Archive | January, 2012

My Favorite Sandwich

24 Jan

This is my all-time favorite sandwich. True, it’s a bit messy, but the deliciousness is unparalleled. It makes a great meal, and when rolled up in foil, it travels fairly well and makes a suitable workday lunch.

One small baguette, halved horizontally
Mayonnaise
Two leaves of Romaine lettuce
One slice of Havarti cheese, halved
Two to three slices of good turkey (Boar’s Head Ovengold is my absolute favorite)
Half of a ripe avocado
Half of a Roma tomato, sliced

Spread the mayonnaise on the bottom slice of bread, and moosh the avocado into the top half. Feel free to assemble any way you like; my method is as follows, from bottom to top: lettuce, turkey, cheese, and tomato.

If you have any crispy bacon hanging around the house, it would work nicely on this sandwich!

Note: In order to prevent topping slippage, I squish my sandwich down a bit before eating. 🙂

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Quick and Easy

24 Jan

Tonight, we made Pollo Cacciatora from Nigella Express. You can find the recipe here. I opted to serve the cacciatore over rigatoni. I’m not much of a fan of chicken combined with tomatoes (unless we’re talking chicken parmesan), but it was actually quite good. The celery salt adds an interesting element of flavor.

I’ve quickly learned that for weeknights, dishes that can be prepared fairly speedily are necessary. The Nigella Express cookbook is great for that, as it’s filled with lots of fast, easy recipes. We need to be done with dinner by 6:30. It’s challenging.

When we started the project, we planned two weeks’ worth of meals and then shopped for ingredients. We’ve since cut back to choosing seven dinners at a time and then purchasing groceries accordingly. This way, nothing is in danger of going bad before we can use it.

We’ve also had the opportunity to make new-to-us meals. One of my favorite foods is spaghetti with marinara sauce, so that’s usually what I would make when I cooked. We’ve had all sorts of things lately, though: potatoes dauphinois, mustard pork chops, steaks, and even duck. This week, I’m even making Tikka Masala! Also on the menu: Schnitzel, Boeuf Bourguignon, Cheddar and Leek Risotto, Pizza, Baked Ziti, and Enchiladas.

One caveat: I am so tired of chicken. It’s inexpensive and fits well into a variety of dishes, but jeez. Summer cannot get here quickly enough; I am ready for more fruits and vegetables to be in-season and affordable. I’m looking forward to putting together a few tasty vegetarian dinners, definitely.

Also: If I can find time in the next few weeks, I’m going to tackle Julia Child’s French Bread! It takes over 6 hours, and the recipe is 7 pages long. Wish me luck!

The Cooking at Home Resolution Continued

5 Jan

In the days since Christmas, we have successfully prepared most of our meals at home. True, we did rely on our old pals Zaxby’s and Whataburger for lunch on two separate occasions, but other than that, we’ve done well!

We decided to plan out two weeks’ worth of meals at a time and subsequently shop for ingredients. Having a well-stocked fridge and pantry feels pretty great; it’s comforting to think I could make practically anything we felt like having. It’s a huge difference from a year ago, when I was hoping my Ramen supply would hold out until my job started again.

One unexpected element: a feeling of isolation. I never realized how much of my social interaction is done while dining out or picking up food. Yes, I see people at work, but it’s somehow not the same. For a while, I felt closed off and lonely. When we went out, we not only spoke with other people, but we dedicated more attention to talking with each other. It makes sense; having a conversation is easier when distractions are eliminated. Since Mr. P has an unusual work schedule, he goes to sleep very early. Toiling to finish dinner at a reasonable hour while trying to unwind from my own workday didn’t leave time for much chitchat.

For a while, I just sat around feeling unhappy. Finally, the “differentness” is gone and I’m comfortable again. The bit of post-holiday depression I experienced wasn’t entirely helpful, either. Now, though, my cooking skills are actually improving. I’m getting faster at prep work, and I’m working toward washing all dishes immediately (what a time saver that is!). I’m able to do kitchen tasks and spend time with my fiancé simultaneously. Even though I’m doing more at home, I feel more relaxed. Cooking doesn’t feel like such a marathon any longer.

Since we’re cooking more often, we’ve even expanded our horizons! I’m not making the same few dishes over and over again; instead, we’re pulling new recipes from our collection of cookbooks. This is both fun and interesting.

With my free time in the evenings, I’ve started reading! Due to being immersed in scholarly books practically constantly, I haven’t read for pleasure in ages. I forgot how great it is. It’s possible to download a heap of classic novels FOR FREE on the Kindle machine, too, so I’m looking forward to delving into some of those.

Funny, we started this project in order to save money, but it seems to be positively affecting other areas, too. All this in under two weeks! Wow.

I’m looking forward to Mr. P’s designated cooking night on Saturday. He makes a mean Skyline Cheese Coney.