Sunday, February 28, 2010

Panko Crusted Cod {What's for Dinner? 2/28/2010}

Panko Crusted Cod with Roasted Brocc & GB {garlic bread}

This was the meal we had planned for Friday but, as you know, got pushed off in favor of pizza. I'm glad we finally made it though because it was a good one!

I got the idea for this fish preparation from a Martha Stewart recipe I made in the past. It basically involved brushing pork chops with dijon mustard and then coating in panko breadcrumbs. It was a very tasty, healthy and delicious way to make "oven-fried" pork chops so I thought it might work for fish too. And it did! The mustard adds great flavor and "glue" for the coating and the panko adds that awesome crispiness.

All you do to prepare Panko Crusted Cod is brush each fillet of fish with dijon mustard and then coat in panko. Then bake in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until fish is flaky. I recommend cooking the fish on a rack, placed on top of a cookie sheet to keep the bottom from getting soggy. {We didn't do this but we will next time.}

Also try this coating with chicken or pork chops!

Saturday in DFW {What's for Dinner? 2/27/2010}

On Saturday we got to spend time with these two cutie patooties {who just happen to be my youngest cousins}:


Addy fell in love with Alex! She wanted him to hold her most of the time we were there and she would lay her head down on his shoulder. It was too cute!

My newest competition for his favorite girl.

On Saturday night we went to an elopement party at Pappasito's Cantina for one of my best friends, Brittany, and her new husband, Cecil. They arranged a wonderful Mexican food buffet with fajitas, chicken enchiladas, rice, beans & all the fixings. It was a great time!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

What's for Dinner? 2/26/2010

Like I mentioned in my last post, I had to work an event on Friday night so I didn't get home until 9pm. We had great plans of making a healthy dinner with cod but by the time I got home we just wanted to freaking EAT. So Alex picked up a very unhealthy {but AWESOME} cheese pizza {remember, it's a Friday during Lent so we couldn't eat meat} from a local New York style pizzeria.

Have I mentioned that we LOVE pizza?!? Oh yes, I think perhaps I have. YUM.

It was oh so good and cheesy! I highly recommend Joe's if you live in the Killeen/Fort Hood area. It's located just outside the East Gate on Fort Hood Street.

Today we're heading to Dallas/Fort Worth for one of my BFF's elopement party! I'm so excited for her and her new husband. While we're in the area we're also going to visit some family members who live in the area. It should be a fun time!

What's for Dinner? 2/25/2010

Oh man I am SO GLAD this work week is over. I had one major event on Thursday and then another event on Friday night so it's just been non-stop for me all week. I've basically only come home to sleep at night and then get up in the morning and do it all again.

So Thursday night we had this Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe on the menu. Unfortunately because of the crazy pace of my morning I forgot to put it in before I left for work at the crack of dawn. Alex was able to put it in the slow cooker at about 2pm when he got home but then we had to kind of rush it along and put it on high for 2.5 hours and low for 2.5 hours. We later realized that maybe the high setting at the beginning of the cooking process was a bad idea because the roast got cooked but it just wasn't falling apart like a pot roast should. It was sadly very tough. :(

Alex ate it anyway and said it would have been good except for the tough meat texture, but I just wasn't feeling it. Instead I made myself a salad:

It consisted of baby spinach, fat free cheddar cheese, light ranch dressing and a Morningstar Grillers Prime Veggie Burger with a side of bread & buttah. It was quite delicioso!

And pretty much directly after I ate this I passed out on the couch at about 8:00pm. Sweet.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What's for Dinner? 2/24/2010

We had a "Hail & Fairwell" at TGI Fridays so we ate dinner there. The food was decent...I love the fried green beans with wasabi dipping sauce...YUM. {Side Note: My aunt and uncle are actually friends with a TGI Fridays chef and he developed that recipe. I met him once and complimented him profusely on it!}

A Hail & Farewell is an Army tradition in which you welcome new soldiers to the unit and say goodbye to soldiers who are leaving the unit. They're usually held at a local restaurant. Last night's H&F was the first one since they got back from deployment so there were A LOT of people to be hailed and fairwelled. :)

There's your Army lesson of the day!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Book Review: Dead as a Doornail

25 Books in 2010:

1. The Gastronomy of Marriage by Michelle Maisto {click here for my review}

2. Shelter Me by Juliette Fay {click here for my review}

3. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks {click here for my review}

4. Dead as a Doornail {Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood, Book 5} by Charlaine Harris

This series contains nothing worthy of literary merit, but I sure do love it for it's entertainment value! The books are what the True Blood TV show is based on.

