Reviews: BBQ Shrimp, Bangers & Mash, Quesadillas & Aaamazing kicked up BLTs

chinaI’m checking in with you, how are you doing?  Are you remembering to set the table?  At least every so often?  Are you laughing, talking & sharing at the table or around a meal?  If so, good job!  If not, well there is no time like the present.  This week take at least one night and set the table, or invite friends over, have a tea party with your kids, serve hotdogs on china, etc.  Do something that makes the table inviting.  You don’t have to jump in all at once, baby steps are ok.

I hope you will remember to keep the dinner table as a safe place.  Encourage conversation, get to know each other.  It is an investment that will pay off for years to come!

This week’s Reviews:

Jamie Oliver- Bangers and Mash

Emeril – New Orleans BBQ Shrimp

Ellie Krieger – Black Bean Quesadillas

Thomas Keller – BLT Fried Egg-and-Cheese Sandwich

 

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:

Jamie Oliver- Bangers and Mash

abangers

Time: 40 Minutes to 1 Hour

Ease: Intermediate

Review: This is a comfort dish!  It is pretty easy to make, filling and delicious.  If you don’t make homemade mashed potatoes I would encourage you to try.  It makes all the difference.  By reducing the sauce this dish is a little healther than making a traditional gravy, but packed full of flavor.

Tips: If you are watching your fat try using chicken or turkey sausage.

Emeril – New Orleans BBQ Shrimp
aedited Shrimp

Time: 1 – 1/2 Hours

Ease: Simple to Intermediate

Review:  Emeril’s BBQ Shrimp is so full of flavor.  If you are thinking traditional BBQ this isn’t quite that.  It is a BBQ sauce, but with a shrimp stock added, which adds to the complexity of flavors.  Make sure to have a lot of bread on hand to sop up all of that yummy sauce.  In Emeril’s restaurant he serves this with rosemary biscuits, but I thought a nice loaf of french bread worked too.

Ellie Krieger – Black Bean Quesadillas

aquesadillas

Meatless Monday

Time: 15 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: If you like quesadillas this is a brilliant way to still enjoy them, but cut down on the fat without feeling robbed. Though it uses just 1/2 cup of cheese it still tastes and feels like a quesadilla.  As a matter of fact, my cheese loving husband didn’t even notice the difference!  Plus if you need a quick, but good meal this is the dish – ready in 15 minutes!

Thomas Keller – BLT Fried Egg-and-Cheese Sandwich

ablt

Time: 20 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: This sandwich is A-mazing!  It is surprising how just adding cheese and an egg to a BLT makes it so much more rich and delicious.  This is the perfect midnight sandwich.  On some of our sandwiches we overcooked the fried egg a little,  it is best if the yolk drips ooey, yellow goodness down your chin when you bite it!

Have and great week and enjoy!

 

Photos by lwburbach. Feel free to use photos, but please link back to this blog.- Thank you.

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.