Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day #210 - Five Guys

I am on vacation.   The blog is not.    For the next week, my blog will be featuring the meals I eat out here in sunny California!   My parents and I arrived in CA tonight, and our first meal was at the Five Guys Burgers & Fries joint here in San Jose.    If you have never been to a Five Guys, you basically choose your burger size (little or regular), and then name your toppings.  Tonight I had the little cheeseburger (1 burger patty) with BBQ sauce, sauteed onions, and sauteed mushrooms.    We all ordered a large fries to share.
While you wait for your Five Guys burgers to be cooked to order, they also have roasted peanuts in the shells  available to nibble on.   They were salty and addicting!!  I had dozens of them before and after my meal.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day #209 - BBQ Ribs

Tonight I went to my parents' house for dinner.   Mom cooked up a very colorful dinner for us: BBQ ribs, corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers seasoned with dried dill, and chopped cantaloupe.    Dessert was vanilla frozen yogurt with diced peaches.  A perfect summertime meal!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day #208 - Ham Steak

Tonight's dinner was pretty basic.  I cooked (well, preheated) a ham steak in a large skillet on the stovetop, and then added a glaze of apricot preserves and spicy mustard.  I also heated up some frozen corn kernels as my vegetable side for dinner.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day #207 - Ham & Cheese Quesadilla

After work today, I got so involved in running errands and other tasks around the apartment, it was almost 7pm before I realized I hadn't eaten dinner yet.  So I made something quick and simple: a ham & cheese quesadilla.  A whole grain tortilla, a little honey mustard spread, several slices of deli ham, and sliced colby jack cheese.   Zapped in the microwave for a minute, until the cheese was melty, then cut into wedges. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day #206 - Burgers & Corn-on-the-cob

I went over to my parents' house for dinner tonight.    Mom cooked dinner.    We had stovetop-grilled hamburgers, corn on the cob, and spinach salad.

My hamburger was topped with American cheese, bacon, bread & butter pickles, and BBQ sauce on a toasted sesame bun.
The spinach salad was leafy green lettuce with crumbled bacon and a sugar-vinegar dressing.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day #205 - Italian Pot Roast

I know this probably looks like a nice, fancy, slow-cooked pot roast, and I wish it was.  Instead, it came from a microwave container.  One of the Hormel microwavable meals - Italian Pot Roast.   I simply cooked it in the microwave for 5 minutes.   I also took some of the extra quinoa from last night, and reheated it with a little parmesean cheese and dried Italian herbs.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Day #204 - Chipotle Corn Chicken

 This is a mixture that I sort of made up as I went along.

I started by bringing 2 cups of water to a boil in a small skillet, and then cooking 1 cup of quinoa for 15 minutes (per package instructions) over medium heat.

While the quinoa was cooking, I prepped the rest of my ingredients:  1 cup of frozen corn kernel, 1/2 apple (peeled and diced), and 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast (cut into 1-inch cubes).   I put the chicken cubes in a tupperware bowl, seasoned with salt, pepper, and chipotle seasoning, and added a few drizzles of lime juice.  I put the lid on the tupperware and shook to fully coat the chicken cubes.  

Once the quinoa was cooked, I removed it from the heat and let it rest.    During this time, I heated up a little olive oil in my skillet, and cooked the chicken cubes until no longer pink, about 6 minutes.  I then dumped in the corn kernels, and sauteed with the chicken for another 3-4 minutes.   I seasoned the chicken & corn mixture with a little more chipotle seasoning, and a palmful of dried herbs (parsley, oregano, and chive).  I then added the diced apple, and let it all sautee for another couple minutes.

The apple & corn added a little bit of sweetness to cut the spice of the chipotle seasoning on the chicken.  And the lime juice that was added to the chicken added a nice little twist of flavor in the background.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day #203 - Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwiches

This is a sandwich twist on Chicken Cordon Bleu.   I cooked a breaded chicken patty and some sweet potato fries in a 400-degree oven for 16 minutes.  I then took a couple slices of thinly-sliced deli ham and sharp white cheddar cheese, placed them on the chicken patty, and put it back in the oven for a couple minutes.   Once the ham was warm and the cheese was melted, I placed it on my whole grain bun with a little mayonnaise and mustard. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Day #202 - Cheddar Brats

Happy National Hot Dog Day!

