Apparently, weekly blog posts were a little ambitious. That said, cooking more dinners hasn’t been! The key has been to keep it simple on weeknights and allow freezer dinners to count.
This week was a prime example of how tough eating at home and together can be during basketball season. We only have three nights together, and out of a piece of luck, somehow got both Saturday and Sunday at home. When I get to cook on the weekends, I like to step it up a bit. Give me a few hours in the kitchen and the need to go out completely vanishes.
Saturday night was crab cake night, at the request of my husband. We spent Valentine’s Day in Atlantic City and went to dinner at Dock’ss Oyster House. We were tempted by the crab cakes, but with family that lives on a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, I tend to grill waiters before ordering them. Ultimately, bell pepper does not belong in crab cakes, so we moved our eyes elsewhere on the menu, but both felt a little deprived. (Otherwise, we had a great meal at Dock’s.) I keep my crab cakes simple as my aunt taught me — mostly crab, no filler, only enough binder to help hold them together to be pan fried.
Another part of this #MoreMealsIn project is to cook other people’s recipes as written. I have a really hard time following a written recipe. I like to rift, but cooking from a recipe is an important learning tool. I spent Sunday in the kitchen making three things: a lemon tart, chocolate french macarons and Plays Well With Butter’s lamb ragu. All came out edible, but the best — the ragu — was probably because I followed the recipe exactly (well, I eyeballed the wine and stock, but made no substitutions or additions). A braised meat is way easier than it sounds and typically only has about 30-45 minutes of active cooking as the rest is all either in the oven or on the stove top. Jess created an oh, so simple recipe that I will definitely be making again.
Tonight I’m on my own and might repeat Friday’s dinner: Dole’s shredded Asian salad topped with cut-up Trader Joe’s chicken fingers. Tuesday is steak and potatoes. Wednesday, I’m going to dinner with college friends, then alone again through the weekend. Only a few more weeks of basketball season left. #SIDWifeLife
Now let’s rewind to Week 2:
It wasn’t as smooth and there was a night of Chinese take out, but it was almost in the plans. I went to drinks with friends in the city and left dinner in the hands of my husband, knowing that was really in the hands of Grubhub.
I’ve been making French onion soup ever since I bought my first Le Creuset dutch oven at a TJ Maxx in Meridian, Mississippi. It was green, 50% off and a weekish before my birthday. I call my mom and asked for an advance. If you don’t own a Le Creuset or Staub dutch oven, they are very, very much worth the expense. I didn’t really need two more, but I put them on our wedding registry and can’t wait for the day I have a reason to use all four at once. This soup is great right out of the pot and excellent as leftovers for lunch or dinner.
Chicken piccata is one of those meals that seems complicated but really isn’t and therefore perfect for a weeknight. I need to refine my recipe (meaning actually measure things out) but will share eventually.
Happy cooking all!