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Monday, March 28, 2011

Soft Beef and Chicken Tacos

I really wanted something healthy today but J wanted Tacos. I felt bad for him since all he had today was a bowl of cereal in the AM. He had an interview with an awesome company (they produce one of my favorite travel/food shows) and had to go to Patrick's in Midtown to fix his computer; he didn't eat lunch at all. I decided to make his with ground beef and I had the chicken.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Veal Parmigiana

Since today I had more time to prep for dinner, decided to make Veal Parmigiana. I got the thin veal cutlet from Stew Leonard's. We were at Stop and Shop today and Jeff liked the look of the Colavita Nests so decided instead of the usual Ziti, I'm using the Fettuccine. It was good but I didn't think it was worth the $2.75 as oppose to my Trader Joe's imported Ziti which is less than $2 a lb. I really need to start watching our budget since we spend minimum of $140 a week on grocery for the both of us and we don't even have big appetites.

For the breading, I used panko bread crumbs with salt/pepper, chopped parsley/basil, shredded Italian cheeses (Parmesan, Mozzarella, Romano) and garlic powder.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

3/19/2011 Dinner

Couldn't get a good night sleep last night since my throat was killing me so all day I was just super cranky. Finally got the chance to take a nap in the afternoon but by the time I woke up it was already 6:30 PM so I decided just to make something easy. Spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread it is! Also since we're stopping by my sister in law Stephenie's tomorrow night for dessert, I made the Sopapilla Cheesecake while I was waiting for the pasta to cook.

This is the Hersey's Toffee Bits cookies I made last night. It was soft and chewy, just the way I like my cookies!

Here are our two cats, Riggs (the one in the tie) and Murtough.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Prayers for Japan

It has been one week since the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It is inspiring to see that even during such horrific tragedy, the Japanese show great strength and dignity. One news report that particularly touched my heart was of the firefighter who continued to help with search and rescue even after finding out his entire family is gone. You can see the video here. I think if I was put in the same situation I would not be able to continue on. If you are going to donate please beware that there are many scams out there and always donate to a reputable charity. You can find a list of legit charities here or here.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Balsamic and Herbs Chicken

I have a confession to make. Even though I love making things from scratch, I find the Lipton/Knorr Rice Sides (especially the chicken & broccoli) extremely tasty. And what goes great with it? Chicken of course!  I marinaded the chicken with olive oil, balsamic vinegar (that's why the chicken looks so dark!), Herbe de Provence (from Panzeys Spices), garlic and shallots. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Date Night: Dinner and a Movie

Tonight we went to Black Rock Oyster Bar & Grill for dinner and went to see Battle: Los Angeles (if you are into action then it's for you). It was our first time going to that restaurant and we had a pretty pleasant time. The place was pack when we got there around 7:30 PM so we decided to just eat at the bar. I got a selection of jumbo shrimp and oysters from the raw bar for appetizer and baked filet of sole with veggie/rice for sides. J of course didn't get seafood, he got an angus burger. I thought my meal choices were delightful and my vodka tonics were nice and strong but J thought his burger was average (this is why you get seafoods at a seafood restaurant not meat!). The pics are kind of crappy since I took them with my phone.

$5555?!  It's really $55.55. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ramen two ways

J can't eat meat on Fridays during Lent so since I'm the cook here I end up not eating meat with him. I do have to admit, there are times in the past when we totally forgot about it. I can count on one hand the vegetables he will eat so this whole no meat on Fridays gets kind of frustrating after couple weeks. He originally wanted fish sticks with mac and cheese but since we were both too lazy to go to Trader Joe's, I ended up just using up whatever I have on hand. I peeked into the freezer and I saw frozen fresh ramen. Miso for me and Shio for J.

J's had Kani (Japanese imitation crab), baby bok choy, shrimp, naruto (fish cake).

Mine had Kani, baby bok choy, shrimp, naruto (fish cake), menma (bamboo shoot) and hard boil egg. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Italian Meatloaf

There's one thing J can't do is cook. He even messed up boxed macaroni and cheese (thank God for the microwavable ones!). Since we didn't live together until we were engaged he had to fend for himself when I'm not around. He stumbled upon Cookin Dinners  while it was still located in Norwalk. He used to go there at least once or twice a month to prepare 10 entrees. Occasionally we would go together and prepare the meals together. The owner George posts a monthly menu of delicious entrees and have all the ingredients prepped for you. All you have to do is assemble it or if you are really lazy/busy he will do it for you and deliver them. You just freeze all the entrees and thaw the entree in the fridge the morning of.  J would get the entrees that can be baked in the oven.

