In these trying times (are you tired of hearing that yet?), it’s important to make the food you have go as far as you can, and to reduce the amount of food being wasted. Even before “the Rona“, I’ve been spending many a Saturday (or Sunday) meal-prepping for the upcoming week, which has brought down our grocery bills (and our waistlines, barely).
7-31: Lime Cayenne Pork Chops was part of a “pork chop” meal-prep week, prepared in tandem with 7-53: Cider-Braised Pork Chops and served with some mixed roasted potatoes courtesy of the CSA box. It’s “meat and potatoes”, but maybe with a healthier twist?
My mom apparently made this back in November 1993, and it was “good” and “easy”. I’m not sure who ranked it as such (since she doesn’t eat pork), but we’ll go with that recommendation.
If you were around in the 1980s-1990s, you may remember the obsession with low-fat everything, and finding ways to make “sinful indulgences” into something “guilt-free“. Note the deliberate choice of words, and that we still use that type of psychological framing around food today (and have been for a long time, even prior to the era in question).
The “low-calorie swap” in 16-42: Easy Lime Pie is cottage cheese, which was all the rage in the 1970s as a “healthy” option, but could still be found in a lot of recipes throughout the 80s and 90s.
I feel like even Simply Delicious didn’t really know how to make this pie sound appealing–do you think halved grapes as a garnish can be considered something notable? You can definitely tell this particular recipe was aimed at the dieting/low-calorie crowd.
Since there’s about to be quite a few salad recipes coming up, I thought I’d put 2-12: Tips About Salad Dressing out there as well. I tried to think of more salad dressing variations than what they list here, but honestly? Most “traditional” salad dressings do fall into one of the three categories they establish: vinaigrette, cream/mayo-based, and low-calorie. Go ahead–can you think of one that doesn’t?
At the restaurant I worked at a few years ago, we made our own dressings from scratch. And by “we”, I mean “me”–I made all the dressings for the whole restaurant every week and kept everything stocked up, since it was my station (garde manger, or pantry chef) that made the salads. We made a blue cheese, ranch, Caesar, creamy balsamic vinaigrette, and another lighter, more traditional vinaigrette.
Here’s another seafood recipe: 11: 30: Sea Bass with Peppers. To me, fish and peppers are not the most logical combination, but these veggies are mostly a garnish to serve alongside a rockfish (instead of sea bass) filet.
This is another dish where you can substitute the type of fish if you want–we split the rockfish filets between this recipe and the ones Jamie used for 11-21: Baked Whitefish with Shrimp.
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.
Two-packs of whole chickens were on sale at Costco and the other chicken in this pack was used to make 6-20: Rosemary Chicken. This recipe, 6-33: Lime-Marinated Chicken required me to rub a few brain cells together to prepare the chicken as written on the card.
Lime flavor added to anything is a winner with me. Chicken and lime is a great combination, the white wine sauce added a unique twist.
In the mood for more corn after 3-14: Creamy Corn Chowder? It’s still not quite corn season yet, but if you’ve got some frozen corn hanging out in the freezer, you can feel like it’s summer with 2-26: Corn & Wild Rice Salad.
This would be a great recipe to make for a summer BBQ or picnic–it’s healthy, pretty, and as they say above, easy to make. It feels incredibly out of season now (February), but therein lies the magic of the Internet–you might find this in June or July and it’ll be perfect then.
Soup is technically easy to make, but can still quickly go wrong. Our CSA box came with 2 lbs. of white sweet potatoes this week, and it was time for something else besides sweet potato fries. The trusty interwebs told me that white sweet potatoes were pretty similar to regular ones, so I thought I’d give 3-1: Sweet Potato Vichyssoise a whirl.
Vichyssoise is originally a French-American creation. This version is definitely more of an autumn/Thanksgiving-type of flavor, but it was still easy to make and pretty good. Obviously the recipe card depicts the use of an orange sweet potato, but white sweet potatoes work pretty well also.