9-21: Chili Beef Casserole is yet another case of calling something a casserole that is barely a casserole. There is no condensed soup in this recipe and this dish is cooked on a stove top, not baked. This dish is more of a tortilla filling than a main course as a casserole.
This is a ground beef casserole with a cultural appropriation problem, not “with a Mexican accent”.
You may recognize 8-65: Sizzling Skirt Steaks as basically fajitas, one of the standard Mexican restaurant menu features. If you’re looking for something different on taco night, consider this dish. This can even be modified for different types of proteins, or even add in a few more veggies or a meat substitute and go meatless.
Flank or skirt steak is taken from the underside of the cow, and is tougher than most other cuts of meat. Therefore, marinating it (especially with some acid) breaks down some of those fibers and gives you a more tender piece when it’s cooked. Cooking fast/hot works well with this type of cut–low and slow will give you tough and rubbery.
I had mentioned in a recent entry (16-11: Meringue-Topped Chocolate Pie) that when I make baked goods for sharing with my work colleagues, I try to make them gluten-free if possible. Not only do I have a good friend at work that eats gluten-free, it offers one more option for the other people there who may want to make a gluten-free choice as well. 17-62: Scandinavian Coffee Cake was the first Simply Delicious recipe that I adapted for this particular purpose, and it turned out really well.
In the other recipe I cited above (16-11: Meringue-Topped Chocolate Pie), I mentioned that I didn’t have the pictures for this recipe, even though I did cook it. Well, turns out I found the pictures…so here it is, over a year after I made it in reality. ⏳
Pasta with a thin sauce didn’t seem super appropriate for dinner, so I made 12-15: Pasta with Salami and dished it out for lunch as part of a meal prep. While there are a few differences between the recipe card photo and my final product photo, my creation was similar in spirit to the beautifully shot photo below. The place settings are so retro–such a great scene they set.
The exquisite setup showcases the raw ingredients along with the wonderful cutlery and plating of the dish. How magnificent!
Fettuccini and ham are different foods I’ve heard of before. 12-20: Fettuccini with Ham is a dish I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams. It is both “piquant and tasty” as described below and I enjoyed the dish a lot.
Time for a confession: I have never cooked fettuccini nests before in my life before I prepared this dish. My parents weren’t adventurous with their pasta choices. We were strictly a spaghetti and angel hair household when it came to noodle pasta. Having a cream based sauce was rare also, they generally opted for a tomato-based sauce.
Oh boy, yet another pork chops recipe. 7-11: Piquant Pork Chops tries to stand out by boasting a fruity, spicy take on the standard pork-chop-with-pan-sauce entries that have already been covered at length throughout this project.
I think it’s a bit hyperbolic to insist that just adding a “new” spice or sauce to pork chops radically changes it as a dish, but I suppose that for some people it can be a big deal to experience new things outside of the regular old tried-and-true.
14-14: Sliced Pineapple with Nut Meringue is a unique desert. It was actually fairly tasty, just not something I would have thought to put together. This interesting dish has multiple textures, flavors, and temperatures which all interact nicely. I love raspberry, pineapple, and meringue, but I never thought to combine them, especially this way. 🍍
Meringue is probably one of my favorite applications of eggs in cooking. Egg whites only, but still a great use of eggs.
Looking for an easy weeknight dinner? 11-19: Oven-Baked Red Snapper will remind you of the all-too-familiar crunchy oven-baked chicken, but with a lighter fishy twist. If you find yourself with some fish filets (red snapper not required), give this one a try.
Another way to look at this: a more elegant presentation of fish sticks. 🐟
Much like Ben Wyatt, a late-addition character from NBC’s Parks and Recreation, I have enjoyed my fair share of calzones. Hawaiian calzones are one of my favorite types, pineapple and Canadian bacon can’t be beat! However, when wanting to eat in a health conscious manner, 13-8: Vegetarian Calzone is a great meat-free alternative.
Preparing this dish was super easy. A lot of time can be saved by using ready-bought puff pastry.
Editor’s note: This was a dish I made as part of a big family dinner I cooked with a family friend when I was 13–my step-grandmother is vegetarian and we made this so she’d have something to eat. My mom made her a baked potato for Thanksgiving once, complete with a toothpick-and-construction paper turkey head, wings, and tail that I painstakingly spent the day crafting. She did not appreciate the turkey-potato (too closely resembled an animal for her…go figure), but she did like this calzone.