Favorites

Good for Me (leftovers are good for a few days)
Chicken with Olives
Baked Cauliflower with Farro
Smoky Sweet Potato Black Bean Casserole
Lemon Rosemary Chicken Minestrone
Peanut Noodles
Wheat Berry Salad with Citrus and Feta
Warm Lentil Potato Salad
Simple Chickpea Curry
Enchiladas
Rice Bowl
Shakshuka
Simple Carrot Soup
Sweet Corn and Squash Fritters
Potato Squash Goat Cheese Gratin
Pioneer Woman Chili
Chicken Tikka Masala
Learn to Stir Fry: Chicken Recipe
Pasta with Spinach and Italian Sausage
Spring Vegetable Gratin
Spinach Stir Fry

Good For Company

Salads
Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Dried Cherries (side)
Vietnamese “Green Papaya” Salad
Canteloupe Salad with Fresh Mozzarella
Napa Cabbage and Kale Coleslaw with Creamy Miso-Ginger Dressing
Obsessively Good Avocado and Cucumber Salad (for a meal, serve with pita)
Zucchini and Carrot Salad (side)
Fried Egg Salad
Pickled Cabbage Slaw
Beet and Citrus Goat Cheese Salad (side)

Mains (Vegetarian)
Simple Chickpea Curry
Enchiladas
Pupusas
Rice Bowl
Gnocchi
Potato and Goat Cheese Frittata
Potato Squash Goat Cheese Gratin
Tostadas with Smoky Sweet Corn Hummus
Simple Carrot Soup
Take Out Style Seasame Noodles with Cucumber
Spaghetti with Mascarpone, Lemons and Ricotta
Sweet Potatoes and Spinach Chilaquiles
Charred Cauliflower Quesadillas
Thai Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Cauliflower with Olives, Currants and Tahini
Sweet Corn and Squash Fritters
Stir Fried Lo Mein
Peanut Noodles
Seasoned Tofu
Toasts with Roasted Squash, Maple Syrup Caramelized Onions and Ricotta
Crispy Fried Egg – With a slice of toast, this can turn any of the lighter salads into a meal!

Mains (Meat/Fish)
Pioneer Woman Chili
Chicken Tikka Masala
Learn to Stir Fry: Chicken Recipe
Pasta with Spinach and Italian Sausage
Split Pea Soup
Grilled/Stovetop Salmon

Sides, Breads
Mashed Potatoes
Baba Ganoush
No Knead Bread
Spring Rolls
Roasted Grape and Olive Crostini
Skillet Cornbread
Seasoned Tofu
Sweet Corn and Squash Fritters

Sweets
Cobbler
Fudgy Brownies
Memom’s Peanut Butter Pie
Gingerbread
Mexican Wedding Cookies
Pie Crust
Pumpkin Pie
Buckeyes
Pumpkin Muffins

Drinks
Pumpkin Spice Latte

Fish en Papillote

I had this at Martine’s in France many times and I always wanted to try it. It was easy and delicious! Also very versatile for veggies, fish and flavor combos.

1. Watch this video for how to deal the packets. The recipe itself offers pretty useless instructions.

http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/inside-our-kitchen/article/how-to-fold-parchment-paper-to-cook-en-papillote

2. More flavor! Try with more onion, maybe some fresh dill (for a greek-ish variant), white wine. I had some thyme that had dried out that was the most dominant flavor, so make sure to add in a strong flavor to avoid being bland. A cajun variant would be delicious too.

3. I overcooked the fish ever so slightly. It wasn’t done at 12 min, but it was overdone at 15. try 13-14 next time.

Excited to try other things en papillote as well!

Pan Seared Pork Chops

This was a disaster for my first pork experience. I take the blame, I have a feeling it’s because I didn’t use a meat thermometer when they were in the oven, and I left them in the pan too long, but these suckers were super dry and salty. Like country ham (which I love, but on a pork chop a little too thick for my taste).

I think I just need to invest in a meat thermometer and only sear on each side for less than a minute. And maybe cut down on the salt just a tad.

Recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/03/perfect-pan-seared-pork-chop-recipe.html

Pizza

I’ve been perfecting my pizza recipe and method:

1. Brush/spray outer part of crust with oil. So yummy.

2. Bake the crust almost all the way without any toppings, as hot as the oven will go. UPDATE: I think this might have made the crust too crunchy? I like a crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside crust, and when I used Booby Flay’s pizza dough recipe (which everyone raves about so I wonder where I’m going wrong), it turned into a kind of flavorless, thick cracker. Still need to perfect the technique I think. It may not have risen enough, so maybe try the heat the oven to 100 or so, turn off, then let the dough rise?

Also, maybe try this recipe: http://www.jasonandshawnda.com/foodiebride/archives/11097/

3. Then, open the oven and quickly add your toppings. Everything will melt and heat through, and you’ll have a crispy crust (instead of a soggy, ingredient soaked crust).

This recipe is delicious. I substituted Parmesan for the mozzarella and it was so good. Also I think tossing the greens in olive oil and lemon really kicks it up a notch.

http://www.dinneralovestory.com/tag/jim-lahey-pizza-crust/

UPDATE 5/5/15: Hahaha, I had such a colossal pizza failure last night! Let’s see if we can do better next time.

1. Don’t add fresh arugula until the end, otherwise it cooks too much and is kind of gross.

2. Try this dough recipe. And make sure to check the yeast, maybe your dough didn’t rise because the yeast was old? This is an all day rise BTW.

http://www.jasonandshawnda.com/foodiebride/archives/11097/

3. From the above recipe: “It takes ~30 minutes for my oven to heat to 550 and then I hold the temperature for 30 minutes to make sure the stone and everything inside is actually 550 degrees.”