I didn't have any hot dogs on hand, but I did find some Cheddar Beef Brats in the freezer.  I thawed them out then cooked them in a skillet.  Served them on a bun with some cheddar cheese, spicy mustard, and pickle relish, with some SunChips on the side.   Dessert was a bowl of vanilla Greek yogurt with peach slices.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day #201 - leftover night

Friday.  The end of a long, hot workweek.   I have no appetite or desire to cook, so I simply reheated the ditalini pasta from the fridge with a little added butter and Italian seasoning.   Good enough.

Day #200 - Open-Faced Turkey Melt

I can't believe I missed my 200th day!!  I'm slacking!

Thursday when I got home from work, I was too hot and tired to cook dinner.   Plus, my fridge and pantry are running a little bare this week, but until the weather cools down, I don't want to go grocery shopping.  So I threw together this light dinner  - an open faced sandwich (turkey, salsa, and colby jack cheese on whole grain bread), baby carrots, sliced white cheddar cheese, and a small handful of SunChips.

And then around 9pm, our electricity went out so I couldn't post the blog.  Our building was out, and so was our entire block.   The heat must have knocked out part of the grid.   Very frustrating!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day #199 - Pancake Breakfast

Tonight I went over to mom's house for dinner before we headed to the Muny to see Singin' in the Rain.   After scouring my blog, mom determined that it has been a while since I made waffles.  So tonight she decided on breakfast for dinner - pancakes topped with maple syrup and sliced strawberries, bacon strips, skillet-fried potatoes, and sliced cantaloupe.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day #198 - Chicken California Sub

Tonight I was in Downtown St. Louis for the NKOTBSB concert.   (That's the New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys, for those of you not up with boy band abbreviations).   Before the concert, a group of us (mainly my cousins, their 2 children, and one of their friends) went to Union Station to grab some dinner and hang out a bit.  We went to the food court, so we could find something for everyone.   I ordered my dinner from Charley's Subs - a menu of hot grilled sub sandwiches.    I ordered the Chicken California - thin-sliced chicken breast, provolone cheese, ranch dressing, lettuce and tomato - with a side of hot golden fries.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day #197 - BBQ Beef & Potato Salad

Tonight's dinner was made by my friend Holly.   After work this evening, Holly and I paid a visit to some friends from college and their newborn twin boys.  She was bringing the new parents a homecooked meal, and  was generous enough to pack a doggie bag for me as well!   Inside was a tupperware of BBQ beef, potato salad, 2 sesame rolls, a handpicked peach, and 2 waffle cookies from France.    Tonight I ate one of the BBQ beef sandwiches and some of the potato salad.  The potato salad was a new recipe she tried - potatoes, sour cream, a little mayo, shredded cheddar cheese, and diced bacon.  Sort of a "loaded baked potato" potato salad.  It was very good!   The rest of the food will be going with me to work tomorrow for my lunch!

Thanks, Holly!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day #196 - Simple Ditalini Pasta

Tonight I didn't have much appetite or energy to cook.   Probably due to the heat.  So I cooked up a quick pasta dish, which I am calling "Simple Ditalini."   I started by bringing a pot of water up to boil.  Once boiling, I threw in 2 chicken bouillon cubes, instead of salt, to help flavor the water and pasta.  I cooked the Ditalini pasta for 8 minutes until al dente, drained the pasta, and then mixed in a small pat of butter, a palmful of grated Parmesan cheese and a few dashes of Italian seasoning.  Quick and simple.  

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day #195 - Oven-Baked Crunchy Chicken Tenders

Tonight I baked up some crunchy chicken tenders.   I took a couple large boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them into 3-4 strips each.   I coated each strip with a light drizzle of olive oil, then pressed them into a plate of crumbled Garden Salsa SunChips.   I put all of the chicken tenders onto my stoneware pan, sprinkled them with Pampered Chef Smoky BBQ Rub, and baked them in a 375 degree oven for 24 minutes, turning over halfway.
Along with the chicken tenders, I made a small garden salad of romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and honey mustard dressing.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day #194 - BBQ lunch and evening "snack"

Today was our company's July BBQ.   I filled up at lunchtime with a plateful of smoked ribs, watermelon, pretzels, and tomato cucumber balsamic salad:

Between all the barbeque food, and the hot temperatures outdoors, I did not have much appetite come dinnertime.   Instead, I just had a light evening snack of crackers, ham, white cheddar cheese, and peach slices:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day #193 - Steak & Asparagus

