Plus a little wine AND no work tomorrow!
While grocery shopping last weekend, I grabbed a package of “meatloaf mix” from the store. It wasn’t the America’s Test Kitchen recommended blend of beef, pork and veal in 1/3 portions, instead we ended up with more of a 1/3 lb pork, 1 1/2 lb beef mixture, but still, sort of a mix, right?
Anyway, Sunday was chosen as meatloaf night, and following the recipe on the pages of our go-to binder when we know what we want to make (pancakes? check slow cooker chili? check dinner rolls? check pork chops with a pan sauce? check — I mean, honestly, it’s all here), I created a loaf of meat that turned out to be incredibly flavorful.
On the side? Some cheesy mashed potatoes — they were a mash-up of the ATK cookbook recipe with some cheesy versions found via the Google.
After dining on several delicious meals from the McDonald family chefs last weekend during our Galveston getaway, it was time for a light homemade dinner. This recipe for Bistro Dinner Salad was featured in a MyRecipes.com article and was both tasty and easy.
File this one under: “will make again”
A week spent fighting with a cold has left me with some catch-up to do here.
Kelley’s parents came to visit on Valentine’s weekend. We headed to lunch at the Iron Horse hotel, where we all had Bloody Marys — which came with pickle, celery, brussels sprout, olive, pepper and of course, slim jim. No beer chaser though, since the Iron Horse doesn’t have draft beer.
Following lunch, we headed to the Harley museum, which was surprisingly fascinating.
Then, it was back to our place for dinner. It was a slow cooker meal from good ol’ Christopher Kimball: Slow-Cooker Chicken with White Wine, Tarragon and Cream
On the side, we had Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Figs from the New York Times.
Of course, I sorta failed in not having some fresh bread to go with this meal.
First up, I used this mix as a guide and created a simple Indian Spice Rub from the menagerie of spices pictured below.
Rubbed that on some chicken breasts and mixed up some hummus, following this easy recipe from the Savory Sweet Life blog. It was so quick that the only picture I got was the final product.
To scoop up the hummus, I decided to try making some homemade pita bread, following the instructions in Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day.
The pita bread turned out GREAT! It was the easiest bread I’ve made so far. I mean, yes, there’s some rolling pin action involved, but there’s no steam in this recipe and the baking time is 5-7 minutes. I actually went ahead and made a second load of pita bread so we’ll have some extras to enjoy with the leftover hummus over the next couple of days.
The final product was a well-balanced, but relatively easy and quick dinner.
We’ve done the butcher shop for meat before, but we’ve never really purchased seafood from a quality fresh fish shop (a fish monger?). I’ve been meaning to check out Empire Fish for a long time, and I finally did on Saturday. Awesome store really — very friendly staff and a great collection of sea critters. Lots of fresh options and some frozen stuff available too. I may have been a little over-excited though because I left with some scallops, some shrimp and a haddock filet.
All of that led to Seafood Sunday!
Using recipes from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (btw, if you don’t own this cookbook, buy it from Amazon now — at less than $24, it’s a bargain) as a guide, our lunch meal consisted of a little Ginger-Hoisin Shrimp.
On the side, we ate some more of the quinoa, and enjoyed some European Peasant Bread from the Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day book. Overall it was a tasty, speedy, albeit slightly-more-extravagant-than-your-average-noontime-meal lunch.
Then, when it came to dinner time, I put the awesome Saints victory on hold to cook up the rest of the fishy stuff. With only about a single serving each of scallops and haddock, I decided to make both. For the scallops, I pan-seared them with the lemon, shallots and capers recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. For the haddock, I kept it simple. A little salt and pepper followed by a quick dredging in some flour. That’s just basic white rice on the side.
The lemon/caper/shallot combo was a little overpowering. I think we both ended up pushing most of it to the side and focusing on the scallop-ey goodness. As for the haddock, for such a simple preparation, it was quite tasty. I mean, Kelley, who doesn’t really like fish, gave it a favorable review. I believe her words were along the lines of : “I would go to a fish fry if they used this recipe.”
Quinoa (pronounce keen-wah) is the seed of the Goosefoot plant. It cooks much like a grain and has a fantastic nutty flavor, with a little bit of a crunch (due to its seed nature). It’s also healthy:
The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron, a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans. It is exceptionally high in lysine, cystine and methionine-amino acids typically low in other grains. It is a good complement for legumes, which are often low in methionine and cystine. The protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids.
(from Chet Day’s Health & Beyond)
I owe this new discovery to this post on the kitchn blog, which led to a recipe for Quinoa and Avocado Salad with Dried Fruit, Toasted Almonds, and Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette at Fine Cooking.
Note: The picture over there looks a little different than the ones at those two links. It’s not just the Polish pottery. Those linked-to photos used red quinoa, but all I could find was the white version.
If you’ve never tried quinoa, I can highly recommend it. Try the recipe here, it’s healthy (containing not only the benefits of quinoa, but also a healthy dose of the good fats in avocado). And it’s delicious.
Next step for us is finding more quinoa recipes to try.
Finally — that fruit you see on the left side of that photo over there? That’s the fruit of the pummelo, another new food we gave a try to. It’s like a grapefruit, but has a really thick, super-spongy membrane around the fruit, and it’s nowhere near as bitter as grapefruit.