French Cuisine in 30

For the past couple weeks I have been craving exactly what we have made in EVOO. For example, I had been craving a burger two weeks ago and that week’s the menu was turkey burgers, and last week I was craving wine and we cooked with wine…then again I’m always craving wine but that’s besides the point. I had been craving a good pasta dish all week and guess what — tonight’s recipe is pasta!! Chicken Chasseur with Herbed Egg Fettuccine to be exact. Rachael Ray’s pasta dishes never disappoint; she even left a note in this recipe saying “everyone who tastes this, flips!” Thanks to that little note, I have through-the-roof expectations: I better be flipping when this dish touches my taste buds. Let’s get cooking!

I woke up on Sunday not feeling too great, and neither was my sous-chef Nicolette, so we decided to cook on Monday (today).

I woke up extra early (8am ugh) to start my day at Trader Joe’s. It was a very ugly day in New York City. There was no sight of the sun, the was rain pouring down, and I didn’t have an umbrella. I knew it would would be a real struggle to lug the groceries all the way home in the rain. Luckily, as soon as I got off at 72nd street, there was a man selling umbrellas for $5. My guardian angel was looking out for me today.

I arrived at Trader Joe’s shortly after 9am. I have never seen the place so deserted. The line only wrapped halfway around the store instead completely around the store!! There was room to walk and I didn’t receive any death glares for grabbing the items I needed. Best Trader Joe’s experience ever! Of course, I had to quickly run to Fairway because Trader Joe’s didn’t have fettuccine, but other than that, it was a fabulous shopping day.

The shopping trip had me thinking that cooking would run just as smoothly…but I was  wrong. I came home to my apartment wall being torn apart by two workers. Apparently there was a broken pipe that just so happened to only run through my apartment wall -_- Because of this mini demolition, everything had a layer of dust on it — my kitchen table, the counter, my laptop, the stove — EVERYTHING. I quickly cleaned up before Nicolette came over at 4.

We started cooking like we do every week by chopping the ingredients that needed chopped. We ended up crying like babies because we had to cut not one, not two, but three shallots. Those little buggers are the strongest onions ever, I swear! We chopped efficiently, and worked through the noise of drilling in my hallway.

We really got into the cooking — It’s so much easier whenever there is a smaller group. Occasionally the workers would peak over to see what we were making. That’s how we could tell it smelled delicious.

We cooked the carrots, shallots & mushrooms together, and eventually blended it all into this extremely appetizing sauce for the chicken to marinate in.Then we spiced up the fettuccine with special herbs before making heaping piles of pasta and sauce.

I was literally drooling while waiting for the moment of truth. 3..2..1…Rachael Ray was right, I definitely did flip. My taste buds flipped at this perfection and my heart flipped because I was falling in love with food. At first I took a big waft of the pasta and it smelled sweet, but there wasn’t an overwhelming sweet flavor to it. The chicken was so savory from simmering in the sauce, I don’t think we have ever cooked chicken so perfectly before. We both ate like savages — we just couldn’t get enough. I even ate seconds. AH-MAZING.

If you couldn’t tell from my reaction, Chicken Chasseur with Herbed Egg Fettuccine receives ♥♥♥♥♥ (5) hearts. Rachael Ray’s pasta dishes are absolutely out of this world. She knows how to create something so flavorful but not overwhelming. I could eat this for weeks, and I’ll at least eat it for this week. I’m excited to come home from class every night to this delicious meal. Tres Magnifique!!

Until next week!

-Mary Honkus

 

Cooking with Wine

Having wine nights with my girlfriends has become one of my favorite pass times…and a pretty frequent one too. My friend’s and I have wine nights 2-3 times a week where we just hangout and watch Netflix; I’d call it one of my favorite hobbies. When I saw this recipe included wine I leaped for joy — I knew what we were making would be delicious because wine makes everything fabulous. On tap for tonight is Too-Easy Chicken with Leeks, Lemon Rice Pilaf, and Whatever-Your-Garden-Grows-Salad. Let’s get tipsy!..I mean cooking!!

It was a real struggle convincing myself to go to the grocery store today. I was just not in the mood to get off my bed, but I knew it had to be done. I headed to Trader Joe’s and the place was crazier than usual. The line usually wraps halfway around the store, but this time it went completely around the store. I shopped the smart way AKA shopped while I was in line. Not only did I get most of the ingredients I needed, but I also picked up some weekly groceries all for $20! My wallet was super happy today. As I was heading out I was thankful I arrived there when I did because there was a line a block long just to get into the store. Seriously, Trader Joe’s is nuts!

Next stop on my list of grocery stores was Fairway. Fairway was extremely annoying today. I needed to pick up 5 more ingredients and they only had 1: a shallot. I mean I can’t complain too much considering it was only 33 cents, but I had to go to ANOTHER grocery store.

So, on to plan C: Whole foods at Columbus Circle. I had never been to this Whole Foods before so it was extra adventury. Luckily I was able to find everything except for the wax beans, but I decided those weren’t that important. This Whole Foods was great aside from the mile long line, but other than that all around great experience and I will definitely be coming back.

