Tag Archives: dinner

Fish Chowder

4 Mar

My family has a motto about food that has run through generations: “you have two options for dinner, take it or leave it.” Well, my Mom has her own motto, which usually comes out after an argument about what we’re eating that day: “well if you don’t like it, too f***ing bad. Either eat it or make your own damn dinner.”

Well, my Dad brought home two pounds of cod the other night, and I protested when my Mom said she was going to bake them with lemon panko – one of my least favorite things. I pleaded with her, but she held strong to her decision. I decided to go with the “make my own damn dinner” option.

The only fish I’ve really ever made was pan-seared tuna and one piece of tilapia (four years ago), so this was a challenge for me. I decided on making a soup/chowder, and I think it came out better than I ever could have anticipated.

The pictures make it look like a thin soup, but it was thick and chunky. This recipe can easily be cut in half – the original can feed a small army. Cutting it in half would serve about 4 people.

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What I used
2 lb cod fillets
4 tbsp butter (it’s a lot but necessary)
2 tbsp flour
2 medium/1 large onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
2 cups uncooked kale, chopped
4 cups potatoes, peeled, diced (2 lg potatoes)
1 cup carrots, sliced
4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 cups 1% milk
Old bay, parsley

What to do:
I cut the veggies into pretty big chunks (because hey, that’s how I like them).

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I melted the butter in a large saucepan on medium high heat. Once melted, sprinkle the flour on top and whisk to combine. Add the celery and onion and sweat for a few minutes until it’s close to translucent. Then add the water, potatoes, carrots, kale, salt and pepper, being sure to stir so nothing sticks to the bottom.

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The butter and flour with the celery and onion

 

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Bring to a boil, and then simmer for about 15 minutes. In the meantime, cut the fish into big (but bite-sized!) pieces. When the veggies (especially potatoes) are soft, add the fish and cook for another 10 or so minutes.

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Add the milk to the simmering soup, and stir well to incorporate. Serve and garnish with Old Bay and parsley.

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Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese

24 Feb

I spent last Valentine’s Day eating Ethiopian take-out and attempting to watch Star Wars (but falling asleep halfway through – oops). But Nick came down to CT for it this year and I decided to try and make him a nice dinner for 2. I figured I would make some nice steak with mashed potatoes (we are both Irish, after all). I had made pulled pork a few days before (with this in mind), so I made pulled pork mac and cheese to round out the meal.

It was crusty on top, hot and gooey on the inside, and so delicious that we almost didn’t bother eating the steak and potatoes.

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What I used:
1 box macaroni (4 cups, dry)
3 tbsp butter
¼ cup flour
2 ½ cups whole milk
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz gruyere cheese, grated
2 cups pulled pork (complete with bbq sauce)
2 tsp dry mustard
½ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper
Cayenne pepper, chili powder, paprika to taste
Sleeve of butter crackers (like ritz)

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What I did:
I started by setting up a medium pot of water for the macaroni to boil in – it’s best to cook it until it’s al dente, drain it, and set it aside.

Grab a 9×13 pan and lightly crisco the inside. Preheat oven to 375.

I put the butter and flour into a large pot and whisked together over medium-low heat. Whisk it for about 5 minutes. Then, slowly add in milk and mustard seed, stirring the whole time. Stir until it thickens, which will be about 10 minutes or so. When it gets thick, turn the heat to low.

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Add in the cheese and stir until it’s smooth. Add salt, pepper, and other spices. Mix in the macaroni to the large pot and stir until combined.

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Add half of the mixture into the 9×13. Add a layer of the pulled pork, and then add the second half of the macaroni mixture.

(I don’t have any pictures of these steps because I was too busy stealing little bites)

Crumble up the buttered crackers and put them on top. I like to spray with a layer of olive oil to make them crisp up while they’re in the oven.

I covered with aluminum foil, and cooked for 15 minutes. Uncover, cook for another 10, and then let sit for a minute before eating!

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Lentil Soup

29 Jan

In case people haven’t heard, January is a really really cold month in the northeast. When it isn’t actively snowing outside, it is cold enough to literally freeze you to the bone… which just makes me crave something warm to eat. I have been craving a good soup for a while and finally decided to make it tonight.

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I knew that I wanted to make some kind of lentil soup, but I had no idea what else I wanted to put into it. I ended up just raiding my kitchen and using all of the leftover food I had, which ended up working out pretty well in the end. It could be made with a variety of veggies and spices, but the combination I used worked out well. I don’t really know much about lentils (except that there are different kinds), but I used the green type … I guess.

