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Sunday
Steak, Asparagus, and Gorgonzola Pizza (from Smells Like Home)

steakpiza

Oh my, heaven. I usually don’t make pizzas with white sauce, but this sounded too good not to try. Best pizza I’ve had in a while. Everything goes together so well, and the tang of the Gorgonzola adds a wonderful finishing touch. I’d definitely add more asparagus next time, as it got a little lost in the cheesiness of the toppings, but even that didn’t stop it from tasting great. I’m also wondering how it’d be with some mushrooms as well. A relatively easy pizza to make, but the bèchamel sauce is fairly easy to do, and it tastes so creamy and delicious that it’s worth it. The leftovers made for a nice breakfast the next morning! We’ll be doing this one again.

 

Tuesday
Buffalo Chicken Soup (from My Retro Kitchen)

buffalochicksoup

I’ve already confessed that I love all things buffalo-flavored, but this soup went way beyond expectations. I made it with carrots instead of celery, which seemed like a big improvement to me. I loved this soup. The carrots, plus lots of moist chicken, plus a thick buffalo-flavored broth, plus a smattering of blue cheese on top all added up to an amazing soup. The flavors came together perfectly, and it was just at the right level of spicy (I had to add more Frank’s Hot Sauce to get it where I wanted it, but no problem). I made the whole recipe, which left enough for me to enjoy the soup over lunch the next couple of days. It just kept getting better. Easily my favorite meal of the week and one I will keep in mind whenever I get a craving for buffalo chicken.

 

Wednesday
All-White Salad (from Around My French Table)

allwhitesalad

I think I covered this well enough in my French Friday post. This was so lackluster and unremarkable. I’m not a fan of salads, but this was so underwhelming that Geordie (who does like salads) was sorely unimpressed. Honestly, it’s put me off trying any other salad for a while.

 

Thursday
“Frito” Chili Pie (from Brown Eyed Baker)

fritochili

We have had a bag of corn chips (at one time freshly made in the HEB tortilleria) sitting on the kitchen table for weeks, and I finally went looking for something to do with them. A Frito pie seemed like a good option. This one has a really good chili that was tasty even on its own. The corn chips were already going a bit stale, and baking them in the oven didn’t help much, but overall, it was a good meal. I’d definitely do the chili on its own again. Geordie and I had the leftovers with fried eggs one morning, and that made for a nice filling breakfast. An idea we’ll keep in mind for the future, no matter what kind of chili we have!

 

Friday
Sardinian Paella (from Food & Wine Magazine)

sardinianpaella

I wanted to make something a little special for Valentine’s Day, and I decided on a paella after watching an episode of Iron Chef America. The first paella I ever had was from a pizza delivery place in Japan (yes, they had a paella special, and yes, they delivered it hot and fresh to our door), but whenever I think of paella, I can’t help but think of the episode of “Fawlty Towers” in which Manuel and the hotel chef get into a fight over who is going to make the Fawltys’ anniversary paella. This paella was not accompanied by such excitement, thankfully. The shrimp got a little overcooked, and I wish I’d bought more mussels, but otherwise, this was terrific. And much easier than I’d expected. I wouldn’t mind making it again!

Confession time. I don’t usually eat salads. I don’t really like them. I’ve never been a big fan of greens, and since they make up the majority of most salads, I tend to avoid them. However, I will eat a salad (especially a Caesar salad) every so often, but usually only if it’s made by someone else. As much as I don’t like to eat salads, I like making them even less. So I faced this week’s Dorie recipe without any expectations of enjoying it at all.

And, honestly, I didn’t enjoy it. At all. The salad itself was easy to make: a Granny Smith apple, white mushrooms, and pre-shredded cabbage (no celery, because ew). It took maybe ten minutes to get everything sliced, chopped, and/or dumped out of a bag. As the name suggests, it’s white. Well, the cabbage was a little green, and the mushrooms had the brown gills, but otherwise, it was pretty bland-looking. But that’s the idea. An all-white salad doesn’t promise much else, does it.

Then I set about to making the dressing, and it took 30 minutes to do. In theory, it’s simple: an egg yolk and a bit of Greek yogurt are whisked together while gradually (very gradually) adding olive oil. Then some lemon juice. Then more olive oil. Then more Greek yogurt. This would have all been a lot faster if I’d just used the food processor to do it, but that would mean more cleaning, and I like to avoid more cleaning when I can. I whisked the dressing together, and the next day, the knuckles on my right forefinger were tender to the touch. And after all that, the dressing wasn’t even that interesting. It was okay, but it was not, in my opinion, worth 30 minutes of effort and sore knuckles.

