Archives for April 2012

This Week for Dinner

Happy Saturday, all! It’s pretty dreary here in Philly today, and it’s making me kind of sleepy.

Or, perhaps the sleepiness could be attributed to the fact that it I ate my weight in Crème Brulee French Toast at Green Eggs Café this morning.

Yes, I ate the entire thing. I am not ashamed.

Anyway, if you are planning your menu for the upcoming week, here are a few ideas:

Beef Stroganoff Hamburger Dinner

From: Emeril Lagasse

Since we completely forgot about the ground beef we purchased for last week’s Mexican Frittata, we ended up using it in this recipe. It’s a good one to keep in mind if you are looking for comfort food and/or something kid-friendly. It’s pretty economical too, because it uses affordable ingredients and makes enough that you will have leftovers for other meals.

Fish Filet Veracruz

From: Goya

We make this recipe quite frequently. We usually use cod, which is pretty mild so it really takes on the flavor of the tomato, garlic and white wine broth. The briny flavors of the capers are also a nice touch.

Spaghetti Carbonara

From: Martha Stewart

We continued to get in the mood for our Italy trip with this dish. We used turkey bacon in ours though, so it’s not entirely authentic. I’ll be on my way to having the real thing in just about 11 days!

Beef and Mushroom Sloppy Joes

From: Cooking Light

I was a huge fan of these. They definitely had a richer flavor than the Manwich variety, which we sometimes use as a shortcut for dinner. We also used turkey sausage, which has a lower fat content than beef. This, plus the mushrooms and molasses, absorbed a lot of liquid, so that they weren’t too sloppy.  Fine by me–I don’t like getting my hands dirty.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, friends! Chester and I are headed to the Phillies/Cubs game in a bit. Keep your fingers crossed that my dear husband, who will be all decked out in his Chicago gear, doesn’t get into any fights. I’ll be rooting for the right team, though, so no need to worry about me.

This Week for Dinner

While I was out gallivanting (I love that word. Why don’t people use it more often?) in Boston, I’m sure you were missing my weekly recipe round-up. Right?

I knew it!

Okay, so here it is.

Cacio e Pepe

Two weeks from today, we’ll be in Italy. I’m looking forward to enjoying cacio e pepe in a trattoria in Rome, Florence, or Venice. Or, maybe in all three cities. I pretty much plan to eat my weight in pasta and pizza.

Anyway, the good news is that it’s easy to make this dish at home. All you need is salt, black pepper, butter, some good cheese (we always have Parmesan on hand) and spaghetti. Make a pan sauce with your first four ingredients and toss with the pasta. You don’t really need a recipe, but Bon Appetit has a pretty straightforward one, for your reference.

Polynesian Pork

From: All the Cooks

Chester has this app on his phone, and it’s turned up some pretty good recipes. I like the flavor combination of green pepper, pineapple and pork in this one. I just noticed that the recipe calls for shredded coconut on top, though. Gross. I’m glad we skipped that.

Mexican Frittata

From: Shape

I love breakfast anytime of day, but Chester is not a huge fan of sweet breakfast items like pancakes and French toast like I am. So, I figured this frittata would be a good way to get my breakfast for dinner fix. The recipe calls for rice to be mixed in with the egg mixture, but we omitted it. It just seemed like it would make it to heavy. We had also brought ground beef for this, but ended up forgetting that we had it in the fridge. Oops. It was pretty tasty without it.

Chicken Stir-fry Wraps

From: Everyday Food

This is a very flavorful dish, and I think forgoing rice or noodles allows all of the elements to come through even more and of course lets you cut down on the carbs. Definitely get the butter or Boston lettuce recommended in the recipe, as it will hold up better and is easier to hold/eat than romaine or iceberg.

That’s all for now—almost time for me to gallivant off to bed (See, I’m totally bringing that word back, a little at a time). Hope everyone’s having a good week so far!

On the Road: Boston for a Birthday Celebration!

