if music be the food of love, play on…..
At St. Valentine’s Day a young man’s mind turns to love and romance, and having been a young man once I can vouch for that. For all I know a woman’s mind turns to love and romance, and probably food too.
But what to do? Perhaps the young man want’s to take his best girl out for a special meal, in which case find the best restaurant within a reasonable distance of her place, even if you can’t quite afford it….. If the restaurant is in or near a good hotel, and if you think she would like it, then book a room, have champagne sent up.
Or, you could cook something special for the object of your affections. Here are some recipes that might go down well on this Valentine’s weekend.
First for this Valentine’s Day we have a steak. Cooking a great steak is fairly easy if you know how, and Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has a fabulous recipe for smoked ancho chile salted steaks with drunken burst sweet cherries + burrata. If your paramour likes a big red with their steak, then maybe find a bottle of Barolo.
Smoked Ancho Chile Salted Steak
From Joy the Baker there’s a fabulous recipe for shrimp étouffée risotto. Joy suggests that you cook this dish together ~ whatever floats your boat. (An étouffée is a spicy Cajun stew made with vegetables and seafood.)
Shrimp Étouffée Risotto
If you want to risk pasta, what with your date dressed up to the nines and all, then we have 15 romantically simple pasta dinners that scream ‘That’s Amore!’ This from Brit+Cco. This is a very risky dish of linguini with clams, but it’s so easy and so impressive.
Linguini with Clams
Should your love be vegetarian, vegan, of just into eating a lot of plant-based food right now, then Heather Christo has a collection of 100 plant-based recipes. To save you the bother of looking through this list I’ve found you this beet quinoa salad with pomegranate, mint, and pistachio. This dish can serve as a starter, entree or a side, and you can make it ahead of the evening and keep it in the refrigerator.
Beet Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate, Mint, and Pistachio
Our idea for a romantic dessert comes from In Diane’s Kitchen; this delicious looking strawberry pie. Diane says this is the easiest strawberry pie she has ever made, and face it, you don’t want to be spending all evening in the kitchen.
Our final collection for this Valentine’s day comes from Country Living; 65 Best Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas for the Most Romantic Date Night. I particularly like this Engagement Chicken Pasta, but maybe don’t tell her what it’s called unless you have the ring.
Engagement Chicken Pasta
if you are eating Italian, ask if the restaurant has a demi-frizzanti Franciacorta. That will impress.
It is December, and nobody asked if I was ready.
Early December and it’s cold, dark, and drear in the run-up to Christmas. Today there is not much cheer around here, and anyway most people are busy making their arrangements for a great Christmas holiday.
Well, I’ll be on my own in the garret again over the Christmas holidays, so one of the things I should do is cook myself some great food. There are some very cool, very easy recipes in this post, and I hope that we can all enjoy them in the run-up to Christmas Day. I’m wondering if there’s going to be any great Christmas time TV.
First up this week, from Barcelona we have Ali at Gimmie Some Oven who has a healthier broccoli chicken casserole, made with pasta, tender chicken, and broccoli in a cheddar mushroom sauce. Despite everything this is a light and very healthy dish that’s really easy to prepare.
Healthier Broccoli Chicken Casserole
Now from Joy the Baker, something else with a broccoli theme; spicy broccoli pizza with homemade pizza crust. This is far, far better than anything you could buy anywhere, and a great pre-Christmas treat for your casual guests.
Spicy Broccoli Pizza with a Homemade Pizza Crust
Dana Shultz, the Minimalist Baker has a cool recipe for one-pot chicken soup with white beans and kale. This 30 minute recipe does look so easy to make, and it’s warming, healthy, and gluten free. What more could you want on a cold December evening.
One-Pot Chicken Soup with White Beans and Kale
Another great chicken dish, and this time the recipe is from the ever-delightful Heather Christo; creamy tomato baked chicken and pasta. I would use gluten free, or wholemeal pasta, but that’s your choice. Whatever this is a great midweek dinner.
Creamy Tomato Baked Chicken and Pasta
Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest always gives us the longest titles for her recipes, this one is 30 minute Chinese egg drop chicken rice soup with garlicky chile oil. Say no more…..
Chinese Egg Drop Chicken Soup
The collection this week is from Country Living magazine; 85 easy Christmas appetizers that will delight all of your holiday guests. From this huge list I’ve chosen these deviled eggs with old bay shrimp from Carrie Purcell. But make your own choices fro your pre-Christmas drinks party and Boxing Day snacks.
