Monday, January 30, 2012

Meal Plan Monday

February already?  Are you serious!  Obviously we aren't quite there yet, but when the calendar page flips to February it's close enough.  With each new month it feels like we are going to coast right through winter here in New England and slide into spring.  Or at least that's what I'm crossing my fingers for (and have been since November).

The first week of February also means the SUPER BOWL which also means SUPER BOWL PARTIES!  My parents used to throw one heck of a party for the Super Bowl and I kind of miss it.  Those people know how to party.  I'm sure I'll make an excessive amount of food, have some friends over, and pretend to watch the game.  That's what you're supposed to do, right?  Right.

Let's talk about food (I'm hungry!).

So, I was a real stinker about following my meal plan last week.  I think it had something to do with the overwhelming feelings that come from the first real week of school.  Hopefully this week I can be a little more on top of things.  The pressure is on.  We shall see.

Don't forget that all of these lovely pictures are not mine!  Please visit the blogs below for the original recipes so you can make them too!

 I'm not entirely sure what happened last Wednesday night, but I didn't get around to making these.  And because they look so darn delicious I'm rolling them over to this week!
Ground Turkey Enchiladas with Corn and Cilantro Topping.

All of the ingredients are already in my refrigerator?  That's a win.
Chicken with Israeli Couscous, Spinach, and Feta.
-from A Chow Life 


1. I really love stuffed peppers.  2. I'm really making the recipe so I can pass it over to Kaitlin from Small Things.  3.  I think it's one of her favorites. 4. Mmmm.
Stuffed Peppers with Tomato Basil Cream Sauce.
-from How Sweet It Is

Leftover day!  Thursday is a possible work day for me so it's always good to plan for that.  Especially so the boys don't go hungry.  Heaven forbid.
-from the refrigerator


I've had this little gem on Pinterest for quite sometime now.  Doesn't it look like a big pan full of deliciousness?
 Baked Shrimp in Tomato Feta Sauce.
-from Simply Recipes


Alright three recipes containing feta this week might be a bit excessive.  At least I've strayed away from posting everything that contains goat cheese.  And it looks way good.  Give me a break here.
Warm Mushroom Salad with Feta and Walnuts.
-from Food Coma

Super Bowl Sunday:
Since we live in Boston I think it's required that we root for the Patriots.  Or at least watch the game.  Sounds like a good excuse to be in the kitchen instead whipping up some Super Bowl friendly snacks. 
 Fontina-Stuffed, Bacon Wrapped Dates.
-from Brown Eyed Baker

 Hot and Sweet Drumsticks.
-from The Pioneer Woman

 Caramelized Onion Dip.
-from 101 Cookbooks
Reuben Dip.
-from A Farm Girl Dabbles

What are you doing for the Super Bowl this weekend?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Plough and Stars

So before I jump into this...let me give you a little run down on what's going on here...

After returning from Missouri a thought came ringing in loud and clear.  "You live in Boston, why in the world aren't you taking advantage of this and exploring more new restaurants?"  This conversation I had with myself was a bit longer, but you get the gist.  So starting then I decided I would make more of an effort to visit at least one new restaurant a month (and hopefully more) throughout the next year.  And then it came to me that I could tell you about these new restaurants.  Why not, right?

So here we are for the first post of 12 new restaurants in 2012.

First, I have something to admit about this post.  The plan was to visit the popular Friendly Toast diner this morning for brunch.  However, there was a 2 HOUR wait.  And for any of you that know know that I get hungry horns (meaning that I want to and will kill anything and everything in the general area if food is not promptly put into my stomach) and therefore 2 hours is an unacceptable amount of time to wait for food.

So instead, we headed over to the Plough and Stars.  And while this wasn't my first time visiting The Plough, it was the first time I had experienced their brunch.  And it was on my list of restaurants to visit.  So, I believe that this is acceptable.  The following months however, will be brand new restaurants.

Moving forward.

The Plough is a cozy little Irish pub located on Mass Ave in Cambridge.  It's known for having live music nearly every night and a great bar to go along with it.  In the past year and a half I've been there several times for My Politic shows.  Unfortunately during those several visits I never realized they were also cooking up some mean concoctions.  Last week Ashley and I dropped in merely because we were famished, driving down Mass Ave, and there was a parking spot literally right in front of the building (which never happens).  I ordered the most delicious dish of scallops, goat cheese potato gratin, with a side of grilled mangoes and asparagus.  Unbelievable.  That is all I have to say.

As soon as that first bite hit my taste buds I started planning my next visit.  I noticed earlier on the menu that they had a Sunday brunch that looked killer.  And that brings us to this morning...

I ordered the Huevos Rancheros Del Arado...

...which consisted of grilled corn tortillas, black beans, chorizo, 2 fried eggs, and salsa.  YUM.

Kaston obviously ordered the Irish Breakfast (which Ron Swanson would be proud of!).  It was our go to breakfast in Ireland and was always sooooo good.  It's 2 eggs, 2 bangers, Irish bacon, black and white pudding, grilled tomatoes, baked beans, and toast.  Talk about a manly meal.

 Little Nicky ordered the Big Star Breakfast.  2 eggs, 2 bangers, 2 pieces of applewood smoked bacon, grilled country ham, home-fries, and toast.  Which one wins the manliest meal?

Or which one looks more manly eating their big pieces of meat?

He's single ladies!


