Saturday, March 18
So, you know how my sister-in-law Cora is going to start writing for the blog now? Apparently she and her husband (a.k.a. my brother) are on a quest to take over my blog because now HE has written up a recipe to share on the blog. Fine by me…less work for me, more good food for you! Also, the recipe he is sharing is in a competition and we need your votes. It’s easy and you don’t have to sign up for anything, so if you’re bored…GO VOTE! YAY! He’s in the East bracket at the very bottom. Without further ado, here’s Christian!
This is Jane’s overly bearded brother, Christian. Husband of Cora, whom you might remember from such blog posts as Charcuterie for 500, please, Alex.
We bought a house about 2 years ago, moved in and discovered the kitchen oven didn’t work. Like, at all. (Actually, turns out the gas lines didn’t work either as evidenced by the 3 or 4 fire trucks that greeted us within the first week of living in the house, much to the joy of the then 4- and 6-year-olds in the family.)
In the interest of roasting two birds with one heat source, we went ahead and bought a smoker. With no working oven in the house. My wife obviously has a good sense of humor… and an insatiable desire for smoked flank steak. She saw the irony, but also the perfectly smoked bark and juicy inside of our first brisket. It is an oven after all. It just doesn’t make your house hot in the summer.
Today I’m here to share a spectacular grilling recipe of mine with you, born from that smoker, in hopes of warming up the weather to bring on spring. And if it looks good enough to you to lick the screen, I’d love your vote in the “East” division of this lil’ March Madness-style BBQ competition I’m in, bottom right. It’s a tight race and should only take 1 minute.
This recipe has emerged from many a trial-and-error cooks. And it’s my favorite. If I made and sold my own barbecue sauce, this would be sketched in the background of the label. It uses the smoker first and then the grill to finish it off. If you don’t have a smoker, you can skip step 3 and go straight to the grill. It will still be delicious.
But let me tell you. It only takes one smoke to never stop.
If you have even the faintest of a smoke itch, check out a pellet smoker. It makes monitoring the heat source as easy as turning a dial and then you can focus on mastering the craft of BBQ, complete with wood-fueled flavor. And if you’re really feeling the urge to take on Spring with a vengeance, pick up Franklin’s BBQ book. In hardcover; it’s way more fun that way. If you can cook it in an oven, you can cook it in a smoker. Smoking opens up all sorts of culinary opportunity.
With that, enjoy the recipe! And support competitive smoking (I’m the bottom right matchup). It’ll only take a second and then the steak will be spread to more beloved hearts.Smoke ’n Grill Flank SteakGet the smokey goodness of the smoker and the searing punch of the grill all in one glorious, marinaded slab of heaven. The smell of the marinade will make you want to pop open a beer at 11:00am, the aroma of the smoker will get the neighbors peaking over the fence, and the fire of the grill that afternoon will ensure your status as BBQ god amongst friends.Author: Christian WallinIngredients
- 2 lb flank steak
- 1⁄4 cup red wine
- 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil (I don’t use olive so it doesn’t solidify in the fridge)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1⁄8 cup soy sauce
- A little less than 1⁄8 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 limes, fresh squeezed
3.4.3177ChimichurriAuthor: Christian WallinIngredients
- Mix all ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Give it a stir and take a good whiff - it should make you want to lick it. Need some more citrus? A lil' more garlic? Add it. I like a strong garlic presence, solid lime scent, a wave of soy and enough Worcestershire sauce to make it unique (a little less than ⅛ cup).
- Put it in a plastic bag with the meat. Push out as much air as you can without shooting the marinade across the counter. Toss it in the fridge for 8 hours. I use vegetable oil instead of olive so the marinade doesn't solidify in the fridge.
- Load up your smoker with your wood of choice. I often use mesquite or hickory, maybe some apple mixed in. Keep it at about 180-200 degrees for 3 hours. If your steak is smaller, shoot more for 2½ hours.
- In the last 30 min of smoking, fire up your grill. I use charcoal because I can get it HOT. You want it as high as you can get it. Visiting my parents once I set their gas grill aflame getting it to where I wanted it. Not the safest grill moment I've had but had a hell of a good sear.
- Once your coals and grill are hot (HOT), transfer the steak from the smoker. Grill it about 3 minutes per side. You want to sear the dickens out of it, getting some nice char and grill markage. It will go about a minute faster than usual because the temperature of the meat is higher from smoking.
- Knowing when to pull a steak off is a bit of an art, but just takes practice. This steak is a little different because it will seem stiffer from smoking, but follow you gut. If you're unfamiliar with steak doneness, Google "using palm to test steak." It's remarkably accurate.
