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
Of all the stupid walls I built up around food, my preconceived hatred of grits has to be the stupidest one.
Seriously, grits are essentially cornmeal pudding, smooth and creamy, but totally filling (just like polenta, though one is yellow corn and one is white corn from what I Googled) — and polenta/grits have quickly become a food I totally love. That being said, I admit that Week 28, Meal 2: Shrimp and grits is the first time I’ve had the dish and it’s everything I was hoping it would be.
Chef Brian’s version features a spicy shrimp gravy punctuated by salty bacon, the slight burn of jalapeno and a nice kick of cayenne pepper. It’s a dish so good that you’ll want to lick the plate after you’re done.
Feel free. I won’t tell.
Continue reading Week 28, Meal 2: Classic shrimp ‘n’ grits
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
Once upon a couple of years ago I reached into a cookbook Chef Brian gave me for Christmas and took a stab at his waffle recipe.
It was through this recipe that I learned the very important distinction of weight vs. volume — needless to say I chose the wrong measurement and ended up with super-flat waffles. Thankfully, it doesn’t matter if pancakes are flat because, you know, they’re supposed to be.
Here’s the idiot-proof recipe (don’t hold me to that) for Week 26, Meal 1: Orange-ricotta pancakes with honey-pistachio yogurt.
Continue reading Week 26, Meal 1: If you like orange and ricotta …
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
The last time I had short ribs in a restaurant I paid $23 for the plate.
They were great, but I’d argue the ribs I made at home were much better, for much cheaper.
I struggled last week with The Fat Dude Diet, but one bite of Week 9, Meal 2: Red wine braised beef short ribs over spinach and cauliflower puree erased the exhaustion and laziness that prevented me from cooking to my full potential last week.
Let’s get down to business, y’all. Continue reading Week 9, Meal 2: Red wine braised beef short ribs over spinach and cauliflower puree
This might surprise you, but I’m not a huge fan of French toast. It’s simple really — pancakes are just better, hands down.
But I’m no pancake magician. Chef Brian gave me a cookbook for Christmas a few years back with his recipe for pancakes, and it’s a recipe that I’ve never been able to replicate.
On the other hand, it was a simple affair putting together Week 4, Meal 2: Cinnamon French toast with blueberry compote.
So, now, because I can actually make this, I’m choosing French toast. Screw you pancakes. Continue reading Week 4, Meal 2: Cinnamon French toast with blueberry compote
I got home a later than expected from work last night and decided that Huevos Rancheros — originally planned as Week 4, Meal 1 — was just not happening.
So I switched gears and decided to whip up Week 4, Meal 1: Frittata with spinach, mushroom, tomato and feta.
I’ve only ever had one frittata — essentially a baked omelette — and I wasn’t too happy to see this dish on the menu because my previous experience didn’t go well.
As always, Chef Brian came through with a simple, easy-to-prepare dish that whipped the pants off any restaurant egg dish I’ve had in recent memory. Continue reading Week 4, Meal 1: Frittata with spinach, mushroom, tomato and feta
One of my favorite things to eat is polenta (aka corn grits). It’s hearty, creamy and goes great with cheese, so really, what’s not to love?
Well, the cooking process, actually. I’ve always cooked polenta according to the directions on the package, but never ended up with anything as creamy and fulfilling as the results of Chef Brian’s recipe.
Here is Week 2, Meal 1: Thyme-crusted roasted pork over Gruyere polenta with caramelized pear, shallot and ginger pan sauce.
Grits gooey with nutty Gruyere, ginger-spiked pear chunks and juicy pork. Now that’s whassup. Continue reading Week 2, Meal 1: Thyme-crusted roasted pork over Gruyere polenta with caramelized pear, shallot and ginger pan sauce