I wouldn't say this was my favorite of the books in the series I've read so far, but it still met my expectations and I enjoyed reading it. Another thing I love about these books is how easy they are to read. I tend to get through them way faster than I do other books because they are so entertaining. I like to switch back and forth between more "intellectual" books and easy-read books so this is a great one for the latter category!

SNOW DAY + What's for Dinner? 2/23/2010

Well, we got the snow we were wanting! And a LOT of it {for Texas, that is}. It was an awesome day! It started sleeting at around 6:30am and then quickly turned into snowing. Then it proceeded to snow ALL DAY, non-stop! The accumulation ended up being 2-3 inches! Alex and I kept looking at each other and saying "Is this really Texas?!?"

Alex's work got called off all together and I only had to work until 11am so it's been a wonderful, lazy snow day around here. My day went something like this: Work a little. Come home early. Eat lunch. Play in the snow with hubs & the dog. Read a book. Take a nap. Prepare dinner. Eat dinner. Snuggle on the couch and watch American Idol & the Olympics. Blog. It was an awesome day that I wish would never end!

Snow makes me so happy. I'm well aware that I probably wouldn't feel this way if I lived somewhere that got snow regularly, but I like to think that it would still make me happy. I just can't get over how BEAUTIFUL everything looks in snow cover. We don't live in a particularly attractive area but man, with snow it just looks MAGICAL!

Here are some pictures from the day...{what's for dinner at the bottom of this post}

For dinner tonight we made Amazing Pork Tenderloin in the Slow Cooker with leftover mashed sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli.

The only change I made to the pork recipe was to add a little Chili Garlic Paste {because we like a little kick} and to sub out the red wine for beef broth {because I thought we had red wine on hand but we didn't}. I also cooked the pork for 2 hours on high and 2 hours on low, because I just didn't trust that 4 hours on low was going to be enough. It was great!! The pork turned out so tender and juicy and we loved the sauce that was left behind in the slow cooker. I actually took the pork out when it was done cooking, turned the slow cooker on high and added some flour {probably two tablespoons} to the juices. Then I just whisked until it thickened a bit and we served the sauce on top of the pork. Yum!

I'll also add a little plug for steamer bags...I love these things! It's so easy to just pop some veggies in one, microwave for a few minutes, and you end up with perfectly steamed veggies. Highly recommend!

Monday, February 22, 2010

What's for Dinner? 2/22/2010

-Grilled Steaks with Balsamic Reduction
-Roasted Red Potatoes
-Roasted Cheesy Tomato Halves

We love steaks in our household. Like, a lot. It's not uncommon for us to have steak for dinner once a week around here {same goes for pizza}. Luckily, we can shop on Post at the Commissary {basically an Army version of a grocery store} and get meat really cheap.

Let me just stray from the topic for a moment to say that we don't actually like doing ALL of our grocery shopping at the commissary. The selection just sucks sometimes and the quality of the produce is usually lacking as well. But the things we always buy at the commissary are meat, drinks and dairy because they are oh so wonderfully cheap!

So anyway, I got home late from the gym tonight so Alex took over on steak night. We were only planning on having steaks with roasted red potatoes but I came home surprised to find a balsamic vinegar reduction bubbling on the stove and cheesy tomatoes in the oven. What a great surprise!

On a totally unrelated note, the weathermen are calling for 2-4 inches of SNOW here tomorrow! I'm SUPER excited about this prospect....come on snow!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Book Review: Dear John

25 Books in 2010:

1. The Gastronomy of Marriage by Michelle Maisto {click here for my review}

2. Shelter Me by Juliette Fay {click here for my review}

3. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
I first heard about this book back in December through work and I was immediately intrigued by the romance with a soldier premise of the book. However, I have never been much of a fan of Nicholas Sparks books {although I love the movie version of The Notebook} so I was a bit unsure of how I would feel about it.

Well this book pretty much gets filed along with all the other Nicholas Sparks books I've read: only so-so. I just find his books somewhat boring and contrived. Plus, the ones I've read so far have all pretty much followed the same format of tortured love. Kinda gets boring after a while, ya know?

