Monday, December 24, 2012

Monday night dinner with Grandma...12/24/12

I'm making meatloaf.  How exciting.  I know, it's probably the most boring meal in the world.  But it's hot.  It's "cozy."  And most importantly, it's classic.

And guess what I'm serving with it?  That's right, boys and girls, Mashed Potatoes.  These will be a little more on the whipped side because the last time I served Grandma mashed potatoes, she questioned the "lumps" and said they needed more salt.  I'm nothing if not flexible.

So I'm off to start preparing the vegetables for the meat loaf.  I like to saute the veggies first.  This time (I never make it exactly the same way) we'll have shredded carrot, celery, onion, and green pepper.  All in a small chop or mince.  I may throw a little garlic in for good measure.

When the veggies are done with their "steam, " I'll add a small can of tomato paste.  When the veggies have cooled, I'll add an egg (or 2) and some bread crumbs.  Then I'll add the ground beef to that mixture; form it into a "loaf" and  top it with a glaze of Ketchup, Dijon, and Worcestershire sauce.  I'll reserve some of the glaze as a "dipping" sauce.

Now to the potatoes.  As I always do, I'll  cook them in stock with a heavy dose of salt and pepper.  After draining them, I'll mash them by hand and add butter and sour cream.  After mashing them some more, I'll pull out my immersion blender and "whip" the pants off my tators.  At this point I'll add some snipped chives and have Josh taste for S and P.

To round out the meal, I'll grab a bag of frozen veggies from my freezer.  Maybe green beans; maybe snap peas.  I can't plan everything this far ahead of dinner.

That's what I'm cooking today.  How about you?

happy cooking.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Monday Night Dinners with Grandma

First of all, I realize it's Friday.  Usually "Dinner with Grandma" happens on Monday.  This week was different.  Sue me.

Secondly, I know it's been a long while since I've posted.  I've been trying to eat South Beach style and thus I have felt uninspired by my cooking.  Don't get me wrong...I'm still trying to lose weight and just be healthier all around, and I haven't completely abandoned SB.  I'm just loosening up a little.

Like I'll have a cookie. ;-)

Anywhoo, Josh and I have dinner once a week with his grandmother (hence today's post.)  Actually I spend part of the day with Grandma, come home make dinner, and go back with Josh after work.

I'm really feeling good about tonight's dinner.  I don't usually think that I've tinkered with a recipe enough to call it my own, but there's a first time for everything.

Let me give you the posted recipe first (from; then I'll give you my changes/additions/subtractions.  You tell me what you think.

Lemon Pasta with Chicken and Pine Nuts


  • 2 tablespoons plus 2/3 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 pound skinless boneless chicken breast halves

  • 12 ounces lemon-pepper fettuccine or regular fettuccine
  • 2 1/2 cups snow peas (about 5 ounces), cut into matchstick-size strips
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and sauté until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Cool. Cut chicken crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick strips.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain well; transfer to large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil; toss to coat. Add chicken, snow peas, pine nuts and parsley; toss to incorporate all ingredients.
Whisk lemon juice and mustard in medium bowl. Add remaining 3/4 cup oil in thin stream, whisking constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss pasta with enough dressing to coat. (Can be made 3 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Toss before serving.)

So, for my version I began by marinating my chicken breast in the zest and juice of one lemon,  about  a T of EVOO, one large, thinly slice clove of garlic, and a few grinds of black pepper.
Next, I cut up a head of broccoli (into small for florets for Grandma); put the pasta water on to boil (I used bow-ties); and then I made the dressing.  
Now for the dressing, I used the zest of one lemon and the juice of two, about 3 T of dijon mustard, 3-5 grinds black pepper, enough EVOO to cut the bitter lemoness of it and 1/2 tsp of garlic powder.
I cooked the broccoli with  the pasta but I pulled it out 5 minutes shy of the pasta being done.  I sliced my chicken before sauteeing it another T of EVOO and added the remaining marinade to the pan before cooking.
Finally, I drained the pasta and returned it to the pot; added the chicken and broccoli and tossed well with the dressing. 

Right now, it's all chilling in the fridge.

I hope everyone likes it, because it's the perfect meal to take to Grandma.  Protein, veg., and grain in one fell swoop.

So I leave you with 3 questions:

1.  Is my recipe original
2 . If it is, what do I call it
3.  What are you having for dinner tonight?

happy cooking