Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dinner for One

I am almost embarrassed to post this picture. The food doesn't, well, look very appetizing. Does it? The truth of the matter is that Johnnycakes is away on business and I was left to my own devices. Quite honestly, I was looking forward to a meal with no prep or clean up since it was just going to be me eating.

I ate some leftover pork tenderloin and the last piece of corn. I did bake a mini baked potato and topped it with real (we usually eat reduced fat cheese) cheese and chopped tomatoes. It was actually quite a tasty treat.

Dinner was quick but delicious and I enjoyed the almost non-existent clean-up. I even treated myself to a Weight Watcher's Smart One's Mint Chocolate Chip Sundae.

Johnnycakes will be home tomorrow so I will try and pull together a dinner for us to enjoy! I'm thinking Asian but we'll see...

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Dinner of Redemption

Tonight's dinner was all about redeeming ourselves for our week of eating junk and not cooking. We decided to not go too bold and start off easy. I was able to "redeem" myself by preparing the corn on the cob and purple "green" beans from last week's Farmer's Market. I was afraid that the corn would be rotten from remaining inside the husks all week but they were fine. The beans were still nice and crisp and not slimy or anything. We marinated and prepared our honey blackened pork (http://coupleofcooks.blogspot.com/2007/06/blackened-honey-pork.html and buttered veggies. Oh, and the purple green beans didn't stay purple just as others said. They were quite ordinary looking by the time they were done.

Okay. So we're back in business as far as dinner is concerned. Let's hope we can keep this up throughout the week!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Food Funk

I hate to admit it but Johnnycakes and I have been in a total food funk for the past seven days. You might even call it a takeout bender. We haven't been cooking at all! Does this happen to anyone else?

It all started last week when I wasn't feeling well. Plus, we had plans outside the house every evening last week which meant we were eating out. I have to say that, while it's a bit of a break to not cook or clean, I am feeling pretty fat and lazy after a week away from the kitchen. I must have gained 5 lbs.

Plus, we wasted a ton of fresh fruits and vegetables including our Farmers Market goodies from last weekend (corn, cantaloupe, string beans, etc). I hate to be so wasteful.

So what have we eaten this week? Chik-fil-a, tons of pizza, Salsarita, nachos at a local joint, Beach Bum sandwiches, pad thai from the farmers market, cheeseburgers, fries, stuffed shells.... The list goes on! We pretty much wasted a ton of money, tons of fresh groceries and tons of hard work on futile workouts.

I am just hoping we can get our butts back in gear and back in the kitchen. After all, the Couple of Cooks fundamentals revolve around health, convenience and economics. But not tonight, we're going to kill the leftover pizza in the fridge.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Steak Dinner

Johnnycakes and I were in the mood for a good ol' fashion steak dinner on the grill. The weather was so beautiful here in Baltimore this evening that we decided to dine al fresco our new picnic table. It's been a little too warm these past several weeks.

We kept things pretty simple by just using up whatever flavors and veggies we had easily accessible in the fridge. I marinated the sirloin steaks in lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper for a couple of hours in the fridge.
We rounded out the dinner with steamed cauliflower, grilled mushrooms and red onions marinated in white cooking wine and olive oil, delicious fresh corn on the cob and a mayonaise pesto sauce to top the beef.
All the veggies were winners tonight and were the true stars in tonight's dinner. I decided that I like steamed cauliflower with salt, plenty of pepper and butter better than steamed broccoli. The jury is still out for Johnnycakes. He seems to prefer the green stuff. The wine flavoring really enhanced the mushrooms and onions which I seem to love anyway I can get them. The corn, from the local farmers market, was super fresh and sweet. The pesto mayo sauce was a last minute concoction. We've had homemade pesto in the freezer for a while and wanted to finish it off while trying something new. I don't think the mayo really added that much to it but it was worth a shot.
The weather was lovely and the food was tasty. What more can you ask for?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Summer's Bounty

You know Summertime is in full swing when the local farmers market is overflowing with fresh abundance. The peaches, nectarines, corn, melons and tomatoes are in season and every market stand features plenty of variety.

