I spy with my little eye…

a delicious dinner in the works. 

   
 

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National Eat Your Noodles Day

Another gem from Steff Dechenes’ Eat the Year is today’s holiday. When I saw this on the calendar, I knew I had to do a post about noodles. Noodles are one of my favorite foods. Mushrooms will always take the cake on that, followed closely by garlic. Noodles are up there, though. Pasta with marinara, buttered noodles, Chinese lo mein, Thai pad thai noodles, it’s all good. Also, ramen! Which brings me to what I wanted to share most for today’s holiday.

On one of my recent trips to Whole Foods, I came across Annie Chun’s Spring Vegetable Ramen. It’s a packet of soup base and soft-dry noodles that you can customize yourself with protein and veggies.

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The first time I made it, I had just made my snow pea and mushroom concoction the night before and had some left overs. I added those after I tried the ramen on its own. The ramen and broth are really flavorful. Without any veg or protein, it definitely doesn’t feel like a meal, so that’s something to consider when you make it. Adding the snow peas and mushrooms, plus the bit of their sauce/juice they created was a very nice addition.

I’ve made it a second time now and ventured to add a protein. I had some leftover rotisserie chicken, so I hand shredded one of the legs and added it in with yet again leftover snow peas and mushrooms (they really are good!). All in all, a really good meal. I’ve seen the ramen at my local Fred Meyer (Kroger group grocery) in the natural foods section. If I remember correctly it also comes in two other flavors, but I don’t remember what they are. I’d say they’re worth a try.

Open faced tomato sandwich, a la Rebecca

http://food52.com/recipes/6734-my-best-tomato-sandwich

Evidently, these are a thing. I, however, just stumbled on to them. And I just had to put my own spin on them.

Really, it came to me in a late night snack search. I decided I wanted a sandwich with toasted bread, but after I put the bread in, I found out there was no lunch meat in the fridge. The closest thing I had was a package of deli slices of prosciutto and salami. I knew making a sandwich with those would be ridiculously rich. I considered peanut butter and rejected it. I considered eggs and rejected that idea too. What to do? Then I saw the Roma tomato (which I prefer the flavor of over standard hot-house tomatoes until summer rolls around) sitting on the kitchen island that needed to be used before it got too soft. Bingo.

After the toast popped, I spread a thin layer of mayo, topped that with sliced tomato and sprinkled a bit of sea salt and granulated garlic. (The second time I made this, I sprinkled the garlic on the mayo before adding the tomatoes.)

spices 2

I figured the garlic could mix with the mayo to make a simple alioli. Bingo again! But what really topped it off was topping the tomato with a few slices of the salami and prosciutto. Heaven. Paired with a little pickle on the side, the tang balances the fat of the meat and the sweet of the tomato.

Happy eating!

Grandma’s Recipe: Porcupine meatballs

I know, I know. You saw that title and asked, “What the heck is a porcupine meatball?”

Porcupine meatballs

Those are porcupine meatballs (served with broccoli, obviously). They are amazeballs. They also come with a family legacy (at least three generations have made them) and a funny story involving fourth grade me, my mom, and an ill-balanced carrying container.

First, the recipe. Mix together:

  • 1/4 cup tomato soup
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/4 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 egg (slightly beaten)
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley
  • 1 tsp salt

Shape the mix into balls (makes approx. 16). Brown them in 2 tbsp (or less if your ground beef has higher than 7% fat) shortening with a small clove of minced garlic. Once brown, add the rest of the tomato soup and 1 cup of water (though I’d like to try it with vegetable broth), and cover. Simmer for 40 minutes, or until rice is tender, occasionally stirring.

I try to serve it with a green, like broccoli or sautéed cabbage (which is my favorite veg–it’s the German in me).

Now for the funny story. So, from what my mom and I remember, my fourth grade class was doing some sort of bring ethnic family food to class to share thing, and I volunteered to bring these. I loved these as a kid (still do), and they’re bite size so they’re perfect for sharing a batch amongst a class of 20 or so. Because they’re served hot, my mom decided to bring them to my classroom just before I was to give my presentation about them. I have no memory of talking about them, but I do remember that while we were waiting for her to get to the classroom, our room phone rang and it was the front office. I was called up and my mom was on the phone. I think maybe you can see where this is going. While she had been walking through the cafeteria to my classroom, the *glass* bowl of the meatballs had fallen and they had splatted pretty well on the floor (it was a big cement outdoor place, as is common in Southern California). The bowl was in shards and my class was now going to be meatball-less. It was disappointing, but we can laugh about it now.

So I have a warning for you if you make these: use plastic!

Mushrooms and snow peas and onion, oh my!

Mushrooms and snow peas 2

 

This may be the best randomly whipped up side dish I’ve ever made. It was so flippin’ good.

I took:

  • snow peas, trimmed
  • mushrooms, sliced 1/4-1/2 inch thick
  • yellow onion, halved and sliced 1/4-1/2 inch thick
  • granulated garlic
  • s&p
  • soy sauce

I started by sauteing the onion in a little butter and olive oil for a few minutes on med-high heat. Then I added the snow peas and sautéed them for a couple of minutes to start softening them. I sprinkled them with the garlic and s&p to taste, then added the mushrooms. I sautéed the whole thing until the mushrooms started to brown, then I added a few splashes of soy sauce. I let it cook for another minute or so, stirring it, then served it with sticky rice and roast chicken. Delicious!

Good eats

I spent part of last weekend in Seaside, OR to visit a writing program’s residency that I’ve interned with previously. Friday night I went out for drinks with friends to this place called Dundee’s. I have to say, as kind of sluggish as our service was, it was mostly made up for by the food.

Since it was pushing 11 pm, we just got drinks and fries to share. I ordered a Sex on the Beach (one of the few cocktails I know I can enjoy anywhere) that ended up being rather strong and got me a little buzzed.

sex on the beach

It’s such a pretty drink. To go along with the drinks, they brought out the best fries I have ever had. We got a basket of sweet potato fries and garlic fries. Oh man, the garlic fries! To die for! Especially with a little barbecue sauce. All the noms.

garlic fries 2

My mouth is watering just looking at these. I want to go back!

sweet potato fries

Review: Aidells chicken meatballs

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First, let me stress that this isn’t a sponsored post. Much like my Daiya pizza post, I’m simply sharing something I’ve used that I really love.

I came across these chicken meatballs while I was shopping with my dad at Costco last week. Whenever I see something like these that look like they’ll be tasty, I first check ingredients for dairy. More and more premade meatballs are stuffed with a bit of cheese or whey for flavor. Obviously, that’s a big no-no for me. But these are different. No dairy, not even a whisper of it! Yay! Plus, they are made with all organic products, leaving out any weird additives and preservatives. Double yay!

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So to prepare these, I baked them in a 350 degree oven for about ten minutes, and then added them to my homemade pasta sauce to have over rigatoni. I tried one before I added them all to the sauce and wasn’t disappointed. Juicy and flavorful. The garlic wasn’t overpowering and the basil was just right. So good. Then in the sauce, they transformed. I don’t mean to pay myself on the back, but I make a great sauce. When the two combined, well, it was just perfect.

I would definitely recommend these if you’re looking for good, dairy-free (or not) chicken meatballs. They could be great, too, on a toothpick at a party.