- Pull the steak off the grill, wrap in foil and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Carve that sucker, against the grain. Pencil-width slices. Adorn with Chimichurri sauce and sides of your liking. Crack a beer or other favorite beverage and bask in the smoky grace of BBQ.
- 1 bunch cilantro, washed WELL and chopped
- 6 large cloves garlic, minced
- 3⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 lime, fresh squeezed
- 1 tablespoon diced red onion
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- Put all ingredient in a food processor or blender and ZOOT! ZOOT!
- You're done. Easy. Be a hero and offer it to your guests for their steak.
Hi, it’s Jane again. Christian doesn’t think I should post this photo, but I am anyway. Because THAT SHIRT.
Sunday, March 5
You may have noticed Roasted Vegetable Egg Scramble on my weekly menus a lot lately. That’s because that dish is my new favorite go-to dinner. FAVORITE. Since I’ve started going to the farmer’s market every Wednesday, I’ve been regularly roasting vegetables to have on hand in the fridge throughout the week. As a result, we’ve been making these roasted vegetable egg scrambles on busy nights and it is just so darn tasty. The first time I made these eggs, Cate was especially enamored and when Nate walked through the door that night she exclaimed, “You are going to LOVE dinner tonight.”
This is not a precise recipe, more of a jumping off point for you to make these eggs however you want. I recently received an email from a reader asking what vegetables I use for the scrambles. The answer? Whatever vegetables I happen to find at the market that are good for roasting! Since it’s winter time, it’s been a lot of cauliflower and squashes mixed with potatoes and onions. I’m sure when summer rolls around the mix will be different. I have to say, the cauliflower and butternut squash have been my favorites.
One quick note: the reason that this is such a fast and easy dinner option is because I already have the vegetables roasted and sitting in the fridge. I have yet to actually roast vegetables simply to make these eggs. Although, they are delicious enough to be worthy of the effort. BUT…the reason this is my new go-to dinner is because those veggies are sitting there waiting for me. I didn’t use to be a person who roasted vegetables every week, but now that I do, well, I love it. It really is wonderful having them on hand all the time, I highly recommend it!Roasted Vegetable Egg ScrambleAuthor: Jane MaynardServes: 1 servingIngredients
- 2 eggs
- ~1/2 cup diced roasted vegetables
- Pat of butter
- 4 pinches salt
NotesClick here for an article I recently wrote about roasting vegetables. For these eggs, you can roast just 1 or 2 veggies or a large assortment. There are no rules here! Vegetables that I like to roast that I think are good in the eggs: always a bit of yellow onion, cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, squashes, broccoli, green beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, the list goes on!3.4.3177
- Heat a small frying pan on the stove over medium heat. Once the pan has been heating up for a few minutes, add the butter and roasted vegetables. Stir occasionally as they heat up.
- Whisk the two eggs with the salt (my rule of thumb is 2 pinches of salt per egg, so if you're cooking more than 2 eggs, just add more pinches accordingly). Note: this recipe is for one serving, but you can easily up the amount of eggs and vegetables and just cook them in a larger pan. Works great!
- Once the vegetables are heated through, pour the egg into the pan. Let cook for about a minute, then start to "flip" the eggs, turning the eggs and veggies over in the pan evenly. Cook until all the egg is just cooked through, making sure not too cook too long.
- Slide onto a plate, sprinkle with black pepper and enjoy!
Thursday, February 23
From Jane: I am super excited today because I get to introduce you to This Week for Dinner’s first-ever regular contributor (who isn’t me!). Everyone meet Cora Wallin! Cora is my sister-in-law who has been making good food for our family since the day we all met her. She’s an excellent cook who is behind some of my favorite recipes here on the blog (I’m looking at you taco meat, sour cream banana bread and sweet potato burritos with the yummiest black beans ever). Last summer when Cora and I were hanging out at my parent’s house, she was telling me about a few of her recent favorite recipes. I was thinking about how I needed to make them and photograph them so I could share these recipes on the blog, and then I had a genius idea. Cora is both a fabulous writer AND photographer, so, um, that means she can just write these blog posts for me, right? Somehow I got her to agree and now we are all benefitting! (Okay, maybe Cora isn’t benefitting so much, but whatever. She just loves me THAT MUCH.) Cora is kicking things off with a delicious and beautiful post that explains how to do charcuterie at home. Thank you Cora!