We picked up a few unique fruits and vegetable to enjoy this week, including a "great white" heirloom tomato, white nectarines, a cantaloupe, sweet corn and purple string beans. We were intrigued by the crazy colors and names of your typical everyday fruits and veggies. I don't know about you but I've certainly never seen purple string beans.
The corn is so delicious. The vendor was handing out raw pieces of corn to sample. It was irresistable and it wasn't even cooked! We had to pick up a half a dozen ears for the week.
We also love heirloom tomatoes and have been waiting for them to make their annual appearance at the market. It seems like the selection of their colors, shapes and names are endless. Last year, we made a delicious pasta sauce from a variety of heirlooms. We haven' quite decided what to do with our first heirloom of the year.
Another Johnnycakes and Butters favorite is white nectarines. Like white peaches, their flesh is white instead of the standard yellow tinge. They are also a lot sweeter than the regular yellow fruit. I'll be sure to go to the market the next several weekends to make sure I stock up. We wait all year for the white peaches and nectarines!
As you can see, we'll be eating plenty of fresh and healthy foods this week thanks to our local farmers market. Keep an eye out for this week's meals featuring the purple string beans and corn.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Eggplant Parm and Other Stuff

I love Eggplant Parmesan. So does Johnnycakes. It can be a little time consuming to make so we really don't prepare it that often. I think that makes it extra special.

Because we go such a long time between making it, we never really prepare it the same way twice. We definitely do a little head scratching and troubleshooting to remember why it was so good the time before. Somehow, the eggplant parm always turns out delicious!
First things First. I sliced the eggplant in thin round slices and sprinkled the disks with salt in order to "sweat" the eggplant. Apparently, this takes some of the bitter flavor out of the eggplant. The eggplant does truly "sweat" or at least it releases some sort of liquid through this process.

Then we blanched the notoriously tough eggplant in order to soften it before baking.

In the meantime, I chopped some vegetables that we had in the fridge, including onion and mushrooms. I wish I would have added carrots to sweeten the dish but I didn't think of it until afterwards.

Next, I tossed the blanched eggplant in seasoned breadcrumbs. Since the slices were already wet, I didn't need to use any egg, etc. for the bread crumbs to adhere to the egg plant.

At this point, I already started layering the ingredients into a large casserole dish. First, I coated the pan in extra virgin olive oil. Next, I added a thin layer of canned spaghetti sauce, followed by the onions and mushrooms. I began layering the breaded eggplant so that it covered the whole pan. We also decided to slice up some Aldi's sun-dried tomato chicken sausages for a little extra flavor and protein and add it to the dish.

Here's the best part; Johnnycakes started hand grating Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese on top of the layers. We finished up the layering by adding the remaining veggies and spaghetti sauce followed by MORE CHEESE!

We baked the eggplant parm for 40 minutes on 375 degrees. We knew to take the dish out because you could see the dish boiling from outside and the cheese was beginning to brown.

This was well worth the wait. I almost can't stop myself when I start to eat eggplant parm. Oddly enough, I usually don't like ordering eggplant parm in a restaurant because the eggplant is too fried. I think is why I enjoy baking the dish at home.

We topped the dish off with a side salad and a makeshift piece of garlic bread made from a leftover hamburger roll.

Now I can't wait to eat the leftovers for lunch and dinner tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Johnnycakes Special

Johnnycakes made me dinner tonight. I didn't even lift a finger. In fact, I don't really know that much about the preparation. All I know is that it was tasty! Johnnycake's dishes are always full of flavor because he is more creative in the kitchen than I am.

