Last week was almost a whole week of Dream DInners meals, as my session got moved up a week and I needed all the freezer space I could get. I’m not complaining because everything we had a was delicious. Our next meal was the Chipotle Chicken Ravioli. This meal was great because it cooked extremely fast! It was a meal that could be cooked from frozen, too, which is great for those nights where you forget to pull something out to defrost or your plans change. The thing that took the longest was getting the water to boil and the oven to preheat for the breadsticks. Once the water boiled, I added the ravioli and let it cook about 5 minutes. In a separate pan, I added the chicken and sauce and simmered over medium high heat for 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, I preheated the oven to 375 and cooked the some of Dream Dinners famous Garlic Breadsticks for about 6-7 minutes. Everything was finished at the same time. I gently coated the ravioli with the sauce, added a breadstick and dinner was ready. This pasta dish was really interesting. The chipotle flavor gave it a little bit of a spicy kick. The breadsticks were perfectly cooked and flavored. I loved them so much that I decided to go back for more to serve my friends at an event. We always like the Dream Dinners pasta dishes and this was no exception.
Today may be a day of many blog entries as I prepare to go out of town. I need to get caught up on all the delicious meals I’ve made and tried before I have a whole week’s worth of adventures to talk about. I just made my June meals, but I am still finishing up eating all my May meals and even further behind on blogging, so its time to get creaking. I am also excited to be using my new IPad that is even faster to get posts out. One day last week, we made Chicken Paella. I had never had Paella before, but it definitely looked a little bit like a Tex Mex or Spanish version of jambalaya. After thawing the meal, I placed the rice, meat, and sauce in a larger sauce pan, stirring to mix. I brought it to a boil over medium heat and simmered it for about 20-25 minutes. Next, I removed it from the heat, added in the peas and let it rest about 8 minutes. We really liked this dish. We love jambalaya, so we loved this, too. It had great flavor and it made a ton. This was technically a 3 serving meal, but I think that we got at least 5 meals out of it. This was another yummy meal that made great leftovers and I look forward to seeing it on the menu again!
On Friday, I finally had an evening home and some time to make dinner. I decided to make the Gaucho Grilled Pork with Garlic Asparagus. I was pretty excited about this one, as one of my friends told me it was her favorite Dream Dinners pork dish and her opinions have been pretty accurate. My grill pan is not huge, so I decided that I would cook the pork tenderloin in the oven. I got my oven heated up and prepared my pan. I brushed the pork tenderloin with olive oil and sprinkled it with the dry rub. I baked the pork for 30 minutes, basting it with the chili butter every 10 minutes. We let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. After the pork had finished and was resting, I turned the oven on to broil and got started on the asparagus. I broiled the asparagus for about 5 minutes, added garlic and butter, and broiled about another 4-5 minutes. Everything was ready to go at about the same time. This was a really yummy meal. The pork was perfectly cooked to a tender state and the flavor was amazing. I loved the chili butter. I don’t love asparagus, but the flavor was pretty tasty and I finished my portion. Mike really liked the asparagus and said that it was cooked well. I also used some of the leftover pork to make nachos and they were pretty amazing, too. I can’t wait until the Gaucho Pork is back on the menu-I will definitely be ordering more than one next time!
Last week, there were a few days where I had events so Mike and Dream Dinners took care of feeding me. On one of those nights, he prepared Chicken Florentine with Sausage. I had tasted it briefly as the appetizer in the store. Mike preheated the oven and prepared the pan. He put each chicken breast in the baking dish and covered each piece with the sausage topping mixture. He covered the chicken and sausage mixture with bread crumbs and baked for 30 minutes. While the chicken was cooking, he made some pasta. In a separate pan, he simmered the pomodoro sauce for 15 minutes. When everything was finished, he drizzled it all with pomodoro sauce. This dish was simple, but very flavorful. The spinach and sausage mixture was really tasty and paired nicely with pasta. It reminded me a little bit of something we made before with breaded chicken and spinach artichoke dip, but this was much easier and healthier. Once again, Dream Dinners took simple ingredients and created a unique and tasty meal.
