Tuesday, August 19, 2014

été 2014: Meal Plan Monday...on Tuesday.

This week is a short week in the meal department. On Friday, man of the house and I are taking a weekend trip to Vermont! I wanted to make this post a Monday regular but I was so busy yesterday I missed out. But it will show up next Monday I promise!

Easy One Pan Ratatouille from the Mama Owl Blog
Fresh French Bread
Green Salad

Grilled Brats and Hot Dogs
Fresh Steamed Green Beans with Butter and Parmesan

Tuscan Pasta with Tomato Basil Cream from My recipes
Snowflake Rolls from Grocery Store
Pan-fried Squash from Ready Set Eat

Very Greek Grilled Chicken from Kalyn's Kitchen
Healthy Red Potato & Dill Salad from Table for Two
Southern Skillet Corn from Kevin and Amanda

I already made the ratatouille. It came out scrumptious! It was my first time eating and making this and it was so simple and delicious.

What I learned from making ratatouille:

1. Eggplant is good not yucky.
2. I can't wait to find more recipes for it.
3. French comfort food isn't fancy schmancy!
4. It also makes you learn things. (see all of the above)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

été 2014: Grilled Tuscan Chicken

This is totally a summertime dish. Easy, bright and lemony, kitchenless. My family loved the crispy, flavorful skin and tender, juicy meat. We used split chicken breasts because they are super cheap and we are hardcore budgeting. I'm sure any type of chicken will do, pretty much because this marinade is awesome.

Because cookbooks are expensive and must-have bestsellers are not in the budget right now, I am a frequent flyer to the library. I am there literally twice a week. It's sad. And nerdy.

On my holds list are always cookbooks. I found this little treasure in the brand spanking new cookbook by Debbie Mazar and her Tuscan husband Gabriele Corcos, Extra Virgin. Let's just say this cookbook is definitely on my wishlist. I found tons of great recipes. During my checkout I tried this one and it is now going to be a summertime staple.

I basically marinaded it. My man cooked it. We ate it. I love that!

Grilled Tuscan Chicken
Taken from Extra Virgin

2 small handfuls chopped rosemary
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 (3 1/2 lb. chickens), cut up (I used 2 packages of split chicken breasts)
3 large handfuls arugula (I used Organic Girl Super Greens)
Lemon, sliced for serving

Special equipment needed: 2 foil covered bricks (I did not use)

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Add the chopped rosemary, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a large resealable plastic bag.

Oil the grill grates, remove the chicken from the marinade and place the chickens skin-side down on the hot grill rack.
Place 2 foil-covered bricks on top of the chicken to weigh it down. Grill 20 minutes, then remove the bricks and flip. Continue cooking for 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before carving.
Serve the chicken on a bed of arugula with lemon slices.

I served the chicken breasts with an organic spring salad mix and fresh mushrooms and plain old white rice.I love summertime for easy cooking. My kitchen is cool and there is WAY less clean up.
You can really taste the brightness of the lemon and of course the fresh rosemary just compliments that beautifully. Summer in a bite!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

été 2014: Coffee with a Canine

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to guest on Coffee With a Canine. It is a great blog that features owners and their fur babies. I was super excited to have the opportunity to put their cute little faces out there in the internet-sphere. I do have very handsome fellas.

Scrolling through the posts, you can read about other owners and their dogs. Some are authors, some are bloggers, some are just awesome dog owners. I personally love to take a peek at pet owners and how they interact with their babies. I love to hear the stories of how they came to be together and what their idiosyncrasies are. You never know you may find a piece of advice that could help you out.

My Roscoe is a really sweet guy (inside the house). Affectionate, a snuggler (inside the house). But as soon as we step foot outside our front door, he is in aggressive, overly-anxious mode. His hackles are up. His ears are forward. He is ready for any dog to come his way. And when a dog does finally cross our path, Roscoe is growling and going crazy. Walks are really tough for us. Hopefully our patience and the implementation of an e-collar will help us work this out. He responds well to the vibrate mode and we really refrain from zapping him unless it is necessary. If he gets to worked up, however, he might as well not even be wearing the collar. It has no effect.

One day we will get this right. For Roscoe's sake and for the sake of my poor hand and arm which takes quite a beating from a 80+ lb. dog going ape shit. He has been to socialization programs and done puppy/beginner classes. He can not relax enough to play with any dog. I don't think I've ever seen him play past 8 month old. I feel so bad because he can not socialize with his own kind. Play rough, chase, nip.

Please advice would be great! If you have experience with an insecure aggressive dog, please let me know your story. I need all the help I can get. We really love Roscoe, but walks are NOT FUN but he needs them badly.

Check us out at Coffee With a Canine!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

été 2014: August 2nd: Balsamic Grilled Chicken

This recipe we recently tried this week turned out to be a hidden gem.
I made it on a whim. I had all the ingredients on hand and we were looking for something quick and easy to throw on the grill. 
Enter this fabulous marinade.

Seriously, it was OMG good. Even C-Bot liked it, which is rare.

I paid like $1 for this cookbook at a thrift store a LONG time ago.
My grandmother always loved Mr. Food so how can I go wrong.

Balsamic Marinated Chicken
From Mr. Food Cooks Chicken

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 chicken breasts, split, skinned and boned (I used 3)

In a large bowl, combine the marinade ingredients.  Add the chicken, cover, and marinate in fridge for up to 1/2 hour. (I marinated mine overnight) Remove the chicken from the marinade, discard the excess, and grill for 8-10 minutes per side, or until chicken is fork tender and no pink remains. Serve hot or cold.

That's it. You have dinner. 

I served mine with pesto noodles and frozen cauliflower and carrots in butter and Parmesan.