Chicken fried rice. 7/13/18

This was basically a chicken stir-fry with lots of vegetables and an egg. The brown and white rices were pre-cooked and mixed in. John made it so the bottom rice was crispy and I am not sure that I like that. It makes the rice hard. The dinner was fine and it used up a bunch of vegetables that had been lingering in the refrigerator. It was just that after all the exciting meals this week chicken fried rice seemed a little blah.240BC84F-1D17-48DD-BBC2-93A78DC9DB0B

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Afghani Dahl, fattoush, brown rice. 7/12/18

We forgot to defrost the chicken for chicken fried rice so we decided to push that dinner to Friday and make another fine pantry/fridge vegan/vegetarian meal on Thursday.

Note: For a vegan dish omit or substitute the yogurt on the lentils.

Afghani lentils, fattoush, and brown rice

We had this lentil dish a few weeks ago and it was really delicious. Having made it once we knew how to tweak it more to our taste. We used a little less ginger in it.  I made the brown rice first thing in the morning in the oven so it would not heat up the kitchen later in the day. Fattoush is like a Lebanese panzanella salad. It has lettuce, parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumbers,  green onions, and crisped up pita broken into pieces and then sauteed in a bit of olive oil and dusted with salt, pepper, and sumac. Sumac is a citric-tasting spice. The dressing is olive oil, lime juice, sumac, salt, and a pinch of allspice and cinnamon

So far this week we have had Greek, French, Italian, Afghani, and Lebanese cuisines! Cooking and eating various ethnic dishes is like traveling around the world from your own table!

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Whole grain spaghetti with herbs and ground beef sauce. 7/11/18

Tuna is on our menu for today but since John is our meat, poultry, and fin man and he is at work today, we are being flexible and swapping out the tuna. John has asked for pasta with meat sauce and who am I to turn him down. (Plus I love this dinner!)

We have a tiny backyard, really just a patio with some beds around the edges. In my picture you can see that it is mostly paved and the edge of John’s decrepit old grill.

Our patio with parsley and oregano on the lower left and sage on the upper right

I try to get as much space for growing herbs as I can. The biggest problem is that it is almost entirely shade. I even keep some herbs in pots so I can move them around during the day to where there might be a patch of sunlight. Having fresh herbs to put in our dishes really makes a difference.

A line-up of thyme, chives, mint in a pot, oregano, basil in a pot, more oregano and Italian parsley

Even if you only have a windowsill, growing herbs is very fulfilling and gives you a nice fresh taste in your cooking. I used oregano and basil in my spaghetti sauce.

Whole grain spaghetti with a ground beef and herb tomato sauce

 

 

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Sous vide chicken breast with corn, shallots, and cream. 7/10/18

John and I love French food although we rarely make it.  In our minds the fabulous ingredients and sauces are just too rich for a weekday night. However since I have been trying to introduce new dishes to my website and a little more variety to our cooking and dining, I have been scouring the internet for new dishes. On Chicken Tuesday instead of the same old classic chicken I found a recipe for chicken with a creamy mustard sauce by Pierre Franey. I spent many wee hours of the night watching his shows on Public Television in the 1980’s while feeding my babies.

Sous vide chicken breast with corn, shallots, and cream

Pierre Franey did not sous vide his chicken breasts but we are trying to keep the heat down in the kitchen and we know that using the immersion circulator will give us perfectly cooked chicken. John makes the sauce of shallots, corn, and cream while I get the broccoli ready and heat up the leftover rice from our Chinese take-out dinner on Sunday.

The juice from the chicken in the sous vide bag is added to the sauce and the broccoli is cooked and the rice reheated. We put it together on our plate for a fabulous weekday meal  that could easily be made in under an hour using a saute of the chicken breast instead.

I need to be looking for some additional French dishes!

 

 

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Great vegetarian/vegan Greek dinner. 7/9/18

Note: For a vegan meal omit or substitute feta

I am a little slow getting my post done today since I have been busy watching Wimbledon today. Ladies’ semi-finals! Mostly I am only interested in Roger Federer winning but I am willing to watch others give it their best. John and I are pretty avid tennis players although my knee injury of five years ago has really slowed me down.

Hummus with pita, tabbouleh and Greek salsa

Tonight’s Greek vegetarian dinner was really delicious and also did not heat up the kitchen at all. Along with some hummus and pita that we bought at the grocery store we had the leftovers of tabbouleh from the other night and some really delicious Greek salsa. I made this salsa the other day to have with our salmon and it seemed like a good choice to make with our dinner on Veg Monday.  The rendition tonight had the addition of feta cheese. The fresh combination of cucumber and tomatoes along with olives, feta, and pepperoni with a lemon and olive oil dressing went really well with the hummus and pita.

It is a good idea to use ingredients from the grocery store on these hot days. The base of our dinner tonight was store bought hummus and pita. The tabbouleh was leftover from Saturday and the Greek salsa was a fresh comp9onent from today. There is no shame in using grocery ingredients and leftovers to craft a new meal.

 

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Wild card Sunday and new menu. 7/8/18

I decided to give my days of the week new names like Veg Monday, Chicken Tuesday, Red meat Wednesday, etc.  We also decided we needed at least one day a week where we might get take-out or go out or whatever. After cooking for thirteen or so days we need a day off – so wild card Sunday.

For wild card Sunday yesterday we got take-out from our local Chinese restaurant. Our favorites are moo shu pork and Mongolian beef.

Moo shu pork

Here is our menu for this week. I have tried to include dishes that do not need a whole lot of kitchen cooking. It has been really hot here in Northern California and I do not want to heat the kitchen up. We will be using the outdoor grill, the immersion circulator, the microwave, lots of salads, and some prepared foods from the grocery store.

You see we have a Celebration Saturday. We are celebrating our 46th wedding anniversary with an overnight and a fancy dinner in Half Moon Bay. For us, cooking together has been part of the glue to our great marriage.

 

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Gazpacho! Tabbouleh! Veggie Burgers! 7/7/18

Dinner on Saturday was a mostly non-cooked vegan feast. It has been in the upper 90’sF for the last few days and too hot to be heating up the kitchen by turning on the oven or using the cooktop!

Our first course was a delicious gazpacho. I got the base recipe, The Best Gazpacho, from New York Times Cooking but of course put my own spin on it since it was definitely not spicy enough. I did not have enough fresh tomatoes so I used canned. I also toasted some croutons and lemon thyme to put on top.

Gazpacho

This was followed up with Morningstar Chipotle Bean Burger served with tabbouleh. This Lebanese tabbouleh is heavy on the parsley and lighter on the bulgur wheat than most.

Morningstar Chipotle Bean Burger with tabbouleh

So while I did manage to avoid using the oven and cooktop, I did use the food processor, blender, microwave, and toaster!

 

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