Beach dinner salad bar

Last night’s dinner was designed to offer something for everyone. I wanted tuna because the tuna at the beach is so good. Samantha doesn’t like tuna but we had leftover grilled chicken so that offered her a protein she liked. I had a variety of things and set them out with dressed lettuce and let everyone assemble their own plate. Here is what I did:

Dressing

  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg
  • about 3 TB white Balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil

I whisked together the mustard and egg and then whisked in vinegar (I would have used sherry vinegar but they didn’t have it at the market here.) Then I slowly whisked in olive oil until it was emulsified (and I checked to make sure it tasted good.)

Salad options

  • grilled tuna
  • grilled chicken
  • leftover bacon from breakfast
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • sliced tomatoes
  • sliced peppers
  • warm goat cheese rounds (dipped in olive oil and panko and heated until just soft)
  • cooked potatoes (I used a package from the Little Potato Company and cooked them in the microwave)
  • croutons

Here is a picture of my plate:

Menu plan for week of 8/9

Here is the menu plan for the week

Sunday

Grilled ribeye steaks and zucchini fritters – because I want my summer Sunday dinners to be easy

Monday

Grilled rosemary garlic shrimp and cous cous – because the rosemary in my herb garden looks amazing

Tuesday

Spinach salad with spiced pork – because I’m playing golf after work and wanted something quick

Wednesday

New Orleans sausage pizza – because samantha loves it

Thursday

Spanish spiced chicken and grilled zucchini – because the chicken recipe I found intrigued me

Dinner for a friend

We have a friend who had knee surgery last week and wanted to help with dinner for her and her family. Temperatures here were up to 100 today so we wanted to deliver something cool and refreshing. I opted for my my friend Becky’s Goddess pasta salad. I assembled the platter and brought the dressing so they can pour over the top when ready. It makes enough that it is our dinner too!

Becky is a Goddess Pasta Salad

Makes 6-8 servings

  •  1 3/4 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined and roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper for 10 minutes at 400
  •  1 (1 lb.) pkg small shell pasta, cooked rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp Champange or white wine vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 small head Green Leaf lettuce separated into leaves
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1-2 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
  • Green Goddess Dressing

Toss together pasta, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Line a large platter  with lettuce leaves; spoon pasta in center and top with shrimp.   Arrange tomato and bell pepper around pasta.  Serve salad with Green  Goddess Dressing

Green Goddess Dressing

  •  1 1/3 Cups Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 T chapped fresh chives
  •  2 tsp Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste ( I use much more than that)
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  •  2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Easy summer dinner

Today was beautiful – hot but beautiful. I wanted to be able to take advantage of the nice weather and this recipe is the perfect way to accomplish that. I made the marinade and the slaw and then went off to play. Dinner came together very quickly when I returned. Everyone loved it and we finished off with sliced Angel Food cake, strawberries from the produce stand and sorbet.

Mango Ginger BBQ chicken

  • 1 cup frozen mango cubes or 1 fresh mango, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 TB brown sugar
  • 1 TB reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 TB grated fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • cooking spray
  • bone-in chicken (I used a mix of halved breasts and whole thighs)
  • honey
  • scallions

Combine first seven ingredients in a blender and refrigerate until ready to cook. Coat chicken with marinade (reserve some for basting the chicken while grilling). Spray chicken with cooking spray.

Grill chicken for about 5 minutes over high heat, turning. Lower heat and cook on grill meat for about 15 minutes. Baste with marinade and finish over high heat until done (150 for thighs and 140 for breasts.) Serve with Asian slaw.

Asian coleslaw

  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 6 TB white vinegar
  • 2 TB sesame oil
  • 5 TB mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp wasabi paste
  • 1 package shredded coleslaw mix
  • 3/4 cup chopped peanuts

Whisk together first 7 ingredients in a bowl.  Add coleslaw mix and stir well.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Stir in peanuts right before serving.

Grocery list week of 5/17

Here is the grocery list for the week:

Produce

  • 8 shallots
  • basil
  • small potatoes
  • 4 onions
  • spinach
  • red pepper
  • red onion
  • ginger
  • limes
  • garlic
  • jalapeno
  • Napa cabbage
  • avocados

Dairy

  • 4 oz. Fontina cheese
  • smoked Gouda
  • sour cream

Meat and seafood

  • flank steak
  • 4 oz sliced Prosciutto
  • 2 packages boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • pork tenderloin
  • 2/3 lb shrimp (I’ll buy that later in the week)

Miscellaneous

  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 clans black beans
  • chipotle peppers in adobo
  • pizza crust
  • jerk seasoning

Check your pantry and buy if you don’t have:

  • red wine
  • olive oil
  • peppercorns
  • honey
  • canola oil
  • flour
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • sriracha
  • brown sugar
  • garlic powder
  • mayonnaise

