Friday, October 21, 2016

Flat Iron Steak with Bleu Cheese Butter


In The Box:
.6 oz. Butter
2 Rosemary Sprigs
2 Green Onions
3 oz. Grape Tomatoes
2 Garlic Cloves
10 oz. Fingerling Potatoes
4 oz. Green Beans
2 Flat Iron Steaks
1.25 oz. Blue Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Set butter on counter to soften. Thoroughly rinse produce and pat dry. Prepare baking sheet with foil.

Prepare the Ingredients:
Stem and coarsely chop rosemary. Trim and thinly slice green onions. Halve grape tomatoes. Mince garlic. Halve fingerling potatoes. Trim end off green beans. Rinse steaks, pat dry, and season each with 1/2 tsp. salt and a pinch of pepper.

Cook the Potatoes:
On prepared baking sheet, combine fingerling potatoes, rosemary, 2 tsp. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper. Spread into a single layer and bake 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown and fork tender.

Cook Green Beans and Tomatoes
Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Add half the garlic (reserve remaining for butter) to hot pan and cook 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add green beans and 2 TBS. water and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until beans are bright green and water has mostly evaporated. Add grape tomatoes and cook 2 more minutes. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and a pinch of pepper. Remove to a plate and wipe pan clean.

Prepare the Compound Butter
In a small bowl, combine softened butter bleu cheese (to taste) remaining garlic, half the green onions (reserve remaining for garnish) and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mold into two small circular disks. place butter disks onto a plate and refrigerate until plating.

Cook Flat Iron Steaks
Heat medium pan used for green beans over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp. olive oil. Add steaks to hot pan and cook 4-5 minutes per side, or until steaks reach a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees. Rest 5 minutes before plating.

Plate the Dish
Slice steak if desired. Place a portion of green beans and tomatoes in middle of plate. Lay fingerling potatoes next to vegetables and  steak against potatoes. Top with bleu cheese butter and remaining green onion.

For the most part, Michael has been learning to cook by helping prepare these meals. This one he did not help with, so instead of following the instructions exactly, I took liberties with this recipe. I have a hard time cooking any kind of steak without marinating first. It seems to be more tender and flavorful. About 30 minutes before cooking, I placed the steak in a dish with 2 TBS soy sauce, 2 tsp. olive oil and the salt and pepper. Instead of cooking in a skillet, I grilled this on the outdoor grill over medium high heat. The combination of marinating/grilling was spectacular and it was very tender. I enjoyed using fresh herbs in the potatoes. I will definitely use more of the herbs from my garden.


Rating: 5 starts out of 5. Michael said this was by far his favorite meal from Home Chef. The blue cheese butter put it over the top.

If you'd like to try Home Chef yourself, here is the link:
 https://www.homechef.com/invite/5rAd8UVLAvR8

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Home Chef Pork Chop Santorini

Pork Chop Santorini with Sweety Drop-Kalamata Butter

Here is the link to the recipe:
https://www.homechef.com/meals/pork-chop-santorini-with-sweety-drop-kalamata-butter

When I first opened my box, I was disappointed once again to find that the cucumbers were on the frozen side and mushy. I'm not sure how many olives are in 3/4 of an ounce, but I had 5 olives in my box. That means both my husband and I had 2 1/2 olives, or 5 pieces of olive in our salad. In spite of these things, this was a fun meal to make.

I have never heard of sweety drop peppers. They are bright red and tear drop shaped. They had a nice flavor and were not spicy. The flavors blended together well. Everything tasted fresh and healthy. At 479 calories, this was great for a low calorie diet.

Rating: I give this meal 5 stars out of 5.

If you'd like to try Home Chef yourself, here is the link:
 https://www.homechef.com/invite/5rAd8UVLAvR8

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Queso Chicken-Home Chef

Here is another of our Home Chef meals.
This is a photo of the finished product made by me:

Here is a link to the recipe:
https://www.homechef.com/meals/queso-chicken

This meal was simple and quick to make. The instructions were easy-to-follow. My husband's comment was, "this is good, but I like your queso so much better." My response was, "yes, but I didn't have to check to see if I had all of the ingredients. I just pulled them from our Home Chef box and put it together. I am enjoying our Home Chef meals, even though I love to cook and be creative. Sometimes I just need a break and this is cheaper and so far better than ordering out. Plus, so far I am confident that our meals have all been Gluten Free, unlike what happens sometimes when at a restaurant.

