It's Friday! We have a quiet weekend in front of us, with no plans about what we're doing for the 4th. Mass, of course, but other than that haven't decided (or even talked about) fireworks shows. Our closest one, is just down the road about a mile and a half. We've done the early-car-drop-off thing and we've done the park-and-walk-in (about a 1/2 mile) thing. I enjoy going - it's just the six of us, usually, in this otherwise sea of humanity. These kinds of moments are a bigger thing to me, with my daughter's departure just weeks away.
Hubby and our daughter are headed to the Zac Brown Band concert tonight out at Coors Field. I know she is super psyched - hubby is, too, but he's more subdued about it; it could be a wet, but blissfully cool evening.
I haven't done much today - though I'm cruising my Pinterest board,looking for next week's menu. I cooked from it this week, too, and feel like I need to weedle out some more pins - though I tend to pin at a rate 10 times faster than I use them. I have other boards, including boards for each month's kits, and I keep thinking I need a plan to work through them, too.
I needed a dessert for Friday In-Law dinner, and I was baking up a storm last Friday anyway, so what was leaving the oven on for one more hour. Boy, was this Chocolate Pound Cake with Chocolate Ganache worth it. It was rich and chocolaty, but it, oddly, wasn't heavy. It had a lightness about it. I served mine up with homemade Raspberry sauce. Perfect.
I had hoped to serve this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad as a main dish (it would make a great side, too) on a stinkin' hot day, but some menu rearranging happened and it was served on a not-so-hot day. Because I was serving eight, I added an extra half-cup of quinoa and altered the liquid content to accommodate the extra. Even though there was plenty of protein, what with the quinoa and the chickpeas, I added three cups of chopped rotisserie chicken (chopped grilled chicken would be awesome, as well.) I served it up with a side of homemade french bread. The only things I'd change is add more Feta and I'd make some adjustments to the dressing. I could taste the lemon, but no garlic or oregano, so I'd go up on both of those. I like red onion, but it can be a strong flavor for some. If that's you, soak the chopped onion in some ice water for a few minutes and that'll cut the bite a bit.
I wanted a quick grab for the morning and these Banana Coconut Muffins were a perfect fit for the over-ripe bananas on my counter. They were very moist with that sweet taste of coconut. Good stuff!
With my freezer staple smoked sausage on hand, I had most of the ingredients on hand to make this Jambalaya Pasta. The recipe said it would serve four. I opted to double the meat, but left the remainder of the recipe as-is. It worked. I had about a serving left over and nobody had to take a skimpy serving. Because of the amount of meat, in the future I would probably brown the sausage and set aside, and then brown the chicken and then throw it all back in the pan and finish it. The amount of meat cooking together didn't allow for browning. I used chicken breast, but I do like thighs in this type of recipe, too.
I love salads in the summer. I also like soups in the winter, but certain members of my family don't feel they are "meals." So, when I serve a soup and someone asks what it is I call it a stew - which apparently qualifies for meal status. This only works when the line between soup and stew are blurred - when it's clearly soup, I've have learned to serve them with a side of bread or some grilled sandwich. In the summer I've learned to add meat and voila! it's a meal! Just like this Mexican Salad, which was gorgeous meat-less, but to make my nay-sayers happy I cooked up some taco-seasoned ground beef and served it on the side. I fried up my own tortilla strips with left over corn tortillas. The dressing with this recipe is awesome. It's thick and creamy and spicy without being hot - it will be taking the place of a bottled dressing as soon as I can keep people from buying the stupid stuff. It would make a great dip for chips or veggies, as well.
I talked about coffee creamer last week with this recipe. I have another Homemade Coffee Creamer recipe - this one has a couple different flavors, but like last week's this one is also milk-based, instead of sweetened condensed milk. I didn't have the called-for half-and-half, but used heavy cream cut with 2% milk. I've got one more recipe pinned that actually uses a combo of milk and cream. I have to say, I'm liking these milk-based recipes. They are small batches, but they don't take any time to mix up. I believe I have found one more thing I won't have to buy. Yeah!
Getting fish or non-meat meals in the menu seems infinitely easier in the summer. This Spiced-Rubbed Tilapia with Tomatillo, Black Bean and Mango Salsa was really good. We all love tilapia, but I love it because it can handle a variety of flavors. I've never used tomatillos, so this was a first. I like the flavors in the salsa, but it does make a lot. A. Lot. The as-is recipe fed four, I added two more fillets, but didn't alter the recipe otherwise, and I still had quite a bit of salsa left; I would halve the amount next time. Now to figure out how to use what's left - quesadillas anyone??
Because of the concert, we won't be hosting the in-laws tonight, so I have a long do-nothing day left. Pizza for dinner.
Happy Friday - and Happy 4th of July!