DINING AT HOME – OCTOBER 2014 — Now that Marc and I fall in the “empty nesters” club, our meals at home look and feel a little different.
First adjustment: servings. Although it is nice to have leftovers for the lunchbox, an abundance of servings equals waste – or eating the same dish for multiple days in a row. Neither of those options suits me. Therefore, our goal is 4 servings max.
Second adjustment: variety of offerings at one meal. Now that there is no longer a need for multiple veggie/fruit choices on the table (aka picky eaters), we aim for a protein, a veggie or salad and one “extra” – either a starch, fruit, or additional vegetable.
Third adjustment: adventure and budget. New recipes are much easier to put on the table now – and we have already found a few keepers that I think the boys are really going to like when they are home. Sometimes new recipes require ingredients that are more expensive and/or more challenging to find. With just two servings needed, however, it is not as cost prohibitive to reach out to a special cut of meat or fish.
Here are a few of our most recent dinners.
SUNDAY NIGHT: Grilled Maple Chipotle Pork chop, roasted sweet potatoes, salad
I found the pork chop recipe on myrecipes.com. This is one of my go-to sites for easy, yet fresh ideas for meals. The maple chipotle sauce is a winner – also works well with grilled shrimp and the Gouda Grits suggested in the same recipe.
Here is a link to my Pinterest Page that features this recipe (and several other family favorites). Musicdillo’s Favorite Family Dinners (Pinterest)
MONDAY NIGHT: Grilled Sausage, Gouda Grits, Butter Lettuce salad with Fuji apple, Goat Cheese and Toasted pecans
We are becoming fonder of the new Whole Foods location in Austin, just north of the Domain. If you go for the sales, you can get some high quality produce and meats at a very reasonable price. They always have a very interesting offering of homemade sausages. We selected two – the Cranberry Chipotle Pork (which we have had before and LOVED) and a Pumpkin Apple mixture (can’t remember the other ingredients). Both were delicious!
The grits recipe is another from myrecipes.com. You can find it on the Pinterest page linked above. I can’t get enough of this dish – super easy and amazingly flavorful. Easy to reheat – just add some milk to the cold grits in a saucepan over low heat until you get the consistency you like.
The salad was my favorite part of the meal. I dressed the fresh ingredients with a light vinaigerette – white wine, white vinegar, a touch of honey, Italian herbs, cracked pepper and olive oil.
TUESDAY NIGHT: Julia Child’s classic Quiche, fresh fruit
I’ve been making this quiche recipe forever! It is so easy, and great for a quick meal when you are not sure what’s available in the fridge. I use frozen regular pie crusts. Do not use the deep dish – they take too long to cook through and the crust will be overcooked. Brown the crusts (I always make two at a time) for about 10-12 minutes in a 350F oven. While the crusts are cooking, combine eggs and milk (2% works fine). The ratio is ONE egg plus milk = ½ cup. It takes about 6 eggs to fill the two pie crusts.
When the crusts come out of the oven, add meat, cheese and/or veggies to your pie crusts. Cooked bacon and cheese (swiss is my favorite, but I use whatever I have in the fridge) is our go-to favorite. In the past we have added things like fresh basil, sliced cherry tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions.
Pour the egg/milk mixture over the other filling items. Sprinkle with seasoning – salt, pepper and paprika are possible options.
Cook at 350F for about 30-35 minutes. GREAT as leftovers for breakfast!
Serve with a salad, or on this occasion, fresh fruit on hand. Nothing elegant, but easy to prep and delicious.
Not sure what’s for dinner tomorrow night – What are YOU serving for dinners at home these days?