I think the best judge of this book was whether or not I wanted $8 to see the movie in theaters after reading the book. The answer to that is no, I do not have any interest in seeing the movie in theaters now. {And that's saying a lot because I think Channing Tatum is HOT! ;-) }

Cupcakes & Combat Boots Rating: 2 stars

What's for Dinner? 2/21/2010


My friend Connie recently asked me about my blog, "Don't you guys EVER eat leftovers for dinner?!?"

The answer to that is, yes, but not that often. We eat leftovers for lunches the next day and we purposely try to not make a ton of extra food so that doesn't leave us with much in the way of leftovers for dinners.

But every now and then it does happen, like tonight. Are you happy now, Connie?? :)

What's for Dinner? 2/20/2010

Saturday evening we found ourselves with not much in the way of food and no ideas on what to make for dinner at around 5pm. Then I realized that we had leftover cooked chicken breasts and fresh mushrooms and the first thing that popped into my mind was Chicken Tetrazzini.

The funny thing is I don't think I'd ever made Chicken Tetrazini before but I had eaten it so I knew it involved chicken, mushrooms & pasta. I googled for a couple of recipes but nothing really fit exactly what I was looking for. Most made enough to feed an army and it was just going to be the two of us. But I got the general idea from a couple of different recipes and then just winged it from there. I think it turned out pretty well for a last minute thing! Alex said he definitely wants me to make it again so that's always a good sign.

WARNING: This recipe contains what some foodies refer to as "cream of crap soup" {a.k.a. cream of mushroom/chicken/etc. soup}. If you are opposed to using it then don't bother checking out this recipe. :)

As I went along I wrote down what I was doing so I would remember for the future:

Chicken Tetrazini
Source: Me

-8 oz (half a package) of egg noodles {or whatever noodle you have}
-1 tsp. olive oil
-1/2 a medium onion, chopped
-1 c. button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 c. green beans or peas, frozen
-2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
-1 can cream of mushroom soup {healthy request}
-1/4 c. chicken broth
-1 tsp. garlic salt
-1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
-1/2 c. parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook pasta a minute or two shy of the time listed on the package to al dente. Drain.

While pasta cooks, heat oil on in a nonstick pan on medium heat. Saute onion & mushrooms for about 5 minutes in oil until softened. Add garlic and green beans/peas and cook for another minute.

Mix cooked pasta, sauteed veggies, chicken, cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth and garlic salt in a bowl until well combined and coated in the sauce. Pour mixture into a square baking pan sprayed with Pam.

Sprinkle the cheeses on top of the casserole and then bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Enjoy!

What's for Dinner? 2/19/2010

We went to a party at our friends Connie & Randall's house in honor of Randall's 25th birthday. Annnnnd Connie announced to us that she is 8 weeks pregnant!! They're dropping like flies in our group of friends and it's super exciting!

Connie made a delicious dinner of pulled pork sandwiches, which I heard were delicious but Alex and I couldn't eat them due to it being a Friday during Lent. :( We still enjoyed some delicious sides and cake though!

{I was feeling pictured-out so I didn't take my camera and therefore didn't capture any pictures from Connie's big announcement...dangit!}

Friday, February 19, 2010

What's for Dinner? 2/18/2010

Turkey Meatloaf made just like this one, only we made it in muffin tins instead of into a loaf. I like it better this way because it makes cute individual portions AND you get more sauce per bite!

On the side we had mashed sweet potatoes (homemade, not out of the box this time) and {canned} green beans.

Then I got my new Cooking Light magazine in the mail and realized that our meal was basically the "white trash" version of the meal they are featuring on the cover:

See what I mean?!? Meatloaf instead of pork chop. Not-so-smooth mashed sweet potatoes instead of pureed sweet potatoes. Canned green beans instead of fresh string beans. HA!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday Dinner {What's for Dinner? 2/17/2010}

Happy Ash Wednesday!

As Catholics, we celebrate the first day of Lent by going to Mass and not eating meat. The 2nd part of that tends to be the annoying part, as we are major meat eaters. However, tonight we had a great no-meat alternative: Veggie Pizza! Lots of veggies {kalamata olives, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms} and lots of cheese. Yum!

The priest who conducted Mass today made a great point about how we always consider Lent to mean giving up things like chocolate or coke. But in reality those trivial items don't necessarily bring you any closer to God. He suggested trying to forgive more as a true challenge. That message really hit me hard, as I just wasn't feeling my typical "give up coke for Lent" sacrifice.

