Tag Archives: Basil

Real Simple magazine: Eggplant lasagna

In my continuing effort to cook most of my meals at home, I went through this month’s cooking calendar on the Real Simple magazine’s website. I put a menu together for the week and plan to link to the dishes each day, just to get back into the habit of blogging meals. This weekend I plan to pick up veggies at the Farmer’s market (SOCO Collection’s spread was incredible last Saturday) and I’ll finally knock out the remainder of the vegetarian menu.

But until then, here’s a vegetarian dish from Real Simple that I was iffy to try, but thankful I did. It’s eggplant lasagna, made with slabs of eggplant (they call for it to be broiled, but I threw mine on the grill), a simple tomato sauce and creamy, herb-spiked ricotta.

Add a side salad drizzled in balsamic vinaigrette and this is both hearty and healthy–for under 400 calories. Here’s the recipe for eggplant lasagna from Real Simple magazine.

Cheap ‘n’ easy: Marinara (or meat) sauce and parmesan polenta

A bunch of my ingredients for Week 29: Salads that don’t suck went bad prematurely, and because I’m on a budget like most everyone else, I chose to postpone the blogging and use my remaining food dollars on meals that I could stretch over a few days.

One of my favorite cheap meals is homemade marinara sauce or meat sauce over parmesan polenta. If you buy grits or polenta once,  you pretty much have grits or polenta in the pantry for a while. Marinara sauce can be made with a couple of cloves of garlic, an onion, tomato paste and tomato sauce.

You can add meat, or pretty it up with fresh parsley or a couple of extra ingredients, but if you need to be cheap about it, you can get outta dodge with a handful of meals-worth of flavorful sauce for about $3, maybe less.

Keep reading to see how easy it is. Continue reading Cheap ‘n’ easy: Marinara (or meat) sauce and parmesan polenta

Week 28, Meal 3: Bayou scrimp

We’ll wrap up Week 28: Southern Comfort with a Louisiana favorite, a wonderful bowl of gumbo.

Now, I’ve had darker, thicker versions–butter and flour loaded stews of seafood and pork  that soothe the soul and fill you up. Chef Brian’s Fat Dude version preserves all of the great flavors of this Southern staple but lightens it way up so it’s easier on the waistline.

Here’s Week 28, Meal 3: Shrimp gumbo. Continue reading Week 28, Meal 3: Bayou scrimp

Let’s talk sandwiches …

Excuse my absence on the blog as of late, it’s been a busy couple of weeks at home between helping my family with a couple of things, enjoying time with my vacationing Wifey Nadia and celebrating the last birthday of my 20’s on Catalina Island.

I’ve cooked one of the meals for our upcoming “Southern Comfort” week, but then I put on the brakes because, well, I have been eating meals out lately. I know I said I wouldn’t, but it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, especially with late nights, birthday meals, incoming visitors–life in general.

But I will be hunkering down, and as I explained with that lasagna cupcakes recipe, I’m looking for ways to make quick meals that fit into, well, life in general. On a positive note, my weight has stayed relatively the same, and I’m not falling victim to processed fast foods, so at least some of my old habits have permanently changed for the better … though not all of them, obviously, lol.

When I need a quick meal, chances are I turn to my panini press. I love sandwiches because you can do pretty much anything with them–I recently made a Southern Chicken Sandwich with chicken breast, havarti cheese, fresh tomatoes, kale and Red Rooster mayonnaise.

Thinking up that crazy combo reminded me of Chef Brian’s Christmas Cookbook, which had quite a few yummy sandwiches in it. If you’re into sandwiches or paninis, try some of these:

-Roast beef with sliced tomato, Swiss cheese, Dijon mustard and horseradish mayonnaise

-Smoked turkey with avocado, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, Dijon mustard and olive oil mayonnaise

-Sliced tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella and basil pesto (recipe)

-Roasted chicken with bacon, tomato, avocado and chipotle mayonnaise (two chopped chipotle peppers  in adobo mixed with olive oil mayonnaise)

-Hot turkey pastrami, cole slaw, Swiss cheese, homemade Russian dressing (Olive oil mayonnaise, ketchup, small diced pickle, easy black pepper)

-Turkey Italian sausage, arugula, ricotta cheese, roasted red bell pepper and basil pesto (recipe)

-Media Noche (recipe after the jump) with citrus-marinated pork, Swiss and pickles

-Roast pork (Media noche recipe below, minus all the Cuban marinade ingredients–so, just salt and pepper), goat cheese, bacon, arugula and fig jam (recipe)

I know that’s a lot to take in, but they’re mostly simple to put together and you’ll have a solid meal in no time. Follow the jump for Chef Brian’s Media Noche recipe.

As a final tip, if you’re in Orange County, check out Cafe Chiarini in Santa Ana for your bread. They’re only open on weekdays, and each (massive) loaf is $10, but split one with a friend and you’ll still have enough to make sandwiches all week (one slice in half is enough for one sandwich, the loaf is that large). It’s my favorite sandwich bread in OC, and totally worth trying if you haven’t yet.