Dream Dinners has many delicious sounding meals and last Tuesday’s Meatloaf Milano with Roasted Broccoli was no different. I am normally fairly particular about my meatloaf and usually only like my own, but each Dream Dinners meatloaf has been tasty in its own way. This meatloaf had a very Italian vibe, which was perfect for us. I started by preheating the oven and preparing my pan. I decided to make the meatloaf into mini meatloaves using a muffin tin, which helps with portion control and allows it to cook faster. I put the ground beef in a gallon bag with the breadcrumbs and mixed until it was well combined. I put half the meat mixture in the bottom of the muffin tins. Next, I sprinkled Gorgonzola on top of the meat and covered it with the rest of the meat. I topped each meatloaf with marinara sauce. I baked the mini meatloaves about 20-25 minutes. While the meatloaves were baking, I also roasted the broccoli for 10 minutes, added seasoning, and cooked another 10 minutes. I let the meatloaves cool a little before removing them from the muffin tins. The results were delicious. The meatloaf was juicy with a zesty Italian flavor and paired nicely with the roasted broccoli. Dream Dinners once again came to the rescue and made sure that these hungry foodies had a tasty meal on the table in about 30-45 minutes.
As we make our way into June, I really need to catch up on blogging and making my Dream Dinners meals. This past week, I definitely caught up on making meals, but now I have to talk about how delicious and easy they were. Last Sunday, we made Chicken Yakitori over Jasmine Rice. This meal was super easy to make and pretty tasty, too. I wish this meal had a little bit of heat to it, but this would be great for kiddos or those who don’t like strong flavors. I put my rice and water in a sauce pan to boil and cooked my rice for about 20 minutes. In a saute pan, I cooked my chicken and water chestnut mixture, stir frying until browned. Next, I added in my sauce and brought it to a boil. I simmered it for about 5 minutes and dinner was ready to go. This was definitely a fast meal to put together. The rice was the piece that took the longest and that could have been shortened by precooking it or just being patient. This meal also served as great leftovers for lunch for a few days and made a little bit more than the 3 serving size. Once again, we were happy with our meal and eager to try more.
Last Saturday I was on a bit of a mission. I needed to get a gift card for my friend and I wanted to try a new place for dinner. I decided to combine my goals and try one of my friend’s favorite places. Napa Flats is located on 620 right past the Movie House, but its almost hidden in a shopping strip, so I didn’t know it was there. I have been missing out! Wines on tap, wood grill oven, pizza...what more can we ask for? It was either wine day or rose weekend, so I decided that I would start off with some frose. This turned out to be an excellent choice. It was almost like a combination of a strawberry daiquiri and rose. There was strawberry purée and rose wine, which when combined created a delicious frozen strawberry beverage that was neither too strong, nor too sweet. I loved that there was wine on tap and an extensive menu. Normally, we probably would have looked at pizza, but we had eaten pizza the night before and had a fridge full of leftovers.
On the recommendation of our trainee waitress, we decided to try the Palo Alto dip, which was served with some of their signature flat bread. This cheesy dip with cream cheese, green onions, and sun dried tomatoes was amazing! It reminded us a lot of the Asiago cheese dip at Wild Horse Grill (sadly closed) where we had our first date (and later rehearsal dinner) so many years ago!
Our dinner choices were pretty true to our upbringing, with Mike selecting a spicy chicken pasta dish and me, taking after my mom, ordering a steak. Our entrees were delicious, too. Mike’s pasta was creamy and spicy without being over the top. My steak was cooked to perfection and paired nicely with the chimichurri sauce, roasted green beans, and garlic potatoes. We each enjoyed a glass of red wine from the taps with our meal. Everything was delicious and Mike noted that I was so full, I didn’t even look at the dessert menu. I am so glad that Sue recommended this delicious spot. We will definitely return for more frose, dip, and to sample some of the other yummy sounding options.
