#whatsfordinner: Salmon & Grits!

Tonight’s dinner was inspired by Green Valley Grill, in Greensboro, NC and when restaurants are open it will be one of the first places I go!!! MmmmMMMmmm!!

One of my favorite meals is the Grape Leaf Salmon, and while I didn’t have all of the ingredients I had many of them, so we improvised and it was faaaantastic! We played classical music, popped open some wine and pretended to be out! What things are you doing to help you during this time of #stayhome? We find that making a special dinner and creating a special atmosphere from time to time can help.


Menu:

Grilled Salmon: Sprinkled with Ruth Ann’s Muskego Ave Chicken/Fish Seasoning, this is one of our favorite, simple seasonings. We had fairly small pieces of Salmon, each piece was sprayed with olive oil and sprinkled with seasoning and grilled for 2-3 minutes each side.

Grits: We use fresh stone ground grits from a local mill. 1 cup grits to 3 cups water and add a little salt and pepper.

Options: Try adding cheese, a little cream cheese, and butter for a twist – if you want to go crazy!!

Peas and Pine nuts: I toasted pine nuts at 400 degrees for 5 minutes and added the peas tossed in a little olive oil and the Ruth Ann Seasoning (or salt and pepper) to the same pan to cook. After the pine nuts are done, scoop off the pan and leave the peas in 5 more minutes.

Sprinkle the pine nuts on the salmon right before serving.

Lemon Raisin Sauce: by Green Valley Grill This is an easy sauce to make, but called for 1 1/4 cups lemon juice! Which is a lot!! However we happen to have quite a few lemons and limes that were getting a little over ripe, so it was perfect. Our sauce was made with more lime juice than lemon juice and was still really good! Honestly I loooove limes!!!

There was plenty of leftover sauce and I added shallots and one clove of garlic to the sauce and pureed it to use as salad dressing later this week. It is a little sweet because of the raisins and you could add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard or a little balsamic vinegar to the blend. – Play with your food!! It’s fun.

Time: 30 minutes

Ease: Simple

This was a simple meal, but felt like fine dining. Give it a try and Enjoy!

Questions: lisa@yieldingaction.com

Easy Fish Tacos

fish tacos

Easy Fish Tacos

Eating fatty fish (salmon, char, herring, mackerel, sardines and trout) a couple times a week is a great way to add healthy sources of protein, vitamins and minerals including omega-3 fatty acids.

Benefits of Omega -3 fatty acids:

  • Improved delivery of oxygen and nutrients to cells because of reduced blood viscosity
  • Enhanced aerobic metabolism
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Promotes a healthy heart
  • Improves functioning of the nervous system
  • Helps balance hormones
  • Reduces cholesterol
  • New studies are showing evidence that Omega – 3 fatty acids may aid depression, ADD, and sleep

The Recipe

1 pound fish of your choice

1 can Rotel

1 Tsp Chili powder or 1 chopped pepper in adobo sauce

1/2 tsp cumin

Juice of 1 lime

(OPT.) Splash of Tequila

Corn tortillas

Lime

Sour cream

Slaw

 

Combine the Rotel, lemon juice, and cumin, chili and or adobo and Tequila. Pour into a frying pan.  Gently place the fish in and bring to a simmer allowing the juices to cook down until fish is nice and flaky.

Remove from heat and chop the fish into the sauce.  Serve with lime, coleslaw or shredded cabbage & sour cream.

 

I used hard tacos because I had them on hand, but prefer soft corn tortillas.  Try finding a Hispanic store and buying them fresh made – YUM!

 

Thanks go to my friend Amanda who told me how easy this is to do!!

 

Enjoy!

 

 

What’s for Dinner? Potato Soup, Truly Hawaiian Teriyaki Fish, and Squash Casserole

I know I talk about the importance of the family dinner table, but I have had a lot of feedback from readers that the family dinner table looks different for everyone.  This is a great point and I agree.  As a matter of fact our dinner table looks different night to night sometimes.  One family I know eats on TV trays watching TV in the living room and while this would be anti-social for some families it is very social for them.  They discuss the show and also use this time to catch up.  For them this works.  For you it may be something else.  My main goal for Bringing Back Dinner is to bring homemade meals to you that you can feel like you can do without stress and to encourage you to spend time together building relationships.  How that looks will be different for each family.  Here are some ways it could look:

1. Finger foods and games

2. Movie night and homemade pizza

3. Picnics

4. A full dinner around the table

5. PBJ on a blanket in the living room

Any way you do it, do it so that you connect with someone and don’t just fill the hole and if it seems overwhelming just try one night and gradually add in more.  Even one night a month can bring you closer together.  You can do it and you can do it in your own style!

