What’s for Dinner? Potato Soup, Beef Tamale Bake, Apple Stuffed Pork Tenderloin & Braised Chicken Thighs plus some bonus sweets

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sticky lemon cakeLife is short, eat dessert first, or so they say and I am tempted to agree now that I’ve found this yummy recipe.  I’m starting this week’s post with this  “Sticky Lemon Cake”,  It is heavenly, sticky, rich…..mmmm.  I found the recipe in a mystery book I read called “Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea” by Nancy Atherton.  I love the books, but find that when you say , “yeah, I got the recipe from my murder mystery I’m readying” everyone acts just a little suspicious!  The genre is called cozy mystery, in addition to the dessert I highly recommend the Aunt Dimity series.

This week includes recipes from Williams and Sonoma, Pampered Chef, America’s Test Kitchen and my own, Enjoy!

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and family when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to include your friends.

The Meals:

Potato Soup: Meatless Monday

potato soupTime: 30-45 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: Potato soup is one of the ultimate comfort foods.  I love it when I’m sick, when I’m cold or just because.  I like to play around with recipes, but this week I just made a basic potato soup.  Feel free to adapt.  Try curry, chimichurri, pesto.  You make it something new every time.

5-6 medium sized potatoes cut into uneven cubes about an inch in size

Chicken or vegetable broth (enough to cover cut potatoes)

½ cup diced onion or 1-2 leeks, diced

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup milk

1 tsp olive oil and 1 tsp butter

Optional: celery, carrots, pesto, bacon, sour cream, cheese, poultry seasoning.

Melt the butter together with olive oil and add onions or leeks and any other vegetables and cook until translucent. Add any special spices and cook about 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add peeled and cut potatoes to pot and cover with broth and bring to a boil.  Cook until potatoes are tender then reduce heat and add milk and salt and pepper.  If you don’t puree the soup t add sour cream and cheese, if using, at this point. Cook until cheese is melted and serve.

In my house we have people who like it chunky and people like it smooth so we compromise.  I pull out half of the soup before adding cheese and blend until smooth (caution, do not overfill blender to avoid burns) then return it to the chunky soup left in the pot.  Everyone is happy or at least half happy!

 Braised Chicken Thighs and Potatoes (pressure cooker)

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Pressure Cooker Perfection – You can pick up a copy at Amazon.com

pressure cooker chickenTime: 1 Hour

Ease: Simple

Review: This is a very simple dish and can be adapted for the stove top.  The flavors are that of comfort food and the Tarragon adds a nice flavor.  If you have never tried tarragon, this is a great dish to have your first time with.  Remember to experiment with spices, you may be surprised at the flavors that you find.

8 (5-7 oz) bone in chicken thighs, trimmed

1 Tbs vegetable oil

1 onion , chopped finely

3 garlic cloves

2 Tbs flour

½ cup dry white wine

¾ cup low sodium chicken broth

2 pounds small red potatoes, halved

1 Tbsp minced fresh tarragon

Brown the chicken, skin on in the pressure cooker until golden brown (or in frying pan) then remove the skin.  Reserve 1 Tbsp of fat in pressure cooker (or pan) and sauté the onion until translucent then add garlic and cook about 30 seconds.  Stir in flour until combined and stir in wine getting rid of any lumps, reduce slightly.  Add broth then add the chicken.  Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes with quick release.  You may also cook on medium high heat on the stove until chicken is cooked through.

Beef Tamale Bake – Pampered Chef

Beef Tamale Bake

Time: 45 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: I love pampered chef recipes and products. I’m not a rep, but just love the stuff!  One of the reasons I like the recipes is that they often give the illusion that I have slaved away in the kitchen to make some elegant dish, when if fact, I didn’t.  I love cooking, but not for the sake of cooking.  I love cooking because of how it makes people feel, so no need to be a gourmet chef, but it is ok if everyone thinks I am! Pampered Chef recipes are quick, easy and often beautiful dishes.  While this dish isn’t as much on the elegant side it is still quick and easy. It has great flavor, but watch the liquid to cornbread ratio, it can feel a little dry if not careful.

Apple Stuffed Pork Loin with Cider Sauce

pork tenderloin 2

Time: 1 ½ hours

Ease: Simple

Review:  Easy and wonderful.  We made this for family who had come into town and everyone was pleased.  After the 11 ½ hour trip they said it was worth the drive!  Well, maybe no true, but I think you will find this to be a great dish to make for company or your family.  My Pork loins were not very big so when I sliced it, it didn’t make nice spirals and was a little messy.  No one cared or knew that I didn’t mean for it to look the way I served it.  That is usually the case, so relax and act like you meant to do it!

Baked Potato and Salad Bar

potao bar

Time: 1 Hour (depending on method of cooking potatoes)

Ease: Simple

Review:  We do this every so often, and you have seen it before, but I post it as a reminder that dinner can be simple and still be fun.  Set up a buffet of salad toppings and potato toppings and let everyone make their own.  It is fun to see what some people come up with.  You will have the butter and salt and pepper people and then the Dagwood Sandwich type potato.  Try things like raisins, nuts, cheese sauce, salsa, horseradish, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, edamame, chickpeas, bacon, shredded cheese etc.  Check out some ideas from The Yummy Life and have fun.

Bonus recipe: Emeril’s German Apple Pancake

german apple pancake

Time: 45 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  yum, yum yum!  I made this for our guest this weekend and it was a big hit.  It is really pretty easy and gives you something to move beyond the plain pancake.

  • Do you have a recipe from a favorite book you’d like to share? If so, Scroll down to comment.
  • How do you like your potato soup? Scroll down to comment.

Bringing Back Dinner Tip: Tea Sandwiches and Hors d’oeuvres for Dinner

Everyone likes little things (well not always the guys, but they can adjust).  Try making dinner one night using salad plates and have a variety of tea sandwiches available, things like chicken salad, egg salad, ham, cucumber and add in some bite sized desserts and/or scones with jam and clotted cream. Visit BBC Good Food for some ideas.

If you aren’t  into the tea sandwich thing try heavy hors d’eovres such as mini roast beef sandwiches, little quiches, meatballs, mini beef wellingtons.  Visit Martha Stewart online for some ideas. Dinner doesn’t have to be a meat, potato, and vegetable.   Play with your food!

Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.
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2 thoughts on “What’s for Dinner? Potato Soup, Beef Tamale Bake, Apple Stuffed Pork Tenderloin & Braised Chicken Thighs plus some bonus sweets

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