Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner…and then some

In the kitchen at Di's House

Thai-Style Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

I bought a rotisserie chicken over the weekend and have to come up with ideas for leftovers.  I wanted chicken salad but didn’t want mayo.  After looking through the Cooks Illustrated Cookbook, I found this recipe for Thai-Style Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing.  The dressing is a sort of lime vinaigrette with peanut butter.  I used whatever veggies I had, and boiled up some soba noodles to mix in.

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I ended up with grated carrot, green onions, cilantro, broccoli, radishes, lettuce, soba noodles and chicken.  Mixed in the dressing and sprinkled on chopped peanuts.  I like the dressing but I’m a peanut butter nut and will add more PB next time.

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Meatless Memorial Day Monday – Beans ‘n Greens Burritos

I went to see the latest “Star Trek” movie today and was so tempted to get take-out on the way home and have meatless Tuesday instead.  What stopped me was that I arrived early to get my favorite seat (it was taken!) and had half an hour to wait, which I spent reading “The Food Matters Cookbook” by Mark Bittman.  I realized I was just being lazy and cooked what I had originally planned, the Beans ‘n Greens Burritos from that book.

It’s a relatively simple recipe, sauteed onion and kale, with black beans, stuffed into a burrito.  (I’m having trouble uploading a photo, I’ll try again later.)  I liked that it wasn’t heavy and filling.  I have leftover black beans, I want to try this recipe with raw kale later this week.

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The Spaghetti Catalyst

I’m slowly making my way through reruns of “The Big Bang Theory.”  This week I watched “The Spaghetti Catalyst” episode, where Sheldon recalls the dish his Mom made, spaghetti with sliced hotdogs.  For fun, I looked online for a recipe, and saw recipes for skewered hotdogs.  I combined the two ideas.

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First, you take thin spaghetti broken in half, and skewer sliced hotdogs with the pasta.  Then cook according to package directions (for the pasta).

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I think it would look better wih regular thickness spaghetti, although that would mean the hotdogs get boiled longer.

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“A real I-talian treat,” as Mrs. Cooper would say.  The flavor of the hotdog pretty much overpowered everything else, plus it was salty.  Not bad, though.  It would be a good activity to keep kids occupied while making dinner.

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Meatless Monday thanks to Trader Joe’s

I did some shopping at Trader Joe’s this weekend.  They had beautiful artichokes for only 99 cents each.  I also bought some masala veggie burgers, mango chutney (to go with the burgers), puttanesca sauce, arborio rice, and a bunch of other staples, along with meatballs and chocolate at IKEA.

We had the artichokes tonight, along with TJ’s spinach lasagna.

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I can’t remember where I got the artichoke plates from.  I may be wrong, but I want to think they’re from Marshall’s or Ross, and that my Mom bought them.  Whenever she found something she liked, eventually everyone in the family would have a set.

The spinach lasagna is just one of the frozen entrees.  It’s so simple but whenever I’ve tried to make it from scratch, it’s just not the same.

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The nutritional information says each one has 340 calories.  It’s not exactly diet food but not calorie-laden either.

I’m making kombucha for the first time.  It’s a fermented drink made from sweet tea and a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast).  The brew is on its 6th day, and a baby scoby is starting to form on the top.  I may bottle it tomorrow, just because it’s my first batch, and I don’t want the flavor too strong.  I’m going to add it to apple juice and turn it into a “soda.”  I’ll add ginger to some too, just for fun.

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Meatless Monday – Sourdough Date Rye Bread and Cacio e Pepe

I was looking for the link to the bread recipe I made and I can’t find it!  If I remember where I got it from, I’ll post it in the comments.  Today I made a sourdough date rye bread.  The dates are in the form of a date paste.  Ten dates are soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes, then pureed.  The rest of the ingredients are white flour, rye flour, salt, and yeast.  I still have trouble getting the slashes on top of the bread, but I was surprised at how pretty it turned out.

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I didn’t read the instructions last night, so I cheated and added yeast.  I’ll have to try it the other way (having the starter, flour and water sit overnight for 8 hours, to see if it makes much difference.  The loaf rose a lot but when I sliced it, there weren’t any big holes.

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It has good flavor.  I might add some nuts next time too.

I was feeling lazy for dinner, I almost just had salad.  We had cacio e pepe (spaghetti with cheese and pepper), with some chopped asparagus and peas thrown in.  Sometimes simple is better than a recipe with lots of ingredients.

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Leftovers – Arancini and Armadillo Sweet Potatoes

Today was the second week of our new farmers market.  Since I’d been last week as well as Thursday, I didn’t buy much.  That’s not to say I didn’t get some good goodies, though.

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I picked up a dozen eggs for my bro-in-law, a breakfast burrito to share when I got home, herbal healing elixir (to help with the fire ant bites I got yesterday!), and a sage plant.  I tried sprouting sage from seed and the only one that has popped up looks like a quarter inch blade of grass. 

I made armadillo sweet potatoes for dinner.  They’re also called Hasselback potatoes, named after the hotel where they were first served.  There are savory versions, but I put butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in mine.  I baked it at 375 for 40 minutes. 

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I also made baked arancini with the leftover risi e bisi.  I cut string cheese into small pieces, molded cold risotto around it, then breaded the rice balls with panko after rolling in flour and an egg wash.  The recipes I saw online ranged from 375 to 425, for 25 minutes.  I went with 375 but they didn’t get that browned.  I put a little pizza sauce on them.