29 and still looking pretty good for our age.

Bridget and I go way back. The house that I grew up in and her grandmother’s house had backyards that faced each other across the alleyway. In the summer, we would play together in each other’s plastic wading pools. But, we didn’t become best friends until later. One day, during Easter Break when we were about 11, I spotted her from my living room window, riding her bike repeatedly around the block one day during Easter break and I decided to jump on my bike and join her. I’m not sure how many times we circled Darien and Mildred Streets during the spring and summer that followed, but she’s been stuck with me ever since.

Bridget is currently in Boston, finishing up a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, and later on this week she’ll be turning 29. So, I went up to visit her to celebrate this momentous occasion.

We had manicures, pedicures and massages. We went shoe shopping and to the Institute of Contemporary Art. We got quite addicted to Draw Something and Words with Friends.

Oh, we ate quite a bit too.

Here are a few highlights from the weekend, and places you should put on your list, too, should you find yourself in Beantown.

Greek Corner Restaurant: Right down the street from Bridget’s condo, this is a great spot for lunch or dinner. I think we’ve been there on the majority of my visits to Boston and I know it’s one of Bridget’s regular spots. Guy Fieri has visited this place for his show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (he signed the wall), although I feel like it doesn’t fall into any of these categories. The gyro sandwich plate (made with beef or lamb), which is served with rice or fries, is my favorite. Portions are generous and prices are very reasonable.

Diva: One of the many ethnic restaurants located in the Davis Square area, Diva is an Indian restaurant. It has a weird sort of ambience/décor which makes it look a bit lounge-y, but the food is quite good. I really enjoyed the Lamb Tikka Masala and the Paneer Pakora (cheese fried in a chickpea batter).

Flour: Someday, I’ll own a little restaurant and it will be just like Flour. This place has it all—it’s casual and inviting, with an amazing selection of sandwiches, salads and baked goods. Most importantly, they have the best sticky buns in the entire world. They have just the right amount of cinnamon between their layers and layers of slightly chewy dough. But, most importantly, they are doused with a rich, dark caramel sauce and pecans. It’s no wonder that these sweet treats beat out Bobby Flay’s version in an episode of Throwdown. I mean look at them—hello, gorgeous.

Blue Ginger: Located in Wellesley, a suburb of Boston, Blue Ginger is an Asian Fusion restaurant owned by Ming Tsai. He was there the night we visited and seemed very friendly, chatting with many customers and in some cases bringing out dishes from the kitchen to their tables.

Bridget had made the reservation a couple of weeks ago, and then was a bit nervous about it because she noticed some recent negative reviews on Yelp, regarding the food and service. I’m not sure where those reviewers were coming from, because Bridget, her husband Bill and I had no complaints. The restaurant was very busy, so service did seem to lag a bit at times. But, the staff seemed aware of these issues and made an effort to check back in with tables on a regular basis (I noticed that they brought the couple next to us complimentary salads at one point because their entrees were taking quite awhile to come out of the kitchen).

I started off with the spicy sweet potato soup, the heat from which was toned down a bit by a drizzle of Greek yogurt across the top. Next, I had the pan seared scallops which were served in a velvety black garlic butter sauce and accompanied by a refreshing mint salad and lemon mushroom risotto.

Bridget’s husband, Bill had the Foie Gras-Shiitake Shumai and the Garlic-Black Pepper Lobster, another signature dish. The former looked a little dull on the plate because it was various shades of pale beige, but the flavors were extremely rich (side note: foie gras is really yummy served warm). The lobster dish was beautifully presented—the shell stood up on the plate and was stuffed with lemongrass fried rice. The lobster meat had been removed and topped with pea tendril salad. The lobster was tender and rich, but I would recommend staying away from this dish if you are not a huge fan of black pepper, because as the name suggests, there is a fair amount of it in this dish.