We had an official #adulting moment last month. We were invited to dinner as a family (including husband Christian, 7-year-old Maddox, 5-year-old Sophie and 8-month-old Phoebe) by one of Maddox’s classmates. Obviously, I’m not a stellar member of the PTA (excuse me, PTO) for this to be our first family-dinner-at-a-classmate’s rodeo. It felt significant. It felt a bit nerve-racking. Would it be an evening of polite and benign conversation while the smelly seven-year-olds made fart jokes at the end of the table or would this be the beginning of family friends?
About 30 minutes before show time, I sent the husband out to buy flowers and wine. Which meant we were almost late to a dinner only two blocks away. We arrived dew-kissed (read: sweaty) and slightly winded from the horror of getting three children in and out of coats, hats and shoes. The older kids ran off to destroy our hosts’ home while Christian and I joined the grown-ups on the sofa by the fire. I plopped down onto said sofa with Phoebe clinging to me and became even “dewier” thanks to the romantic, blazing hearth. Then my eyes fell to the coffee table where there upon the altar of friendship was laid mana. Life reviving sustenance. BEHOLD, a cheese board with the all the dressings and trappings of a Pinterest fantasy. Then I knew, I really knew, we would all be fast friends.
That’s the power of the charcuterie. It brings fancy salamis and smelly cheeses together on little edible carb-loaded plates and turns everyone into heart-eyed smiling emoji faces. It’s pure magic. It’s how we can heal this world. So let’s break it down Jeopardy style…behold the keys to world peace.
Charcuterie is just a snooty french word that means a collection of cured meats. Now, I’ve unsuccessfully attempted charcuteries in the past, but what my new best friends showed me was the key to friendship and charcuterie glory is an assortment. Before I would grab 3 different kinds of meats and it always felt like a bit of a let down when I made the spread. Go for a variety, not quantity. Try rosemary ham, 3 different salamis and a pate or teewurst. Have a mix of sweet, spicy, peppery meats as well as melt-in-your-mouth prosciutto. It’s much better to do a little bit of a lot of things than a lot of just a few.
But meat alone won’t do the trick, otherwise my southern cousins’ pepperoni logs and Slim Jims would be the height of social entertaining. The lactose-y wonder of cheese is what makes all those delectable meats sing. Again, it’s all about the the different textures and flavors. Pick up a creamy brie, crumbly blue, smoky gouda and zippy manchego. Each bite should feel like a choose-your-own-adventure book for your mouth.
What are…edible plates?
Serve that wonderful meat and cheese on delicious edible plates. And don’t forget, variety, variety, variety! (Are you sick of that theme yet?) Don’t just serve water crackers. Slice up a fresh baguette. Grab some fig and olive crackers at Trader Joe’s. Toss in thin and crunchy breadsticks. The more the merrier.
What are…all the extras?
The extras are what will really set your charcuterie and cheese board apart. There are SO many amazing options but here are just a few: marinated olives (pitted always feels less awkward), nuts, caper berries, pepperoncinis, roasted peppers, juicy grapes, thin-sliced Granny Smith apples, french dijon mustard, fig preserves, quince or guava paste, fresh honey…the list is endless. A great place for ideas can be your local wine shop. Many of them have cheese departments where you can get suggestions for wonderful pairings.
Lastly, don’t forget to make it pretty. Put cheese on little squares of parchment. Add fragrant sprigs of fresh herbs. Roll soft cured meats and fan out chorizo slices. Intermix your groups of meats, cheeses, crackers and extras.
Remember this is about coming together. It’s about building bridges of hope and love. Let the cheese show you the way.
Monday, February 20
I’ve tried making bolognese sauce a few times in my life and was never impressed. I blamed the bolognese. But what I should have been blaming were the recipes I was trying. Today I have a recipe that is divine and completely changes how I feel about homemade bolognese sauce. This past Christmas I found myself with a half a pound of ground veal left over from making Swedish meatballs. I searched around the web for recipes to use up the veal and happened upon this recipe for veal bolognese from Food & Wine. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly but used it as a guide and oh my GOODNESS the resulting sauce was so, so good and flavorful and wonderful and, well, I am finally impressed by homemade bolognese sauce.
I think one of the reasons the sauce was so good was because I used half veal, half regular ground beef. But I’m quite certain the sauce will still be uber delicious with straight ground beef, as the veggies and spices are what really make this sauce shine. If you want to use veal, by all means do. But ground beef alone is a-okay.
Click here for the original recipe, which also includes butternut squash, which I am sure is delicious! Below is my version of homemade bolognese sauce, with some modifications from the original recipe.
