Just in case you don't think there is any rhyme or reason to this dinner blog, here it is: It's a rotating week. Monday Beat the Blues Comfort Food; Tempting Tuesday; Casserole Wednesday; Tasty Thursday; Featured Friday (where I feature a special person and their recipe); Saturday Side Dish; Sunday Soups/Scoops/Specials. Each week I'll be blogging on a different day, so there's something new about every eight days.

NOTE: This blog will be changing. Stay tuned for a new look and routine of when I will post.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Feature Friday—Kathy Matthews

I met Kathy Matthews through blogland. Her blog, Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy: The Online Diary of a Central Oregon Grandmother has just about everything in it from family to food to crafts to meme’s to pictures and slide shows.

Kathy was featured in The Newberry Eagle and interviewed by a reporter, Wendy Korn about The Art of Blogging. Kathy has some 40 blogs! Yes, 40! Read The Art of Blogging and find out more about Kathy and her blogs.

Kathy also likes to cook and so it was a likely fit that Kathy is my Feature Friday for my food blog. You can check out other foods too that Kathy has made. I have her Split Green Pea Soup in one of my previous posts.

I’m a bit of a card freak, so when I spotted some of Kathy’s home-made cards, I had to purchase a few. And let me tell you, they are much cuter in real life. You should check out the blog that features her cards.

If Kathy lived here in Missouri, I have no doubt that we’d meet to do crafts or cook or make cards or just to chat. She’s a super sweet gal with a gigantic heart and I’m so glad that I’ve gotten the pleasure to know her.

Now enjoy Kathy’s Easy Chicken Cacciatore for the step-by-step directions to make this splendid dish.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fish Fillets Poached in Caramel Sauce

Now doesn’t that sound tasty? As I paged through this cookbook a friend had given me, this recipe caught my eye and I wanted to try it. It’s a Vietnamese dish and the one thing I didn’t have in my stocked cabinet was Nam Pla (Thai fish sauce). It’s also something I never remember to pick up at the grocery store. I happened to be at a spice shop, spotted it, and picked up a jar. I was so excited that I remembered and more excited that I’d get to try this yummy sounding and easy dish.

I followed the recipe. When I added the ½ cup of fish sauce, I wrinkled my nose and muttered, “Man, that stinks like dirty feet.” Confident this dish would be a favorite, I continued.

I don’t know why I’m not a taster when I cook (except when I make soups). I figure if I follow the recipe, there’s no need.

I placed the dish on the table, all bubbly about the new creation. I took one bite and the moment it hit my tongue, I spewed it back on the plate. “Oh God, that’s awful.”

My husband had more confidence in my cooking. “Oh it can’t be that bad.”

“Trust me, it is. You do not want to put that in your mouth.” I watched in horror as the fish entered his mouth and I wanted to laugh when I saw him spitting it out. That man will never learn that I’m always right.

We tossed our food outside hoping that the raccoons would take one bite and find another feeding ground.

“I thought the fish sauce smelled bad, but never having cooked with it maybe it really was bad.” Disappointed that the dish I had been craving ended up in the yard outside, it was more disappointing that I had to make something else for dinner.

“Ugh, that was disgusting. I didn’t think I’d ever say that about your cooking.”

“Well, it was disgusting.” My original smell of dirty socks didn’t fit the taste. It was more like 100 year old dirty socks that had been worn by the same dirty man who never bathed and who wore the same dirty shoe. Seriously.

Whenever I make a new dish I say to my husband, “This is new, I hope it tastes okay.”

He replies, “I’ve never had anything I didn’t like made by you… oh wait… except that nasty fish dish.”

We both scrunch up our faces and simultaneously say, “Ewwwwwwww!” Then we reminisce about how that dish was so disgusting.

No recipe for this dish, but… if you find one that you know is good, let me know. Or if you think I’ve had bad fish sauce, let me know and maybe I’ll give it another shot.


Rating & Type: Gross/F

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Broccoli, Chicken & Rice Casserole

Wednesday’s casserole—Broccoli,Chicken & Rice—is something I served my children a lot when they were younger. I combined parts of several different versions because I usually didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand.

Cook up some rice. Probably a couple of cups. I like brown rice, but kids usually like white. Saute chicken pieces until cooked. Mix a can of cream of mushroom with the rice, add a bag of frozen broccoli or half of a bag if you think it’s too much. Stir in the chicken. Add a little milk. You can also add some shredded cheese if those you are serving like that. You could also top with some bread crumbs and a little melted butter drizzled over the top. Then bake about 30-45 minutes at 350. If someone is not a mushroom fan, you could always substitute with cream of chicken or some other creamed soup.

Cream of Mushroom soup (or other)

Rating & Type: E/C

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ahi Tuna

It’s Tempting Tuesday—where I thought my recipes were going to be more on the high calorie and high fat side, but “don’t believe everything you read, and only half of what you see,” is what my husband likes to spout off now and then.

My husband and I had the good fortune to take a trip to Maui and visited Momma’s Fish House. We had Ahi Tuna for lunch and it cost over $100 for the two of us, and I don’t drink! If tuna can melt in your mouth, this does. Exquisite. We’ve been hard pressed to find anything better, and at that price, I hope we don’t.

We’ve grilled our own, trial and error, and have come as close as one can with our last attempt. I’m sure Momma’s tuna was caught that morning, so we have a big disadvantage. We settled for a bag of six pieces for around $12—that would make our Ahi Tuna dinner $2 each, add some veggies and maybe we’ve spent a total of $4 tops. Yes, restaurants have overhead, chefs to pay, waiters and waitresses to employ—and then there’s the ambiance. The ocean breeze that gently crosses your face, the Hawaiian sun, the swish sounds of waves hitting the shore. Maybe the $100 wasn’t that stiff after all.

So our Ahi Tuna: Grill on high (hot) heat 45 seconds to 1 minute on each side. You’re basically searing and cooking the outside a fraction of an inch. You want the tuna rare on the inside, otherwise you may as well open a can of Sunkist. No comparison. I had sprinkled the Ahi with some Lemon Pepper.

My husband and I can pretend the waterfall sound in our backyard is the ocean, and that he is a renowned chef (cough, cough) and I’m the friendly waitress (so true). You get what you pay for—usually. I’d say we are running a close second to Momma’s, but so much cheaper!

Ahi Tuna
Lemon Pepper

Rating & Type: E/F