The birthday girl had two of the restaurants specialties: the tuna poke served on top of a crispy rice cake and the miso-marinated butterfish. The butterfish dish has apparently generated some controversy because it’s actually sablefish. The whole issue is addressed here, but all you really need to know is that it’s pretty delicious—a bit rich, and well, buttery.

And, what would a birthday dinner be without candles in your dessert?

She's pretty excited about donuts and fire.


Taj: On Sundays, the Taj Hotel offers a brunch buffet on its roof deck and Bridget picked it out for a birthday brunch. The weather was fairly overcast on the day we visited, so unfortunately the view from the 17th floor was just so-so. But, it’s probably really pretty on a sunny day. Chances are you might not even notice the view because you’ll be too busy indulging in every kind of food imaginable, from sushi to antipasti, made to order omelettes and waffles, Indian specialties, fruit, and desserts. I think we tried everything. Best of all, they kept refilling our champagne glasses!

We followed brunch with a trip to the spa. I’ve decided that a heavy duty food coma, slight champagne buzz and a massage will henceforth be my ideal way to spend a rainy afternoon.

With the exception of a broken down Amtrak train that delayed my arrival home by a couple of hours, it was a great time.

So, happy birthday, BFF! I’m so grateful for the laughter (and a few tears), ridiculousness (Chicago Hope, the Game?) and fun times that we’ve shared over the years. Here’s to many more.

This Week for Dinner

How is it Sunday night already?

The past week at work was pretty crazy, and I don’t feel like I got as much of an opportunity to relax as I would have liked this weekend. Luckily, part of next week’s plans involve some quality time with my BFF, including a spa trip! I just need to make it through a few more days.

Lucky for you, though, that I’m not too tired to share a few ideas to help you plan dinner for the week ahead. You’re welcome.

Soy-Glazed Salmon

From: Everyday Food

We have been eating salmon at least every other week, and the fact that you can prepare it so many different ways keeps it from getting boring. This version, with a brown sugar and soy glaze, is one of my favorites. We switched up our usual side of broccoli for yellow and green zucchini. Note to self: do this more often.

Pear and Prosciutto Pizza

Adapted from: Cooking Light’s Beet Salad Pizza

I first became a fan of the salad pizza when Cosi served them back in the day. So, I was excited to see that the April issue of Cooking Light had a whole section dedicated to them. The beet salad pizza sounded delicious—except for the part about the beets. Since neither Chester and I are fans, we substituted pears. They provided a similar bit of sweetness, without the weird earthy taste and chewy texture of beets. Salad pizzas are good to keep in mind for summer meals, because there’s little cooking involved—all you need to do is bake the crust (or heat a pre-made one, like we did) and top with all of the ingredients.

Garlicky Meatball Pasta

From: Cooking Light

Although this recipe calls for ground sirloin, it would be sacrilegious to use anything but meatloaf mix (beef, pork and veal) to make meatballs. These meatballs were even tastier because we used the leftover homemade breadcrumbs from last week’s Parmesan and sage crusted pork chops. I’ve pretty much decided that from scratch bread crumbs are the way to go. I won’t be buying them from the supermarket anymore.

Thai Chicken Enchiladas

From: How Sweet It Is

This is the first recipe I’ve tried from this blog, which I just started following a few weeks ago. I’ll definitely be trying more! The concept might sound weird, but trust me, these are delicious. They weren’t as heavy as the cheese-smothered Mexican variety, even though they have a rich-coconut milk based sauce. Be warned that these may take awhile to prepare, since you will need to poach the chicken breast before shredding it for the filling. You can however, take a shortcut by using packaged cole slaw mix so you don’t have to chop carrots and cabbage. I can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

What’s on your menu for the upcoming week?

Happy Blogaversary, Pass the Spork!

My birthday cake photo from last year, recycled for this celebration!

I’m a little late on this, but my blog turned one last week!

