Sunday supper: pesto snapper packets

Pesto Snapper Packets

i know i’ve mentioned my chicken rut, where i do the same 6 things with a chicken breast over and over again until even the chicken is bored with me. i kind of have the same issue with fish, except there are only like 2 ways i do it. over and over. and over. one thing i have never done, though is the packet thing. weird, right? so in the spirit of trying new things, i did a little digging and came up with a Frankensteined recipe that turned out amazing! it’s really light and fresh tasting. i served it over a bed of cauliflower rice to get in even more veggies and at least attempt to start the year on the right foot!

i used this recipe for inspiration, then looked at what i had in the fridge and did my own thing. what else would you expect from me? my version:

12 oz. snapper fillets divided into 4 pieces (the Publix frozen ones i use come in a bag with 2 fillets that i cut in half)
1 7-oz. container of pre-made pesto (i used Buitoni. use your fave or make your own and earn my utter respect. ain’t nobody around here got time for that.)
½ bag baby spinach
16 spears baby asparagus
8 baby portabellas, chopped

cut 4 pieces of foil to almost square. spray each with a little cooking spray. then layer a handful of spinach, a piece of the snapper (seasoned with salt and pepper on both sides), ¼ of the pesto, 4 asparagus spears and ¼ of the mushrooms. i put another sprinkle of salt and pepper on top just for good measure.

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close up the foil into packets that are fairly tight around your fish and vegetables, but leave some room for steam to build. put your packets on a baking sheet and bake in a 350° oven for 25 minutes.

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when you open them up, you’ll find flaky fish, tender vegetables and a little broth. carefully scoop it onto a bed of rice, couscous, mashed potatoes or just a plate and enjoy!

Sunday supper: mushroom chicken

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y’all, it was gorgeous in Atlanta today — gorgeous! all clear skies and cool air. at least for the moment, it feels like fall has arrived. it got me in the mood for some soft, creamy comfort food. (also, it was finally cool enough to run for the first time in months, so i felt a little like i deserved it!) as usual, i looked at what i had in my fridge (of course i was too busy enjoying the weekend to hit the Publix). i looked at this recipe for like a second. and then promptly decided to wing it. duh. here’s how it went:

2 pounds chicken breasts
1 package sliced baby portabella mushrooms (rinsed)
2 10.5 oz cans cream of mushroom soup
1/2 soup can chicken broth
1/2 soup can white wine (i used Chardonnay)
2 tablespoons thyme
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon tarragon
olive oil
salt
pepper

i cut each chicken breast into 4 pieces. chickens are apparently giant these days and have larger breasts than i do. it is ridiculous. anyhow, season them on one side with salt, pepper (i’m pretty liberal with both) half the garlic powder and half the thyme. meanwhile, heat some olive oil — just enough to cover the bottom of a large skillet on medium heat. add the chicken, seasoned side down and season the naked side the same way. cook about 5-7 minutes until brown, then flip over. cook another 5 minutes or so. add your mushrooms on top, a little more salt and pepper just for good measure, and the tarragon. on top of that, add your mushroom soup, broth and wine. stir until everything is fairly well mixed. cover and simmer on medium for 30-40 minutes. you just want to make sure everything is cooked through, tender and the liquid has reduced enough to be creamy, instead of soupy. i wished i’d concocted this recipe early enough in the day to throw it in the crockpot and will definitely do so next time.

(oh hell, y’all. i just realized i did do something really similar to this in the crockpot in February! at least i’m consistent with what i like! posting anyway since i’m this far along! and i think this mix of seasoning turned out better.)

anyway . . . i served it over some (leftover) wild mushroom couscous (for Spy — i didn’t earn that much on my run!) with steamed green beans, and it was pretty awesome. definitely creamy comfort food with subtle flavors. weirdly, i realized it tasted a lot like the Lean Cuisine Glazed Chicken i used to eat all the time (the cashews are a new addition), especially with the green beans. i’ll be looking forward to having leftovers for lunch tomorrow, for sure.

hope everyone else is ending the weekend on a good note and hasn’t lost their mind doing repeat meals/posts!