 

Menu plan for week of 5/10

Here is the menu plan for the week (slightly delayed due to some computer issues)

Sunday

Grilled lamb chops, grilled shrimp, grilled asparagus and polenta – Surf and Turf for Mother’s Day

Monday

Chicken avocado casserole – Something old

Tuesday

Seared scallops with white wine butter sauce and cous cous – Something new

Wednesday

Grilled salmon, potato and asparagus salad – Something healthy

Thursday

Crab soup from the freezer – Something already made

 

Grocery list for week of 4/26

Here is the grocery list for the week:

Produce

  • orange
  • sweet potatoes
  • ginger
  • lime juice
  • potato
  • shallots
  • onion
  • celery
  • veggies for omelet filling of your choice (mushrooms, shallots, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, avocado, etc.)

Dairy

  • 1 qt half and half
  • ricotta cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • cheese for omelet filling (go beyond cheddar, pepperjack is one of our favorites!)
  • eggs (spring for good organic eggs)

Meat and seafood

  • pork tenderloin
  • bone-in chicken breasts
  • bacon
  • oysters
  • protein for omelet filling (cooked shrimp, bacon, crab – I’ll sometimes get crab meat, make crab cakes or crab casserole and hold back some for

Miscellaneous

  • Orange juice
  • sourdough bread
  • lasagna noodles
  • tomato sauce (I buy Graul’s homemade marinara sauce

Check your pantry and buy if you don’t have:

  • lemon juice
  • brown sugar
  • soy sauce
  • Chinese 5 spice powder
  • orange marmalade
  • hoisin sauce
  • sriracha
  • fish sauce
  • butter
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • olive oil
  • butter

 

Grocery list for week of 4/19

Here is the grocery list for the week (does not include ingredients for the meatballs – you can search that recipe on blog):

Produce

  • 3 onions
  • coleslaw mix
  • ginger
  • avocados
  • rosemary

Dairy

  • cream
  • sour cream

Meat and seafood

  • pork shoulder
  • boneless, skinless chicken
  • bacon

Miscellaneous

  • cider vinegar
  • sandwich buns
  • diced almonds
  • 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • cornmeal
  • chicken stock
  • tomato sauce

Check your pantry and buy if you don’t have:

  • white vinegar
  • mayonnaise
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • coriander
  • cumin
  • whole cloves
  • cardamom
  • cinnamon
  • chipotle pepper
  • milk
  • garlic
  • butter
  • pizza crust

 

Menu plan for week of 4/19

Here is the menu plan for the week:

Sunday

Smoked pork shoulder and coleslaw (because we can’t go anywhere so it seems like a perfect day to cook something that requires 6 – 8 hours of cooking time)

Monday

Murghi Korma (Chicken in Almond Sauce) (because I found this recipe that I had clipped a while ago and it sounds similar to a chicken dish that I once had at a Lebanese restaurant)

Tuesday

Pulled pork tostadas (because I found a recipe for chicken tostados but I think we are going to have a lot of pork leftover from tonight)

Wednesday

Meatballs and polenta (because I have meatballs in the freezer and we all love them on polenta)

Thursday

Pizza (not sure what we’ll put on top yet but I bought pizza crusts at the store)

Cooking ideas while housebound

As we adjust to our “new normal” of spending lots and lots of time in our homes, cooking can be a great distraction.  I did so much cooking last weekend that our freezer is quite well-stocked and Keith told me that I needed to stop.  So the new idea is to use this as an opportunity to pull out some gadgets or cooking tools that you don’t use often.

To that end, we had fondue for dinner tonight.  Our fondue pot spends most of its life in the basement.  It has emerged a few times and we have made cheese fondue as well as beef.  Samantha was disappointed – she thought when we said fondue, we meant the cheese.  That is just too many calories for 3 people and of course, we can’t very well invite anyone to help us eat it.  So we got 2 small filet mignons and 8 medium shrimp.  We heated the oil over the stove (in the fondue pot) and then moved it so it was over the fondue heat source.  Everyone can cook their protein to their liking and we had a variety of sauces from the refrigerator (jarred Bearnaise, pub sauce, horseradish, etc.)  I roasted asparagus so we had something healthy.  It was fun and delicious.

This got me thinking about other projects.  I’m thinking I may pull the pasta roller out of the basement and make some raviolis next weekend.  (they won’t take up that much space in the freezer.)  Samantha is going to make madeleines tomorrow (yes, we have a madeleine pan).  She already made macarons so we have checked that box.

Think about a kitchen project you have always wanted to tackle or a specialty appliance that is rarely used (homemade waffles anyone?)   This is the perfect opportunity to wipe off the dust!  Add a comment with what you made.