Tuesday, April 8
For our very first date, Nate and I went to the Davis Square Bertucci’s in Somerville, MA. Once we were married, if we ever went out to a restaurant (which was rare), it was usual to Bertucci’s or John Harvard’s. I think one of the reasons I love Bertucci’s so much is because of our personal history associated with it, but I still love going to that restaurant whenever we can because they do make some good food. Those dinner rolls and that margherita pizza…YUMMMMM.
One of those times early in our marriage when we went to Bertucci’s I ordered a tortellini dish that was served with sausage, mushrooms in a light cream tomato sauce. This was one of the very first restaurant copycat recipes I created at home and definitely one of the first things I cooked that gave me some confidence in the kitchen.
It’s been years since I’ve made what we call Bertucci’s Tortellini, but I threw it on the menu a few weeks ago and IT WAS SO GOOD. I made sure to write down measurements for you since the recipe I had posted on the site was pretty lame and directionless.
This is a nice and easy dinner to prepare that tastes wonderful. (I think I had thirds the other night.) The only thing missing from this recipe is Bertucci’s dinner rolls!
Tuesday, April 1
Years ago my friend Liz hosted a cheese party at her home. If you showed up with a bottle of wine, she gave you a plate of cheese! Okay, so it was actually a little fancier and more involved than that. She had gone to who knows how many cheese shops and gathered who knows how many cheeses and had them set up at different tables, organized by strength. Have you ever been to a cheese tasting? It’s really fun! You start with the mildest cheeses and work your way up. And you JUST EAT THE CHEESE. Leave the bread and crackers at home, this experience is about really tasting the cheeses, appreciating the nuanced differences of each type. It was a delicious, educational and fun night that obviously left an impression on me and changed the way I looked at cheese.
There truly is an art to cheese, one that I am woefully uneducated about but also very much appreciate. Nate lived in Paris for a few years back in the day, so we have a bias towards French cheeses. When I had the chance to work on a post for Président, trying out one of their recipes and sharing it with you, I jumped. We love brie and camembert and love to buy Président when we indulge!
A few years ago, Nate and I went to Paris together. We ate so many wonderful foods, including cheese of course! As I was looking through Paris photos this morning to include in this post, I laughed when I discovered the very first photo I took in Paris was of a small round of Président camembert we bought on our first day in that marvelous city! No wonder that’s the cheese I always buy – we can enjoy a bit of France right here in California!
By the way, les crèmeries are to Paris what Dunkin’ Donuts are to Boston. I couldn’t believe how many cheese shops there were, and they all looked like this. No wonder the French have mastered the art of cheese.
The recipe I am sharing with you today comes from Président’s website, where you can find all kinds of easy gourmet recipes. I chose this particular recipe because it not only sounded delicious but it was downright pretty. This beautiful torte would be perfect to serve at any party, but a cheese party would be especially lovely. It can serve as a nice alternative to the straight-up cheese tasting but still fit into the theme of the evening. Also, even though the torte might look intimidating to make, it actually is quite easy to throw together. You can totally impress without the stress!
Also, this food looked gorgeous at every step of the cooking process. Sorry for all the pictures, but I just couldn’t help myself.
Wednesday, March 26
Apparently it’s still snowing in some places. CRAZY. It’s even chilly and drizzly here in San Diego (don’t worry, I am not complaining), so I think we’re all probably in the mood for some cozy food.
My sister-in-law Cora made beef stew for the family this past summer and it was sublime. I make a pretty good beef stew, but hers was definitely better. I finally got around to bugging her for the recipe and, as usual, she obliged. She’s good like that.
Cora sort of follows Ree’s seef stew with beer and paprika recipe but changes a few things up. I followed her lead and ended up with this most delicious stew. The sauce is so rich in flavor, the meat so tender, the veggies cooked to perfection.