This Past week was for us was a busy one, but we managed to have a few good home-cooked meals.

Meatless Monday- Potato Soup

potato soup

Potato soup is something that I rarely make the same way twice.  This week I sauteed about 1/2 an onion in butter and olive oil until translucent and 1 small carrot.  I added 1 tsp thyme and sauteed until fragrant then added the potatoes and vegetable stock.  The amounts vary based on how much I want to make.  I served 4 people and use 5 medium sized potatoes and one large box of stock.

Once the potatoes were tender I added salt and pepper to taste and pureed.  I always pull out a cup or so, so that there will be some chunks in the soup and then I puree the rest until smooth.  Add cream/milk until the consistency you would like.  You can add cheese and serve with croutons if you like.

Time: 45 Minutes

Teriyaki Fish – Truly Hawaiian

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One of my children won a bottle of Truly Hawaiian Teriyaki Sauce and while I try to stay away from pre-made sauces and packages there are some great ones out there.  Truly Hawaiian Teriyaki Sauce only has 6 ingredients in it and it they are real food items! Soy sauce is one of the ingredients which does up the sodium, but otherwise a great item. The rest of the ingredients are brown sugar, water, lemon juice, garlic powder, and ginger.  NICE!

I brushed my fish in the sauce and popped it in the oven until the fish was tender and flaky!  Can’t get much easier.  For a side dish I combined sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and red onion and tossed it in olive oil and rosemary and roasted them in the oven.

Time: 10 minutes for the fish and 45 for the potatoes

Ease: Simple

Review: This sauce is a very balanced sauce.  I thought it was versatile and tasty and have used it on several things other than fish.  I felt like it was made of basic ingredients that I might use at home if cooking from scratch.  Cons: High in sodium and sugar. Pros: tasty, easy, versatile, and real food.

Squash Casserole – or otherwise known as Paula Deen looks like she’s healthy compared to this casserole!

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Oh, we also had pork chops, but really…it’s all about the squash casserole!

My sister-in-law makes the best squash casserole, which is very similar to this.  This is what she brings to our holiday dinners and we all eagerly anticipate it. It is special.  When I told my mother I was making it she said “but, it’s not a holiday!  Are you going to dress up?”

Why make it outside of a holiday?  Well, for starters it is just plain good, but I did it because of my husband.  My husband dislikes squash while I love squash.  What’s a girl to do?  Oh, wait!  My husband loves cheese like no other!  Hmmm, squash casserole has cheese.  Eureka!!!!  And there you have it, everyone is happy.  And it worked too!  He got seconds!

Time:  1 Hour 15 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: This is not healthy and sometimes you can spoil yourself, it’s ok!  This dish is greasy, filled with cheese, and filled with butter, but oh so good!   We love it!  It is easy to make, but does take a little time.

 

Tell us how you connect.  What ways have you found to connect over a meal?

You may add your suggestions and thoughts to the comment section or to facebook or twitter.  Use hashtag #bringingbackdinner

 

 

 

What’s for Dinner? Trader Joe’s Purple Yellow Miso Summer Curry, Baby Bam Burgers, and Tilapia with Za’atar

Trader Joe’s was such a hit last week that I decided to make this Week’s Meatless Monday Dish from one of their recipes. I hope you like it.

Summer has been a kind of crazy time for us full of travels, friends, and fun!  I can’t believe it is almost over and then life will settle back into a lovely routine.  Maybe.  Summertime is the perfect time for easy meals, because if you’re like me you just want to get back outside!  So start up the grill and let’s bring dinner outside!

Meatless Monday: Trader Joe’s Purple Yellow Miso Summer Curry

Purple Yellow Summer Curry Trader Joe's

Time:  35 Minutes

Ease: Simple to Moderate

Review:  While this is called curry, it is not curry in the sense we are used to having.  It is not flavored with curry spice, but with smoked paprika.  I rated this dish simple to moderate simply because it has ingredients that can be a little unfamiliar as well as flavors that are a little outside the norm.  That said, I really enjoyed this dish even though I was prepared not to.  Not everyone in the house liked it, but over all it worked.  Vegetarians will like this, but meat lovers may have a little more trouble.