What I used:
1 bag dried lentils
2 lbs chicken breast, fat trimmed
2 chorizo sausages, de-cased
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1 ½ cups chopped carrots
1 ½ cups chopped celery
½ red pepper, chopped
½ white onion, chopped
1 small tomato, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt, cumin, oregano, thyme, oregano – all to taste

How:
In a large pot, cook chorizo on medium high for a few minutes until it is lightly browned on the outside. Add the chicken, broth, water, and lentils to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover and turn down to medium-low for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked.

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I used this time to pull out all my veggies and chop them. When the chicken is fully cooked, pull it out and shred it.

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Put the chicken back in the pot, and add in the veggies and a few dashes of each spice. Cook covered for another 25-30 minutes. The lentils might absorb a lot of the liquid, so you can add water as you need.

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Leftover Creamy Ham Pasta

29 Dec

I decided to mix-up what we did with our ham leftovers this Christmas. It’s usually ham sandwiches on the 26th, and on the 27th my Mom makes split pea soup.

I wanted to try something new with all of our leftovers this year. Ever since I made the Acorn Squash Pasta, I have been on a creamy pasta kick. I decided to try it out for a quick dinner this week, and it turned out pretty well!

I needed a quick dinner because I was in the middle of packing – Nick and I are meeting up with friends in Florida for the week (I’m actually writing this from the plane). We’re both very excited, albeit nervous for our livers. The trip is going well so far – as I was packing, I was sure to pack only liquids that were 3 oz or less in my carry-on… I had to take a picture after I made it though security, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of this earlier!

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Anyway, on with last night’s dinner. I didn’t measure most of it, just used what I had left over.

What I used:
1 box spaghetti
~2 cups ham, diced
~2 cups green beans, cut into 2” pieces (uncooked)
~½ cup broccoli heads (tree tops? I don’t know the formal word)
~½ cup baby carrots, cut into ½” coins
1 cup roasted red pepper, cut to about 2” long strips

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp chopped white onion
2 tbsp flour
1 cup chicken broth
⅓ cup greek yogurt (I used plain Fage I think)
¼ cup milk
¼ cup parmesean cheese
1 tbsp pesto (I just use it because the bottle was almost empty, you can just replace with tbsp basil
pepper, to taste

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How:
I was pretty crunched for time so I made this as quickly as I could. I set a big pot of water on high heat for the pasta, and as I waited for that to boil I cut up the ham, beans, pepper, broccoli, carrots into their aforementioned sizes.

When the water started to boil, I threw the pasta in. The cook time for “al dente” was about 9 minutes. When the pasta had about three minutes left, I added the ham/pepper/etc mixture. In the meantime, I made the sauce. Multitasking is absolutely not my strong suit, so I was proud that I could handle it.

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I grabbed a small saucepan and put the olive oil on medium high heat. After about a minute I added the garlic and onion. When the onion started to become translucent, I added the flour and mixed in. After about 30 seconds, I started slowly pouring in the chicken broth and stirred to incorporate.

Once it was mixed well, I added the yogurt and milk, stirred, and turned to low heat. After a minute or so I added the parmeasean cheese and pesto (again, just because I had it leftover).

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When the pasta mixture was done I drained the water, put it back into the pot, added the sauce and served after it sat for a minute. There was no need for salt as the ham was already pretty salty, but people used black pepper to taste (my mom really doesn’t like it so I try not to cook with it).

While it definitely wasn’t as creamy as the acorn squash, it was pretty delicious and didn’t make me feel gross (which is how I usually feel after most creamy sauces). And, we still have enough ham left over so Mom can make her soup!

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Poblano Meatloaf

26 Nov

Meatloaf has always been a food that has eluded me. When I was a kid I just didn’t get it. Was it meat? Was it bread? Why did my Mom insist of stuffing it with ketchup AND cheese? Luckily she realized our hatred for it when we were still pretty young and stopped making it for us. I did learn to love the loaf eventually, and recently decided to give it another try. In the past, I usually saute the onion before putting it in, but I was feeling pretty darn lazy today. I used a poblano pepper to get a little extra smoke/flavor out of it (and because we have a couple extra ones sitting in the fridge that would be going bad very soon).

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What I used:
1.7 lb ground meat (beef + pork, I’ve used other combinations as well)
1 small onion, chopped.
1 poblano pepper, chopped
½ cup bread crumbs (usually Italian seasoned)
1 egg
¼ cup and 2 tbsp barbecue sauce
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tsp worchestershire sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper

I combined the meat, onion, poblano, bread crumbs, egg, dashes of salt/pepper, and ¼ cup of bbq in a bowl. I mixed all of it up with my hands until everything looked pretty well mixed.

