Posted at 5:58 am , on March 5, 2019
I’m a big fan of one-pot meals. Living on a boat, I have very little counter space and the dishwasher is me for the most part so the less items, the better. My prep surfaces are on top of the sink, stove and fridge so I need to stage all ingredients, chop and measure, and be ready to go. This recipe comes together in about 20 minutes and thickens as it sits: serious comfort food!
Our local Grocery Outlet has a nice assortment of gnocchi and I’ve tried several and don’t have a favorite. I’ve made my own gnocchi but it is a pretty big mess and takes time and just the right amount of kneading and boiling to get them just right. And honestly, once you cover those little dumplings with sauce, it’s all good!
The secret in this dish is definitely the roux. It’s important to get the butter-veggie-flour combo smooth, adding the flour slowly and stir, stir, stir to avoid lumps. This creates the base for the meal.
Posted at 6:18 am , on February 26, 2019
Backyard barbecues and potato salad just go together. Everytime I make it, it’s slightly different depending on the guest list, and this is the basic recipe from my Nana. During the warm summer months our family spent many lazy afternoons in their backyard, with Papy barbecuing chicken and hotdogs and Nana making the side dishes and setting the picnic table while my sister and I played on the grass or on the beach. All of these ingredients are stocked at our local Grocery Outlet and you probably have on hand.
Most potato salad connoisseurs will tell you it must be made the night before and allowed to sit to really meld the flavors and I agree. But that’s where the agreements end. There are strong camps for using mayonnaise versus Miracle Whip and certain potato varieties. And then the additions: onion, celery, sweet or dill relish. All I can say is that this recipe is universally loved!
Posted at 6:36 am , on February 19, 2019
Sometimes the simplest meals are the most delicious. It’s all about using fresh ingredients that pair nicely together. Our local Grocery Outlet features a variety of seasonal seafood and I snagged these nice ocean-caught lobster tails to serve with New York strip steaks. I didn’t have time to make homemade gnocchi but a package of good quality butternut squash topped with homemade Alfredo sauce rounded the meal out beautifully. The total cost was about $25, a third of the cost of going out to eat and it impressed the hubby with both taste and presentation.
For the steaks, I let them come to room temperature then brushed with Worcestershire sauce and sprinkled with Montreal seasoning. For medium-rare, they take about 15 minutes on the grill so I start the sauce when they go on, followed by the ravioli’s and then the lobster tails. While the meat rests, I am doing the final tasting and ready to plate within five minutes. The key is to have the ingredients chopped and measured out so it comes together quickly.
Posted at 7:37 pm , on February 12, 2019
It has been brrrrrrr on our little piece of the Alameda Riviera in Northern California this week. We rarely dip below the mid-50s in the winter and we were seeing low-40s … This weather calls for soup! This meatball soup is inexpensive and easy to assemble. Our local Grocery Outlet always has these ingredients in stock with the whole meal costing $12. I simply added sourdough bread and butter on the side and it was a filling meal with leftovers for lunch. And any time I have the opportunity to make a meal in my Nana’s Dutch oven makes me so happy … extra love in every bite.
Variations: I used hot Italian sausage because Hubby and I both like spicy food. You can use the mild if you prefer. This particular brand is seasoned nicely and I didn’t need to add a single spice, other than a parsley garnish. I used chicken broth as it’s what I had on hand. Beef or vegetable broth would be good as well. I had a can of white chili beans that were already seasoned with onion, garlic and jalapeno, which also added to the flavor. You can use unseasoned white or great Northern beans instead and then gauge the seasoning level before adding the spinach.
Posted at 9:00 am , on February 5, 2019
I take great pride in making colorful, nutritious meals but often don’t have time for prep or marinating. Thanks to our local Grocery Outlet I can always find fresh meat ready to pop into the oven. Last week I featured Tyson’s Orange Chicken Strips, this week it’s Urban Turban’s Garlic & Pepper Chicken Thighs.
Usually we prefer to grill our chicken, but it’s been pouring rain the last month so I’m using the oven more for cooking with the bonus of warming the boat. I didn’t get the brown skin I’d like because I didn’t leave the chicken under the broiler long enough, but it was juicy and delish anyway!
