Tag Archives: Dinner

Happy Valentine’s Day! Dinner, Dessert and a Delightful Tablescape…..


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more Valentine’s Day celebrations! While we do make an effort to show our love and appreciation for one other most days, St. Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to give it a little something special. Although Nick’s not with us this year, a care package is waiting for him in his mailbox (whether or not he makes his way to the Hub to pick it up, we may never know).

My favorite way to set the tone for a delectable meal is to set a beautiful table, whether it’s simple or over the top. Here I chose a to start with a lovely runner; pink, green, brown, cream and yellow paisley. It has depth and personality. As a centerpiece, I combined cedar globe topiaries, simply slid into stone urns and covered with a little moss, cream candle-sticks holding hot pink pillar candles and a charming birdbath holding a host of rose petals.

Pretty in pink, I chose hot pink placemats for each place-setting, along with silver leaf chargers, my Lenox white scalloped edge dinner plates and mauve glass dessert plates. The finishing details were hot pink napkins run through pink beaded napkin rings and crystal water and wine glasses. Sparkly and colorful!

 

For dinner, I decided make Filet Mignon, Potato “Risotto” and our favorite veggie; broccoli. Normally we don’t make dessert, but, come on, this is our Valentine’s Day dinner, so Amanda and I made Chocolate Soufflés!

 

The Potato “Risotto” is so rich and creamy you will think you’ve died and gone to Heaven! The prep is a bit of work, but completely worth it.

 

Potato “Risotto”

Serves 3; you’ll definitely want to double or triple this recipe!

3 Tbsp butter

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes

Generous sprinkle of cayenne pepper

Generous sprinkle of salt

1 ½ cups chicken broth

½ cup heavy whipping cream

½ cup grated Parmesan

2 Tbsp chopped chives

 

Before you even get started, you’ll want to prep the potatoes. Once you’re finished, you can place them in a cold bowl of water and leave them in the fridge overnight. That will be a huge time saver when you are ready to get this dinner started.

 

Peel the potatoes. Cut them into 1/8” slices, then 1/8” cubes. They’ll look a little bit like Arborio rice.

 

When it’s time for dinner, melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat

Add;

Chopped onion

Cover and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes or so

Add;

Potato cubes

Sprinkle generously with cayenne and salt

Stir together

Add;

Chicken broth

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer

Stir until the liquid is largely absorbed, approximately 8 minutes

Add;

Cream

Simmer and stir until the liquid is reduced and creamy

Add;

Cheese

Chives

Stir until well combined

 

Filet Mignon:

While we like the grill, our favorite way to prepare steak is in the oven

Pre-heat oven to 400°

In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp oil

Season both sides of meat with cracked black pepper and course sea salt, or my favorite steak seasoning; McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning

Sear steak in the skillet on each side for approximately 3 minutes

Place skillet in the oven

Cook steaks until desired doneness, for medium-rare, leave in the oven for 12-15 minutes (oven cooking times may vary)

Serve steak with a hearty helping of Risotto Potatoes and your favorite veggie

Chocolate Soufflés:

This is a very special dessert. While there may be a lot of prep, it can all be done in advance. When it’s time for dessert, just pop them in the oven.

 

Serves 6

 

Pre-heat oven to 400°

Butter 6 ramekins and coat with sugar. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use

Ingredients;

6 Tbsp sugar; 3 Tbsp in one bowl, 3 Tbsp in another

1 cup milk

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds removed

3 large egg yolks

2 Tbsp flour

½ tsp kosher salt

5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

6 egg whites

Powdered sugar

Heavy whipping cream

Vanilla extract

Sugar

In a small sauce pan, heat;

Milk

Vanilla bean seeds

Vanilla bean

 

Bring to a boil, remove from heat and allow milk to steep (flavors blend)

Remove bean and discard

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat;

Yolks

3 Tbsp sugar

 

Continue to beat until a pale yellow color and slightly thickened

Beat in;

Flour

Salt

 

Slowly, beat in half of the vanilla milk mixture

In the sauce pan, combine the milk mixture with the egg and milk mixture

 

Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly until thickened, approximately 2-3 minutes

Transfer to a large mixing bowl

In a small glass bowl, combine;

Bittersweet chocolate

Cocoa powder

 

Bring water in a small sauce pan to a boil

Place glass bowl on top and allow chocolate to melt

Pour chocolate into large mixing bowl

Mix together thoroughly and set aside

In a medium size mixing bowl, beat egg whites until frothy

Add 3 Tbsp sugar, one Tbsp at a time

Beat until stiff peaks form, approximately 6-7 minutes

Add egg mixture to chocolate mixture until well combined

 

Remove ramekins from the refrigerator and fill ¾ of the way

Either refrigerate until ready bake or place in the oven

Cook soufflés for approximately 15 minutes, until tops crack slightly

Remove and flip over onto a dessert plate

Top with powdered sugar a whipped cream

 

We LOVE our home-made whipped cream. It’s simple; pour the desired amount of heavy whipping cream into a bowl, add some sugar and vanilla extract and beat until thick and creamy.

