This was actually the first dinner I ever made for Charlie. I am pretty confident a smoke alarm may have been an unwanted guest at our dinner… but it all worked out, right?
This is a main dish that goes with pretty much any side, though we, of course, prefer potatoes. I think Prosciutto is one of the best creations on this earth today. At the market here there is a stand that has homemade prosciutto. It is $14 – per quarter pound. As in $56 a pound. If I had all the money in the world I would buy the wheel and eat it with a fork. It was SO good.
To be honest one of the things I am most looking forward to during our honeymoon. Other than spending time with Charlie, drinking beer, drinking wine, and hiking… is the FOOD. I can’t wait to be in Italy EATING. Just eating all the food. All the gelato. All the prosciutto. All the cheese. California may be short on water, but give me a week in Italy and it will be short on food.
Digressions aside, this is a fast and easy “company” meal. Something to make with short notice and very few ingredients.
H&M dress from 6 years ago. I look so professional.
I love grocery shopping. Probably more than the average person, so when Plated showed up on Rue La La I wasn’t that interested in trying it out. While I was debating whether to buy the voucher, I went to Plated’s website and looked at the meal options – and to my surprise, they looked awesome! For instance one of the available meals I ordered was Skate Fish – something I have only had once, and have been really wanting to try to cook myself. The perfect excuse. The Rue La La discount + my store credit = let’s try this sucker out!
Well the week came (last week) where Plated was needed in our lives. Mostly because we had blown the majority of our food budget on beer and eating out while Tim was here. I went on to Plated’s website to search for meals. Their website is incredibly user friendly. I settled on their Baked Gnocchi, Skate Fish, and Tunisian Chicken, with a scheduled delivery date of 3/25.
I got notice that the box was on its way on Monday, and I was super excited!!! When I got home Tuesday the box was waiting by my door. Not sure who invented the packaging for Plated, but I assume it is an ex-NASA employee. This box is on lockdown. You could easily repurpose it as a cooler.
The first thing I noticed was that one of the recipes they sent me was wrong. (Whoops!) I called to let them know and they apologized profusely and offered to email the right recipe to me, and explained that all of the recipes were on the website as well. The first awesome part was that I got to talk to a real human with very little hassle, and the second part was that they were so nice! I wasn’t upset – just needed the recipe.
Each recipe came with its own bag of goodies – and if an ingredient was loose, it was still labeled. Very organized!!! And I love organized. Like, a lot.
The first recipe we tried was the Baked Gnocchi. I set up all of the ingredients and read briefly through the directions. Word to the wise – don’t do this, instead read the directions VERY thoroughly. What threw me, was that the directions are given in paragraph form. I am more of a list person – so I definitely skipped over a few items in the paragraph, which caused some confusion later. (Not their fault… my fault). Another oopsie – they forgot to send garlic! We got two packets of oregano, but no garlic! Luckily we pretty much always have garlic in the house… for vampire protection and such. When I let them know about the missing ingredient, they credited me $8, which I thought was nice.
I started the gnocchi recipe – it was pretty easy, it did take a little longer than they said. But that may have been my fault… I omitted basil from the sauce, since I’m allergic. (Fun fact!) The sauce was rich and delicious, but also super simple. I’ll definitely make it again using my own ingredients. The gnocchi was great – well made, and considering that I have yet to master gnocchi from scratch, much more successful than our last homemade attempt at gnocchi. In my opinion there was not enough cheese, because there is never enough cheese.
On Thursday we made Skate Fish Schnitzel – it was absolutely delicious but made a disaster out of our kitchen. Like tornado disaster. I think it was worth it. The weird thing about this recipe was that an ingredient (parsley) was given directions on how to prepare – but not what to do with it! We figured it was probably for garnish so we used it during plating. Also, we made the mistake of starting the sauce when the pan was too hot. Insert vinegar explosions and “oh sugars.” Total failure. I didn’t know you could burn mustard. A little bit of lemon on the Skate went a long way, and I like to pretend that this made it “light” because it had less butter.
