Monthly Archives: January 2012

Best New York Style Pizza

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I’m not a New England native.  I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but raised in Maplewood, NJ and see myself as a “Jersey Girl.”  So I, of course, am obsessed with Real Housewives of New Jersey, Jersey Shore, and all the other trash engaging TV shows out there about the NY/NJ area.  So, as a jersey girl…it’s been a blessing to find a NY pizza place in Foxboro, MA!!

Sal’s and Mal’s is hidden away off RT. 140 in Foxboro.  The pictures in their take-out menu don’t do their pizza justice.  (Standard clip art pizza)  So, I was a little hesitant in ordering.  But I gave in to my NY style pizza cravings and ordered.  There were  6 adults and 2 hungry preschoolers, so I ordered 3 large pies.  They were HUGE!!  We ordered the standard cheese and pepperoni, but also a Greek (white pizza with tomatoes, spinach, garlic, black olives and feta).  The tomatoes were red and juicy, the feta and mozzarella cheeses didn’t over power one another, and the spinach was fresh (not frozen).  The only downside was the over abundance of black olives!!  They must have used at least 2 little cans on the pie.  But the best part of the pizza….it was so thin it HAD to be folded and the tip still drooped!!  I was in pizza heaven!  We will definitely be ordering from here again!!

Chicken in a Pig Blanket

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Honey Glazed Chicken and Bacon Bites reminded me of a cross between pigs in a blanket and a ‘turducken.’

The chicken tenders were wrapped in a slice of bacon and then smeared with a honey mustard sauce.  I baked in a 425 degree oven for 15-17 minutes.

Next time:

  • Cook them a few minutes longer as I like my bacon nice and crispy
  • Place them on a roasting rack so they don’t stew in their own juices (the bottom was too soupy)

My husband and daughter loved these!  They ate them up so quickly I think they both stopped talking for a few minutes!   And if you know my daughter it’s a cold day in hell when she isn’t talking!!

I think these chicken tenders would be a great on thick toasted bread, smeared with mayo, topped with a thick slice of tomato and some fresh crisp green leaf lettuce! An “HGCBLT’ Sandwich!!  Definitely a make-again!!

A weeknight dinner in France

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Today was an ‘extra Sunday’ as I so fondly refer to Monday holidays!  Thank you Dr King for all you did!

I took this opportunity to make Provencal Beef Daube from Cooking Light.  It is a crock pot recipe but the prep time does not lend itself to a typical week day morning.  The prep includes chopping ‘the trinity,’ resisting the open bottle of red wine, marinating the beef, reconstituting the porcini, and sauteing the beef!!  Phew!!  But given all the prep work it was worth it!!

My changes:

  • Omitted the parsley (only because I didn’t have any)
  • Used pre-crushed tomatoes (2 cups)
  • Omitted the olives (I’m the only olive lover here!)
  • I didn’t sprinkle any herbs on at the end (I prefer not having to explain what the green things are to my almost 4-year-old)

I loved the flavors in this dish.  The whole peppercorns gave off their flavor without adding spice.  The orange rind added something special to the dish.  While I couldn’t taste the orange, I did note that the spice combination was new to my palette.  With the crushed tomatoes and red wine, it almost tasted like a slow cooked marinara sauce.

Definitely a make again!

 

Gluten-free doesn’t have to mean taste-free

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A new bakery and cafe opened up in Millis right after the new year.  The town was seriously lacking in lunch places, so this couldn’t have been a better addition to the town.

So I hit up the bakery today to scope out their cake/cupcake selection for my daughter’s birthday party.  Twist is gluten-free, peanut free, and dairy conscious (many items are dairy free).

There were so many yummy looking goodies in the case, it was hard to choose!  There was a sun butter and jelly, coconut, chocolate, and vanilla cupcakes.  And the chocolate raspberry torte looked decadent!

  • Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting-The cake was a bit chewy and crunchy (like corn meal was used) for my taste but the frosting was dark and not overly sugary
  • Vanilla Cupcake with Coconut Jam, Vanilla Frosting, and Coconut Sprinkles-The vanilla frosting was light and fluffy.  The cake was chewy and a bit crunchy just like the other vanilla cake.  But the coconut jam was unexpected-sugary, sweet, but wasn’t over powered by the coconut flavor.
  • Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Frosting-MY FAVORITE!!  The cake was dense and moist but not chewy.  And the frosting was light sweet and fluffy!

This bakery is definitely on the list of possibilities.  And totally worth checking out if you are gluten-free!

Crock Pot (Not-So) Roasted Chicken

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I don’t know why I thought cooking a chicken in the crock pot would yield the same tender and juicy chicken with a crispy skin that comes from the oven or grill!

Tonight’s entrée was Cilantro Lime Crock Pot Chicken from  Food On The Table App.  The overall flavor gave way to too much lime and cilantro.  The chicken was so tender that when I picked it out of the crock pot the chicken just fell apart!  My only thought is that maybe I cooked the chicken too long.  Instead of 7 hours, it cooked for 10!  Oops!  Luckily I was able to salvage one leg or else I would have had to listen to a nearly 4-year-old cry about no “chicken on the bone.”  But given the chicken was half covered with its own juices, it was rather dry.

I was sadly disappointed by the overall flavor of this recipe.  If I were to make it again, I would plan on using the meat for other mexican recipes-chicken enchiladas, chicken quesadillas, or tortilla soup, that would add some spice to this entrée.

 

Sunday night letdown

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As I was running out the door late this morning, I realized I had to thrown the beef into the crock pot or else we wouldn’t be eating until 9pm.  Ooops….the beef roast was still hanging out in the freezer!!  I had to find a plan B.

I was in the mood for a warm ‘wintery’ beef roast, so I quickly found a recipe for a beef pot roast.  It looked simple enough and included only a few (but big flavor) ingredients–red wine, onions, beef broth, thyme, carrots, and potatoes.  Along with the beef that is.

I let my dutch oven get super hot before I browned the meat.  I sautéed the onions, added the rest of the ingredients (minus the carrots and potatoes) and threw it into the oven.  Simple!  Within minutes my house smelled of wine, thyme, and onions!!  Yum!  90 minutes later I threw in the carrots and potatoes and stuck it back in the oven for another hour.

Sadly, the beef was not as tender as I would have liked it to be.  Maybe it was because I didn’t trim the layer of fat before I cooked it (but I did sear the fat really well). But, in my non-professional opinion, I think the roast could have used another hour in the dutch oven.  And the ratio of carrots to potatoes was way off.  There were way too many potatoes and not enough carrots in the recipe for my family.  But the flavor of the cooking liquid was super tasty–I was soaking it up with my biscuits!!

Dreaded meal planning made easy (well easier)

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When wasting time playing Words with Friends one of the ever present ads caught my eye–Food on the Table.  It is available as an app for the iPad and iPhone as well as on the internet.

Planning meals for the week is one of my most dreaded chores.  It takes me as much time (if not more) to plan the meals for the week as it does to go grocery shopping.  This app allows you to link up to 3 local grocery stores.  Then the user selects food preferences-food types (chicken, beef, etc) and entree types (salads, soups, crock pot dishes, etc).

The user can then choose to find recipes in three different ways.

  1. Based on what is on sale at their local stores
  2. Based on food types
  3. Based on entree types

Once the user selects a recipe, they can increase or decrease the number of servings and the app will recalculate the needed ingredients.  Once the recipe is added to your weekly meal plan, you can go to your “grocery list” and view all the ingredients needed for the week.  The app gives you the option to check off items you have at home or to add other items in very broad terms (deoderant, cereal, breakfast bars, etc).

Unfortunately, the free app only allows you to plan for 3 meals a week.  You can subscribe to the app/website and plan meals for the entire week and view thousands of chef-picked recipes.  I’ve used the app this week to plan a few recipes….let’s see how the taste!!