Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Soup for a Rainy Day: Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup with Sesame and Green Onions

It wasn't Sunday.  While spending a week at the cottage, I decided to take my rather large and annoying folder of recipes scribbled on scrap paper and printed from the internet and write them down in my binder.  You could tell the scraps of paper that really needed to be put into a more permanent, less likely to fall all over the floor and make me curse, home - they were the pieces that were the most stained from use.  Unfortunately, this also became the time where I started going through all the recipes that I've never made yet have printed off for one reason or another.
Today's recipe is one of those.  I printed the January Soup Thread from the Cooking Light forums on January 7, 2003.  On page 22 of the 47 pages I printed, I found this gem from browneye.  Apparently it's from Bon Appetit, which I find odd because Bon Appetit recipes usually don't turn out for me.  Any of them.  It could be pour water in glass and it wouldn't come out right for me if the recipe is from there.  Ahem.  My issue not yours.  While sitting in a wicker chair on the deck, however, I thought, "that sounds good".  
Rain has been scarce here this summer.  In fact, it's been hot, sunny, and often disgustingly humid.  As a result, I haven't thought a whole lot about things like soup that should be reserved for rainy days and winter.  But the week after we got home, they threatened rain.  Lots of it.  Powerful storms. They didn't really materialize; we keep getting the periphery of the good stuff that would make me not lose plants in my garden.  But I did make soup, because I wanted to.
I present to you now Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup with Sesame and Green Onions:

Monday, July 30, 2012

Planning: July 30 - Aug 3, 2012

J went to the doctor last week.  He's started meds for atrial fibrillation and high blood pressure.  The doctor has also given him a diet plan to work on incorporating into his life.  The biggest ick on it for me is the suggestion of fish at least twice per week.  I'm not a fish girl.  As in, I don't like it and don't cook it.  The things we do for love.
As a result, there will be some changes to what we eat here on the mountain.  Frankly, we've both been losing weight slowly, just through my cooking at home (which is frightening, when you really think about it.  Sometime I'll have to talk in greater detail about my suspicion surrounding low-fat and fat-free products).  We're hoping with the incorporation of more fruit and vegetables and some fiber we can achieve some more.
Here's this week's plan.  We're off for a long weekend to see my inlaws, so it's a short week.

Monday:  Friends of ours just lost her father.  I volunteered to take a meal to them.  I made them an Oatmeal Cake with Coconut-Pecan frosting from Pinterest that looked and smelled delicious.  I also took them the Cheesy Mexican Chicken Casserole.  Half to them, half to us for dinner with salad.

Tuesday:  Lunch is a new macaroni and cheese and plums, a fruit that J has never tried.  Dinner is Fish en Papillote with vegetables.

Wednesday:  Dinner is the leftovers of the chicken casserole

Thursday:  J has another doctor's appointment, and it's just far enough away that that timing of it is bothersome.  As a result, we're having Breakfast Pitas and then a snack after the appointment.  Grilled steak and vegetables for dinner.

Should be a good week.  I'm excited to spend time in a new cookbook.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Leftovers: Pork Fried Rice

After the success of the pork tenderloin, we had some leftover pork.  In the latest issue of What's Cooking, they had an Asian Pork Tenderloin, and a Pork Fried Rice to make with the second one.  While I used the Balsamic Grilled recipe in the first place, I saved the second tenderloin to make this.
I present to you now What's Cooking's Pork Fried Rice:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Make Ahead Meals: Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

I'm always looking for new recipes that I can make ahead and have J shove in the oven so we can eat about 15 minutes after I get home.  Such is the life of a type-A personality that will not allow her husband to do things in her kitchen that might not work out as expected.  You know, like the time he thought he put the dual burner on low, but it was really on high and he tried to burn chili to the bottom of the Le Crueset Dutch Oven.
He is, however, fully capable and willing to put pre-made casseroles in a cold oven and turn it on.  I'm always looking for things that I can make early that won't be adversely affected by the wait time.
I was poking around Pinterest one night and found this recipe.  It looked simple, filling, and like a possibility.  It's just not really June food.  I'm looking forward to making it again in November.
I present to you now Tasty Kitchen's Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dinner with Friends: Strawberry Cream Roll

I needed a make ahead dessert for when we had friends for dinner.  Something summery.  Something that used things in my cupboards.  I started flipping through my What's Cooking summer magazines and came across this recipe.  A couple of small changes, and I was on my way to a fabulous dessert.
I had never made an angel food cake mix before.  Frankly, I've never made my own angel food cake.  I don't think I'll ever get around to making the cake from scratch.  I'd hate wasting all of those yolks, or I'd end up making ice cream that I don't really need.  The mix was just add water, and put in the pan.  It came out beautifully.
I present to you now a tweaked version of Kraft's Heavenly Strawberry Roll:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dinner with Friends: Pineapple Sangria