This time last year, a lot of random little things were stressing me out and I needed something to get my mind off of all of it. So, I started writing about food. I wasn’t sure if I would stick with it (I’m pretty terrible at keeping up with hobbies) and didn’t even share it with anyone until I had been writing it for a little over a month because I felt like it was silly. Now, blogging is kind of one of my favorite things to do.

I didn’t have time to bake a cake in honor of this momentous occasion (which is sad, because I love cake), so I thought I would compile a list of my ten favorite restaurants from the last year. I’ve eaten at quite a few, but there are definitely some that are standouts.

So, in no particular order, here they are:

Girl and the Goat: I know I said no particular order, but this might actually be my favorite meal of the year.

Barbuzzo: Probably my favorite place in Philly right now.

Cochon: I still dream about the bacon fried pork chop and poor man’s pudding dessert.

Talula’s Garden: The food was pretty awesome, but I loved the décor and outdoor garden space just as much. So girly and fun!

Village Whiskey: Best. Burger. Ever.

Bibou: Adorable, homey little French place in the heart of South Philly.

Le Relais de L’isle: Tiny little place from our first night in Paris. Doesn’t look like much from the outside, so it was unexpected to find such amazing food there.

Paul Chene: My favorite meal in Paris, and even more special because we celebrated our first year of wedded bliss there!

Chez FonFon: Often cited as one of the best places to eat boulibasse. I have to agree. It’s pretty much the only reason to go to Marsailles.

Meat and Potatoes: Chester and I ate our way through Pittsburgh during Labor Day weekend and this restaurant’s take on comfort foods was the highlight of the trip.

If you have been reading at any point during the past year, taken the time to comment, and/or told me that you visit my little corner of the Internets to decide where to go for dinner, then, thanks. You all make me pretty happy.

Looking forward to more food and fun in the year ahead!

This Week for Dinner

Happy Easter, Peeps (see what I did there? Just a little holiday humor!). I hope that everyone got their fill of Cadbury Crème Eggs and other assorted goodies. I’ll be at the CVS tomorrow looking to stock up on chocolate at 50 percent off. I just hope I make it there before they start packing it away for next year. That’s what happened with the Valentine’s and Halloween candy. By the time I got there around lunchtime, it was all boxed up. Disappointing.

We usually cook at home for the holidays, but my aunt is still in the hospital, and it wouldn’t have seemed right not to have her there. So, we brought the party to her for a bit at Pennsylvania Hospital and then headed out to dinner afterwards at Spasso Italian Grill in Old City. We went there for my bachelorette dinner two years ago. I remember liking it at the time, but the details of that night are a bit sketchy. After today’s meal, I’m wondering why we haven’t gone there more often. So delicious. You should go. And, get the crab ravioli. Trust me.

If you don’t happen to have any leftover ham from your Easter feast, here are a few good ideas for the week ahead. While I was out crafting my butt off last weekend, Chester picked out some pretty good recipes to make up for our previous lackluster week:

Linguine with Sausage and Peppers

From: Everyday Food

I made this before, but Chester’s attempt was better because he used a thicker pasta. I’m a fan of all of the colors in this dish. It’s so pretty.

Stir-Fried Chicken Salad

From: Cooking Light

This reminds me of the Warm Chicken Salad from Pod, one of my favorite salads ever. The warm chicken wilts the greens ever so slightly and the peanuts add a nice bit of crunch. The marinade from the chicken doubles as a light dressing, but I liked it even better with a squeeze or two of lime.

Open-Faced Hummus Sandwiches

From: Cooking Light

This sandwich has the best combination of ingredients, ever. We added thinly sliced chicken breast to it for a bit of protein, but it would still be pretty substantial without it. This would make a great summer meal—it’s light and if you left out the chicken, there would be no cooking required.

Parmesan and Sage Crusted Pork Chops

From: Cooking Light

This recipe calls for homemade breadcrumbs, which is a good way to use leftover bread. They made for a thicker coating which kept the pork pretty moist. Also, I’m becoming a huge fan of polenta. It’s a nice change of pace from the rice we usually have as a side.

Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken

From: Cooking Light

I like orzo because it’s pretty versatile. You can add some spices and veggies and have a nice side dish, or you can make it into a substantial meal, as in this salad (We’ve made a similar version of this dish with salmon, too). This recipe makes pretty substantial amount of food, so you’ll have leftovers for lunch the next day.

Enjoy the week ahead, friends! I’ll be starting my countdown to vacation in Italy as of tomorrow–one month to go!

Restaurant Review: City Tavern

We are still working our way through our supply of $50 gift cards from the Restaurant Week contest and noticed that the card from City Tavern was due to expire on April 1. This restaurant has never really been high on our list of places to go, but we figured it would be silly to waste the card. So, we ended up there for dinner before catching a show at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theater last weekend.

The City Tavern was constructed in the 1770s and during the period of the American Revolution, it was the social and economic center of the city. It served as the unofficial meeting place of the Continental Congress and hosting the likes of George Washington and John Adams.

The current chef, Walter Staib (if you live in the area, you may recognize him from the show “A Taste of History” on PBS) maintains some of the customs, china and glassware and food of that time period. This includes having the staff dress like “colonials.” So awkward. Even when I’m walking down the street in the historic district, I have to stifle my laughter when I see the Betsy Ross and Ben Franklin impersonators. I almost lost it when the hostess referred to the restrooms as “the necessaries.” Yes, I’m five years old.

I had assumed the menu would be filled with bizarre sounding things, like pheasant or squab, and that I wouldn’t find anything that sounded appealing. There are indeed those kinds of dishes on offer, but there are also pretty standard meat and fish dishes as well. I was surprised to see fried tofu on the menu, but it turns out that Ben Franklin had a recipe for it as far back as 1770s. That Ben really was a trendsetter.

The restaurant makes all of its bread and pastries in-house, and our server brought out three different kinds for us while we were looking over the menu. I thought they were all a bit on the dry side. I don’t remember the specifics of all of them, except for the sweet potato and pecan biscuits that were supposedly Thomas Jefferson’s favorite. Those ended up being our favorite, too.

I decided I wanted something light for an appetizer, so I chose the tomato and onion salad, which consisted of four slices of beefsteak tomato, topped with bits of red onion and a light vinegrette dressing. The tomatoes were sweeter than I expected, but it was pretty standard, really.  Chester had the broiled duck and pork sausage. Although it was tasty, it came out of the kitchen pretty quickly and was just warm. We suspected that it been cooked ahead of time and sat around for a bit.

For an entrée, I had the trout. It was pan-seared, which gave it a crispy coating, and topped with several different sauces, including brown butter, lemon, and Bearnaise. This sounds like a lot, but it actually wasn’t overly dressed. Chester had the steak and shrimp. The steak was cooked to medium rare, but it lacked a lot of the intense flavor that you find in a traditional steakhouse steak. The mashed potatoes that accompanied the dish were pretty dry.

Our server brought around a dessert tray with a variety of options, including apple cobbler (served with Bassett’s ice cream) and crème brulee, that all looked delicious. We ended up skipping dessert, though because the theater is located within walking distance of a Capogiro and that was our plan for after the show!

We ended up at the restaurant pretty early in the evening (about 5 p.m.) because we had to get across town for the show, and it was already pretty filled with the touristy crowd and families with children. The service was a little bit uneven at points, with the appetizers coming out very quickly and then the entrees lagging a bit.

All in all, the food was just average. I guess if you want to have the full historic experience, it’s a cool place to go, but it goes without saying that there are other places in the city that I would recommend to visitors who really want to see what Philly has to offer.

Always Crafty!

I describe myself as a casual crafter. I tend to craft up a storm around the holidays. Or, sometimes I’ll drag out my scrapbooking supplies or my stash of beads on a random weekend and whip something up. Then, I’ll pack everything away for months at a time.

