Monday, August 22, 2011

Kiddo Weekend!

This weekend we had Ethan, Ella and Zachary over for a sleep over. We've done this a few times before and all involved had a great time. Pete and I LOVE our nieces and nephews. And it's fun to give our siblings a night off. We try to find a fun adventure to do with them, yummy food, and usually they like to sleep in a tent on our loft. Who knew it could be so much fun?!

Well a few weeks back Pete and I had been driving through Kirkland on our way home from church and saw that Carillon Point was doing an outdoor movie series in the courtyard overlooking the water. This weekend was set to be "How to Train Your Dragon." We thought it would be a fun activity to take the kids to.

We've got a running joke with the kids that we're going to take them to Home Depot (instead of something fun). They usually give us a "are you kidding me?" stare and then crack up. Sometime I think we will have to take them to Home Depot just to see what they'd do! Well anyways, the kids had no idea that we were going to an outdoor movie but were thrilled when they figured it out (course Ethan had basically already figured it out before we got there). We settled in, checked out the TWO weddings that were happening at the Woodmark and generally had a great time. They are such great kids and we LOVE them.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Another Week Catch-Up

No blogging this week I guess! We did eat, I promise! Yeah, big surprise. Menu followed pretty close to what I started with. Monday night we enjoyed the chicken sausages and grilled veggies. I ended up having some day-old bread that I fixed up into a grilled pizza with heirloom tomato and mozzarella. YUM!

Tuesday we ended up having dinner with my in-laws at Clay Pit in Mill Creek. They are leaving tomorrow to take my youngest sister-in-law Olivia to school in Oregon and then are taking an extended road trip/vacation for 4+ weeks. Sooo.... this was our only chance to get in some time with them until probably October. Neither had been to Indian before and I think both enjoyed it fairly well! Clay Pit is one of Pete and my favorite places to eat. Very nice restaurant, great family who runs it and THE FOOD IS AMAZING. Fresh naan hot off the grill = OMG  YUM. Try it next time you are there.

Wednesday we ended up at my parents house because my baby-brother (ok, I guess I should stop calling him that) is also heading off to school (he left on Friday). So we were having one last swaray before he left as well. My daddy made steak sandwiches which were also AMAZING. Grilled New York Steak (probably rubbed with some steak seasoning) thinly sliced and put in nice chewy rolls and dipped in Au jus sauce (spelling???). Simple and effective and entirely delicious!

Oooh I forgot on Monday, I roasted a chicken to eat off of for the week. So on Thursday, I did a trio of cooking.
  • Chicken use #1: BLT + A - T salads (bacon lettuce tomato + avocado and apple - tomato).
  • Chicken use #2: Currey Chicken Salad for Friday night dinner (officially called Waldorf Chicken Salad).
  • Chicken use #3: Home made chicken stock.

Surprisingly, non of this took very long because the chicken was already cooked! I'm a big fan now of making my own stock. Seems like a good use of a roasted chicken (and I always have extra veggies that need to be used up).

So all and all, pretty easy cooking week (especially because I didn't have to cook TWICE!).

Side note on upcoming posts: We went to see The Help on Friday (I just finished the book earlier in the week). I'll try to get a write-up soon. Loved the book and the movie was pretty good! Oh and got to figure out this weeks menu so maybe I'll post that later too. Last but not least, we had our oldest niece and nephews (Pete's oldest brother's munchkins) over for a sleepover this weekend. What a kick! Will write more about that later too! Here's a sneak peek!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dinner Week of August 15th

Here's this weeks menu!

Monday: Aidell's Chicken Sausage on the grill with Brocollini and Corn
Tuesday: Roasting a Chicken for Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday will be Chicken BLT+Avocado-Tomato+Cheese.
Wednesday: Curry Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Thursday: Date Night, mostly likely at our favorite Indian Restaurant Clay Pit
Friday: Lamb Burgers

Making my menu at the beginning of the week and then placing a quick Amazon Fresh order has really made my week night cooking a breeze! If you haven't tried Amazing Fresh, I do recommend! Prices are approximately the same as a QFC or Fred Meyers in my opinion and they do seem to carry a good selection of organic and local ingredients which is a double win for me. I'm sure you could do cheaper somewhere else, but I can't beat the convenience of groceries on my door step!!

