Busy Nights Real Food
A day in the life of a grilled sandwich
Well, I just started this blog a few days ago, and my motivation is still pretty good, however sometimes I wonder what the whole purpose of it is. Is anybody out there? I think it is a bit like being a grilled sandwich.
These culinary staples are comfort food for most. They are there just to fill that void on a night when nobody wants to cook. They are the fall back. But how do the sandwiches feel about this. I mean, what is it like to be the easy way out for someone?
As any grilled cheese lover will know, there really is no bad grilled sandwich, but there is definitely a great grilled sandwich. A couple pieces of store bought bread, a slice of plastic wrapped cheese is always a good way to end a day. But fresh homemade bread, gourmet cheese and top quality deli meat can be a fabulous and enlightening experience. I had one of these types of sandwiches last night. It was absolutely perfect.
So back to tying it into this blog. Some blogs are great, one you can't go a day without reading (or at least thinking about)-this is last night's grilled ham and swiss. Some blogs are just okay, you could take them or leave them and be no worse for the wear. I really don't think a blog can be too bad, you are invited into someone else's little world. So in the grilled sandwich world of blogs I may just be a plain grilled cheese, with Kraft slices and Wonder bread, but here I am and here I shall remain as a fall back for those times you need it.
Atsa Pizza Pie
Nothing too gourmet last night. Made strombolli with pepperoni and homemade sausage. Such an easy recipe (which I actually made some time ago and froze). Now if I could just convince someone to buy that KitchenAid so I could make the dough without kneading it myself (never been too good at that). So here is the recipe for my sausage. Forgive me for the title, it was not my creation. I think this sausage was even better than the 1st time I had it.Atsa Spicy Pizza SausageIt's as bold as the name implies. Use some now and freeze the rest for a quick pizza later.
1 pound ground turkey
1 pound ground pork
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
Cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble.
Note: The sausage can be frozen in zip-top plastic bags for up to 3 months.
Yield: 5 cups (serving size: 1/2 cup)CALORIES 203(61% from fat); FAT 13.7g (sat 4.6g,mono 5.8g,poly 2.1g); PROTEIN 17.6g; CHOLESTEROL 68mg; CALCIUM 42mg; SODIUM 319mg; FIBER 0.3g; IRON 1.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 1.2g
Cooking Light, JANUARY 2001
Well, to follow up my Kraft copy I figured I should try to duplicate the rest of my all time favorite meal, fish sticks. Okay so I actually made fish and chips, but it was perfect. I used some batter mix from the store, because lets be honest, I am all about convenience. Just fried it up in some canola oil and made my own fries as well (and as a tribute to all the fast food fish restaurants I also made those little crispy thingys that are pretty much fried batter). So not my healthiest meal of the week, but one of the tastiest.
I am also trying to get better at reworking those leftovers that I absolutely despise. My fridge is littered with every size tupperware container they make. And each time I open the door I get a a sad look from the rejected chicken, the forgotten pasta, or the desolate hamburger patty. So I must save these leftovers from their untimely trip to the garbage can on Tuesday nights. Plus, I can't see anything in there and end up with 4 bags of grated cheese. So it was time. the two chicken breast halves and the head of broccoli were sitting right at the front. Understand that I had one summer in college where I lived on those Lipton rice sides and chicken nuggets, so yet another much desired processed food had to be made. I came up with this and my fiance was quite impressed.Lipton side-kick
2 chicken breast halves-grilled (I used Italian dressing as marinade, but use what you like)
2 C instant brown rice
2 1/4 C chicken stock (I cheat and use the canned, who has time to make their own?)
1 head of broccoli
1/4 C shredded cheddar cheese
1/4C shredded Italian 4 cheese blend
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and heat (I did mine in the microwave. Covered the dish with Saran wrap)
Cut broccoli into bite sized pieces and steam.
Combine rice, chicken, and broccoli. Stir in cheese until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
Now I just need to figure out how to make those chicken nuggets.
Ode to Kraft Mac and Cheese
I love Kraft Mac and Cheese (the powder cheese variety). When I say love, I mean I could eat it more than once a week and not get sick of it, I get offended when others say unkind things about it, and I don't really like how anyone else makes it (they ruin it). I ate it so much as a child that my mom still avoids it like the plague.
I don't waste my time with the shells and cheese or frozen dinners. They all lack that certain taste and color and texture that only the cardboard box and packet of orange powder can give you.
I am not going to lie and say that this is a processed food that will eventually be extinct in my diet. It just isn't going to happen, but I have been trying to find that definitive homemade recipe to use in its place a bit more often. The catch is that it has to be quick like my 10 minute box of comfort. So I tried a recipe this week. I had actually had it once before when my fiance made it for me. I thought it was pretty good the first time, so why not give it another whirl. Well, they say that you should marry someone who can do the things you can not do, my fiance can make a mean cheese sauce. Mine turns out lumpy, grainy and just plain gross. So unless my fiance wants to make this recipe for me on a regular basis, I have to keep working at it. Still, nothing compares to my one true blue box love. Back to the cookbooks.Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted TomatoesIn Step 4, the macaroni mixture is cooked over medium-low heat so the cheese won't become stringy and the sauce, grainy.
3 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 ounces sourdough bread, torn into pieces
1 teaspoon butter, melted
12 ounces large elbow macaroni
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded extrasharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup egg substitute
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated low-fat milk
Preheat oven to 375°.
Place tomatoes in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with black pepper. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.
While tomatoes cook, place bread in a food processor; pulse 2 times or until crumbly. Toss crumbs with melted butter. Sprinkle the crumbs on a baking sheet, and bake at 375° for 12 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently.
Cook macaroni in boiling water 7 minutes; drain. Return macaroni to pan; place over medium-low heat. Add cheese and remaining ingredients; cook 4 minutes or until cheese melts, stirring constantly. Stir in tomatoes. Sprinkle each serving with about 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup)
CALORIES 357(29% from fat); FAT 11.4g (sat 6.6g,mono 3.1g,poly 0.8g); PROTEIN 18.1g; CHOLESTEROL 33mg; CALCIUM 350mg; SODIUM 669mg; FIBER 2g; IRON 2.7mg; CARBOHYDRATE 45.2g
Cooking Light, JANUARY 2005