Shannon and Bethany, on the other hand, are kind of like Martha Stewart. Except they are nice, normal gals. And haven’t been convicted of any felonies, as far as I know.

Anyway, my point is, they are pretty craftastic. And, they know how to entertain. Shannon, for example, owns Bottle Pop Party, an event planning and design company. Bethany has been all over the Internets for her beautiful bridesmaid boxes. Then, her surprise New Year’s Eve wedding, planned in just a few short month, ended up on one of the biggest wedding blogs ever.

This is why it came as no surprise the Always Crafty workshop was bursting at the seams with all manner of adorable, hand-crafted decorations and attention to every single detail. Such as:

A Lemonade Bar. Love those stripey straws and the grey and yellow color scheme.

Delicious cake pops

Swag bags for everyone!

Lemon swags. Yes, I had never seen one either.

I was worried that I would make a total fool of myself and perhaps would end up with finished projects that looked like a pre-schooler and/or half-blind senior citizen in a nursing home did them. But, Shannon picked easy and fun projects and had directions available to help those of us who ride the short bus of crafting.

I already told Chester we are making a chalkboard wall ASAP!

I ended up with some really cute stuff to take home, including:

A Moss Wreath

Chicken Wire Picture Frame


Fabric Flower Garland

There were two other crafts I didn’t get to–stamping napkins and making a miniature sewing kit in a Mason jar–since the three that I completed wore me out! I never knew crafting could be so exhausting! But, you can check out Shannon’s blog this week, where she is posting tutorials for the crafts we worked on.

It was a really fun afternoon. I’ve decided that crafting is a whole lot more fun when you are hanging out with friends. And, drinking an Arnold Palmer spiked with vodka doesn’t hurt either. In fact, it’s just the thing to take the edge off when you burn your fingers with the hot glue gun.

Lizzie Beth, Shannon and Bethany


Restaurant Review: Distrito

Even before I started writing a blog, I was a regular reader of quite a few. One of the fun things about keeping up with blogs is that sometimes your blog friends become your real life friends. That’s kind of what happened with a group of us this past October, when Shannon and Bethany organized “Always Bloggy in Philadelphia.” We hung out for an entire weekend and it was like we had known each other for years. Which, in a way, I guess we had, since some of us have spent a couple of years keeping up with each other online.

Before that weekend was even over, we were already planning for our next get together for Fall 2012. It seemed like a long way away, so, I was totally excited when Shannon announced plans for a craft workshop at her home. Not everyone from the Always  Bloggy crew was able to make it (Karen and Nellie, I’m looking in your direction), but it was great to see Shannon, Bethany and Kate again. The workshop itself was tons of fun, and I’ll have more to share about that later this week.

But, first, there were cocktails. And guacamole. And churros. And lots of yummy dishes in between.

Since Bethany came into town a few days early to stay with Shannon, the three of us were able to get together for dinner on Friday night. I sent them a list of fun places to consider, and Distrito was at the top of my list. Although Chester and I went to dinner there with a couple of friends about three weeks ago, I secretly hoped that Bethany and Shannon would pick it. And, they did.

Distrito, one of the restaurants in Jose Garces’ empire, specializes in modern takes on traditional Mexican street foods. The interior is just adorable: copious amounts of bright colors (including pink), pretty tables and chairs, a wall of Mexican wrestling masks, swings in the upstairs bar area, and a VW beetle that’s been converted into a table for four in the front window.

Here’s just a sample of the adorableness, via Bethany’s instagram:

The menu runs the gamut from soups and salads, to ceviches, to tacos, to moles.  It’s impossible to narrow the options down, so I like to go with one of the tasting menus. You get five courses, including dessert for either $45 (the Diego Rivera menu) or $55 (the Frida Kahlo menu, which includes the higher end items, like lobster). I think I’ve also mentioned before that Distrito has one of the best lunch specials around: $15 will get you two courses, plus a soft drink. It’s quite a bit of food, so make sure you build in time for an afternoon nap.