BTW: Had a great dinner last night at the Waterfront Grill in Seattle for my sister-in-law's birthday. Will have to write it up soon. YUM!

What are YOU having for dinner this week? Do tell!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Teriyaki Skewers with Grilled Veg

On a roll this week with my stand-by recipes. Last week I think I may have tried one too many new recipes. This week, everything I have made before. Last night, I made Teriyaki Skewers and some grilled veggies. Pete actually was a contributor (what a guy) and cut up all the meat and got it marinating for me in the morning. Other than the marinating (helps to marinate at least an hour preferably all day or overnight), the recipe was S-I-M-P-L-E.

Teriyaki Skewers with Grilled Veg
1 flank steak cut thinish across the grain
1 cup Yoshidas Teriyaki Sauce
1 red onion (or sweet onion) cut into chunks
2 red bell peppers cut into chunks

(1) Cut meet and cover with sauce in a marinator or in a gallon size ziplock bag.
(2) Refridgerate meat for minimum 1 hour, perferabbly 4+ hours.
(3) Chop Veggies
(4) Skewer meat and veg in alternating patterns

If using wooden skewers, helps to soak them in water for 20 minutes or so to keep from buring. Pete and I got some metal non-stick skewers from Crate and Barrell as a wedding present and LOVE them. Super easy to clean up and waaaaaayyy easier than the wood ones.

Grill until desired doneness -- usually about 10 minutes (flipping once).

I usually serve these with Confetti Rice (rice cooked in chicken stock with minced carrots, bell peppers, and whatever other veggies I have around like corn, peas, etc). But recently have just been serving them with stirfried veggies. Tonight I just served them with some grilled broccolini and corn on the cob. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Taco Wednesday

Last night I cooked one of my many favorite recipes, Fish Tacos! I stopped in at Costco on the way home to pick up some fish (the most affordable way I've found so far!). I try only to buy fresh (not farmed) fish and usually Costco has a white fish (this week I got halibut) I can pick up. Pretty basic recipe, basically just cut the fish up into strips (or chunks), dip in egg and then in a panko-flour-seasoning mix. Serve that with homemade coleslaw, and I'm happy girl!

Here's the recipe (kuddos to my momma because this one is one of her creations):

Fish (you pick, I like white fish, usually halibut)
Panko (let's go with at least a cup)
Flour (couple table spoons)
Seasoning (I use Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning that I make at home)**
Eggs (beaten)

(1) Cut fish into strips (or chunks)
(2) Combine flour, panko, and seasoning
(3) Dip fish in egg
(4) Dip fish in panko/flour/seasoning
(5) Place on a sheet pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray (or lightly greased with olive oil).
(6) Lightly spray fish with cooking spray (or olive oil)
(7) Cook at 450 for about 10-15 minutes

**I pretty much have used this on everything. Try it on flank steak with lime juice and some EVOO or on chicken with lemons and EVOO.

Amounts are entirely arbitrary. You'll need more of everything if you are making more fish. Adjust as necessary.

Cole Slaw
1 bag of coleslaw (pre shredded cabbage and carrots)
OR just get a head of red and green cabbage (you'll probably only need a third of each head depending on how much you are making) and thinly slice yourself
1 can mandarin oranges (save the juice!)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Cole Slaw Dressing (3 spoonfulls of mayo, 2 spoonfulls of sugar, half of the juice from oranges, and 1 spoonful of corn starch)
Salt and pepper to taste

(1) Add cabbage, oranges, cranberries, and almonds to a bowl.
(2) Mix together dressing in a bowl
(3) Add dressing to cabbage mix and add salt and pepper to taste.

