Friday, November 22, 2013

Cost of Take-Out Lunch, Week Ending 112213

Monday: Bravo Burgers on a coworker
Tuesday: Chipotle for two: $18.25
Wednesday: Buffalo Wild Wings on a coworker
Thursday: group potluck at work
Friday: Boston Market at work

TOTAL: $18.25
Total for the year: $1464.98

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Not Your Mama's Green Bean Casserole, Gluten Free


Green Bean Casserole before covering and refrigerating for the potluck.

I think green bean casserole is disgusting. I didn't want to make any green bean casserole, even if it's Alton Brown's. There was a vote for me to do this one though; I was stuck. To make this gluten-free for the potluck, I skipped the panko and replaced regular flour with Pamela's Artisan Blend.

Not Your Mama's Green Bean Casserole, Gluten Free
adapted from Food Network

For the topping:
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
heaping 1/4 c Pamela's Artisan Flour Blend
1 tsp kosher salt
Nonstick spray

For beans:
1 lb fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed
1 gallon water
2 tbsp kosher salt

For sauce:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
12 oz mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 tbsp Pamela's Artisan Flour Blend
1 c chicken stock
1 c half-and-half

Preheat the oven to 475°F.

Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.


Add onions and toss to combine.


Coat a sheet pan with nonstick spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan.


Bake in the oven until golden brown, tossing every 10 minutes, for approximately 30 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use.

Onion rings after 10, 20, and 33 minutes of baking.

Turn the oven down to 400°F.

Meanwhile bring a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan.


Blanch beans for 3-5 minutes.

The recipe said 5 minutes; I let mine go for only 3 minutes. 

Drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat.


Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

Mine cooked 4 minutes before the mushrooms began releasing their juice.

Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 to 3 minutes.


Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute.


Add the stock and simmer for 1 minute.


Add the half-and-half and cook until the mixture thickens, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.


Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the green beans.


Top with the remaining onions.

Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

But because I was bringing this dish for a potluck, I transferred the green bean mix to a 7x11" baking dish, then topped it with remaining onions before covering and refrigerating.


At work I threw the dish into the desk-top/counter-top broiler until it was heated through, about 30 minutes.


Some of those that ate it said they liked it and some of them didn't have a comment. Most people didn't try it, myself included. It's green bean casserole, so I'm not surprised. I will never do this again; I don't care who votes for it.

Cost:
  • onions: $0.59
  • Pamela's Artisan Flour Blend: $0.26
  • fresh green beans: $0.95
  • unsalted butter: $0.05
  • mushrooms: $1.73
  • garlic: $0.10
  • chicken stock: $0.16
  • half-and-half: $0.90
Total: $4.74 or about $0.79 for each of six servings.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Roasted Beet Medley with Balsamic Glaze



I don't know what happened. I lost 1517 photos; the chunk between 11/9-11/18 is missing. My heart aches, particularly since I'm unable to share with you my larva story. I could, but without photos it's not fun. Here we pick up where the pics resume. Above includes the crazy looking beets from this recipe as well as the squash with the cranberry relish and walnuts and pork medallions I lost the photos of.

Because beets are delicious and balsamic anything I've tried so far has been awesome, I opted for this recipe.

Roasted Beet Medley with Balsamic Glaze
from Cooking Club, Fall 2011
click to print

5 small red, golden, white and/or Chioggia beets (2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter)
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
1/8 tsp coarse sea salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, dill, thyme, tarragon or chives

Heat oven to 400°F. Trim greens and roots from beets, leaving 1 inch of the stems and roots intact. Reserve greens for another use.

Group beets by color on separate large pieces of foil. Wrap tightly in foil; place on large rimmed baking sheet.


Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until tender. Let stand until cool enough to handle.


Meanwhile, bring vinegar, brown sugar, salt and pepper to a gentle boil in small saucepan over medium heat.


Simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thickened and reduced to 3 to 4 tablespoons, reducing heat to medium-low if necessary; cool. (If cooled glaze is too thick to drizzle, microwave in small microwave-safe bowl until slightly warm and of desired consistency.)


Remove beet skins; trim and discard roots. Holding beets by stems, cut into thin slices; discard stems. Arrange slices on platter.


Drizzle with balsamic glaze; sprinkle with herbs.



The beets were good and the balsamic glaze was good but I didn't like the two combined. They looked horrible and really? Beets don't need a glaze, they don't need jazz. I think they're jazzy undressed. Tell me I'm wrong.