In the end, I was as unimpressed with this salad as I thought I would be, and that made me a little sad. I’d been hoping that I’d be wrong and that it would be a good salad. Maybe not a great salad (have I ever had a great salad that didn’t involve breaded chicken? probably not), but a good salad. It wasn’t even that. It felt like a chore to eat it. Geordie was just as unimpressed as I was.

allwhitesalad

It probably didn’t help that we had some great meals this week. This was definitely the low point, uninteresting in both appearance and flavor. That was part of the problem. It’s not that the salad is inherently bad. It’s just boring, for lack of a better word. I usually love mushrooms, but they didn’t stand out here. Granny Smith apples don’t do anything for me, and they didn’t do anything for this salad either. A little bit of sweetness might actually have improved this salad a bit, but you’re not going to get that from Granny Smiths. And it still wouldn’t help the lackluster dressing. Geordie and I both felt that the salad had nothing to offer other than the uniqueness of being a salad almost entirely sapped of color.

This will probably be the last salad I make for a long, long time.

Check out the Dorista links to see their all-white salads from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. Looking forward to next week’s crepes – now that should be an interesting experience, no matter how it turns out! Happy cooking!

Monday
Brussels Sprouts Breakfast Hash (adapted from How Sweet It Is)

brusselshash

I don’t make hashes all that often, which is really too bad. I like hashes. I like breakfast meals, I just don’t like making them for breakfast. It takes too much time. And unless I’m sleeping until 9am (ha ha, like that ever happens any more), brunch isn’t my thing either. So, breakfast often gets made for dinner. This certainly didn’t disappoint. I used a Japanese sweet potato instead of a regular one, which had a bit of an apple-sweet flavor to it. It went quite nicely with the bacon and Brussels sprouts. I also added mushrooms, because that’s just something I do. I had Geordie fry up some eggs, but I think poached eggs would be better. I had the leftovers with a poached egg, and the yolk added a nice bit of moistness and flavor. The sweet potato was soft instead of crispy, so I might try a slightly different method, as we prefer crisper potatoes with hash. But it was quite tasty as it was and something I would consider doing again.

 

Tuesday
Hachis Parmentier (from Around My French Table) and asparagus

hachisparmentier

I already covered this on Friday’s post, so there’s not much more to say here. Except: delicious. Comforting. Definitely a new winter staple.

 

Thursday
Flavorful White Chili (from Taste of Home’s Everyday Light Meals), Cornbread (from The Little House Cookbook), matchsticked carrots cooked in the microwave

whitechili

So disappointing. I admit, I probably shouldn’t have had such high hopes from a book that promises that you can “indulge in delicious meals without an ounce of guilt.” I thought I had learned that lesson from the Biggest Loser cookbooks, but apparently not. Actually, it wasn’t terrible. It was just really boring. Also, the beans did not cook all the way, even though they were parboiled and soaked and then stuck in a crockpot for eight hours. Their un-doneness really ruined the chili as a whole. However, the chicken (which was thigh instead of breast and cooked with both olive oil and salt – gasp) was nicely done and tasted great. The broth was simply chicken broth flavored with some seasoning: good, but nothing spectacular. Instead of reduced fat Monterey Jack, I used whole fat Colby Jack, and that helped some. The cornbread was a nice addition, especially as a thickening agent. But overall, I would have preferred a much better chili – this one certainly didn’t manage to come anywhere close to “must make again.” Honestly, the best thing to come out this meal was the carrots, which I simply cut into matchsticks and cooked in the microwave with some butter. Something I’ll do again when I want carrots in a hurry.

 

Friday
Pumpkin Mezze Lune with Sage-Cream Sauce (from A Taste of Home Cooking) and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

pumpkinmesse

Just the sauce is homemade, actually. The pumpkin mezze lune was from HEB, one of their frozen all-natural pasta offerings. I love this ravioli – it’s sweet and creamy and filling without being heavy. The sauce went perfectly: heated cream spiked with garlic and sage and finished off with just enough Parmesan cheese to give it an extra depth of flavor. The Brussels sprouts also benefited from a drizzle of the sauce, but they were just as good by themselves. A light meal and easily done, definitely something I’ll be doing again.

Sara

I am a daughter and a sister, a wife and a friend. I am a reader and a writer, a dreamer and a realist, a teacher and a learner. I am the mother of a baby born sleeping. I am on a journey of healing, walking a path paved with tears and grief and hope.

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