Apologies for the really late update I’ve been really run down and under the weather. Even though the weather has turned lovely. I’m bracing myself for the return of the cold biting winds and frost.
These dinner posts are very popular. And missing one is really made my blog stats go down – which leads to sad kitty faces. So I thought today I’d post a double whammy, what we ate last week, and what we’re having for dinner for the coming week!
Last week started off okay but the week ended with me feeling icky. Dinner was the last thing on my mind and I’m also sad to report that the 80/20 Paleo goal wasn’t met either. Well, I should say, it was 80/20. Just 80% not paleo and 20% paleo. Cue the SAD kitty faces. I have also noticed that switching back to the SAD (btw that’s Standard American Diet for those who like me are newbies to the Paleo world) has made me feel even more icky. So, while I still have my cough and I’m not feeling up to walkies or strength training, or yoga or moving around in general, I’m hopping back on the wagon! I’d love to get some words of encouragement…hint hint hint.
So what did we eat last week? It all started off a bit weird…cue the wiggly fade and silly time warp music “bup-a-la-doo bup-a-la-doo bup-a-la-doo”
Monday Night – Cincinnati Style Chili – 4 way (no beans). Cincinnati chili is sort of an odd dish for anyone who (as I suspect most people are) raised on Tex-Mex Style Chilis. I was first introduced to this dish when going with my Daddy to Take Your Daughter to Work Day. He worked in Springfield, VA at the time and we went to a restaurant called Hard Times Cafe for lunch (the restaurant is still there and still going strong from the looks of their website…must drag the family there when we visit NOVA next). I remember being a little skeptical – chili over spaghetti? 5-way, 3-way. What the heck! But I ordered myself a plate (3-way if I recall correctly) and dug in. It was superb. Fast forward to some random time in the late 1990’s or early 2000’s and Cooks Illustrated actually made this dish and I happened to catch it on public tv one afternoon. I was like…whoa…Chili Mac…its a real thing! People actually make this. Not just some hole in the wall restaurant in Springfield (which apparently isn’t such a hole in the wall and actually has several popular locations!) They even talked about the 5-way, 3-way serving distinctions. Then fast forward again and one of the dishes Kevin grew up on was Chili Mac…not quite Cincinnati Style but close. Yikes! Why has this not made an appearance on the dinner table in the nearly 10 years of our marriage? I haven’t a clue…but don’t worry folks. The situation has been rectified. We had Cincinatti Chili for Dinner on Monday February 20, 2017.
So what makes Chili Mac different from Tex Mex Chili? Well the recipe has chocolate (cocoa powder) and cinnamon in it. Therefore, it actually has more in common with Mole than Traditional Tex-Mex chili. Also, as you may have guessed, it’s served over pasta. Usually spaghetti noodles (the really wide spaghetti, like you remember from school cafeterias…not the delicate angel hair type) and not Elbow Macaroni as the name may suggest. Then there is the “custom” serving schemes: 3-way is usually spaghetti, chili, and cheese; 4-way is spaghetti, chili, cheese and chopped onions; 5-way is spaghetti, chili, cheese, onions, and beans. It’s very easy to make the dish Paleo. Just order 4-way to skip the beans and either use a spaghetti squash or zoodles (or some other Paleo Noodles) to stand in for the spaghetti. Like Tex-Mex chili – it’s all about the chili. Chips, rice, cornbread, or in this case spaghetti are all just fillers. A big bowl of the chili with the appropriate toppings is lovely all on its own. I made actual real pasta for my hubby and kids, and made myself a plate of zoodles. I think next time I’ll go with the spaghetti squash because the zoodles were entirely too watery. I ended up with Chili Mac Soup.
Tuesday – Taco Tuesday – Salsa Chicken in the crock pot. Yes it is just as the name suggests: chicken (dark meat preferred), and whatever 1/2 eaten jars of salsa are lurking in your fridge, a little extra lime juice, chili powder and cumin, an onion…if you happen to have one lying around and feel motivated enough in the wee small hours of the morning actually find the knife and chopping board to chop the darn thing…and set for 4-6 hours on high. Shred the chicken before serving. I fried up a few peppers and onions (since I was not feeling motivated to put it in the crock pot 😉 and of course there was the requisite avocado, cheddar cheese and hot sauce.
Because Cincinnati Chili is more like Mole and these Tacos were more the Tex-Mex flavor no one complained about having two very similar dishes in a row. Not that there would have been any complaints from my horde anyway. We could eat tacos, chili and Tex-Mex food all week-long I expect.
