What’s Cooking This Week

This week, we’re taking on the flavors of the world without leaving our backyard. We’ve been all about mixing up flavors and thinking outside the box a bit (because I find it’s really easy to get in a rut of just making the same thing)

First up, I made grilled chicken in a tandoori marinade. It’s plain Greek yogurt, lemon juice, freshly grated ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and crushed red pepper (I understand some of these may not be pantry staples, but if you’re making curry on a regular basis, you should be set). Marinate the chicken for 6 hours in the fridge, then grill it up. I always brush some of the marinade on the chicken for the last 10 minutes on the grill. Any kind of chicken works. Speaking of mixing things up, the hashbrowns in the air fryer tend to be my quick go to, but the magic is they never taste the same way twice because of I use flavors that compliment the main course. For this dish, I used a little smoked paprika, Garam masala and crushed red pepper.

Later in the week, we made grilled quesadillas. I used my favorite fajita spice blend on the meat before grilling till it was just about medium. At the same time, I grilled up some peppers and onions. When everything was set, I sliced the steak into thin slices, then layered flour tortillas with shredded cheddar, some of the sliced steak and some peppers and onions. Then it was back to the grill till the tortillas were crispy. A little sour cream and a quick guacamole (avocado, lime juice, diced jalapenos, cumin, cayenne and diced tomato) on the side and it was perfect.

As I’m heading out to plant some cherry tomato and jalapeno pepper plants in my modest garden, what are your favorite ways to spice up dinner and break out a rut? No matter where your culinary adventures guide you, eat well my friends!

What’s Cooking This Week

This is a tale of a tasty dinner taking on new life as the leftovers were lovingly used for breakfast. When we’re empty nesting, I find I have a really hard time doing two things: buying meat in smaller quantities and portioning food that serves two people (not a small army). So while leftovers are always good for lunch, I’m still trying to think of new ways to use them!

Dinner began with a beef & veggie skillet. I tossed some sliced steaks in sesame oil and garlic, then gave them a quick stir fry. When the beef was done, I set it aside, deglazed the pan with a little stock, then cooked some peppers & spinach in the pan with some soy sauce. The meat makes a return to the pan and is topped with green onions. Normally, I serve rice with a dish like this, but we were feeling potatoes for some reason that night. So I scrubbed some russets and started them cooking in the microwave for 15 minutes. Then I drained them, patted them dry, tossed them in melted butter and smoked paprika and finished them off in the air fryer. I’ll admit, I would have liked them crispier, but the flavors were really good and worked with the steak and veggies.

As we were eating dinner that night, we got talking about this dish seeming like a deconstructed hash when potatoes were served instead of rice. Which gave me the idea for breakfast. I chopped the leftover steak and potatoes and added them to a pan to warm up a bit with the leftover veggies. Then I added some scrambled eggs and mixed everything together while the eggs cooked, finished with a bit of shredded cheddar cheese and wrapped everything up in a tortilla. So good.

As I head to the kitchen to get some Easter preparation going, what’s your favorite way to re-purpose leftovers?

Eat well friends!

What’s Cooking This Week

It’s all about old and new favorites this week: one dish that is super easy to put together that we tried for the first time, and another that takes more time for the flavors to develop but is worth the time.

First the old favorite that takes some time: chicken curry with kale and sweet potatoes. About four months into the first wave of the pandemic, our public broadcasting station offered an online culinary experience. For a donation and event “ticket”, you got a box of ingredients delivered to cook along with Marcus Samuelsson. Ummm, yes please! I signed up as fast as my fingers could navigate that keyboard. I totally nerded out cooking along during the Zoom session and hearing his stories. I also realized I’d never make it as a professional chef because I certainly move at a more glacial pace in my kitchen! And I’ll confess, I wasn’t really sure how a culinary adventure would play out at my dining room table. Suffice it to say, it was an absolute hit! One thing I took from the cook-along was the importance of developing layers of flavors (like the heat of the poblanos working with sweetness of the coconut milk) which got me thinking of building profiles while I cook in a way I never had before.

The quicker, and newest favorite, brings me back to our favorite appliance: the air fryer! I try to be really good before going to the grocery store to plan meals for the week. But inevitably there comes a day where I just don’t feel like cooking what I planned (usually because I’ve gotten distracted and waited too long to start dinner). I was gifted the Skinny Taste Air Fryer Dinner cookbook once I fell in love with the appliance and had to try the kielbasa, veggie and pierogis. Seriously friends, this could not be easier: as the title implies it’s really just peppers, onions, turkey kielbasa, and frozen pierogis (I used four cheese because that’s what was in my freezer). Working in a couple batches, I had dinner ready to go in about twenty minutes. It was incredibly delicious. You are supposed to add fresh asparagus as well but we aren’t fans (not to mention I didn’t have any on hand).