Dream Dinners came through for us again during my busy week! I had back to back nights of events so Mike got to make meals two nights in a row. The second meal he made last week was Chicago Style Chicken with Red Skin Potaoes. This was another delicious and simple meal, although it took a little bit longer to cook. He started by heating up the oven and preparing the pan. He placed the chicken on the pan and covered it with the potato mixture and olive oil. It baked for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and the potatoes were crispy. On the stovetop, he brought the sauce to a boil and simmered for about 4 minutes. Once the chicken was done, he sprinkled in the peas and covered it with sauce. The overall meal was quite simple, but flavorful. I loved the addition of the full cloves of garlic to give it plenty of flavor! I believe this was a fairly new meal, but hopefully one that comes back in the rotation soon!
On Thursday, I had a pretty big event scheduled. We decided to showcase our delicious Peanut Butter Cookies as a dessert at the event. Our cookies are pretty cool in that they are frozen and preshaped. They are also giant! One cookie is definitely more than one person needs. I like that they are already shaped so you can choose to make a few of them at a time. I cut each cookie into four small pieces and spaced them evenly on cookie sheets. I baked them 9-10 minutes at 350. I realized that my oven was cooking them pretty fast and turned down the heat to 325 and only used the top rack after the first batch was a little browner than I like. The cookies were really good! I liked that they had peanut butter chips to make them extra flavorful. While I love to bake, these cookies were tasty and convenient, so I may need to add a bag to my freezer for emergency situations.
June has barely started and its already been a busy month for us! As I get closer to making my June meals, I really need to get to eating my May meals. Dream Dinners meals are perfect for busy nights when I am at work and I need Mike to make dinner and he didn’t disappoint this week. I had several events so he made sure that dinner was ready when I got home. On Wednesday, Mike made Firehouse Three Cheese Pasta with Meatballs. This dish was pretty easy to make, but the pan dishes can be a little time consuming. He preheated the oven and prepared the pan and baked it for 45 minutes. When I got home, there was a hot meal waiting for me! This cheesy pasta with meatballs was tasty and simple. It paired nicely with a salad and would taste great with some of Dream Dinners Garlic Breadsticks, too. It’s always nice to have pan meals on busy nights and this meal was perfect for our busy night!
Last week I went to St. Louis for my cousin’s graduation, to see my parents’ new house, and to catch up with family and friends. After a fairly uneventful flight, the first 2 things I demanded were ice cream and beer. So we headed to my former employer, Fritz’s Frozen Custard to enjoy delicious concretes and sundaes. My toffee crunch concrete did not disappoint and per the usual, we ran into some people we knew. I was also glad to see that I did not know any of the employees. Next, we headed to St. Charles to my parents’ new house for a tour and beer on the screened porch before bed.
Friday morning, Mom and I headed to her favorite new grocery store to get some donuts. It happened to be National Donut Day so we ended up with a great deal on delicious donuts. We also picked up more ice cream and beer to really celebrate a good weekend. The donuts were fresh and tasty!
After a day of running around for Mom and I, and work for Katie, Dad, and Aaron, we headed to the East Side for Sawmill BBQ. This delicious BBQ joint is owned by a friend of my parents and was worth the wait in traffic. Steve, the owner, took us on a tour of their remodeled kitchen and prepared a special appetizer plate for us with a sampling of their best appetizers. The plate included house chips with beer cheese, fried pickles, fried zucchini, fried mac and cheese, and toasted raviolis. When I’m in St. Louis, I eat all the toasted ravioli that I can and this was great. I love the combination of my favorite appetizers and bbq. The house chips with beer cheese were also delicious, but I knew I needed to save some room for bbq. I opted for the brisket with green beans and potato salad. I loved my plate! The brisket was a perfect combination of lean with enough fat to give it flavor. It definitely rivals some Texas favorites. The green beans were well seasoned and a nice pairing with the other bbq favorites. The potato salad was amazing! I probably could have eaten an entire plate of just potato salad. It had a sour creamy flavor without eggs, mayonnaise or relish (all things I feel ruin potato salad). I got to taste the nachos, pulled pork and I also snagged a rib. Everything was so tasty! I look forward to a return visit at Christmas time when I’m next in town and I know that Mike will love it, too.