Yes, it’s called Boozy Beef Stew. Because there are two bottles of beer in the pot and how can you not name it Boozy Beef Stew with all that beer involved? Never fear, it doesn’t taste like a bottle of beer with a few chunks of meat thrown in. It just tastes good. So good.
Also, this recipe gives me an excuse to use one of my most favorite items in the kitchen – a bottle opener we got from Nate’s great-grandma Rose’s home when she moved into assisted living at age 99. We don’t drink around here, so this cute little bottle opener doesn’t get much action. But when I do take it out, it always makes me happy.
I modified the recipe just a bit so it is quite literally a one-pot dinner. I hate washing dishes. A lot. You’ll be able to cook it all in one pot, no extra dishes required! (Well, you will have to use a knife and cutting board, but that doesn’t count, right?)
Now, go booze up your beef.
Monday, March 24
If you live in the western U.S. (and now Virginia or Maryland, too!), you’ve probably heard of Cafe Rio. It’s a Mexican food chain with the best darn pork barbacoa and creamy tomatilla salad dressing you ever did eat. Seriously, that dressing is downright drinkable.
My cousin Jamie and her family visited us last week. One night we made fajitas for dinner and Jamie whipped up some of the Cafe Rio dressing. It was mighty fine! Honestly, I can’t remember exactly how Cafe Rio’s dressing tastes, but Jamie says this recipe nails it! I did a google search and there are a bunch of blogs and websites with almost the exact same recipe posted, so I have no idea who the source is. But Jamie and I discussed the recipe and realized that she regularly changes up some of the proportions, so we made it our own. Also, I am changing the amounts because the original recipe makes about 30 ounces of dressing! That is a whole lot of dressing that, quite frankly, is more than our family needs.
This dressing is delicious served over salad or as a sauce topped on tacos, fajitas and burritos. Go crazy!
(>> Find out more…)
Wednesday, March 19
I grew up in New Jersey, just a couple hours from Amish country in Pennsylvania. Amish country was one of the spots we would frequently take visitors, as well as New York City. About the only thing those two places had in common was that they both served giant pretzels! And, you know what, the pretzels in Amish country were 10,000 times better than the ones in New York (sorry, street vendors).
Those Amish pretzels really were to die for. Warm, soft, buttery, with a nice slightly crisp exterior. Heaven. Needless to say I am perfectly fine with the explosion of Auntie Anne’s and Wetzels Pretzels in every mall in America – saves me a trip to Pennsylvania when I get a craving.
My kids also love Amish-style pretzels, so I decided we should try making them at home. We made the recipe below for my column 3 Kids, a Mom & a Kitchen on Babble and it was a great success! Not only were the pretzels soooooo good, but this is a really fun and painless cooking project to do with kids. Check out my post on Babble for details on how to get children of all ages involved with this recipe.
A few notes on the recipe. First, I basically cobbled together a bunch of different recipes to make this one, with most of the best tips coming from this video series by Jay Stewart of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. Second, I used a mix of bread flour and self-rising flour and really like how the texture came out. I give instructions in the recipe below for how to make self-rising flour (which is a combination of cake or pastry flour with baking powder and salt). I’m sure some of you will ask if you can use all-purpose flour – you probably can, but then you’d need to figure out how much baking powder and salt to add to the recipe and also the protein levels will be different. So, basically, you’re on your own if you go that route!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 12:37 pm 11 Comments
Categories: featured recipes, Recipes, side dishes, way gourmet Tags: amish pretzels, copycat auntie anne's pretzels, copycat wetzel's pretzels, homemade pretzels |
Tuesday, March 11
Remember my pretty blueberries from last week’s menu post? I’m finally sharing the recipe for what I used them in! It’s a family recipe, complete with a newspaper clipping from the 80s. Total awesomeness.
The recipe is for whole wheat blueberry muffins. They are soooo good and completely addictive, which isn’t too terrible since the muffins use all whole wheat flour and are filled with healthy blueberries. (Sugar? What sugar?)
