Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Meatless Monday....or Bust!

So this Meatless Monday was a BUST!
I was not happy with pretty much anything about it!
Here we go....

Shirred Eggs
I went with my current Meatless Monday favorite, shirred eggs. I topped the eggs with parmesan cheese and parsley pesto. I'm not sure why, but something about it just didn't do it for me today. :-(

Broccoli and Cheese Soup, Grilled Cheese
For lunch I brought broccoli and cheese soup and a grilled cheese. This didn't go well  either.  
How do you mess up a grilled cheese? 
I made the sandwich in the panini maker. The first go round I did not cook it long enough. The cheese was no where near as ooey and gooey as I prefer. I stuck the grilled cheese back into the panini maker, left the kitchen for a few minutes, and came back to a panini maker filled with cheese in every ridge and two pieces of bread. All of my cheese had melted out of the bread! 
(Picture was pre panini maker disaster)

(Picture courtesy of 101 Cookbooks)
So when it came to dinner I needed something to cheer me up. I decided to make delicious potato gnocchi. Lover boy and I both LOVE gnocchi. Now I have never made gnocchi before from scratch. I've seen it made on television, read countless articles and recipes, and have watched just about every contestant on Top Chef bomb at it. 
I get's hard to perfect. 
Apparently you need to be an Italian grandmother to make delicious, homemade gnocchi. This is exactly why I chose this recipe! How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother Recipe
You know me... I like a challenge. I said to myself, "I can do this. I can make anything!" So off I went......

As I prepared the potatoes and made the dough everything seemed to be going just fine. The dough was just floured yet tacky enough. I rolled the dough out, cut it in sections, and began to shape each gnocchi. This seemed to be working out well for my first time. 

Just as every recipe said....this is something that you perfect over time. After working with the gnocchi you realize what works and what doesn't.
In walks lover boy....with his know it all self. :-) Here he goes telling me how gnocchi is an Italian art form and all about his grandma making it when he was a child.
You're grandma has a gnocchi recipe?! Why'd ya wait til now to tell me this?!
Still, so far so good.
Now it's time to cook the gnocchi.
I boiled the first batch in the same starchy water I used to cook the potatoes. I let them rise to the top and spooned them out as they floated. Luckily, I had a lot of extra gnocchi...

Now what?
I knew that I wanted to serve the gnocchi with a brown butter, sage sauce. I already had some butter and sage simmering in a pan. I threw the second batch of gnocchi straight into the butter and let it sauté for about 5-10 minutes. This batch came out a lot better!...a lot more edible!

As far as the finished product goes, I think I did ok. Just ok. I gave myself a C on the grading scale. I had an edible finished product, but not something I'd like to brag about. I think it still had too much of a potatoey taste to it, but the brown butter sage was just enough to correct that.

Overall I think that the gnocchi won this battle, but I gave it a good fight.
And I will be back!

Gnocchi on FoodistaGnocchi


I love contests. Between my lover boy and I we win lots of things! Maybe he has the luck of the Irish and maybe I'm...well just lucky!

Now that I'm part of two, and hopefully more to come, blogging communities I'd like to get involved in giveaways. I see lots of bloggers doing contests that give away some really cool things. I suppose once you have a good number of followers you are able to reward said loyal followers with awesome prizes. Sounds good to me!

Non-food related, here are links to two awesome giveaways: Nautical by Nature's Shabby Apple Dress Giveaway and Pink and Green Everything's Dahl House Frame Giveaway.

Shabby Apple has the cutest collection of dresses to fit every body type. And they aren't too badly priced either!

Check it out!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Meatless Monday

I'm going to keep this short and sweet.....two posts in one day!


Shirred Eggs with Parmesan Cheese and Chives
Seedless Navel Orange
Repeat from last week.


Black Bean Over Achiever Taco
Chips, Queso, and Salsa Verde


New Recipe!
Cornmeal Crunch
(which can be found  at Profesional Bakist and 101 Cookbooks )
Balsamic Roasted Vegetables

Parsley Pesto

I've been meaning to share this recipe for a while. While browsing through my inbox, I subscribe to a million food newsletters, I came across a fantastic looking dish. Martha Stewart's  Lamb Chops with Parsley Pesto immediately caught my eye. We love mini lamb chops and the contrast of the bright green parsley pesto on top just made my mouth salivate. Apparently, parsley pesto is something Ms. Stewart is quite fond of. She seems to use this as a main ingredient in tons of recipes. I'll also show you how I continued to use the pesto in different ways.

Let's start with the main dish:

I followed Martha's recipe and served up mini lamb chops and parsley pesto. It was accompanied with Matt's favorite side starch, onions and potatoes, and sauteed green beans. The parsley pesto topped the chops and was actually very simple to make. It has such a fresh taste, I absolutely loved it. I couldn't wait to try it on more dishes.

The parsley pesto was easy to preserve. I keep almost every food container that even seems reusable. I just happened to have a small, glass Classico pesto jar that I saved a while back. I transferred the leftover pesto to the jar, topped it with olive oil, and stored it in the refrigerator.

Here are a few more ways to use it:

Breakfast Wrap

I wrapped eggs, cheese, and parsley pesto in a flour tortilla. 


I made a sandwich with Boar's Head Cajun Turkey, sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and parsley pesto.

This is an original and a definite new favorite. 
I'm calling this Caprese Benedict

Toast, Pan Seared Ham, Poached Egg, Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced Tomatoes, Parsley Pesto, and Basil

Try changing things up by making a new accompaniment and using it with some of your favorite dishes!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


So I've fallen a little behind in posts and I did not succeed in my last goal. :-(  I didn't follow the meal plan and I didn't post on every dinner that we made. I also skipped Meatless Monday two weeks in a row! I actually failed miserably at my blogging goals!

However, Meatless is back...and with vengeance! Thanks to some creative ideas from co-workers, Crystal and Meshia, I had Meatless Miércoles! ....(that's Wednesday for all you non Spanish speakers)

Well the day started off say the least. Breakfast was non existent so I started off with an early lunch and ate what was breakfast for a snack before my afternoon obligations.


Gourmet Grilled Cheese and Tomato Bisque
I used sourdough bread, creamy havarti, muenster, and pepper jack cheeses to make this gourmet grilled cheese. My sandwich was accompanied by a bowl of Select Harvest's Zesty Tomato Bisque and fresh chopped basil. It was delicious!

Shirred Eggs and Seedless Navel Orange
My shirred eggs were fantastic! This was a test recipe. In the office I'm working with select kitchen appliances; microwave, toaster oven, panini maker, and a toaster. I baked the eggs in the toaster oven with parmesan cheese and chives. OMG!...loved it! I also sliced up a seedless navel orange which really made me happy as well.


Mushroom and Herb Risotto, Sautéed Zucchini
I've made risotto before....out of a box. This was my first time making it from scratch. Homemade risotto takes some tender love and care. It requires constant stirring and slowly adding liquid in small portions to get that perfect creamy texture. I added sautéed mushrooms, fresh sage, basil, oregano, chopped chives, and parmesan cheese. I was impressed and will definitely be making more in the future. I felt like I was lacking in my vegetable intake for the day so I also served up some sautéed zucchini. The fun thing about risotto is that you can add or top it with whatever you like to fancy it up. Matty's risotto was topped with a pan fried chicken breasts.

So I'm back in the game! Meatless meals have returned, I have a lot of new ideas for future dinners, and a few back logged things to post about! Look forward to some new great things.

Up next: Last week's Parsley Pesto Debut