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.
For how much I say I don’t like Mexican food… I seem to post a lot of Mexican recipes? Maybe I’ve just been lying to myself, and I actually love Mexican food…
Anyway, digressions aside… this is the ultimate morning-after-being-overserved breakfast. We made it originally when Tim was in town, constructing a mini-burrito bar in the apartment for everyone to serve themselves from. We combined all of our favorite breakfast foods/burrito fillings and made them into a delicious breakfast burrito! Yum. Charlie and his brother took it one step further, and actually crushed tortilla chips as a first layer to the burrito. So creative!
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place bacon in a single layer on paper.
Add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil into a cast iron skillet. Cut potatoes into 1-1 1/2 inch cubes. Add potatoes to skillet and season with salt, pepper, and rosemary.
Place both taters and bacon into heated oven. Set time for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, check and stir taters and check bacon. Continue to check in five minute intervals.
The taters should take about 30 minutes until they’re soft and just starting to crisp. After they soft in the oven, place on stovetop and crisp on medium-high.
The bacon will take about 20 minutes to crisp. After bacon is done, chop into 1 inch pieces.
While bacon and taters are cooking, chop tomato and pepper and place in a bowl.
In a separate skillet – cook eggs as desired. (We chose scrambled!)
After all burrito innards are finished cooking – line a large flour tortilla with cheese (and crumbled chips if desired). Microwave for 30 seconds.
Fill warmed and cheesy burrito as desired. Roll up, and top with guacamole!
*Chef Note: I did make a little “sauce” out of the beans/tomatoes/peppers… but I preferred the fresh ingredients better. If you would like to make the sauce, just mix a portion of the fresh veggies and beans and sauté them for 10-15 minutes until soft.
We recently received Dandelion Greens in our CSA, and I found myself in the all-too-familiar “What on earth is this?” Luckily, per the previous link, our CSA Company, JR Organics, does a great job of describing what the contents in our box are, and also how to store everything! I figured the taste would be pretty close to Arugula, but it was actually more bitter and less pepper-y. Either way, it was pretty delicious.
I wanted to use it for an appetizer over the weekend, not because we were having people over. But because I like snacking. Charlie wanted to make his Reuben Dip, so I decided to add Dandelion Greens and Parmesan Pups to make it a wholesome rounded meal. (Please note, I am not a nutritionist, but I do know this is not a wholesome rounded meal.)
I used a Martha Stewart salad and picture as inspiration and ended up making the wraps a lot denser than I think I would if we were bringing this over to someone’s house, or using it as just an appetizer. I am going to have the recipe reflect a thinner filling and more prosciutto. Because the world could ALWAYS us more prosciutto. For real.
I also got to work with dates for the first time. You want to cut them hot-dog length, not hamburger-length, to de-pit them.
Also, Tucker once again was VERY interested in the meals we prepared. I feel like #TuckerWantsSome could be the next #TheoandBeau…
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.
I often find myself craving cookies without the desire to make individual cookies. Mostly because I’m lazy and sometimes because I have had too much wine. Before you feel too badly for me, I found a solution – Chocolate Chip Bars.
These were a favorite of my Mom’s when we had to make cookies fast, but had other things to do other than clearing out a batch every 14 minutes. These can be made in a 9×13, a heart shaped cake pan, a skillet, or a microwaveable mug. The best part about these is you can make them as “done” as you want. My preference is to eat them with a spoon.
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.
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!