It may be a family recipe, but it’s not actually from my family. A few years ago my friend Anna had made some delicious blueberry muffins, of which I ate an embarrassing amount. I started gushing about the muffins and she told me how her mom had a won a contest with the recipe when Anna was a kid. Their family even ended up getting their photo in the local newspaper with a short article about her mom and the recipe. Anna is awesome and of course had a scan of the article and happily shared it with me, knowing full well I would publish her adorable 7-year-old face on my blog. I am such a sucker for recipes from old newspapers or handwritten on recipe cards. They just make me happy, especially when they are as delicious as this one.
So, we all owe Anna’s mom Pamela Worthen a great big thank you for this recipe. Thank you, Pamela!
Tuesday, March 4
Tacone is one of my favorite take-out food joints. They have great wraps and the best homemade potato chips EVER. Sadly, there are very few Tacone restaurants in the world and I hardly ever get my fix!
While I know I’ll never be able to replicate their potato chips, I can copycat my favorite Tacone wraps. My most favorite was always the Malibu Melt. It’s simple but oh-so-delicious. And the homemade version is just as good as the restaurant. Bonus: this recipe is super quick and easy, which is always my favorite kind of recipe!
Happy wrapping!Malibu Melt WrapsPrep timeTotal timeInspired by the restaurant Tacone, one of our favorites!Author: Jane MaynardIngredients
- Flour tortillas
- Cooked chicken breast, chopped, either grilled or breaded (I personally love the Bread Chicken Tenderloin Breasts from Trader Joe’s in the freezer section)
- Chopped tomatoes
- Chopped romaine lettuce
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Avocado, cut into chunks
- Honey mustard salad dressing (click here for a homemade recipe; I also love the Ken’s Steakhouse honey mustard from the store)
- Lay out the flour tortilla and spread some honey mustard dressing down the center. Add the chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and avocado. Top with another drizzle of honey mustard then wrap it all up like a burrito!
Thursday, February 27
Today’s post is a quick update to let you know about a few little upgrades here on This Week for Dinner. Some of you have been asking for these things for a loooong time, so I’m happy to finally deliver!
- We now have a mobile version of the website! Woohoo! It will be much easier to view and navigate the site on your phones and tablets now.
- We now have a recipe index, with links to all the recipes on the website, organized into all kinds of handy categories. You’ll be able to access the recipe index from the top navigation of the website (look top left!) as well as under the recipe category in the secondary navigation (coming soon!). In addition, the recipe index is very easily accessible from the top drop-down navigation menu on your mobile device.
- Recipes have a brand new look and feel. You can see examples here, here and here. My assistant (yes, I hired an assistant and I love her to PIECES – shout out to Rachel!) and I are going to be updating all the recipes on the site to the new format over the next few weeks. In addition to the recipes being prettier, they will be linked to ZipList. What is ZipList? Well, read the next bullet to find out!
- I am now partnered with ZipList, so you’ll be able to save recipes to your own recipe boxes as well as create shopping lists. I’ve been meaning to hook up with ZipList for years but my recipes weren’t formatted properly. Now I’ve got my act together and we can get this show on the road!
This is all stuff I should have done ages ago, but better late than never, right? Enjoy! (And please be patient as we slowly get all the recipes updated!)
Wednesday, February 26
As a kid my favorite dinner was beef stroganoff. My mom didn’t make it often and she only liked to make it when she could get the meat from a particular butcher in town, so when we did have stroganoff it was such a treat. I suppose I’ve been a sucker for sour cream and mushrooms since the early days!
I also rarely make beef stroganoff and, until now, always just used those dried sauce packets from the grocery store. I must admit that I liked how it tasted and it didn’t require any thought. But what I like more is cooking food from scratch whenever I can, so I decided it was time to try completely homemade beef stroganoff. And, in all honesty, it wasn’t any harder than using one of those sauce packets!