The sides to the Skate Fish were purple potatoes and fennel. I have had some experience with purple potatoes, which are potatoes that are purple… not terribly complicated. The fennel, however, I had never cooked with. We use fennel seed pretty frequently, but I had never started from the raw stuff. It is really good! See this is the benefit of a service like Plated – you end up trying different foods, and liking them! Definitely a win for Plated.
Our skate fish night was also Tucker’s birthday – so we finished off our Skate Fish with Sprinkles cupcakes. I am #TeamSMore ALL THE WAY. Charlie said the Salty Caramel was average. I don’t even understand why it is a competition. It should be S’More time all the time. Tucker was excited because #TuckerWantsSome finally became #TuckerCanHaveSome! Cannot wait to try out some dog treat recipes in the next month or so.
The last meal was Tunisian Chicken. To be honest I pretty much ordered this for Charlie. He likes spicy food WAY more than me, and this looked spicy and delicious.
The prep was pretty simple, marinate the chicken while you saute some onions and smoosh some tomatoes with your hands. *Cooking Tip* Make sure to remove the seeds when you are cooking with peppers. I learned this the hard way. Actually, Charlie learned for me – I basically made him pepper spray nachos the first year we were dating. It’s a miracle we made it. And in the interest of full disclosure, we added waffle fries. Because we apparently are incapable of eating dinner without a starch.
I had never cooked with chicken thighs prior to this, and I have to say I prefer the breast meat. But Charlie was 100% totally sold on the meal. What is nice about Plated is that even though they sent “spice mixture” they also included in the recipe all of the spice contents, so we can replicate the mixture.
Charlie wants to take the sauce portion of the dish and make a vegetable stew to serve over cous-cous and goat/feta cheese. I think I love him and want to marry him all over again.
Overall, Plated was a great experience. I can definitely see the advantage of a service like this if you’re a busy professional, or live in a city like LA where it takes 3 hours to drive the mile to the grocer. I think I’ll stick to doing my own shopping for now – but I am definitely going to keep my account for the future!
*Please note that Plated in no way compensated me for this average review. I’m not that cool.
Okay so this recipe is not for an actual taco. It’s better. Because it is less messy, and literally takes a blink and wink to make. Once again we rely on our trusty Penzey’s stockpile to produce a delicious meal with minimal effort. We really didn’t change much in this recipe except for shaking up the seasoning a bit!
There are all sorts of different textures in this Taco Soup, there are the crunchy chips, the melty cheese, the yummy veggies. Everything! Ugh, mouth watering now.
Confession. And please don’t hate me. But I kind of really dislike Mexican food. I don’t even like salsa… Obviously living out in San Diego, this is a crime. We’re just a short trip to Mexico and we are surrounded by amazing Mexican cuisine. Charlie has been so great about being patient with my “pickiness,” but at the same time, he likes to challenge me, a lot. Therefore, I have come to like some Mexican food. Mainly Tostadas. Tostadas are delicious. Who even knew such a delicious thing existed?
My first introduction to Tostadas came when we were moving out of our first SD apartment. We were trying to avoid buying food at ALL costs, and more importantly trying to use up all of the food we already had. While we were scrounging around the cupboards we came up with: corn tortillas, beans, rice, and tomatoes. Charlie said “Oh! Let’s make tostadas!” At this point I had no idea what they were, and just deferred to Charlie for cooking that night. Well, since then tostadas have become a staple in our household – something I even crave.
What is so great about these is that you can really make them with just about anything in your cupboard. You can use beef/fish/chicken… anything! The only kind of tedious thing is frying the tortillas. But you can always buy pre-crispy tortillas!
These have brought me joy. I am not exaggerating. Real joy. Credit to Whitney for the fantastic photography. Though I did hold a paper bag to serve as a light diffuser. Charlie was so unamused with our photography.
My name is Amanda, and this pizza changed my life. Before today I thought pizza was just ingredients put on a crust. But today… today I realized that pizza is a vessel for happiness inside of my mouth. And I have found the perfect combination of pure edible bliss.
