil in a cast iron skillet. (It is ready when a drop of batter bubbles in it.) Mix together flour, beer, baking powder and seasonings. Slice the avocado. Dredge slices in a bit of flour and then dip in batter. Fry in oil, about two minutes on each side. They will turn golden. Place them on a plate of paper towels to remove an excess oil. Place a few fried pieces in a tortilla with toppings of your choosing, like lettuce and tomato. I added a cilantro sour cream, using fresh herbs from our own garden. I also squeezed a few fresh lime wedges over top before eating.

They weren't as good as a trip to Mexico, but they were dang close. My BFF and bridesmaid Jen even made some after she heard about them. See, it is kinda like I'm like we are all back there together, right?

menu ideas:
The night I made these I used the remaining batter to make fish tacos for my carnivore. We also enjoyed corn on the cob and seasoned black beans.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

real simple

Sometimes I look at recipes and I get a bit over-
whelmed. Too many steps, too many ingredients, too much time - with two young kids I just can't get past the pretty picture. Looks nice, but it won't be on our plates any time soon. Luckily, really simple food can be really delicious too. Take this spaghetti, for example. Just a few ingredients and yet the flavor is spectacular.

To make your own, you will need the following:
1 box of thin whole wheat spaghetti
1 lemon
1/2 cup of finely grated parmesan & more for topping (not from a green can)
2 sprigs of fresh oregano (we grow herbs in containers on our deck)
several leaves of fresh parsley (also homegrown)
2 tblsp of olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Boil the pasta for about eight minutes in salted water. Drain and return to the pot. Toss with oil, salt and pepper. Squeeze in the juice of half the lemon and toss again. Add in the parmesan and stir once more. Chop the herbs coarsely and add them in last. Serve immediately. Top more parmesan and garnish with thin slices of the rest of the lemon.

Easy, uncomplicated, and satisfying. Now that's real simple. 

menu ideas:
This dish is great as a side. It can also star as the main attraction easily. Simply add grilled chicken or sausage to the carnivore's bowl of pasta, and to the vegetarian's dish toss in olives and sundried tomatoes.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

bulking up

There are things that the carnivore and I buy in bulk. For example, having two kids under two we have a stash of wet wipes that is chest high and almost as many diapers. This are essentials you don't want to run out of people. We also have some food staples - frozen green beans, canned peas, berries of all kinds, organic milk, avocados, whole grain pasta, organic butter...the list goes on. One of the more recent additions to our bulk purchases is brown rice. This was all part of the carnivore's life style change that had led to many dropped pounds and inches for both of us. We ate rice occasionally before, but now it is more of a fixture on our plates.

But as you know, brown rice can be bland. After reading a NYTimes article about different kinds brown rice and ways to cook them (you can find it by clicking here), I have been inspired to spice things up with our simple side dish. I recently cooked some brown rice in our new super awesome Japanese rice cooker (go figure they know a thing or two about cooking rice - it even has its own brown rice setting!) and tossed it with a bit of butter, salt and freshly chopped cilantro. This made a great side dish to our small corn tacos (sauteed mushroom and spinach for me, grilled chicken and steak for the carnivore) along with spicy black beans. 

The next day I used some of the leftovers to make a quick lunch for the little guy buy mixing the cilantro rice, some black beans and a few bits of the grilled chicken. He gobbled it up. And when I told the carnivore about it the next day his eyes lit up and he kept saying, "I bet that was good. It sounds good." I too could nosh on it all mixed in a bowl by simply adding some avocado and corn to the rice and bean mixture. 

In fact, we may have that very soon...since we do buy brown rice in bulk. What is your favorite way to cook with brown rice? Let me know by leaving a comment below. I need all the ideas I can get!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

beat the heat

The other day the temps here in Memphis dipped into the upper eighties. The carnivore and I looked at the forecast the day before and remarked on how nice it was going to be outside. Just imagine how pleasant it is going to feel we thought...but, after an hour or two of working in the yard the next day the carnivore looked at me and said, "Just cuz it feels moderately cool doesn't mean it isn't actually hot. It is still in the upper eighties." True.