So this Lenten season I'm going to try to improve myself and my relationship with God in the following ways:

1. Practice more forgiveness {especially with coworkers}

2. Be more positive at work and life in general {I tend to be a big pessimist}

What are you doing for Lent?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fat Tuesday Gumbo {What's for Dinner? 2/16/2010}

Hubs & I in front of Golden Gate

I love fresh seafood!

Well hello there! We're officially back from a wonderful mini-vacation to San Francisco and Sonoma. I'll fill in the blanks on the trip later when I have more time and when I'm not still trying to recover from vacation-exhaustion, but for now I'm just going to get right back into "What's for Dinner" business.

For dinner tonight we made "Half Hour Chicken Gumbo" in honor of it being Fat Tuesday. It was fine for a quick version of gumbo but it definitely didn't compare to my momma's gumbo. ;-) It was somewhat flavorless but with a little extra seasoning and some hot sauce it tasted much better. The only alteration to the recipe we made was to add some crab meat...yum!

P.S. I like my gumbo served over polenta instead of rice. I wonder if I'm the only weird person who does this?? My husband thinks it's weird but I think it's delicious!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What's for Dinner? 2/10/2010

I worked late and we needed to do a lot of packing for our trip so we picked up Jason's Deli to go.

Alex's "New York Yankee" Sandwich

My Salad Bar

We're actually at the airport right now waiting for our first flight {out of 2 flights} in the trip to San Francisco. It was another hell of a week at work so I really feel like I need this vacation. Plus, I'm so so so excited about seeing California for the first time. See you on the flip side!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What's for Dinner? 2/9/2010

I had bunco tonight and Alex had staff duty so we both ate dinner away from home.

Annnnnd I just realized that I might possibly have too active of a social there such a thing?!? Since I started doing these What's for Dinner posts it has made me realize how often we have social activities! What can I say? We have great friends!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

No Grocery Shopping Meal {What's for Dinner? 2/8/2010}

This week is a short week for us because we leave for a long-weekend trip to San Francisco on Thursday {so excited!!!}. We decided it wasn't worth it to go grocery shopping since there are only one or two nights before we leave where we need to make dinner. So tonight was a "make-what-you-have" kinda night. And we had chicken and Betty Crocker instant mashed sweet potatoes {yes, out of the box...gasp!}. No veggie...double gasp! It was actually quite satisfying for an unplanned, unphotogenic & boring meal. :)

Grilled Chicken w/ Mashed Sweet Potatoes {the boxed kind....they're actually really delicious!}

Did I mention that I'm SO EXCITED about San Francisco!?! I've NEVER been to California before. Yay yay yay yay!!

What's for Dinner? 2/6/2010 & 2/7/2010

2/6/2010 - GAME NIGHT
Saturday night we went to a game night get-together at our friends Lindsey & Taylor's house. It was a total blast! We realized though that guys are REALLY LOUD when they play games. It was deafening! For dinner Lindsey & Taylor served fajitas! Yum!

2/7/2010 - SUPERBOWL Party
Sunday night we went to a Superbowl party at our friends Jenn & Drew's house. They made an awesome brisket and everybody brought sides and desserts to fill out the meal. Here is a picture of the "man cave"...the girls got the warm living room. :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Man and His Dog

A bonding sesh {short for session...duh} featuring Hubbs & The Dog, with a supporting role by the Dave & Busters plush Gig 'Em thumb:

What is that you have there? It looks like....a toy? For me.

What if I high five it? Do I get it now?!?

Fine! Then I'll just take it from your forcefully!

Notice the ridiculous amounts of A&M things in these photos. Exhibit A) The shorts. Exhibit B) The plush gig 'em. Exhibit C) The dog collar.

Yes....we bleed maroon.

Work Sucks Calzones {What's for Dinner? 2/5/2010}


These were extremely delicious and exactly what I needed after a HELLACIOUS day of work. Like, for real yo.

/Begin work rant: I love my job itself but the politics and bullsh!t just get to me sometimes. Working in marketing is like being the redheaded step child. If things go to sh!t, blame the marketing department for not doing enough to get the word out. If things go well, don't give any credit to marketing whatsoever because it was clearly ALLLLL just "luck"...or some sh!t like that.

"We're not doing well. It's marketing's fault!!" Uhhhhh no. Maybe, just MAYBE the fact that you're not doing well has more to do with the fact that the event you planned is overpriced and NOT APPEALING to people. Ya think maybe that has something to do with it since this is the 3rd year in a row that this event has not done well? Hmmm??? Yeah....I do.