We are constantly getting Swiss Chard in our CSA. The first recipe I made with it was a pasta mustard combo – and it was pretty good. But I quickly realized that to eat Swiss Chard, at least for me, it had to be disguised by something else. Preferably cheese. I came up with this recipe after cooking a few different dishes with Chard. When it came out of the oven and we all took a bite (our friend was over), there was complete silence. I am pretty sure this is the pizza jackpot. AND we can even pretend it is slightly healthy for you! Whole wheat crust! Quinoa! Chard! For the Quinoa, we buy the Costco “Ancient Grains” mixture. It is a reasonable price, cheaper per ounce than plain Quinoa, PLUS it contains lots of other good and yummy things in it. (Millet & Amaranth)
I hope this pizza leaves you as speechless as it left us!
Let’s address the first question I assume you have. What the H is Spaghetti Squash? Oh you already know? That’s great, join the other overachievers in the front row and skip a paragraph.
Spaghetti Squash is like the unicorn of the Squash Kingdom. You never knew something like this existed but then you find it, and you cannot get enough of it. You want to visit lakes with the it, hold its hoof, brush its hair… It is that magical. We received a Spaghetti Squash in our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) a few months ago, and had absolutely no idea what to do with it. So naturally we used the interwebs and googled this squash unicorn. We found that you roast it and it can be used as a substitute for spaghetti. In all of the pictures I was amazed that this squash somehow looked like… spaghetti! I assumed that this was due to some tedious effort to come, as I didn’t read fully through the directions we found. In the end it turns out you have to do basically nothing to transform this gourd into spaghetti. Just gotta fork the crap out of it. (Highly recommend cooling prior to that.)
Anyway our exposure to Spaghetti Squash pretty much opened up our eyes to lots of yummy pasta dishes that we can make slightly less unhealthy by switching out pasta for the squash. Don’t worry – we added extra cheese to make up the difference. We’ve played around with a few recipes (that I will eventually share), but this is by far our favorite. I found a recipe for Penne all Norma and adjusted it for our tastes, and also to serve 300 people, since we love leftovers. Apparently the “Norma” comes from the Opera “Norma” which was composed by Sicilian Vincenzo Bellini. Sicily is where this dish originated. Though I doubt it was with Spaghetti Squash. And there was probably more yelling and definitely more hand gestures.
You may notice I omit Basil (I am allergic), Ricotta (I never use enough), and Tomato Paste (I always forget to buy it anyway) from the Martha Stewart inspiration recipe. Feel free to add these things back into the recipe, if they are your favorites.
Reading the ingredients, these are all actually pretty healthy (sans the heaping Parmesan), and Gluten Free! Hooray for accidentally accommodating food allergies and diets.
Quiche! For dinner? Yes! I don’t know if that actually is kosher, but I love eggs, cheese, and artichokes… and I figured this would be a yummy quick meal. This turned out SO well, and was a delicious left-over as well. It came from a recipe on Health.com. The recipe originally called for egg substitute but instead I did a combination of eggs and egg whites until I had 1 cup of beaten eggs. Depending on the size of the eggs you use – you might want to adjust accordingly.
2 cups cooked long-grain rice
3/4 cup (3 oz) shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
4 eggs and 3 egg whites mixed (1 cup of eggs)
1 tsp dried dillweed
1/2 tsp salt
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1 (15-oz) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
3/4 cup almond milk (you can use fat-free milk)
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 T dijon mustard
1/4 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine rice, 1/4 cup cheese, 1/4 cup eggs, dillweed, salt, and garlic; press into a 9-inch pieplate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes.
Arrange artichoke quarters on bottom of rice crust; sprinkle remaining cheese. Combine eggs, milk, green onions, mustard and pepper. Pour egg mixture over rice and artichokes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until eggs have set.
We had been waiting and waiting for our “kitchen appliances” box to arrive in San Diego (as well as my car… cookbooks… cookie trays… mixing bowls… oh and clothing) when it arrived!!! In this box was what Charlie refers to as “The Game Changer” – my 30-year-old Cuisinart mixer. “But Amanda!” you say, “How is that possible, when you are just a spritely 25-years-old?” It was a wedding gift to my parents, and just like their marriage, it is still magical and extremely productive.
I had never made soup before, so I wanted to make something easier for my intro lesson. I have always loved Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Soup, so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it!
