Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fragrant (ha!) flank steak

Tonight's Menu
  • garlicky grilled flank steak
  • steamed broccoli
  • green salad w/carrots and tomatoes
We liked this flank steak so much the last time I made it that I decided to make it the same way this time. It's SO EASY and the great thing is that you don't have to plan ahead and marinate the steak! Just mash up some garlic cloves, salt, lemon juice and EVOO, rub it all over the steak, and slap it right onto the grill. YUM! You would not believe how flavorful this is! And the huge mortar and pestle my parents got me for my birthday came in VERY handy! (You could probably use a food processor, but WHY? A mortar/pestle is so much fun and it's worth buying one JUST to make this steak! Really!)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Pork and sauerkraut

Tonight's Menu
  • crockpot pork roast and sauerkraut
  • mashed potatoes
  • candied carrots
This was a relatively easy dinner to make thanks to the crockpot. I drained a jar of sauerkraut, dumped it into the crockpot, and stirred in a grated apple. The I browned a pork roast in a skillet and sat that on top of the sauerkraut. The whole thing cooked for about 11 hours on low and was sooo tender and yummy!

The mashed potatoes were my usual frozen Ore-Ida. They really are good! I swear! They totally taste like homemade when you jazz them up with seasonings and stuff.

The carrots were likewise easy -- I just dumped a package of raw baby carrots into a bowl, added a little water, covered and nuked them on my microwave's "hard vegetables" setting. Then I melted 2 Tbs. each of butter and brown sugar together in a skillet and tossed the carrots in the mixture until they were coated. Yum!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Beef stew

Tonight's Menu
  • beef stew with onions, carrots, potatoes and peas
  • Pillsbury twisty garlic breadsticks
It was clear and cool when I woke up this morning, so I decided to make beef stew. Even though it ended up getting into the 90s.

I'm guessing pretty much everyone knows how to make stew, but here's how I do it: Shake some beef stew cubes (Dear HEB grocery store: Those were SO NOT "extra lean", assholes. Love, Badger) in some seasoned flour and brown them in a big pot with a smidge of oil. Do it in batches so they actually get brown and crusty on the outside. Then take them out and add some onion and garlic to the pot. Stir around just until the garlic releases its fragrance (DO NOT BURN THE GARLIC, IT WILL SUCK), then dump the meat back in along with some red potatoes (quartered or whatever) and whole baby carrots. Add enough beef broth, red wine and/or water to just barely cover everything. Sprinkle in a little thyme and float a bay leaf on top. Bring it up to the boil and then immediately turn it down to a simmer and let it go for a couple of hours. You can cover it or not, I don't care. If you don't, try to check on it a few times to see if you need to add liquid. After a couple of hours, stir in some frozen peas and about a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Let it keep cooking until the peas are warmed through, then remove the bay leaf and serve with some sort of bread-like thing.

It freezes well and is yummy leftover, too.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sandwich night

No actual menu tonight; instead we had a sandwich bar kind of thing. I set out the following:
  • whole-grain bread
  • whole-wheat sub rolls
  • sesame hamburger buns
  • honey ham
  • two kinds of turkey (oven roasted and mesquite)(this is all prepared lunchmeat, by the way -- I didn't COOK a turkey, much less two of them and a ham!)
  • American cheese slices
  • shredded cheddar (hey, it's what we had)
  • cooked bacon (two slices per person)
  • sliced tomatoes
  • fresh basil leaves in lieu of salad greens
  • sliced avocado
  • condiments (mayo, two kinds of mustard, ketchup because DH insists, etc.)
I had a sub roll with mayo, brown mustard, mesquite turkey, shredded cheddar, bacon, tomatoes, basil and avocado and I may not eat again for a week. Damn, I'm stuffed!

The boy had a peanut butter sandwich on whole-grain bread and two slices of bacon. Oy. He was excused from needing a fruit/veg because he ate a whole can of pears (in juice, not syrup) before dinner.

The girl had a sesame bun with bacon and American cheese. And some raw baby carrots.