Baby Bam Burgers – Emeril

sliders

Time: about an hour

Ease: Simple – even a kid could do it, but let dad or mom do or supervise the grill

Review: Yuuumm.  My son first made this when he was about 9 years old.  At the time he was a huge fan of Emeril and ran around the house saying “BAM” to everything.  The recipe sounds interesting, but give it a chance, it is really good.  You can make these big, but the recommendation is to make them small and use slider buns or rolls.  We added caramelized onions and BBQ Sauce just for fun!

 

Tilapia with Za’atar Spice

Za’atar spice is a combination of spice from the middle east often with sesame seeds, and dried sumac.  I especially love this spice on hummus and experimented with it on fish. mmmm.

zaatar fish and rice

 

Time: 15 Minutes for the fish, longer if making rice

Ease: Simple

Review:  I used frozen Tilapia fillets and allowed them to slowly thaw.  About 20 minitues before cooking I rubbed olive oil and salt on the fillets and then rubbed in the Za’atar spice.  If your Za’atar has salt you may want to skip the added salt.  Preheat oven to 350 and then cook the fish 8-10 minutes or until flaky.    That’s it!  Serve with a salad to make it extra easy or play around with exotic sides.  Remember that just because it is summertime it doesn’t mean we have to stop having fun when cooking.  Play with your food!

What’s for Dinner? Sauteed Flounder with Orange Shallot Sauce & Meatless Monday: Bruschetta

 

 

Meatless Monday: Bruschetta and Salad

bruschettaThis is my favorite time of year as far as food goes!  There are so many wonderful things to be eaten fresh from the garden!  One of my favorites is tomatoes.  There is just nothing like a real, fresh, from the garden tomato.  It is a sad day the day I have to buy the first tomato from the grocery.  It is round and red, but that is about it.  This week we decided to take advantage of some fresh tomatoes and made bruschetta and topped it with Manchego cheese.  Served with fresh lettuce from my friends garden.  Wonderful!

Time: 30 minutes

Ease: simple

Review: This recipe from the Pioneer Woman is very simple and flavorful.  It is a great recipe if you are new to making your own bruschetta.  Very simply, brushcetta is a combination of tomatoes, garlic bread, olive oil, salt and pepper.  This recipe has a lovely addition of balsamic vinegar.  Try experimenting with infused balsamic vinegars, such as pineapple balsamic vinegar.  I think you will find this can be a great “go to” recipe.

The Manchego was our addition, you could try experimenting with different cheeses or eat it just for the joy of the tomato!

 

Sauteed Flounder with Orange Shallot Sauce

Orange Floundar

Flounder is a nice fish with a distinct flavor, but not overly “fishy” flavor making it a nice fish to cook with and don’t think that flounder only comes fried!  Try baking it, stuffing it, broiling etc.  It is a good addition to your menus.

Time: 30 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Note:  though simple, at the bottom of the recipe it says they “highly recommend a non-stick pan”  They mean it!

Review: Eating Well Magazine is one of my favorite magazines and has been for 20 years!  It went out of publication for a brief period of time and I mourned the loss deeply and horded my old magazines, but they came back and are going strong!  And now you can get recipes online!  This recipe meets my expectations of something from EW.  It was easy to prepare and wonderful flavors. DO USE THE NON-STICK PAN, I didn’t and had some issues, but it still tasted nice and my husband made lovely yummy noises A+!

 

Share your favorite Summertime meals with Bringing Back Dinner!  Your’s may be the next one reviewed!

 

 

 

What’s for Dinner? Meatless Monday BBQ Veg Burrito Bowl, Rosemary Chicken & Sweet Potatoes, and Dijon Salmon

tea sick day

This week I was sick.  I managed to make three meals and then spent the rest of the week sucking down hot tea with honey and lemon and inhaling essential oils.  I stressed over coming up with extra meals for all of you and then decided the best thing is just to tell it like it is.  Let’s face it, we all have weeks like this or weeks where there is just too much going on.  When you have weeks like that and manage to get even one meal made and on the table I applaud you!  Judgement free zone here.