Deviled Eggs with Old Bay Shrimp
some people are almost ready for Christmas
there is always something to be thankful for
Here in England the few American expats celebrate Thanksgiving, otherwise this holiday just passes us by. Perhaps that’s why we English make such big things of Christmas and the New Year celebrations. Anyway, with a few twists, your Thanksgiving menus are pretty much like our Christmas menus.
First, something we don’t ever have here, from the gorgeous Ali at Gimme Some Oven, this healthier Pecan Pie, (with no corn syrup). You know something, I’ve never ever had pecan pie.
Balsamic Maple Mustard Whole Roasted Cauliflower
If you’re not going to roast a whole turkey then Heidi at Foodie Crush has a 30 minute recipe for a perfectly juicy roast turkey breast. Looks like a brilliant idea to me.
Roasted Turkey Breast
Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
Here’s something fairly important and very useful from Diane at In Dianes Kitchen, turkey cooking facts and safety. I well remember the first time I tried to cook a frozen turkey, what a disaster!
Turkey Cooking Facts & Safety
Finally, your collection this week is from Country Living Magazine; 56 Best Thanksgiving Recipes to Serve on Turkey Day. I’ve chosen something different from this list; Scalloped Oysters by Nancy Fuller.
Autumn carries gold in its breath
Call it Autumn, or call it the Fall, now is the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. The days are shortening, the wind is a little colder, and the trees are covered in beaten gold, copper, and brown.
Perhaps this is also a time to change our recipes as the fresh, local ingredients drift from summer fruits to the richer fare of Autumn. This is no longer the time to try and keep that svelte bikini figure, perhaps now we can allow for that extra pound or two that will make our fall wardrobe fit a little better. So, here is a selection of recipes which may tempt you as this season for reflection begins.
First up this week is Tifanny from Creme de la Crumb who offers us something very warming for when the autumn nights draw in; instant pot roast and potatoes. I really like the instant part.
Instant Pot Roast and Potatoes
From Heather Christo we have this beautiful roasted butternut squash soup, which is vegan, and these days that’s a good thing. This recipe is also a good thing for those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving.
Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Minimalist Baker has a perfect recipe for the fall; 1 hour fall pot pies. This is a 10 ingredient dish that we really can make in just an hour,and these are vegan too.
Vegan 1 Hour Fall Pot Pies
We seem to be hitting a vegan / vegetarian theme this week, because Half Baked Harvest’s September 23rd post, (the date of the equinox), was herby buttered mushroom stroganoff. I’m guessing that it would be pretty easy to turn this 30 minute recipe into a vegan dish.
Herby Buttered Mushroom Stoganoff
Back to our soup menu, (and who doesn’t like a warming soup on a chilly autumn evening), and Claudia Cash at Simply Recipes offers her 11 best soups to make in the Fall. I am especially intrigued by this recipe for baked potato soup ~ just how fabulous does that sound! I’m especially glad that bacon features in this dish.
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
We have gone really crazy with our final collection for this week, from Country Living magazine; 70 Fall recipes you’ll want to make all season long. Totally ignoring the shaved Brussels sprouts salad, (yuck), I’ve picked out this easy sheet pan chicken with sweet potatoes apples and Brussels sprouts, from Erin Clarke at Well Plated by Erin.
Sheet Pan Chicken with Sweet Potatoes Apples and Brussels Sprouts
perfect for fall
if you want something beautiful on the table, pick up some salmon
If you’re trying to eat a very healthy diet, then salmon should be on your shopping list. This attractive fish has a stack of health benefits, not just that it’s rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, eating salmon is supposed to reduce the risk factors for several nasty diseases. Salmon is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, and fresh line-caught salmon should be clean ~ not full of all the crap that is in some of the food we eat.
Buying the right piece of salmon is important, starting with the basic rule ~ never buy anything that looks manky. Anything that says wild is probably better than farmed, and some farmed salmon is better than others. Usually the rule is the more you pay the better it will be, but not always, but don’t sweat it. Go to a good grocery store or fishmonger, and you’ll be fine.
First this week we have one of my favourite salmon dishes; Thai salmon in foil,from Chungah at Damn Delicious. I think cooking in foil is a brilliant technique, and it reduces the amount of washing-up no end.
Thai Salmon in Foil
Another recipe for cooking in foil, and following on from last week’s post which was all about cilantro; from Averie Sunshine’s archive I have chosen this foil pack lime cilantro salmon. This is so easy to make, and it will be ready to eat in 10 minutes ~ you heard me right, just 10 minutes to produce this wonderful healthy dish.
