Showing posts from October, 2012

Dream Dinners Review--Mediterranean Pasta with Chicken

We happened to be right in the path of Hurricane Sandy yesterday and last night, so I started dinner a little early, figuring that I'd rather have an early dinner, given our other choice, if we lost power, was to eat cold food!

The Mediterranean Pasta with Chicken was prepared at Dream Dinners in a pan, and Mac and I joke that those are my favorites, as cleanup, once leftovers are packed away, is simple--fold the pan together and throw it in the garbage!

It baked in 45 minutes, and once it was ready, I removed it from the oven and made homemade garlic bread, since that was one of the few things I failed to pick up at the grocery store last weekend.

It was warm and comforting, and I loved the feta cheese. It had a bit of a bitter, citric acid-like taste, but when I prepared this, I added extra artichokes and omitted the Kalamata olives, so I think that's what gave it the hint of a bitter taste.

The next time, I think I'll stick to the normal allotment of artichokes, and per…

Foster Dog for a Week!

We're fostering Bonnie, a Walker Coonhound, this week. We picked her up on Saturday evening. She's a bit uncertain, as apparently, she was kept chained outside before she was picked up and taken to the shelter. She seems to be housebroken, or at least has picked up on that. She kept trying to paw at the door yesterday, and Mac said, "I bet she was an outside only dog." I received confirmation from her foster mom yesterday that she was.

She did seem to realize today that she can stay in the house, and that the house is just fine. We're in the middle of Hurricane Sandy's path, and she was quite eager to bound up the stairs after doing her thing outside, when I said, "Let's go inside."

She devours her food, so I'm feeding her 3 smaller meals, rather than 2 large ones, hoping she'll figure out that food appears regularly.

Cobaka and Geno seem to be getting along with her quite well, although while we're out, she's crated, just in cas…

Dream Dinners Review--Chicken Yakitori

On Thursday, I cooked the Dream Dinners Chicken Yakitori meal. I'd substituted extra carrots and corn for water chestnuts when preparing it at the store. I wasn't feeling well, so Mac ate it, while I ate an English muffin for dinner.

It was easy to prepare, as I simply stir-fried the veggies and chicken, then added the sauce, while the rice was cooking. I'm not a huge fan of Chinese food, so the taste I had just was a little odd. Although, as I was suffering from sinus issues, perhaps that has something to do with it as well. Mac enjoyed it, although he wasn't thrilled, probably because I didn't want to eat it as well.

I don't know that I'll order this the next time it appears on the menu, unless I order a 3-serving and Mac cooks it when I'm out of town.

Dream Dinners Baked Potato Chicken

I was feeling pretty lousy on Friday, and after giving me a pass most of the day, Mac inquired about dinner around 4 or so, and I capitulated to cooking the Baked Potato Chicken from Dream Dinners. It was in the fridge, and I needed to cook it anyway. Very easy to prepare, yet again. I simply added the chicken, baby bakers, and mushrooms to a 9X13 pan, baked for a while, and then while it was baking, heated the sauce on the stove. I then added the sauce and the cheese and bacon mix to the chicken, then baked it another 10 minutes. I broiled it for a few minutes so it was bubbly, but that's just my preference!

When preparing this at the store, we were given the choice of using bleu cheese or what I think was a cheddar mix. I opted for the bleu cheese, but the next time it is on the menu, I'll order 2 orders, and try one of each! It was very, very yummy, and was comfort food.

Dream Dinners Meals for the Week

With Mac home now and back to work, I'm back to cooking. We had leftovers last night, because we both were so exhausted that heating up leftovers was about as much energy as we cared to expend!

Dream Dinners for the week are:
Thursday--Chicken Yakitori
Friday--Baked Potato Chicken
Sunday--Antelope Chili, made in the crock pot

Sunday's dinner is pending Mac's approval. We're going to end up eating out on Saturday. I have a wedding, plus then I have to pick up a boxer and move her to Lebanon, then pick up a foster dog in Mechanicsburg. Bonnie is the foster dog, and she's staying with us for about a week. So, since my Saturday is crazy, I have no idea what we're going to do for food, other than I know I'm not cooking! I do know that I need to make room in the freezer by our November 3 Dream Dinners session, because right now, I barely have room! I have one 6-serving that's Tiffany's in my freezer. It ended up with my meals at our October session, and …

Freezer version of Tex Mex Lasagna

I stumbled upon a similar recipe not long ago, but tweaked it a bit to better reflect some of the issues I typically have with some of the "once-a-month cooking" type meals, where while I do the prep work on one day, I then still have to do a lot of cooking when I want to cook the meal. So, I changed this to do most of the cooking in advance. :)

I've not tried it yet, and probably won't until I have a bit of room in the freezer. Right now, the freezer is so packed with antelope and mule deer, plus elk from last year, that I think if Mac or I get a deer during hunting season, we're either donating it or buying a freezer! I am pondering making 3 versions of it, when I do prepare it. Version 1 will be antelope, Version 2 elk, and Version 3, mule deer.