Anyways, on to that Media Noche … Continue reading Let’s talk sandwiches …

Week 27, Meal 1: Mean green shrimp curry

I joked on the Fat Dude Facebook page recently about how I thought green curry paste only came in jars from Trader Joe’s. But the fact that this recipe calls for making Thai green curry paste from scratch reminded me of how far I’ve come in the kitchen.

I used to rely on boxed items as side dishes and pre-marinated meats for the grill or the oven. Now, I freaking make curry paste, and dishes using ingredients I’ve never even heard of before (Thai eggplant, wut?!).

For the first meal of Week 27, Chef Brian serves up a plate of vibrant Asian comfort cooking. Here’s Week 27, Meal 1: Shrimp green curry. Continue reading Week 27, Meal 1: Mean green shrimp curry

Week 27: Thai-m for Thai

Chef Brian’s put out quite a few ethnic menus in the past–Italian, Mexican and Vietnamese dishes come to mind most–but one country he’s left alone until now  is Thailand.

“It kinda surprises me that I haven’t done any Thai menus considering I love it so much, but now is as good a time as any,” he wrote to me.

True, this blog was born at a Thai restaurant–in many people’s opinions one of the best, if not the best in the country–yet we’ve failed to bring some of  those flavors into the Fat Dude kitchen.

No longer. Here’s what’s cooking:

Week 27, Meal 1: Shrimp green curry

Week 27, Meal 2: Tom Kha Gai

Week 27, Meal 3: Grilled catfish with Thai tamarind-chile sauce over cabbage slaw

The seafood recipes make two portions and the Tom Kha Gai soup recipe makes four portions. Follow the jump for the shopping list. Continue reading Week 27: Thai-m for Thai

Week 26, Meal 2: So good this has to be bad for you

Halfway through eating, Wifey Nadia turned to me and said this dish tasted so good that it had to be bad for us. Fresh, comforting and delicious. Nothing bad about that, I say.

I may have overcooked my eggs just a little, depriving myself of the maximum-possible yolk for this dish, but the cheesy polenta and loads of produce in this dish, the fanciest of our three Breakfast for Dinner 2 meals, did not disappoint.

Here’s Week 26, Meal 2: Parmesan polenta topped with asparagus, leek and poached eggs with prosciutto, tomato and basil salsa. Continue reading Week 26, Meal 2: So good this has to be bad for you

Week 26: BFD2

I live in a world where my wife thinks it’s crazy to eat breakfast — my favorite meal of the day — for dinner.

So, take it from me, it’s a big-f’n-deal when I get some BfD. It’s an even bigger deal when Chef Brian is in charge of the menu because he’s just as good at making yummy morning fare as he is at crafting dressed-up dinners.

Here’s what’s cookin’:

Week 26, Meal 1: Orange-ricotta pancakes with honey-pistachio yogurt

Week 26, Meal 2: Parmesan polenta topped with asparagus, leek and poached eggs with prosciutto, tomato and basil salsa

Week 26, Meal 3: Turkey pastrami hash and eggs

As always, each recipe makes two portions. Follow the jump for the shopping list. Continue reading Week 26: BFD2

Week 25, Meal 2: I’ve never had fish like this

I’ve had plenty of fish and salsa dishes, but I’ve never had one like this.

For the second meal of Week 25, Chef Brian’s bringing ahi back with a coriander-and-garlic-spiked marinade that had my palate wondering what the heck hit it. The corn and black bean salsa is familiar enough, but a hint of basil elevated the flavors even more.

Add to it the coolness of sour cream, the creaminess of pureed avocado and a whole lot of sour citrus and you’ve got one heck of a fiesta in your tummy. (So yummy, so yummy.)

Without further ado, here’s Week 25, Meal 2: Coriander and garlic marinated tuna over corn and black bean salsa with avocado puree and lime sour cream. Continue reading Week 25, Meal 2: I’ve never had fish like this

Week 25: Mad Fresh Mex

We’re almost halfway through one year of recipes — this being Week 25 and all — but by the look of this menu, my midterm exam has arrived a week early.

Chef Brian’s “Fresh Mex” menu has a long list of ingredients and I’m a bit intimidated by a lot of prep and a lot of cooking going on at once, but after an easy week of making sandwiches I’m ready to jump into the mix in a big way. Here’s what’s cooking, amigos.

Week 25, Meal 1: Marinated pork loin over jalapeno corn pudding, sauteed peppers, smoky ancho sauce

Week 25, Meal 2: Coriander and garlic marinated tuna over corn and black bean salsa, avocado puree, and lime sour cream

Week 25, Meal 3: Chicken tacos with avocado puree, lime sour cream, and grilled corn-jicama salsa

Each recipe makes two servings. Continue reading for the shopping list.

Continue reading Week 25: Mad Fresh Mex

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