I give this meal 4 out of 5 stars, mostly because of my husband's comment, lol.

If you'd like to try Home Chef yourself, here is the link:
 https://www.homechef.com/invite/5rAd8UVLAvR8

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Grilled Salmon with Lemon Dill Yogurt-Home Chef

This was our second meal from our first Home Chef box. The picture below is what the plated dish should look like. I'm including the recipe and directions and my evaluation at the end.


Here is the picture of my finished, plated grilled salmon with lemon dill yogurt:


For this meal, the ingredients in our box were:

1 Lemon
2 Dill Sprigs
1 persian cucumber
1 red onion
6 oz. green beans
2 roma tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
2 salmon fillets
5.3 oz plain yogurt

Directions:
Zest and halve lemon. Cut one half into two wedges and juice other half. Stem and coarsely chop dill (reserve two dill tops for garnish). Trim cucumber and grate on large holes of grater. (Alternatively, chop very finely with a knife). Squeeze excess liquid of grated cucumber out with your hands. Peel onion and slice into 1/4" rounds. Trim ends off green beans. Slice Roma tomatoes into 1/2" rounds. Mince garlic. Rinse salmon, pat dry, and season both sides with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Prepare Lemon-Dill Sauce and Vegetables
Combine yogurtchopped dillcucumbergarlic (half at first, then to taste), 1 tsp. lemon zest, 2 tsp. lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a small bowl and refrigerate. Combine green beansoniontomato, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and 1/4 tsp.salt in a mixing bowl.

Grill the Salmon
Heat a grill or grill pan to medium heat and lightly coat with cooking spray. Add salmon to hot grill and grill 4-6 minutes on each side, or until salmon reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees. Remove to a plate, cover with foil, and set aside.

Grill the Vegetables
Return grill to medium heat and lightly coat with cooking spray. Working in batches, add green beans and red onion to hot grill and grill until crisp tender, 2-4 minutes on each side. Don't worry if onions separate. Remove to a plate. Coat grill again with cooking spray and grill tomato rounds until just charred, about 1 minute on each side.

Comments:
First thing I noticed when unpacking our box was the cucumber was partially frozen. If you know anything about fruit, most cannot be frozen without damaging the quality. I ended up purchasing mini cucumbers at the store to replace the one I received. This ruins the whole concept of using this service. Since I noticed this ahead of time, I prepared the other meal first, then had a day before I made this one.

The instructions were easy to follow and it was a delight to cook without having to hunt down the ingredients and instead have everything ready to go. (With the exception of the cucumber.)

The taste of everything was fresh and bright. The lemon zest put it over the top. I give this meal 5 out of 5 stars. I did not factor the inconvenience of the bad cucumbers into the rating. It was strictly for taste and ease of preparation.
If you'd like to try Home Chef, here is the link: https://www.homechef.com/invite/5rAd8UVLAvR8

Monday, August 8, 2016

Bistro Steak Frites-Home Chef

This was the first meal from our Home Chef box. The picture below is what the plated dish should look like. We received a printed picture with the recipe and instructions, along with a notebook to keep them together. I'm including the recipe, directions and my evaluation at the end.

In the Box:
2 Russet Potatoes
2 Parsley Sprigs
1 Roma Tomato
1 Shallot
2 Flat Iron Steaks
4 TBS Bonewerks Classic Veal Demi-Glace
.6 oz. Butter
1.5 flu. oz. Gluten-Free Fat-Free Raspberry Vinaigrette
2 oz. Baby Arugula
.75 oz. Blue Cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cook the Frites
Cut potatoes into 1/4" sticks. Place on prepared baking sheet and toss with 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Arrange in a single layer and bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and flip fries to ensure even cooking. Rotate pan 180 degrees, return to oven, and bake 15-20 more minutes, or until browned and tender. Remove from oven, season with 1/2 tsp. salt, and set aside on baking sheet to cool.

