Even Better Than Campbell’s

chicken noodle-less soup

As 9-year-olds in P.E. class in February, my best friend and I convinced the instructor that our queasy stomachs needed a break from running laps to visit the nurse. In the front office, we convinced the nurse that out churching stomachs needed to go home for the day. And at my best friend’s house, we convinced her mom that Disney movies and soup were the best remedies for our upset stomachs.

 

Her mom rooted around in the pantry and pulled out two tin cans, one of tomato soup and another of chicken noodle. Since I refused to eat any tomato product other than ketchup, I politely declined in favor of option #2.   Continue reading for recipe.

November 16, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals, Satisfying Sides. 7 comments.

It’s Still Sandwich Season!

rosemary chicken salad sandwiches

Just when I decided to beat the heat with a little sandwich streak, the winds blew into town and the temperature dropped 20°. Great. The seasons are mocking me… As the bag of sandwich things threatened to mol, I wanted to put them out of their misery with a protein-packed filling. But what?   Continue reading for recipe.

October 9, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals. 8 comments.

Tick Tock, Sprint or Stop

Most days, I rush through the grocery store. Forget the cart: with my bad luck, mine veers off to the side from a sticky wheel and I waste precious minutes forcing it to roll down the aisle in a straight line. Instead, I grab a basked and haphazardly throw in food, bruising my leg with the cans and produce when it bangs against my shin as I power walk around the store.

 

Not fun.

 

But on the days without any meetings or appointments on my calendar, I slow down and savor the supermarket. I stroll up and down every (food) aisle, pausing in front of sale items and unusual ingredients. When I discover something interesting, I pull it off the shelf, pay for it at the check-out stands, and immediately begin searching for a recipe to use it in when I walk through the door at home.   Continue reading for recipe.

August 2, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals. 2 comments.

A Rivaling Rendition

At a local Thai restaurant, the chefs cook and serve numerous noodle, curry, and rice dishes. Most plates include only one or two traditional “mix-ins”—broccoli and egg, cashews and spinach, onions and sprouts—but in my favorite entrée, the cooks grab a pinch of nearly every vegetable (hold the mushrooms, please!) and toss them all in a pan with a sweet ’n sour sauce. When I see the waitress balancing my plate of peppers, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and pineapple, I break out the chopsticks and try not to drool.   Continue reading for recipe.

July 26, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals. Leave a comment.

Where Do I Sign Up For Eating Lessons?

Most girls my age turn into a hot mess after a long night of drinking and dancing, but in my case, soft tacos do me in. I add spoonful after spoonful of spicy salsa, and when I pick up the tortilla to take a bite, the tomato juice dribbles down my wrist while lettuce and meat plop out onto the plate.

 

Homemade tacos are my kryptonite. Instead of a chef in a restaurant kitchen portioning out the meat and toppings, I’m supposed to add the ingredients to my plate. I pile everything onto the tortilla—and I mean pile—thus creating an Everest-sized mountain of food. Although the tortilla refuses to close around its innards, I still try to fold it in half, and when I attempt to take a bite, an even bigger mess ensues.   Continue reading for recipe.

July 9, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Midweek Meals. Leave a comment.

Care for a Condiment?

As a kid, my condiment knowledge was pretty limited. My grandpa told me that people put mustard on hot dogs and ketchup on burgers, but I broke those rules and squeezed both bottles over either grilled meat. Always Heinz ketchup and French’s yellow mustard (none of that fancy Dijon stuff for a five-year-old!).

 

Somewhere in my teens, I tried barbeque sauce for the first time at the ever-famous Pub downtown. I ordered a barbeque chicken quesadilla, and after the first bite, I immediately became infatuated with its sweet yet subtle tang.   Continue reading for recipe.

June 13, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals, Satisfying Sides. Leave a comment.

A Confusing Childhood Conundrum

As a five-year-old, the vegetable mustard greens confused me. Mustard was bright yellow and came in a French’s squeeze bottle, while greens were, well… Bright green, like lettuce and spinach. How could a food possibly be both yellow and green, both a condiment and a leaf, both spreadable and crisp?

 

It didn’t take long until I learned that mustard actually is a plant, not just a spicy topping for hot dogs and sandwiches, and the condiment is formed from the plant’s seeds. But I spent enough time puzzling over it as a kid that I came up with my own brilliant solution: coat some greens with mustard to make your mustard greens!   Continue reading for recipe.

June 4, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals. Leave a comment.

I Smell Smoke! Where’s My Fire?

As the temperatures jump up like little kids on pogo sticks, people begin dusting off their webers and lugging home big bags of charcoal briquettes. A couple of weekends ago, I honestly thought a forest fire had engulfed my neighbor’s porch because their grill’s flames were so high! (Kind of glad they didn’t offer me a bite of the unsuspecting steak that couldn’t escape…)

 

Maybe the smell of their charcoal smoke sets my heart on fire. Or maybe I’m just jealous that I don’t have my own little hibachi to experiment with. Either way, I wanted to join in the warm weather grilling crazy that infected my entire neighborhood.   Continue reading for recipe.

May 28, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Satisfying Sides. 2 comments.

My Mom’s Day

For Mother’s Day this year, I drove down to visit my parents the night before. We prefer celebrating on Friday or Saturday to avoid the long lines and crowds of people overflowing restaurants for brunch of dinner. Mom still gets her special day, just a bit earlier than every other mother so she doesn’t need to share it with the rest of the world!

 

She wanted to eat at her favorite downtown restaurant, the Pub. She and Dad opted not to share their typical nachos, instead choosing the ultimate grilled cheese and Philly cheese steak. As for me? I ordered my favorite salad on the menu (salad at a pub, crazy I know)—and then snagged a few crispy beer-battered fries off of someone else’s plate too!   Continue reading for recipe.

May 16, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals, Satisfying Sides. Leave a comment.

My Nominee for Best Supporting Role

Confession: I love Food Network. A lot. “Iron Chef,” “Cupcake Wars,” “Chopped,” “The Next Food Network Star”… I wish I could be a judge for any of those nighttime reality food shows; I’m drooling just imagining all of the tempting creations those chefs concoct!

 

But recently, a different network and program caught my eye. “Top Chef” on Bravo, based in Texas, produces a similarly impressive display of dishes from their own original and whimsical challenges. While showing the chefs slice, simmer, and sauté, the TV often cuts to commercials at the most inopportune moments.   Continue reading for recipe.

February 10, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals. Leave a comment.

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