Oh, one more note! I used a rigatoni-like pasta instead of spaghetti and really liked that shape of pasta with this sauce. Use whatever pasta you like, but the rigatoni is quite delicious.Homemade Bolognese SauceAdapted from a Food & Wine recipe.Author: Jane MaynardIngredients
- 1 pound ground beef or veal (or half pound of each)
- 2 slices of bacon, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup minced carrot
- ½ cup minced celery
- ½ cup minced onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a garlic press
- Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground sage
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil OR 1 tablespoon fresh basil (chiffonade)
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 15-ounce cans petite diced tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ¾ cup cream
- In a large cast-iron casserole (or pot), cook minced bacon in the olive oil over medium heat, for about 5 minutes until bacon is well cooked, stirring occasionally.
- Add the carrots, celery, and onion. Sprinkle evenly with a pinch of salt and cook over medium heat about 5 minutes. Add the fresh garlic and stir.
- Add the ground meat along with the sage, parsley, bay leaf and oregano. If using dried basil, add that now as well. Season evenly with a few pinches of salt. Cook until meat is cooked through and no longer pink, stirring regularly.
- Add the wine and cook until the wine has reduced significantly, about 3-5 minutes. Add UNdrained tomatoes and cook until liquid is reduced by about half, around 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf. Add the cream and, if using fresh basil, the basil. Stir and add salt to taste if needed. Finish off with a few shakes of pepper.
Tuesday, January 31
Please note: The giveaway in this post is now closed. Recipe is below!
Well, that 10 years sure went by quickly.
Today is This Week for Dinner’s 10th birthday! Happy Birthday, Blog! I seriously can’t believe it. If we’re going by birth order, the blog is technically my second child. 😉 I didn’t start a blog to start a blog, I just wanted to share my weekly menu with my brother if I happened to plan one. That’s it. And then it grew. And then I made a logo. And then I promised my friends my secret hot fudge recipe if they told their friends about the blog (and, yes, the recipe is still a secret). And, just like that, 10 years have passed, with over 520 weekly menu posts, oodles of recipes and so much other crazy stuff that has happened because of the blog it blows my mind. I feel incredibly grateful for the gift this blog has been in my life and look forward to many more blog birthdays. And of course I am eternally grateful to all of you who keep it going, with your comments and your weekly menus and your simply being here to read my words and make my recipes. Thank you!
To celebrate I have food. And a KitchenAid giveaway. Are you ready? Here we go!
Normally for the blog’s birthday I share some sort of chocolate. But today we’re going with my second favorite food group…French fries. Well, actually, French chips. Or should that be chip fries? Or French fry chips? Whatever you decide to call them (I’m going with French chips), these are your new favorite homemade French fries. They are basically French fries shaped like chips, although much thicker chips, which is why they are not really chips at all. Unless you’re in England. Then, yes, they are chips. Anyone confused yet?
Nate and I recently took the kids to Liberty Public Market by the San Diego harbor for lunch (which, by the way, is our new favorite place to eat. It’s awesome.) One of the food vendors, Mastiff Sausage Company, serves French fries that are shaped like discs and they are amazing. (Click here to see a picture!) No, really, why doesn’t everyone make French fries in this shape? The disc gives you the perfect proportion of potato to crispiness. It’s genius. If you’ve been around the blog for a while you know that when I get obsessed with a food from a restaurant, I generally have to figure out my own version. Enter today’s recipe for French chips. Which, coincidentally, leads into today’s giveaway!
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU! To celebrate the blog’s 10th birthday, KitchenAid is generously giving one of you lucky commenters their brand new KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini 3.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer in Honeydew (to match This Week for Dinner’s colors! So cute!) along with the Food Processor with Commercial Style Dicing Kit attachment, which will work on standard-sized stand mixers as well.* Where do I even begin? First, have you seen the new mini stand mixers? THEY ARE SO CUTE I CAN’T STAND IT. Also, this food processor is my first stand mixer attachment and, well, I’m a believer. Slicing my potatoes for the French chips was crazy fast and easy. I was ready to make 10 pounds of fries. The retail value of today’s giveaway is $649.98, so, um, yes you need to enter! (And a huge thank you to KitchenAid!)
Here’s how to enter the giveaway!
- Simply comment on this post to enter! That’s it!