Sunday supper: pesto-crusted salmon

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wow. i think this might be the first actual meal i’ve cooked in something like 2 weeks! pasta and doctoring a pizza do not count. i totally loved the break, but getting back into a regular routine has been tough this week with Miss Girl being sick Monday and Tuesday (i totally blame her nose on the armrest during the cab ride home. ugh.). i figured cooking a real Sunday supper was a good way to kick things into gear to start off a new week on the right track!

y’all know how i do, so when i say “cook” you know it’s a very loose term around here. i had a pile of chicken in the freezer, but was itching for seafood and got a good deal on some salmon today. i kind of do the same thing with fish pretty much every single time (Emeril’s Fish Rub + grill pan), so i started perusing the pantry for other options. i’m also kind of in a use all your old shit kind of mood since a lot of stuff got cleared out the week before and of France. anyway, because i buy random stuff all the time with good intentions (and then never follow through), there was a jar of pesto. i thought that might be interesting. turns out, pesto encrusted salmon is actually a thing and i’m not crazy to think it might work. Continue reading

March first: in like a lamb (tagine)

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it’s that time again! on the first of every month, i’m doing (and writing about) something that’s a first for me. this month, in honor of the old saying about March weather, In like a lion, out like a lamb (and vice versa), i decided to cook some lamb, which (kind of surprisingly) i’ve never done before. so Sunday supper tonight was this Moroccan Lamb Tagine. or something like it. in typical fashion, i took an inspirational recipe and completely effed it up made it my own. i obvs don’t know how else it would have tasted if i’d done it by the book, but as far as i’m concerned, the outcome was pretty amazing. warm, soft and rich with a little kick to it — perfect for this cold, dreary night. i haven’t had Moroccan in a long time, but this is as good as i remember it. here’s how everything went down.

the inspiration
4 pounds fat-trimmed boned lamb shoulder or other cut suitable for stewing, rinsed and cut into 1½ -inch chunks
2 onions (8 oz. each), peeled and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon each paprika and ground cumin
1 teaspoon each ground turmeric, ground cinnamon, and minced fresh ginger
½ teaspoon cayenne
⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
2½ cups fat-skimmed chicken broth
1 can (14½ oz.) diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and fresh-ground pepper

⅓ cup pitted kalamata olives
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Brown lamb. Discard all but 2 tablespoons fat from the pan.2. Add onions and garlic to pan; stir often over medium heat until onions begin to get limp, 3 to 5 minutes. Add paprika, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, and cardamom; stir until very fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, tomatoes (including juices), and tomato paste. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lamb is tender when pierced, about 1 hour. Skim off and discard any fat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. On dinner plates or a large rimmed platter, mound couscous and form a well in the center. With a slotted spoon, transfer lamb and vegetables to well. Measure pan juices; if less than 3 cups, add water to make that amount, return to pan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add salt to taste. Pour juices into a bowl and pass to add to taste. Scatter olives and cilantro over lamb; garnish as desired (see notes).

my edits

i actually used these measurements for everything except the paprika, which i didn’t realize i didn’t have enough of until i was in the middle of it. i subbed white pepper for about 2 teaspoons of it. i also added a can of garbanzo beans and a bag of frozen diced sweet potatoes. just stuff i had on hand that i thought would go well. i didn’t use the olives, cilantro or other garnishes because i just wasn’t feeling that fancy. and nobody missed them.

never having bought lamb before, i had absolutely no idea what i was doing. i thought i was going to have to make a special trip to Whole Foods, but was pleasantly surprised to find a few packages of lamb at Publix during my regular shop yesterday. shoulder (check) and neck (wth? but yes, really), which said specifically that it was for stewing. that was in chunks already, so i got 2 packs of that and one of the shoulder. what i didn’t realize was that all of it had bones. lambs apparently are bony little fuckers. like there was no way to even cut the meat off of all these bones to get it into bite-sized chunks. in the end, it was fine because after almost 6 hours in the slow cooker, the meat literally fell off the bones anyway (no joke, i was picking clean bones out of the stew as i spooned it onto the couscous), but it just made the presentation a little different than you’d expect and a little more knife action necessary for the actual eating.

