Sunday, May 26, 2013

Farro Salad
My Attempt to Re-Create
a Fun and Tasty Lunch at Uno's
This past March, I got together with my four best friends from college for our Winter Getaway.  Our first stop was to shop at the outlets.  Not long after we bought a few things, we became parched and hungry.  Off to Uno's we went! 
My friend Margo recommended we all try their Farro Salad.  I had never heard of farro, but I was immediately hooked.  I loved the curious chew in each bite. 

According to Wikipedia, the exact definition of farro is debated.  Farro is grown in Italy, and it is sometimes confused with barley.  In the U.S., we can buy "common wheat berries" if we want to make this dish.

I found wheat berries at Whole Foods.  I bought them in the bulk food section which was a bargain.  I hate having to buy a huge bag of something...then lose my enthusiasm...then I feel guilty if I don't use it all. 
Uno describes their salad as "fantastically healthy for you."  Turns out, for a 1/4 cup serving, you get 6 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and it also has iron and folic acid. 
In my endless effort to eat healthfully, I made this wheat berry salad this morning.  It's chilling now.  I'm thinking about adding some feta cheese to round it out.  The Uno's version has cucumber in it.  I think I'll add that too, but I'll do so closer to when I'm going to eat it.  I don't want it to get watery.

I got the recipe from Giada DeLaurentis on the Food Network which is linked below.  It's very tasty!  Now if I could only re-create Uno's amazing Bloody Mary, that would be great!




Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bread Maker Mania

Happy summer!  I am happy to announce I have entered the wonderful, satisfying world of bread making.  After reading many reviews, I decided to purchase a Zojirushi bread machine.  It is top quality.  I am in love!  The first day that I took the machine out of the box I was able to make a great loaf of bread.  It's so easy.     

I have made five loaves of bread and one batch of pita breads in the last week.  I used recipes from the book that came with the bread maker.  Then, I also purchased a cookbook, The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook by Beth Hensperger.  The breads I've made from this cookbook have come out much better than the recipes that came with the machine.  I highly recommend. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Rice in the Pressure Cooker

Spring is here, school is almost out, and I'm gearing up for another fun summer filled with cooking and blogging. 

I plan on sharing some of my experiences with my pressure cooker. I love, love, love it.  If you're on the fence about buying one, do not hesitate.  Here's the one that I bought from Amazon: 

In order to cook rice, I also needed to buy a small stainless steel bowl so that I could steam in my pressure cooker.  I bought a set of three stacking Martha Stewart stainless steel bowls at Macy's.  The middle bowl is 3-quarts and it fits perfectly. 

I love to make Steamed Rice in my pressure cooker.  I adapted it from Miss Vickie's book which I highly recommend.

Measure one cup of long grain rice into a small stainless steel bowl.  Rinse it several times, then drain.  Put 1 1/2 cups of fresh water in the rice, along with a little salt and a tablesoon of butter.  Put one cup of water in the bottom of the pressure cooker.  Put the rice (that is already in a small bowl) on the trivet on top of the water.  Bring up to pressure.  I move to the lower temperature burner, and start timing for 8 minutes.  Let it come down to pressure naturally.  You will get perfectly steamed rice every time.  So delicious and so quick. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

This Week's Dinners

Sunday - meatloaf (ground sirloin/ground pork with poultry seasoning), baked potatoes, steamed broccoli with a quick cheese sauce, salad

Monday - Egg sandwiches on English muffins, hash browns, fresh fruit

Tuesday - Crispy chicken tenders (using Rice Krispies, a first!), mashed potatoes, corn

Wednesday - Chow mein with ground pork (cooked and frozen on Sunday), steamed rice in pressure cooker, edemame

Thursday - Pizza with carmelized shallots, fig jam, and goat cheese; regular pizza with pineapple

Monday, July 18, 2011

This Week's Dinners

This Week's (Simple -- It's Too Hot To Fuss) Dinners

Monday - Grilled shrimp (new recipe) using recipe from Allrecipes, pasta salad, salad
* If the shrimp comes out good, I'll post! *

Tuesday - Chicken a la King using leftover rotisserie chicken from Sunday night, egg noodles, steamed zucchini

Wednesday - Sandwiches at the beach, leftover pasta salad

Thursday - American Chop Suey, salad

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dinner This Week Using New Pressure Cooker

Excited about my recent purchase of a stovetop pressure cooker, Fagor 8-quart Pressure Cooker, I have planned a couple of meals that involve this new purchase.  I have purchased two pressure cookbooks recently, and I've been reading them non-stop. 

I have done the important "Test Drive" of my pressure cooker which gave me some confidence.  This involves boiling some water and then keeping it under pressure for ten minutes.  Then, I tried making one chicken dish which was a bomb and went to the trash.  (Did you see my confidence just go out the window?)  Although it probably would have tasted good, I was using some admittedly freezer burned chicken, and then I had some difficulty deciding if the pressure cooker was up to pressure.  As a result, the chicken was grossly overcooked. 

Ever hopeful, I'm going to give my pressure cooker another try.  It's one of my many culinary goals for the summer.  I may even try making my own hummus again, this time starting out with dried chickpeas cooked in the pressure cooker.

This Week's Dinners

Monday - Porcupine Meatballs with Egg Noodles (pressure cooker recipe from Miss Vickie's Big Book of Pressure Cooker Recipes)

Tuesday - BBQ Ribs and Rice (pressure cooker recipe from Lorna Sass:  Pressure Perfect)

Wednesday - Grilled chicken with Orzo & Feta Salad.  I'll marinate the chicken in lemon juice, olive oil, and a little basil and oregano.

Thursday - Grilled Mini Pizzas * see below
* Pizza with Watercress and Fig Jam (for me)
* Pizza with Cheddar, Granny Smith Apple, and Bacon (for DB)
* Pepperoni Pizza (for son Griffin)
* Pineapple Pizza (for daughter Julia)

If the pressure cooker recipes come out well, I'll post the recipe.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dinner This Week

Do you know what you're having for dinner this week?  A couple of years ago, I started writing down what I plan to serve for dinner in the upcoming week every Sunday morning.  Then I hit the grocery store.

There are so many great reasons why I do this bit of extra work.  Most importantly,  it allows me to feel more "in control" of my life.  I no longer find myself feeling panicked because I don't have anything defrosted and nothing sounds good to me.  My kids no longer ask, "What Are We Having For Dinner?" because it's already written down. 

Just because I'm writing it down doesn't mean I'm cooking more elaborate dinners, please note.  Even if I'm making sandwiches for dinner, the decision's been made.  I don't have any indecisiveness to bring me down during the already busy work week.

I also save money by doing this.  I only buy the food I need to create this dinners.  No longer do I find myself throwing something in the cart because it looks good, only to realize I didn't get around to cooking it and then it's thrown into the freezer.  In addition, by planning ahead I have everything I need to make each dinner because I made my grocery list while sitting calmly in my kitchen.  If I'm unsure about whether or not I have an ingredient, I just open the refrigerator and cabinets and look.  No more purchasing something I already had!

This week's dinners are extra plain and unhealthy due to our schedule.  It's the last week of school and I'm feeling a bit uninspired.


Sunday:  Turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, salad
Monday:  Sweet and sour chicken, rice, salad (I almost bought bottled sweet and sour sauce, but I'm just going to make my own with pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce and vinegar)
Tuesday:  Omelets, fried Spam, toast, and sliced strawberries
Wednesday:  BLT sandwiches on the beach, potato chips
Thursday:  Hot dogs, Shoestring fries