Prepare the Remaining Ingredients
While potatoes are baking, stem and mince parsley. Core Roma tomato and cut lengthwise into six wedges. Peel and mince shallot. Rinse steaks, pat dry, and season both sides with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Cook the Steaks
Heat a medium pan over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp.olive oil and steaks to hot pan and cook 4-5 minutes per side, or until well-browned and steaks reach a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees. Remove steaks to a plate, loosely cover with foil, and return pan to medium heat. No need to wipe pan clean because residual fat and caramelized meat in pan help make sauce.

Make the Sauce
Add half the shallot to pan and cook 30-45 seconds, or until aromatic. Add 1/4 cup water, increase heat to medium-high, and cook 1 minute to deglaze pan. Add demi-glace and cook 1-2 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and swirl inbutter to thicken sauce further. Sauce should be just thick enough to coat back of a spoon, but be careful not to over-reduce the rich demi-glace. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make Salad and Slice Steaks
Place dressingtomatoes, and arugula in a mixing bowl and gently toss to combine. Season to taste with a 1/4 tsp. salt and a pinch of pepper. After steaks have rested at least 5 minutes, slice into 1/3" slices against the grain.

Plate the Dish
Arrange salad and frites on a plate. Garnish salad with bleu cheese. Garnish frites with remainingshallot (to taste) and parsley. Pour sauce on plate and arrange sliced steak over sauce.

Here is my plated dish. Looks nothing like the above photo, but this was our first shot.
(Sorry for the cell phone pic, my camera battery was dead.)


Comments:
I'll be honest, there were two things I was skeptical about. First is shallots. I've never used one. If a recipe calls for a shallot, I use a sweet onion. 

The second is arugula. I'm not a huge fan. It's taste is a little bitter with a hint of pepper. But the combination of flavors turned out perfectly. I was sure my husband would not like it, but he did.

The directions were very easy to follow and it was great to have all of the ingredients ready to go. Instead of using a pan to cook the flat iron steak, I grilled it outside until the temperature reached 145 degrees.

In spite of the looks of my dish, as opposed to the picture of what it should look like, it was very tasty. I love any kind of onion and thought I'd love the shallots on the frites, but I would have been fine with them plain also.

I give this dish 4.5 stars out of 5.

If you'd like to try Home Chef, here is the link: https://www.homechef.com/invite/5rAd8UVLAvR8

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Home Chef

Michael and I recently signed up to receive meals from Home Chef. There are a lot of options out there right now for ordering meals delivered to your home. These are not fully prepared meals, like we did back in 2006, but the ones where you order and the ingredients come with recipes to make a delicious, healthy meal at home. We were intrigued.

As we perused various sites, we found most meals ranged in price between $10-15 per person, per meal. This may sound very reasonable, but to someone like me who cooked for a large family for years, this didn't sound so reasonable. Not to mention, when I cook meals we almost always have leftovers. These meals are designed with portions in mine, so are not intended to have leftovers. That being said, now that I mostly cook for two, having all of the ingredients delivered to my door without the last minute, "I forgot an ingredient" and have to run to the store or scrap the meal for something else, we decided the cost wasn't so unreasonable. The bonus here is, my husband, who does not cook AT ALL, thought he would like to prepare these meals with me and LEARN to cook. Score!

I chose Home Chef for several reasons. One, they delivered to my area. Two-the recipes looked and sounded delicious, including dishes I'd never made and the thought of creating a new dish and trying something new is exciting. Three-the most important factor, the meals listed whether or not they were gluten free. I am only interested in gluten free options, so Home Chef won out.

We ordered our first two meals. I will try to follow the recipes, take a pic, include the original recipe and the photo of what the plated meal should look like, then give my honest opinion of the meal.

Here we go!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Green Beans w/Roasted Veggies



I wanted to try roasting green beans with some veggies. I wasn't sure how well they'd hold up, so instead roasted onions and peppers and mixed with steamed/boiled green beans. They were a hit.

1 lb. Green Beans (I used string beans)
1 onion, slivered
1-2 Bell Peppers, sliced (Red, Orange, or Yellow or any combination)
2 TBS Olive Oil
Coarse Ground Salt & Pepper

Toss onions and peppers with olive oil and place on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. While these are cooking, bring a pot of water to boiling.  Add a tad of salt and green beans. Boil 4 minutes. Drain.

