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.


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.


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



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


“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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.


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):

Cream Cheese Swirl:
(I used 3 ounces cream cheese, 2 tablespoons sugar, half an egg. and 1 tablespoon flour)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:

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.


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.)


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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