Tonight, I cooked up this rib-eye steak and asparagus on my stove-top grill pan.   The steak was seasoned with crushed black pepper and a little chipotle rub.   The asparagus was tossed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar before being grilled.   I drizzled a little more balsamic vinegar over both the asparagus and the steak after they finished cooking.   I finished off the meal with a bowl of watermelon cubes (not pictured).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day #192 - Ham & Egg Sandwich

Breakfast sounded like a good idea for my dinner, so I made a ham and egg sandwich.   I took a couple thick slices of ham and heated them in a skillet with a little Jamaican Jerk rub (Pampered Chef).   I used the same skillet to cook my egg.  Piled the ham, egg, and shredded cheddar cheese on my whole grain sandwich thin.  A filling breakfast for dinner!   And frozen peach slices for dessert.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day #191 - Chorizo Cheesesteak

Remember the chorizo skillet dinner I made a few nights ago?   I still had plenty of leftovers in the fridge, so tonight I repurposed the skillet meal.  And so the Chorizo Cheesesteak was born.   
I took a few large spoonfuls of the skillet leftovers (chorizo, peppers, onions, and tomatoes) and reheated them in the microwave.   Meanwhile, I took a hoagie roll and toasted it in my toaster oven.   Piled the chorizo mixture on the roll, topped with provolone cheese, and zapped in the microwave for another 10 seconds until the cheese started to melt.

I actually preferred this "leftovers remix" over the original dinner!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day #190 - Chicken Patty Sandwich

It's too hot to cook with the oven or stove, so I heated some chicken patties in the small toaster oven.  The sandwich is a whole grain Sandwich Thin, romaine lettuce, chicken patty, provolone cheese, sliced tomatoes, and a little black pepper to season.   I also had a handful of fruit & nut trail mix on the side, instead of chips.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day #189 - BBQ Chicken Pizzas

Tonight I made some mini BBQ Chicken Pizzas using the leftovers from last night.  I started with a base of a Multi-Grain Sandwich Thin.  I spread on some honey barbeque sauce, and topped with some leftover chicken thigh.  I also took some leftover corn-on-the-cob, cut the kernels off the cob, and sprinkled those on my pizzas.  I wasn't sure how corn would turn out on the pizzas, but it worked well with the chicken and BBQ sauce.   I also added some diced green bell pepper to my pizzas, drizzled a little extra BBQ sauce over them, and sprinkled with grated parmesean cheese.   I cooked the pizzas in a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes, while I also cooked the sweet potato fries.  After 10 minutes, I added slices of provel cheese over the pizzas.  I put the tray back into the oven and cooked for an additional 6 minutes, until the fries were crispy and the pizza cheese had melted.   

It was a nice playful twist on last night's leftover BBQ chicken and corn.

P.S.  I know I talk about these Sandwich Thins quite often.  So for those of you who are not familiar with them, here is what I am talking about:   Multi-Grain Sandwich Thins

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day #188 - Grandma's Birthday

Happy 85th Birthday to my Grandma Raidt!!   She is one of my biggest blog fans and followers.

Tonight, all of the in-town family joined together at my parents' house for a birthday dinner.   We started with a chilled watermelon & mint soup, drizzled with a yogurt swirl, and afresh mint leaf garnish:
(Something tells me my parents have been on too many cruises, if they are serving chilled fruit soups!)
The soup was very good, in addition to the lovely colorful presentation.   The mint kept it from being overly sweet and dessert-like.   A nice start to the meal!

The main course consisted of barbequed chicken (breasts and thighs), corn-on-the-cob, creamy mashed potatoes, steamed asparagus, and mini poppyseed rolls:

The chicken was very moist and succulent, due to being marinated and then grilled on the Weber charcoal grill.  The asparagus was steamed to al dente, and still had its vibrant green color.  The corn was wonderful.  Locally grown corn always tastes best in the summertime.   And the mashed potatoes were extra rich and creamy, due to the milk, cream cheese, and sour cream!   Yum!

Dessert was provided by my Aunt Linda.  She made an excellent pineapple upside down cake.   I devoured most of my slice before I remembered to take a picture:

A wonderful meal from start to finish!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day #187 - Pizza!

Fridays are good nights for pizza.  