Cost:
  • red, golden, white and/or Chioggia beets: $4.66
  • balsamic vinegar: $0.89
  • brown sugar: $0.02
  • chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, dill, thyme, tarragon or chives: $0.50
Total: $6.07 or about $1.52 for each of 4 servings

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Grocery List, 111713

The Thanksgiving-themed meals are over. It was a good run while it lasted. While I tried to keep it perpetuating, it got to a point where I couldn't keep the cycle going. The last of the main coincided with the last of the sides; the project was done. Up next:

Pork Medallions Marsala
Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Sweet Potatoes with Cranberry-Walnut Sauce
Roasted Beet Medley with Balsamic Glaze

Costco:
  • green beans: $4.59/2 lb
  • brussels sprouts: $3.59/2 lbs
  • craisins: $6.84/3 lbs
  • butter: $6.99/4 lbs
  • TOTAL: $22.01
Mother's Market:
  • Pamela's Artisan Flour: $3.99
  • organic eggs: $5.69
  • organic baby spinach: $4.99
  • sliced mushrooms: $3.99
  • chives: $1.99
  • thyme: $1.99
  • sweet potatoes: $4.95/2.77 lb
  • beets: $4.66/1.56 lb
  • garlic: $0.89/bulb
  • TOTAL: $33.09 (including the 5 cent bag credit they give when you bring a bag)
Stater Bros.:
  • Stove Top stuffing: $1.38
  • Hansens cranberry juice: $2.99
  • bacon: $1.20
  • cranberries: $2.99
  • golden raisins: $3.79
  • TOTAL: $12.35
Arriving home I realized I didn't have a plan for the sprouts or the beans.

11/20/13 gotta get grub for a potluck
Grower's Direct:
  • pie apples: $2.05/4.19 lb
  • lemon: $0.43/0.48 lb
  • green onions: $0.33
  • green cabbage: $1.47/2.49 lb
  • red onion: $0.42/0.61 lb
  • mushrooms: $1.73/0.79 lb
  • onions (2): $0.59/1.20 lb
  • green beans: $0.95/0.96 lb
  • Persian cucumbers (4): $1.06/0.82
  • cilantro: $0.25
  • half-and-half: $1.79/pint
  • TOTAL: $11.07
The Meat House:
  • applewood smoked bacon: $9.17/12 slices
HMart:
  • Tiparos fish sauce: $1.99
  • hot pepper powder: $6.49
  • San J Tamari soy sauce: $2.99
  • ice: $1.49
  • TOTAL: $13.08
Grand Total: $100.77
Total for the year: $1784.38


Friday, November 15, 2013

Cost of Take-Out Lunch, Week Ending 111513

Monday: Diho Siam on the crew
Tuesday: Fatburger for two: $17.65
Wednesday: Bravo Burgers on a coworker
Thursday: Carl's Jr on a coworker
Friday: Great Khan's for two: $17.82

Total: $35.47
Total for the year: $1446.73

Friday, November 8, 2013

Cost of Take-Out Lunch, Week Ending 110813

Monday: Corner Bakery at work
Tuesday: Subway 6" Sriracha Chicken Melt: $4.59
Wednesday: Carl's Jr for two: $11.43
Thursday: Rubio's at work
Friday: Knowlwood on a coworker

Total: $16.02
Total for the year: $1411.26

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Herb-Roasted Squash and Leeks



Running low on side dishes, it's time to fire this one up so I can keep the full-plate Thanksgiving-style dinners happening. I like butternut squash and I like leeks (the leek part was a little surprising) so this roasted vegetable dish sounded like a good one.

Herb-Roasted Squash and Leeks
from Cooking Club
click to print

1/4 c olive oil
3 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp pepper
2 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed (1 1/2 inches) (6 cups)
4 large leeks, sliced

Heat oven to 400°F.

Combine oil, rosemary, salt and pepper in a large bowl.


Toss butternut squash and leeks in oil mixture.


Spread on large rimmed baking sheet.


Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and slightly browned, stirring occasionally.



Slightly browned is exactly what the vegetables looked like at the end. Very slightly browned. And I'll tell you right now that the goal for cutting butternut squash is to aim for even-sized pieces, however big or small they wind up. Then, cut the leeks accordingly. My leek pieces were more wilted than some of the butternut squash pieces were soft. Regardless, the seasonings were tip-top. Honestly though, this recipe doesn't top the squash and Brussels sprouts recipe and I am beginning to doubt any will.

Cost:
  • olive oil: $0.88
  • fresh rosemary leaves: $1.29
  • butternut squash: $2.39
  • leeks: $2.99
Total: $7.55 or about $0.94 for each of eight servings.