My food-filled week has begun!

I started with a beet smoothie for lunch, courtesy of my new smoothie cookbook (belated post coming soon, perhaps tomorrow), then a trip to Wegmans.  Glorious Wegmans.

I shopped for about four different meals, plus staples like plain lowfat yogurt and milk.  I stocked up on veggies like yellow bell pepper, celery, cucumber, zucchini, a Granny Smith apple and tons of fresh herbs.  Kudos to me for passing on CoffeeMate’s Coconut Creme creamer… I’ve been DYING to have some, but it only came in the large size and I still have three bottles in the fridge.  Boo.

For dinner tonight?  SLIDERS!  I came across the recipe in Barefoot Contessa’s newest cookbook, How Easy is That?, and happened to have a pound of ground beef in my freezer.

(Photos courtesy of Andrew, who actually saved the day when he asked/reminded me to photo dinner as we were about to dig in!  The lighting is HORRIBLE.)

Ina’s recipe called for a garlic, olive oil, dijon mustard and thyme mixture for the meat.  YUM.  I served them on hawaiian sweet rolls because they’re already tiny and I love them and it was the perfect excuse to have them.  For next time, I would go easier on the olive oil.  My beef is pretty lean, but I’m not sure it needed the amount specified in the recipe.  If you don’t mark all over your cookbooks yet, do it!  I can’t tell you how helpful some of my comments are to me the next time I make a recipe, like “use LARGE dutch oven,” or “less salt,” or “this takes more time to cook.”

Needless to say, Andrew was a HUGE fan and said that I should “star” this recipe in the book.  I admit, I don’t really gravitate to burgers (at restaurants or at home), but what else do I do with ground beef?  Other than a good meatloaf every once in awhile, I don’t make casseroles or anything else you’d make with ground beef.  I’ve made more homemade burgers in the last couple years than ever before since we’ve been buying quarters of cows to store in the freezer.

Anyone have good ideas for ground beef, other than spaghetti and meat sauce, meatloaf or burgers?  I have one more pound in our freezer here and about TEN in Andrew’s parents’ freezer!

What will tomorrow bring?  Probably another beet smoothie for lunch and Ina’s herb-roasted salmon with a special orzo dish.  I feel like it’s Christmas around here!


it was a homerun

…at least according to Andrew.  That’s what he says when I make something new (which is pretty much any time I cook) and he likes it.

DINNER!  Photo courtesy of Andrew.

I made a version of Maggiano’s famous fried zucchini appetizer.  It comes with lemon aioli and Susy and I could have eaten it 24/7 without stopping.  Seriously.

I found the recipe online at  I chose it because it called for club soda in the batter instead of an egg.  I was out of eggs and I didn’t want to buy a whole dozen before my five-day trip to Phoenix.  Besides, I’d rather get my eggs from the farmer’s market or the co-op, and neither of those happen until tomorrow, which did me no good tonight.  So, club soda it was.  And it was 99 cents.  And it doesn’t go bad.  Sweet.

My cut-up zucchini was pitiful.  The skin was super thick and my knife is dull as all get out (with no way to sharpen it here!), so I wasn’t thrilled with the slices.  I got a few long ones, but they were all too thick, and then a bunch of smaller scraps.  Interestingly enough, the scraps turned out to be the best of the finished product.

BTW, I HATE glass cutting boards.  I hate the noise my knife makes each time I use it, and I swear it has contributed to how dull it’s gotten.  But, it’s what’s here.

I made the aioli, but not exactly as the recipe said.  I subbed plain lowfat yogurt for the sour cream (it’s what I had in the fridge) and dill seed for the dill weed.  I’m pretty limited here.  It was yummy; more yogurt-y than creamy.

Our salad fixings were on their last legs in the fridge, so I threw a basic green salad together for both of us with Garlic Expressions dressing.  Andrew loves it!  I love sprouts.  I especially love sprouts with ranch dressing or on veggie sandwiches with avocado.

I also included some of my canned goodies: Barefoot Contessa’s Roasted Apple and Pear Sauce, from her newest cookbook, How Easy is That?  I love this stuff.  It’s like dessert.  I canned a bunch for Christmas gifts this past year and it was my go-to dish to bring to events since it made so much and was so easy.  I love that it’s applesauce with a more intense flavor, which comes from the pears and orange zest.

To drink?  Buffalo Bill’s Brewery Orange Blossom Cream Ale.  You can get this all over (in fact, the first time I saw it was in a friend’s fridge back in Ohio), but I’m on a ‘local’ kick and only want to buy New York microbrews right now.  This is an awesome beer for those of us who like Blue Moon and won’t touch a Bud.

For the sake of calories, Andrew and I have been splitting a beer instead of having our own.  Obviously, there are lots of benefits to this; our purchases go further and we ingest fewer calories and alcohol.  Since I’ve lost weight, I’ve definitely noticed that anything I drink affects me a lot more than before.  Who knew ten-plus pounds could do that?  Drinking just portions of beers, or wine, is something I saw on KERF.  She’s always having just a little bit of something.

I fried up the zucchini and then kept it warm in the toaster oven.

The finished product:

It was no Maggiano’s, but it was a great way to use a zucchini that was languishing in the fridge.  Andrew, while he passed on the aioli, chowed the zucchini. Seriously.  Thank goodness, because I probably would have it he hadn’t!  What you see above, plus one long piece, is all I had–talk about some self-control!

So yeah, dinner was a hit.  HAHA, get it, hit?  (homerun…)  🙂