Not being a huge breakfast eater Ash ordered the famous Cuban sandwich.  Smoked ham, slow roasted pork, pickles, gruyere & smoked chili mayo. Ay yi yi!

Isn't she precious?

It was an unforgettable brunch stop.  I highly encourage everyone to stop in whether it be for brunch, dinner, or just a few drinks and live music.  You won't be disappointed.
Don't forget to visit them at!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Apple Tarts

Happy Friday everyone!

I'm going to skip the small talk and tell you about a little project that I have for you.  I have something in the works that has to do with food in the Boston area.  I don't want to give away any specifics quite yet, but I will later this weekend!

Here is what I need from you: If you live in the Boston area or have traveled here I want to know your absolute favorite restaurant.  You're "go to" place.  It can be anything from your favorite greasy burger joint to the incredibly fancy french cuisine you enjoy on special occasions.

Leave your suggestions in the comments below the post.  Please AND thank you!  Seriously, I appreciate this.  And I promise I will tell you why soon!  

But until then...let's ogle over these puff pastry apple tarts that I made last night and are sinfully delicious.  Fun fact about these: We always have leftovers.  I mean always.  Until last night.  These babies were gone mere hours after coming out of the oven.

Apple Tarts...
with cinnamon, peanut butter, and white chocolate chips.
Makes: 6-8 servings   Prep Time: 10 minutes   Cook Time: 15-18 minutes   Total Time: 25-30 minutes

  •  1 sheet puff pastry cut in 1/2
  • 3 apples, cored and sliced very thinly
  • juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • any kind of candy chips: cinnamon chips, peanut butter chips, white chocolate whatever tickles your fancy
  • jam or preserves for brushing
  • vanilla ice cream for serving
1. Mmm apples.  Please ignore the fact that there are 4 instead of 3 here.  3 will be plenty.  I hadn't quite decided how many to use when I took this picture.

2. Core your apples.  And if you don't have a fancy schmancy apple corer just do it the good ole' fashioned way.  Even though an apple corer would be nice...

3. Now I need you to cut these apples as thinly as absolutely possible without loosing a finger.  This is not Sweeney Todd and I will not allow finger pies.  Place sliced apples in a large bowl.

4. Cut your lemon in half.

5. Squeeze lemon juice over the bowl of apples.  Scoop out the seeds if they sneak into the bowl.

6. Time for 1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar.

7. Pour in brown sugar.

8. Add a pinch of salt and mix it all up.

 9. Preheat the oven to 400° and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

10. Grab puff pastry from the freezer.  Cut in half and place on the baking sheets.

  11. Line the apples up as close as possible.  Drizzle the extra "goop" from the bottom of the bowl over the apples.


12. Grab the chips.

13. Sprinkle generously over the top.  The one on the left is apple cinnamon and on the right is peanut butter and white chocolate.  

14. Bake for 15-18 minutes (or until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown) on the lowest rack so the chips don't burn.

15. After they come out of the oven brush each tart with your jam or preserves.  I used apricot preserves.

16. Cut into slices.

17. Serve warm with ice cream.

18. Enjoy!

Don't forget to tell me about your favorite Boston restaurants!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Potato and Leek Soup

Remember when I took that wonderful trip to Ireland?  Well I've been reminiscing about it quite a bit lately.  Dreaming of those luscious rolling green hills, their beautiful accents, and all of the goat cheese I can eat.  Seems like a weird list of things to be dreaming about but I promise, there it all makes sense.  It's a little painful how badly I want to return. 
So to ease that pain for the time being I thought I would make an Irish soup.  Better than nothing right?  Right.  Also, Nick is a bit under the weather and this is one of Kaston's favorites so I figured with three good reasons I had no choice but to whip it up. 
You should make this soup and then go to Ireland.  Or go to Ireland and then make this soup.  Or go to Ireland and have the Irish make you this soup.  Any of the above will work however; option three might be the best choice.
 Potato and Leek Soup 
Makes: 4-6 servings   Prep Time: 10 minutes   Cook Time: 30 minutes  Total Time: 40 minutes
  • 4 potatoes, scrubbed and dice into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 leeks, cut lengthwise, separated, and chopped (use only the white and light green parts)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 ounces pancetta
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper
 1. Scrub potatoes, and dice into 1/2 inch cubes.  Clean the leeks.
2. Cut leeks lengthwise, separate layers, and chop.

 3. In a large stockpot cook pancetta until crisp.  When done remove onto a paper towel and set aside.
4. Add butter and olive oil to the stockpot.
5. Once butter is melted, add leeks, onions, and garlic with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Saute for about 10 minutes.  Watch carefully making sure not to brown the leeks.
6. Add a sprig or two of fresh rosemary.
7. Add 2 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of water.
 8. Throw in the potatoes and top with a lid.  Turn up to medium heat and let simmer for 20 minutes or so.
 9. After 20 minutes, place about half of the soup into a blender and puree.
10. Return the puree to the pot and add crisp pancetta and 1/2 cup of heavy cream.
11. Salt and pepper to taste.
 11. Fun fact: Save your cheese rinds to add to soups instead of just throwing them away!  They get soft and are absolutely delicious in soup. 
 12. Ready to serve!
 13. Top with fresh rosemary or with a side of yummy bread.
 14. I had mine with the Mighty Grain Salad (which is divine!) that I featured in my Meal Plan Monday post from this week!
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