My job is to search the internet for yummy meals so that you don’t have to and hopefully you can use at least one meal to make your life easier and the rest of the week just do the best you can.  The goal is to make the effort and make a little progress at building relationships around your meals while you’re at it.  Remember bringing back dinner to your lives doesn’t have to stress you or be an impossible goal, even if you’re sick or busy!

So what did we do? We ate sandwiches, went out to eat and had take out for the rest of our week and we survived.  For the take out we still ate it together at the table and that is something.  Next week I have some awesome meals planned, but you know what?  Life happens if it derails your, or my, plans that’s OK.  Try again the next week.  Just relax and enjoy meal time.  I’m rooting for you!

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 strengthen family relationships when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to set the table.

 

The Meals:

Meatless Monday: BBQ Veg Burrito Bowl

bbq burrito bowl

Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Low Fat

Time:   30 minutes to 1 hour depending upon rice used and cooking method

Ease: simple

I am enjoying Meatless Mondays, but find it a challenge to make meals that my meat loving men will enjoy as well.  I find if it is hearty and flavorful they usually like it. So, this week we had a filling and tasty burrito bowl. I love a good veg burrito bowl, just pile it high and dig in.

Review: Everyone liked it!  Success.  This was an easy meal and one where you can set it up like a buffet and give people choices. Suggested items: cooked rice, squash and zucchini, roasted peppers and onions, caramelized onion, black beans, and corn with peppers and chipotle bbq sauce.  Recipes for the corn and bbq sauce below:

Corn with Peppers

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 poblano pepper finely chopped
  •  ½ -1  jalapeno pepper
  •  ¼ cup Red onion
  •  Cilantro
  •  1 Tbsp Lime juice
  •  Salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil and add peppers, red onion and corn and cook until lightly toasted in areas and heated through.  Add lime juice, salt and pepper and cilantro and toss through.  Serve.

Chipotle BBQ Sauce

  •   1 cup ketchup
  •   1 tbsp mustard
  •   1 tsp  garlic powder or sauté garlic with onions
  •   1 tsp onion powder or saute fresh onions to taste
  •   1tsp chili powder
  •   1/3 cup molasses
  •   1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  •   1/2 tsp chocolate
  •   1 tbsp chipotle pepper w/sauce (more to taste)
  •   1 Tbsp brown sugar
  •   Salt & pepper

Heat the vinegar and add in molasses and brown sugar to dissolve, then add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Simmer 5 minutes. Done!  Easy!  If using fresh onions and garlic sauté them in 1 tbsp olive oil prior to adding vinegar and sweeteners.

This sauce is perfect for ribs, porkchops, anything! (for those meatfull other days!)

Rosemary Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

chicken and sweet potatoes

Gluten Free, Paleo, Whole30

Time: 45 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Preheat oven to 400.  I used the Pampered Chef Deep Baking Dish (stoneware), but  you could do this in a regular Pyrex dish or other baking dish with sides.

4-5 pieces chicken breasts or thighs

1 small onion cut in rings

4 small sweet potatoes peeled and cut into chunks

rosemary

2 Tbsp Olive oil

salt and pepper

Toss the sweet potatoes in enough olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper and place in the bottom of baking dish. Coat chicken with salt, pepper and rosemary and brush with olive oil and place over the sweet potatoes.  Place onion rings on top of the chicken and pour about 1/4 cup liquid (water or broth) over the chicken and cover.  Bake until the chicken is done in the center.  About 165 degrees F.  Here is a great guide from The Food Network.

Review: This was a simple dish with nice flavors, it sort of reminded me of Thanksgiving.  You could serve it with rice, dressing/stuffing, veg etc.

Dijon Salmon – Original Recipe from Trader Joes

 

dijon salmon

Paleo when following omitions, Gluten Free, 

Time:  15 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (omit & increase olive oil for Paleo)
  • 2 tbsp Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • 1 lb Silverbrite Salmon (frozen or defrosted)
  • 1 tbsp honey (use raw, unfiltered for paleo diets)
  • 1/8 cup water

Review: This recipe was right on the package from the salmon we bought in the freezer section at Trader Joe’s.  I love the frozen food there, if you want convenience, but still want fresh taste and to feel like you are eating at least fairly healthy food, this is the way to go.  I found a link online for you to use.

This was very quick and easy meal to make.  It would be a great one to make if you have just a little time to make dinner.