Johnnycakes took a much needed vacation day today so he had time to prepare dinner. In fact, he was almost ready to eat by the time I got home. I always exercise when I get home from work before I start dinner, so I'm usually feeling rushed. Not tonight! All I did was show up at the dinner table.
The menu? Grilled lemon (yes, we still have lemons) chicken with a hint of barbecue seasoning, green beans prepared with black pepper and rice vinegar, and delicious roasted olive oil potato wedges. Tonight's dinner was a grand slam! It wasn't fancy but it was full of taste and flavor. I don't know how he does it. I dipped the potatoes in ketchup and the chicken in some honey mustard dressing for a little extra punch.
We have plenty of leftovers too. I am looking forward to having those flavors again for lunch!
On a side note, I did help with the dishes since Johnnycakes worked so hard to fix dinner!

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Couple of Cooks Creation: Johnny's Wontons

Tonight we made one of our classic dishes. Johnny's Wontons! I promised a while back that I would describe how we make them in an earlier post http://coupleofcooks.blogspot.com/2007/05/clean-house.html.

These are the best because, though they take a while to assemble, we always have leftovers in the freezer and get to enjoy them at a later date. Of course, we each had our share of the little treats tonight.

Usually Johnnycakes takes the lead on assembling the wontons but we were pressed for time tonight, so I helped.

Johnny's Pork Wontons
Pork Filling:

1 lb. ground pork

2 tsp. ground ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. Soy Sauce

2 scallions, chopped

1 carrot, shredded julienne style

Mix all together and stuff each wonton wrapper with about 1 tbsp. of meat mixture.

The assembly line involved several steps:

1. First, you take a wonton wrapper and wet the edges on just two adjacent sides of the wrapper.
2. Then you stuff each wrapper with about 1 tbsp. of meat
3. Then you fold the wrapper diagonally, making sure that no meat pops out the sides.
4. Seal the wrapper by crimping it with a fork.
5. Fold the two sides inward so that they touch each other at the center of the wonton. (No Photo!)

You can either pan-fry the wontons in sesame oil or steam them. I prefer them steamed because they end up with a softer texture. They steam for about 15 minutes covered but you probably want to test them for doneness with a meat thermometer. I'm kind of crazy about that "doneness" kind of stuff.

We serve the wontons with a dumpling sauce. We usually use a store-bought variety but we decided to try and make our own. It turned out quite well.

Homemade Dumpling Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup of Soy Sauce (reduced sodium)
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. garlic juice (from jar of minced garlic)
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil

I know it seems like a lot but you always end up with extras in the freezer. Johnnycakes are always so glad that we took the extra time to make them. The tasty reward is always worth the effort!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A New Twist: Lemon Mojitio

I read recently that the Mojito, which is always paired with lime, was originally made in Cuba with lemons. I think I read this in the June issue of Self Magazine but I will have to go back and double check. I'm not sure when the lime became more popular but I was curious to try the drink with lemon instead. Plus, if you have been reading this blog lately, you know that I have a lifetime supply of lemons I am trying to use.

Lemon Mojito

3 sprigs fresh mint
1/2 lemon, squeezed
1.5 oz. light rum
1 TBSP. sugar
club soda

Crush mint sprigs in the bottom of the glass using a spoon and sort of smear the mint around the sides of the glass to release the flavors. Squeeze half a lemon in the glass. Add jigger of rum and sugar. Fill glass with ice and then top of the remaining portion with the club soda. Mix and enjoy!

This was quite yummy! I originally only added two teaspoons of sugar but I thought it needed a little more. The drink was very refreshing and I didn't even think about the lime. It's enjoyable in it's own way.

This beverage was about the height of my culinary adventures this weekend. Very little time at home translates to very little cooking.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Steamed Crabs - A Baltimore Tradition

Like most good Baltimore folk, Johnnycakes and I love us some steamed crabs. We got to show that love tonight when we went out for some of the delicious crustaceans for dinner with our neighbors.