Saturday brought more delicious food. Katie and I took Grandma out to lunch and we were lucky that one of our Florissant favorites also has a St. Peter’s location, Pirrone’s Pizza. When I am in St. Louis, I always try to eat St. Louis style pizza and Pirrone’s has long been one of my favorites. We started off with salad, which had a healthy dose of provel cheese on top and split a sausage pizza. After lunch, we introduced Grandma to Oberweis for some ice cream.
Katie and I thought we might never need to eat again after lunch, but Aaron really wanted to eat dinner. So we compromised, and had a late dinner after an afternoon of playing with Timothy and hanging out. Katie and Aaron took me to Hi Point Diner. It was close enough to walk, but the weather was weird so we drove and lucked into a good spot. Hi Pointe is another restaurant from the chef who is a part of Sugarfire and many other delicious St. Louis restaurants. Portions were huge, so Katie and I split the turkey club with sides of mac and cheese and fries. Everything was delicious and I felt full after just browsing the menu and looking at some of the specials. Check out their Facebook page for pictures of some wildly decadent foods.
On Sunday, I got to watch “baby” Bryan graduate. We celebrated at their house one last time with Q’doba and pink lemonade margaritas. Later, I got to visit with some of my oldest friends (all younger than me, but I’ve known all of them 29+ years!) and was treated to some delicious tacos and a margarita at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. It was great to hang out and catch up with friends and share my parents’ new house. I had a wonderful trip, spent time with some of my favorite people, and ate some amazing foods. I can wait for an extended visit at Christmas!
It’s been a little bit since I’ve caught up on blogging and I had a spare moment while visiting my family, so I thought I would take a minute to share about a favorite meal. Recently, I made Chateau Chicken with Almond Butter Sauce and Roasted Cauliflower. I started by sautéing almonds in pan for about 5 minutes. Next, I coated my chicken in the flour mix and browned the chicken breasts for about 5-6 minutes on each side, removing them from the pan when done. I added in the wine and scraped the brown bits fro the bottom of the pan. I simmered until the wine thickened. Once I removed it from the heat, I added in butter and green onions. I drizzled the sauce over the chicken and topped with almonds. While the chicken was cooking, in a separate pan, I also made the Roasted Cauliflower, which is favorite in our house. This chicken was amazing. It was perfectly cooked, being crusty on the outside and tender inside. The sauce was amazing with white wine, lemon and butter. I was definitely a little sad that I didn’t make more than one of these meals. I can’t wait for this recipe to pop up on the menu again.
On Fridays, we host our friends for some nerd fun. I love hosting things, so its my way of getting to try out new recipes on willing samplers. This week I tried a new dessert and a new dinner item. I planned ahead and made this Funfetti Sheet Cake on Thursday night, because I had a busy Friday. I love a sheet cake and funfetti is always a happy way to end a week. After preheating the oven and preparing my pan, I creamed the butter with my trusty stand mixer. I added in the sugar, vanilla, and eggs, mixing between each ingredient. Finally, I mixed in the yogurt, the last of my wet ingredients. I mixed the dry ingredients together and alternated adding the dry ingredients and milk, stirring between each. After my batter was nice and fluffy, I folded in the sprinkles. I poured the cake into my jelly roll pan and baked the cake for about 20 minutes. While the cake was baking, I mixed the frosting. I creamed the butter and added in milk, vanilla, salt and powdered sugar, mixing until the consistency was right. I covered the frosting and placed it in the fridge overnight. I tightly wrapped the cake after it cooled. On Friday, I let the frosting warm up to room temperature and gently spread it on the cake, garnishing with more sprinkles. The results were a moist, fluffy, sweet cake that paired nicely with our savory snacks and beer. It has also paired nicely with milk or coffee as a delightful breakfast treat.
