50 Ways To Feed Your Lover, Part 2

I don’t know about you but I’m always looking for quick, easy, and Delicious when it comes to dinner. I’m not a meal planner. I’m more like a ‘feel planner’ and mostly I ‘feel’ like a stress-free glass of wine and a hot meal that doesn’t take longer then 20 minutes. When I’m at home I don’t need the fancy schmancy stuff. I’ve surrendered to the fact I’m a mama with two kids under the age of four and a husband with a grueling schedule. Life is crazy and when the time’s right (in 15 years), I can let my true creative juices flow and make recipes from my  French Laundry cookbook.  I posted the first 25 ways to feed hungry goddess’ on Mother’s Day and here is the rest of that list. Either give the list to your hubby as a “hint-hint” or keep it for you to use when the going gets tough, and the tough get hungry. Enjoy

26. Baked Quesadillas.  Cheese, black beans, tomatoes, spinach, fold over the tortilla and put them in the oven.  Drizzle with salsa and dollop with sour cream and a sprig of cilantro.

27. Pancakes for dinner. Make them with the kids and dazzle with some fresh fruit on top. Even though I’m not on a gluten-free diet, I just love Pamela’s Gluten- Free Pancake Mix.

28. Make a picnic, even something as simple as PB & J with fresh fruit. Grab a bottle of wine and find a shady spot in the backyard. Remember connecting with your family is sometimes the best meal in and of itself.

29. Have a potluck with the neighbors and make a fruit salad. Sprinkle some fresh mint leaves on top of the fruit salad.  This will earn you props from all of your fans. Again, make sure your partner isn’t left with the clean up and you will score big!

30. The Bachelor Burrito.  My husband is famous for these. Whatever you find in the pantry or fridge that looks edible, throw it in a tortilla, add some salsa or bbq sauce and the meal is served.

31. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup. Add some avocado, roasted red peppers or something in there that says I went a little above and beyond.

32. Stuffed Peppers or Tomatoes.  You can use either. All you do is hollow out the insides and add some leftover rice and some readymade pasta sauce. Cover with grated cheese ( I like Tillamook) and bake at 350 degrees, until soft. This dish is a real standout in my book.  Fast, easy, healthy and delicious.

33. Make the kids butter noddles and save some for you. Add marinated artichokes, top with pine nuts, fresh basil and some feta and you have a 5 minute-two-for-the-effort-of-one, gourmet meal.

34. Homemade baked chicken tenders. Homemade is so easy HERE is a great recipe. Make your own bbq sauce (ketchup, vinegar, honey, spices) or honey mustard dip (dijon mustard and honey) and serve with some sweet potato fries and you have healthy, fast food.

35. Chicken or Shrimp Kabobs. Serve with some white or brown rice.

36. Chicken Nachos and Margarita night (my personal favorite). You can use some of the leftover chicken from the kabobs and add some fresh tomatoes, onions, avocado and grated cheese.  For your margos, I love adding a few sprigs of fresh mint.

37. Stir Fry. Use any goodies from the fridge, sautee up some onions, red peppers, and any other colored object you can find. Add some zucchini, garlic and soy sauce.

38. Spa Dinner. Feed the kids early then let them watch a movie. Turn the lights down low, light a candle, serve some spa water (just throw some sliced cucumbers, lemon and oranges in a caraffe of water) Serve a simple, light dinner like salad and add some fresh corn.

 

39. Turkey chili with white beans. I like the epicurious recipe HERE

40. Love Shack Pasta.  A great friend of mine, Eddie made this for me once. It’s so simple and it looks and tastes gourmet. All you need is shrimp, peas, angel hair pasta, olive oil and a hellava lot of garlic. Boil some water (while you’re boiling the water steam the peas) then cook the pasta. While the pasta is cooking sautee the shrimp in drizzle of olive oil, add A TON of garlic. Mix all the ingredients together and top with shaved parm and serve with your favorite white wine.  My personal favorite bottle to accompany this dish is La Marca Prosecco Di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene (AKA wine sparkling wine). Also, check oursommlife.com for other budget-friendly wine pairings.