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I liked the arancini, the cheese added some saltiness to make it less bland.  The sweet potatoes, I think I like regular baked sweet potatoes better.  They don’t get as dried out as baking them sliced up.  It looks fancy, though, like for Thanksgiving.

 

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Risi e Bisi

Today was opening day for the farmers market at the local library.  I got some fresh peas, sweet potatoes, and wildflowers.  On the way there, I stopped at the outlet store for the local health food store, and got some canned fire-roasted tomatoes and vegetable Better Than Bouillon.  It all added up to risi e bisi for dinner!

It’s basically rice with peas, but with risotto.  I used Rachael Ray’s recipe, using the fresh peas, along with the bouillon base for the stock.  I also used a tip I found online, making a broth with the pea pod shells (simmer shells with water then pull out the shells, add the bouillon and a pinch of saffron).  It wasn’t that complicated, I just boiled the pea pod shells while I chopped the onions and garlic.

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I added more parmesan on top.  Risotto isn’t something I normally make, but it was thundering & raining at the time and seemed like a comforting thing to do.  That’s why the photo is sort of yellow, because it was dark & gloomy outside.  I’m going to make baked arancini with the leftovers this weekend.

Something else I made today was a knock-off on Larabars.  I think the only actual Larabar I ever had was the key lime flavor, but honestly, I don’t remember.  Mostly because they are pricey and not something I would normally buy.  I tried this homemade version today, with dark chocolate and cherries.  What I like about it is that it has a small list of ingredients:  almonds, dates, dried cherries, chocolate, pecans, and salt (I skipped the salt).  And no baking!  I added some chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds I had, along with the cherries and chocolate.  I had to add a little water, too, to get the mixture to clump.  These are now my favorite energy bites and I can’t wait to try new flavors.  I found this raw food blog that has a myriad of ingredient suggestions for different flavors.  I want to make one without chocolate, that I can keep in the car.

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Meatless Tuesday – Three Bean Sweet Potato Chili

I went out to dinner last night to celebrate a friend’s birthday, so Meatless Monday was moved to Tuesday.  We wen to Jalapeno Tree.  I ate too many chips and a tortilla, that by the time the dinner came, I wasn’t all that hungry.  I ordered the carne asado (that’s how they spelled it!), which was served with a butter sauce on the side.  Since I cook meatless so much at home, when I go out, I usually order meat.  I don’t understand the butter sauce, though, it was salty and greasy (but I’m a gringa Yankee).  Otherwise pretty good, and the tortillas are wonderful.

Tonight we had Three Bean Sweet Potato Chili, from My Whole Food Life blog.  The reviews were so positive, I thought I’d give it a try.  I went with one of the comments and put everything in the crockpot for about 6 hours.  I added the corn the last hour, because I didn’t want it to get mushy beyond recognition.

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The flavors blended well, so that the sweet potato didn’t completely stand out.  It has a sweet overtone to it, with the sweet potato and corn.  I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was.  Definitely a keeper.  I soaked half a cup each of the beans, and ended up with more than half a recipe’s worth (but not quite a whole recipe).  Because of that, I added the whole amount of spices, plus threw in some cayenne and a bay leaf.

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My carnivore brother-in-law thought it needed meat, for the texture.  My sis-in-law suggested tofu or TVP.  The corn added a nice contrast.  I’m thinking it might be good as a vegetarian option for Thanksgiving, and afterwards would be a good way to use up leftover chili and turkey.

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Brookies with Cream Cheese Swirl

I’ve been wanting to make “brookies,” brownies with chocolate chip cookies on top.  I kept talking myself out of it because it seemed like a lot of work.  After spending an afternoon making dog treats with three kinds of veggies, I thought it was time that the humans got treats too.  I took my favorite recipes and combined them into one.

One Bowl Brownies (I made half the recipe for a 9×9″ pan):
http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/bakers-one-bowl-brownies-54515.aspx

Cream Cheese Swirl:
http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/bakers-one-bowl-cream-50439.aspx
(I used 3 ounces cream cheese, 2 tablespoons sugar, half an egg. and 1 tablespoon flour)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:
http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/000158.html

I scooped out the cookie dough and flattened it before putting it on the brownie batter.  Leftover cookie dough got frozen for cookies later on.

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I swirled the cream cheese batter with a toothpick, because last time I used a knife and “overswirled it.”  The toothpick “underswirled” the batter, though.  (Next time I think I will skip the cream cheese layer.)

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Kind of a lot of work but I did get brownies and cookies all at once.  Some recipes for “brookies” just use boxed mix and/or refrigerated dough.  I think it looks fancy and would be good for a party or bake sale.

To balance out the decadence, I made lemon balm “tea” to go with dinner.  There was an article in the Wall Street Journal recently about not-your-garden-variety herbs.  It gave suggestions on what to do with some of the herbs, such as lemon balm.  Crush a handful of lemon balm, steep it in cold water for 10-15 minutes, and it’s supposed to taste like lemonade.  I didn’t think it tasted like lemonade, more like water with lemon, but it was refreshing and easy to make.  I had some leftover after I poured our glasses, and finished the rest after dinner.  The drink steeped longer was not as good, it picked up too much of a “green” flavor, so I’d say the 10-15 minutes is pefect.

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