Hungarian goulash

Adapted from Saveur and Aurel Pop

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp. sunflower or canola oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 1½ lb. beef chuck, trimmed and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp. dried marjoram (we used fresh!)
  • 2 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can beans (pinto beans work, we used navy beans)
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 medium parsnips, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 5 cups of bouillon stock
  • 1½ lb. medium new potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 tomato, cored and chopped (sub: 1/2 tbsp. tomato paste)
  • 1 Italian frying pepper, chopped
  • Rye bread, for serving (optional; egg noodles instead!)

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium. Add the onions, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Increase the heat to high. Add the beef, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, stirring only once or twice, until the meat is lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Searing it adds extra flavor!
  3. Stir in the paprika, marjoram, other spices, and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add 5 cups water (with bouillon). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, until the beef is nearly tender, about 45 minutes.
  5. Add the carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and beans. Cook, uncovered, 45 minutes.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes and peppers; cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, with rye bread if desired. Also, sour cream and dill on the side, if desired.

Jesse really really really likes paprika — and I could think of no dish that is more paprika than this one (which I’ve never tried before, on account of the beef). I found this article that was so interesting, I actually read through the whole thing! I don’t often read through back story because every blogger writes a novel for their recipe (hence, why I avoid doing so), but I do recommend reading the Saveur article, for the historical context of food (IT’S FOOD!!!) and culinary depth in Hungarian culture.

I modified the directions for next time we make this recipe, based on how we would reallocate the timing — more time for the beef chuck to break down, less time for the vegetables so they don’t turn into mush. Following tips from The Kitchn, we decided to cook it for the 2 full hours, to really let the stew beef break down and tenderize. Veggies survived the simmer.

We picked up most of the ingredients at the local farmer’s market. If you don’t have marjoram, fresh oregano is a good (tho strong) substitute for fresh marjoram. If you don’t have caraway seeds, 1) anise, 2) fennel, or star anise could be a substitute (one website even suggested cumin seeds — maybe appearance, but not the same flavor in my opinion). Jesse may have dashed in a splash of good red wine (if you have, not required). I prefer egg noodles to rye bread any day, so I used the leftover German spätzle from this recipe.

-Jessica

Polpette al sugo (Italian meatballs)

Adapted from Lidia and Recipe Tin Eats Yield: 6 servings, plus about 3 quarts extra (total of about 4 dozen meatballs and 3 quarts sauce)

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano (omitted)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (basil sub!)
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (or parmesan), freshly grated

Sauce ingredients:

  • 2.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • black pepper
  • 1 fresh bay leaves, or 2 small dried bay leaves
  • 3 tsp dried Italian herb mix (parsley, basil, thyme, oregano)
  • 1/2 teaspoon peperoncino flakes
  • 24 oz / 700 g tomato passata, preferably San Marzano
  • 1 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, optional to serve

Directions:

  1. Grate the onion using a standard box grater in a large bowl until you have about 1/2 cup of grated onion and juices. 
  2. Add bread, mix to combine so the onion juice soaks the bread and disintegrates. Set aside while you prep the other ingredients (5 min or so).
  3. Add all the remaining Meatball ingredients. Use hands to mix well.
  4. Measure out a heaped tablespoon and roll lightly to form a ball. Repeat with remaining mixture. (Note 5)
  5. Heat 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a large non stick fry pan over medium high heat. Add the meatballs and brown all over – about 3 – 4 minutes. 
  6. When they are browned but NOT cooked through, carefully transfer them onto a plate.

Sauce Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil into the fry pan. 
  2. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until translucent. Add the remaining Sauce ingredients. Bring to a simmer, then turn down to medium low so it bubbles gently rather than splattering everywhere. Let simmer for 2 hours.
  3. Carefully transfer the meatballs and any juices that have pooled on the plate into the Sauce.
  4. Cook the meatballs for 8 – 10 minutes, turning and stirring occasionally. Adjust Sauce salt and pepper to taste.
  5. While the meatballs are cooking, cook your pasta of choice.
  6. Serve the meatballs on pasta, garnished with extra parmesan and parsley if using.

