Date: December 27th, 2012
Recipe: Page 492-493 of “How to Cook Everything”. The steps below are a summary, this dish is hard to screw up, so don’t worry about being too exact.
- Soak the beans overnight the day before
- Place the soaked beans into a pot with water just barely covering the beans and bring to a boil
- Add the carrots, onion, garlic, and tomatoes to the boiling beans
- While the beans are cooking, slice up your meat to your desired size.
- Roast the meat in the oven at 450, shaking the pan occasionally to unstick the meat
- (At this point I added a couple tablespoons of corn starch to the beans, to thicken them up. Mix the cornstarch with a little cold water before adding it to the hot beans.)
- When the meat is done roasting, mix it in with the beans. Keep the fat if you like.
- Top the bean/meat mixture with a mixture of bread crumbs and parsley.
- Bake the entire pan for 15-20 minutes to brown the bread crumbs.
- Eat it.
Here is the ingredient list in photo form:
Modifications: I tweaked the ingredients a bit for this:
- Only used 1 pound of beans
- Cut out the lamb entirely as there was already an abundance of meat
- I didn’t use any slab bacon as the butcher didn’t have any. I don’t think this was a big deal to be missing.
- I used a little vegetable stock in the beans, rather than just water.
- I added corn starch later on to thicken the beans.
Time to table: 2 hours
Servings: Four family sized dinners.
Notes: I was very happy with my first attempt at cassoulet, it’s a dish I’ve loved at restaurants (Meritage and Heartland) and I wanted to try to recreate it at home. The flavor turned out great and the consistency ended up right where I wanted it after adding the corn starch. Some thoughts on the process:
- Cut back on the meat. I didn’t add all of the cooked meat to the pot as it was SO meaty. Use a little less.
- Use pork shoulder, but slow cook it first and then cut it up. The pork was tough and fatty, slow cooking it first would make it WAY better.
- Similarly, cook the sausages as whole links and then cut them after cooking
- Experiment with different vegetables in the beans. Tomatoes, onion, and garlic are a good base, but you could add a variety of other vegetables after that, not just carrots.
We shared this with our neighbors for dinner tonight and still made two freezer bags for dinners in the future, so it makes quite a bit. I’m going to try this again, but it will likely be next winter before I get around to it
Date: December 26th, 2012
Quinoa cakes recipe: http://www.annies-eats.com/2011/12/05/quinoa-cakes-with-poached-eggs/
Poached eggs recipe: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/08/how-to-poach-an-egg-smitten-kitchen-style/
Time to table: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 adults
Notes: These cakes were totally awesome. I made the first two a little too big, so Erin made the last 4 smaller, which worked out well for Annie. The poached egg instructions from smitten kitchen are linked to in the original recipe post, but I wanted to call it out here, as it delivered the absolute best poached eggs I’ve ever made. I can’t wait to have these for lunch today, in about 10 minutes
Looks like frosting
Cake for dinner?!?
Modifications: I got diced tomatoes for the “chopped tomatoes” called for in the recipe – I’m not sure if there is a different thing actually called chopped tomatoes, but if there is, I couldn’t find it. I only made 2 8×8 pans, and for my preference, there wasn’t NEARLY enough sauce. I added a large can of crushed tomatoes to the top – a 28oz can split pretty evenly between both pans.
Time to table: 1 hour prep, ~1 hour baking time
Servings: Three 8×8 pans (but I got only 2 + some extra)
Notes: This made a little more than 2 8×8 pans for me – but the remaining weren’t quite enough for another pan. I used my small pampered chef cookie scoop to stuff the shells – about 2 scoops per shell. I froze the 2nd 8×8 pan prior to the baking step. This is very similar to the other stuffed shells recipe we tried, but I liked this one better, especially since I knew to add a lot more sauce. The filling was especially rich and delicious, probably due to using sausage versus turkey.
Fish recipe: http://lizscookingblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/sour-cream-halibut.html
Rice recipe: http://ellysaysopa.com/2011/10/07/creamy-cheesy-garlicky-rice-with-spinach/
Time to table: 60 minutes
Modifications: We used cod instead of halibut from the recipe because the halibut was over twice the price of cod and we just don’t care that much.
Servings: 2 adults, with extra rice
Erin: Loved the rice, liked the fish
Notes: Erin and I ate this after Annie went to bed as a stay-home-date-dinner Sure is easy to forget how laid back a meal can be without a toddler to prep, cajole, and clean up after at the same time. Seriously though, the fish was good, but the highlight of the meal for me was the rice. The recipe doesn’t lie when they say it tastes just like risotto without all the work, it was delicious.
Recipe: Meatballs: http://weelicious.com/2010/06/01/turkey-pesto-meatballs/
Tomato Sauce: http://weelicious.com/2009/10/06/weelicious-tomato-sauce/
Time to table: 30 minutes prep, 25 minutes bake time
Modifications: Not many – I think we probably used nearly double the pesto because that’s what we had frozen, and it still worked out fine.
Servings: 35 little meatballs – we baked half with all the tomato sauce, and froze the other half and half the meatballs served our family of 3 perfectly.
Notes: This was very easy, especially with frozen pesto. The tomato sauce also came together quickly, making this a great weeknight meal. I always love recipes that we can get 2 full meals out of – we froze the meatballs as she indicates in the post, prior to baking so that’ll be an easy one to just pull out and have with more tomato sauce. We served this over spaghetti.
Time to table: 35 minutes
Modifications: I just used a single 1lb salmon filet.
Servings: 2.5 adult servings
Notes: We made steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes for our sides and this turned out really good. I liked baking the salmon rather than broiling it, as it takes some guesswork out of cooking. I managed to time the potatoes and broccoli just right as well, so it was all hot when we sat down to eat.