March 23, 2012

Friday Food

Woah! You weren't expecting that one, were you? Not very nice of me to switch things up on you (on a Friday morning, no less, when all the focus you can muster is being used to get through the next several hours), but sometimes you need a change, you know? I just wasn't feeling the 'favorites' thing today... something tells me that no one out there is really interested in my new favorite kind of yogurt (black cherry Chobani, on the off-chance you're curious) or needs to see yet another picture of my fluffball (but just in case...'s Toby sound asleep on freshly-laundered towels on our dining room table.Tell me that's not adorable.)
  So today I thought I'd make use of the Friday "F" theme to share something else, something of which I seem to have a shocking amount of pictures: food. 
Since Dan got home, we've both made a big effort to plan meals, cook at home, and try new things. We've perfected quite a few recipes (and are still working on several others...) and while I used to want to go out all the time, I've really started to look forward to nights where we can whip up something yummy and eat it from the comfort of our own couch, where pajamas are  perfectly acceptable.
Because I am strange and feel the need to document everything (just ask my husband), I often take pictures of our meals before we eat them. Dan's first bite has been thwarted countless times by his crazy wife flying out of the kitchen, crying "Waitwaitwait I have to take a picture!!!" Until now, any big plans I had for all of those pictures (The Illustrated Guide to Generally Mediocre but Occasionally Amazing Cooking, perhaps? I smell a bestseller...) have gone by the wayside, and my growing collection of badly lit iPhone pictures has sat neglected. That's right... I said until now. So without further ado, I present for your viewing pleasure (or not): lots of pictures of food. Try not to collapse with excitement.

This meal was several weeks ago, but just looking at the picture has me craving another artichoke. They are definitely my favorite excuse to eat melted butter vegetable, and even better with pasta (which I think included scallops that night?). The wine was one of my very favorites, too. Definitely a good night.

This yummy meal was dinner a few nights ago. Dan isn't a big fan of fish, so he had shrimp pasta (also yummy), and I baked a piece of salmon for myself. I had exciting visions of a butter/white wine/garlic/lemon sauce to drizzle over it, but I didn't have time to cut and saute the garlic, so my rich and complex idea became melted butter with a little lemon squeezed into it. Not nearly as dramatic, but still pretty tasty. I also made a piece of garlic toast (with garlic and herb butter from Whole Foods -- a recent splurge) and a curried chicken pasta salad (shown on the right)with fresh dill. Everything was delicious, but I was seriously stuffed after all that food.

These little pizzas were Dan's idea, and I will admit to being a bit skeptical... until I took my first bite. Don't let their simplicity fool you -- with the right loaf of french bread, these are a super-easy and absolutely delicious meal. I also enjoyed some leftover couscous that night, and notice the margarita up there? Not quite a big frozen fishbowl from a restaurant, but not bad, either.

The photography is a bit lacking, but flavor certainly wasn't either of these nights when we enjoyed burgers straight off the grill. The meal on the left, from a few weeks ago, was "Dan style": burger + macaroni and cheese = complete meal. No questions asked, no calories counted. The version on the left was my plate just last night, and is how I prefer my burger: cheese, lettuce, Lipton onion dip (don't ask), accompanied by baked beans, grilled corn, pasta salad, and a beer. Summer perfection, right there.

Speaking of not counting calories, this would have been another good time for such an omission: Mexican night! Dan and I both love Mexican food, and this night we set out to make the perfect quesadilla. To be honest, I'm pretty sure Dan's turned out better, but really, who's keeping track? (He is.) Mine included shredded chicken, onion, and cheese and was topped by the trifecta: queso, sour cream, and genuine Taco Bell mild sauce (please, try to stifle those snorts... we happened to have some extra lying around). Pair that with refried beans and a(nother?) margarita, and I was a happy girl.

Lest you think that all we eat are artery-clogging, fat-heavy, cream-based delicacies, I bring you two recent healthy lunches (eaten at my desk, notice the keyboard in the corner). Both started with spinach, onion, and a light vinagrette dressing; the left included corn and salmon, the right cranberries and grilled chicken. If only I could get my act together well enough to bring one of these with me to work every day.

This was another lunch from a few weeks ago -- one of those "lets throw a bunch of stuff into a bowl and see how it works" lunches that turned out surprisingly tasty. I had leftover pearled couscous (the delights of which I believe I've mentioned before), and decided to saute spinach, mushrooms, garlic, and onion to go with it. Because I consume more carbs than any normal human should, I also felt the need to add some bread. In my world, a piece of good bread always improves a meal.

Finally, I leave you with another "his and hers" view. The chicken that you can see (only slightly distinguishable from the piece of bread... see above rule) is one of our latest favorites, another incredibly simple but extremely tasty creation. I just marinate chicken breasts in this salad dressing:
for a day, throw it into a baking dish, pour the dressing over the top, and bake for a while. The meat stays juicy and has an excellent lime kick when all is said and done. Both Dan and I are big fans. The hubby prefers his with a few pretty basic side dishes: corn and a piece of garlic bread that I may or may not have swiped. I took the opportunity to try out two recipes I've been wanting to make: brussels sprouts (just tossed in olive oil, lightly seasoned, and baked for a bit) and beets (Harvard beets, the way my grandmother used to make them). Verdict? The beets were out of this world -- exactly like I remember and so so good. The brussels sprouts were definitely not my thing. A couple of them were ok, but generally I was not a fan. Overall, though, this was a pretty good meal, made even better when paired with a glass of riesling.

For any readers that might still be awake after all of that excitement, thanks for sticking with me. I guess it's not as fun to look at pictures instead of actually making and eating these meals, but maybe someone, somewhere will be inspired to steam up an artichoke, try some pearled couscous, or put onion dip on their burger (ha, who am I kidding? Even I can admit that last one's just weird). Either way, I hope your weekend is filled with equally delicious eats!




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