You will need:

¾ Cup Salsa1 Cup Tomato Sauce3 T Taco Seasoning1 ¾ Cup Cottage Cheese2 Eggs ¾ tsp Oregano1 Cup Shredded Cheese1 lb Ground Beef 6 flour tortillasBrown ground meat and drain.Combine the following in a small…

Dream Dinners Review - Outlaw Chicken Marinara

Before Mac left for Wyoming, one of our dinners was Dream Dinners Outlaw Chicken Marinara, which was prepared at their location in a pan, and then baked at home. I broiled it for a few minutes in addition to baking it, so it had a nice bubbly look to it.

I loved that it was easy to prepare (bake, and that's it), and that cleanup was easy as well, since all I had to do was toss the pan in the garbage, once leftovers were packed away.

Mac was not sold on it, and said it had a bit of a similar taste to the Maple Valley Pork Chops and the Normandy Pork Roast. I didn't taste that, but did taste a hint of an odd flavor to the ricotta cheese. Nothing too serious, and it was enjoyable. I served it over mini farfalle pasta, since it needed pasta of some sort. It wasn't bad, and I'd probably try it again, although probably just a 3 serving portion, because the 6 serving portion was HUGE!

Taste of Dream Dinners Event Wrap Up

The Taste of Dream Dinners event was fun, and while we had an eclectic mix of people and personalities, I think it all went really well.

My guests were a coworker, a friend from Toastmasters, and a friend from the Dress for Success Professional Women's Group.

Tiffany's guests were two of her friends.

We all arrived before they were ready for us, so we stood outside talking for a while, getting to know each other and joking.

When we entered, we were each asked to complete a short questionnaire, and then we were asked to write our names on name tags. We were each asked to give our biggest dinner issue, and for those of us who attended, if Dream Dinners had solved it, and how. Our issues ranged from cooking/eating for one, to not having time or knowing what to prepare, to watching what we're eating. Yes, Dream Dinners can solve much, if not all of that.

From there, they did a demonstration of how to prepare a meal, and then turned all of us loose on preparing our meals.


Mac's text message this morning...

I received a text message from Mac this morning, at 11:56 AM (Eastern). The text message simply read, "Great hunter." My reply was, "Yes..." If you're familiar with the movie Jeremiah Johnson, you'll understand. It's family tradition that when hunting, if you are successful, to tell those who didn't go with you that you were successful. It goes:

Hunter: Great hunter.
Other person: Yes.
Hunter: Fine figure of a man.
Other person: Yes.
Hunter: That is all you need to know. For now.

The follow-up text message I received was, "Your father-in-law and I are both done antelope hunting."

First morning, first day hunting, and they're done with antelope already. My father-in-law still has a mule deer license, so they'll still have a little hunting to do.

I'm beaming! I guess I'll have to learn how to cook antelope now!

Taste of Dream Dinners event

Our Taste of Dream Dinners event is tomorrow. We've had a last minute cancellation, so I've invited a Professional Women's Group member to attend. She is very outgoing, so I'm sure she'll fit in without a problem, and she's generally on top of things, so I don't hesitate to throw her into that situation!

I'm very excited about it. I think it will be very enjoyable, and it keeps me busy while Mac is out hunting!

Other Dream Dinners Reflections...

Our October Dream Dinners session was on Saturday, so I now have a freezer filled with more food!

The meals I prepared are:
Baked Potato ChickenChicken Yakitori with Jasmine Rice (I omitted the water chestnuts)Crispy French Onion ChickenDreamy Bocca ChickenCreamy Chicken Risotto (I used brown rice)Mediterranean Pasta with Chicken (I omitted the olives and added extra artichokes) Thanks to being so organized, and having our November order ready the week before our session, they always sneak us a copy of the December menu. We already have our December menu choices selected! Mac and I took a few minutes and selected our items Saturday after I came home.

We have a Taste of Dream Dinners event scheduled for later in October, and I'm excited about that. I think there are at least a few of the ladies participating who are very interested in signing up at some point.

