Not a bad week, food-wise. I like a variety in my menu plans; I dislike eating the same kind of meal every day. Usually, I try to include the following in every week: a meatless dish, a seafood dish, a soup, a low-cal/low-fat dish from a “healthy” cookbook, and something from Around My French Table. Sometimes, those coincide (next week’s soup is also the French Friday recipe). Sometimes, they just get left out (usually the diet-style one). I try to build around what’s on sale at the grocery store and what’s in season – often those two are the same thing. I work with what I’ve got in the pantry. I like to throw in the odd breakfast-style meal, because I love pancakes and egg dishes, but I hate cooking first thing in the morning. If I see a recipe that really throws my switches, I’ll go with that. I don’t often repeat recipes, but it’s been known to happen. I’m very fortunate that I have a husband who is open-minded about what he eats and doesn’t mind what I serve him, as long as it’s not too outlandish and follows a few simple rules (no onions and no green peppers being the most important). Usually, we agree about how good or how bad a meal is, but there are exceptions. We work around them. Generally speaking, the highlight of my day is when I go into the kitchen to prepare dinner. This is what we got this past week.

 

Saturday
Green Eggs & Ham (from Eat This! Not That! 2012)

greeneggsham

March 2nd was the birthday of Dr. Seuss, so to celebrate, we had some green eggs and ham. Except, not really. It is a poached egg and prosciutto with pesto on top. So, it’s green, eggs, and ham, right? Worked for us! It also has a little sun-dried tomato on it, which was my favorite part. I love poached eggs (my preferred way to eat an egg), but this didn’t do a whole lot for me. It was good, but not terribly fantastic. The pesto was mixed with Greek yogurt to beef it up a bit, and that was nice, to get more out of just a little. But, I dunno, it was just okay. Geordie liked it, for the most part. He felt the sun-dried tomatoes didn’t add much. Odd how that was my favorite. Oh, well.

 

Monday
Pizza Rustica (from Baking with Julia) and a spinach-strawberry salad

spinachberrysalad

I wrote about the pizza rustica on Tuesday and haven’t got much else to say about it. Let’s talk about the salad a moment. I don’t like salads. I don’t like making them, and I’m not overly fond of eating them. Part of my problem is that I like all of my food on one plate (but, usually, not touching). This is why soup almost always gets served alone – I don’t like having a soup bowl and a salad plate to deal with. And I’m not keen on meat with my salads; meat with salads is okay, but I just want to be able to put everything on one plate. It’s just one of those weird individual quirks. However, if I feel I need a salad, I’ll bite the bullet and make a salad. And this is my favorite salad to make: I chiffonade the spinach, add a few chopped strawberries or carrots, and drizzle some balsamic vinegar over top. If I’m feeling indulgent, I’ll sprinkle on some nuts (almonds being best). But that’s it. That’s about as complicated as I like my salads. And though I love blue cheese anything, I try to dress my salads only with balsamic vinegar or a flavored oil. I don’t buy bottled dressings anymore. They just don’t have any appeal for me. I intend to try eating more salads this year, but I get the feeling this will dominate my salad choices. The goal, really, is to get a little more variety in my salads.

 

Tuesday
Italian Wedding Soup (from Eat This! Not That! 2012) and homemade whole wheat bread

It wasn't as greasy as it looks. The light hit this all wrong.

It wasn’t as greasy as it looks. The light hit this all wrong.

Better than I expected it to be. I am sometimes wary about making “diet” foods, because they invariably taste like nothing. That’s what happens when you take out fat, salt, and sugar. Yes, it’s healthier, but I’m not going to waste time and energy making something that tastes like cardboard. It won’t make me happy, and I want to be happy when I’m eating. Fortunately, this recipe has a limited ingredients list without skimping on the flavor. It’s even got cheese. And that always makes me happy. I’d never had a meatball soup before (neither had Geordie), so we weren’t sure what to expect. It was a very light meal but filling at the same time. Nice for a pre-spring dinner. Best of all, it’s made with ingredients I always have on hand, which makes for an easy, cheap emergency dinner. Not too shabby.

 

Wednesday
Cheesy Crème Brûlèe (from Around My French Table) and Asparagus & Crab Salad (from About.com)

asparagusbrulee

I wrote about the crème brûlèe yesterday, and I don’t have much more to say about it (except that it really is delicious and decadent and wonderful). Let’s talk about this salad. In theory, it’s a tasty salad. Crab, asparagus, mayo-based dressing with capers and a little Dijon. What could go wrong? Yeah, about that. Remember how I said that I’m not fond of meat in my salad? Goes for seafood too, apparently. This just didn’t work. The dressing over-powered the crab, and nothing really came together. The asparagus worked with the dressing, but that’s about it. Granted, I subbed spinach for lettuce leaves, but I find it hard to believe plain old lettuce would add much to this. Also, the asparagus got over-steamed (my own fault for not keeping a better eye on it), and that took away some of the appeal. It was nice to have something green and not-rich to go with the crème brûlèe, and maybe the salad just couldn’t measure up to all that awesome cheese. All I know is, it’s not going to be making a repeat appearance at our table.

 

Friday
Buttermilk Roast Chicken Thighs (from Smitten Kitchen) and Grits with Corn, Goat Cheese, & Sun-Dried Tomatoes (from The Kitchn)

chickenandgrits

This was a really nice way to end the week. The chicken was perfect: juicy and tender and flavorful and everything I would want a chicken thigh to be. It was a very simple preparation, one that can be done ahead and simply popped into the oven when you’re ready. I’m thinking this will become my go-to recipe for chicken thighs. Or, at the very least, a good way to use up the half-empty bottles of buttermilk I always seem to have hiding in the fridge. As for the grits, this just proves to me that I need to make grits more often. I liked this version; Geordie thought it was a little “busy,” that there was too much going on. I admit, there are a lot of flavors involved here (and it didn’t help that I burnt the oven-roasted tomatoes a little). Next time I do grits, I’ll do things a bit simpler – but mostly for Geordie’s sake. I liked these grits as they were. Geordie did agree that the meal as a whole went together well, so at least that worked for him. It was a very satisfying meal without being overly complicated to make, which is always nice for a Friday evening after a long week!

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