When I went to the grocer I found two butternut squash options – a $1.69 full butternut squash or a $2.99/bag of pre-cut butternut squash. Well, I would have needed to buy three pre-cut bags, and the guy at Trader Joe’s told me that cutting butternut squash was impossible… so naturally I bought the full butternut squash. I love a challenge. Well, he was right… it was awful. But I’m glad I did it because; 1) I proved him wrong and 2) I saved five dollars!
Butternut Squash and Pear Soup
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion – diced
1 small butternut squash (2 pounds) – peeled seeded and diced large
2 pears – peeled and diced large
salt and pepper
1/4 cup low fat plain greek yogurt
chopped fresh chives (if you want – for serving)
In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, cook until translucent (I really don’t know what that means – I cooked it for eight minutes).
Add squash, pears, and 4 cups of water. (Note on this: I didn’t think 4 cups seemed like enough but Charlie told me to follow the recipe and it would be fine – he was right! No need to add more water).
Season roast with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil; reduce to a rapid simmer and cook until squash is soft – 20 to 25 minutes.
In batches, fill a blender half way (don’t get too enthusiastic and fill it more) with soup and puree with yogurt until smooth.
Transfer to a clean pot as you work.
Season with salt and pepper and serve with chives if desired.
Things I will try next time!
Nothing different! I loved the texture and the balance of butternut squash and pear. It is definitely delicious with a grilled cheese!
In Chicago there was this magical place called Homemade Pizza. You could get all sorts of fun and delicious toppings on a yummy thin crust – and then bake it at home! My favorite was the Georgia, Charlie’s was the Buffalo Chicken (gross). Anyway, since relocating to sunny California, I have been craving Homemade Pizza like crazy! I had never made a real home-made pizza before so I was kind of apprehensive about the dough/baking instrument/ingredients/toppings… everything. After all thirteen of our boxes showed up… (Yes – we packed our entire life into two cars and thirteen boxes) I found Charlie’s old pizza baking tray and felt inspired! I searched for pizza recipes and found this one on Real Simple. I changed some of the ingredients/steps… but it turned out AMAZING! Like Meryl Streep Amazing.
Spinach and Artichoke Pizza
1 lb pizza dough at room temperature
1 1/2 cups quattro formaggio (mixture of yummy cheeses of your choice!)
4 oz light cream cheese
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 1/2 cups marinated artichoke hearts
2 cups spinach
salt and pepper
Form pizza dough into a 12-inch circle on a floured surface. (Note: This is a pain in the biz-utt, make sure the dough is at room temperature – I had to use a rolling pin and a whole lot of perseverance).
Place pizza form onto a baking sheet (with corn meal on the bottom) or pizza pan.
Spread olive oil over crust – sprinkle salt and pepper.
Break cream cheese into small pieces and place on oiled crust.
Sprinkle 3/4 cup cheese over cream cheese and oil.
Quarter artichoke hearts and spread over pizza.
Cover pizza with spinach.
Sprinkle remaining cheese over pizza. (Feel free to add more cheese – you can never have enough!) 🙂
Bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes.
Things I will try next time!
Cooking the crust for a little bit prior to dressing it up. (Charlie says this will make it crispier!)
Moooore artichokes. Yummy!!
Spreading the cream cheese over the pizza dough evenly before adding olive oil and other toppings!
This weekend I wanted to make a nice dinner – and since I am obsessed with Sweet Potatoes, I decided this would be my main agreement. Luckily, trusty Real Simple rose to the challenge and we ended up with this:
It was SO stinking delicious!!! I got the Ricotta fresh from our Treasure Island (America’s Most European Grocery Store!) and it was just – amazing.
12 ounces spaghetti (3/4 box)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
kosher salt and black pepper
2 shallots, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce)
1/3 cup ricotta
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Add the potatoes, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
Add the shallots and rosemary. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
Toss the pasta with the potato mixture, Parmesan, and reserved cooking water. Dollop with the ricotta before serving.
p.s. I actually had no idea what shallots were before the making of this… But now I do, and they made the taters taste delicious!!