Of course we have bonus entries! You must leave a separate comment for each bonus entry that applies to you:
- Bonus entry: Like This Week for Dinner on Facebook
- Bonus entry: Follow This Week for Dinner on Pinterest
- Bonus entry: Join the This Week for Dinner email list
- Bonus entry: Like KitchenAid on Facebook
- Bonus entry: Follow KitchenAid on Pinterest
Please note: Winner must be a resident of the United States. All comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Tuesday, February 28, 2017.
The giveaway winner was comment #174, Christie! Her bonus entry for following This Week for Dinner on Pinterest got her the win, but here’s her original comment: “10 years! I know I’ve read since near the beginning, so that is just crazy. Congrats!”
Let’s get to those French chips, shall we? They are crispy on the outside, perfect on the inside, not quite a fry and not quite a chip. Also, mine are not shaped like discs because my potato was too big for the food processor’s feed tube, but I like my triangle-shaped French chips. They’re cute! In addition to the French chips, I also have a recipe for a seasoned salt to go on top. It’s a little salty, a little smoky, a little sweet…and a lot delicious. Enjoy!
And Happy 10th Birthday, This Week for Dinner!French ChipsFrench fries shaped like chips are the best French fries ever. You're welcome. (Thanks to Mastiff Sausage Company in San Diego for the inspiration!)Author: Jane MaynardIngredients
- Russet Potatoes (1 large potato per 2 servings)
- Canola or Vegetable Oil
- Place a cooling rack over a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and set aside.
- Slice the potato into thick discs. Alternatively, use the KitchenAid food processor attachment with the slicing disc. You want medium-thick discs. If you are using the food processor attachment and your potato is too wide for the feed tube, cut the potato into quarters lengthwise - your final fry shape will be a triangle instead of a disc, but it still works beautifully. The thickness on the food processor should be set around the center point for thickness.
- Soak sliced potatoes in water for 30 minutes up to overnight (put the bowl in the fridge if you're going for a long soak). Remove potatoes from the water and pat dry with a towel or paper towel.
- In a heavy-bottomed medium-large pot, heat 1-2 inches of oil. (For 1 potato I did 1 inch of oil.) Monitor the temperature of the oil with an instant read thermometer and bring the oil to 325º F. (On my stove the knob was around 6 on a scale of 1-10). It's okay if the temperature goes a little over 325º as the temperature will drop when you add the potatoes.
- Carefully add about ½ potato's worth of the fries/chips to the heated oil. Keep an eye on the temperature, adjusting the heat on the stove if necessary. Cook the fries for 4-6 minutes, until they just barely start to brown. I stir them fairly regularly while they cook.
- With a large slotted spoon, remove fries from the oil and place on the prepared cookie sheet with the cooling rack. Cook the next batch of raw potatoes, repeating the process above.
- Once all the potatoes have been fried once, raise the burner's heat to bring the oil to 350º F (about an 8 on a scale of 1-10 on my stove). Cook the fries in batches once again, this time cooking the fries for 2-5 minutes, until they are a nice golden brown color. Remove from the oil and drain on the prepared cookie sheet with cooling rack.
- While the fries are still hot, pat gently with a paper towel, sprinkle with salt or seasoned salt (see recipe below), flip and repeat.
- These fries are obviously best served hot, but they are still really good even after they've cooled. Enjoy!
French Chips Seasoned SaltAuthor: Jane MaynardIngredients
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Mix everything together! All done!
*All colors are subject to availability. The prizes include:
1. Artisan® Mini Stand Mixer in Honeydew (KSM3311XHW)
1. Food Processor with Commercial Style Dicing Kit (KSM2FPA)
Sunday, January 29
This recipe for Indian Tacos is pretty much a simplified version of my beloved Indian Burritos recipe. I seriously love those burritos, but the tacos involve a few less ingredients, which is welcome on a busy weeknight.
I can’t tell you how much I love these tacos. The tender tandoori chicken (don’t worry, I have a shortcut way to make it that does not involve a tandoor oven) topped with delicious Indian raita sauce and just a few simple vegetables is so tasty. It’s been a while since I’ve made these and really there is no good reason for that!Indian Tacos with Tandoori ChickenAuthor: Jane MaynardServes: 6 servingsIngredients
- ¾ cup plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 bell pepper, sliced
- 12 flour tortillas (smallest size you can find)
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- Raita sauce (recipe below)
- Fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish
- The night before: mix together the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, ginger, coriander, salt, cayenne pepper, cardamom, cloves, and black pepper. Stab the 2 chicken breasts with a fork on all sides, then place in yogurt mixture. Let marinate overnight.
- The next day: Preheat oven to 450º F. Cook chicken in oven for ~20 minutes, or until juices run clear and internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160 F.
- Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Sautee onion and pepper in a large frying pan over medium heat in canola oil, until veggies are softened.
- Top tortillas with tandoori chicken, grilled onions and peppers, red cabbage, raita sauce, and cilantro.
RaitaPrep timeTotal timeIndian cucumber-yogurt sauce.Author: Jane MaynardServes: 1 cupIngredients
- ½ cup cucumber, shredded
- 1 cup yogurt
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoon green onion
- ¼ teaspoon lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- ⅛ teaspoon cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Pinch cardamom
- Peel and seed cucumber, then shred.
- Mix all ingredients together. Store in fridge and serve cold.
Sunday, January 8
For a while I wrote a fun series of posts on Babble called “3 Kids, A Mom & a Kitchen.” For one of the article the girls and I made a super tasty Barbecue Chicken Salad recipe. I just clicked through to link to that recipe for today’s weekly menu and discovered that Babble did a website update, which means the captions that had the recipe included are missing! So, I’m reposting the recipe here, for posterity’s sake. Well, actually, mostly for my sake so I can have the recipe handy. 😉
This is one of those recipes that’s not really a recipe – no measurements necessary and feel free to add or omit ingredients at will. I pretty much stole the idea for this salad from a restaurant called Croutons. Enjoy!Barbecue Chicken SaladAdapted from a dish served at a restaurant called CroutonsAuthor: Jane MaynardIngredients
- Grilled chicken breast
- Barbecue sauce
- Romaine lettuce, chopped
- Shredded cheese, cheddar or mozzarella
- Canned black beans, rinsed and drained
- Canned corn
- Chopped tomato
- Cornbread croutons (if I can find these at the store I toast cubed cornbread in the oven until crispy)
- Chopped Granny Smith Apples
- Ranch dressing
- Shred grilled chicken and toss in barbecue sauce to coat.
- Toss everything together and serve with ranch dressing. Voila!
- No set amount for ingredients - plan for about ½ chicken breast per person and adjust ingredients as necessary for the size of the salad!
Sunday, January 1
Happy New Year!
Today I’m combining the weekly menu with my annual New Years Resolution post because they are closely related. Let’s talk about the resolution first then get on to the weekly menus, shall we?
Every year I choose a resolution that helps our family to Eat Well and Heal the Planet. For 2017 my environmentally-friendly kitchen resolution is to, quite simply, cook more. And while the goal itself may seem simple, the reasoning behind it is more complex.
This will be my eighth year where my New Year’s resolution is focused on how my behavior in the kitchen impacts the environment. These past seven years have been awesome and the resolutions have truly helped me become more conscious than ever about how my food choices impact Mother Earth. It’s been a transformative process for me and I hope my journey has had a positive impact on others, too.
Last year our family’s food-environment resolution was to Waste Less Food. I started a compost bin, which is still going strong, and we’ve tried really hard to, well, waste less food! One of my biggest takeaways last year was that eating out was our family’s biggest source of food waste. Not only did more food get thrown away when eating out, but there was so much more garbage per person with takeout containers and the like. This is contributing factor #1 to this year’s resolution to cook more.
I don’t want to jump on the whole “2016 was the worst” bandwagon, but I will tell you that, for personal reasons, 2016 was at times quite challenging and I cooked less this year than I have in probably a decade. I was dealing with SI joint dysfunction for much of the year, and then I had a crazy car accident in November, just as the holidays got going. Plus, you know, life is busy. Work, kids, etc, etc, etc…we all know how it goes. As a result, this year found me in the kitchen far less than usual. Making dinner became a source of stress and something I thought I didn’t have time for. By the end of the year, my decreased levels of cooking have really had me down. The last two weeks I’ve been cooking a lot more. I visited our weekly farmer’s market for the first time. I’ve thought a lot about my relationship to food and what it means to me. This is contributing factor #2 to this year’s resolution…so let’s talk about the resolution itself!
I want to cook more! I want to feed my family better. I want to feed myself better. I want to care about my food again. I want to enjoy the cooking process. I want to be inspired by food rather than stressed by it. I want to go to my local farmer’s market and be inspired by the local, seasonal ingredients I find each week. And I want to help the environment – the best way I can do that in the kitchen is to simply COOK MORE.
So, that’s the goal! Less eating out. More cooking. More getting back to the love of food and savoring the time it takes to prepare it.
Are you with me? Are you already there? Share your tips if you are! And, in case you missed it, I wrote an article for Mom2.com in October where I shared my friends’ tips for cooking dinner every day, even when life gets crazy. There is some good stuff in there, I highly recommend you check it out!