We had been planned to go to Mr. Bill's Terrace in on Eastern Avenue in the Essex area because we had so many great experiences in the past. Many Baltimoreans know about this little spot but it seems like more and more people are becoming familiar with the spot because there was an hour plus (to quote the host) wait for a table. I think the long waits, crowded bar and parking lot are an indicator of how good the crabs are there but we decided to not wait.
Like a good City resident, we decided to support a City business and visit Jimmy's Seafood on Holabird Avenue in Southeast Baltimore. I had heard positive things about the crabs from my boss and we decided to check it out.
The establishment is rather large. There is a carryout, bar with a dining area and a large formal dining area. The lighting was a little low but overall the atmosphere was nice.
Our friendly server let us know that crabs were available for $39, $49, $69, $89 and $99 (!) a dozen. The 89's were called jumbos and the 99's were called monsters! We did get a peek at both the 89's and 99's. I would have to say that the 99's were easily the largest blue crabs I have ever seen in my life. The claws were enormous. In fact, they had a threatening appearance which must be why they are called "monsters".The four of us decided to split a mix of three dozen $39's and $49's.
In addition, I ordered a "personal" size Greek salad, while Johnnycakes ordered a bowl of Maryland crab soup and our neighbors ordered cream of crab soup..

The salad was huge. In fact, I originally ordered a small salad but the server recommended that I downgrade to a personal size because the salads run so large. I ended up splitting the Greek Salad with Johnnycakes anyway in exchange for a few bites of his crab soup. The soup was very good. It had a rather thick consistency for soup but it was full of great taste.

We were a little overwhelmed when the crabs came out because there were so many of them! The seasoning, a mix of Old Bay and rock salt, was very good and it had a somewhat unique consistency compared to the standard seasoning on most crabs. Overall, the crabs were very heavy and packed with meat. Sometimes it can be very disappointing when you order a decent size crab but it is light as a feather and has no meat in it. These were packed with meat. We were not disappointed despite having to return one or two crabs because they were bad. The server eagerly replaced the bad crabs with fresh ones.

One unique characteristic of this crab house is that the restaurant serves an ear of corn still in the husk with each dozen of crabs. The corn wasn't the best I've had this season but I thought it was a nice touch.

I am almost ashamed to say that I ate 10 crabs! Yes. 10 crabs! That is a lot even by Baltimore standards. I can't help it. I can pick some crabs. Luckily, our neighbor's wife is also a crab picker extraordinaire and she must have eaten as many as I did.

Our bill was nearly $200.00, so tonight's meal was definitely not cheap! Crabs seldom are. It's the price you pay to feed your love for crabs! It's almost ingrained in you when you are from this town. Overall, I would highly recommend Jimmy's Seafood. In addition to the crabs, they have a rather large menu that looks like it has a Greek influence. According to the history in the menu, "Jimmy" is of Greek descent.
How many people like to eat ice cream after eating crabs? Johnnycakes and I's families always accompanied crabs with ice cream afterwards but our neighbors had never heard of it. We decided to introduce them to this somewhat popular tradition and went to Coldstone Creamery on Boston Street. Judging from the lines, we were not the only ones that like ice cream but I'm just not sure about the crab part!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lemon Week Continues.... Lemon Pepper Dijon Lamb Chops

Lemon week continues! We still have 4 or 5 whole lemons in the fridge even after tonight's dinner and a second batch of fresh lemonade. We are really doing our best to not waste any of these little tartlets.

We also continued our other weekly theme of emptying out the freezer to avoid the grocery store as long as possible. I defrosted some lamb loin chops but I wasn't entirely sure how to prepare them with lemon. After a brief web search for ideas, I figured out which direction to go in that would incorporate lemon and other ingredients we had in the house. I needed a little extra input on this meal since I don't prepare lamb that often.

I marinated 4 four lamb chops (about 5 oz. each) in the juice from 1/2 a lemon, 2 cloves of pressed garlic, salt and pepper and chilled for about a half hour.