 

Serve and enjoy….

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

 

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, or for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Positively Pretty Pork Tenderloin and Rich Risotto Cakes!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……..more easy, yet delicious, dinners for busy lives! The past few weeks have been an absolute blur; Nick was able to sneak home for a few days (it was a delightful visit), I have been invited back to the Arlington Design Center to present another Life Style & Entertaining program in March, and Chuck and I were hanging out in the city at the very trendy and cutting edge Kenmore Live Studio (it’s fun to ditch the sticks every now and again and pretend that we are cool).

 

While life may be crazy busy, it certainly doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice the quality of our meals. All it takes is a little planning and a great recipe!

 

Marinated Pork Tenderloin and Risotto Cakes (better than you’ll find in any restaurant for sure!)

 

Serves 4-6

 

Lemon and herbs always taste so fresh. Toss in a little garlic and you have me forever.

In a re-sealable bag, combine:

Lemon zest from one lemon, if you have one

¾ cup lemon juice, while hand squeezed juice from real lemons is nice, who has that kind of time? I always keep a great big bottle of lemon juice on the door of my refrigerator

½ cup olive oil

10 garlic cloves minced (keeps the vampires away….)

2 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary (while bottled juice is ok, there is just no substitute for fresh herbs)

1 Tbsp chopped thyme

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Generous sprinkle of salt and cracked black pepper

Stir until well mixed

Add 2 pork tenderloins

Marinade over night

 

When ready for dinner, heat the grill to medium-high

Remove the tenderloins from the marinade

Grill for 20-25 minutes, turning every so often to allow the meat to brown on all sides

Once the internal temperature reaches 135°, remove and cover with foil

Allow to stand for 10 minutes or so before slicing

 

Risotto Cakes

Okay, these are to die for, and they are a fantastic alternative to a boring old bowl of rice.

Makes approximately 12 cakes

You’ll also need Arborio Rice and panko breadcrumbs (they are so nice and crunchy!)

In a mixing bowl, combine;

½ cup Greek yogurt

2 large eggs

3 Tbsp fresh chopped chives

2 cups Fontina cheese grated (or use what you have, maybe Parmesan Reggiano)

Generous sprinkling of kosher salt cracked black pepper

In a 4-quart pot, bring water to boil, add;

1 cup Arborio rice

A little salt

Reduce heat and cook the rice for 20 minutes or so, until the water is absorbed and the rice is nice a fluffy

Drain the rice in a colander (with extra small holes) and rinse with cold water

Add the rice to the yogurt mixture, stirring completely

Place in the refrigerator for several hours or over night

Once the rice mixture is firm, you can form the patties at any time prior to cooking, even over night

 

Pour ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs in a shallow dish

Scoop rice mixture into a large spoon or ice cream scooper, then, in the palm of your hands, roll into 2” balls (just like meatballs)

Place on a cutting board or platter, press down on the ball until it forms a nice round patty

Dip each patty into the panko bread crumbs and set aside

You can cover the risotto cakes and refrigerate until you are ready to cook them

 

Once you are ready to roll, heat 3 Tbsp oil in a skillet

Place patties in the skillet and cook until golden, flip over, cooking on the second side until golden as well

Add more oil if needed, cooking until all of the cakes are prepared

Place pork tenderloin slices, risotto cake and your favorite veggie on a plate and enjoy…..

 

More fast but sophisticated dinners, more family meals, more tasty risotto, more of the other white meat…..

 

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, or for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Enough with the Turkey Leftovers! It’s Time For Steak….


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more ditching the Thanksgiving leftovers! After all the turkey, stuffing and cranberries it’s about time for a good old fashioned New York Strip Steak. What makes this steak so delectable is not only the peppercorn crust, but more impressively, the Cognac sauce. It’s so good you’ll want to cancel your reservations at your favorite steak house!

Peppercorn Crusted Steak with Cognac Sauce

Serves 2

2 New York Strip Steaks

1 bottle of cracked peppercorns or seasoned pepper

Course sea salt

6 Tbsp butter (4 for the steaks, 2 for the sauce)

1/3 cup of Cognac

2 TBSP Dijon mustard

¾ cup chicken broth

½ cup whipping cream

The steaks can be covered with the peppercorns early in the day. Simply cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until just about ready to cook, and then bring to room temperature for an hour.

The whole thing is super simple.

