Monday, May 13, 2013

Falling off the To-Do List

Every mom knows that when life gets busy, your stuff is the first to fall off of the to-do list. Well, my blog took a big fall off the to-do list but I'm back. I'm still cooking but the writing just wasn't happening. But, I'm determined to finish telling this story. So, on to the next meal from Jamie Oliver's Meals in Minutes…

Have I mentioned that my favorite food is sweet potatoes? I have been eyeing this meal for awhile because it included sweet potatoes but the "branzino" scared me off. First of all, I had never heard of branzino and couldn't find it anywhere. When I finally did research and found out that it is another name for Chilean Sea Bass I was relieved that I would be able to find the ingredients for this one. However, Chilean Sea Bass seems to be a bit pricey, at least in my neck of the woods, and this meal set our grocery budget back a bit. You may want to try this one with some other kind of fish if its equally pricey where you live. My family loved this meal! It was easy, looks beautiful and made everyone happy. Taking on a menu with five recipes was a bit intimidating but I had lots of little helpers in the kitchen which made this lots of fun!

Here's the menu:
Branzino & Crispy Pancetta
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Asian Greens
1-minute Berry Ice Cream
Sparkling Lemon Ginger Drink

Now, let's start with those yummy potatoes. Jamie used this method in an earlier meal and I've made these countless times since then. Wash 1 1/2 pounds of sweet potatoes, cut lengthwise and put in a microwave safe bowl. Cut a lime in half and add it to the bowl then cover with a double layer of plastic wrap. Cook in the microwave for 12-14 minutes or until cooked through. Finely chop some cilantro on  a large wooden cutting board. Add 2 tablespoons of mango chutney (check the international section of your grocery store), a splash of soy sauce, the juice from the other half of the lime and a little olive oil. Mix well and chop everything together. Feel free to add some chili for a bit of kick. When the potatoes are done, add them to the board and chop and mash everything together. Yum!

The other recipes were so simple yet the combination of everything together would impress even the pickiest dinner guest. The branzino and pancetta was cooked on top of the stove together while the asparagus and broccoli cooked in a pot nearby. For the greens, it was all about the asian dressing made of soy sauce, lime juice and garlic. And the food processor makes quick work of the frozen berries turning them into an impressively quick dessert.  

All in all, a big success!

Meals cooked: 23
Meals left: 27
Weeks left: 5
(Yes, you read that right. 5 weeks left and 27 meals to cook. Wondering if I made it? Keep reading!)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Meals in Minutes?

My husband's big hang up on Meals in Minutes is that I have yet to get dinner on the table in less than an hour. This one came in around 45 minutes which impressed him a bit. Even better, I really had it together and there wasn't any banging or cursing sounds coming from the kitchen. A huge accomplishment. I would definitely make this again. It really was quick and easy. I overdid it on the sauce for the veggies so I would advise you to be a bit conservative, start with a small amount and then add more to taste. This meal also has a "special drink" involved and for some reason this little bit of effort puts huge smiles on my family's faces. I also love that with just a few ingredients  and a bit of time, you can cure your take out craving. Love it.

Here's the menu:
Rib Eye Stir Fry
Dan Dan Noodles
Chilled Hibiscus Tea

Check out the recipe on this new website that I recently discovered that I really like….

Meals cooked: 22
Meals left: 28
Weeks left: 7

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Scallops, Brownies and Memory Loss

To say that I have writer's block is an understatement. Its more like a big brick block wall! I'm trying to come up with something clever to say about this next meal and honestly I'm having a hard time remembering because I made it over a month ago. The cooking is going great and the writing is slowing me down. Of course I don't want to get too far ahead of myself so now the writing is slowing down the cooking. So, I ask the Kid what she remembers about this meal hoping to jog my memory. "The brownies were really good, I remember that."  She's right, I was really impressed with how easy and quick it was to make these brownies and the use of parchment paper makes for quick clean up.

"What about the scallops?" I ask.
"Oh, yeah! I liked those, can we make those again?" she says as her face lights up.
"Nope. Sorry! Too many other things to cook."

Here's the Menu:
Sticky Pan-Fried Scallops
Sweet Chili Rice
Dressed Greens
Quick Brownies

The sad part is, I remember there was a story that went along with this that I wanted to share but I honestly can't remember. I need to take better notes.

Sorry gang!
Moving on…

Meals cooked: 21
Meals left: 29
Weeks left: 8