also, if you’ve been paying attention, you gathered that i cooked this in my slow cooker instead of on the stove. i was supposed to be at work this afternoon, so the plan was to let all this simmer while i was working. thank goodness that got cancelled, but i stuck with the plan and was able to enjoy the exotic scents emanating from my slow cooker. i rarely cook with turmeric and don’t think i’ve ever used cardamom. i just love the smell of these two spices mixed with the cinnamon and loved smelling this simmer all afternoon. after browning the lamb in some olive oil, i threw it and all the other ingredients into the pot, did a quick mix and set it for 4½ hours on low, then did an hour on high just to be sure it was really tender and melty.

and finally, as one of the reviews mentions, i also added about 3 tablespoons of flour toward the end to thicken up.

i definitely recommend this one and will for sure be trying it again (with some boneless cuts) during cold weather — which i hope means next fall. and for the record, i will not be posting a lion recipe on the 31st. have a great month full of new experiences, everyone!

Sunday supper: creamy mushroom tarragon chicken

first, i know. i know. i feel like every other post these days is about food. but the fact is, eating is like one of the only things i do every single day without fail, so there is a lot of material. that’s my excuse and i’m stickin’ to it.IMG_4452
this evening is the first time i’ve cooked Sunday supper in at least 3 weeks, and i figured a welcome home meal for Spy was in order (he treated me to Valentine’s Day dinner last night). it is freezing and windy out, and there are even threats of something frozen falling from the sky tomorrow. so it seemed like throwing something warm and creamy in the slow cooker to simmer all afternoon was an amazing plan. it was.

of course, i just kind of threw this together from what i had in the house — winged it and eyeballed measurements. (then came up with a really creative name.) but below is the general gist. it turned out really amazing. i mean, really amazing. awesome comfort food that’s at least kind of healthy, especially if you pair it with a pile of kale, like i did! i liked this so much, i would actually cook it again for company, which is also kind of why i’m blogging it. you know, so my addled old brain doesn’t have to remember it and i can just look it up. enjoy and stay warm out there, y’all!

creamy mushroom tarragon chicken

1½ – 2 lbs chicken breasts
salt
pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon dry tarragon
¼ medium onion, diced
½ cup chopped portobello mushrooms
½ cup chopped carrots
2 14 oz. cans cream of mushroom condensed soup
1 cup medium white wine (i used a chardonnay)
1 cup chicken broth

put everything in the slow cooker in the order listed. for salt and pepper, i just kind of use a few good shakes. after you put the liquids on, smooth out the mushroom soup so it covers all the chicken. cook on high for 6 hours. serve over rice (i used a blend of 2 parts brown to 1 part wild) with lots of sauce.

Sunday supper: random Asian stir-fry

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god, things are getting completely exotic around here, right? i call this “random Asian” because it mixes some Indian, Thai and Chinese influences, incorporating curry, Siracha and, um, stir-fry. and chopsticks. definitely chopsticks. also, i just needed a title that sounded more appropriate than “random shit i put in the wok tonight”. also, i actually kind of almost forgot it’s Sunday because, three day weekend! i haven’t grocery shopped yet (seriously thinking Instacart tomorrow) and needed to squeeze one more meal out of what was in the fridge.

this one is actually a vestige of the first week of the cleanse that i’m totally not doing since oh, like the 4th day in (out of 21. whatevs.). that required avoiding soy, so soy sauce in a stir-fry was totally out because rules and all. but everything else was in (except of course, the rice) so instead, i used curry as the main flavoring. and Publix had pre-cut peppers, onions and asparagus, which i’d never seen before there and totally jumped on because i’m absolutely nothing if not lazy when it comes to shit like chopping a thousand vegetables. Spy loved it, so i figured it was an easy  and worthy repeat performance. have i mentioned that when i find something i like, i can pretty much eat the same thing every night all week? anyway.

i know i have mentioned that if you need a recipe for mashed potatoes, you probably shouldn’t be cooking, anyway. i feel pretty much the same about stir-fry. sorry/not-sorry. so, here we go with another non-recipe recipe. it’s pretty spicy, but you can control the heat by limiting (or dialing up) the Siracha. measure to your liking, wing it and i promise it will be delish. it’s just supper, y’all!