In a shallow bowl, pour 2 TBSP of cracked pepper

Pat the steaks dry

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil

Drudge the steaks in the peppercorns, as you might with breadcrumbs, on both sides

Place on the baking sheet

Sprinkle with salt

Place in the refrigerator

One hour before you are ready to cook the steaks, bring them to room temperature

Pre-heat the oven to 400°

In a large skillet, melt 2 TBSP butter

Sear the steaks for approximately 4 minutes

Add 2 TBSP of butter

Flip over the steaks and cook for approximately another 4 minutes

Meanwhile, replace the foil on the baking sheet

Using your tongs, sear each edge for a few seconds until brown

Remove the steaks from the skillet and place on the baking sheet

Cover with foil and cook in the oven for 4-6 minutes for medium rare

Now for the sauce….

While you can certainly cook the sauce in the skillet with the peppercorns, I found that the peppercorns that remained in the pan got kind of clumpy and burnt. I simply wiped out the pan with a paper towel and got right back to business.

In the skillet, melt 2 TBSP butter

Reduce the heat to medium and add the Cognac (which will sizzle!)

 Whisk in;

Mustard

Broth

Cream

Increase heat and whisk until thick (approximately 4 minutes)

Remove the steak from the oven, transferring steaks to a platter

Pour the pan juices into the sauce and stir

When you are ready to serve, slice the steak and serve, generously, with the sauce

I served our steaks with;

 

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

2 lbs fingerling potatoes

10 cloves of garlic, minced

Olive oil

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 500°

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil

Spread out the potatoes

Sprinkle with garlic

Drizzle with olive oil

Season generously with salt and pepper

Roast for 20 minutes or until tender

Serve steak with sauce, potatoes and your favorite vegetable (ours is broccoli)!

More ditching the leftovers, more ditching the dinner reservations, more delectable steak dinners…….

To schedule an Interior Design appointment or life style consultation, or for questions or comments please send me an email to moreismoremom@aol.com

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It’s All Greek To Me……


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……….more Mediterranean dishes! I’m sorry, but there is little tastier than fresh herbs and garlic (and creamy, melt-y cheese), though repeated flossing is very likely necessary. This is the perfect menu for an outdoor dinner with family and friends. And if you like lamb, you’re in for a real treat!  

Shrimp Saganaki

Greek Salad with a homemade dressing

Lamb Kebabs with Feta Sauce

Steakhouse Kebabs (why not add shrimp and chicken!)

Corn on the Cob (for the kids…..)

 

Shrimp Saganaki

This is so delicious; you’ll pray for leftovers that you can toss over a plate of pasta!

 

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, sliced thin

1 ¼ lbs tomatoes (approximately 6 small), chopped

Course sea salt

Crushed red pepper flakes

1 ½ lbs shrimp, shelled and deveined, sliced in half lengthwise

½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

¼ cup fresh chopped dill

1 cup feta cheese

In a large skillet, heat the oil over a high heat until it shimmers.

Add the onions, continuing to cook on high until the onion starts to get soft and a little bit brown, approximately 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, seasoning with salt and crushed red pepper flakes (a couple good shakes should do)

 

Cook the tomatoes until they are soft, mixing and crushing them a bit as you go, cooking for about 5 minutes

 

Add the shrimp and olives, continuing to stir until the shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes

 

Stir in the dill and about ¾ cup of the feta cheese, until the cheese is hot, approximately 1 minute

 

Transfer to a serving bowl

Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, serving with pita chips or baguette bread

Greek Salad with Homemade Dressing;

 

Of course, quantities depend upon how many people you’ll be serving, but this is a great salad for a small group or a crowd!

Dressing;

7 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp ground mustard

Cracked black pepper to taste (I like a good solid shake)

1 ½ tsp fresh oregano (which goes a long way in a dressing)

2 cups olive oil

1 Tbsp sugar (heaping)

Mix all of the ingredients together in either a cruet or a bowl. The dressing will stay fresh in your refrigerator for several days.

For the Salad;

 

In a large bowl, combine;

 

Romaine lettuce, chopped

Cucumber, peeled and chopped

Grape or cherry tomatoes

Red onion, cut into thinly sliced pieces

Kalamata olives, pitted

Feta cheese, crumbled for sprinkling

Toss the salad with the dressing and serve

For the Kebabs;

I always marinate the meat the night before, and then all that’s left to do the following day is to thread the kebabs and toss them on the grill.

Between the two recipes, I had about 36 kebabs. They make awesome leftovers!

For both the lamb and the steak kebabs you will need;

Skewers, if using bamboo, soak in water for at least 30 minutes

3 lbs New potatoes for each kebab recipe (I made 6 lbs for 2 recipes), boiled for 30 minutes or so, until they are extremely tender. Drain and cool on a tray or foil lined cookie sheet until cool enough to handle. Once the potatoes are cooked, they are fine left at room temperature for quite a while.