41. This eggplant. click HERE (thanks, Pinterest). (photo credit: The Year in Food.com )

 

42. Go to the store and get a random vegetable that you never cook with, like kale, leeks, or mustard greens. Go home and sautee it with some olive oil and garlic and surprise the family with something green and new.

43. Crab Cakes. Click HERE for a recipe. Serve with saffron rice and a mixed green salad.

44. Upgraded Sloppy Joes. click HERE for Mario Batali’s 11-year-old son Leo’s recipe.  If an 11-year-old can make these you can too. Serve with some sweet corn and your favorite slaw.

45. “The best meatballs you’ll ever have.”  I saw these on pinterest too and cannot wait to try. click HERE for the deets. (Photo credit: A cup O jo blog).

 

46. Stuffed Chicken (way easier than you might think). Click HERE for my favorite Rachel Ray recipe.

47. Beets. Roasted. Beets.

48. Try making your own homemade pasta sauce. click HERE for a wonderful recipe.

49. Pork chops and homemade applesauce (this was my husband’s suggestion). Marinate your chops in soy, honey, and a bit of ketchup and bbq on the grill. Try making this simple, homemade, kid-friendly recipe for applesauce HERE.

50. Take out your spouse as soon as you get home. Be spontaneous (even if there’s something on the stove already). Be outrageous.  Get everyone, even the kids, dogs and pet fish in the car and go somewhere. Anywhere. I promise the thrill of breaking the ordinary is just what we all need sometimes.

 

A few ground rules for you beautiful mamas, if you use this list as a “hint-hint” for your partner. If he burns it, please don’t run him over with your minivan. At least he tried. If he doesn’t make it exactly how you would want it, still give him a juicy kiss. If there is a tiny bit of a mess, still give him a huge hug. Honor the thoughtfulness and you might just get some more where it came from.  Be sure to communicate in advance that leaving a big mess for you undoes the thoughtfulness of cooking a special meal.  Our mates cannot read our minds and they like to know the ground rules before getting in the game.

Be well and if you are what you eat, be Delicious.

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Brownie Points. And Delicious Cookbook GIVEAWAY

Cooking with kids is a total sh*t-show.  As much as I would love to put a cotton candy twist on it, cooking, baking and eating with my two children is a challenge.  Kids are messy.  Most are picky.  They eat the chocolate chips out of the bag before we can add them to the cookies. They want to ‘help’ with E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. And they quickly lose interest once the initial excitement wears off.  I feed my kids the finest ingredients but cooking with my wee ones is the greatest food-lover challenge I have faced thus far. Yet, at the same time it’s worth every bit of the chaos that ensues.

 

 

So when I was heard about Alice Medrich and  Artisan Books sent me a copy of her latest book, Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts. I decided that the most rigorous test of their cookbooks would be to see if I could make their recipes with my kids without losing my mind.

A few days later I received Alice’s masterpiece in the mail.  I was floored by the beauty overflowing the pages. The photos are as if you are walking through a museum of fine, food art. And the recipes are gourmet but wonderfully simple, hence the name.  Most dishes only rely on one bowl or the use of a food processor. Truly, any busy mama’s sweet dreams come true. Or as Alice relishes in her blog, “Love to cook,hate to bake?” It is also the perfect fit for us savory toothed, non-bakey types.

With Alice’s book in buttery-fingered hands, we set up our learning tower.  We found a recipe for which we had all the ingredients. Cocoa brownies with walnuts and brown butter seemed like the perfect fit. We gathered plenty of snacks to keep the troops interested. I drew a fresh batch of patience from my mother’s well.  And we boldly set out to where most moms dare not bring their kids, the kitchen counter. Dunn. Dunn. Da. Dunnnn…

Credit: “Excerpted from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2012.”