Bringing Back Dinner Tip: If it is a crazy week filled with take out try to put the food on the table and eat it together at least once.  That little bit of time to connect makes a lasting difference.  If you do it or make any of the dinners from Bringing Back Dinner share it with us on  InstagramPinterest, Twitter, or Facebook  use #bringinbackdinner

Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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Reviews from the Food Network, Rachel Ray, The French Laundry, & Olive Garden

blini

This week has been a good week for me to remember to practice what I preach.  I have taken the time this week to set the table, add special touches, invite friends over and try to make each meal a special even, if it was simple.  I don’t always succeed, but there is so much joy in the trying!  I hope you will continue or start to give it a try.

We really enjoyed this week’ meals and had enough leftover to have friends over to help us finish them off.  My friend it calls it the microwave buffet!  Everyone picked what they wanted and then we sat around and laughed and talked for hours.  That is what it is all about!

One note about meals this week: BUY A SCALE  I used my scale repeatedly this week, it helps be more precise as well as making it easier to use recipes from other countries.  Buy a good scale that can go between ounces and grams, you won’t regret it.

This week’s Reviews:

The Food Network: Roasted Stuffed Pork Loin with Sweet Potato Puree and Molasses gastrique

The French Laundry: Yukon Gold Potato Blini;  Food from Finland: Chanterelle soup

Rachel Ray: Sesame-Lime Shrimp Salad served with Cheese Pie

Olive Garden: Campellini Pomodoro w/a Twist

Cooking Light: Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce

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:

The Food Network: Roasted Stuffed Pork Loin with Sweet Potato Puree and Molasses gastrique

pork and sweet potato

Time: 2 Hours 20 Minutes (less if you butterfly the loin instead)

Ease: Intermediate

Review: Sometimes it is worth it to put a little extra effort into the meal.  Aside from the  amount of time this recipe takes it looks a little daunting to the average home cook, but once you get in there it was really pretty easy and the results, lets just say WOW!  We served this for company one night and couldn’t say enough about how wonderful they thought it was.  If you want to impress someone this is the dish!

Tips/Adjustments: This recipe, as written, yields 20 portions so I halved the recipe an it worked well to serve 4 with leftovers.  I also chose to butterfly the pork loin and stuff it down the middle and tie with cooking twine, then seared the meat before cooking in the oven for about 30 minutes (until internal temp is 145).

The French Laundry: Yukon Gold Potato Blini & Food from Finland: Chanterelle soupblini

Time: 1 Hour

Ease: Simple (surprisingly) to Moderate

Review:  Whaaaatt???  A Thomas Keller recipe that is easy? It can’t be so you say.  It is, it is!  The Yukon Gold Potato Blini’s were incredible easy to make and even easier to eat.  We topped them with crème fraîche and smoked salmon. oh wow, they were so good.  I feel like I will make this often.  The hardest part was being patient while I waited for the potatoes to become tender.

The soup: The Chanterelle Soup is also very easy and may possibly be my new favorite soup. Note: 50ml of onions is about 1/4 cup and Changerelles can be hard to find and expensive.  I found a mushroom packet with a mixture of 4 different types of mushrooms and added cremini to total 400 grams.

Rachel Ray: Sesame-Lime Shrimp Salad served with Cheese Pie

shrimp salad

Time: 30 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: I’ll be honest, I don’t like watching Rachel Ray.  There I said it.  It is something about the presentation and speed of things on the show that I don’t care for, but I do enjoy the food.  The Sesame-Lime Shrimp Salad was awesome and easy.  It felt like a nice light dish, one that would be great to pull back out in the summertime.

My husband asked for cheese pie, a dish his mother made when he was growing up.  I agreed to do it if we had something a little lighter on the side.  Everyone was happy.

Cheese Pie – not a quiche

cheese pie

My husband’s Cheese Pie:

4 oz shredded Muenster, 4 oz shredded cheddar, 1 beaten egg, 3/4 cup flour, 1/8 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup milk, 1/8 tsp Italian seasoning, 1/4 tsp Lowery’s Seasoned Peppers, 1/2 cup chopped salami pepperoni, or other sausage, 1/2 tsp oregano

Cook sausage if necessary.  Mix all ingredients together Pour into well greae 9-inch pie pan.  Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake 2 minutes more.