1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
¼ sweet onion
1 pound chicken breasts
1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 small head of broccoli (about a cup chopped)
½ yellow pepper
½ red pepper
1(ish) tablespoon curry powder (totally generic McCormick, but use what you have and like)
1-2 tablespoons Siracha
(regular old) Salt & Pepper

i sliced everything kind of long and thin. you might like chunkier chunks. melt the coconut oil and then put in the onions, chicken and garlic. season with a good sprinkling of curry, salt and pepper. when the chicken is almost cooked through, add the vegetables in the order listed above. add more salt, pepper, curry and the Siracha. cook until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is a little browned. serve over Jasmine rice (or whatever rice you like). eat with chopsticks to feel fancy.

for those of y’all who are back to the grind tomorrow, have an awesome week!

Sunday supper: the last Sunday

today is my very favorite day all year. well, right now, at least. it’s the shortest day of the year. and i am miserably tired of waking up in the dark, taking Miss Girl to school in practically the dark (it’s not light here until about 7:30) and getting home in the dark. as of tomorrow, that begins to change. minute by minute, the days will start to get just a little bit longer and things will (okay, fine, in a couple months) feel less dismal and more normal. so in light of (ha) feeling a little celebratory  about making it through the darkest days here, and the fact that we will be traveling, not cooking next Sunday for the final Sunday of 2014, i thought one last of these posts this year was in order.

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y’all may have noticed i’m a meat and 2 girl 9 times out of 10. the reason is it makes it easier to watch my carbs this way than trying to figure out low carb casseroles and such that Spy will eat (though i do have a few of those in my bag of tricks). in 2015, i resolve to work this out. seriously. but for now it suits me just fine to eat around the starches most nights. up tonight:

garlic-lime mahi with pepper jelly salsa
i’m still dying over that Persian Lime EVOO i picked up a few weeks ago. it is just. so. good. and perfect for sautéeing these mahi fillets that i also seasoned with a little Emeril’s Fish Rub. for a sweet/spicy topping, i mixed equal parts (about 2 tablespoons each) red pepper jelly and plain old store-bought salsa. delish!

kale with mushrooms
a super easy, but super flavorful side. i have also been in the midst of a kale addiction for a while. i steam mine (about 6-8 cups of it) in the wok with just a bit of water underneath and foil on top until it softens. then add olive oil (1 tablespoon or less), garlic (about a tablespoon), salt & pepper (to taste) and just a dash of nutmeg. this time, i was also craving mushrooms, so i threw in about 4 ounces (about half of one of those pre-sliced packages you get at the grocery) of chopped baby portabellas. i could eat this at every single meal, i swear.

roasted garlic & olive oil quinoa
no big shakes here. it’s a boxed Nature’s Earthly Choice product that is pretty good as quinoa goes. though honestly, i’m not all that crazy about quinoa, i just eat it occasionally since it’s supposed to be healthy. ha. great recommendation, right?

bon appétit and have a wonderful (slightly lighter) week, everyone!

Sunday supper: black bean, chicken & kale soup

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feels like it’s been a while since i’ve done one of these posts. with Spy out of town most every Sunday in October, i think most Sunday suppers for a while there consisted of cheese, crackers and wine. not much worth reporting there.

it’s gotten so damn cold here all of a sudden that all i want to do is light a fire, put on my slippers and get some soup simmering on the stove. so that’s exactly what i did this evening. totally thrown together in my non-recipe, crap, what’s in the fridge? kind of way, but this came out as absolutely what i wanted — even though the vision started with white beans. i only had one can, so i switched to black. looks a bit like chili here, but it’s actually just a savory, non-spicy comfort-foody bowl of goodness for your tummy. add crusty bread and i might be able to live all winter on this stuff. enjoy!

