Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What to do with leftovers

Besides eating them.

Nobody really likes to serve (or eat) the same thing day after day.

So what can you do?  Well, on Monday night I roasted fingerling potatoes as a side dish.  On Tuesday night, I mashed them and added one chopped green onion.

On Tuesday night I made meatloaf.  Aunt Kate would insist that we should have meatloaf sandwiches today.

Tonight I'm making rigatoni and gravy.  This time the gravy will be laced with Italian sausage.

I will mix the leftovers with some mozzarella and assorted other cheeses and freeze for a future meal.

Sometimes I actually plan the leftovers into the original meal.  Nifty, eh?

That's what I'm cooking; how about you?

happy cooking

Monday, November 28, 2011

Date Night--11/28/11

We are back from a week visiting my family in SC.  I am slowly getting back into my routine.  I did do some cooking while away and I'm sure I will share those recipes with you.  For now, though, you'll have to be content with tonight's meal.

I bought whole boneless skinless chicken breasts on Saturday morning.  I took them out this morning for this evening's meal.  Then I searched for "chicken cutlets" on

This is what I found:


  • 4 (1/3-inch-thick) chicken cutlets (1 1/2 lb)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 or 5 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 extra-large chicken-bouillon cube, crumbled

  • Garnish: finely chopped fresh chives

  • Accompaniment: rice or mashed potatoes
print a shopping list for this recipe view wine pairings


Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil and butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Brown chicken on both sides in 2 batches, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer chicken to a plate and keep warm. 

Add shallot to skillet and cook, stirring, until tender, about 1 minute. Add wine and deglaze by boiling over high heat, scraping up brown bits, until reduced by half. Stir in cream, tomatoes, tarragon, and bouillon cube, then simmer, stirring, until tomatoes are softened and sauce begins to thicken, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

Return chicken, with any juices accumulated on plate, to skillet and simmer until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.
Serve immediately.

 I don't have any fresh tarragon left.  I'll see if I have any dried.  I may sub. dried oregano/basil instead.  I also don't have plum tomatoes.  I do, however, have a few of my own home-grown tomatoes left and a pint of grape tomatoes.  Hello dinner.

I will serve this with roasted fingerling potatoes and broccoli.

What are you having for dinner tonight?

happy cooking

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Date Night 11/16/11

Work has been a real bear for Joshua of late.  Thus I want tonight's Date Night to be exceptional.

But I don't really want to go out for anything.  A well stocked larder always pays off.

Since Josh loves, I mean LOVES chicken cutlets, especially with cheese and spaghetti, I found what I hope will be a perfect Date Night dinner.

It's from Racheal Ray's Big Orange Book.  It's called "Chicken Cutlets and Spaghetti with Peppers and Onions.

I couldn't find it online and I'm not about to type the whole thing for you.  Sorry.  I will give you some highlights, though.

The chicken (after being opened like a book and pounded within a 1/4 inch of it's life) is rubbed with a garlic herb paste.  These probably aren't the Italian herbs you are expecting.  They are rosemary and thyme.

Here is where I have to do some major improvising. The recipe calls for 1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper, and one cubanelle.  What I have on hand is 1/4 of a red bell pepper.  I may have a jar of roasted red pepper, too.  And I know I have red pepper flakes.

I'm going to have make that work.

I am also going to make chocolate mousse. (Snap! I don't have any cream!  Thus I have to go out which means I can get the necessary peppers.  Friggle snitch!)

Must leave now.  Mousse must have to time to chill.

This is all such a departure from what I had originally planned. Chicken, brussel sprouts, and leftover mashed.

I guess I'll eat the sprouts for lunch. Mmmm.

happy cooking

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

I don't know what else to write.  That sums up dinner tonight.

I'll have broccoli and a green salad.

Tonight has to be a cook-while-we-study kind of a meal.  Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes fits that bill.

I have strawberries and strawberry ice cream for dessert.  Ooooh...and Oreos.

happy cooking

Monday, November 14, 2011

This is a busy week

Josh and I leave on Saturday for SC to visit with my family.