Cleaning out our house to ready for packing and moving also means we need to drink more.  Neither J nor I are particularly big drinkers, although I do enjoy my gin and J likes spiced rum.  In my profession, I seem to get a lot of wine as gifts.  It's not that we don't like wine, we just don't think of it until the meal is over and then we think that perhaps we should have had some, but polishing off a bottle now doesn't seem like a good plan.
In having people over, we find that we usually finish a bottle or 2 of wine...but that our dinner guests bring us a replacement.  With our last dinner guests, I decided to try something different and offer a summery beverage that used a bottle at the same time.
In April, J and I went away for the weekend and had dinner with a good friend of mine at an Italian restaurant.  They had a sangria on the specials that night that was spectacular:  light and berry tasting.  It used white wine and melon liqueur.  This is nothing like that, but it's good all the same, and can be made ahead so the flavours meld.
I present to you now Pineapple Sangria.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Dinner with Friends: Garlic Balsamic Grilled Pork Tenderloin

I'm cleaning out my freezer to prepare for moving.  This isn't a bad thing.  I should probably try and get to the bottom of my freezer once a year.  We've been here 3, and it's never been defrosted.  Yikes.  Now that I have a bit of a timeline about when the freezer needs to be in moving condition, I should probably do something about that.
To that end, we did an inventory of meat that we have stockpiled when it's been on sale for a special occasion.  Double yikes.  There's a prime rib roast, lots of Italian Sausage (I think I was preparing for asparagus season), and 3 pork tenderloins.  Plus the myriad of other things that I randomly buy because they're a good deal and we'll eat them eventually.  The time has come.
So we've decided that to empty the freezer we need to have more company, seeing as many of the cuts of meat I stockpile appear to be for company.  I'm not cooking a prime rib for the 2 of us when it's not a major holiday!  To that end, we've started inviting people in to help us eat all of the interesting things that I find at the store and have saved for "later".  You're welcome, if you live close to us.
Over the next few posts, you will find recipes from our last evening of having people in.  We had a great time, laughed a lot, got soaked running for the patio chair cushions that were soaked in the sudden downpour during dessert, and ate a fantastic meal.  Since it was the same day as our last open house, everything was prepared in advance.  I love that kind of cooking!
I present to you now our new favourite way to cook pork tenderloin:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Grillmistress: Foil Potatoes

J believes that there should be starch with most meals.  He has this bizarre love/hate relationship with carbs that I totally don't get.  He might not want pizza at dinner because there are "too many carbs", but then will add 3 packets of sugar to a cup of coffee.  Although it's kind of the pot calling the kettle black...I just know I don't need the number of refined carbs that I eat in sugar or flour form.
Ahem.  But, he expects either potatoes, rice, or pasta as a side when I make dinner at home.  Here's what we like to do with potatoes in the summer when we're grilling.  I present to you now Sarah's foil packet potatoes:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pesto Chicken Calzones

I love Pinterest.  It is yet another place where I store recipes until I have time to make them.  The thing is, I'm actually making them.  I have found some keepers, and this one is no exception.
In getting ready to move, we are working on emptying out the freezer.  It's not coming along super well, but we're trying, and I've noticed a difference in the amount of meat that we're buying.  It astounds me the amount that hides in both our chest freezer downstairs and the freezer in the kitchen.
When I buy chicken, I buy the Club Packs and split them up into single breasts to freeze.  Sometimes, my ambition takes a hike before I split up the packages.  When that happens, J will take an afternoon and grill the breasts up, put them in a ziploc, and freeze them for later use.  I found one of these bags when going through the upstairs freezer.
Enter the recipe for Pesto Chicken Calzones that uses a couple of cooked chicken breasts, and apparently can be frozen, if you get that far.
I present to you now the recipe for Pesto Chicken Calzones:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I'm Ba-ack!

Things got a little crazy around here.  Who am I kidding?  Things became seriously nuts around here, and I quit cooking.  Actually, that's not completely true.  My camera will attest to that.  I do have some new recipes to share.  But not many.
Here's the short version of the story - I got promoted.  Hooray!  I was assigned my own building.  Hooray!  The commute from our current house is at least 90 minutes on a good day.  Boo!  We put our house on the market.  Gulp!  My principal went on leave for surgery and I was left in charge.  Gulp!  No one died, and I only called the ambulance once.  Hooray!  My principal came back.  Hooray!  A week late.  Boo!  I got a call on the last Tuesday of school that I was going to a different building in the fall.  ACK!  School ended.  I am on vacation!  WOOHOO!!  Our house hasn't sold.  Boo! 
So, now that I'm home, I'm cooking again.  Okay, not today.  I was tired and cranky after having 2 teeth filled, grocery shopping, and cleaning for another showing.  Which happened right at the dinner hour.  Bleh.
Going to the grocery store, however, bodes well for this week and next.  I've pinned a pile of things to try.  Here's some of what you can look forward to over the next little bit:
  • Grilled Garlic Balsamic Marinated Pork Tenderloin
  • Rhubarb Strudel Muffins
  • Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
  • Chicken Pesto Calzones
  • Summer Spaghetti with Lemon Garlic Chicken and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
  • Sangria
  • Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole
And more!
Here's to summer...and cooking up a storm!!!!