"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather." John Ruskin
So…we're having a "different kind of good weather" here this week. Enough about that. Let's talk about food. This yummy meal comes from The Six O' Clock Scramble cookbook. I did use bacon, as called for in the recipe, but I think this would be great without it too. We also sprinkled on some parmesan cheese. I doubled the recipe and am looking forward to eating this comfort food all week. Comfort food…in mid April…it's just not right!
COUSCOUS PAELLA WITH BACON (Serves 6)
~Bacon, about half of the package
~A few glugs of olive oil
~One red bell pepper, diced
~4 scallions, chopped
~2 cloves of garlic, minced
~1 teaspoon curry powder
~1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
~2 cups hot vegetable or chicken broth
~1 cup frozen peas
~1 cup uncooked couscous (we used Israeli pearl couscous)
1. Cook the bacon until crisp, drain on some paper towels and using scissors, cut it into small pieces. (We bake our bacon in the oven at 375 F for about 20 minutes)
2. Start heating up your broth if you are doing it on the stove. (I just used the microwave)
3.In a stock pot or Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the peppers, scallions, garlic and spices and sautée for 5 to 10 minutes until the peppers are softened.
4. Add the heated broth and bring to a low boil.
5. Add the peas and couscous, cover with the lid and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until the broth has been absorbed. This step may be different, depending on what kind of couscous you are using…follow your package directions.
6. Mix in the bacon and sprinkle on some Parmesan just before serving.
Now that we are back in the routine of school, and that white space on the calendar is shrinking, it’s nice to have a quick, simple dinner option. This sausage and rice meal is one to try. You can use whatever grain you want, depending on how much time you have. On this particular night, I had 45 minutes to cook brown rice, but you could use something like quinoa or cous cous which cook in about 15 minutes. While the grain is cooking, pour a few glugs of olive oil in a pan and slice up some onions and peppers. Heat them over medium low heat until they are soft and the onions have begun to caramelize. Then add sliced up pre-cooked sausage, turn up the heat to medium and cook until heated through. You can also add a teaspoon or two of balsamic vinegar to the sausage as it’s cooking. When the rice is done, combine it with the sausage, peppers and onions and you’re done!
Usually when I go to my parents’ house, I revert back to my 12 year old self when it comes to preparing meals. Meaning, I might occasionally fix myself a sandwich or pour myself a bowl of cereal. I sleep in and let my Mom make the kids breakfast and I eventually come down and fix myself coffee. It is wonderfully lazy and there is nothing better than having someone else fix my meals for me…especially when that someone is my Mom. But a few days ago, she slipped on some ice while out on a walk with my Dad and ended up with a broken shoulder. Thank goodness she is in good shape and otherwise healthy, so I’m sure she’ll recover just fine from this..but it certainly has slowed her down for the moment! So today, we cooked for her in her kitchen…a place where previously my greatest achievement was probably scrambled eggs. We made Italian sausage roasted with potatoes, apples and onions from a recipe featured on A Life From Scratch . My Mom raised 8 of us…a feat that staggers my mind…she can probably use a little time in the recliner with her feet up! But don’t take too much time, Mom! There are grand kids that need your grilled cheese sandwiches made and daughters that just want to take a nap when they come to visit!
Roasted Sausage with Apples and Potatoes (serves 4)
~Sweet Italian Sausage (about 4 links)
~6 to 7 medium sized potatoes (I used red potatoes and yams) cut into about 1 inch pieces. If using yams or sweet potatoes, peel them before cutting.
~1 to 2 yellow onions, peeled and roughly chopped into large chunks.
~salt and pepper
~1 teaspoon of dried thyme or the leaves of a few sprigs of fresh thyme.
~2 Granny Smith apples, cored, chopped and mixed with about a teaspoon of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
~2 to 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
~brown mustard for serving (optional)
1. Place the potatoes and onions in a 13×9 inch baking dish and drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over them.
2. Sprinkle with the thyme and salt and pepper to taste and stir gently to coat everything with the oil.
3. Place the sausages on top of the potatoes and onions and bake, uncovered, in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes.
4. After 30 minutes, turn the oven down to 375, turn the sausages over, add the apples and continue to bake for 20 to 30 more minutes, until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork and the sausage is fully cooked.
5. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, sprinkle the apple cider vinegar over the dish.
6. Serve with some brown mustard if desired.
KATIE: Ok, I know it’s Valentine’s Day and even though my Mom is trying to get us to cut back on the candy, my brother and I simply can’t help ourselves. Every time we walk past our candy bags we do the same thing. Which is grab one or two more pieces of candy. So I’m pretty sure that by tomorrow we will have eaten at least half of our candy and have spoiled our appetites!
DEBBIE: Yes, it appears that appetites were indeed spoiled tonight. The pork tenderloin that I made for dinner, sat mostly untouched on the plates of certain people under the age of ten. But that’s okay, because that left more for those of us who did not exchange valentine treats with 20 friends at school today. This recipe is adapted from Real Simple magazine and is easy enough to prepare on a busy week night and special enough if that week night happens to be Valentine’s Day!
BALSAMIC GLAZED PORK TENDERLOIN (serves 4)
~1 Tbs. olive oil
~2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
~2 Tbs. brown sugar
~1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Mix the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl.
3. Heat the oil in a large oven proof skillet at medium high heat.
4. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the pork and cook it in the skillet for about 8 minutes, turning it frequently until browned on all sides.
5. Transfer the skillet to the oven and continue to cook the pork for 10 to 15 minutes until cooked through, spooning the vinegar/sugar mixture over the pork twice during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
6. Let the pork rest for 5 minutes and then slice. Drizzle any pan drippings over the top.
We had this with a salad of cooked lentils, apples, crumbled feta cheese, olive oil and lemon juice. I also made some buttered noodles for the kids, because there’s always room for buttered noodles, no matter how spoiled your appetite is!