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I arranged the meat mixture in a loaf pan – it fit with a little room to spare. I sprinkled garlic powder and red pepper flakes on top. Meanwhile, I mixed the 2 tbsp bbq, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar together. I coated the top of the loaf with the sauce, covered with tin foil, and baked for an hour at 350 taking the tinfoil off for the last 10 minutes or so. Once the loaf is out of the oven it needs to sit for about 10 minutes to settle before its cut open. It was really hard for us to be patient while it settled, but it was so worth it!

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Goat Stew

8 Nov

As the temperature drops outside, I have been submerging myself (not literally) in fall foods. Pumpkin, apple… anything warm and delicious is okay with me. We hadn’t made stew this season and I was just itching for it. Before today I have actually never made stew in my life, so this was a pretty fun first for me. A couple weeks ago I went to a Halal market downtown in a search for slab bacon, and I found a wall full of goat that was just calling to me. I figured it was the perfect meat to use for my first stew, and I think the result was pretty good!

I had the guys at the store chop the shoulder, leaving the bone in. I think next time I’ll get boneless… it was a great cut of meat but the effort of pulling the bone out was just not worth it.

What I used:
~2.5 lbs of goat shoulder, bone-in, chopped
2 onions, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 cups baby carrots, cut into circles
1 Jalapeno, seeded and de-ribbed
1 tomato, diced
3 white potatoes, cubed
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3 cloves garlic, diced finely
2 cups of red wine
6 oz can tomato paste
½ bunch parsley, chopped
½ stick butter
Salt, Pepper

I started by tenderizing the meat and coating in the garlic, salt, and pepper. I marinated it with one cup of the red wine, and let it sit for ~5 hours before I started cooking with it. Once I was ready to start the stew, I melted the butter over medium-high in a large pot. I quickly seared the goat on both sides until it was brown. I added the onions, celery, carrots, jalapeno, and stirred to coat them in the butter. At this point, I added the tomato paste and second cup of red wine, turned the heat to low, and let the stew simmer covered.

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Feel free to finish the remaining wine in the bottle (or box) at this point.

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I let that cook for about an hour and a half (stirring occasionally), and then I added all of the potatoes. This way they would get soft without totally decomposing and making everything too starchy.

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After another hour the goat was fairly tender and ready to eat. I added the tomato and parsley and let sit for about five minutes. I served it with cheesy jalapeno biscuits and we had to stop ourselves from eating the whole pot.

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Spicy Enchiladas

3 Nov

I love love love Mexican food. Something about eating a disgustingly spicy unrecognizable chunk of food just pleases my soul. I made spicy enchiladas with beans, and they were pretty good for a cold Halloween night.

I actually ended up making these the night before and letting them sit overnight. I used pulled chicken that I had made the other night, but it would be just as easy to cut up a chicken breast and use that.

What I used
8 8” tortilla wraps
1 small onion, diced and divided
2 jalapenos, chopped, divided
2 tsps olive oil, divided
2 cups chicken broth, divided
2 cups chicken, shredded
16 oz Cannellini beans, drained
2 tbsp flour
½ cup salsa verde
½ cup pickled long hot peppers
½ cup light sour cream
¾ cup mozz cheese
tsp cumin
tsp garlic powder
chopped cilantro and scallions

I started by making the enchilada filling. I heated 1 tsp olive oil on medium-low and added ½ of the chopped onion. When it became translucent I added 1 chopped jalapeno, the beans, 1 cup chicken broth, cumin and garlic powder. I brought to a boil, and then turned to low and simmered for about 10 minutes. I added the chicken and simmered for another 10 minutes uncovered, which was how long it took the liquid to boil down. While it was simmering, I made the sauce.

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I started with the sauce the same way as the filling. I heated a tsp of olive oil on medium-low, and added the second ½ of the white onion.Then, I added the flour and stirred for about 30 seconds. I slowly added the second cup of chicken broth, stirring constantly. After a few minutes, it became smooth and started to boil. I stirred until thickened up, which took about 5 minutes. I removed from heat, added salsa, peppers, and sour cream. I stirred up and let cool.

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Once it wasn’t scalding hot, I put enough sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 dish to coat it. I put about ½ a cup of the filling into each wrap. I rolled up and lined in the pan. I covered with the rest of the sauce, shredded cheese, and some aluminum foil. I baked at 350 for about 25 minutes covered, and then took the foil off for a few minutes to brown up the cheese, and added the cilantro and scallions.

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