Our Friday fun started at 6:30 pm, so I wanted to be sure that I served dinner. It’s getting hot here, so a crockpot meal was a must. I decided to try these Beer Cheese Chicken Sliders. The key was making sure that I had pretzel buns. I think I bought all the sliders and buns that my Target had, but I wanted to make sure I had plenty for my crowd. I started the chicken early on Friday. I put about 3 lbs of chicken in the crockpot, along with salt, pepper, minced garlic, and beer. I selected Whitestone’s Long Gone Blonde, because I think that a blonde brings good flavor for marinades and beer cheeses. I cooked the chicken in the crockpot on low all day. About an hour before my guests arrived, I pulled out the chicken and shredded it with my Bear Claws. I put the chicken back in at low to absorb more of the beer and seasonings. Right before my guests arrived, I made the beer cheese sauce. This beer cheese was different from my normal beer cheese dip, but it still was tasty. I started by melting butter and then adding the flour to form a roux. I added in the beer and milk and let it thicken a bit. Finally, I added the cheese in by handfuls, stirring until it was completely melted. We served the chicken on pretzel buns with beer cheese sauce on top. I added a little bit of Dijon mustard too, for an added tanginess. I really liked this meal. The chicken had great flavor from the beer and garlic. The beer cheese was thick and creamy. This was a great meal for us to eat and play and not have to worry about it getting cold. The leftovers were great too and I repurposed the chicken and cheese to beer cheese nachos, which were also yummy. Once again, we had fun times and great food. I can’t wait to see what I find for our next event.
My final April meal was the Build Your Own Quesadillas. I love quesadillas, but I don’t love to make them. I hate flipping them in a skillet, but I wanted to give these a try. It was pretty fun that Mike and I got to make our own with the ingredients we each liked best. My quesadilla had cheese, chicken, beans, and peppers. Mike skipped the beans and added jalapeños. The last quesadilla had neither beans no jalapeños. I loved that we assembled them and put them on a baking sheet. We baked them for 12 minutes at 350 and then flipped them, cooking them another 6 minutes. The end result were quesadillas that were crispy, melted masterpieces. We cut them into wedges with our pizza cutter and served with salsa. These quesadillas were delicious and easy to make, which made them a win in my book. I will definitely be making all my quesadillas in the oven from now on. I love that Dream Dinners gives me great food and excellent cooking tips, too.
With just a few days left in May, its time to finish up blogging about meals assembled in April. I just made my May meals, finished eating April meals, and put in the order for June. I am so thankful for Dream Dinners to help keep Mike and I fed with delicious meals. The Chicken Costoletta is a meal that I think my mom would love due to the delicious sauce that was included. I started by preparing my baking sheet and preheating the oven to 375. I coated the chicken breasts in the breading mixture and placed them on the baking pan. I sprinkled the remaining crumbs on top and sprayed them with cooking spray to help brown them. The chicken baked in the oven for about 22 minutes. While the chicken was cooking, I worked on the sauce and almond green beans. I waited until the chicken was almost done before I started on the sauce. I added the white wine cream sauce to a sauce pan, brought it to a boil, and whisked it, cooking it about 5-6 minutes until it thickened. To cook the green beans, I toasted the almonds for 2 minutes. Next, I added the butter blend and the green beans, cooking them about 5 minutes. We really liked this meal. There was lots of great lemon flavor. The white wine sauce made the dish and I probably could have dipped anything it it. It was a simple dish, but one that we liked and would definitely make again it the future.
On Friday, I made one of the last few April meals and it was definitely one that I was looking forward to trying. This summer I had steak with chimichurri and I have been wanting to make some at home or try it again. After defrosting the steak in the fridge, I decided to pair the steak with penne pasta and spinach salad. I heated up my grill pan on the stove top and seasoned my steak with some Chicago steak seasoning from Penzey’s. I was supposed to have a seasoning blend, but my meal was missing it. I cooked my steak about 7-8 minutes per side and then cooked it another 1-2 minutes on each side so that the steak was medium to medium well. I let the steak rest before Mike sliced it thinly. We topped our steak with chimichurri and we ready for dinner. This steak was tender and delicious. I loved the addition of the chimichurri, but a little went a long way and there was plenty to add to the pasta, too. There was plenty of steak leftover that will be great as nachos, tacos or a sandwich. I was happy that I picked this steak dish, even though it made a bit more than we would normally eat.