Foil Pack Lime Cilantro Salmon
Now we have a fabulous 30 minute recipe from Sabrina Modelle; grilled salmon with peach salsa. This dish has so much going for it; you can cook the salmon on the BBQ, which means you can make the whole recipe in your yard. Anything with grilled salmon looks really special, so this is something you can serve to guests. And, best of all, it’s a 30 minute recipe that will make a great lunch, dinner, or something to take to work the following day. (This recipe was found for us by Elise at Simply Recipes).
Grilled Salmon with Peach Salsa
Until I saw this from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest I had never heard of cooking on a BBQ grill by placing the food on a cedar plank. But, now I’ve seen this cedar plank salmon with watermelon feta salsa from Teighan this is something I must try the next time I’m somewhere warm and sunny ~ that’s if anyone friend will let me. I’m an Englishman, and as everyone knows we are terrible at cooking on a BBQ.
Cedar Plank Salmon with watermelon Feta Salsa
This brilliant sweet and smokey cedar planked salmon is from Kate Merker at Country Living magazine. Apart from soaking the plank for a couple of hours to stop it from catching fire, this is a very easy BBQ recipe!
Sweet and Smokey Cedar Plank Salmon
With healthy eating in mind I so like the look of this dish of braised salmon from Heather Christo; Paleo red curry braised salmon with sweet potatoes Fabulous!. Paleo is good, I think. This 45 minute recipe not only uses coconut oil and coconut milk, it also has more than enough garlic. Nice.
Paleo Red Curry Braised Salmon with Sweet Potatoes
Our collection this week is from Olive Magazine, their 40 best ever easy salmon recipes. And I’ve chosen to feature the very first recipe from this great collection Thai salmon parcels with jasmine rice.
Thai Salmon Parcels with Jasmine Rice
Happy Friday, let the long weekend begin.
This Monday is Memorial Day in the USA, and late Spring Bank Holiday in the UK, which means we all get a long weekend. The weather should be good, so it’s a perfect time for some al-fresco dining.
Enjoy these cool recipes.
From Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb we have a recipe for one pan creamy cilantro lime chicken and rice. I really like one pan dishes, but it’s coriander here, not cilantro. Nice by any name.
One pan Creamy Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice
This is interesting from The Flourishing Foodie, pasta with a tomato vodka cream sauce. I’ve heard of vodka pasta sauces before, but I’ve never tried one ~ maybe it’s time that I did.
Pasta with a Tomato Vodka Cream Sauce
If you like salmon, then try this recipe for honey mustard grilled salmon with avocado basil sauce posted by Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest. Perfect for Memorial Day. Here in England we have a public hiliday on May 27th too, but it’s called Spring Bank Holiday ~ how boring.
Honey Mustard Grilled Salmon with Avocado Basil Sauce
Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower has this wonderful dish; pan seared scallops pasta carbonara. This would be great to serve to a few friends on any holiday.
Pan Seared Scallops Pasta Carbonara
Grilled Ranch Potatoes
And finally for this week 65 Memorial Day recipes for your holiday weekend barbecue, from Country Living. I especially like this sweet-and-smoky cedar-planked salmon ~ and if you shop now you can probably get a suitable plank for Monday.
Sweet and Smoky Cedar Planked Salmon
you can buy grilling planks from Amazon
Cooking can be fun, washing up almost always isn’t.
In my view, one pot meals are the way to go, particularly if you’re busy with work and everything. There’s nothing worse than taking your plate to the sink after dinner, and then realising you also have a mountain of dirty pots and pans to wash up in the aftermath. I don’t know anyone who gets their kicks from tackling a mountain of washing up.
So, why not give some of these great one pot recipes a try.
This is a nice looking recipe for a dish I really like. From No Plate Like Home we have one pot thick New England clam chowder. This is also known as Boston Clam Chowder and it’s a perfect winter comfort food you can make in one pot in under an hour.
One Pot Thick New England Clam Chowder
Another fabulous one pot soup this time from Dana at Minimalist Baker. This hearty chipotle black bean tortilla soup needs just 50 minutes and one pot to prepare, and Dana says it’s very ‘hands off’. This Mexican-inspired soup is also vegan and gluten-free. How cool is that?
Chipotle Black Bean Tortilla Soup
This is a dish I must try, from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats we have this one pot chili cheese pasta. Looks like a great recipe you can make in one pot in one hour, and while it’s cooking you can prepare some salad to go along with it. Also what a great dish for taking leftovers to work for a nourishing lunch.