That makes this a busy week.  Lots of household chores.  I just can't bear the idea of coming home to a dirty house.

So, cooking is not high on my list this week. 

For example, Josh is taking me out to dinner tonight.

I am making meatloaf tomorrow. 

Wednesday is Date Night.  I imagine I will do some cooking then.  And yes, I'll share those recipes or ideas with you.

That's my Monday update.  Next week I'll be doing a lot of cooking for a lot of people.  I'll do my best to check in.

happy cooking

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's a new day

And this is a day when I don't usually cook.  Frozen pizza is the order of the day on Thursday.

Call it tradition.

Josh works from noon to 8:00 tomorrow, so there is no real dinner planned for tomorrow.  It's entirely possible you won't hear from me till Monday.  Just wanted to let you know.

Updates from last night's Date Night meal.  Cocktail (it was more a mixed drink than a cocktail) was good.  A little odd, but good.  I forgot the anchovies on Josh's salad, but I did remember to hard boil some eggs.  Steaks were great; horseradish sauce was excellent; broccoli steamed to perfection.  Appetizer was good...mostly it was easy.  Pineapple dessert was sweet and juicy.

I didn't mention the potatoes.  They were undercooked, and subsequently hard.  We really don't love baked potatoes.  If you have any fool proof tips, I'd love to have them.

That's all I have to say.

happy cooking

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Date Night 11/9/11

So here we are in the middle of another week and that means it's date night.

Dinner tonight?  Steak and potatoes!

I was able to get a Porterhouse steak at Marriano's.  We plan to share it...I'll eat the filet portion and Josh will get the strip steak.  YUM!

The rest of the meal has just been one big brain fart. 

I bought and roasted baby beets on Monday.  I got goat cheese.  I have red leaf lettuce.  So my salad was planned and ingredients obtained. 

I decided Josh would really like a Caesar salad.  Alas, I had no anchovies.  It was okay though, I had to stop at another closer market yesterday.  I got the anchovies.

I realized with a start that  I didn't have any Romaine lettuce.  A must for a true Caesar salad.  Okay.  I remedied that after a "beauty appointment" I had earlier today.

After getting the anchovies and other groceries into my car yesterday, I realized I had no potatoes.  I turned around and marched right back into the store.  I left with 2 baking potatoes.  89 cents of potato that had to go my credit card because I had no cash...not even enough change.  Yikes!  Thus we are having good old fashioned baked potatoes with dinner.

While getting ice cream, I passed these frozen, cheese filled, phyllo triangles.  Score on tonight's appetizer!  I think I want to make an apricot-mustard dipping sauce.  I could find no such recipe, so this one is coming out of my own little head.

I am also going to make a horseradish cream sauce to go with the beef.  Josh also likes it on his broccoli (Tonight's vegetable).

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 2 green onions, chopped

That leaves cocktails and dessert.  They are actually kind of related.  I bought a pineapple on Monday.  I had no plan for said pineapple.  I like pineapple and the price was reasonable, so I bought a pineapple.  Josh thinks fresh pineapple would make a lovely dessert.  He is sure he can pour some kind of spirit over it as well.  (I think he's thinking Cointreau.)  Check...we'll have pineapple for dessert.

Now to the cocktail.  I get regular emails from  Sometimes they are foody, other times they feature adult beverages--with recipes.  This one is called No Contest.  It's a very unusual recipe but it's garnished with, you got it, a pineapple wedge.

So that's what I'm cooking tonight.  How about you?

happy cooking

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cheese crusted chicken with raw sauce

This is a Rachael Ray concoction.  I'm using it mostly as my inspiration for tonight's dinner as I don't exactly have all the ingredients on hand.

This essentially a breaded chicken cutlet.  That each chicken breast half will be butterflied and pounded out to about .25 inch.  Then it gets breaded in the usual fashion...flour so the egg will stick, egg so the bread crumb will stick, and finally bread crumb...which in this case is half cheese.  Yum!