Mix the green beans with the roasted vegetables, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Monday Menu

Monday: Chili, Cottage Cheese, Chips, Fruit Salad
Tuesday: Lemon Pepper Tilapia, Roasted Green Beans/Veggies, Risotto
Wednesday: Jambalaya
Thursday: Leftovers (This is a new thing. As empty nesters it happens.)
Friday: Honey Dijon Chicken, Roasted Potatoes & Veggies
Saturday: Out!
Sunday: Soup (I haven't figured it out yet.)

Looks like I need to add some recipes this week. I don't see the chili recipe or Tilapia one.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Another Gluten Free Banana Bread


You wake up in the morning to the milk smelling a little on the sour side. You reach for a banana instead, but overnight they have all turned black. What's one to do? Some might opt for a pregnancy test since everything seems off. For me? That means it's time to make banana bread.

I was given a recipe in the 1980's for banana bread that required sour milk. The problem was, we went through milk so quickly, it never had a chance to sour. I had to improvise. Nowadays, my milk nearly always goes past the best by date. One latte a day doesn't use it up fast enough. So whether you have sour milk or not, make sure you have very ripe bananas. Here is my altered-through-the-years recipe for a nice gluten free bread.

1-1/2 cups sugar (depends on how ripe they are, less for black, more for yellow)
1/2 c. coconut oil (Below 76 degrees it is solid like shortening, over that and it melts to oil)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
2 eggs
2 cups GF flour ( I used a new one  )
2-4 bananas, mashed (about 2 cups)
5 TBS sour milk (If you don't have sour milk, add 1/2 tsp lemon juice to milk)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt

Dissolve 1 tsp. baking soda into milk, set aside. In large bowl, cream sugar and coconut oil together.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Measure out 2 cups of flour and add salt to it. Alternate flour and milk mixture into the sugar/oil until well blended. Add mashed bananas and nuts, stirring well.

Pour into a large, greased loaf pan, or 3 small ones. (I couldn't find my large loaf pan, so used 2 medium sized loaf pans. They came out on the small size, but oh well.

Bake large loaf for an hour at 350 degrees, smaller loaves for 45 minutes. Test for doneness with toothpick inserting in the middle. If it comes out clean its finished.  If not, bake an additional 5 minutes and test again.

Enjoy!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Easy GF Green Bean Casserole

2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 cup sour cream
3 cans French style green beans, drained
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onions in butter until soft. Add the salt, sugar, onion, and sour cream. Heat gently until sour cream is melted smooth. Mix in green beans until they are coated with the sauce.

Transfer the mixture to a buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle cheese and crushed chips over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Meal Planning with a Theme

How has the new meal plan been going? For today, Meatless Monday, I made Cabbage
Soup, cheese/crackers/pretzels. Trying to decide if I want to make some Brazilian Cheese Bread to go with the soup. If it wasn't Meatless Monday, I'd add some salmon dip or a chopped salad with bacon and chicken. I thought about adding sausage to the soup but hey, let's try to actually do a Meatless Monday.

The past week:
Taco Tuesday was New Orleans Jambalya
Wednesday's Whatever was Rotisserie Chicken, and I honestly can't remember what I pared with it.
Thursday's Thaw a Crockpot Meal we ordered out pizza
Fish Friday was Lemon Pepper Tilapia, Baked Potatoes, Coleslaw, and Shrimp Scampi that was to die for.
Soup/Salad Saturday was Chili and Chopped Salad
Sunday Football was Grilled Salmon, Coleslaw, Pasta Salad, Shrimp Scampi


Friday, November 6, 2015

Cucumber Tomato Salad w/Avocado

This is a twist on Tomato Cucumber Salad

1 french cucumber, sliced or chopped
1-2 chopped tomatoes
1/2-3/4 cup sliced peppers, green, red, orange, yellow whatever you decide
1-2 stalks celery, sliced 
1 avocado, chopped

Dressing:
3 TBS white wine vinegar 
1 TBS olive oil
1/2 TBS sugar 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Cut up vegetables, except avocado. Mix dressing ingredients and blend into vegetables.  Cut up avocado and gently blend.  Refrigerate until ready to eat.