So here’s to old favorites and new ones! What’s cooking in your kitchen?

What’s Cooking This Week

This week, we’re testing out some of the fun things that came in my last delivery from Misfits Markets. I have to say, we’ve been really happy so far with what we’ve received. And of course I’m still playing with the air fryer on a regular basis (spoiler)!

First up is the easiest pasta dish I make. I tried cooking the broccoli in the air fryer, cooking it for about 7 minutes (I tossed it with red pepper flakes, oregano and garlic powder). I was pretty happy with the texture and the flavor. We tend to disagree in our house about “how done” broccoli should be. I like it a little more firm, so this seemed to be a nice compromise with the smoky flavor. Cook 2 cups of rigatoni in boiling, salted water. While the pasta is cooking, I used a grill pan to grill up some organic chicken sausages that were in my last Misfits’ order. I love using chicken sausage to lighten things up without losing that sausage flavor in pasta. Once the sausage is cooked, slice it into 1 inch pieces, return to the pan with the broccoli and add the pasta. No sauce you say? Using some of the pasta water to deglaze the pan and adding a bit more as everything comes together works beautifully. Hit it with some oregano, more red pepper flakes and a bit of parmesan. Transfer to a serving platter, and add a little more grated parmesan on top. Perfect.

So next I wanted to try something different with eggplant, so I diced it, tossed it with some rosemary-infused olive oil, garlic power and Italian seasoning and put it in the air fryer for 10 minutes (shaking it halfway through cooking). I tossed it in a greased casserole dish, topped it with some fresh mozzarella (which I ordered accidently) and Panko and let it go in the oven while my chicken cutlets were baking (such a simple breading mix of breadcrumbs and parmesan – the real key is using some melted butter mixed with Worcestershire sauce and spicy mustard to dip the chicken in before breading). But while all that was in the oven, it occurred to me I forgot a potato. So I decided to see how frozen, shredded hash browns would play in the air fryer. And let me say they sure do without the mess of cooking them on the stove or the hassle (and poor health) of frying them in a ton of oil.

A winning week with our Misfits ingredients! As I head to prep some food for the week, what was your kitchen fave?

Eat well!

What’s Cooking This Week

I’ll confess, we broke down and bought an air fryer after the holidays and I’m completely hooked! So this week in the kitchen I’ve been trying to perfect healthier versions of some of our favorite fried foods to make them more accessible. This week’s triumph was crispy onion rings and fried ravioli. (No, I didn’t serve them together). The ravioli made an appearance on a game day charcuterie board (along with some amazing jalapeno poppers & meatballs) and the onion rings were the perfect side for grilled steaks.

Note to self: share post on our new love of charcuterie & small plates!

One thing that’s been getting on our nerves is the weekly trip to the grocery store. We’ve been pretty regular customers of one of the big chains popular in the northeast and mid-Atlantic region and my husband was beginning to doubt my reports that I didn’t come home with half the items on my list because the shelves were bare. Plus what items I did secure put our grocery bill at a higher level than when we were trying to fill our strapping son’s appetite. So he decided to join me last week and saw I wasn’t censoring his food choices!

So we decided to try out Misfits Market because I’ve heard good things from friends, love the convenience of having groceries delivered to my door, and the prices were much less on staples than I was paying. Our first box was filled with pantry staples (the organic flatbreads made the perfect pizza crust) and fruits & veggies (now we’ll have fresh guacamole for the Superbowl, plus tons of carrots & celery to munch on with our wings. That will be made in the air fryer – obviously!) This week’s box will be one of their cold boxes, filled with cheeses and organic meats. I’m excited.

We also tried our another local grocery store. Of course, my resident skeptic had to accompany me and we were both happy to see fully-stocked shelves! It was significantly cheaper than what I’d been paying, even adding in the cost of the Misfits box. That’s my long way of saying that we’ll continue this experiment for another few weeks.

So, as I head to the kitchen to prep some of the abundance of extra produce I received, I’m wondering your favorite tips for fighting rising grocery costs. Bonus points for sharing your favorite things to make in the air fryer.

Eat well!