Wednesday – We had some lovely Roast Beef left over from the weekend. And we used it to make a very springy salad of spinach leaves, blue cheese, red onions, strawberries, chopped beef and balsamic vinaigrette. Yum! My only complaint was the blue cheese I used was very VERY blue. It was on sale at Kroger and tasted sooooo yummy when I sampled it at the cheese counter. But it kind of overpowered everything else. I think it was a Roquefort.
Thursday – This is when it all started going a bit Wrong from the Paleo Perspective. E and L wanted grilled cheese. And it was Kevin’s cookery night. I think he was looking for something extremely easy. So grilled cheese and a chopped tomato salad for the Non-Paleos and Carrot and Coriander Soup for me (with leftover Salsa chicken). Buuuut…I got home from yoga and collapsed in an ouchy coughing allergy riddled heap in bed. I did not make the soup. And woke up ravenous in the morning. Kevin and the kids went through almost an entire loaf of bread. E had asked for tuna sandwiches for lunch…and it was tuna and crackers instead.
Then There was Friday – A Non-Paleo Day – I managed a tuna chopped salad from the Paleo Restart Cookbook for lunch, but I didn’t feel up to concocting some sort of paleo pizza crust so it was gluten laden bread flour and peanut satay sauce instead. I mean if you’re going non-Paleo why not go alllllllllll the way non-Paleo. I felt awful the next day…I blame gluten and peanuts. For the movie tonight we pulled out a classic – The Court Jester with Danny Kaye, Mrs. Potts, Mrs. Banks and “You Say Basil, I say Rathbone”(pronounced properly as Bah-zil not Bay-zil)! The vessel with the pestle not the flagon with the dragon…and don’t even get me started on the chalice from the palace.
Saturday – Roasted Pork, Waffle Iron Hash Browns and Green Beans. I really over spiced the hash browns. Kevin and I were the only ones who ate them. E had 3 glasses of milk to cool down her mouth. But I just couldn’t resist since I saw the pretty picture from Cooking Light with My Favorite Cast Iron Waffle Maker! They were yummy just spicy. And I forgot to use up the braised red cabbage from the freezer. L was happy about that! However I was tired of being sick and tired by afternoon on Saturday. So we went on a little outing to downtown Augusta to a Fish Market (I believe it was Johnny’s). Riddle me this Lego Batman…why are all the Fish Markets in Augusta also Chinese restaurants? On the way we passed another Fish Market called Island Fish Market. We’ll try that one next time. But we did walk away from Johnny’s with two lovely whole red snapper packed in a very drippy bag of ice. Thank goodness Kevin had a cold bag in the trunk of his car!
Which brings us to Sunday! Sunday was all about the fish! The weather was nice and sunny and warm so we packed up a very British Style Picnic (a la Jamie 30 Minute Meals) consisting of Sausage rolls (jimmy dean and crescent roll dough…must look up a recipe for rough puff pastry), Smoked Trout Pate (smoked trout, horseradish, lemon juice and zest and a big block of cream cheese), Radishes, Lettuce Wedges, A Herb Roulade (cheese wheel with green herbs) and A Deconstructed Eton Mess that turned into a Deconstructed Strawberry-Mi-Sue when I couldn’t find meringues at Kroger but scrounged a bag of Lady Fingers at home. Strawberries, orange juice, orange zest, and elderflower cordial syrup left of macerate. Served over a mix of 1/2 mascarpone (E says master-pony) and 1/2 greek yogurt and lady fingers. I forgot spoons, so we had to use the biscuits like spoons. It was very messy and very uncouth…but we all licked our bowls clean! This was not Paleo. Not one little bit. But I felt loads better afterwards and even managed three laps round the pond.
Then in the evening we had the whole fish. I used this recipe on Epicurious. It turned out okay (I’d leave the foil off next time and see if it gets a bit more crisp rather than soggy). Then I got to have Fun picking the top fillets off, then in very comical fashion lifting up the entire spine and tail to get at the bottom fillets. It was actually Fun. Served up with a chopped green salad, and whole boiled Red Potatoes. We only ate one fish between the three of us (L opted for a leftover slice of pizza as her main), and we have about 14 oz of flaked fish left for lunches. Methinks Fish Tacos…even though it’s not Tuesday.
Stay tuned for the next entry, ‘What we’re eating this week for dinner’.
Photo Credit: Cooking Light Magazine, “waffle iron hash browns” by Hector Manuel Sanchez