And now my first menu of 2017! Note: we are still going to eat out, but I’m limiting it to once a week! I will continue to post menus every weekend and hope you all will continue to share yours in the comments! I am beyond grateful for the interaction we have here on the blog and your menus are a true inspiration week after week!
– Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches
– Green Salad Topped with Grilled Chicken
– Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos
– Eat out night
– Roasted Vegetable Egg Scrambles and Smoothies
Your turn! Please share your menu in the comments…simple, fancy, whatever! And if you have any thoughts about this year’s resolution, please share those as well! Happy New Year and Happy Cooking!
Thursday, December 15
Here’s the thing with today’s rice crispy treats. When you look at them they look like normal, everyday, boring rice crispy treats. And then you take a bite. And you’re like, “What am I eating!?!?” You’re eating sea salt and brown butter rice crispy treats, that’s what. And they are so good.
I discovered this recipe thanks to my friend Nikki, who is also the reason that the SoNo Chocolate Ganache Cake is in all of our lives. We went camping with Nikki and her family this summer and she brought these for dessert on the beach. As soon as I took a bite I knew she had done something different with the recipe. Sure enough brown butter was involved. And lots of it. The original recipe that Nikki uses is from Joanne Chang’s Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe cookbook. I have adapted it and my version is below. (You can see the original recipe on Epicurious.) I use vanilla bean paste to get that wonderful vanilla bean look and flavor but without messing with the pods, which I never have on hand anyway. I also added coarse sea salt to the mix because coarse sea salt always makes everything more delicious.
By the way, if you don’t really like rice crispy treats then I don’t think these are going to miraculously change your opinion. They are still rice crispy treats after all…but they have a really wonderful salty-sweet flavor and I myself can’t get enough of them! Enjoy!Sea Salt and Brown Butter Rice Crispy TreatsPrep timeTotal timeAdapted from Joanne Chang's "Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe"Author: Jane MaynardServes: 32Ingredients
- 2 sticks (1/2 pound) salted butter
- Generous ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus a bit more for sprinkling
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- 2 10-ounce bags large marshmallows
- 10 cups rice crispy cereal
NotesMakes 32 1½" x 2" squares.3.4.3177
- Spray a 9" x 13" baking pan with oil and set aside.
- Heat a very large pot over medium heat on the stovetop. While pot is heating, gather all of your ingredients so they are ready to go.
- Cut butter into squares and add to heated pan. Cook, stirring regulary, for about 7-10 minutes until the butter has browned. For the first 5 minutes or so there will be a white foamy layer on top, then that will start to disappear, then the butter will start to bubble and foam up again. The butter will brown sometime after this happens. It will look light brown below the foam and have a lovely nutty aroma. Be sure to cook until butter just turns brown (you have to really look because the foam on top can obstruct your view. It is helpful to cook the butter in a light-colored pan so it's easier to see the color of the butter.)
- As soon as the butter has browned, reduce the heat to low and stir in the salt and vanilla paste. Mix well then add the marshmallows, cooking over low heat and stirring constantly until all of the marshmallows have melted and you have a smooth mixture.
- Turn off the heat but leave the pan on the stove. Add the rice crispy cereal and stir well to coat. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
- Using wet hands, press the mixture firmly and evenly into the pan.
- Sprinkle the top with just a bit of sea salt.
- Let cool 1 hour before cutting. Store in an airtight container.
Thursday, November 3
The podcast is back! Yippee! We’re kicking off the second season with a really lovely interview with author Nicole Blades and her family’s beloved Caribbean Coconut Sweet Bread recipe. Before we get to the recipe and shownotes, a few quick notes about Nicole! Nicole is a novelist and journalist who has been writing since third grade. She’s worked for magazines like Essence and written articles and essays for pretty much everyone, from NYTimes.com to WashingtonPost.com and more. She also has a blog (link below!) and her second novel “The Thunder Beneath Us” published last week (congratulations, Nicole! Woohoo!). Nicole and I could basically talk forever (we pretty much did) and in this episode we hit on all kinds of topics, everything from the virtues and vices of digital communication, vegetarianism, ancestral DNA tests and, of course, FOOD.
Nicole shares two recipes in the podcast. One of them is for Caribbean Coconut Sweet Bread, a recipe that really represents family for Nicole. I wanted to make the bread before the show went live so I would have good photos to include. I am so glad I did. This bread. It is dangerously delicious! Nicole also took photos of the actual recipes she uses. The French toast came from an old magazine and the sweet bread is in an old Caribbean cookbook. I am so happy to have those photos to share with you, too. Hard copy recipes are one of my favorite things in the world.