I wanted to cook Lidia’s recipe authentically, but it was so much quantity! And I’m not a fan of beef, much less veal, so… I incorporated another website (she has delicious chicken stew!) that fried the meatballs instead of baking them. These were wildly delicious and approved by all. We didn’t incorporate the carrot and celery (considering the 2 lbs. or meat vs. 3 lbs from Lidia), but we did use the red onion, eggs, and basil instead of parsley (Jesse’s family doesn’t like oregano for some reason). I would throw in a bay leaf into the sauce next time (we forgot). We used gluten-free bread crumbs, and crumbled Grana Padano into the meatball and on top to serve. Grana Padano was not incorporated into the sauce. Ground meat came from the Ossining Farmer’s Market, Sunset View Farm. I also made some garlic bread with EVOO and rubbed garlic to clean up the sauce after, demi baguette from Farmer’s Market too.

~Jessica

Chicken stew

Adapted from Recipe Tin Eats

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 kg / 3 lbs bone in, skin on chicken thighs and drumsticks (6 to 8 pieces)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 onions, halved and cut into wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 large carrots, cut thick end into 1.5cm / 3/5″ pieces, thin end 2.5cm/1″
  • 4 celery stalks, cut into 2cm / 4/5″ chunks
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) white wine (or water)
  • 3 tbsp (35g) flour
  • 3 cups (750 ml) chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 sprigs thyme, or 1 tsp dried thyme (or other herb)
  • 2 bay leaves (dried or fresh)
  • 600 g / 1.2 lbs baby potatoes, halved (quarter large ones)
  • Warm crusty bread (homemade garlic bread!!)
  • OPTIONAL: Fresh thyme or parsley (chopped)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Brown chicken on both sides until light golden, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Remove from pot. (Do in 2 batches if pot not big enough).
  3. If there’s too much oil in the pot, discard some. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes until onion is translucent.
  4. Add carrots and celery, cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add wine. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to dissolve the brown bits into the liquid. Cook for 1 minute until liquid is mostly gone.
  6. Sprinkle flour across surface, stir.
  7. Add broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and bay leaves. Stir to dissolve tomato paste.
  8. Place chicken on top, keeping the skin above the liquid level as much as you can.
  9. Bring to simmer then cover. Bake for 45 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven, remove lid. Add potatoes, pushing them into the liquid and rearranging chicken so they sit on top (for lovely crispy skin).
  11. Return to oven without the lid for a further 40 minutes until the chicken skin is deep golden and super crispy, the potatoes are soft and the sauce is thickened.
  12. Taste sauce and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Serve with warm crusty bread on the side to dunk in the sauce – or go all the way with Garlic Bread! Optional: garnish with extra fresh thyme leaves or parsley.

Ingredients for Garlic Bread:

  • 1 French stick / baguette , ~ 60cm / 2ft long (I use half a loaf of Whole Foods peasant bread)
  • 125 g / 1 US stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp fresh garlic , minced (~3 – 4 cloves, pack the teaspoon)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp finely chopped parsley (optional)

Directions for Garlic Bread:

  1. Preheat oven. I left it at the same temperature as the chicken stew.
  2. Cut the French stick in half. Then cut the bread almost all the way through into 2cm / 4/5″ thick slices.
  3. Mix together the butter, garlic, salt and parsley. Taste to see if it’s salty / garlicky enough for your taste.
  4. Smear garlic butter over cut side of bread.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes until the crust is crispy (check through foil).

I wanted a Dutch oven for a long time, and my sister Jennifer recommended the affordable Lodge cast iron 6 quart. She also recommended this chef’s blog! This came out super tasty — and every reheated leftover tasted better and better. HIGHLY recommend. Perfect for cold winter’s days to heat up your whole apartment.