While the meat was marinating, I mixed 1 TBSP. of dijon mayonaise, 2 TBSP. freshly chopped parsley, and 5 crushed Pepper and Olive Oil Triscuits to create a bread-like mush. I covered each loin chop in the mix before baking.

I actually broiled the chops for about 5 minutes before lowering the heat to 375 degrees and baking for 20 minutes. Johnnycakes had an afterthought that we should have pan-seared the chops on each side before baking to "seal in the flavor" as he says. We'll have to remember that next time because I think he's right.

Despite that oversight, the lamb chops were packed with flavor! We both enjoy the unique flavor of lamb but we seldom prepare it or even order it at a restaurant. The last two meals we have prepared with lamb have turned out really well and have been full of taste so I think we might try to incorporate the meat into more meals.
How do you feel about lamb? Do you like to eat it, cook it, both or neither? Just curious to see how others feel about lamb.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lemon Dill Salmon

Tonight's dinner barely got on the table and it was nearly 8:15 by the time we sat down to eat. I picked up about a pound of salmon at the Cross Street Market on my way home since, as I explained yesterday, our freezer is pretty sparse. I figured it would go well with lemon and, like I also explained yesterday, we have plenty of those in the fridge as well!

We marinated the salmon in lemon juice, dill weed, olive oil, salt and pepper and chilled for a half hour before grilling.

We also prepared a lemon dill dipping sauce to serve on the side.

Lemon Dill Sauce

1/4 cup Miracle Whip

1/2 lemon, squeezed

1 TBSP. dill weed

1 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp salt

Mix ingredients and chill for at least a half hour before serving.

Sadly, we were in a rush to eat and pulled the fish of the grill too early. When we went to serve the fish, it was definitely not fully cooked on the inside. We immediately brought the fish back outside to finish cooking on the grill. We were extremely dismayed when we discovered that the propane tank was empty. We've had the tank for less than two months but we've been cooking so much outside that we used the whole 16 lb. tank already. We had to finish cooking the fish inside in the toaster oven!

Monday, July 9, 2007

"Toasted" Summertime Chicken Roaster

An overabundance of lemons got Johnnycakes and I to thinking about what we could make for dinner that would incorporate the sour fruit and whatever meat we had in our near empty freezer. As you can probably tell, we have been grilling almost every night so the chicken roaster in the freezer was feeling quite neglected. Luckily, roasted lemon chicken is one of our favorites!

I defrosted the 3 1/4 lb. bird overnight. Before work this morning, I rinsed and pat dried the bird and proceeded to marinate. I rubbed the chicken in salt, olive oil, lemon juice and fresh rosemary. I made sure to stuff the chest cavity with the lemon rinds for extra flavoring.

We had planned to roast the bird in the oven but around 4 p.m. I got to thinking about putting a Summertime slant on the meal and grilling the chicken instead. Luckily, Johnnycakes is an expert deboner thanks to his Colombian heritage and a family Thanksgiving tradition that involves taking all the bones out of the turkey before stuffing it with various meats and spices. Johnnycakes was up for the deboning since it meant he got to use the grill. He removed the spine of the bird using kitchen shears and flattened the bird so it would fit on the grill.

Unfortunately, we didn't pay close enough attention to the meat while it was cooking and it got a little "toasty". We also decided to grill some tomatoes since, like the lemons, we had lots leftover from our July 4th bash. We sliced the tomatoes and let it marinate in lemon juice (of course!), olive oil, fresh basil, salt and pepper. We then grilled them for a few minutes on each side and topped them w/ about a tablespoon of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese. To round out this colorful meal with some leftover corn on the cob with cilantro lime butter.

The best thing about preparing the whole chicken is that you can sample both light and dark meat and really enjoy both flavors. I ate a wing with a bit of the blackened skin and part of a chicken breast while Johnnycakes enjoyed a drumstick and thigh and some breast. The lemon flavor and aroma was prevalent throughout this summertime meal.