Cocoa Brownies
with Walnuts and Brown Butter

Makes 16 large or 25 small brownies

 

Deeply chocolate walnut-laced brownies with the fragrant flavor of browned butter. The batter is thick enough to spread with deep swirls and the result is soft, gooey brownies with slightly crusty tops. These brownies are thin, and I like them that way.

Ingredients:

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup (2.4 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably natural

Rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons water

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cold large eggs

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup walnut pieces

Equipment:

8-inch square baking pan

Directions:

1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and all 4 sides of the baking pan with foil and coat with nonstick vegetable spray (or use nonstick foil).

2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and continue to cook, whisking gently, until it is golden brown and the milk particles suspended in it are reddish brown. Remove the pan from the heat and stop the cooking by immediately adding the sugar, cocoa powder, salt, water, and vanilla. Stir to blend. Let cool for 5 minutes; the mixture will still be fairly hot.

(photo credit: definingdelicious.com)

3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula after adding each one. When the mixture looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add all of the flour and stir until you no longer see streaks of flour, then beat vigorously for 50 to 60 strokes with the wooden spoon or the spatula. Stir in the nuts.

4. Spread the batter in the lined pan, swirling the surface if you like. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges almost clean (the brownies will still be soft and gooey even if the toothpick looks clean). Cool in the pan on a rack.

5. Lift the edges of the foil liner and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Slide a metal spatula under the brownies to detach them from the foil (or invert the brownies and peel off the foil, then turn the brownies right side up again). Cut into 16 or 25 squares. The brownies keep stored airtight, for 2 to 3 days.

 

At the end of the adventure we made it out alive gooey, buttery brownies. Keeping in mind we made these little brown-beauties with 4 sugar-coated, “helping hands,” under the age of 4, ours turned out like this…

 

But they tasted like this…

(Photo Credit: Sang An of Artisan Books 2012)

Needless to say it was an experience…*cough*And I would do it all over again. Those brownies were well worth it.

A few side notes:

– Ironic as it is, I highly recommend the use of snacks while attempting to make more snacks. These little gems work well and don’t be shy, give yourself the fermented version.

 

– If you get distracted and add double the amount of butter. Yes, DOUBLE. Whoops. I encourage you to become crafty and make buttered popcorn out of the leftover browned butter. True Story. Again, it’s all about the snack to get to the snack.

-If you are trying to become a famous gastronome photographer, don’t try to win your Pulitzer with brownies. In fact, just eat them and leave the photos for the honest pros.  Personally, I cannot take a picture of brownies that doesn’t look like a pile of cow dung.

# 1 FAIL

My personal brownie-dungish photo. I’ll spare you the other 200. Just remember if your brownies don’t look exactly like the ones in the book, if you follow Alice’s recipe, I’m sure it will at least taste like a cloud in sugary heaven.

-And at the end of the day, your kitchen floor may have seen better days.

 

-Your counters will be covered with crap (speaking of crap).

 

But who gives a hoot? You can clean-up any mess, right? It will be worth the mommy brownie points and the thumbs up from your little loves.

 

And as if that wasn’t enough to get you out there baking with your family and swooning over Alice Medrich, enter here to win a copy of Alice’s Sinfully Delicious Cookbook. Yes, YOU! And trust me you want this book. Here’s how to enter…

-Like Artisan Books and Defining Delicious on Facebook (if you’re already fans, thank you! Please leave a comment below to be entered).

-Follow Artisan Books and Defining Delicious on Twitter.

-Leave a comment below about your best and/or worst family-baking moments.

Subscribe to our email updates.

Winner will be chosen on June 30th 2012. We want to ensure Delicious goodies being a part of your 4th of July picnics.

Thank You. And remember if you are what you eat, be Delicious.

 

* Full Delishclosure- I was given a copy of Alice Medrich’s book, Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts . However, all opinions are my own. In fact, I was so inspired I have already bought 4 more copies  and her cookie book, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy…Ps. I love you, Alice.