Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Five Easy Pieces III

OK, OK, perhaps I am cheating a little bit tonight.  This was more of a side dish to accompany Paula Deen's Mashed Potatoes (PDMP) which I now know how to make by heart.  It's a dinner of side dishes and I'm going to top it off with a bowl of dark chocolate ice cream. 

This again was from the NYTimes Mark Bittman.  His recipe for this "salad" is below - and he is quite correct, it's an absolutely incredible combination.  I'm hooked.

15. Cut cherry or grape tomatoes in half; toss with soy sauce, a bit of dark sesame oil and basil or cilantro. I love this — the tomato juice-soy thing is incredible.

The link:


The back link to PDMP:



Sunday, April 25, 2010

Five Easy Pieces II

Part two of Five Easy Pieces - but can I keep up the pace until I am through?  It's easy on the weekends, and especially when I've got kitty-watch detail both days (I took them in to the vet for their annual vaccinations which means staying home to watch them for a few hours afterwards - one at a time).

Today for lunch was another easy-peasy "salad".  Also taken from the NYTimes Minimalist Mark Bittman, this recipe is a peanut sauce intended to be tossed with cold noodles.  Here are most of the assembled ingredients:

Here is the recipe:

87. Cold not-sesame noodles: Combine about a half-cup peanut butter with a tablespoon soy sauce and enough coconut milk to make the mixture creamy (about a half cup), along with garlic and chili flakes in a blender or food processor. Toss sauce with cooked and cooled noodles, a load of mint, Thai basil, and/or cilantro, and lime juice. Shredded cucumber and carrots optional.

I used chili oil from the Asian food aisle as I could not find chili flakes anywhere.  Trust me, this oil will get the point across.  I wish I had bought carrots.  I've got cilantro for the topping.

The verdict:  VERY creamy sauce.  The coconut milk really helps to un-stick the peanut butter.  That said, the peanut butter was still clearly very dominant even with the other strong ingredients.  I think it could use a tad more chili oil and soy sauce.  The cilantro was a nice touch.  I have enough leftovers for at least 3 other meals I would say.

Here are photos of my kitties who keep me on the straight and narrow:


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Five Easy Pieces I

A few weeks ago I realized I was 5 recipes behind.  I thought "The title sure fits; I'll find 5 easy meals and I'll be caught up."

That was a few weeks ago.

Regardless, I will make five really easy new things in succession to get myself back on track with a few weeks ago, at least.  I'm shameless.

Here is today's first recipe taken from the NY Times "The Minimalist" recipes.  The author had 101 salad recipes.  Can you see where this is heading...?  As a bonus, I've included some before and after photos.

13. A red salad: Combine tomato wedges with halved strawberries, basil leaves, shaved Parmesan and balsamic vinegar.

That's so easy, even I can do that!

I added a handful of walnuts and used very aged balsamic vinegar (brought home from Italy a few years ago). 

It was really, really fresh and the aged BV had a nice bite to it.  I forgot how much I like basil. 

I am starting to enjoy this process and even more so when I make easy things like the above and realize I have yet another go-to meal.  Less aimless wandering around Wegmans - now I know I can toss strawberries and tomatoes - who knew.  Today's Wegmans visit had a purpose, I had at least 4 different recipes for which to purchase and it was very gratifying to see how full my cart was of simple, fresh ingredients, most of which were from the produce section.  No potato chips.  No junk food (I do not consider Triscuits to be junk food because there is no HFCS in them!).  No chocolate, although when I reached the spice counter I was fascinated by a "new spice" jarred and labeled "cocoa with chile powder".  Ok, ok, I'll pick that up, you never know what I could use it for... 



Monday, April 5, 2010

Southern Comfort Food

I'm falling behind in my quest!  I was on an (almost) once a week pace until the weather got nicer.  This recipe was made on Saturday and I am only now blogging it Monday.  I made Chicken and Macaroni Bake.  Very rich and filling.


•8 ounces elbow macaroni or small shells (I used egg noodles)
•3 tablespoons butter (I used 4)
•3 tablespoons flour
•1 cup chicken broth (I used almost a whole can, oops)
•1/2 cup heavy cream
•3 to 4 ounces smoked gouda cheese, shredded or cut in small pieces
•pepper, to taste
•1 teaspoon fresh parsley, optional (didn't use)
•1 1/2 to 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
•1 1/2 cups frozen peas and carrots, thawed (I used sliced fresh mushrooms instead)
•1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
•1 to 2 teaspoons butter, melted


Cook macaroni in boiling salted water as package directs. Drain and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium low heat, melt butter; add flour. Cook, stirring, until flour mixture is well blended and bubbly. Gradually stir in chicken broth and cream. Stir in cheese until melted and smooth. Add pepper, to taste, along with parsley, if using. Cook, stirring, until thickened. Add the chicken and vegetables; cook for about 1 minute longer.

Combine the sauce with cooked and drained macaroni; pour into a 2-quart casserole. Toss bread crumbs with melted butter and sprinkle over the casserole. Bake at 350° for about 25 minutes, until bubbly and browned.

Serves 4 to 6.


(NUMBER TEN in 2010)
Related Posts with Thumbnails