Friday, May 30, 2008

In Search Of New Entrees

Someone once wrote that there are only five entrees that Americans really cook and eat, for all our fascination with the Food Network and celebrity chefs. Chez QG those dishes are: meatloaf, grilled steak, baked chicken breast, spaghetti with meat sauce or balls; and El Jefe's favorite Greek Shrimp.

This week in a fit of culinary boredom, I decided to try out two new recipes: Gnocchi with Chicken and Pineapple-Shrimp kebabs. El Jefe gracefully ate the gnocchi, which also had gorgonzola cheese and pinenuts. Truly, chicken/gorgonzola cheese/pinenuts is a wonderful combination on a nice green salad. On hot gnocchi, not so much.

Last night I tried out the kebabs. I didn't cut the pineapple and red bell pepper thin enough for the shrimp. Result: I had to take the shrimp off and cook them in a pan because they didn't touch the grill! The garlic-lime-cilantro sauce that was drizzled over it was a keeper, though.

Babs was with us last night too, and brought a recipe for a Garden Risotto that she wanted to try, so we added that to the menu. She tweaked it by adding mushrooms to the spinach, onions, green peas and asparagus that went in the dish. Delicioso! Clearly the student has surpassed the teacher here.

Will the risotto make our dinner rotation? Probably if Babs is here because it is quite "fiddly" and requires lots of standing and stirring. If she's not, there's always the risotto in a box.

What five dishes are in your dinnertime rotation? Add anything new lately?


cheesehead said...

I had to think about this a little...I would say

1) Chicken thighs done up either "40 clove" style, or with lemon and olives, or with a shallot/mushroom ragout. (baked)

2) Tilapia sauteed in olive oil with garlic, onion, and grape tomatoes.

3) Chicken breasts on the grill.

4) Pork tenderloin in the crockpot.

5) Frozen pasta (ravioli,tortellini) with a jarred sauce that has Italian sausage already in it. That is my "too tired" supper, which we had last night.

In cold weather, I also make a lot of soups, chilis (both con carne and chicken and white bean)and I put beef stew chunks in the crockpot with mushrooms and onion about every other week.

Risotto has become a hit around here, since I started making it with vegetable broth, for the vegetarian in the house.

It is getting harder to be creative with only two carnivores in the house,one of whom (me) is trying to watch her weight.

MaryM said...

My mom used to complain when that when she asked what people would like for dinner we never had any I compleetely understand. Deciding what to fix is the tough part - made tougher by realizing that you ran out of that key pantry ingredient last time you made the dish and didn't remember to restock.

Boneless Chicken breasts are in regular rotation at my place, fixed a variety of the summer frequently marinated and sauteed, then sliced over a big green salad... When the outside air is less than 80 degrees I'll sometimes oven bake a dsih with a wine cream sauce and melted swiss cheese, served over rice OR a great homemade pot pie recipe I gleaned from my sister-in-law.

Hubby is in charge of the grill for steaks and the occasional grilled shrimp and scallops in a cilantro lime marinade...

Ground meet becomes either tacos (crispy) or pasta sauce or chili

But on the whole, I'd rather eat out!

j,too said...

1 - pork w/ mushrooms
2- chicken curry - page 187 in fix it and forget it crock pot book
3 - skillet chicken kabobs w/ greek rice pilaf
4 - vegetarian chili
5 - oven catfish at least once a week

I love new ideas for eats -- fits with my hobby of eating!

Presbyterian Gal said...

I sadly do not have time to cook as I would like, so I do shortcuts that are fast. Faves are:

1. Chicken quesadilla. For mom and dad I add cumin or mesquite to the guacamole.
2. Steaks with onions carmelized in balsamic vinegar
3. Wraps made with whatever's leftover in the fridge
4. Salads with chicken and fruit and I make up the dressing
5. Pizza (I actually used to make it myself. Now we order)

Rev Kim said...

1. Ribeyes, sauteed mushrooms & onions, salad, & baked sweet potato (for Dave), baked russett potato (for me) - or a warm baguette. I'm trying to keep us to one carb at each meal. We also split a ribeye now. This is one of our easy, go-to meals. It's also the meal that Dave made for me on our first date.
2. Thai stir-fry - another easy one - chicken, red, orange, or yellow peppers (I don't like green), water chestnuts, peanuts,in a coconut milk-based peanut sauce.
3. Chinese stir-fry - same ingredients as above, just different sauce & seasonings.
4. Fajitas - chicken, peppers, onions, with Mexican seasonings.
5. Salads with baby spinach, spring mix greens, avocado, grape tomatoes, hothouse cucumbers, glazed walnuts, Newman's Lite Honey Mustard. One of my favorite lunches during Spring/Summer.

You might notice that three of the five have the same basic ingredients. As a bachelor, Dave learned how to do alot with meat, bell peppers, and onions.

stf (lorna) said...

I like cheese's tootired supper.

stinuksuk said...

Depends on summer/winter:
Curry chicken w/spinach & couscous
Grilled steak w/boursin cheese& salad
Grilled Italian sausage w/Pesto linguini
Grilled rainbow trout, whitefish,
roughy, or arctic char
Grilled Italian sausage w/pesto linguini & salad or grilled brats w/sauteed onions & homemade coleslaw
same curry chicken
Roasted rosemary/garlic chicken w/stuffing and veges
Spaghetti w/jarred sauce doctored up, salad
Pork chops w/rice and veges
Coquilles St. Jacques w/spinach and fettucini

Singing Owl said...

My word! All your "regular" dishes sound kinda special to me.

Okay, my list:

Boneless chicken breasts, but I do cook them lots of ways. One easy favorite is marinated in Italian dressing before grilling or baking.


Some sort of pasta or rice with veggies and chopped pork, or whatever I have on hand.

Roast cooked all day at a low temp with a can of mushroom soup and a package of onion soup mix and some garlic. My husband loves mashed potatoes, so that usually is a side dish, and some sort of veggies.

We eat salad a lot, and we throw all kinds of things in it. A favorite salad is spinich with fresh strawberries and carmelized almonds, some mandarin oranges or apple cubes and served with a yummy homemade dressing.

Becky Ardell Downs said...

This has definitely changed over the years, and is changing again, but here are my family's top five, excluding take out and eating out, which in Houston is hard to resist.
1. Hamburgers that you get already made up from Kroger; they have either bacon and cheddar or black pepper bacon and bleu cheese mixed into them. Served with fruit in season. And buns. And ketchup. (that's a vegetable, right?)
2. Aunt Annie's pasta-- bow ties with pesto, alfredo, and cut up rotisserie chicken. My sister's creation, my adaptation-- she actually cooks her chicken herself. Silly Annie. Goes with the caesar salad from a bag and pep. farm garlic bread.
3.Dijon pork chops made with fat-free half & half, along with stove top stuffing and some sort of vegetable.
4. Rachel Ray's chicken and sweet potato curry in a hurry. With yellow rice.
5. Baked Potato soup. My gramma's recipe. Totally sick with fat. They love this. Again, with fruit in season, and maybe bread if I think about it.