Dinners for the week--Dream Dinners

This is an odd week, in that I'm not cooking on Thursday, and I'm trying to use some of the items left in our freezer from the previous few months. I love that the freezer is filled with dinners, but I also realize that we need to rotate some of the dinners. I have our menu for October and portions of November planned. I'm trying to incorporate items in the freezer into our rotation, while still trying all of the Dream Dinners meals in the month that I prepare them at Dream Dinners. This way, if I really like one of the meals, I can return and prepare additional servings of it that month.

This week's menu:
Monday--Dream Dinners Central Park Garlic Chicken, with Rice Pilaf and Southwestern Corn
Tuesday--Hungarian Goulash (crock pot), served over egg noodles
Wednesday--Dream Dinners Outlaw Chicken Marinara, served with Penne Pasta

The Hungarian Goulash is a recipe I found on The Test Kitchen of Melissa Fallis, which I prepared in April and froze, to toss in the crock pot…

Beef Stroganoff

Last night's dinner was a recipe I've had for years, but haven't prepared in probably a year or so. I prepared Beef Stroganoff, using elk meat. Fairly simple to prepare (brown the meat and cook the onion together, cook the egg noodles, throw together both, mix with cream of mushroom soup and sour cream). It was good, and there were enough leftovers for both of us for lunch. However, it's one of those recipes where I only prepare it occasionally, because there isn't anything special about it. I prepared it because Mac asked about cooking it at some point, but it isn't nearly as fancy as some of the Dream Dinners.

Tonight's dinner: Dream Dinners Mango Chutney Chicken. It's a repeat, so you won't see a blog about it.

In other news, I'm driving a dog from Harrisburg to York on Saturday. He's a sweetie, at least in the photos.

Dream Dinners Review - Normandy Pork Roast with Apples

Last night's dinner was Dream Dinners Normandy Pork Roast with Apples. I should've guessed that it was not going to go well when, upon opening the Ziploc bag, I thought, "Gee, this smells similar to the Maple Valley Pork Chops." I baked it for an hour, covered, then for 15 minutes uncovered. I removed it from the pan, and crushed the apples, with seasoning, while allowing it to sit for 10 minutes. I prepared carrots and mashed potatoes during that 10 minutes as well.

Once everything was on the table, Mac walked in, sniffed, gave the apples another sniff, and said, "What's that?" I explained, and his comment was, "Oh, I thought you took the leftovers from the Maple Valley Pork Chops and reheated it."

Apparently, the portions of the pork that didn't touch the apples were decent, and as Mac said, the mashed potatoes were good.

Same musty/moldy smell and taste as the Maple Valley Pork Chops. Yet another meal I will not order again.

Dream Dinners Review - Simmered Chinese Chicken with Jasmine Rice

Simmered Chinese Chicken with Jasmine Rice is yet another very easy to prepare meal from Dream Dinners. Cook the rice, cook the chicken in a skillet, add the sauce, allow it to simmer for 10-15 minutes, remove the chicken, stir the sauce, and it's ready. Simply plate the rice and chicken, top with sauce, and sprinkle with sesame seeds!

It was very flavorful and spicy, with a nice balance. The spice wasn't too overpowering. It tasted almost like a grilled version of General Tso's Chicken.

I served it with green beans. I'll order this again, the next time it comes around on the menu, although I might consider making fried rice at home, rather than using the jasmine rice, since I think fried rice would add to this.

Up tonight for dinner--Dream Dinners Normandy Pork Roast.

Dream Dinners Review - Maple Valley Boneless Pork Chops w/Rice Pilaf

The best thing I can say about the Dream Dinners Maple Valley Boneless Pork Chops with Rice Pilaf meal is that it caused us to discover a pizza shop that has a really great selection of microbrews!

I had a rough day at work on Friday, and after relaxing for a bit once I was home, I started cooking. This was the only Dream Dinners meal we had left that was thawed, and I opted to serve it with broccoli with cheese sauce. The longest part of cooking the meal was allowing the rice to cook. The pork chops were easy to cook, as I simply sprayed a pan with non-stick cooking spray, seared the pork chops for a few minutes on one side, and then flipped them, allowed them to cook a bit more, and added the marinade. I then allowed the marinade to cook to thicken a bit.

While Mac was finishing up in the basement, I plated everything, so as soon as he ventured upstairs, we could eat.

We each had a bite, and I asked him what he thought. He commented that it tasted musty or moldy, and I shared my opi…