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On the Menu

April 4, 2011
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This week I did some experimenting. I basically worked everything around different ingredients that I was craving.

The first was Cornish Game Hen with Roasted Red Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts.

You’ll Need:

a cornish game hen

red potatoes

brussel sprouts

Seasonings: olive oil, paprika, rosemary, salt, pepper

Last week, one of my roommates roasted chicken breasts with red potatoes and rosemary, and ever since then I had been wanting to do that too. I also had a sudden craving for brussel sprouts, which I never eat. But, I had them last Thanksgiving and really like them, so I had a delayed craving for them too.  I normally would’ve just roasted a regular sized chicken and built my meals around it, but I’m going away for a week and I didn’t want to deal with that many leftovers. So, I roasted the game hen like I normally do, with some olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika. I put the potatoes with some salt and rosemary and brussel sprouts with salt and pepper in the same pan and drizzled them with olive oil. I roasted everything for forty minutes. About five minutes after I put it in, I remembered that brussel sprouts only need 20-30 minutes in the oven, but I was too lazy to do anything about it, so they ended up being a little burnt. It wasn’t too bad, actually.  Also, there’s always something satisfying about eating  a whole animal. It makes me feel patriotic. Or something.

Then, I realized that I haven’t eaten fish in a long time, so I made Generic White Fish Fillet with Cous Cous and Zucchini with Tomatoes.

You’ll Need:

A white fish fillet (for example: tilapia. I think this time I used basa. Shrug.)

Cous cous

Zucchini

A can of stewed tomatoes

Seasonings: butter, lemon, salt

This is a really good dinner if you’re in a hurry. Start with the veggies, because the zucchini will take the longest to cook. Cut up a zucchini and dump it in a small pan with a can of stewed tomatoes and cook on medium until the zucchinis are soft. (I think this takes roughly eight minutes.) Meanwhile, cook the cous cous according to instructions (which also takes about eight minutes). I just satuéed the fish in butter with some salt and squeezed a liberal amount of lemon juice over it. It only takes about a couple minutes per side to cook.

This next meal, Coconut Chicken with a Sweet Potato and Brussel Sprouts, ended up being a little adventure to prepare, seeing as how I was making up the main dish as I went along and there were some surprises along the way.

You’ll Need:

A chicken breast

Coconut milk

Flour

Breadcrumbs (OR my secret ingredient, which will be revealed shortly)

A sweet potato (or, if for some reason your supermarket is only selling GIGANTIC YAMS then half of a sweet potato)

Brussel Sprouts

Seasonings: Butter, salt, pepper, olive oil

Okay, so, I still have no idea what it was, but there is some food memory buried deep in my brain that involved chicken and coconut that I was trying to replicate with this meal. I figured I would prepare the chicken just like I would for chicken parmesan, only replacing the egg with coconut milk. Well, I went to go get my breadcrumbs from the pantry and discovered that they had been attacked my those upsetting little pantry moths. Gross. So I tossed those and put my creative pants on to quickly come up with an alternative. I know I could’ve just grilled up a chicken breast marinated in coconut milk, but I knew that I would not be satisfied with that. The crunch factor was VERY IMPORTANT. That’s when I remembered the box of Townhouse crackers that have been hanging around. I took a handful of those and crushed them up into crumb size. I dredged the chicken in flour and then let it sit in the coconut milk for a minute or two, and then coated it with the cracker crumbs. I was afraid they wouldn’t stick or would burn more easily but it ended up being AWESOME. It was exactly like the mystery memory I was commemorating. As for the sides, I simply roasted the sweet potato and served it with butter. I decided to boil the brussel sprouts for five minutes and then sauté them in olive oil with salt and pepper for a few minutes (or however long it takes to open a can of coconut milk, panic, and run to your computer to frantically Google if it means it’s spoiled if everything’s separated. The answer: no). They came out much better this way.

After that was a recipe from Orangette, Roasted Sausages with Red Grapes (With Mashed Sweet Potato). She falls under one of those food blogs I don’t regularly read for various reasons but turn to for inspiration from time to time. I made a few lazy changes, but I mostly followed the recipe.

You’ll Need:

Sweet Italian sausages

Red grapes

A sweet potato

Seasonings: butter, cinnamon, milk, olive oil

Orangette says to brown the sausages first, which I did not do for the sake of not wanting an extra dish to wash, and I kind of regret. The sausages ended up perfectly tasty, but I do prefer the crispiness it would’ve brought to the table. Then, you toss the grapes in olive oil and put them in a pan with the sausages and bake everything for 25 minutes, turning the sausages about halfway through. Afterwards, she says to make the grapes into more of a sauce by cooking them with their juices and balsamic vinegar in a pan until syrupy. I did not do that, and I don’t regret it. I liked the grapes whole. Roasting them brought out their sweetness, and it was very tasty. I wouldn’t have enjoyed something syrupy, I don’t think. For the mashed sweet potato, I boiled a peeled tater for a half an hour, cut it into pieces, and then beat it with a pat of butter, splash of milk, and sprinkle of cinnamon. Most of it got all over me and my kitchen, thanks to my beast of a hand mixer, but I ended up keeping enough in the bowl for a satisfying portion. The best part of this meal was that it felt like I was eating dinner and dessert all in one, thanks to the sweetness of the grapes and taters.

Lastly, was one of my old standbys: Sausage and Peppers.

You’ll Need:

Sweet Italian sausages

Green peppers

Onion

Rice

Cooking oil

I make this dish about one a month, usually when I want meat but am tired of chicken. While the rice is cooking, all you have to do is sauté the sausages and, once they’re about halfway done, throw in chopped onion and peppers. Serve on top of the rice. It is so easy, and so tasty.

I also made pierogies with a side of beets and spaghetti with white clam sauce, but I figured you wouldn’t need recipes or pictures to illustrate how to create those.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2011 2:05 am

    I didn’t read the whole thing because I am too excited about brussels sprouts.

    I LOVE BRUSSELS SPROUTS.

    • April 5, 2011 2:07 am

      The rest of the post was not very veggie-friendly anyway. Do you have any more exciting recipes with brussel sprouts? I really liked them with the simple saute, but I’m assuming there are more fun ways to prepare them.

      • April 5, 2011 3:50 am

        Honestly I like them just plained boiled. Then sometimes sliced into halves or quarters and put into a spinach salad with a vinaigrette or soy & red wine vinegar dressing. Yum.

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