There is no review, this recipe just is.  As I’ve said before, my husband loves cheese.  I mean we are talking Wallace and Gromit level love of cheese.  Combine a love of cheese with a fellas love of his mother and well there is nothing left to do but make it for him!

Olive Garden: Campellini Pomodoro w/a Twist

twists pomodoro 2

Time:  10-15 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: Olive Garden’s Campellini Pomodoro is delicious in the restaurant, but is just as delicious at home.  It takes 15 minutes tops and looks elegant, tastes great, and can’t be any more simple.  Add a glass a wine, turn the lights down low and enjoy!

So what’s with the twist you ask?  Simple, I traded Campellini pasta for twists, ok I know that was kinda cheesy.  You can use any pasta that your heart desires with this recipe.

Cooking Light: Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce

enchilada black bean

Time:  1 Hour and 10 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: Cooking Light’s Black Bean and Cheese Enchilada with Ranchero sauce was easy to make.  The flavors were nice and you can adjust the heat per your family’s tastes.  I used dried chipotle peppers instead of ancho and it added that nice smoky flavor.  To compensate for the loss in heat I added red pepper flakes.  Even though this dish is simple it has layers of flavor and would be a great dish to take to a covered dish or serve to company.

Venison Stir Fry

My son made a yummy stir fry this week using venison.  He did a great job and I just want to give a shout out to him!  Awesome job!  Thanks for a great dinner.

venison stir fry 2

It was a great week filled with delicious smells and flavors and friends and family.  It just doesn’t get much better.

Reviews: Peruvian Beef, Chili, Tilapia with Brandied Garlic Sauce & More…

cornbreadI love cornbread, truly I could live on cornbread and sweet tea and be completely happy.  Not healthy, but I’ve been told we can’t have everything!  This week’s meals could have had cornbread as a side dish for every meal, yummmm.  There are many great recipes out there, but I usually follow the directions on the corn meal and I like corn meal from the Guilford Mill or Mabry Mill when possible.  They are so full of flavor! So, please feel free to add cornbread to any meal below and use the best corn meal you can find.

I also rarely add flour to my cornmeal, but this is a preference thing.  It is often more crumbly with just cornmeal, but so good.  Another must and I mean must is a cast iron frying pan.  You must heat the pan with oil in it (we use crisco down here, if not lard) and then pour the mixture in and when you hear it sizzle you will know you you’ve done it right.

This week’s Reviews:

Peruvian Beef Saltado – Ingrid Hoffman

Tilipia with Roasted Potatoes and Brandied Garlic Sauce – Todd Porter and Diane Cu (Food and Wine Magazine)

Hearty Lentil Soup – America’s Test Kitchen (to view recipe a membership is required)  also try sophistimom.com

Pork Satay with Sweet Coconut-Milk Glaze – Kris Yenbamroong (Food and Wine magazine

Chili Con Carne – Nell Newman (venison)

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:

Peruvian Beef Saltado – Ingrid Hoffman

peruvian beef

Time: 30 minutes.

Ease: simple

Review: This was an easy and hearty dish.  The flavors are mild and understated, but nice.  Use the leftovers in soft taco shells and jazz it up a little with some hot sauce.

Tilipia with Roasted Potatoes and Brandied Garlic Sauce – Todd Porter and Diane Cu (Food and Wine Magazine)talapia brandy sauce

Time: 1 Hour

Ease: Simple

Review: I am trying to add more fish into our diet and have found it a little harder than I expected to find new flavors.  This was a nice dish with great flavor.  The brandy flavor didn’t come through, but I feel it still added to the total feel and flavor of the dish.

Hearty Lentil Soup – America’s Test Kitchen (to view recipe a membership is required)  also try sophistimom.com

hearty lentil soup

You may also check the recipe out at sophistimom.com

Time: 45 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: Note: I used the recipe from the Cook’s Illustrated cookbook.  The recipe is online, but does require a membership to view.  Another option is the link above where sophistimom.com gives the recipe as she has adapted it.

That said, it was an easy soup to make and an all around good, basic soup to keep in your repertoire of soups.  There were options to change the spices which I found nice for the leftovers.  Make it plain to start with and serve the leftovers with things like cardamom, cinnamon, curry etc.  It becomes a whole new dish.

Hint: For the balsamic vinegar try using different types.  I used Honey, ginger, lemon balsamic.  It was a nice touch.