Everyone came over around 6:30. I knew this week would be extra interesting because I have a dog staying with me. Not a big dog, just a little old man chihuahua. I was didn’t know if he’d get in the way while cooking, though. He didn’t, thankfully. He laid on the couch the whole time with his tongue sticking out — such a cutie.

Nicolette, Mel & Martina were my sous-chefs this week, and like usual we all chopped what needed to be chopped first. Then I assigned everyone a recipe. I was in charge of the chicken, Mel was in charge of the rice, Nicolette was in charge of the salad, and Martina went home to get some wine for us to drink…great system we had going on.

The chicken recipe featured leeks..if you don’t know what leeks are they’re just like giant green onions. Anyways, they made the chicken smell amazing. Not just the chicken, it made the whole apartment smell amazing!

Ashley Gray came over and ate her cafeteria food, but it’s always nice to have extra company.

The salad and the chicken were completed before the rice. Since rice takes forever to cook we all sat around and talked until it was time to eat. Eventually we all became very impatient waiting for the rice so we just decided it was done cooking ourselves.

I set up a nice little buffet and we all made our own plates. Nicolette asked “Are we all going to try it together?” but Mel was already digging in. We each had our own separate moments of truth. Mine was wonderful. The chicken was so savory and juicy. I could taste the hints of wine in it. The rice was a tad bit under cooked due to my impatience, but still tasty. Also a hint of wine — very subtle hint. I was super impressed with the salad. I am not a salad person most of the time, but this was extra delicious. I think the dressing made it so yummy. All in all a very good meal, also pretty fancy. This meal made me feel like I’m actually an adult.

After we ate we made a trip to Schmakery’s for dessert and had delicious home baked cookies. It was the perfect ending to a great cooking night.

Now comes for the most complicated part of the night: rating. Too-Easy Chicken with Leeks receives ♥♥♥ (3) hearts. It was good, but there was something about it that made it meh. The Lemon Rice Pilaf also receives ♥♥♥ (3) hearts. I don’t know if it would’ve been better if it was fully cooked. Maybe it was the wine that gave it a too mature flavor for me. Finally, the Whatever-Your-Garden-Grows Salad receives ♥♥♥♥ (4) hearts. I was impressed with this because it included green beans, which I am not a fan of, but surprisingly it was my favorite dish of the night. The mustard-vinaigrette blended all the vegetables together very tastefully.

Honestly, I thought that these wine-infused dishes would’ve turned out better. Don’t get me wrong, everything was yummy but there was just something missing. This did not sway my opinion on wine, though. Wine is still my favorite, just not when it is in food. Oh well.

Until next week!

-Mary Honkus

 

 

Tasty Turkey Burgers

I feel like everyone is always looking for a way to eat healthier…especially when it comes to burgers. I have tried the burger where the bun is lettuce —  it was alright but definitely did not fill me up. The only “healthy” burger that has ever left me satisfied is the turkey burger. I have had such a craving for burgers lately, maybe because I should’ve been at a labor day picnic, but anyways my healthy burger wishes came true today with Twilight Time Turkey Patties and Cranberry Sauce. Lets get cooking!

I started this adventure a few days prior, by letting my friends know what ingredients they had to bring. This recipe didn’t require many, so each person only had to bring one which was great!

On Labor day (today) I headed to Trader Joe’s on my typical shopping spree. For today’s recipe I only had to pick up the turkey. Easy and cheap for me, I’ll take it!

Everyone arrived around 6, and shortly after we started cooking. I quickly had to run to Food Emporium to pick up some thyme since Ashley couldn’t find any. I left in a rush without my phone and everyone was so confused as to where I had gone when I came back. I kept saying I went to pick up thyme and all my friends were like “time??? you had to pick up time?” I had to pull the thyme out of the grocery bag for them to understand.

We finally started — Mel, Nicolette and Kait helped chop the herbs and make the patties, While Ashley and Morgan made a chocolate bunt cake from the south (special shout out to Ashley for bringing that all the way from South Carolina).

This meal really did only take 30 minutes and went off without a hitch — we didn’t even set off the smoke alarm! Once the patties were done we each grabbed one and loaded up with some cranberry sauce on the side.

No one even waited for the moment of truth…everyone just dug in like ravenous animals, but the mmmms of satisfaction were heard all over. I finally took a bite and was oh so happy: just what I had been craving: a flavorful, good-for-you burger. The burger was well seasoned and very filling. Who would’ve thought that coating a turkey burger with pecans and instant mashed potato flakes (who knew those were even a thing) would be so delicious! The cranberry sauce added a little sweetness. I felt like I was at lazy thanksgiving dinner. We even made the mashed potato flakes into actual mashed potatoes. All around super scrumptious. The cake was the perfect dessert too, even though I dropped my piece on the floor and burned my arm. (Still ate it though, my apartment floor is spotless thanks to Ashley.)

Now time for rating! Twilight Time Turkey Patties and Cranberry Sauce receives ♥♥♥♥ (4) hearts. Definitely satisfying, and definitely the health factor that I love….but would I make it again? Probably not, but then again I never make anything twice. I’m excited to get fancy with next week’s recipe though.

Until next week!

-Mary Honkus