Mad Scientist at Work…

Japanese BeefEveryone has that friend – the one who might be just a little bit crazy? Well for me, that friend is James. And he’s commonly referred to as the Mad Scientist of the group, for his random thoughts that he puts into action. This time around, he was sent a photo from a friend of his of some delicious looking concoction, and he said, let’s make that! Well, the deliciousness you see above is what the result was! At the top, is a mix of baby bell peppers, onions and garlic with spice and a little bit of apple cider vinegar. The middle is a chuck roast, cut thin, seared and broiled after being marinated with spices, garlic, red wine and a spicy pepper oil. A simple coleslaw is at the bottom and at the bottom on the right is a shitake onion blend that was tangy and delicious. I would offer the recipe, but to be honest – I was more of a sous chef than having anything to do with the actual preparation. In the end – this didn’t really look like the dish that was the inspiration, but it was still ridiculously delicious! 

On a side note, have you ever seen those infomercials where they so very much over react that you just look at them and shake your head in disbelief? I saw one of those today, for this new bag that “bakes” potatoes in your microwave in just four minutes! Because 45 minutes in the oven is just too much. This is not the first mini infomercial that I’ve seen that drove me nuts. What are your thoughts?

 

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Scrambled Veggie Delight

Today I had plans to go shopping for some “grown up” clothes in preparation for finding a new job. But before I made my way down to the city, I had to get a good workout in, and follow up with some delicious breakfast.

(I have found that if I write about my workouts, I am more likely to stick to working out, because then I’m being held responsible. Skip the next paragraph if you’re just here for the food!)

Without my hunny here, I can get away with having breakfast that’s filled with vegetables. He would never hear of that. But first, the workout. I kind of invented a new workout that is based on some stuff I’ve seen on Pinterest. I did five exercises – jumping jacks, squats, crunches, mountain climbers, and push-ups. I started with 50 jumping jacks, then 40 squats, so on and so forth, and worked down the repetitions until I did 10 of each. Then I followed that up with some boxing strikes as my cardio. All in all, made for a good half hour.

Back to the food.

The original plan was for an omelet. I have yet to master the art of making eggs into a tortilla-type shape and folding them over in a pan. Therefore it became scrambled eggs with good stuff mixed in.

Tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and bell pepper, tossed over some light heat with some cooking spray, salt and pepper. Add in the egg that’s been mixed with garlic powder, ground sage and a touch of seasoned salt. Scramble. Just before it’s fully cooked, add in a few leaves of julienned spinach leaves and some feta cheese. Finish and plate with a whole wheat english muffin and tasty avocado. I have an avocado obsession. Did you know apple butter only has about 25 calories per tablespoon? That makes me super happy.

And yes I know I’m have a squirrel-complex moment.

Anyway, all that works out to be 554 calories, which works out just fine when I wanted to stay full for a while. It did mean that I ate a few too many calories today, but it was well deserved. I’m actually kind of excited for breakfast tomorrow.

Comfort Foods

Rachel Ray gave me a new twist on one of my favorite comfort foods – mac and cheese. I saw on her newest show where she made a crab cake mac and cheese, and I knew that’s what I was having for dinner the next night.

The final review: It was great, and it’s still in my fridge because it makes a HUGE portion! There were a couple things I will tweak the next time I make it though. Instead of Gruyere cheese, I’m thinking Havarti, and instead of dollar store hot sauce – definitely going to just use spices and some ketchup with vinegar. Same effect, different flavor. But overall pretty tasty, and good for multiple rounds.

So my other comfort meal of the week, was a new one actually. Steak. But with Gaelic Sauce. I have learned that I have been cooking steak entirely wrong forever! I’ve always put the steak in a dry pan to sear it, and it’s come out chewy and somewhat dry.

This time, I seasoned the steaks – really well – and then when I put them into the pan, I put in a little bit of butter and some oil. So now the steaks have something to hold in the juices. And it makes a fantastically crispy shell to hold in the yumminess.

The gaelic sauce was a mix of the pan juices, whiskey, and cream, and then I added in some onions and mushrooms – because onions and mushrooms taste good on steak. It simmers until it thickens, and then the sauce goes over the steak. And it tastes really good with seasoned french fries!

Mushroom Gravy Pork Chops

Thanks mom!

I changed up her recipe a bit, using golden mushroom gravy instead of cream of mushroom…and dusting my pork chops with spice. So the basic idea is that this is a budget meal, as we’ve been on a budget lately. We had a really good cut of pork chop, so they were thick, but small portions, and I added some of my mesquite grill garlic spice before I seared them on both sides.

Next, put them in a casserole dish, cover them with a can of Campbell’s Golden Mushroom soup, and then fill the can with milk and add it to the dish. Add a small can of sliced mushrooms on top, and throw it in a 350 degree oven for an hour.

I made some rice to go with it, then poured some of the gravy that was created by the soup and milk over the rice and over the pork chops when I served it. It tastes pretty good with peas too.

Honey glazed porkchops

Porkchop

They looked so pretty on the plate, I couldn't help but take a picture.

We had these huge porkchops in the freezer, and it was just me and the roomie last night, so I thought I’d make something deliciously simple. What’s weird is that the idea just popped into my head when I pulled out the meat to defrost. But it worked oh so well.

I actually looked up a honey glaze, and that was as simple as I’d hoped. Mix together equal parts of brown sugar and honey, and heat them up. Sear the porkchops on both sides with salt and pepper. Put the porkchops in a baking dish, pour half the sugar mixture over the top and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Flip and repeat.

I served mine with an asparagus stir-fry that I had in the freezer for a while, and then I added mushrooms, fresh spinach and balsamic vinegar. The vinegar didn’t give the veggies as full of a flavor as I had hoped, but it did give them a little tinge of flavor outside of their own crunchiness.