4. Also could try this broiler method for those of us with those funky bottom broiler drawers instead of in the oven broilers: “Because mine is a drawer-style broiler at the bottom of the oven, room to maneuver is at a premium. Rather than use the back of a cast-iron skillet, which would position the pizza too close to the flame, I put the pie on a preheated cast-iron grill pan, pulling out the broiler-pan assembly beforehand to make room.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/02/AR2010030200545.html

5. Try assembling the pizza on parchment (maybe with cornmeal? might be unnecessary) so it’s easier to slide onto the preheated surface in the oven.

Learn to Stir Fry

UPDATE 3: If using thicker veggies like broccoli or cauliflower, take the chicken out before you add the veggies, since they need to cook longer and you’ll overcook the chicken. Also, the chicken recipe only makes 3 modest servings, so if you want more try cooking in batches, with more of each per batch: chicken first, then veggies, then throw altogether with the sauce.

UPDATE 2: Had no sherry or chicken broth. Used white wine and threw in a little extra salt to the sauce and it turned out delicious!

UPDATE 1:
Make sure to start the rice before prepping everything so it will be done by the time you finish!

The chicken recipe’s sauce isn’t explained until a few steps into the recipe (Under “Sauce,” some of the ingredients listed are for the marinade and not the actual stir fry sauce, like cornstarch).

Original Post:

Following this guide elevated my stir fries from mushy, flavorless messes to crispy, tasty delights. I bought the wok, I seasoned it, I followed the chicken (subs tofu) recipe and the fried rice recipes. Both were delicious. The only change I’d make to the fried rice is to use the chicken recipe sauce instead of soy sauce (UPDATE: I tried this, and it was good, but I also added another egg for a little more protein and it came out a little mushy. If I do it again, I’ll cook the egg separately, either scramble or “pancake”).

Make sure to read all of the tips, too (like making sure the veggies are dry and pouring the sauce down the side of the wok, not directly on top of the ingredients).

Intro Article

Stir Fry Tips

Chicken Recipe

Fried Rice

Olive Oil – Not For High Heat

I had no idea! Olive oil burns at a much lower temperature than other oils, so don’t use if if you’re roasting at over 400F or stir frying over high heat. Try canola (or sesame) oil instead. Pan searing things in olive oil won’t work either, the oil needs to get hotter than olive oil’s burn point to successfully sear.

References:

http://www.eatingwell.com/blogs/healthy_cooking_blog/why_you_shouldn_t_always_cook_with_olive_oil

http://www.buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/things-you-shouldnt-be-cooking-with-olive-oil

Tomato Sauce

Made some tomato sauce with canned tomato, roasted garlic, red pepper and zucchini. It came out a little acidic. I added a little sugar, which helped. But I can do more next time, this site has some good tips. I think adding carrots could really help as well (adding sweetness). I made sauce a few months ago with some carrots and it was much better.

Maybe try Emeril’s roasted garlic sauce (adding carrots of course).

Avoid Food Waste

I’m trying to avoid wasting so much food (also saves money). The Kitchen Counter Cooking School has a chapter on leftovers (“Waste Not, Want Not”). Here are my favorite tips:

1. Flatbreads

Throw unused extra veggies and toppings onto a premade flatbread. Crack an egg on top, stick in the toaster oven. Make sure to use a spatula to get it off, the egg can seep through to the pan.

You can also do this with tortillas and add salsa for a slightly different twist.

Topping Ideas: Caramelized onions, olive oil, leftover greens, avocado, pear, fresh herbs (or pesto), cheese, etc.

2. Fresh Herbs

Make a pesto with leftovers. That way I don’t have to feel guilty about buying them, because I never use them up in time. Then, freeze the pesto if you don’t use it up quickly.

3. Soups

Caramelized Onions (note that you can make a big batch at freeze these!) and leftover veggies, throw in a pot with some broth, let it simmer for at least an hour. Could add a cooked grain at the end for complete the meal.

4. End of Condiment Jars

Using the last drops of mustard, olive oil, vinegar jars, make a salad dressing in the jar using the leftovers (1 part acid to three parts oil).

5. Weekly Grocery Trips

Only buy what you’ll eat in a week. If buying for one, don’t buy that giant bag of oranges, you won’t eat them all! For me, cooking a 3-4 portion meal twice a week gives me dinner plus a couple of lunches per recipe. Then, I can use leftovers for the remaining dinners.

6. Write Down What You Throw Out

Do this for a week and see what happens. This does double duty. You know what you tend to waste the most, and it makes you think twice about doing it. Then, adjust your shopping accordingly.

7. Make a Triage Box

In the fridge, throw everything in a box that you need to use up (sauces, veggies, fruit, etc), then do it!

8. Extra Prep

Not using all of those veggies for your current recipe? Prep┬áthem all and save the prepped veggies in the triage box. You’re more likely to use them if they’re visible and ready to use.

9. Freeze Broth Ingredients

Extra celery, a few slices of onion, herbs, etc? PLace them in a box in the freezer to make broth with laer.

Food I’ve wasted, past two weeks:

Some basil leaves that went bad before I made pesto

Remnants of soup from lunch

Chives that went bad (they were kind of duds to begin with, not much flavor)

Remnants of polenta from lunch

 

This week (Feb 2-8)

Slice of week old pizza (I was sent home with all of the leftovers from a dinner one night, couldn’t quite finish them all)

Failed pound cake cupcakes