And if you are like me (and many southerners out there) having a steamy hot kitchen on an already muggy day is no fun. This really is why we quick fry just about anything. So, when presented with a half of a chicken in our recent meat CSA, I weighed the options of either baking it in the oven for an hour or so (and thus also heating my house several degrees) or tossing it in the crock pot. No brainer. I'll take the cooler and set-it-and forget-it version any day.

Simply drizzle the bottom of the pot with olive oil. Then add in in half a diced white onion. Season your chicken with a mixture of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and celery salt (just a dusting of each. Place the chicken in the pot skin side up so the fat from the skin can flavor everything as it cooks. Surround the bird with carrots and top with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. Cover and cook on low four 4-6 hours. The chicken should easily pull apart for serving along side the veggies.

I wish I had a picture of the finished product for you, but the carnivore was ravenous from his yard work and got to it before I could even think to grab the camera. He usually knows better, having lived with a food blogger for awhile now. What can I say? Maybe the heat got to his brain...or maybe the chicken just smelled too good.

menu ideas:
On the night the carnivore had this, I also had carrots that I steamed separately and we shared buttered english peas as well. I had a fake chicken patty for my main course.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

comfort food

Let's face it - we all have rough weeks every now and again. I had one this past week. May be its the heat, maybe its the hormones...I don't know. Let's just say I'm glad it is a new week. Really glad. And I don't know about you, but when I'm in a funk I crave comfort food. To me nothing is more comforting than a big pile of fried potatoes. Lucky for me my CSA has supplied me with plenty this year, as well as these purple jewel-like shallots. Aren't they adorable? I feel better already.

I started making my better mood dish with a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet that I heated on medium. Next I peeled and diced the shallots and tossed them in the pan. While they got fragrant, I washed and scrubbed the red potatoes. I poked them each with a fork a few times and placed them in the microwave for about three minutes - just enough to soften them some. I then cut the hot potatoes into chunks and added them to the skillet of simmering shallots. Just a bit of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper topped the mixture. I cooked them til they were a bit brown, but not burned. Once ready, I transferred them to our waiting plates and sprinkled a bit of fresh thyme from the herb garden on top.

Like I said, nothing is more comforting. With my belly full of starchy heaven, I was in a much better mood. Funk fizzled...finally.

menu ideas:
That night we also had garlic green beans. The carnivore had a rosemary grilled organic chicken breast, while I had a big tomato salad.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

simply the best

Have you joined a CSA? Is your share starting to include juicy tomatoes? Have you created your own backyard garden? Are your tomato plants overflowing with red jewels? Or can you just not walk past these bright beauties at the grocery store without putting a few in your cart? In any case, if you are like me this time of year is one of your favorites - when tomatoes taste like tomatoes.

Sure thanks to modern farming you can get them year round, but there really is no substitute for the real thing in the summer. I could eat them straight like apples. Or, another southern staple - the tomato sandwich - is a big hit around here. If you are unfamiliar, it involves thickly sliced tomatoes, white bread, and not much else. That's because, in the words of my father, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

So, if you have your hands on a few of these fresh fruits let me suggest you keep it simple. Try this real quick recipe. Slice your tomatoes thick. Pair them with large sections of red onions. Coat these with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper. Drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Top with a few oregano leaves (from your herb garden). And enjoy the real taste of summer in its purest form.

menu ideas:
I made this on a muggy summer night recently when the carnivore was grilling chicken. We had our secret summer squash pasta and fried okra as sides.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

tired all the time

So, I usually have some sort of story behind what I make or how it relates to my family life, but I'm just gonna be honest with you readers - my brain is tired. I'm six and half months pregnant; I chase around a one year old all day; and the heat index has already hit the triple digits here in Memphis. All four of my animals have decided to shed every last hair on my wood floors in a seemingly endless cycle and my husband and child can't seem to kick their colds (that means I have two babies to take care of). Throw in a couple of summer trips that have played havoc on our schedule and I just can't think of anything clever to link in with this recipe. It's not the food's fault. This is a great dish. In fact, it is a really good thing to make when you are really tired. It is simple and satisfying. And, well, here it is...

