Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dinner Tonight: Chicken and Tortellini with Green Beans and RRP sauce

This weekend I made another batch of the aforementioned Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and decided to use some of it for dinner tonight. It was a very simple affair and gave a nice result. I put a pot of water on to boil and when it was ready, I dropped in a package of cheese-filled spinach tortellini. While it was cooking, I cut up boneless chicken and sauteed it, along with green beans until the chicken was cooked through and the green beans still had a little bite to them. Then I deglazed the pan with a little white wine. When the tortellini was ready, I divided it between two bowls and dressed each bowl with a few tablespoons of sauce. Then I topped each bowl with the chicken and green bean mixture and more sauce. And then finally I dusted each bowl with a bit of Parmesan. It was a nice meal and was very colorful. The combination of pasta, protein, vegetables and sauce is a pretty regular meal solution for us on busy weeknights. But this is the first time I've put these four specific elements together. I'll definitely make it again!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dinner Tonight: Wayne's Inheritance

There are many great restaurants in Ann Arbor, Mich., but my favorite is Zingerman's Deli. It's quite possibly the greatest place on earth for someone who likes to eat really good food. It's also home to what is probably my favorite sandwich ever, Wayne's Inheritance. Comprised of roasted chicken, cucumber slices, white cheddar and Ranch dressing, it's a pretty simple sandwich to replicate at home, although it never really occurred to me to try until I started cooking for Mr. Fritz. Now I serve it every few weeks. Zingerman's is all about the ingredients - the best of everything. My version comes reasonably close to the original, though.

I use organic chicken breasts which I cut into strips and saute over medium high heat until they're cooked through. I heat up two demi-baguettes (I think I've written about these before - this great crusty bread that's sold frozen and then finished off at home with 10 minutes in the oven), split them open and spread ranch dressing on one side each one and lay out a slice of Vermont white cheddar on the other side of each baguette. I top the cheese with chicken and the chicken with slices of cucumber, then close each sandwich up, cut them in half and serve them warm. The contrast of the hot bread and warm chicken, the melted cheese and the cold dressing and cucumber is sublime. It's the sort of thing I'd never come up with on my own, but in this context, all of the ingredients are perfectly wedded to each other. Yum!

Treats: The Original Mrs. Glade's Easy Chocolate Cake

Mr. Fritz likes to eat something sweet in the morning. For the first year of our marriage, that took the form of two doughnuts with a banana chaser. But he's gotten a little tired of the doughnuts, so I've begun to explore other sweet treat options, including homemade bundt cakes.

The one I made this week is pretty incredible and it is ridiculously easy. The recipe came from Mrs. Glade, who got it from her mother-in-law, The Original Mrs. Glade. It's a chocolately delight and it starts with a cake mix, reducing the chance for error by people like me who regularly fail in their baking endeavors. If you are looking for a quick, wonderful cake, I can't recommend this one highly enough!

The Original Mrs. Glade’s Easy Chocolate Cake

1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix

4 eggs

1 instant chocolate pudding packet

½ cup water

8 oz. sour cream

¼ cup vegetable oil

¼ cup strong coffee

Package of Chocolate Chips

Mix all ingredients together and stir until well incorporated. Pour into greased bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan before turning it over onto a rack. Enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dinner Last Night: Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup

For better or for worse, Mr. Fritz rarely asks for anything specific for dinner. As I was making my grocery list earlier this week, I was in search of inspiration, so I asked Mr. Fritz for ideas. His response: Chicken Noodle Soup.

Well, dear reader, I am embarrassed to say that I've never made chicken noodle soup in my life. It seems like the most basic of dishes, yet it's just never been on my menu. But that was no reason to disappoint my hot husband. So, I went off in search of a good recipe. I found one from a 1998 issue of Bon Appetit that was pretty good. A very basic recipe, I tweaked it a bit to suit Mr. Fritz's tastes (specifically, I cut out the mushrooms but kept in the lemon juice) and my timeline (I traded a whole bone-in, skin-on chicken for three boneless breasts) and preferences (I upped the amount of vegetables and decreased the amount of broth by half). In the end, I had a pretty good soup, but one that I think could have used a bit more seasoning. I think if I make it again I'll add some dill to the broth or possibly some ginger. I had it again for lunch today and I actually think it tasted a little better on Day 2. Do you have a can't miss recipe for chicken soup? If so, please share it in the comments!