Pizza and a movie…

Paula had a difficult night at the hospital last evening. She was in the mood to relax so we opened up a bottle of wine when she woke up. We had some of my special pizza dough and toppings (marinated artichokes, olives, mushrooms) in the refrigerator so I made a pizza for the two of us. As we enjoyed the pizza, we watched the latest arrival from Netflix, The Comedian. It was quite good. Afterwards, we even played a game of Farkle. All in all, it was a most pleasant evening.

Burritos for dinner…a great way to get rid of some leftover food!


We had some leftover fajita chicken in the refrigerator and so I decided to use it for our dinner tonight. I heated the chicken along with a can of black beans in the skillet. We also had a few flour tortillas in the refrigerator and it was time to use them as well. After I heated up the chicken-bean mixture, we put some cheese on the flour tortilla, added the chicken and beans, wrapped everything up inside the tortilla and then heated it a little in the skillet. We had salsa and sour cream in the refrigerator so Paula and I topped the burritos with a little of each. We also had some leftover grilled squash and broccoli in the refrigerator. Since we wanted a vegetable with the meal, I heated the two vegetables in the skillet for a minute or two and then served them up with each burrito.

It was a tasty meal and a great way to use up the leftovers that were in the refrigerator. Paula and I hate to see food go to waste but sometimes you just don’t want the same food again. It is better to try to make something new with what you find.

A Treat of a Meal…for Paula’s day off


Paula didn’t have to work tonight so we made a delicious meal together. I found this recipe for Pork Medallions with Red Wine-Cherry Sauce in the current issue of Cooking Light. We had a pork tenderloin in the freezer. I bought some potatoes and broccoli to go on the side. Paula made mashed potatoes while I cooked the meat. We also enjoyed a bottle of wine with dinner and then played a game. The meal was a treat.

Ingredients (for two of us…)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (1-lb.) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 12 slices
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup of chicken stock or broth
  • 1/3 cup of cherry preserves

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the pork slices and cook 2 minutes on each side. Remove pork from pan and keep warm.

Increase heat to high. Add 2 teaspoons of the chopped thyme to drippings in pan. Cook for 30 seconds. Add the wine, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add the stock / broth and preserves. Cook 8 minutes or until reduced to about 1/2 cup, stirring occasionally. Spoon the cherry mixture evenly over pork and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon thyme.

The sauce complimented the pork quite well. We also had enough to drizzle over the mashed potatoes. All in all, it was a delicious meal and quite a treat for a Monday evening!

Simple meal tonight

Paula was working so I just made a simple meal for the two of us tonight. We had some items in the refrigerator that needed to be eaten and so I just used them. I cooked a package of frozen ravioli and added it to some homemade tomato sauce that we had leftover from a previous dinner. I also made a simple spinach salad. It had baby spinach, sliced almonds and craisins. We had a simple vinaigrette in the refrigerator and I added that to the salad. All in all, it was a simple meal but still a tasty one for the two of us. Afterwards, I sent Paula off to work for the evening and cleaned up all the dishes.

Delicious Meal – A Celebration of sorts…

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Last night Paula and I made a delicious chicken dish. We were celebrating the fact that she had gotten a clean bill of health from the radiation oncologist earlier that day. We had gone to Duke Hospital for an MRI and it showed that the tumor had not grown back in any way. The doctor was extremely pleased with the result and so were the two of us. Anyway, after arriving home we made a lovely dinner together. It was a recipe that I found in the latest Rachael Ray magazine called Lemony Pan-Roasted Chicken and Sage with Green Vegetable Medley. I tweaked the recipe a little based on what we had at  home as well as our tastes. I also made just enough for the two of us. It was really quite tasty. If you want a simple dish that is on the lighter side for the summer, I would recommend it.

Ingredients (for two people):

 

  • 1/2 bunch of thin asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/4 lb. of green beans)
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, butterflied
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 leaves of fresh sage
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped

Directions:

Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven, bring a few inches of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the vegetables. Cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and transfer to the ice water to cool, then drain again. Cut the asparagus and green beans on an angle into thirds.

Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Add the chicken and cook until browned and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, another 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter. When the butter is melted, add the sage and cook until crispy, about 2 minutes. Transfer the sage to a paper towel and let cool.

Add the wine, garlic and mustard to the skillet and cook, swirling often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Return the chicken to the pan and baste with the pan juices. Pour the lemon over the chicken. Remove chicken from skillet and top with the sage.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vegetables to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to get the vegetables coated with the sauce.

Serve the chicken with the vegetable medley alongside. This was a delicious meal. We enjoyed it with a pink wine from Bonny Doon and then played some Farkle and watched a great movie, Hidden Figures. All in all, it was a most relaxing and enjoyable evening!

 

Wacky Chocolate Cake!

We met with our long time friends for diner today. These are our friends that have been meeting for the past 30+ years to enjoy each others company. It was our turn to make desert today so I made Paula’s recipe for “Wacky Chocolate Cake”. It really is one of the best recipes for a simple desert that you can ever make…especially if someone like myself can make it. After all, I am not the baker in our house and it turned out quite good!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 3 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 3/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 2 cups of cold water

Directions:

  1. Sift and mix the dry ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (oil through water…)
  3. Mix well with a hand mixer at medium speed.
  4. Bake in a 13 x 9 inch pan at 350 degrees for 40 minutes
  5. After 40 minutes, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, then the cake is done. If not, keep baking at 3 minute intervals until the toothpick comes out clean.

This cake goes well with a simple sugar frosting. Mix powdered sugar and cream in a medium mixing bowl until they are thoroughly mixed and create a spreadable frosting. Spread over the top of the cake. It works best if you make the cake and let it rest overnight. Then add the frosting on the following day.

Salmon with Roasted Tomatoes

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Paula and I haven’t enjoyed any fish for a little while so I decided to make this dish tonight. It sounded tasty and tomatoes are starting to come into season. I found the recipe, Seared Salmon with Balsamic-Blistered Tomatoes in the June issue of Cooking Light. I only used one piece of salmon (about 1 pound) for both of us. It was quite tasty. If you want to try this dish, here is what you will need to do. It doesn’t take very long to prepare; most of the prep time involves cooking the salmon and tomatoes in the oven.

We also had some leftover rice so I incorporated the rice into the meal.  When I was cooking the shallots, I added the rice to the skillet. After cooking the shallots, I added the tomatoes along with 1/2 cup of frozen (but thawed) peas to the skillet. When it came time for the balsamic vinegar, I added that along with the basil at the end. I guess that you could say that I made “balsamic fried rice with tomatoes and peas.” It turned out to be quite tasty and was an easy way to use up the rice as well as provide a side dish for the salmon.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 salmon fillet
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of thinly sliced shallots
  • 2-3 cups of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of torn basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Sprinkle the salmon fillet with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Put the fillet in the pan and cook for 4 minutes on one side until golden brown. Place the fillet, seared side up, on the baking sheet.

Bake at 500 degrees for about 4 minutes.

Return the skillet to the stove top and heat to medium-high heat. Add the shallots and saute for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper along with the tomatoes and 1/4 cup of the basil. Cook for 2 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to break down. Stir in the vinegar and cook for an additional minute.

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