I like to serve these tacos on a corn tortilla that I have either made crispy on the stove in oil (Can you tell I'm avoiding saying I fried them!?) or grilled lightly.

Final Product! Served with Root Beer
last night (even though it  looks like Guinness!).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dinner Catch-up from Last Week

Last week I tried three new recipes plus a total standby easy steak dinner. For a recap in the dinner menu, check out here. 

Monday's stuffed peppers and tomatoes were a 85% success (if you asked my Grandparents they'd probably say 100%, the are great like that and easy to please!). I used heirloom tomatoes and yellow, red and orange peppers. Stuffed them with sautueed onions, ground beef, LOTS of herbs and rice. Delicious! I used brown rice instead of white rice (what my family usually uses) and I think I undercooked the rice a little bit so it had more of a bite then I would have liked. That coupled with my tomatoes being rather watery (making the bottom of the pan rather soupy... not so much). So overall, taste = delicious. Just a few texture / presentation items I would have liked to be better. But hey, that's what next time is for, right?

Tuesday was Thai Shrimp Soup seen here (the only recipe I managed to write up last week!). I will admit we didn't really finish the soup and ate PB&J for a back-up dinner.

Wednesday was night three of new recipes resulting in Lemony Shrimp Risotto. This was also from Jamie Oliver's 20 Minute Meals application for Android. It was very straight forward and simple to make, but like the Thai Shrimp soup I just didn't dig the flavors. Pete ate it up happy as a clam, but I didn't manage to finish mine. Eek! Two nights in a row!

I'm not going to post the recipe because honestly, just didn't like it!! If you've got a good recipe for risotto to share, do let me know!!

As I mentioned last week, Thursday we met up with some new friends for dinner at  Milagro Cantina. We've eaten there a couple times before and loved it! Really great margaritas and really good tacos. That's about all we've eaten (and drank) there but I'm sure there other food is yummy! I'll get better about taking pictures so you can SEE how good it looked.

Last but not least, FRIDAY (que Rebecca Black). After one mostly positive new recipes and two really failures, but just didn't like them recipes, Friday I decided to make our favorite super simple steak dinner. I almost always cook a bone in ribeye when I'm grilling steak (I use flank steak for fajitas and skewers). Seasoned it with a little EVOO, kosher salt and LOTS of black pepper and threw it on a hot grill for about 4-5 minutes per side (I'm a medium rare to medium kind of lady!). I served it with some grilled broccolini (love that stuff!) and grilled corn (same seasonings as the steak + a little garlic powder). DONE. 10 minutes later dinner was served. And yes it was amazing!

Pizza, I love thee!

Pete and I went to our favorite restaurant in Ballard last night with one of my BFF's Alyssa and her boyfriend Brian. The Hi-Life is simply amazing, excellent food and drinks, really good neighborhood vibe, etc etc etc. We especially love their happy hour. Super cheapo food, great bar scene (also mellow, great bartenders!). Last night we had intended to hit up happy hour but just didn't get their in time. We sat in the main part of the restaurant, ordered some vino and ordered our oh-so-favorite pizza: Butternut Squash. The pizza includes Butternut squash, goat cheese, pancetta, Tutto Calabria peppers. It also clearly has lots of garlic and a drizzle of honey. It's the perfect combo of sweet, salty, creamy, crunch, spicy! OMG YUM! Pete and I order it pretty much every time we go there. LOVE IT. 

We did eat other food including the Pulled Pork sandwhich which was also delightful but just not nearly as amazing pizza! But basically, I have no complaints about the food, service or awesomeness of the Hi-Life so I encourage you to visit!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dinner Menu Week of August 8th

Opps! A day behind already AND I haven't finished last weeks posts. Eeek!! Oh well, here we go!

Dinner for this week!