1 pint grape tomatoes

1 red onion, cut into 1” pieces for the lamb

1 white onion, cut into 1” pieces for the steak, chicken and/or shrimp

Lamb Kebabs with Feta Sauce;

3 ½ lbs boneless leg of lamb (which you may need to plan ahead and order from your butcher), cut into 1”-2” cubes

Marinade

In a bowl, mix together;

2 cups olive oil

1 tsp lemon zest

½ cup of lemon juice (fresh or bottled)

8 garlic cloves minced (hence the dental floss)

2 Tbsp fresh oregano (more dental floss)

In a large re-sealable baggie, combine lamb and marinade, refrigerating overnight.

Feta Sauce;

¾ cup crumbled feta cheese

1 ½ cups Greek yogurt

6-8 garlic cloves, minced (once again…..dental floss)

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp lemon juice

If you like it lumpy, simply mix in a bowl and refrigerate

If you like it smooth, pulse in the blender and refrigerate

 

Steakhouse Kebabs;

Both Nick and Amanda like lamb, but he is a chicken fanatic and she likes steak and shrimp. I made a huge helping on marinade and used a separate Zip-loc baggie for each the chicken, the steak and the shrimp.

 

1 – 1 ½ lbs of chicken breasts or tenders, cut into 1”-2” cubes

1 – 1 ½ lbs of beef (I used boneless NY strips), cut into 1”-2” cubes

6 shrimp for Amanda

Marinade

In a bowl, combine;

2 cups olive oil

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp parsley, chopped

1 Tbsp thyme, chopped

Salt

Pepper

Divide the marinade amongst the various baggies and refrigerate overnight.

Threading the kebabs is easy, but it takes a little time. I like to get that all ready before company arrives, by threading and storing in large Rubbermaid containers in my refrigerator.

Threading;

On each skewer, thread a piece of meat, potato, a few onion slices, tomato and repeat

When ready for dinner, heat grill to medium high

Place kebabs on grill for a total of, approximately, 12 minutes

 

 

After your guests have nibbled on their Shrimp Saganaki, put out the salad, the kebabs and corn on the cob. Opa!

More shrimp, more feta, more Kalamata olive, more Mediterranean dining…….

To schedule an Interior Design appointment, Life Style consultation or speaking engagement, please email moresimoremom@aol.com

Greek Shrimp Saganaki

Mediterranean Lamb Kebabs with Yummy Feta Sauce

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Resplendent Roasted Chicken and Bread Salad….


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……..more delectable chicken dinners! Thankfully there are about a million ways to prepare chicken whether the chicken is whole, cut into pieces, with skin or without. My family is particularly partial to a roasted chicken with the skin on. The aroma, wafting out into the driveway, draws them in, one by one, like a moth to a flame……

While a roasted chicken is always delicious with a buttery side of potatoes, I personally love a good chicken salad. And this one is one is hearty enough that I can actually serve it to Chuck for dinner!

I like to roast two chickens. Amanda is crazy for the drumsticks, Nick likes chicken breasts and we all love leftovers.

Roasted Chicken:

Pre-heat oven to 350°

1 whole chicken, with the giblets removed

Salt and pepper

Onion powder

4 Tbsp butter

8-12 garlic cloves

2 Tbsp olive oil

Place chicken in a roasting pan

Season inside and out with slat, pepper and onion powder

Place butter and garlic inside the cavity

If you are good at tying hogs, you might attempt tying up the chicken to keep all of the buttery, garlic-y goodness inside the cavity

Drizzle olive oil all over the skin

Bake for about 1 ½ hours, or until an internal thermometer reads 180°

Baste with the pan juices

Cover with foil and let rest for 30 minutes before you carve it up, reserving about 2 cups of chicken for the salad

Roasted Chicken and Bread Salad:

Serves 4

To make the dressing:

Whisk together:

4 Tbsp olive oil

¼ cup white wine vinegar

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp sugar

For the salad, you’ll need:

3 cups of torn up Italian or focaccia bread

2 cups roasted chicken

¾ cup Kalamata olives

4 romaine hearts, washed and chopped

In a skillet, heat over medium-high heat;

1 Tbsp olive oil

Add bread

Toss to coat and cook for approximately 5 minutes

Remove the bread from the skillet

Add;

Chicken

Olives

Dressing

Turn frequently to coat

Cook for several minutes, until warm

Toss the bread back into the pan and toss to coat

Arrange the romaine on 4 different plates

Add the chicken mixture

Serve

More chicken, more delicious meals, more family dinners…..

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