You will need the following:
1 package of slice portabellas
1/4 white onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tblsp of olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
grated parmesan, optional

Add the oil to a large skillet (I love my green pans personally). Saute the onion and pepper for about 3 minutes over medium heat. Add in the mushrooms. Cook until they darken and soften, about 5 minutes. Add in tomatoes, salt and pepper. Continue to cook until tomatoes char a bit and wrinkle, about two minutes. Pile it on a plate and serve while piping hot. Top with the cheese if you want. It is almost like a pizza deconstructed.

menu ideas:
I served this alongside some creamy polenta and garlic green beans. The carnivore had a big juicy steak as his main dish.

Monday, May 23, 2011

grilled cheese

Who doesn't love a good grilled cheese? No one, that's who. But, the recipe I am going to share with you today is not your ordinary bright orange slices of cheese between buttered bread. No, this is grilled feta infused with fresh thyme. Sound intimidating? Well, don't let the fancy words scare you off. This couldn't be more simple. In fact, it came from a suggestion in a recent issue of Real Simple magazine.

To make this grilled cheese you will need:
1 block of fresh feta, drained
olive oil for drizzling
freshly cracked pepper
a generous amount of fresh thyme

Start by placing a block of fresh feta on a square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil. Crack fresh pepper over the black and top with several sprigs of fresh thyme. (We have tons growing in our herb garden this year.) Then wrap up your package and place it on indirect heat in the grill for about 15 minutes.

At the same time I had my carnivore cooking this gift wrapped goody, I also had him grill a few skewers of cherry tomatoes and sliced zucchini that I coated in olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, and garlic powder. In the meantime, he also grilled a piece of salmon for himself. The only thing I had going in the kitchen was the rice maker which bubbled away til our brown rice was perfect.

Once everything was ready, I unwrapped the cheese and carved off a couple of melty slices. Served along side the veggies and rice, I had a meal that was satisfying, but not stuffing. The salty and strong cheese paired nicely with the sweet squishy tomatoes and charred garlicky zucchini. The rice rounded out the meal nicely. This would also make a great appetizer at your next cookout. Once the feta is done you could put it on the table next to some nutty crackers and just let people dig in.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

a midsummer night's dream

The carnivore and I have planted a full garden this year. (I promise to show you it soon in an upcoming post.) It is pretty exciting news in our house. We already have a couple of green tomatoes, a few strawberries, and one lone blueberry already popping out. But, while we patiently wait for all our homegrown goodies to bloom, I am supplementing with fresh veggies from our farmers' markets and the CSA we joined this year. But, even they aren't able to satisfy my summer (second trimester) cravings fully. So, on a recent trip to my local produce market I scooped up some mid-summer vegetables and made this dreamy saute. Its the kinda thing that will get better as the season goes on.

I diced one medium tomato, one zucchini, and one yellow squash. I sauteed them in olive oil with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I also tossed in several oregano leaves from our herb garden (which is already in full bloom).  Once the veggies were softened, I transferred them to my plate and topped them with grated paremsan cheese.

The result was fantastic. Fresh, clean, and uncomplicated. The veggies were the stars. I can't wait for our own tomatoes, zucchini, and squash to burst from the ground so I can make it again. Until then I can dream about this dish.

menu ideas:
I served this up with garlic green beans and fried red potatoes with red onions. The carnivore had these sides along side barbecue chicken. We both left the table stuffed and satisfied.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Its almost that time of year when tomatoes are at their peak. But, since I am not the most patient person, I had to have my favorite summer staple a bit early. Besides, these vine ripened beauties I found at my local produce market didn't look too shabby even if it is still spring. But, just to be safe I decided to make my own stuffed tomatoes. I mean everything is good when stuffed with cheese, right?