In no particular order, here are some of my favorites from this, and other visits:

1.       Margaritas—you can get the traditional mix, but I really love the fresh fruit varieties. On my recent visit, I’ve enjoyed both the mango and the pineapple.
2.       Guacamole—Not to garlicky, but not too acidic either, so you can fully appreciate the avocado. It’s also not blended to the point where it’s super creamy, so you get a chunk of avocado with each time you scoop some up.
3.       Chilango Chop Salad—it has everything a salad should have: a fruit (dried cranberries and green apples), a nut (spicy pecans) and a cheese (mild tasting queso fresco) over assorted greens. The thin tortilla strips over the top are a bit awkward to eat, however.
4.       Tortilla Soup—A bit spicier and smokier than I usually like, but the queso fresco and avocado helps to cut some of that down.
5.       Huaraches—a thin flatbread made out of corn dough (it derives its name from the oblong shape of the masa, which resembles a sandal called a huarache), and topped with a variety of ingredients. There are usually three on the menu, and my favorite is the los hongos, topped with mushrooms and truffles.
6.       Carne Asada—I’m not really a big red meat eater, but I love this dish at Distrito. The strip steak is cooked to a perfectly juicy medium rare and prepared in a slightly sour adobo. It comes with a creamy poblano corn rice, which is kind of like a Mexican risotto.

Bethany, Shannon and I had a great time on Friday night. We chatted and laughed for more than three hours, and didn’t leave the restaurant until just about midnight. The combination of three margaritas and a full tummy may or may not have knocked me out cold within 15 minutes of arriving home. A successful evening all around, if you ask me.

I know B's eyes are closed in this one, but this is the only photo I've got. And, it's also roof that those margaritas will do you in.

This Week for Dinner

How is it Sunday night already?

Probably because I pretty much packed this weekend as full as I possibly could with all kinds of fun stuff, like dinner and a show with Chester last night and fun times crafting all kinds of adorable stuff with my blog buddies, including Bethany, Kate and Shannon, today.

I’ll fill you in on all of that later, but about all I have the energy and brain power for right now is to tell you what we ate for dinner last week.

Shrimp and Penne with Spring Herb Pesto

From: Everyday Food, April 2012

This was very…leafy. I don’t recommend skipping out on the ricotta, because it definitely cut down on some of the earthiness from the parsley and mint combo. When I took the leftovers for lunch, I left out the ricotta and the flavors were totally overwhelming. As a result of this recipe, I have decided that I just do not like sugar snap peas and basil pesto is where it’s at. End of story.  All of the green sure is pretty, though.

Spicy Basil Chicken

From: Cooking Light, April 2012

This is kind of like a stir fry, without vegetables . Although the magazine suggests a side of snow peas (no thanks) and peppers, we just threw in some frozen broccoli to speed up the preparation process.  Our version wasn’t spicy because we left out the chili paste. We try not to buy ingredients that we know we’ll only use for one recipe, but this definitely would have benefited from a bit of a kick.

Chili Garlic Chicken

From: Everyday Food Blog

Martha claims that this is this is similar to chicken adobo, a traditional sweet-and-sour Filipino recipe. Not so much. Yes, friends, I just told you that Martha was wrong about something. Please don’t cry.

It was a pretty tasty dish, but it doesn’t really pass for adobo. Chester should know. He’s been eating adobo forever. It’s also one of the Filipino dishes that I really like (I also like eggrolls, pancit and sweet-and-sour meatballs). Real adobo is pretty sour, but this recipe called for ¼ cup of sugar. Chester cut that down a bit, but the ratio of sugar to vinegar was off. So, along with his much requested mac-and-cheese recipe, I’ll get Chester to share his adobo recipe someday.

I usually pick out pretty good recipes for us each week, but felt a bit “meh” about all of these. Maybe you’ll try them and have better results. Let me know, m’kay?