One Pot Chili Cheese Pasta
Not only is this a one pot meal from Teighan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest, you should be able to prepare this one pot 30 minute creamy tomato basil pasta bake in less than a half-hour. There are quite a few ingredients involved, but I think it would be well worth it.
One Pot 30 Minute Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta Bake
This is a more ambitious one pot meal from Simply Recipes, a Moroccan pot roast, originally posted by Sally Vargas. This is going to take you some 3 hours to prepare, so it’s probably not an everyday meal ~ unless you use your slow cooker? But for a one pot weekend dinner for you and your guests it looks fantastic. The spice mixture should please everyone, (almost everyone).
Moroccan Pot Roast
This is a meal I wanted to feature; slow cooker beef stew with dumplings, just because it reminds me of my misspent youth. I eventually found a recipe on the Good Housekeeping site ~ which is worth visiting anyway.
Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Dumplings.
For those of us who love recipe collections, we have this from Country Living; 33 quick and easy one-dish meals, and there are some great and some fabulous recipes in this collection. Among all the dishes I would like to have featured is this cilantro lime chicken and rice, from Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb.
One Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken & Rice
To me, good recipes are priceless
Well, I don’t know about you but I like it when I find a recipe collection post. It means that I can easily find a choice of ‘similar’ dishes to choose from. These posts are like miniature on-line cook books. How nifty is that?
Ergo, with that in mind all the posts featured this week are recipe collections.
To begin, from Chungah at Damn Delicious we have 15 quick and easy healthy recipes. What could be better, and I do like the recipes we get from Damn Delicious. Among these 15 recipes is one for honey salmon in foil ~ and just how impressive is that for a quick and easy dish, (you should be able to make this in an half-hour).
Honey Salmon in Foil
Next, from San Diego girl Averie at Averie Cooks we have 15 skinny chicken dinners ready in 15 minutes… And these fast dishes are all healthy and gluten free. WOW! My pick from this collection is Averie’s easy 15-minute ranch chicken and vegetable skillet.
Easy Ranch Chicken and Vegetable Skillet
This is interesting from Heather Christo, who always gives us delicious allergen free recipes; healthy dinner ideas for dinner tonight! There are 10 recipes in this collection, and I have chosen to feature Heather’s grilled steak with arugula and cherry tomato and basil salsa. This should take about 35 minutes to make a fabulous dinner dish.
Grilled Steak with Arugula and Cherry Tomato and Basil Salsa
Sheet Pan Sticky Pomegranate Chicken
Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower has given us her 17 most popular recipes of 2017… This includes her peaches and cream steel cut oatmeal, and if I was ever going to eat oatmeal I would choose this dish.
Peaches and Cream Steel Cut Oatmeal
Now here’s a big recipe collection from Jessica at How Sweet Eats; 18 weeks of healthier meal ideas! 126 of my favorite weeknight meals. Fabulous! From Jessca’s long list I just had to feature the rosemary chicken, bacon and avocado salad. I know that in some parts of the world it may not feel quite warm enough to have a salad for dinner, but I know my friend in Orange County will like this dish.
Rosemary Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Salad
Finally for this week, from Country Living, we have 95+ easy dinners that can be made in 30 minutes or less. Talk about a recipe collection! I confess I almost didn’t make it past the first recipe for stovetop chicken pot pie before choosing a recipe to feature. But, as a change from chicken we have 20 minute honey garlic shrimp from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
20 Minute Honey Garlic Shrimp
nice cook book for you
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Our Bodies Are Our Gardens
Busy people who have aspirations towards being fit and healthy in body, mind, and spirit have a problem. Eating well, eating clean and healthy, almost always means one should cook for oneself because buying ready-made meals, buying takeout, eating out, or eating out of cans almost always means you’re eating a fair degree of unhealthy junk. And, cooking for yourself takes up time and energy, which might be in short supply at the end of a busy day.
Ergo, busy people need fairly quick, easy, and healthy recipes. In last week’s Food on Friday we were talking about healthy salmon, which lends itself to eating well, and this week we’re doing chicken, which is also a good healthy staple. But, buy decent fresh, uncooked, healthy chicken, (and salmon), not the cheapest crap your supermarket has on special offer.
I know some of you like links to recipe collections, (some of you even pay good money to have people send you recipe collections and shopping lists), so from Cooking Light we have 50 healthy chicken breast recipes, including this sauteed chicken with sage browned butter.