I started by washing the red ladies and then removing the stems. Next I carved out their insides and used a small spoon to scoop out any remaining seeds and juice. I then diced up some fresh mozzarella. I place one small piece in the center of each. Next I created the stuffing by mixing together about 1/2 cup of seasoned bread crumbs, an egg, a tablespoon basil from a tube, and kosher salt and ground pepper until I had a gooey but firm consistency. I then spoon a bit of the stuffing into each tomato. Finally, I topped them with a bit more fresh cheese, salt and pepper.

I then bake these guys uncovered in an oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. I watched for the cheese to get browned and bubbly and the tomatoes to wilt a bit. That way I knew they were cooked all the way through. If your cheese isn't browning, remember you can always turn on the broiler for a few minutes at the end.

The result was mouthwatering. The sweet tomatoes contrasted nicely with the mild cheese and strong basil. It was like a warmed inslata caprese in an adorable package. As the tomatoes I got were fairly small, I got to indulge in two. Besides, I am too impatient to wait on leftovers too.

menu ideas:
When I had these for my main course, the carnivore had beer soaked chicken thighs. We each also had fried okra and grilled corn. This means I cooked half (tomatoes and okra), while he cooked the rest (chicken and corn). A perfect meal for sitting on the patio!

Friday, April 8, 2011


I married a good Catholic boy...well, I married a Catholic boy...okay, I married a guy who was raised Catholic when he was a boy. You get the idea. Anyway, there are some things he still holds onto from his youth - like fish on Fridays during Lent. As a girl who was raised Southern Baptist, let's just say for the first several years of our marriage I forgot this rule over and over again. I have gotten much better this year. It helps that the carnivore occasionally goes to the grocery store with me and makes suggestions, like "How bout I have fish burgers on Friday?" Umm, okay by me, I nod/shrug. He tosses the frozen patties into the cart and I start to think, "Now, what am I gonna eat?"

Well, let's just say I came up with something much better than a frozen fish patty. I took a large portabella mushroom and scrubbed it clean and removed the gills. I then placed it in a baking dish upside down. I added in a splash of balsamic vinaigrette. I then sliced a few cherry tomatoes thinly and layered them in the cap. Next I generously crumbled herb infused goat cheese over the tomatoes. Finally, I added slices of a crisp red pepper. I placed this masterpiece in the oven on a low broil until the cheese was melted and bubbly and the peppers began to char, about ten minutes. Once the marvelous mushroom was ready I added it to a toasted and buttered whole wheat sesame bun. I topped it with fresh basil leaves torn into large strips.

The result was juicy, filling, and complex. The creamy cheese, the spicy basil, the bright tomatoes, and the crunchy peppers were quite a mouthful. I think I might be hooked on these fish on Fridays thing after all. (Get it? Hooked? Couldn't help it.)

menu ideas:
I served both burgers with slices of watermelon. The carnivore had tots and I had sweet potato fries. He is just like that...what can I say? At least baby omnivore likes orange taters.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

the simple life

Recently the carnivore sent me a link to a "recipe" by Paula Deen. If you know my carnivore, you know he loves him some Paula. We even took a trek to Tunica, Mississippi a few years ago for his birthday dinner at her casino buffet. And boy was it good! Just like on her show, everything was drowned in butter. And true to form, the recipe he sent me also called for butter. But that's about it. If you haven't seen it, here is the link. In essence you open a can of peas, add butter, and heat. Now, I do make my peas in a similar fashion, but I wouldn't put it here on my blog as a recipe. Its just common sense.