~ Jessie

British macaroni cheese

Adapted from Great British Chefs and British Food History

Ingredients:

  • 30 g plain flour 
  • 30 g butter 
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 400 ml hot full-fat milk 
  • 6g of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 200-250 g macaroni 
  • 1 slice stale bread 
  • ½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves, or ¼ tsp fried rosemary (optional) 
  • 225 g Stilton cheese, grated 
  • 200 g Gruyere or Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 30g of Parmesan
  • Pinch of Cayenne pepper or 20g of Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly-milled black pepper
  • 15 basil leaves

Directions:

  1. Start by cooking some pasta of your choice in a pan of boiling water. Once cooked, strain the pasta and set aside
  2. Place 50 mL milk into a pan over a low-medium heat and add the thyme and bay. Bring up to a warm heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place a separate pan over a low heat and add the 4 tbsp. butter and 4 cloves of garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add the flour. Heat for for 2-3 minutes and stir constantly so the mixture comes together. –> Béchamel sauce
  4. Strain the milk, thyme and bay mixture so that you are just left with the infused milk. Gradually (over 5 minutes) add the infused milk to the other pan and stir with a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer
  5. Take the pan off the heat and season with salt and pepper. Add the cheese, mustard, basil and pasta to the pan and then pour the contents of the pan into a casserole dish. Cover with some extra cheese and place in the oven at 180°C for 20 minutes (I prefer stovetop because I haven’t a baking dish currently).
  6. Remove the dish from the oven, divide the macaroni cheese into 4 portions and serve immediately.

My grandmother gave me a box of instant mac and cheese from her senior citizen community center (before the pandemic lockdown). Of course I didn’t want to eat that stuff straight, so I thought I would try to dress it up with some caramelized onions, garlic, herbs, and whatever else I might find in the pantry.

~Jessica

Starbucks cheese & fruit protein box

Adapted from Damn Delicious. Prepares 4 meals

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. sharp two-year aged Cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 4 oz. of Brie wedge
  • 4 oz. of Gouda
  • 2 Braeburn apples, washed and halved (I cut carrot wedges)
  • 2 cups of grapes, washed (I used 20 grape tomatoes)
  • 4 Ozery Bakery Morning Round Pita Breads, or 20 nine-grain crackers
  • 1 cup Hummus, divided (saved for next time, I need little cups!)
  • fresh lemon juice, optional for apple slices (I had hard-boiled eggs)

Directions:

  1. Place fruit, carrot, celery, apple, peanut butter, cheese and pita bread into meal prep containers.

The only fruit I’m fond of are berries, and since they’re not in season, I subbed with vegetables. Grape tomatoes instead of grapes. Carrots instead of apples. I added elements of my other favorite protein boxes, like the PB&J and the hard-boiled egg (although I want to see if I can get good enough to make soft-boiled eggs!) Instead of Brie and gouda, I used Havarti (on sale at WF) and Queso Oaxaca cheese and Dubliner Cheese wedges and leftover Longhorn (Colby) Cheddar.

365 Multigrain Bread $3.39
Roth Original Havarti cheese $2.99
365 Grape Tomatoes 1 pint $2.49
2 Organic Loose Carrots $0.62
Total $9.49

~Jessica

Starbucks-copy PB&J protein box

Adapted from Platings and Pairings. Prepares 4 meals.

Ingredients:

  • 8 tbsp (32 g) Peanut butter (I find almond butter less tasty)
  • 4 tbsp (16 g) Bonne Maman mixed berry preserves
  • 4 Whole-wheat whole Grain Bread slices / 1 Whole Wheat Pita halved
  • 4 string Cheeses (or 4 oz. of mixed cheeses, like I did!)
  • 40 mixed Nuts (optional)
  • 4 Mandarin oranges
  • 20 Grape Tomatoes
  • 20 Baby Carrots
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch sticks
  • 2 Bell Peppers, cut into 1/2-inch sticks (optional)
  • 24 Cucumber slices (optional)

Directions:

  1. PB&J the sandwich thins, then slice in half. Cut the carrots / celery to bite size. Add the rest of the ingredients.

Please ignore the actual Starbucks fruit & nut packs in the photos, I just saved them since forever and wanted to use them up. ^_^ I tried the cucumber slices previously but they would retain so much moisture and get everything soggy. Same problem with hummus without having a cupcake paper or something to hold its viscous mass.

