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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Eggs in a Hole (aka Powder Puff Eggs)

Cooking Eggs in a Hole

Eggs in a Hole
 Behold one of my tried and true recipes, the much-loved Eggs in a Hole.  In this recipe, an egg is cooked inside the center of a piece of toast. 

Growing up, we had these eggs almost every week.  I've seen them called many different things, but these eggs were called "Powder Puff Eggs" when I was growing up.  I have no idea why.  There is nothing about these eggs that is "puffy," and there's certainly no form of "powder" involved.  Calling them "Eggs in a Hole" may seem more fitting for you, but I'll continue my tradition of calling them Powder Puff Eggs.

These eggs were so special to me that I even mailed the recipe to a newspaper columnist when I was ten.  Imagine my glee when I opened up my local paper at age ten and saw my first recipe published!  Apparently, the columnist became smitten with this easy dish too. 

The best part of these eggs in the hole made from the center of the bread.  The circle of bread gets toasted in the pan, and you create a perfect tool which can be used for dunking into the runny egg center.  The key is being able to cook the egg so the yolk is firm but still a bit runny. On this day, my husband wanted his yolks broken.  I overcooked my yolk. Looks like I'll need to make another one soon!

Eggs in a Hole (aka Powder Puff Eggs)

For each serving you will need:

Two slices of bread
Two eggs
Salt & Pepper

First, preheat your frying pan over medium high heat.  Next, cut a hole in the center of each slice of bread.  You can use a small juice glass, or a biscuit cutter.  Melt butter in the pan.  Place your bread slices and holes in the pan, and then crack an egg in the center hole of each slice.  After the bread has browned, flip and cook until egg is cooked to your liking.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

German Puffy Pancake

Lazy weekend mornings are rare in this household, so a special breakfast seems fitting when one comes around.  I grew up on what my Mom called "Bickford's Apple Pancake," which is outrageously decadent and delicious.  Have you had one?  Apple slices are smothered in brown sugar and butter, then surrounded by a puffy pancake. 

I found the recipe for this German Pancake in my Woman's Day magazine and made some minor changes.  The main difference between my Mom's Apple Pancake recipe and this German Pancake is the lack of apples.  It still has the wow factor of watching the pancake puff and creep up the side of the pan.  I must confess that I sat on my kitchen floor and watched it cook through the oven window.

The recipe allegedly serves four, but I feel two is more like it.  Plan on making this one soon.  It would make a mighty fine weeknight dinner too!

German Pancake

4 eggs
1/2 cup milk (I used skim, but whole would be even better)
1/2 cup flour
1 T sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
2 T butter
Powdered sugar for dusting

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  In a bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, vanilla and salt until well combined.  Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat.  Add the butter and melt.  Add the batter, and transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the pancake is puffed and golden, 12 to 15 minutes.  Dust with powdered sugar or serve with strawberry jam if desired. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lentil Soup with Chickpeas

Lentil Soup with Chickpeas
Regular lentil soup is a bit boring and bland to me.  It always looks so...well, brown.  The color of this soup is much more appealing and satisfying than typical lentil soup. 

This soup combines three flavors and textures that go well together -- lentils, curry, and chickpeas.  The color of the curry adds a much appreciated visual appeal.  The protein from the chickpeas also makes it really hearty.

This soup needs to be thinned out with water before serving.  Don't forget the fresh lemon as it  needs that brightness at the end.  If you don't have a lemon in the house now, go get one.  I'll wait...


1 medium onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 T olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T curry powder
1 cup lentils, rinsed well
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 T lemon juice
salt & pepper

Saute the onion and carrot in 1 T olive oil over medium heat until softened, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and curry powder, and saute for about a minute.  Add the lentils and 4 cups of water.  Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat for 45 minutes.  Puree chickpeas in food processor with 1/4 cup water, 2 T lemon juice, and remaining olive oil.  Mix chickpea puree into soup at end of 45 minutes.  Add water to thin it out as desired.  When serving, each bowl should be garnished with a wedge of lemon.  Makes about 4 good sized servings.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Better Than Usual Burgers

On Sunday nights, my family and I usually enjoy a "nicer than usual" dinner.  It's the night we have a meal that takes a while to prepare or one that is "fancier" than our worknight meals. Sunday night's typical meal might be, for example, an eye of the round, roasted chicken, lasagna, or some baked fish.  But not tonight... I craved a burger.  Not a turkey burger or a veggie burger.  A good old beef burger.  And it did not disappoint. 

We went to our favorite meat market this afternoon, and I bought some 85% ground beef.  For sides, I must say I did a good job using up what I had in the refrigerator.  I made some cole slaw, a spinach salad, a small tomato/mozarella salad, and some roasted broccoli.  I also sauteed a large shallot with some balsamic vinegar for my burger.  Can you say veggie overload?

Here's a photo of my plate.  I opted to go without the bun in an attempt to decrease my carbs.  My burger has a slice of tomato and the shallots on it which was a nice combination.  The burger was melt in your mouth good. 

I decided to add some flavor and moisture to the meat before I formed the patties.  Here's what I did:

1 1/2 pounds 85% lean hamburger
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T milk
1 t Montreal-type Steak Seasoning (I used Weber brand)

Preheat gas grill to high.  Mix all ingredients together until just combined.  Form into six equal sized patties.  Don't forget -- flatten the middles of the burgers so they cook evenly.  Cook about 7 minutes altogether.  My instant read thermometer read 145 degrees, but the burgers were very juicy.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My First Attempt at Potato Latkes and Applesauce

Today is the first day of April Vacation, so that means it's time to start relaxing and getting back into the blog mood.

This morning I realized I had some organic russet potatoes that needed to be used, and I happen to have a box of Matzo Meal (Matzo Ball soup is on the horizon...), so I thought I'd give them a try. Latkes have been on my must try to make list for a long time.

They are delicious and were a bit hit with my family. I adapted my recipe from one I found from Good Housekeeping. Their recipe used a lot of oil, which I'm sure would have made them even more tasty. But, ever conscious of my family's health, I tried reducing the oil by about two thirds. The color of the latkes probably would have been more golden had I "fried" them rather than "sauteed" them.

I also made some homemade applesauce to serve alongside the latkes. This was the first time I made applesauce without using cinnamon. It was quite tasty without. If you prefer, you could cook the applesauce and then let it cool, or you can serve it warm.


6 small russet potatoes

1 small onion

1 egg

2 T flour or matzo meal

1 T fresh parsley

1 T lemon juice

1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

3 T canola oil

Start making the applesauce. Peel and pare four or five small apples. (I used organic Gala.) Place them in a small pan with 1/2 cup water (or apple juice/cider) if you have it and 1/4 cup sugar. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes. When they are tender, mash the apples.

Meanwhile, peel potatoes. Shred them in your food processor, along with the onion. Put potatoes and onions in a dish towel and squeeze all the water out. When you think you're done, squeeze some more. Place contents in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the oil and mix well. Preheat a large non-stick saute pan on medium heat. Drizzle about 1 T of canola oil in pan. After it heats up, scoop about 1/4 cup of the potato mixture and drop into the oil to make about 4 latkes. Use the bottom of the measuring cup to flatten them out. After about 5 minutes, flip and cook another 5 minutes. When they are done, drain on a paper towel. Repeat until you have made a total of about 12 pancakes.

You may want to keep latkes warm in a 250 degree oven as they cook. Serve with warm applesauce.