This Week’s FN Recipes + a Bonus (10/13)

This Week’s FN Recipes 10/13

One of the best things about having a blog with relatively few followers is I can make some freaky changes without anyone really noticing (yesterday’s 1 viewer may have noticed the change in appearance – probably not). If you’re an email subscriber then you wouldn’t notice anyway and I appreciate you not deleting my posts right away, assuming you don’t.

Anyway, another change I’m hoping to try out here is to consolidate my weekly cooking into one post when I don’t document the steps in photo-form. A lot of people come to food blogs to learn how to make something new and I rarely ever explain how to actually make something so I’m hoping to at least be able to give folks ideas and point them in the direction they need to go in to get a tasty dinner on the table that night.

If I’ve not mentioned it before, for the last three weeks I have switched my weekly cooking menu to include mostly items from Food Network Magazine’s “Weeknight Cooking” section and surprisingly the items are usually fairly low in calories, high in tastiness and somehow friendly on the wallet as my grocery bill has gone down by about $30-$50 per week.

And here are those items I put together this week, plus a bonus:

Monday Night: Chicken Stroganoff: Food Network Magazine, October 2012
Recipe Here

This was a quick and simple recipe. Erin and I have always been suckers for Hamburger Helper’s Beef Stroganoff (subbing ground turkey for the beef and adding some mushrooms) so it’s always exciting to try making one of our boxed-favorites from the ground up. This sour cream / chicken broth based sauce was creamy and a great compliment to the mushrooms and chicken that fried in the same pan minutes before.

Tuesday Night: Brats with Sauerkraut Potato Cakes: Food Network Magazine, October, 2012
Recipe Here

Everyone loves bratwurst. Grilled, baked, fried, seared, whatever – it’s awesome. This recipe calls for pan-seared brats with nothing else fancy going on. Simple. The surprise in this recipe is the potato cakes. Nearly equal parts grated potato and sauerkraut, I stood mixing together with some fresh chives and egg and spices wondering how these would turn out since they seemed to have barely enough potato to be considered a potato cake. Would a sauerkraut cake work? In the end, the combo was wonderful and paired well with the brats. The sauce was a nice addition, too, a simple combo of sour cream and spicy brown mustard.

Thursday Night: Pan-Fried Pork Chops with Peach Sauce & Green Beans: Food Network Magazine, April 2012
Recipe Here

We love pork chops – I’ve seared them, baked them and grilled them but never once have I dipped them in batter and fried them. These were a little bit of effort but was well worth it. The batter recipe creates a nice, biscuity outer layer to the chops that was soft on the inside and crisp on the pan-fried outside. My only gripe on this recipe is my own fault since I left the sauce alone for 30 seconds without whisking which is apparently just long enough to burn. Sauce was still good but came out a little more like molasses when the photo I saw looked more like sweet & sour sauce. I’d try this again.

Saturday Night: Sausage and Polenta Parmesan: Food Network Magazine, September 2012
Recipe Here

Last night’s dinner was probably my favorite this week. The spicy Italian sausage was super up against the chopped mushrooms and tomato sauce. This turned into a great meaty alternative to chicken or eggplant parmesan – I sliced some polenta and fried in some EVOO for a few minutes per side – done. My deviation from the recipe: This was supposed to be a one-skillet meal, frying the polenta, removing and adding the sauce ingredients, then adding the polenta again, layering on the cheese and then sliding in the oven. Instead, I assembled everything on a plate, added the polenta and cheese and slid the plate under the broiler. Extra step, yes, but your humble narrator doesn’t have an oven-safe skillet. Yet.

And here’s the bonus:

I’m sometimes afraid to bake anything to bring to work because a lot of folks are for some reason afraid to eat in front of each other. That’s a giant pet peeve of mine and it bothers me that I’m hesitant to bring baked goodies to work for fear of them not getting eaten. Sometimes I suck it up, though, and good things happen. After dinner Monday I busted out a great recipe from frequent blog feature Budget Bytes: a nice combo of sweet tooth satisfaction with fall pumpkin hipness, Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookies.

These were a quick, simple recipe that I doubled to make enough cookies for my co-workers (around 12), for some of Erin’s close co-workers (6-8) and a few for us to much on at home (about 6). All disappeared quickly. I have a gripe about these delicious cookies: The batter is awesome and it was really, really hard for me to not just sit down in the living room with my mixing bowl and spoon, feeding my face with raw dough goodness.

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