1 pound chicken breast, diced
2 cans black beans
4 cups kale, chopped
2 tablespoons (ish) olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced (i use the jar stuff)
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
32 ounce box of chicken broth
salt & pepper to taste

in your soup pot, sautée the onion, garlic and chicken in olive oil with some salt and pepper. add about half the Herbes de Provence. when chicken is cooked through, add the kale on top and cover pot for about 5 minutes to let the kale steam down. add beans, chicken broth and rest of Herbes. let it come to a boil, then simmer for about 45 minutes (or more) until everything is nice and soft. cheat: i use a hand blender to purée just a little of the mixture so it has a slightly thicker consistency.

Sunday supper: gameday breakfast

god, it’s weird to watch football at 9:30 in the morning. but with the Falcons in London (along with Spy — and our Falcons flag!) you gotta do what you gotta do, y’all! given that this is the only meal that will likely get cooked in this house today, i figured i’d go ahead and post it and  . . . well, with the time difference, it’s practically suppertime over there anyway, right?

breakfast pizza seemed like the only appropriate thing to make for a morning football game. duh. and since i forgot orange juice for mimosas yesterday, and hated opening bloody mix for just like 2, i went with pomegranate prosecco (prosecco + pomegranate liqueur). right, because there’s no orange juice in the house, but there is procecco? who am i?

this is the easiest thing in the world to make. basically take everything you like for breakfast and put it on a pizza crust. my pizza consists of eggs scrambled with tomatoes, onions and spinach. i used an Udi’s gluten free crust. i squirted a mess of Sirracha on as sauce, spooned on the eggs, then topped with cheese and bacon.

i realized later (like now) that it’s kind of sad looking with no sides or anything, but this is totally a complete meal in itself. and, like, i so didn’t need to make anymore food for just me! (Miss Girl wanted no part of it and just rocked her usual Sunday bacon and croissant.)

hope everyone else’s Sunday is off to a good start. eat up and rise up!

Sunday supper: game day grub

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i thought it would be fun to kick off the season with a game themed late lunch. i know what i said yesterday about diving off the edge of my cleanse into a vat of pub grub, but pizza and wings just seemed appropriate for the occasion, so that’s what was on the menu for Falcons vs. Saints. both the food and our team were winners!

wings
just heated up some wings from Publix and added a little extra Crystal. seriously, not much can go wrong here and why mess with a good thing? straight-up blue cheese dressing on the side. nobody needs celery. nobody.

spinach & feta pizza
for the pizza, though, i resisted just picking up a frozen one and doctoring. i concepted and cooked the whole thing from scratch. well, i mean, as scratch as i get. store bought extra thin crust (honestly don’t remember brand and it probably doesn’t matter. it wasn’t a Boboli, but choose whatever you like.) added a thin layer of red sauce. again, use whatever you like, but i went with Publix Pizza Sauce.

the toppings are where it got interesting. Publix (yeah, again) does a chicken, feta and spinach sausage. that was pretty much the whole inspiration. i cooked that up and diced it, then scattered it on top, along with spinach and sautéed red and yellow peppers and onions. i threw on some feta crumbles and mozzarella and baked the whole thing for about 15 minutes. final touch was extra grated parmesan.

white chocolate chip cookies
photoand, because Miss Girl has been dying to bake cookies, we spent a good part of the first quarter cheffing up some white chocolate chip cookies. i actually prefer this recipe to Toll House if i can remember to make it. the cookies don’t flatten out quite as much and are a little chewier and softer. subbed in white chips for milk and it worked just great. yum!

 

two of my favorite things about fall wrapped into one Sunday afternoon. so much fun!