I am almost done cooking and eating my April meals and I am still finding great things in the freezer. Thursday night, we made Penne with Chicken and Peanut Butter. This dish definitely had a delicious Asian flavor with the surprise of penne pasta instead of rice or rice noodles. This was an easy dish to make that yielded great flavor. I started by heating up the sauce in a saute pan and letting it simmer for 2-3 minutes. Next, I whisked in the peanut butter until the sauce was smooth. I poured the pasta, chicken, and vegetable bag into the sauce and stirred it to coat. Then, I put the lid on the pan and let it simmer for 10 minutes until it was heated. We loved this dish! It had a great peanut flavor, which paired nicely with the chicken, vegetables and pasta. I will definitely be looking forward to this meal the next time it shows up on the menu.
Lately, I have been doing some networking with my new position. Most networking has occurred in group settings with lunches and lots of people. It’s been informative, but a little overwhelming for someone who is not from a business background. I will talk to anyone, but I am working on learning the right things to say to interest people in my business and our big upcoming event. I had my first one on one meeting the other day at Joel’s Coffee Shop, which was a new location for me. It was a really cute shop located in a strip mall that would easily be missed (I did miss it the first time I drove by). However, the inside is what really matters. The barista was a cool, Austin guy who seemed pretty chill at 10:30 am. The overall vibe was warm and welcoming and it wasn’t very crowded, which allowed for a great place to meet and talk. The menu was nicely done in chalk and each suggestion sounded better than the next. In the end, I opted for “Come and Take It” featuring cinnamon and caramel. It was a great choice with two of my favorite ingredients, I knew I couldn’t go wrong. It was served with a foam heart, which was pretty cute. I loved the vibe, the coffee, and my meeting felt like a success. I got some great tips, shared more about my business, and hopefully will be forming a great partnership. I will definitely be hitting up Joel’s Coffee next time I need my fix in that area.
As we get further in to May, I am getting closer to making my May meals and almost finished with the April meals. I now have to take a few days to catch up on blogging about them. Our next meal was the Pecan Crusted Chops with Oven Roasted Broccoli. We’ve made the oven roasted broccoli on several occasions, so I knew that would turn out great. I also decided to make some rice to add on the side and also because Lola likes to eat the leftover rice. I preheated the oven while I got the water boiling for the rice. I put the broccoli on a foil lined pan. I mixed the pecans into the crumb mixture. I coated the pork chops in the crumb mixture and placed them on a baking sheet. I put the broccoli and pork chops in the oven for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes, I removed the broccoli and mixed in the butter and seasoning. Everything finished at about the same time. The broccoli was great, as we’ve experienced in the past. The pork chops were cooked to perfection, but I would have liked the crust to be a little crispier. While I liked this meal, I enjoy the pork tenderloins a little bit more. I think the crumb mixture on a pork tenderloin would have been really tasty and I will definitely include that when I rate my meals.
I declared that Sunday was going to be a Lazy Sunday. I had just finished a busy week and was prepping for another busy week. Lola let us sleep in a little bit and we went for a nice walk. Fortunately, for us, I remembered that I had a delicious sounding breakfast treat from Dream Dinners that I put in the fridge to defrost. When we got home from our walk, I preheated the oven, placed the tray on a cookie sheet and baked the Cinnamon Pull Apart Bites for about 12 minutes. While the bites were baking, I made Lola breakfast and got the coffee brewing for us. After the timer chimed, I pulled the tray out of the oven and breakfast was ready. This was a great pairing with our Texas pecan coffee. I love the ooey gooey soft cinnamon bites. It tasted a lot like an old Foods class favorite, Monkey Bread, but it was even easier! This breakfast treat made plenty of food for us with enough for a few days of leftovers. This is definitely a sweet from the freezer that I will pick up next time its available.