The raw sauce is basically halved grape tomatoes and slivered red onion.  It should have fresh herbs, as well, but I don't have any.  And Josh doesn't like his food too herb-y anyway.  This sauce tops the chicken cutlet.

I think what I will do is add the tomato/onion to some "shredded" red leave lettuce and toss it with my balsamic vinaigrette.   I think that will be delish.

We will have sauteed green beans on the side.

This is dinner at the Saxes.  What are you having?

happy cooking

Monday, November 7, 2011

French Onion Soup II

Granted, Josh isn't home yet so I haven't had the full French Onion Soup experience yet.

But based on the little taste I just had, the work to taste ration is perfect. Maybe even better than perfect because I get a warm bowl of soup in a little bit.

I'll add a picture, but you still have to imagine the taste.

this began as a nearly full pot of sliced onions.  Wanting to add a little complexity to the onions, I used 1 sweet onion, 3 yellow onions, 2 shallots, and 6 green onions.  I decided that 1 clove of garlic really meant one full reservoir in my garlic press.

The cook times in the recipe were all off for my stove.  I do, however, know when onions are caramelized.  (Caramelization is beyond sweating.  The onions start to darken and you get this beautiful and flavorful fond on the pan.  Usually it's on the bottom, but you can see some up the sides of my Dutch oven.  You want to scrape this up  and stir it in when you add the liquids.) And I can keep an eye and an ear on my pot to know when the red wine had evaporated.  I recommend this recipe, but you need to adjust for your stove. 

This dinner will be accompanied by beautiful salads.  Josh is your basic garden peppers, cucumbers etc.  My salad is garnished with red and gold baby beets and fried goat cheese. 

I wish Josh would get home.

happy cooking

French Onion Soup

So as it starts to get cold, my mind turns to soup.  I've made my mushroom soup twice already, although I really only got to eat it once.  And, well, we really like our French Onion Soup.

Thus I have spent parts of the last four days looking for what I hope will be a fabulous recipe.

I think I found it.  It's Tyler Florence's recipe.

I know from all the other recipes that I've found, that it will take longer (significantly longer) to caramelize the onions.  I also think that I'll add more thyme.

I think that I usually prefer a French Onion Soup made with white wine and chicken stock.  Yet our favorite (I'm pretty sure) is made with red wine and beef stock...just like this recipe.  We'll see how it compares.

I do realize that this recipe serves many more than just hubby and me.  That's the purpose of a freezer.

I shall report back on the work:taste ratio tomorrow.

So I told you what we're having for dinner tonight.  How about you?

happy cooking

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mushroom soup

So this is the soup I made with Kate last week.  It is also the soup I made earlier today for my friend having ear surgery on Tuesday.  

It easy-peasy to do.

I used a leek in addition to a medium yellow onion--finely chopped.  Because I think the aesthetic of a soup is important and because I think it looks best when everything is about the same size, I chopped the mushrooms very small.

I made stock with the stems.

I still need to make my guacamole.  I did score some surgical gloves so I don't burn myself with jalapeno juice.

And, of course, clean up my kitchen.

This recipe is reprinted (w/o permission) from Epicurious.

Dinner tonight is  sammies.  How about for you?

happy cooking 

Fresh Wild Mushroom Soup

yield: Makes 4 servings

active time: 35 minutes
total time: 35 Minutes
Lynn Brown of Houston, Texas, writes: "For me, it's fun to see how much I can simplify or revise a recipe to make it my own. That's what I've done... more

  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 6 ounces crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, chopped
  • 6 ounces fresh oyster mushrooms, chopped
  • 6 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 4 cups beef broth
print a shopping list for this recipe


Melt butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add all mushrooms and thyme; sauté until mushrooms begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Add brandy; stir 30 seconds, then mix in flour. Slowly stir in broth; bring soup to boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls.