Another great thing about whole chicken is the leftovers! We are both going to have chicken sandwiches for lunch tomorrow with more fresh tomato and mayonnaise. Mmm...

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Sensational Summer Spring Roll

Johnnycakes and I sampled the most delicious fresh spring rolls today from the Baltimore City Farmers Market. One our favorite stands recently started selling fresh spring rolls. They have been selling delicious coconut sticky rice with mango and fried variety of spring roll for some time but last weekend we noticed a man at the stand hand rolling fresh spring rolls.

They looked so fresh that we couldn't pass them up. The stand sells both tofu and shrimp fresh spring rolls with an Asian dipping sauce. I believe we paid $3.00 for two shrimp rolls. I'm not sure if the tofu was the same price.

It was tough to wait until we got home to eat the rolls but we wanted to truly enjoy them since we had eaten a couple of other goodies already.

The shrimp looked like they were going to explode out the top of the transparent rice wrappers. We topped the beautiful creations with the Asian influenced dipping sauce and dug in. The rolls were busting with fresh rice vermicelli, lettuce, cilantro and shrimp. The flavor was very fresh. I ended up just using my hands to dip the roll into the sauce instead of a fork.

This little snack is perfect because it's healthy and tasty so you don't feel guilty after eating it unlike so many other items at at the Farmers Market. The worst thing about the roll is that I ate it too quickly and only had one. Maybe next time we'll buy the shrimp and the tofu kind so that it lasts longer:)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Super Spicy Indian Dish

I love Indian food and we just don't prepare it enough at home or go out to Indian restaurants all that often.
Wow! Johnnycakes and I ate a super spicy chicken Indian dish for dinner tonight. I'm not even sure what you would call it but it's sort of like a curry dish. It was delicious but it really packed a punch! At least we were warned beforehand!

My best friend's fiance's family is Indian and his parents are constantly sending him snacks and spices from India. They loaded us up with some goodies while we were at their apartment last night, which included banana chips, rice sticks and most importantly, these intriguing Indian flavoring packets.

The brand name is SARAS and the varieties included a chicken, beef or lamb and fish packet. Johnnycakes and I were skeptical at first because we usually shy away from sodium and MSG packed prepared flavoring and try to "do it ourselves" when it comes to spices. We were wrong though because the package said "No Preservatives" and the ingredients were all natural items such as "onion, coconut, ginger, garlic, coridander, curry leaves" etc. After brief cooking instructions from our host and a warning about the intense heat factor the dish packs, we went along our merry way with the intention of making the chicken packet tonight for dinner.
We discovered the reason for the cooking lesson the night before was because the package only includes very vague instructions for preparing the dish in a pressure cooker, which we don't own. We figured the dinner also enabled us to clean out the fridge of a lot of vegetables we had leftover from July 4th, including potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, yellow peppers and onions.
Johnnycakes filled a stockpot about halfway with water and let it come to a boil before adding the SARAS chcken flavoring pack, three chicken breasts and three chicken drumsticks. We thought that the mix of light and dark meat would really enhance the dish's flavoring. We also added the potatoes at that time so they would cook with the chicken. After about 15 minutes,we added the rest of the veggies and let the pot simmer for a while. We also had rice cooking in our rice cooker.
Once the rice was finished, we added some flour to the aromatic Indian stew so that it would thicken to our liking. The stew thicken pretty quickly and it was ready to be served.
I picked the dark meat off the bone and mixed it with a little chicken breast before adding it to the rice and stew mixture in my bowl.
Whoah! Boy was it hot! Luckily, some like it hot and I am one of them. So is Johnnycakes. We had to eat the dish a little cautiously because of all the heat but we both loved it. Johnnycakes was in a full sweat by the time he finished his bowl. We both felt that peanuts would have complemented the dish well but unfortunately we are all out. Maybe we can pick some up before we eat any of the leftovers.
We can't wait to try the SARAS fish and beef packets. I wonder what flavors they contain and if they are as spicy? We'll keep you posted on our adventures with these powerful little flavor packets of Indian yumminess...

Thursday, July 5, 2007

4th of July Bash

I know I have been woefully neglectful of my blog this past week but the mid-week holiday has sort of thrown us for a loop. Johhnycakes and I hosted a small 4th of July bash at our house for about 10-12 people. We did plenty of cooking but I'm sad to say that I didn't take to many pictures or make too many original recipes. I was so busy getting the house ready and cooking that I didn't take any blog-related photos. The party goers were mostly neighbors so everyone sort of pitched in and brought a dish. I have to say it was quite a spread.

Here is a list of dishes served at our party:

- honey mustard pork tenderloin

- burgers

- hot dogs

- Italian sausage

- peppers and onions

- orzo pasta salad (yum!)

- corn on the cob with cilantro lime butter

- cheesy potatoes

- corn casserole

- mixed greens with apples, walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese

- jalapenos stuffed with sun dried tomatoes and cream cheese wrapped in bacon

- brownies

- strawberry pretzel pie

- plenty of margaritas and pina coladas

I know that it is a shame that I don't have many photos or recipes to share after I just listed all those delicious dishes. I would say the most popular dish was definitely the cheesy potatoes, followed by the brownies. Sad to say, I didn't make any of those items.

It's definitely part of the holiday fun to cook and feast with all your friends and family.
Too bad all the rain drove the party inside. As you can see from the photo, we had to scramble and bring all the food inside. Things got a little chaotic and everything ended up smashed together on the table.

Good times were had by all! Our house is small and parking is atrocious in our neighborhood so it's pretty rare for us to entertain. I would say our little party was a success.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Lemon Dijon Orange Roughy

Johnnycakes and I ate the most delicious dinner tonight. Like most of our dinners lately, we did very little planning ahead because of our hectic schedules. We both spaced out this morning and forgot to pull meat out of the freezer. We decided to get fresh fish from the Cross Street Market, which is what we always do when we forget to defrost or buy meat.

I picked up a little over a half pound of Orange Roughy from the fishmonger at the Cross Street Market. We grilled it up using our handy fish basket. See below for the fish marinade.

Lemon Dijon Marinade

1/2 lemon freshly squeezed

1 TBSP. lemon pepper seasoning

1 TBP. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. salt

Whisk together ingredients. Top fish with marinade and chill for 30 minutes before cooking.

This recipe was extremely easy but it really packed a lot of flavor. We were both pleasantly surprised how flavorful the tender fish tasted. I love lemon! It really adds a freshness to every dish.

We rounded out tonight's dinner with frozen spinach seasoned with lemon juice, butter, salt and pepper and mini baked potatoes loaded with butter and reduced fat sour cream.
Tonight is a true example of a Couple of Cooks success since the meal proves that you don't have to be super prepared to put a healthy and quick dinner on the table.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Spaghetti Dinner

I have been craving a good ole plate of spaghetti for at least a month but Johnnycakes hasn't been on the same page because of the new grill. I finally won out tonight and we made a delicious red sauce with lots of veggies and meat over Barilla whole wheat angel hair.

I used a store bought bottle of Prego as the base for the sauce and loaded it with lots of extras from the fridge. I chopped up yellow squash, yellow onion, a carrot and half of a red pepper and sauteed the vegetables in extra virgin olive oil and garlic until soft. Meanwhile, I browned 94% lean ground beef seasoned with crushed red pepper, garlic powder, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning in another sauce pan. I also chopped a leftover pork chop and added it to the cooked meat. We combined the meats and veggies and simmered them together while the whole wheat spaghetti cooked in the boiling salt water.

We topped our heaping bowls of spaghetti and sauce with loads of freshly shredded Parmesan cheese.
The food was comforting and not fancy at all but it really hit the spot! The best part about pasta is that there are always plenty of leftovers for lunches during the week.