Posted at 6:00 am , on January 29, 2019
Probably my favorite thing about our local Grocery Outlet is that I can whip together a healthy, flavorful meal without a plan, from staples I bought in my weekly shop. And it’s always tasty! The majority of the time I have recipes in mind for each of my weekday dinners. I do my prep before work so that when I get home I can quickly assemble our meal. I marinate meats, chop veggies and gather together non-perishable ingredients and the pots/pans necessary.
But now and then I’m running late in the morning and find myself without a plan when I get home. Because of the great prices at G.O., I pick up a variety of different non-perishables that I can use as a base with whatever veggies I have on hand. And I generally buy a package of Tyson seasoned boneless, skinless chicken strips that I can use in a quick saute, a pasta dish, wraps or on a salad. Our Grocery Outlet features two or three flavors at any time and all are delish.
Posted at 8:23 am , on January 23, 2019
I love portobello mushrooms as they have a “meaty” texture and I can sneak in a vegetarian night without hubby complaining. This is a quick and easy meal with lots of options to use whatever fresh veggies are on hand or sale. Our local Grocery Outlet has a wonderful selection of pre-cut bagged, frozen and organic veggies so this is a GO-to meal.
It’s also a fun “make it yourself” dinner for a group. Put out the chopped ingredients in bowls and let each person build their own “pizza.” Use a permanent market to write each name on the outside of the tinfoil before tenting. You can add a grain on the side, but I find that this is plenty for a meal unto itself, especially if there is a dessert to follow. 🙂
Posted at 3:44 am , on January 15, 2019
I love lazy weekend fall mornings when I can whip up something warm and yummy for hubby and I for brunch while watching a football game. I don’t love all the dishes when I want to relax after filling my belly. This strata is made the night before in a large Ziploc bag and then simply placed in a pan and baked; easy and virtually no mess! A side of hashbrowns and fresh fruit rounds out the meal nicely.
Our local Grocery Outlet carries all of the ingredients regularly at about half the cost of other stores. The Lit’l Smokies come in a 28 oz package and can be divided and half frozen for other dishes (they are great in a rustic vegetable soup!). I used about half of the pack for this recipe. Any form of bread works, but I especially love the San Luis Sliced Garlic Sourdough. The garlic is already roasted and the crust has a nice texture. I used half of the loaf for grilled cheese and toast 5 days prior, which allowed the other half to become slightly stale, preferable for the strata.
Posted at 2:07 am , on January 8, 2019
Winter and spring are perfect for meals that require oven time. Living on a boat, we opt for barbecuing most of our summer and fall main courses so we don’t heat up our living space. But when the cold winds are a’blowin’ the oven helps to keep us cozy and fills our home with a delicious aroma as we tuck in against the elements.
Being from an English family from Northern Ireland, I grew up with a lot of potatoes in our meals … baked, boiled and mashed with gobs of butter. Before Daddy opened Benson Electric he was the head electrician (shout out to IBEW 595) for East Bay Packing in Oakland, which was a major meat packing company for the East Bay. So we also had a lot of beef (we’re talking five out of seven nights a week!) for dinner.
My mother made this recipe using ground beef, but Nana was a purist and used ground lamb. Both used a bag of frozen veggies which other than for this recipe, I never use as we don’t have a freezer on our boat and I prefer buying fresh produce a few times a week. But I do like the uniformity of the pieces and it sure makes it easier than having to cut and prepare each of the different veggies.
Posted at 4:27 am , on January 1, 2019
Pickled peppers add zing to sandwiches and are used in many Asian and Mexican dishes. This recipe combines just the right amount of sweet and heat and are tasty eaten right out of the jar as a snack or with cheese and crackers. I’m a fan of savory martinis and think I’ll add a slice to my next dirty martini with my usual olives.
No boiling of jars is necessary and they will keep in the refrigerator for up to a year. The 1 lb bag of Serrano peppers was only $1.29 at the Alameda Grocery Outlet and with the other ingredients the total cost was about $5. I made four 8-ounce jars ($1.50 each at Michael’s) from this recipe, which I gifted to friends for the holidays. You don’t have to tell anyone what a great bargain they are!
Variations: I used Serrano peppers but Jalapeno’s can be used to take the heat factor down a notch. You can also experiment with different types of white vinegar for different flavor profiles.