Country Fried Steak + Gravy

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Deciding between country fried steak and french toast is always a huge dilemma when I go to a diner. Ultra savory or ultra sweet? I love both, so it depends on the place and my mood, I guess. It took some time for me to find cube steak, but I wanted to do it right no matter how impatient it made me! I asked my mom for advice before I attempted this and she said it’s easy, but it never seems to be as good as the diner. She suggested that Pioneer Woman would probably have a perfect recipe, and duh! She was correct! Definietly satisfied our diner meal craving.

But, really why should we have to choose between country fried steak and french toast? When you cook at home, you don’t really have to…steak for dinner and french toast for breakfast! Yep, that’s what I did – check out this post for those pics!

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…or French Toast

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Country fried steak or french toast? Tough question, right? That’s why I had to make a country fried steak and french toast joint post. I said in the other post that if these two items are on a diner menu, I have a really hard time picking between them. Of course, there’s always biscuits and gravy…pancakes…oh and anything smothered in green chile…oops I’m getting off course. So yeah, I made my country fried steak and then had to make french toast for breakfast.

In addition to this being a joint post, it kind of feels like a continuation of my waffle/blogger brain post, which has been one of my favorite posts to write. This french toast process was a lot less blogger brainy than my waffles…I almost didn’t even take photos! But of course, once they were done and lookin’ so pretty, I had to snap a few pics. We still got to eat warm french toast though! I really try not to keep people waiting too long when I take pictures of our food. Maybe someday I’ll plan ahead enough to create a nice food styling ‘set.’ But, for now, I guess I’ll continue with my casual, in-the-moment style. We’ll see how it goes! It’s always nice to have something to strive towards. : )

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Egg Salad Appetizer Night

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Appetizer night is probably my all time favorite way to eat. I was prompted to make egg salad sandwiches after Paul and I shared one from a convenience store…it was terrible. We were in a rush! Maybe it’s not fair to say it was disgusting because it didn’t really taste like anything. It was like eating a sponge. Anyway, I promised Paul that I would make some awesome egg salad (mostly because he wasn’t as disgusted by it as I was and I needed to prove that I could do better). We saw a picture of a really delicious looking open-faced egg salad sandwich only to scroll down and realize that it was made from fake eggs…sorry, not really our thing. I copied the look, but used real eggs and added stuff that sounded good to make it more ‘gourmet’. I did a basic (chunky) egg salad recipe with some lemon, chopped mint, paprika, plus a little cayenne, I think. Ah, so simple, but so much better! We cut up a baguette and created a spread of egg salad, burrata, tomatoes, and avocado. We were two happy eaters!

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Yes, It’s Kale

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Are you sick of hearing about kale yet? Yeah, me too, but I had to try out the craze. It seems like everyone is always completely surprised that they end up enjoying raw kale. Needless to say, I was skeptical and thought wow, this stuff must taste really weird. Turns out, it doesn’t taste weird at all. It tastes like leafy broccoli to me, and I love broccoli. I can’t say that I’ve purchased a bundle of kale since I made these chips, but I’m certainly not scared of it anymore.

These kale chips actually were really tasty. I tried out three flavors to make this experiment more interesting: sesame oil, soy sauce, and plain olive oil with sea salt. I liked all of the flavors, but be really careful about adding salt. See, I tossed my whole tray with olive oil and salt before I decided to break them up into three groups. Sooo, my soy sauce chips were mega salty! Valuable lessons in this post: 1. don’t over salt your kale chips and 2. don’t be scared of kale because it just tastes like broccoli…really leafy broccoli that kind of gets stuck in your throat…do you think it tastes like broccoli, or am I the crazy one??

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Quinoa Two Ways

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Ok, so I’m not really that into quinoa. And these are pretty much my only two quinoa recipes. But, they are really good and I’ve been making them for years. I was inspired by a Southwestern style quinoa salad that my mom and I picked up randomly at Whole Foods once. It was surprisingly enjoyable so we decided to recreate it for our work lunches. Quinoa salad makes a great to-go lunch because it’s filling, flavorful, and doesn’t even need to be heated up. Plus, there are tons of ways to switch up the recipes to get some variety in your daily brown bag.

There are two variations that I tend to stick to: Southwest and Mediterranean. When I have the urge to make these for the work week, I usually make one big batch of quinoa and then divide it in two containers. That way I can make both flavors at once and alternate throughout the week. Once you’ve made the quinoa, the rest is just tossing in veggies and seasonings. There’s not really a recipe, but I’ll list the combinations I use below. One big tip though: the last time I made these I added taco seasoning to the Southwest salad, which is now a must! Gives it a nice kick and ties the theme all together. Let me know if you have any quinoa combos that I should try! We have way too much of it in the pantry and it would be nice to switch things up a bit!

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Mediterranean: cucumber, tomato, lemon juice, feta, salt and pepper. I can’t remember the exact herbs/seasoning I used, but I think I kept it simple! I had a little extra steak and avocado from the Southwest salad, so I threw it in here too.

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Southwest: corn, black beans, tomato, avocado, taco seasoning, lime juice. Perfect lunch!

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Cookbook Challenge – Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken

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This is the best chicken I’ve ever made. Third time really is the charm because I’m pretty sure this was my third time roasting a whole chicken. I used yet another Martha Stewart recipe and I am so in love with it. It’s not going to be a weekly staple or anything, but I know it will be a great recipe to have in my back pocket for special occasions. I also don’t know if I’ll ever roast a chicken whole again after trying the butterfly, or spatchcock, method. It was a little tricky (and gross) at first, but in the end it’s so much easier. It cooks faster and it makes carving a cinch.

Once you’ve butterflied the chicken, it’s pretty simple to throw together. Apple, fennel, and leek get tossed into the pan with olive oil and salt and pepper. Then you cover your seasoned chicken with sage and prosciutto! Woo! My chicken cooked for about an hour (in my kind of crappy oven) and came out crispy, flavorful, and moist. Really moist. It was perfect and I was proud. Paul and I both absolutely loved it. I highly recommend this recipe! The prosciutto skin is so good – I feel like maybe it’s part of what helped the chicken stay so moist? Just a guess. In any case, it’s just plain good and you should try it. Recipe can be found here!

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Cookbook Challenge – Peach Cake Dippers

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The thing I have been loving most about this cookbook/magazine challenge is trying new things that I never pick when I’m exclusively googling. I’m realizing how much I stay inside the (recipe) box when I google as I go. Flipping through books and magazines has opened my eyes to lots of ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. Now, this recipe isn’t so out there. I’ve made a couple of fruity cake/bread type desserts on the blog already. I was slightly surprised by how much I needed to make this though because I’m not usually drawn to cinnamon topped desserts (ugh, another weird, unreasonable food preference). In fact, when I took my first sneaky sample I seriously considered leaving out the cinnamon topping because I already liked the taste so much. I talked myself into sticking with the recipe though and am really glad I did. It’s so much tastier with cinnamon!

By the way, the recipe is for a full sized bundt cake, but sadly I don’t have a bundt pan at the moment. It’s ok though – I love when I have a reason to use this cute pan that reminds me of mini sand castles! The peaches and cream bundt recipe can be found here. I halved the recipe, which gave me enough for 30 mini cakes and one mini loaf. Dipping them in whipped topping was really fun and I think would be great for a party! It’s kind of like fondu. You gotta give these a try. They are incredibly light and moist with a nice hint of peach. The cinnamon and whipped topping is a must – it makes it takes like peach pie…in cake form! Yum!

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