As I was foraging through my fridge and freezer to locate something for dinner, I found a Totino's Party Pizza - the pepperoni variety.   I "jazzed" it up by adding some diced ham, diced green pepper, grated parmesean cheese, crushed black pepper, dried garlic seasoning, and Italian seasoning.  It tasted much fancier than a straight-out-of-the-box, boring Pepperoni pizza! 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day #186 - Chorizo Skillet

Tonight I cooked up a skillet meal using chorizo.   Here is the quick recipe:

Chorizo Skillet Meal (serves 4)
1 package raw chorizo sausages (4-5 sausages)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup corn & black bean salsa
1/2 cup chicken stock (or broth)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Rice, any variety (I used Uncle Ben's Brown & Wild Rice Pilaf)

Preheat large skillet over medium-high heat.  Slice the casings of the sausages and remove the chorizo.  Add chorizo to skillet and cook through, using a spatula to help break up and crumble the meat.   Once the chorizo is fully cooked (but not necessarily browned), drain off any excess fat, if present.   Add onion and green pepper to skillet, and continue cooking with chorizo for 2-3 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.  Stir in the salsa, chicken stock and tomato.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Prepare rice per the package instructions.   Add a small pile of rice to your plate, top with spoonfuls of chorizo mixture, and sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Day #185 - Jerk Chicken

Tonight I ate dinner at my parents' house.  Mom prepared chicken breasts that had been seasoned with Pampered Chef Jamaican Jerk rub, steamed broccoli with shredded cheddar cheese, baked potatoes, and a garden salad.  I chose the Chocolate Balsamic Fig Vinaigrette dressing for my salad.  This was probably the biggest, most completely balanced meal I've eaten in a long time!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day #184 - Brisket & Orzo

Took some of the leftover beef brisket from last night and reheated it over a bed of orzo pasta.  Sort of a distant twist on chili mac?   However strange the dish looks, it tasted good.  The juice from the brisket formed a nice sauce on the orzo.    I still have a couple servings of the brisket leftover - I wonder where it will appear next??

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day #183 - 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day, America!

The 4th of July is usually a big day for barbeques and grilling.  But I did neither of those options for my dinner.  Instead I used my crockpot and made a delicious BBQ Beef Brisket with slaw for my side dish.

The BBQ Beef Brisket recipe I followed was from Tasty Kitchen:

The brisket I bought from the store was only 3 pounds, so I cut down the sauce recipe, using only 1 bottle (12 oz) of beer and 3/4 bottle of BBQ Sauce.  Instead of using cumin in the sauce, I chose to rub the brisket with my chocolate-chipotle rub before submersing it in the sauce.  It added a nice sweet & spicy flavor in contrast to the tangy beer and BBQ sauce.   All day long I suffered with the smell of the brisket cooking in the crockpot.   By the time dinner was ready (8 hours later), the brisket just fell apart at the touch of my fork.  I piled it up on a nice crusty hoagie roll and chowed down.

I also tried a new slaw recipe for dinner, also from Tasty Kitchen:

The only modifications I made to the recipe were using red wine vinegar in place of the apple cider vinegar, because that was all I had on hand.   And instead of using a head of cabbage, I took a shortcut and just bought a bag of cole slaw mix, with the cabbage and carrots already shredded.   Oh, and I added dried cranberries to the slaw, to add a little extra color and tangy-ness. 

Delicious summertime dinner!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day #182 - BLT Salad

Tonight I made another large salad for dinner - Romaine lettuce, mixed spinach, diced green bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, shredded mozzarella cheese, crumbled bacon, honey mustard dressing, and crushed black pepper.   It was a giant BLT, except in salad form instead of on a sandwich.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day #181 - Grilled Cheese with Ham & Pear

I was experimenting with grilled cheese - two slices of whole grain bread, spinach, shredded Italian-blend cheese, ham, and thinly sliced Bosc pear. 

According to the USA Pear website:
Bosc pears are easily identified by their long, tapered necks, long stems, and skin that is naturally russeted to a cinnamon brown color. They have a dense, fragrant, honey-sweet flesh with a smooth texture that holds its shape well when heated. It is an excellent choice for eating fresh as well as for cooking.

I sliced the pear as thin as I could, so I didn't have too much thickness to bite through. It added a nice sweetness against the flavors of the cheese, ham, and grainy bread.    

I enjoyed this sandwich, much more than a plain grilled cheese!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Day #180 - BBQ Chicken Drummies

These chicken drummies caught my eye at the grocery store yesterday, and I thought they would make a good meal for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.   I seasoned the drummies with salt, pepper, and Pampered Chef's Barbeque rub, and then browned them on all sides in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  I transferred the drummies to a 9x13 baking dish and poured on the BBQ sauce!   I cooked them an additional 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven, turning them over and basting them with more sauce about halfway through.   I also used the same temperature oven to cook up some sweet potato fries.