I don't like the kitchen. Ours especially is pretty old, the cabinets are deep and the drawers are so heavy, I can never seem to find what I need and I always manage to miss a step in a recipe or move too quickly and knock something over. Sean, on the other hand, loves to cook. While I find comfort in sitting on the couch after work doing nothing, Sean winds down in the kitchen. It works to my benefit because I get such great dinners (and typically leftovers, too) and he has a hobby he gets to practice every night at dinnertime. We try to switch up the menu each week, and try new ingredients or the same old ones in a new way. Here are some meals we've had this week -- you'll notice a theme of freshly grated parmesan -- it's my newest obsession.
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Chicken Parm (without the chicken parm) so basically just pasta: [The back story behind this dish was that before we went to the store I asked Sean if we needed to buy chicken so we could have chicken parmesan. He said no, the next day we discovered we only had 1 piece of chicken to split between the 3 of us. So... we altered the plan a bit!] This meal is so simple and so yummy.
- fresh pasta
- chicken breast
- some type of tomato sauce (we use pastene kitchen ready)
- garlic cloves to taste (we use 6... we like our garlic)
- 1 shallot
- salt, pepper and parsley to taste
- fresh basil
- fresh parmesan cheese
For the sauce: Place your garlic and shallot in a pan and sweat out. "We" use this pan for almost everything "we" make. Add your tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and parsley and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. The longer the better. About halfway through, add in some parmesan cheese. Stir occasionally.
For the chicken: Heat a cast iron skillet on high. Cube chicken into thin pieces, add salt and pepper. Pour a bit of olive oil into your skillet and quickly add the chicken to cook. Then mix it in with the sauce.
For the pasta: Boil water, add salt to the water and cook the pasta -- if it's fresh it only needs a few minutes to cook. Strain then add some butter, olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve with the sauce and finish it off with fresh basil and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
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Basil and mozzarella pizza - I'll be perfectly honest I didn't know Sean made this whole pizza from scratch until after the fact. When I asked him to send me the recipes for this week and he sent me this one I was a bit shocked!
- 1 cup of warm water
- 1/2 packet of yeast (let bloom for 10 minutes)
- pinch of salt
- pinch of sugar
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups of flour
Knead ingredients together for 10 minutes. Once it's dough and not separate ingredients it's best to put it in an oiled ziploc bag in the fridge for a few days. So "we" make this on the weekend when we plan to have pizza during the week.
- 16 oz. crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- 2 tbsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- pepper to taste
Sean cooks this in our le creuset for 30-40 minutes. Typically he makes a larger batch and cans it to have on hand when he wants to make pizza. But you can make it and use it right away, too. Honestly... I had no idea.
Putting it all together...
- corn meal
- toppings (sauce, mozzarella, pepper, fresh basil, freshly grated parmesan cheese, olive oil)
Preheat the oven to 525°F with the pizza stone inside. Roll pizza dough in corn meal, stretch it into a circle in the air like they do in restaurants. Put corn meal on your pizza paddle and once your pizza is shaped into a circle you put the dough on the paddle. Shimmy the paddle to make sure there's enough corn meal, if the dough does not slide you need more corn meal. Add toppings -- sauce and mozzarella. Take the paddle and slide the dough onto the pizza stone in the oven (it's super hot!). Cook the pizza for 10-12 minutes but keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn. Use the pizza paddle to remove the pizza from the oven and put it on a pizza platter. Add pepper, fresh basil, freshly grated parmesan cheese and drizzle olive oil over the top of the pizza. Cut and serve!
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Rib-eye with kale and freshly grated parmesan cheese - I got this idea from Love, Taza but I'll write a super brief summary of how to make this and suggest you go watch their video. :)
- 1/2 inch thick rib-eye
- 1 bunch of kale
- freshly grated parmesan cheese
- olive oil
Heat your cast iron skillet on high heat. Salt and pepper your steak to taste. Add a chunk of butter into your skillet and place your steak directly on top of the butter to sear. It only needs to cook a few minutes on either side. [side note: the house gets super smokey! open a window!]
Add a little olive oil to a nonstick pan -- medium heat. Add kale and salt and pepper it to taste. Mix it all up and sautee a bit but not too much.
Serve steak and kale on a plate and finish with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
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And there you have it! 3 meals that can all be made and served in under an hour! And I know that's true because I'm typically the person complaining "I'm so hungry! When's it going to be ready?" -- and it's always ready by 6pm. Always.