This recipe is simple but delicious. I researched tons of different recipes as I thought about how I wanted to put the dish together and this is what I came up with. The sauce was creamy and tasty, the meat was tender and I totally had seconds (just like the old days). I also love meals that use meat sparingly. This recipe makes a ton of food with just 1 pound of steak – I love that!
In the interest of full disclosure, Anna did not like it, but I think she just doesn’t like stroganoff to begin with. (She also doesn’t like chicken pot pie, so can we trust her? I think not.) Owen only ate two bites, but that was more a function of Anna giving him a giant granola bar 5 minutes before dinner without telling me. Soooo helpful. Cate said it was really good and worthy of sharing on the blog and Nate agreed. At least I have some supporters in the family!
Wednesday, February 19
Confession: Our family hardly ever eats fish. I cook it once every few years or so and that’s about it. There are a few reasons for this. First, Nate does not like fish, which is shocking since he comes from a long line of seafood-loving New Englanders. The second reason is I just don’t know the best ways to prepare seafood since I never do it. Practice makes perfect and there just isn’t any practice going on in my kitchen!
The Salmon Council reached out to me recently about doing a salmon recipe in support of American Heart Month (which is right now!) and I thought it would be a good opportunity to get some fish going on in our house. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish because it’s a good source of protein and high in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is at the top of their fish list and the AHA recommends eating two servings of heart-healthy fish TWICE A WEEK, which can reduce your risk of dying from a heart attack by up to one-third. I guess my twice a decade isn’t quite up to snuff!
I decided it would be fun to throw together a simple and delicious salmon recipe, in the hopes that my kids would go for it. As I was making dinner last night, Cate walked in and asked what we were having. I told her salmon, to which she replied, “I don’t like fish.” I asked her, “Well, what fish have you had?” She didn’t have an answer, so she said she would give it a try and as soon as the salmon came out of the oven, she asked for a bite. She was immediately converted. In fact she had three servings for dinner and exclaimed that it was “AWESOME.” She also said that the “salmon people” would be happy with my blog post because I could tell everyone kids love it. It was super, duper, crazy cute. She also asked if we can have salmon more often. Success! Anna wasn’t quite as enthusiastic, but she did like dinner and cleared her plate no problem! Nate is still on the fence – he said the recipe is good, but…you know, fish. But he promised he would never voice those opinions out loud in front of the kids since they like are really liking fish and it’s so healthy!
This recipe is so incredibly simple it’s surprising. Even if you’ve never cooked fish before you’ll have success! The leftovers were pretty good, but honestly, when the salmon is fresh out of the oven it is IRRESISTIBLE. So flavorful and moist with great texture, Cate and I were swooning!
Also, Cate told me I should take a picture of she and Anna enjoying their salmon. I obliged. How could I not?
In celebration of American Heart Month, the Salmon Council is giving away a fun salmon starter package! One randomly-selected winner will receive a $30 Visa gift card (to get your salmon!), a Hooked on Salmon Thermo-tote, and 1 pack of Weber Firespice cedar planks (visit Weber.com for recipes and tips including this step-by-step guide for perfect salmon planking). Here’s how to enter the giveaway! (Comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Tuesday 2/25. Winner must have a U.S. address.) Leave a comment on this post – any comment! Easy peasy! Bonus entry: Leave an additional comment with your favorite salmon recipe (either share the recipe or a link!) Bonus entry: Follow The Salmon Council on Facebook! (leave a separate comment indicating you’ve done so) Bonus entry: Follow This Week for Dinner on Facebook! (leave a separate comment indicating you’ve done so)
The giveaway winner was comment #77, Natahsa P. Congratulations, Natasha!
Without further ado, the super easy, even more scrumptious recipe for Maple Soy Glazed Salmon!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 11:59 am 118 Comments
Categories: featured recipes, healthy eats, main dishes, Recipes Tags: easy dinner recipes, fish, iheartsalmon, salmon, seafood, sponsored, the salmon council |