Tonight's dinner was inspired by one of J's favorite, Mama's Italian Meatloaf. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F then reduce to 375 during last 20 mins of baking. 
  • 1 lb ground beef (or whatever ground meats you like)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet pepper (tonight I used a mix of green, red and yellow)
  • 2 or 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 tbs chopped parsley (goes in meatloaf)
  • 1/2 tbs chopped parsley for garnish
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (or more if you like) of any types of shredded Italian cheeses blend (split into 2, 1/2 cup goes in meatloaf, other 1/2 goes on top of meat loaf)
  • 1 tbs ketchup
  • 1/2 tbs yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tbs Worcesterchire sauce
  • 1/3 cup milk
  •  3/4 cup plain bread crumbs (you can use italian bread crumbs but omit the oregano and basil)
  • 1/2 tsb dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsb dried basil
  • 1 tsb salt
  • 1/2 tsb ground black pepper
  • 1 cup marinara sauce (use more if you like more sauce)
Saute onion, garlic, sweet peppers until translucent, let it cool. In a mixing bowl, add parsley, eggs, ketchup, mustard, milk, bread crumbs, oregano, basil, cheese, salt and black pepper then combined with the ground beef and the cooked veggie mixture. Shape the meat mixture into meatloaf shape (tonight I shaped them into 2 mini meatloafs). Pour half of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan (either loaf pan or baking dish) and place the shaped meatloaf on it. Top the meatloaf with the remaining marinara. Bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce the temperature to 375, take the meatloaf out and top with the remaining cheese and parsley. Bake for another 20 minutes.  Serve with pasta. This will probably feed 4 people. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gyudon-Japanese Beef Bowl

This is another fast and easy dish I introduced J. It's a beef dish that is simmered in a sweet soy broth. I think the first time he tried it was from Yoshinoya. J lived in So. Cali. (my old stomping ground) briefly while we were dating. When I went to visit him over summer break I told him there are several fast food places you just have to try when you are in Southern California: Jack in the Box, Carl's Jr., Yoshinoya and of course my all time favorite In-N-Out. I'm ashamed to say that it wasn't until two years ago that I started making it at home. It is one of those dishes that you can alter the recipe according to your liking.

Today the beef I'm using is the thin/shaved beef loin use for ShabuShabu from Nippan Daido, a Japanese market in White Plains, NY. 
  • 1 lb of thinly sliced beef  (you can also use pork or chicken)
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 cup water mix with 1/2 tsp dashi powder (I leave the homemade dashi making to my aunts)
  • 2 tbs mirin
  • 3 tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbs Memmi Noodle Soup Base (optional)
  • 1 tbs Sake (optional)
  • red pickle ginger for garnish (optional)
Saute onion and garlic in butter until onion is translucent then add sugar, water dashi mix, mirin, memmi, sake in the pan. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes then add the beef. Simmer for another 10 minutes, stir it occasionally. Taste the broth and adjust your seasonings, you know if it's too salty add more water or add more sugar if it's not sweet enough. Serve over white steamed rice. 

For veggie, I just sauted baby bok choy with garlic in vegetable oil. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dinner at Mom's

Tonight we went to have dinner at my mom's. Tina also came by to have dinner (silly girl brought her own 黑松沙士 Hey-Song Sarsaparilla). Mom made spring rolls with chicken and shrimp filling (we couldn't resist and started eating it before dinner), beef and broccoli,  (green beans, ground pork, pickled radish, mushroom with sweet soy chili sauce) and sword fish. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Teriyaki Time

Pic from Tina's FB page

When it comes to Teriyaki, I'm really picky so I never order it when I'm out. My aunts' used to own Yoshida's in Milford, CT and made their own Teriyaki sauce (unlike a lot of Japanese restaurants in the US that buy their sauce). Yoshida closed on Oct. 31, 2009 after being in business for almost 20 years. Since then no more homemade teriyaki sauce and the super tasty ginger carrot dressing. So far I've only found one bottled teriyaki sauce I like and it's from Trader Joe's.

Tonight we had chicken and shrimp teriyaki with rice and asparagus. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tired, Cold and Hungry = Take out!

We got home late tonight so decided to order out. Of course when I asked J what he wanted he said Chicken Parm from Via Sforza in Westport. I decided to just get the brick oven Napoli pizza (white sauce, garlic, clams and green onion).  I was surprised that Jeff actually liked the pizza. But seriously, who can resist all that cheesy goodness! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

WTF is going on with Saugatuck?

Mario Batali in Saugatuck?! No more small town charm?

Yes it's true, J and I knew about this for a year now. When Abbondanza closed, J called the realtor to ask about the space and the realtor told him they are in talks with the Batali group. Never did we think it would actually happen. I really want to be positive about this but it's just hard to do.

What I love about the mom and pop restaurants in Saugatuck is that the owners will greet you and make you feel welcome. I'm pretty positive Mario is not going to be there saying hello. What's even more depressing is that not only are they building office buildings/condo, opening unimpressed restaurants but they're putting a damn Dunkin Donuts in where Bridge Market used to be!

I think for now I'm going to be leery about the Batali restaurant. Hopefully once it's opened it will prove me wrong.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sopapilla Cheesecake

I bought two cans of refrigerated crescent rolls since it was on sale at Stop N Shop. Found this super easy recipe for a Sopapilla Cheesecake. Seems fast and easy so I started prepping it while I was waiting for chicken parmigiana to be done baking in the oven. When the chicken parmigiana was done I reduced the temperature to 350 degree F put the pan into the oven for about 20 mins. 

It was freaking delicious! Even J(husband) loves it and he thought it was gross while I was prepping it. It seriously tastes like a cross between a cinnamon roll and cream cheese Danish!

Here is also the brownies I made this past weekend. Half regular half with marshmallows.