I love a good salad bar, or did, before coronavirus turned everything in our lives upside down. One of my family’s favorite restaurants when I was a kid featured an impossibly long salad bar. A friend and I even entered an essay-writing contest at Souplantation back in college and won ourselves 30 free meal passes, which we blew through quicker than you’d expect.
2-22: Salad Bar with Warm Dressing is equivalent to most of these at-home solutions we’ve seen during this pandemic–a pale imitation of the real thing. Consider this recipe the “haircut I did myself because everything is closed” of salad bars.
I suppose if you just lumped all the same ingredients on top of some quinoa and called it a Buddha bowl instead, you could send this recipe forward in time from the 1980s to modern day.
Of course, you’d have to take an artsy picture (or 100), slap some filters on it, and post it to social media with a bunch of hashtags first to really modernize it. Do you think they really eat the food after they take pictures of it, or is it just for the ‘gram? 🤔
As I mentioned in my last post, this project just passed the 6-year mark, and a lot has changed since I first started it–careers, cities, kitchens, vehicles, family, presidents, even dietary preferences.
For the last two years, we’ve been sticking to a plant-based diet, with the very occasional seafood or dairy indulgence (however, traditional meat itself is totally gone). We’ll still go out for a real sushi dinner here and there (although, not lately due to coronavirus), and every so often, I’ll make a recipe like 11-9: Fried Jumbo Shrimp with real shrimp as a treat.
“Fruit from the sea” as a description for shrimp seems strange to me, even though I know Simply Delicious didn’t coin the term. “Fried Jumbo Shrimp” is what they use to lure you into mediocre chain restaurants–it’s not quite haute cuisine.
I’m not doing a good job of selling you on this dish, am I? Well, since fried food doesn’t travel well as takeout, maybe you’d like to take this “opportunity” to learn how to fry your own?
Meal-prepping is trendy now, but it’s always been a good idea if you want to save money and calories. 12-24: Cannelloni with Chicken works well if you want to make it on a Sunday, split it up into a few containers, and reheat it throughout the week. At least, that’s how we ate it.
Even Simply Delicious advises you can make this meal ahead of time, although their suggestion is for entertaining guests. This recipe/concept is pretty versatile–it’s good fresh or as leftovers.
Cajun and Creole cooking are not something I’ve had a ton of experience with, so 7-21: Jambalaya is somewhat unfamiliar territory. I didn’t grow up eating a lot of New Orleans cuisine, other than my mother’s ill-fated attempt at making gumbo once.
It’s not a difficult recipe (quite the opposite, actually), but I don’t feel like I have a solid understanding of the difference between what makes it good and what makes it great. That’s something that comes with experience, both as a taster and as a creator.
I couldn’t have even told you that there are two types of jambalaya, Creole and Cajun. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the difference between the two is the absence or presence of tomatoes. Simply Delicious identifies this version as Creole, which is correct–that’s the version that has the tomatoes in it, which this one does. 🎺🍅
The terms are used interchangeably here, and seemingly in most other places as well. The biggest takeaway from the spring vs. egg roll debate is that spring rolls are originally from China, but have been Americanized along the way (while egg rolls were always American).
They tend to have a thinner wrapper than egg rolls, and are often also associated with the transparent rice paper rolls you tend to see in Vietnamese and Thai restaurants.
12-25: Parmesan Rice with Shrimp is a great weeknight dinner option or even perhaps a side dish for a potluck or party. It has similarities to paella and risotto, but isn’t as time or skill-intensive as either of those. And as you can tell by the frequency of how much I’ve been posting lately (not much), anything quick is much appreciated.
I feel like they were trying to roughly capture the essence of Shrimp Etouffee with the flavors used in this recipe, but with much less work involved. Cajun/creole-inspired isn’t new for Simply Delicious, but it’s rarely executed faithfully.
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!
“Country-Style” carries multiple definitions and connotations. The author of 9-45: Country-Style Sausage Medley surmised that a dish containing this many varieties of vegetables must be “country-style”. Chicken sausage is a low calorie option, however, it lacks the punch of flavor a good beef sausage can provide.
This dish contains a lot of vegetables already. If I had to add any other vegetables, I might substitute the cabbage for Brussels sprouts.
Chicken soup is always good on a day when you are feeling sick. I made 3-9: Mexican Chicken Soup on a really hot day, basically the worst type of day to make chicken soup. I was able to freeze and store all of this soup for future meals. Later on in the week that I made this soup, I caught a nasty cold and having a stockpile of chicken soup really helped me feel better.
The spice mixture is the only part of this soup that is remotely Mexican.
Editor’s note: Simply Delicious has another “Mexican” soup–check out 3-15: Quick Mexican Soup if you want what is essentially a ground-beef version of this soup.