I have no idea what DH ate except that it was on a sesame bun and probably involved ham since he's allergic to turkey.

I usually do sandwich night when I don't feel like cooking. Although by the time you get everything out and slice the veggies and whatnot and then put it all away again, it's almost as much work as a full meal!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Too damn much trouble

Tonight's Menu
  • trout fillets sauteed in EVOO
  • quinoa
  • shredded brussels sprouts with onion and bacon
I got this brussels sprouts recipe out of a magazine (Oct./Nov. 2006 Eating Well, page 35) and it was extremely tasty, but I don't think I'll make it again because it took FOREVER. Basically you slice up a pound of fresh brussels sprouts (do you have ANY idea how long that takes? well, double that and you're close) and a small yellow onion. Fry two strips of bacon in a skillet, remove the bacon, and dump the onions and a dash of salt into the drippings. Cook those on medium-ish until tender and starting to brown, then add 3/4 cup of water and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard to the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Then add the sliced up brussels sprouts and cook those, stirring often, until they get tender. Stir in a tablespoon of cider vinegar, crumble the bacon and sprinkle that on top, et voila! Really yummy, but damn is it labor-intensive.

On the plus side: DH, who usually avoids brussels sprouts, liked this stuff and would probably eat it again. And also, AFTER he ate it and I complained about how long it took to make, he asked me why I didn't just use the food processor. D'oh! I kind of forget we have one sometimes. We have a little one that I use to chop nuts, but I rarely drag out the big one. I mean, a knife is a lot easier to clean, you know? So I dunno. I really don't think I'll try this again, but I never say never. Cabbage is a lot quicker and easier to chop up, even WITHOUT a food processor, and it tastes about the same.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Delicious pork!

Tonight's Menu
  • roasted pork chops with onions and potatoes
  • gigantic salad
Holy crap, I didn't realize it had been a week since I posted! Sorry about that! Um, I think we had a lot of leftovers, along with more fajitas. Last night we had cavatappi marinara. I've posted my marinara recipe before, on my other blog.

Tonight I cut up some red potatoes, wedged an onion and tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper and some freshly snipped rosemary. I spread that out in a baking pan and then rubbed some pork chops with the same oil/salt/pepper/rosemary mixture and laid those on top. Then I roasted the whole shebang uncovered at 400 degrees F for about 45 minutes. The chops got a little dry because they were thin, but after two glasses of rosé I didn't much care.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Red meat is yummy

Tonight's Menu
  • pan-seared thin ribeye steaks
  • mushrooms and onions sauteed in butter (you could use olive oil, but that would be wrong)
  • roasted asparagus
I was feeling a little anemic, so it was time for some beef. I'd happily eat steak every night if I didn't think it would kill me.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Beer brats

Tonight's Menu
  • beer brats with onions and brown mustard on whole-wheat rolls
  • leftover cold salad of new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil, and marinated artichoke hearts from Friday
Beer brats are so easy, y'all. Cut up a big onion, toss it into a pot with half a stick of butter (or a whole stick if you like to live dangerously), add 4-5 fresh bratwurst and cover with beer (preferably a German or German-style beer). Let 'em simmer for 20-30 minutes, then take the brats out and brown them on the grill (I used the Foreman tonight because it was threatening rain outside). While the brats are grilling, bring the beer mixture up to the boil and let it roil away until it reduces just a bit. Then take it off the heat and add the brats back in until you're ready to serve them. Yum!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Roly poly fish heads

Tonight's Menu
  • grilled rainbow trout fillets
  • a cold salad of new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil, and marinated artichoke hearts
Okay, so tonight instead of sauteing the trout fillets in a pan with EVOO, I stuck them in a wire basket and grilled them. This was a moderately successful experiment in that the fish cooked just fine and tasted good and everything; however, the fillets stuck to the grill basket something awful despite the fact that I brushed them generously with EVOO before putting them in there. Argh. I think I'll leave grilling for heartier fish like salmon and tuna, and go back to sauteing my trout.

It's almost getting too late in the season for this, my favorite summer salad. The tomatoes just aren't quite up to par anymore around here, alas.