Monday: Homemade Pizza's and Caesar Salad
Tuesday: Happy Hour at the Hi-Life in Ballard
Wednesday: Fish Tacos
Thursday: Um, I don't know yet. Maybe soup?
Friday: Camping with my BFF Kacie. I'm thinking Burgers en-route to Camping
Saturday: Dinner for my Sister-in-Law's birthday at Waterfront Grill

So nothing too inspiring, but just a regular week at our house! One of my other BFF's (can you tell I have ALOT?), Alyssa is in town this week from Boston so last nights Pizza was with her and her boyfriend. Tonight's happy hour will be with them as well. Should be fun!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Thai Noodle Soup with Shrimp

It was new recipe night two at the Christensen household. As mentioned this morning, tonight's new recipe of choice was a Thai Soup with Shrimp. It was fairly simple to make, although I really wasn't digging the smell at all. I'm thinking that's probably has to do with using fish stock, fish sauce (wow that stuff is smelly), and fresh shrimp (that I pealed and de-veined no less!). The taste overall was actually pretty good (and not fishy at all), but I didn't LOVE the results. I think next time, no fish sauce, more spice and probably thinner noodles (the ones I used didn't cook very well and were very al'dente).

Recipe courtesy of Jamie Oliver 20 Minute Meals application for Android:

Makes enough for 2 people

3 cups fish broth
1 stalk lemon grass
2 garlic cloves
1 inch fresh ginger
1 medium fresh red chili
2 small bunches scallions
1 medium bunch fresh cilantro
1/2 lb shrimp
glass noddles (very very very skinny rice noodles)
1 lime
fish sauce (optional)
salt and pepper

Heat broth and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Chop lemon grass in half and add to broth.
Chop or mince garlic and ginger and add to broth.
Chop chili (removing white bits and seeds if you don't want too much heat). Reserve half, add remaining half to broth.
Chop scallions and cilantro and set aside.
Add shrimp to broth and cook for 2 minutes until just cooked.
Remove lemon grass stocks.
Add noddles and let cook for approximately 5 minutes with the lid on.

Serve in big bowls with scallions, bean sprouts and cilantro.

Notes for next time:
Try chicken stalk instead of fish stock.
No fish sauce.
Use very thin noodles (the ones I used today were too thick).
Add more Chili (be brave!).

Perhaps you will enjoy this more than me! I think I'll attempt it another time and see if I like it better. Let me know what you think if you try it.

Dinner at a Glance - Week of August 1st

I must be a terrible blogger. Got to find some regular rhythm of blogging. 

For today, let's talk about food I'm cooking this week! My dinner plans this week include the following:

Monday: Stuffed Peppers & Tomatoes
Tuesday: Thai Soup with Shrimp
Wednesday: Risotto with peas and shrimp
Thursday: Dinner out with Friends at Milagro Cantina
Friday: Ribeye Steak with Grilled Brocollini
Saturday: Hmmm.... TBD

One of the meals my grandparents (Yiayia and Papou) make on a regular basis are these divine stuffed peppers and tomatoes. YUMM! I finally got the recipe from my Mom and made them for myself for the first time. I modified the recipe slightly (mostly just used brown rice instead of white rice) and it was SOOO GOOD! Bad me, I didn't take a picture but you'll just have to trust me!

Tonight, I'm making another new recipe, Thai Soup with Shrimp. I got a new app on my phone called Jamie Oliver's 20 minute meals. I got it from the Amazon App store as a part of the "free paid app of the day" and it's awesome so far! A fair number of ingredients that I don't really keep on hand (like ginger and lemon grass) but seems simple enough. I'll report out tomorrow (which probably means next week) on how that turns out. 

Wednesday, ANOTHER new recipe, also from Jamie Oliver's 20 minute meals app for a simple risotto with peas and shrimp. We might be shrimped out by Wednesday so small chance I might switch Wednesday and Friday meals.

Thursday, we're out to dinner with some new friends Milagro Cantina. We love the margaritas here!!

Friday, it's a end of the week steak kind of night. Probably finish off a yummy bottle of Primitivo we got from Alexandria Nicole in Woodinville. 

Saturday, who knows! We tend to figure out weekend meals as we go where work night meals I try to plan somewhat in advance. 

Enjoy your food filled week!