Chef salad

Chef salad
Chef salad

If you look at our meal plans for the last several months, this tasty chef salad is the dinner you’ll find most often. We’ve gotten into the habit of having salad for dinner at least twice a week — and this is my go-to salad.

If you’re looking for quick meals during the week, you can prep the veggies and hard-boil the eggs on the weekend. Then, all you have to do is combine all the ingredients and you’re ready to eat! Another easy option is to use leftover rotisserie chicken in place of the deli ham. Either way, it’s delicious.

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Cobb salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette

Cobb salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette
Cobb salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette

I’ve made Cobb salad several times this spring (and finally summer), and it’s a great main dish salad. Wikipedia tells me that the best way to remember the ingredients in Cobb salad is with the mnemonic EAT COBB: eggs, avocado, tomato, chicken, (green) onion, bacon, and blue cheese.  We ended up making a couple changes from that (like ham instead of bacon), but it’s still great!

The salad dressing for this recipe is also delicious. We haven’t been buying salad dressing at the store lately — most of it has high-fructose corn syrup in it, and if it doesn’t it’s simple enough to make myself. The fresh tang of the lemon makes this a great dressing for summer salads.

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Heirloom tomato pizza

Heirloom tomato pizza

Michael and I made this pizza for dinner Wednesday night, and decided that it was probably the best pizza we’ve ever made — though it’s definitely not the best picture I’ve ever taken. Regardless, we loved the combination of sweet heirloom tomatoes with fresh basil and carmelized onions. Yum!

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Pepperoni and Hawaiian pizza spiral breads

Pepperoni and Hawaiian pizza spiral breads

Michael and I came up with this recipe last week when we had some extra pizza dough in the fridge but didn’t feel like making a traditional pizza. So we topped the dough with pizza sauce, pepperoni, and cheese, and rolled the dough into a loaf. It was delicious! This week, we recreated our pizza spiral bread, but substituted bbq sauce and Hawaiian pizza toppings for the filling. We think that this version was even more delicious than the first, and would certainly recommend trying either for a quick dinner or snack.

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Ham and red pepper frittata

Ham and red pepper frittata

Michael and I have declared Saturday mornings to be brunch mornings — it’s the only day of the week where we have time to actually cook breakfast. But we still like to have some simple but delicious recipes for lazy Saturday mornings, and this frittata we made yesterday morning is both simple and delicious.

Frittatas are great because they are quick and easy to make, and they allow for you to substitute almost anything you have on hand into the filling. For this frittata, we used some leftover cooked ham we had in the fridge, as well as some red peppers and onions. We both gave it two thumbs up, and will definitely be making more frittatas in the future.

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Plantain-stuffed chicken and ham roulades with plantain fries

Plantain-stuffed chicken and ham roulades with plantain fries

After being out of town visiting family and soon-to-be family for a couple weeks, I was ready to get back in the kitchen and cook up something delicious. So I told Michael that I’d make him anything he wanted for dinner last night, and when we met after work to go grocery shopping at Whole Foods, he had the recipe for these tropically-flavored roulades from My Gourmet Connection in hand.

The recipe itself is simple but delicious–it looks far more complicated than it is to make. I did halve it, as I was just cooking for the two of us, but I other than that I followed the recipe. While frying up the chicken, I breaded and fried the leftover plantain, along with a sliced tomato, in the remaining egg and bread crumbs to create a quick vegetable side dish.

The verdict? These simple roulades are delicious — Michael told me it was the best homemade meal he’d had in a long time. The crispy plantain fries provide a wonderful contrast to the tender plantain filling in the chicken roulades. Served with a leafy side salad, it’s a perfect weekend meal that I will surely be making again.

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Steamy ham and cheese grits

Steamy ham and cheese grits

What can we say about grits other than, “they’re pretty ‘grit’ “? Many moons ago, before this long and cold winter came and overstayed its welcome (it’s still here!), Jane and I were reading recipes online and somehow got on the topic of grits. “What are these crazy ‘grit’ things, and how do they taste?”, we wondered. Being the “good northerners” that we were, we proceeded to mock them and spread nasty rumors about how we’ve heard that they’re something like oatmeal. Boy, were we ever wrong.

Grits, my friends, are an amazing and versatile dish made from crushed, dried corn kernels that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They can also be mixed with cheese, meat, and vegetables to contend as a main dish in their own right, guaranteed to stick to your ribs and provide you with that good ole “southern comfort” feeling. After making and eating grits, we repented of our ignorant northerner ways, and invited grits into our home as a family recipe. Since that time, we have begun to experiment by using grits as a base for amazing main dishes, such as this recipe here.

To make our delicious steamy ham and cheese grits, you will need the list of ingredients below, an 8″x4″ meatloaf pan (nonstick works best), and an oven preheated to 350 degrees. You may find that an 8″x4″ pan does not make nearly enough of these delicious grits (we never have leftovers with this size). In that case, you can double the recipe for an 8″x8″ pan (this also fits well in a 9″x9″), or triple the recipe for a 9″x13″ pan of these steamy grits.

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