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Steak, Asparagus, and Gorgonzola Pizza (from Smells Like Home)
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.
Buffalo Chicken Soup (from My Retro Kitchen)
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.
All-White Salad (from Around My French Table)
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.
“Frito” Chili Pie (from Brown Eyed Baker)
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!
Sardinian Paella (from Food & Wine Magazine)
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!
Brussels Sprouts Breakfast Hash (adapted from How Sweet It Is)
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.
Hachis Parmentier (from Around My French Table) and asparagus
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.
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.
Pumpkin Mezze Lune with Sage-Cream Sauce (from A Taste of Home Cooking) and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
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.
Steak & Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Tomatoes and Corn (from The Picky Palate)
I like to eat quesadillas, but I do not like to make them. Well, I like to make them for lunch or whenever I might be eating on my own. I don’t like making them for more than person, because they take time to make. If I make Geordie’s first, then he’s usually done by the time I’m finished making mine. And if he waits for me, his quesadilla is cold. I’m a little preoccupied with timing sometimes. We both really enjoyed these quesadillas, but we weren’t able to enjoy them together at the dining room table. Steak and goat cheese make an excellent combination here, and the tomato-corn relish is a very fine accompaniment, though I did make some changes. Instead of warming it all up in a skillet, I combined chopped grape tomatoes, cooked frozen corn, and some lime-flavored olive oil in a bowl and then popped it in the microwave for a bit. Simple and effective. Would have also been good with some avocado thrown in. A very nice dinner, as far as flavor goes.
Carrot Soup with Miso & Sesame (from Smitten Kitchen)
Every once in a while, I get a craving for miso, and this soup seemed like it would fulfill that craving nicely. Unfortunately, when I went to make it, I discovered that I didn’t have enough carrots. So I supplemented with apples. It ended up being a pound and a quarter of carrots and three-quarters pound of apple. I was a little worried about how that would affect the soup, but it came out marvelously. I can’t imagine this soup without the apples; they added a nice depth to what I imagine would be an otherwise one-note base. Nor did they make the soup too sweet. The swirl of sesame oil and the few drops of rayu finished the soup off nicely. Some texture would have been good, maybe in the form of some nice, crunchy croutons, but even without that, it was quite a pleasant soup. I expect I’ll be making my modified version again.
One of my new favorite books, naturally. I figured this was a nice, simple recipe to start with. There really isn’t too much to this beyond rubbing the chicken with spices, dousing them with Stubb’s BBQ sauce, and then letting them cook for several hours. Pick a good barbecue sauce, and you’re good to go. The slaw paired rather nicely with the chicken, being a fair combination of sweet and vinegary (a little too vinegary, according to Geordie, but that’s the way I like it). Also, it’s nice to find a slaw that’s on the healthy side. This was a comfy sort of meal, quite nice for a week that’s been on the cool side, weather-wise.
Meatballs with Mushroom Pesto Cream Sauce (sauce recipe from A Taste of Home Cooking)
I rarely use a whole jar of pesto in one meal, so whenever I do use pesto, I seem to end up with a half-jar of it sitting in my fridge for months on end. This jar had only been in there for a week or two, and I made a point of it this week to use it up. The meatballs were ones I had made back in November while I was getting freezer meals together, so that was time and energy saved for this meal. All I had to do was boil the pasta and make the sauce, which was easy enough. I did make a few changes: instead of chicken broth, I used beef broth because that’s what I had, and then while the sauce simmered, I added in a tablespoon of flour to thicken it up a bit. Definitely changes I’ll keep in mind when I make this again, although I’d also add more mushrooms, possibly going so far as to do 24 ounces instead of just 8; they got a bit lost in the sauce. Even so, this turned out to be quite a lovely meal – a rich, creamy sauce spiked with flavorful pesto, which complemented the tender, juicy meatballs. A nice meal all-around, and one I’ll remember the next time I have half a jar of pesto stuck in the fridge.