Posts Tagged food
I have a secret. It’s horrible. It’s embarrassing. It’s not something I’m proud of. Here it is: I love tropical storms. I love the power they exude. With the first announcement of a named storm, I am glued to NOAA. If I live in what my family refers to as the “cone of doom”, I check each update which occurs every 5, 8, 11, and 2 o’clock hour, am and pm. Living in Florida has taught me to have great respect for these storms. I have seen first hand the destruction that can occur from storms like Katrina, Ivan, Charley, and Andrew, so though I love tracking them and watching them develop, I do it with the understanding that lives can change, even end, as a storm passes. Still, I love watching the swirling clouds, the rain blow sideways, and the roar of the wind as it rushes over my house.
As the second named storm of the not-even-begun season put me and my family smack dab in the cone of doom, I started tracking the sucker. And planning what I would do as we waiting for Beryl to arrive. Now, this is a minor storm. It means that it’s going to rain a lot and be a bit windy, so we’re not packing up and leaving town. We’re preparing to be inside for awhile and keeping an eye on things. My first thought:
Knowing a storm is headed your way means a few things. First, you have to make your preparations and for this kind of storm, that just means, stock up on food and bring in any loose outside planters, toys, and patio furniture. So, knowing two days in advance that we would probably have a storm on the Sunday before Memorial Day, we decided to grill out as much as possible until we were forced inside. I am also going to note that I’m growing basil and have a cheese obsession. You’ll notice the theme as the weekend diary progresses.
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In my house, food is love. It comes in abundance and without prejudice. Sometimes, it’s created to warm a heart, lift a spirit, or celebrate an achievement. On occasion, special dishes are developed to deliver sensual pleasures or tease and tempt. As Valentines Day approaches, I think it’s appropriate to pair food with love and let the story unfold.
Planting the Seeds
I do believe in love at first sight. It’s possible to feel a shock from the soul that is destined to walk alongside you, just as you first encounter it. Yet, love develops over time. It grows and changes in accordance with the circumstances it encounters. It doesn’t always survive, but it can flourish with proper care. To give love its best chance at survival, you start with good seeds, soil, and attention. Today, we’ll focus on preparing a meal that may remind you of the first time you cooked for your partner or help you prepare a romantic meal for your new love.
I don’t remember what I first cooked for my husband. I know our first real date was three months after we started seeing each other because our college schedules were so packed we couldn’t find time. However, when I think of cooking for someone the first time, I think about what the basic intentions are behind that meal.
I’m doing something special for you because I like you
I really want you to like this because I want you to like me
I want us to have fun because I like us
If we have to finish the dinner later, that’s ok
So we need something special, infallible, fun, and flirty. Is anyone else thinking Italian? Absolutely! Pasta is really hard to screw up. There are so many Italian flavors that elicit romance, bring in the comforts of home, and it can always be reheated if you were suddenly distracted.
So, here is a tantalizing dinner to plant the seeds of love or reignite an old flame. Keep in mind you want to keep your night stress free. If this recipe seems too complicated for your skill level, then look around for something easier and don’t worry about getting help from jars, boxes, mixes or whatever you can find. The important thing is to have the time, energy, and desire to spend the evening with the one you like….a lot.
Fresh Mozzarella Slices
Pick up a ball of fresh Mozzarella and slice it into 1/8” inch slices, reserving 4 for the main course. Serve on a small plate with a sprig of parsley.
Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Spaghetti in Vodka Sauce
- 2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 4 Mozzarella slices 1/8” thick
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2” tsp basil
- ¼” tsp red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup panko Italian bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ½ package of spaghetti
- Jar of good Vodka sauce or get directions to make your own here from Allrecipes.com.
Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound to a 1/8” thickness. (To be fair, I tend to give up somewhere between ¼” and 1/8”.) Brush one side of each chicken breast with olive oil. Salt and pepper. Sprinkle basil and arrange two pieces of mozzarella on each. Roll up tightly and secure with a toothpick or two. Dredge in flour, dip in egg, and finally cover with the panko bread crumbs. Bake in a greased baking pan at 375 for 40 mins.
Once chicken has been baking for 20 minutes, start water boiling for the spaghetti. Put the sauce in a saucepan on low and stir occasionally. Once the water is at a rolling boil, add the spaghetti and cook for 10-11 minutes. Drain well. Put the warmed sauce in a bowl and add the spaghetti.
Serve the chicken and spaghetti with bread, dipping oil, and your favorite easy to make salad.
Cheesecake or another favorite from a local bakery
Why stress over dessert when it will be an afterthought anyway?
Keep an eye out for my next post, which celebrates relationships that have graduated from the initial spark and moved into a comfortable sway, dancing slowly around the table.
I had a busy day! Did you? Today I offer a simple mid-week meal that even kids love! It’s just called Chicken Pockets and it’s done in about 20 minutes. No kidding.
- 1 chicken breast per serving
- 1 package Pillsbury Crescent Rolls per every 2 servings (you could use the new Pillsbury pastry sheets, but I just haven’t tried those yet)
- Garlic pepper or you favorite seasoning
- A slice or 1/4 cup of your favorite cheese on hand per serving
- Dice, chop or Julienne veggies on hand that you love
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Pre heat oven to 375. Slice up the chicken into bite sized pieces. Sprinkle seasoning over the chicken and veggies. Brown chicken in olive oil over med high heat. Add veggies as chicken is about half way cooked through. When all is just cooked through, remove from heat.
On a greased cookie sheet, unroll the crescent roll dough. Separate the dough in half using the already scored line. You should have two long strips of dough, 2 crescent rolls wide. Working with the first strip, fill one side with the cooked chicken and veggies. Top with cheese. Fold the other side of the dough and seal by pressing the dough together. Repeat until you have a pocket for each serving. Bake for 11-13 mins. Remove from the oven when the pockets are golden brown. Let them cool slightly as the interior will be scorching hot. Make sure to slice into each pocket meant for kids and test it before serving.
Sometimes I serve with green beans if I don’t have veggies to put in the pocket.
Easy meal. Easy clean up. Meat, dairy, grain, and veggie….ok, it’s not perfect, but it hits the basic list and it’s better than a burger and fries. For a quick meal on a cold night, it hits the spot!