Costs:
3 lbs. Mandarins $5.99
Oaxaca cheese $4.99
Queso de Papa $1.99
Arnold Sandwich Thins $4.29
Grape Tomatoes $2.50
Carrots and Celery, sliced $2.21

$21.97 plus leftovers

~Jessica

Starbucks-copy eggs & cheese protein box

According to No. 2 Pencil and Simply Recipes. Prepares 4 meals

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs, hard-boiled and peeled 
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz. white Cheddar cheese
  • 4 Mandarin oranges
  • 20 Baby Carrots
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch sticks
  • Honey-Roasted Peanut Butter, portioned into 2 ounce containers
  • 8 multi-grain flatbread sandwich thins, cut in quarters (multigrain muesli bread)

Directions:

  1. Cover the eggs in a saucepan with water: Fill a saucepan about a quarter of the way with water. Place the eggs in a single layer at the bottom of the saucepan. Add more water so that the eggs are covered by at least an inch or two of water. 6 eggs should be covered by at least an inch, 7 to 12 eggs, 2 inches.
  2. Heat the pot on high heat and bring the water to a full rolling boil. add in 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  3. Turn off the heat, keep the pan on the hot burner, cover, and let sit for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Strain the water from the pan and run cold / ice water over the eggs to cool them quickly and stop them from cooking further.
  5. Brush apple slices lightly with fresh lemon juice to prevent browning if desired. Alternatively, keep the slices face down and pressed together prevent browning as well.
  6. Sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Assemble four protein bistro boxes and store refrigerated.
Before I added the peanut butter and smoked almonds

Eggs should be eaten within 5 days. I’m not a big fruit person, so I go cucumbers, carrots, and celery with pesto hummus. I did manage to find sandwich thins (Arnold) by some miracle. My first attempt, I decided to just try hard-boiling four eggs, to see if I could do it right. Next time, I will get a bigger pot or pan, and cook all eight eggs at once so I can meal prep for four lunches at a time. Teacher hack ^_^ This would look pretty with some red bell pepper, if they were in season and cheaper.

Carrots/Celery $1.99
Extra sharp cheddar $2.69
Gouda cheese $4.99
Arnold Thins $4.29
Esti pesto hummus $3.79
Cucumber $0.80
Green bell pepper $1.93
Dozen brown eggs $2.99

Total $23.47 for two ‘weeks’ worth of protein boxes (8 boxes)

~Jessica

Triple grilled cheese

Adapted from Food Network and Wisconsin Cheese

IMG-20170501-WA0011.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 slices cheddar cheese
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese (can try smoked gouda)
  • 2 slices American cheese (I like goat Brie more)

Directions:

  1. Butter both sides of the bread. Add cheese to one side.
  2. Fry in pan until cheese melts on top.
  3. Put the slices together and fry a little more in the pan, flipping once.
  4. Serve hot.

A classic Grilled Cheese involves 1 slice of cheddar per bread slice. The first time I added muenster and crumbled goat cheese, garnished with a side of kale chips. (Because there was cheese in the fridge that needed to be used, if you know what I mean). Next time I will add more cheddar and a little less goat cheese (strong flavor overpowers the sandwich).

EDIT: Attempt #2 with updated recipe details. And eaten with the delectable spring vegetable soup (I added leeks!).

~Jessica

Cassoulet au canard

Baked white bean & duck casserole, from the can! but for a recipe from Saveur

white beans
slab bacon
black peppercorns
cloves
thyme, parsley, bay leaves } bouquet garni
yellow onions
duck breasts
duck sausage
duck legs
chicken stock
2 legs duck confit
whole peeled tomatoes in purée
duck fat

IMAG5158.jpgBefore heating in the oven at 190 deg C for 20 minutes, you should top it with a mixture of minced garlic, fresh bread crumbs, and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

IMAG5159.jpg

roasted ratatouille and lasagna pasta, baked all together!

~Jessica

Cream cheese banana bread

Adapted from BuzzFeed

Serving Size: 10 slices.

1 large egg
175 g cane sugar
113 g butter
57 g sour cream (Greek yogurt may be substituted)
2 splashes of vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas
128 g all-purpose flour
1 g baking soda
pinch of salt

Cream Cheese Filling:
1 large egg
113 g softened cream cheese
57 g granulated sugar
3 heaping spoonfuls of all-purpose flour

Mix wet ingredients, then mix dry ingredients. Then mix cream cheese filling. Layer half batter, then filling, then top with the rest of the batter. Bake at 180 deg C for 50 min. Mine came out a bit dense, not sure why — I think my other recipe came out much better!

~Jessica