And for the record, I'm a perfectionist. I expect a LOT out of myself. I always have {just ask my parents what happened the first time I came home with a B on my report card...meltdown city....which then turned out to be a mistake on the part of the teacher and I actually had earned a 93. But I digress.} So when people tell me I'm not doing my job well, that is like the ultimate insult to me. I don't handle it fact, I cry. Yeah....embarrassing and unprofessional, I know this. But that's just the way I am.

Now go hug someone from your marketing department and thank them for all that they do. I'm sure they need it.

Oh and, not to mention, my boss is crazy. That makes things....ummmm fun? I'm not going to say much more on that subject because this is a public blog. But yeahhhh....whackadoodle.

/End work rant.

Anywayyyyy, Alex made the dough for these calzones in the bread machine using this recipe. We give this dough recipe two thumbs up! It was crispy but tender at the same time and just really good. We will probably just use this recipe in the future for pizza dough because it was so good.

We filled our calzones with mozz cheese, turkey pepperoni & sauce. {I insisted that calzones aren't supposed to have sauce inside them but Alex ignored me and put it in anyway. In the end, I actually like them better with sauce on the inside! So mark one point on the board for Alex!}

And after eating a HUGE calzone for dinner, 3 glasses of wine and a wonderful husband who let me rant about my no good, horrible, awful day I felt muuuuuccchhhh better. :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What's for Dinner? 2/4/2010

Mediterranean Penne with Chicken
with a side salad.

REALLY great pasta! It reminded me a little bit of a Putanesca with the salty flavor of the olives and the bite from the sundried tomatoes. We're definitely going to be making variations of this same dish very often because it's also SUPER easy to make.

To make Mediterranean Penne with Chicken just saute 1/4 of an onion and a couple cloves of garlic in a teaspoon olive oil for about 2 minutes on medium heat. Then add in 1-2 Tbsp each of chopped sundried tomatoes, roasted red pepper & kalamata olives. Cook for another minute. Then add in 1 cup of chopped, cooked chicken {we used rotisserie chicken}, 1/4 cup white wine, 1/4 cup chicken stock and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Let all this cook down a bit for about 4-5 minutes and then toss with cooked penne pasta. Top with grated parmesan cheese.

What's for Dinner? 2/3/2010

Fish Tacos with Avocado-Cilantro Sauce
with spanish rice {the instant kind that comes out of a bag} and avocado slices

These would have been very good, except that the fish we used must have been in the freezer for too long or something because it was waaaayyyy too fishy-tasting. I couldn't even eat my tacos, which made me very sad because they were so good minus the nasty fish taste. I ended up eating my rice, avocado and a PB&J sandwich. :(

These are super-easy to make. You just season the fish filets {we used Tilapia} with garlic salt & lemon pepper and cook in a pan until the fish is flaky. Then you flake the fish apart into chunks and serve in warm corn tortillas with chopped red cabbage and avocado-cilantro sauce.

To make the avocado-cilantro sauce you process about 1/2 cup of greek yogurt (or plain yogurt) with a handful of cilantro, juice of 1 lime, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chili powder & half avocado together in a food processor.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Eh-Too-Fay {What's for Dinner? 2/2/2010}

Alex gets all the credit for this delicious dinner! He bookmarked this etouffeee recipe out of our latest Food Network Magazine and then he made it for dinner tonight.

As we were eating he proudly proclaimed that this was his first time making a roux. Well, good job, Babe. It was delicious!

We served the etouffee over rice and with a side salad. This meal is so warm and comforting. Cajun comfort food = awesome!

Shrimp & Chicken Etouffee over Rice w/ side salad

Here is the recipe. The only change we made is that we used pre-cooked rotisserie chicken instead of chicken thighs.

What's for Dinner? 2/1/2010

Happy February!

To kick off the month of February, we went to a potluck dinner with some GREAT friends. It was a very special occasion because one of our original DS members who has since PCS'ed {a.k.a. moved away for you non-Army types out there} was stopping through town for a quick visit. The hardest part of being in the Army life is having to be separated from both family AND friends, so you have to take advantage of any opportunity to meet up with old friends whenever you can. We were so happy to see her {Danielle} and her adorable son {Clayton} and her handsome husband {Jason}. {We love yall and miss yall so much!!}

Alex & I brought a salad but there was lots of other yummy stuff...King Ranch Chicken, Baked Ziti, Cheesy Potatoes, Lasagna and best of all...this BEAUTIFUL {and tasty} dessert that my friend Kat made: