Date: April 2nd, 2013
Time to table: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 adults
Notes: We had this after the kids went to bed for a stay-at-home date dinner. We’re nothing if not consistent, since the last time we had pasta carbonara was almost exactly a year ago……….for another date night
We liked the addition of the brussel sprouts quite a bit, but this recipe was not as saucy as the previous recipe we used. Maybe next April we can combine the best of both worlds and have an awesome carbonara.
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: August 19th, 2012
Modifications: I used boneless skinless thighs, and only 1 pound. I also didn’t have time to simmer for as long as she indicates, so the first simmer was about 45 minutes, and the second was probably only 20 minutes, but I added a bit less liquid so it would be thicker.
Time to table: Well, as directed, it would take about 3+ hours. For me it still took nearly 2 hours from start to finish since it always seems to take me awhile to chop a bunch of veggies.
Servings: Tons, and she mentions it freezes well. We took leftovers for lunches for a few days.
Notes: I really wanted to try something with okra, since I’d never had it before. This was definitely tasty, but for me was not at all worth the effort it took to make it. I do enjoy a nice long involved meal on a weekend, but when I take the time, I want it to be awesome – perhaps it’s because I didn’t follow all the instructions, but really I think I just don’t like this type of meal as well as one that includes some form of cheese
Time to table: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 adults
Notes: Erin and I made this for a “stay at home” date night, where we put both kids to bed and then made ourselves dinner. It was a lot of fun to be able to just focus on cooking food and eating it without the usual distractions. We’ve made this dish before, and it was just as delicious and unhealthy as I remembered it It made a ridiculous amount and we ate it for several lunches in the next few days.
Modifications: I cooked 3 chicken breasts, but it seemed like FAR too much chicken – I probably only used 1.5 and then we saved the rest for another meal. I also forgot the butter at the end and it still seemed plenty rich and delicious
Time to table: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 adults
Notes: Risotto is one of those meals that is always a hit. How could it not, with all that cheese and butter?? The carmelized onions really put this one over the top for me. It was delicious. Annie (of Annie’s Eats, not my child) says this method is easier, but for the time you save from stirring, I spent shredding chicken, which is one of my most hated tasks in the kitchen. This still seemed plenty involved – wouldn’t be what I would call a “quick dinner” but it was worth it! Luke enjoyed watching me cook – good thing
Annie was well accessorized for this dinner
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.
Time to table: 30 minutes prep, 6 hours cook time
Modifications: We used some sort of orange squash from our CSA, not sure what kind it was, but it was nearly identical to butternut squash inside. Looking over the recipe now I see that we forgot to add the parsley, whoops. Didn’t have any rosemary (and I wasn’t buying any for one recipe) so we used dried thyme and sage, like the song says.
Servings: 6 adult dinners
Ben: Like (surprisingly)
Annie: Dislike, but had a few bites (turns out she likes it, but ONLY if she sees fresh grated parmesan on top before eating it)
Notes: I haven’t been a big fan of the lentil recipes we’ve tried in the past, so I wasn’t really looking forward to this, other than it used the squash we’ve had sitting around for a couple weeks. To my surprise and delight, this was actually pretty damn good! We topped it with copious amounts of parmesan cheese and I used sriracha in mine, and it was great. Ours turned out very thick, which is how we like soups anyways, so that worked out well.
Edited to add (from Erin): We gave this soup to Annie for leftovers last night – she took one look at it and got PISSED – saying “nooo” and pushing it away, then saying “cheese? cheese?” pointing at the kitchen (where she’d seen the cheese out earlier). I informed her that there was, in fact, cheese IN the soup, but that wasn’t good enough. She took a little break to have a meltdown about this fact in her room, then she came out and asked for cheese again. In the interest of her eating SOMETHING, we grated fresh parmesan on her soup so she could see it and didn’t mix it in. She then proceeded to eat the entire bowl and ask for more. TODDLERS!!!
Date: July 14th, 2011
Modifications: I reversed the amounts of meat: 1 lb ground pork and 0.5 lb ground beef, just cause I like pork better. I also threw in some basil that we had and needed to use up. The directions say to simmer for 1.5 hours, but I liked the consistency after 45-50 minutes, so we went with that.
Time to table: 2 hours, over half the time is just simmering.
Servings: Probably had enough for 6 adults
Notes: This sauce was absolutely delicious. The butter and cream at the end just make it that much richer. At no point in the directions does it say to drain the fat from the bacon, beef, or pork, so this is an extremely savory dish. Annie seemed to like the food very much, but also seemed interested in playing so she didn’t take it down like other dishes she loves. We froze the leftovers because we already have plenty of other leftovers that need to get eaten and I didn’t want this to be wasted.
Annie digging in
Early stages with the bacon (and bacon grease!) and veggies for our base
Date: July 1, 2011
Modifications: The veggies I used were: one eggplant, one zucchini, one summer squash, and one red pepper. I realized halfway through that I only got 15oz of ricotta cheese, but it still seemed to be plenty. I used no boil noodles. I didn’t use the wine because there was none up at the cabin.
Time to table: Nearly an hour prep, and an hour to bake on the grill
Servings: probably 10 adults
Annie: Love (yes!! I just love it when she willingly eats something with this many vegetables.
Notes: It was hotter than hot that day, but we had all the ingredients and this was our last night up at the cabin so I still wanted to make this lasagna. My dad offered to try grilling it on the charcoal grill using indirect heat instead of turning the oven on and heating up the already scorching upstairs of the cabin, so we gave it a whirl! I think we did around 40 minutes covered in foil and maybe 20 uncovered, and he rotated it a few times. It worked surprisingly well! (I’m tagging this with CSA, even though we only used our parsley in this because it’d be a great dish to use up a lot of late summer veggies)
Date: June 3, 2011
Modifications: This was for four adults and two toddlers, so we upped the chicken to two pounds. We topped the burgers with avocado and a sour cream/adobo seasoning mix.
Time to table: 20 minutes prep, 20 minutes grill prep & cooking
Servings: 7 patties
Notes: This was the inaugural meal on the new Weber grill! Served with a black bean/corn/red pepper salad.