Sautéed Chicken with Sage Browned Butter
And, from Chungah Rhee at Damn Delicious I can offer you 10 weeknight chicken breast recipes to use up all those nice pieces of chicken you have languishing in your refrigerator and freezer. I like the look of this easy grilled chicken, especially as our chef says we’ll never need another grilled chicken recipe after this 25 minute dish.
Easy Grilled Chicken
If all those ideas weren’t enough, Country Living has 64 of the most delicious things you can do with chicken for dinner. Wow! Originally from Jaclyn at Cooking Classy, one of the 64 dishes is this avocado caprese skillet chicken ~ so easy, and avocado is supposed to be very good for you.
Avocado Caprese Skillet Chicken
Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower has some interesting dishes in her 5 easy chicken recipes for a weeknight dinner. I especially like her honey chipotle shredded chicken, because even though it takes a while to prepare, once it’s dome you can save the prepared chicken and use it in so many cool ways.
Honey Chipotle Shredded Chicken
I have to remind myself that not everywhere in the world is suffering from an English winter. Not everyone is feeling cold, grey, and miserable and in need of winter comfort food. In that case Heather Christo offers us this gluten free fried chicken cobb salad ~ I may forget the drizzle and make this tonight.
Gluten Free Fried Chicken Cobb Salad
Francophile English lady, Amanda, of Chez le Rêve Français has a recipe for a wonderfully warming chicken and broccoli pasta bake. This looks quick, (30 minutes), easy, healthy, (broccoli is good). And, I like a good pasta bake.
Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake
You probably won’t remember, (why should you?), but in Food on Friday #33 we had a whole lot of cool and sexy chicken dishes, among which was Thai Larb Chicken Lettuce Cups from the White on Rice Couple. As a slight change on the healthy lettuce cups theme, I can give you a recipe video for easy chicken lettuce cups from the Best Recipe Box.
Easy Chicken Lettuce Cups
thanks so much to all the great chefs featured in this week’s Food on Friday
enjoy your cooking and healthy eating
email ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Christmas Party Booze
‘Tis the season to be jolly.
Some people like parties, and some people like drinking. For people who like a lot of both, here are some drinks that should probably go down well at Christmas Parties. Good Grief!
Remember, anyone can make a really strong cocktail that will get people very drunk very fast ~ but how good a party does that make? So here are some more tastefully interesting drinks.
First up this week is a great looking cocktail I found on Jessica Merchant’s site how sweet it is we have this great recipe for rose champagne mojitos. I would serve these to my discerning guests.
Rose Champagne Mojitos
For a different take on the mojito, Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest gives us this brilliant looking White Christmas Mojito.
White Christmas Mojito
Maple Apple Cider
Here’s something for a Californian Christmas. Recovering pastry chef, the bojon gourmet has these rosemary, pomegranate and grilled meyer lemon vodka sparklers. Don’t try saying all that after drinking five or six of those things.
Rosemary Pomegranate and Grilled Meyer Lemon Vodka Sparklers
From Chungah at Damn Delicious there’s a simple and easy strawberry pineapple mimosa, although in England we call champagne and orange juice Buck’s Fizz, and we make it a lot stronger. Add a splash of brandy to that and you’ve got yourself a fresh juice Barbotage. Consume that Barbotage very carefully.
Strawberry Pinapple Mimosa
This recipe for holiday rum punch, by Tracy Shutterbean, (aka Tracy Benjamin), is straight from the San Francisco bay area. I’ve drunk rum punch in San Francisco, and I know that if you’re not careful this punch could get you very drunk. Nice.
Holiday Rum Punch
At some time during your own party, you may want to retire to a quiet corner, perhaps with a special friend, and enjoy a glass of the water of life. If you don’t know about whisky, here’s a post from Todd and Diane in LA, the White On Rice Couple, telling you all about the different types of whisk(e)y. Back in the day I drank Laphroaig ~ too strong and too sophisticated for most ordinary men.
If all that wasn’t enough, from Country Living magazine here are 28 Christmas cocktails that will make you forget all about the presents. These are are pretty easy, including this winter wonderland cocktail, originally from Nicole at the Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie.
Winter Wonderland Cocktail
How about some appetisers to go with all this booze? Heather Christo has the ultimate vegan appetizer platter, Damn Delicious has cheesy garlic bread, and easy firecracker shrimp, Cooking up the Pantry has cheese and mustard puffs, Half Baked Harvest has a cheese fondue board, or you can check out Food on Friday # 25 ~ Bar Snacks.
Easy Firecracker Shrimp
just don’t be a crass American and serve beers in the bottle, give your guests a glass.