Having said that, I am a bit embarrassed to share the following recipe for bar-b-que chicken. Its almost too easy. But here it goes...First, gather the following ingredients for two servings:

Chicken parts, bone in skin on, organic and hormone / cruelty free is possible
(I used 4 legs and two thighs from Whole Foods)
1/2 cup of your favorite ready made BBQ sauce (homemade or store bought)
1 tblsp of powder garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Grab a large ziplock bag. Place your chicken in it. Add in the garlic, salt, pepper, and half the BBQ sauce. Toss it until all parts are well coated. Set aside on counter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in oven safe dish. Cover with aluminum foil. Cook for one hour. Remove dish and take off foil. Pour off almost all of the fat, leaving just a bit in the bottom of the dish. Baste pieces with the rest of the sauce. Return to oven and cook another thirty minutes.

Just like that you have a finger lickin' good dish for your carnivore. In fact, it was so good there may or may not have been some plate lickin' in my house. Don't look now, Paula, I am fast on your heels with simple dishes that please!

menu ideas:
When I baked this chicken for the carnivore I also baked some "chicken" for myself. I had the faux breaded breast by Quorn. We also had actual corn - using an errily similar method to Paula's peas - as well as some sauteed green beans.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

can't judge a book by its cover

My dear carnivore is a former offensive lineman and thus a big guy. Often we go places and he is the tallest guy in the room too. Not surprisingly, some people find his mere presence intimidating. I, however, am not one of them. In fact we were dating for over a week before it dawned on me just how much bigger he is than me. You know what they say about love being blind and all...

Some dishes can also intimidating. Some can scare people at the very mention of their name. (Think souffle.) Risotto unfortunately falls into this category for many people. Again, I am not one of the people who feels this way. (And as often as Giada cooks it on TV I assume she feels the same way.) It is simply a special kind of rice that is cooked slowly. And today with the proliferation of many ready made packs, you and your carnivore can enjoy this at home any night. Heck, your carnivore can even make it for you! Plus, you can transform it to flavors that you love - parmesan, mushroom, garlic. This rice dish is buttery and creamy and can be made to suit any palate.

So whether you pick up a box (good for a start if you are truly intimidated) or if you make it from scratch, this sinful starch will be scarfed off your plate in no time. And, I promise, its not that hard to make. Check out a great recipe here. Its like our mixed breed puppy, who may or may not have some pit bull in her. She may look like a scary bone crusher, but she is the sweetest and most timid dog you will ever meet. As the saying goes you can't judge a book (or a dog, or a carnivore, or a dish) by its cover...

What's you favorite way to make risotto? Let me know below.

menu ideas:
Recently I served parmesan risotto with english peas. The carnivore had breaded fish fillets and I had mock crab cakes (both found at whole foods).

Friday, December 17, 2010

how many fingers am i holding up?

I am certain as baby omnivore gets older I will have battles over his food. While I do hope he will have my expansive palate, I am sure there will be times when he won't want what I put on his plate. Lucky for me I already have lots of practice cooking for a picky eater - the carnivore.  And I know this will be hit. It is my take on a fast food favorite - chicken fingers.

You will need:
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 package of chicken tenders
olive oil for drizzling
1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup of italian bread crumbs
1 tblsp of dried parsely
salt and pepper

Drizzle a large skillet with olive oil. Heat on medium. Next to skillet place shallow bowl with cheese, bread crumbs, and parsley mixed together. Next to that place shallow bowl with egg. Salt and pepper the tenders. Then start the assembly line. Dip in egg. Cover in breadcrumb mix. Place in pan. Heat on each side about four minutes. Wait til tenders pull away from pan on their own (not when they are sticking. Each side should be golden and the juices should run clear.

I mean, who doesn't like chicken fingers? Well, except for the vegetarians in your lives. But other than us, this will be a crowd-pleaser for the young and old alike in your life - even the picky ones.

menu ideas:
I served these with rice that I popped in my wonderful rice cooker. I also heat up some english peas. And for my main dish, at the same time I was cooking the chicken I had broccoli and mushrooms in another skillet sauteeing in olive oil and similar seasonings - parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley, etc.
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