I think it’s time we get down to business! First the shownotes, then the recipes, then the podcast itself! Enjoy!
- For all things Nicole visit NicoleBlades.com
- The Thunder Beneath Us by Nicole Blades (her second novel that came out last week! woohoo!)
- Earth’s Waters by Nicole Blades (Nicole’s first novel)
- Ms. Mary Mack – Nicole’s blog
- Article about the impact of meat demand on climate and projections for 2050
- How to Email by James Hamblin for The Atlantic
- Ancestry.com DNA Testing
- Marbled, Swirled and Layered cookbook by Irvin Lin
- I’m Judging You: The To-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi
- Make It Easy cookbook by Stacie Billis
Left: Loaves sprinkled with granulated sugar; Right: Loaves brushed with sugar water. Both techniques work beautifully.
Pictured: The original recipe from the cookbook “Caribbean Cookbook” by Rita G SpringerCaribbean Coconut Sweet BreadPrep timeCook timeTotal timeThis recipe is adapted from the book "Caribbean Cookbook" by Rita G. Springer. Nicole shared the recipe with me along with a few notes about how she modifies it. I have written it up in my own words below!Author: Jane MaynardServes: 2 loavesIngredients
- 4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 150 grams sugar (this is ¾ cup sugar minus 1 tablespoon)
- ½ pound melted shortening or butter (Nicole and I use butter)
- ¾ cups milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups grated unsweetened coconut (important to use grated unsweetened; Nicole said it's best if you buy a whole coconut, crack it open and grate it yourself, but store-bought grated unsweetened coconut works, too)
- Sugar for sprinkling OR equal parts sugar-water mixture, for the top of the bread
- Optional Stuffing: ⅓ cup unsweetened grated coconut + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract + ½ tablespoon sugar mixed together
NotesThe bread is quite crumbly but far from dry...the flavor and texture are wonderful! Just use a serrated knife when slicing!3.4.3177
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl then stir in sugar. (I used my KitchenAid mixer, which I highly recommend if you have one.)
- Add melted shortening/butter, milk, egg and vanilla extract. Stir in coconut.
- Blend ingredients well (this is where the mixer comes in handy!).
- Knead slightly on lightly floured board or knead in your mixer with the dough hook for a couple of minutes.
- Divide dough into two, shape into loaves and place in greased bread pans, ensuring dough does not fill the pans more than ⅔ full. Optional: Stuff the optional "stuffing mixture" from the ingredients list above into the center of the loaves, opening the loaf and putting the mixture in the middle and then reshaping the loaf again before putting it in the pan.
- Score the top of the loaf (Nicole likes to make Xs, a long line down the middle is pretty, too!) and sprinkle liberally with sugar. Alternately, Nicole likes to brush the tops with a sugar-water mixture (use equal parts water and sugar, about ¼ cup each - mix together and let sit a few minutes to dissolve before using). About every 5 minutes or so during the cooking time brush the loaves with the sugar water. Either technique works beautifully.
- Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until bread is golden brown.
Here is Nicole’s favorite breakfast recipe, a French toast recipe she tore out of a GQ magazine many years ago!GQ French ToastPrep timeCook timeTotal timeNicole Blades found this recipe in a GQ magazine many years ago.Serves: 4 slicesIngredients
- 2 page eggs plus 1 yolk
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 pinch of cinnamon
- 1 pinch of nutmeg
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 drops vanilla extract
- 1 drop almond extract or dash of amaretto
- 4 slices brioche or other high-quality white bread, cut 1 inch thick (Nicole uses a brioche bread made in France that is sold at Whole Foods - whatever bread you use, make sure it's good - that's the key!)
- Whisk together all of the ingredients except the bread. Cook in a skillet greased with unsalted butter on the stove over medium heat like you would any regular French toast!
It’s easy to listen to the show!
- Via the web: Just click play below!
- Via an app: For iPhone and iPad, subscribe to the This Week for Dinner Podcast on iTunes and listen to it through the purple Podcasts app. For Android devices, use the Stitcher, Podcast Addict or Pocket Casts apps. In all cases, launch the app, then search for This Week for Dinner Podcast. The benefit of using an app: once downloaded, you can listen to the show without an Internet connection.
- If you enjoy the podcast, please leave a rating and/or review on iTunes! It helps a lot!
- Big thank you to d&m for providing the music for the podcast!