Read More

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Crispy Potato Fans

I promised a picture.  Here it is:

It's not the greatest picture, but I think you can tell that the potato is sliced. It was cheesy and crispy and altogether "good eats."  I will make it again.  It was not as difficult as it you might think.

Josh said, and I quote, "You really hit this one out of the park."  That means he liked it.

Tonight's dinner is left overs.  Parmesan Chicken Sticks to be exact.  I think I'll reheat them in the oven on parchment in an attempt to preserve whatever crispiness they have.

Tomorrow I will be preparing food for a funeral repast (guacamole), service group treat morning (pumpkin muffins or brownies...we'll see how I'm moved in the morning), and a friend who is having ear surgery next week (the mushroom soup I made last week with Kate).

Tomorrow will be a busy cooking day.  I'm not making anything more than sandwiches for our dinner.

happy cooking

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Date night--11/2/11

Hmm...Kinda a palondromic date.  I like those.

So on to food.

Appetizer:  Figs, halved and wrapped in prosciutto, accompanied by taleggio (I don't know how to spell it)...a kind of ripe Italian soft cheese and these small pizzelle-looking crackers.

Cocktail:  I need to consult Josh's drink books.  I feel it needs to be Italian-esque to fit with the rest of our cocktail hour.

Main Course:  Filet Mignon.  Maybe I'll crust in peppercorns; maybe not. Josh requested peas for his veggie.  We will also have a small salad.  And the potato--well that's where I have to stretch my culinary skills.  I have a new recipe. Crispy Baked Potato Fans from Cook's Country.  I recommend looking at it on the website.  They offer some good tips with photos.

Serves 4
To ensure that the potatoes fan out evenly, look for uniformly shaped potatoes.
Ingredients Bread Crumb Topping Potato Fans Instructions
  • 1. For the bread crumb topping: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground. Bake bread crumbs on rimmed baking sheet until dry, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then combine crumbs, butter, cheeses, paprika, garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in large bowl. (Bread crumb topping can be refrigerated in zipper-lock bag for 2 days.)
  • 2. For the potato fans: Heat oven to 450 degrees. Following photos 1 to 3 at left, cut 1/4 inch from bottom and ends of potatoes, then slice potatoes crosswise at 1/4-inch intervals, leaving 1/4 inch of potato intact. Gently rinse potatoes under running water, let drain, and transfer, sliced-side down, to plate. Microwave until slightly soft to the touch, 6 to 12 minutes, flipping potatoes halfway through cooking.
  • 3. Arrange potatoes, sliced-side up, on foil-lined baking sheet. Brush potatoes all over with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until skin is crisp and potatoes are beginning to brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove potatoes from oven and heat broiler.
  • 4. Carefully top potatoes with stuffing mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Broil until bread crumbs are deep golden brown, about 3 minutes. Serve.

    I'll take a picture.  Maybe I'll even post it.

    So this is my dinner plan.  What's yours?

    happy cooking.

Parmesan Chicken Sticks update

I thought they were pretty good.  Josh loved them, but then, by his admission, he loves any kind of breaded chicken.

I used a combination of Parmesan cheese and Romano.

I'm not sure about the medium-low cooking directions.  I found it necessary to cook at med to med-high. 

I also had to add a little more oil with each batch.  In the future, I think I'll skip the butter entirely.

Josh asked about a dipping sauce, so I whipped up a quick gravy.  I used one can of diced tomato with sweet onion, added a splash of red wine, some garlic powder and a little bit of dried Italian seasoning mix.  A quick mash with my potato masher, yielded a chunky but well mixed sauce.  Josh seemed pleased with the results.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My husband rocks!

I know, not a cooking themed title, but trust me, it relates.

Josh got home from work and had just passed literally hordes of costumed ghouls and goblins and princesses and Justin Beiber wannabes. 

He whisked me away for dinner and a mall crawl (where the only thing I bought were 2 new potholders). 

I had good food; good conversation; and I didn't have to cook or clean up.  Yay Josh!

Thus last night's dinner plan became today's.

happy cooking