Chili Con Carne – Nell Newman (venison)

venison chili

Time:  1 1/2 hours

Ease: Simple

Review: This is my go to chili recipe, you have seen it before and will probably see it again, but we just love it.  We almost always omit the celery (hubby doesn’t like) and peppers (wifey doesn’t like in chili) and corn (kiddies don’t like in chili) – I know aren’t they difficult! geesh.   This time we used venison.  I often let it cook longer for the flavors or toss it in the crockpot, but found the venison didn’t hold up well with that method so if using ground venison, stick to shorter cooking times.  Make sure to taste it and adjust spices as needed, venison adds a subtle and different flavor-but good.

Reviews: Jamie Oliver-Fajitas, Pioneer Woman-Potato Soup & Food.com-Fish

fruiterNow that the holidays are over and our schedules are getting back to normal I want to remind you to bring back dinner.  Slow down and settle in over dinner.  Maybe you could invite some friends over and spend the whole evening just enjoying each other, learning about each other and having great food.  Or try being intentional with your family, set the table and call them to dinner and talk.  It will be a great way to decompress and get back in touch with each other. This week’s dishes are simple and quick which should allow you plenty of time to connect. Enjoy!

This week’s Reviews:

Pecan Crusted Flounder- Food.com

Perfect Potato Soup – Pioneer Woman

Fajitas – Jamie Oliver

Spaghetti – When Honey makes Dinner

Anniversary Dinner Out – Green Valley Grill

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:

Pecan Crusted Flounder- Food.com

flounder

Time: 30-45 minutes.

Ease: simple

Review: We used flounder for this recipe and found it to be easy, but be careful!  It is easy to overwhelm the taste of the fish with the taste of the pecans.  The idea is to complement the fish, not overpower it.  Otherwise, the fish cooked well in about 15 minutes.

Perfect Potato Soup – Pioneer Woman

potato soup

Time: 30 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: I am in love with Ree Drummand a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman, I have yet to try any dish that wasn’t superb and this dish was no different.  It was simple to make, hearty, warm, and yummy.  We didn’t have bacon on hand and the soup was still great.  I have one eater who likes chunks in the soup and one that insists on smooth soup, this soup was a great compromise.

Tip:  Add the bacon, I mean really it is BACON!  To make this vegetarian use vegetable broth and sadly, omit the bacon.

Fajitas – Jamie Oliver

fajitas e

Time: About 30 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: I really like Jamie Oliver’s recipes, but we all found this to be a little bland.  We punched up the flavor with a little tequila and a few extra seasonings.  In the end my husband was making yummy noises, which as you know I do live for.

Spaghetti – When Honey makes Dinner

spaghetti

Time: 30-45 minutes

Ease: Simple (all I had to do was sit on the couch)

I was not feeling well this week and one night my wonderful husband made spaghetti!  Yumm.  He cooked ground sweet Italian sausage with ground beef, added a jar of spaghetti sauce and cooked two kinds of noodles and it was great!  Just because you open a jar doesn’t mean it can’t be a great dinner.  Look for brands with lower sugar and all natural ingredients.  We still gathered around the dinner table and talked about the week and upcoming changes.  It was a nice night!  So sometimes, let someone else do the cooking.

Green Valley Grill Review

This week was our second anniversary!  It is the second marriage for both of us and we have learned to appreciate every tiny little moment and treasure it and to let the little things go-It is great!.

We had dinner at the Green Valley Grill in Greensboro, NC and it is one of my favorite restaurants.  GVG is one of three restaurants owned by Quaintance-Weaver, each with it’s own unique style and all using local foods.  GVG is in the style of Old World European, with bold flavors and a seasonal menu.

Our server was very knowledgeable and helpful, the atmosphere is always pleasurable fine dining.  My husband had  the Porcini Filled Pasta Purses with Giacomo’s Italian sausage & sautéed mushrooms.  He completely enjoyed this dish.  Some of the pasta was a little too soft, but overall the entire dish had great flavors.  I had the Pan Seared Scallops over a butternut squash-Vintage Gouda gratin and sautéed spinach, topped with blood orange-sage beurre blanc.  The scallops were perfectly seared and tender and the bits of blood orange added a nice sweet & zesty zap to the rich sauce.  Very good.  Many of the recipes may be found online the the link above.

Photos may be used, but please link back to this blog and credit Lisa Burbach, recipes are links to existing recipes and I have no ownership of recipes other than the ones I Have created.  Thank you.

