Dinner Challenge – Night Two

Tonight we scraped through the fridge and freezer and put together a simple, but very satisfying meal.

Cheese Ravioli with Garlic Bread and Red Peppers

Tristan made some frozen cheese ravioli and topped it with Wegman’s vegetarian-friendly “Grandpa’s Sauce” (one of the best pasta sauces I’ve ever had from a jar!) and fresh red peppers. He also made a few pieces of garlic bread using fresh garlic. Here’s to a successful second dinner using odds and ends from the kitchen!

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Dinner Challenge

Tristan and I were preparing our grocery list for this week when I randomly brought up the idea of doing no shopping and just eating all of the odds and ends out of the closet, fridge, and freezer. He was dubious at first, but then I started crafting meals (smoothies or eggs for breakfast, soup and chicken sandwiches for lunch, and veggies with random things like frozen ravioli for dinner) and he started to like the challenge of the idea.

So, our first dinner ended up being: Orange “Chicken” with Steamed Edamame.

The orange chicken was a soy-product made by Gardenin that Tristan and I both think tastes better than most real chicken we’ve had at Chinese restaurants. The edamame was fun to eat – nothing like popping like beans out of hairy pods!  – and very tasty, as well. It was about time we used it, too; the bag had been in the freezer for months!

This random meal actually ended up being rather memorable and definitely something we will make again in the future. Even better, all that food was less than 400 calories!

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Plat Du Jour: Zesty Ravioli

Last night, Ambre and I spent most of the usual allotted cooking time doing some much needed grocery shopping. Therefore I decreed we eat a fast and simple meal: Zesty Ravioli. Utilizing canned diced tomatoes with garlic and onion, frozen cheese stuffed ravioli, fresh spinach and some heavy cream produces a very tasty and very quick meal. The original recipe calls on Jalapeno to add the zest but I found that since the heat varies much between each Jalapeno, it is much easier on the cook to use cayenne pepper and get an effect just as good.

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Plat Du Jour: Vegetable Korma

Tonight I made a new Indian recipe – vegetable korma. My inspiration came from our recently purchased thali dish set. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to use the dishes since we are waging a war of attrition against the poor quality stickers that won’t come off of them. I again prepared roti, but this time with salt and a blend of flours (whole wheat and all-purpose). I made some simple basmati rice with a few cumin seeds sprinkled in (even though Ambre no longer eats rice after her trip to the Philippines). It was a good excuse to use my fancy Japanese rice cooker that usually just sits on the shelf and serves as a clock.

The korma consisted of a blend of Indian spices, toasted to bring out the flavor, and bite size pieces of cauliflower, broccoli, and green beans. The recipe calls for paneer, ginger, green chile, and a few other vegetables that I didn’t incorporate this time around. All of the veggies got tied together with a milk and cornstarch “gravy.” Next time, I won’t use green beans since I didn’t think they complemented the other veggies well. And Ambre said the crushed coriander seeds were too coarse for her liking so I will try to find coriander powder or find another way of grinding the seeds. Overall, the korma was very authentic-tasting and it felt like we were eating dinner on a different continent, far removed from most American cuisine. Success!

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Plat du Jour: Stuffed Red Peppers

I am filling in for Tristan tonight. We ran together for the first time in a few weeks and he was so tired afterwards that he didn’t even feel like he had the energy to eat what he cooked for dinner-let alone post to the blog. Tonight he made a dish that I selected from one of our vegetarian cookbooks. The dish, stuffed peppers, was pretty simple to execute: steam the peppers, make the filling (mozzarella, corn, bread crumbs, tomatoes, scallions), fill the peppers, and bake for 25 minutes. These were so fresh-tasting and made a delicious summer meal! The only improvement we could have made would have been to use fresh local tomatoes; instead, we only had store bought tomatoes (from Holland of all places) on hand. Next time we make these, I would love to use some pepper jack cheese and chili powder to try and spice things up a bit.

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Plat Du Jour: Roti and Bisibelebhath

Inspired by some Indian and Malay dinners Ambre and I had in South Africa, I took on the task of recreating the South Asian unleavened bread Roti (aka Chapati). Using a type of Indian whole wheat flour, some water, salt, and a very hot skillet I produced the beautiful and tasty examples you see below. As for the Bisibelebhath, it was late and to save time we heated up a packet of pre made, shelf stable, Indian side dish from MTR. It was surprisingly good! Ambre may have found a new love.

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