Relax, Just Enjoy Each Other and let the Holiday Season Begin.

What my House looks like! Titled: When Elves vomit (ok Vomit isn’t a great word for a food blog, but really…look at that mess!  But we are having fun!Photo 6It is easy to become frantic at the holidays.  I know I go crazy trying to organize everything, keep the house clean, and have food on hand for the unexpected holiday guest. Then I have to stop myself and remember it is all about the people.  Relax, Just enjoy each other.  Stop in the madness and let the holiday season begin. While you’re at it take some advice from Robert Frost:

A Time to Talk: taken from Bartleby.com

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan (or pick some meals from here)

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

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy

The Meals:

Bacon, Pineapple & Spinach Pizza

Photo 2(1)

Time: 30 -45 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: We had birthday number three this week and the request was simply “As long as it has lots of bacon and cheese…”.  So, my husband and I bounced around some ideas, I asked for help from friends and FoodieChats, via twitter, and received some great ideas.  There is one foodiechat recommendation that my husband is begging for me to make, so expect to see Poblano stuffed peppers with cheese and wrapped in bacon from @jeffriessunni at some point.  He is so excited.

I said, offhandedly, what about bacon pizza with something like pineapple and didn’t think about it again until my husband calls me from work and says “oh, I told him you were going to make pizza with bacon and pineapple and he thought it was awesome”. Ok, uhhh well. I didn’t actually know what I was going to do, but the results were great and the birthday boy was happy.

Pizza crust (I used pre-made crust from my grocery in the deli section)

Alfredo sauce

Mozzarella and Gouda cheeses

bacon, cooked and crumbled

caramelized onions (if you caramelize the onions on this day it will bump you time up to allow for good caramelization of the onions)

spinach (fresh or frozen)

pineapple bits

I made three pizzas, you will adjust the amounts based on what looks good and works for your table.  I find it is easier to just put things on the pizza until it looks right and I rarely measure.  Top your crust with a few spoonfuls of Alfredo sauce; just enough to cover, not make it saucy.  Then layer the rest of the pizza with chopped caramelized onions, crumble the bacon and cover pizza, add fresh or frozen spinach on top-amounts to taste, then add bits of pineapple across the spinach.  Top with a blend of mozzarella and Gouda and bake per the instructions of your crust.  Approximately 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Tip: Many grocery stores sell the dough they use to make in-house pizzas and it is a quick, but tasty option.

Grape Leaf Wrapped Salmon : Green Valley Grill, Greensboro NC
fish gvg

Fish, quick

Time: 30 minutes

Ease: Simple to moderate

Review:  First I’d like to say that the Green Valley Grill is one of my favorite restaurants.  It has wonderful food and you feel like you have escaped just for a while.  If you are ever in Greensboro, go!

I made this without the grape leaves this time, which does take away a bit from the dish, but still yummy.  It is easy and quick, but elegant.  I served it with creamy polenta and steamed green beans.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, Corn Hashbeans and corn

Vegetarian, quick, Healthy

Time: 35 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: There are a few meals I pull out when I want something quick and tasty and know everyone will like it and this is one of them.  It is hearty and healthy!  This week I was out of black beans, but didn’t know it until I started cooking-someone didn’t follow her grocery list, so I used pinto beans instead and served it with rice.  It was still tasty, but if you have it, I recommend using the black beans.

Just for Fun: Grapefruit BruleePhoto 5

This time of year it is especially fun to play with your food!  If I could recommend a useful, but totally fun kitchen tool it would be a torch! And yes, I was tempted to say “Mwahh haa haa”.  A torch can be used for so many things, like browning the top of a casserole, or crystalizing sugar on a brulee, or flambes!  It is just a great tool.  This week we used our torch to brulee the sugar on top of grapefruit.  So yummy!

I know I only put three meals out for review this week, but this week we were invited to holiday gatherings at other peoples homes where we enjoyed great food and great company.  It is what it is all about: Relax, just enjoy each other and let the the holiday season begin!

Feel free to suggest a recipe you would like to see reviewed.  Just use the contact me above and send me the link and I will see what I can do.

Photos may be used, but please link back to this blog and credit Lisa Burbach, recipes are links to existing recipes and I have no ownership of recipes other than the ones I Have created.  Thank you.