Showing posts with label when he fends for himself. Show all posts
Showing posts with label when he fends for himself. Show all posts

Thursday, March 3, 2011

When He Fends For Himself: Freedom Pancakes

I believe in this space it's been noted that I make breakfast on the weekend from time to time. The past two weekends the wife has convinced me to put something together in the morning 3 out of 4 days. My repertoire is just eggs, pancakes, and french Toast. I don't put much thought into sides like toast, fruit, or potatoes. All you're gonna get is the main dish.

With that being said, I present you an actual creative breakfast. The wife asked me, "What will we have for breakfast? Pancakes? French Toast?" And I thought, "....both." Not surprisingly, we don't have pancake mix in the house so I had to open up The Joy of Cooking and create the batter from scratch! Making the pancakes was pretty simple and I was confident they would turn out tasty because I added some Mexican vanilla and some cinnamon.

Now it was time to make the French toast and here is where I kicked it up a notch. Instead of taking out the loaf of bread I used the pancakes instead. That's right. I took out a couple of eggs, mixed them in a bowl, and started dipping the cooled pancakes. I learned pretty early in the process that you need to give the pancakes a good soak in the egg. The pancakes aren't as porous as a slice of bread so you need to allow time to let the egg penetrate the smooth surface. After that, the pancakes went back into the frying pan and out came pancake French toast.

I thought the "pancake French toast" name was kind of lame. Even though I thought the trend to replace "French" with "Freedom" when France was initially against the invasion in Iraq was detestable, I decided on naming my creation "Freedom Pancakes" as an ironic joke. In the end, the name didn't matter because they turned out to be really good! I was kind of surprised and quite pleased. You should totally try this!

Because it was so good I started thinking of what else I could do. Step 1, make pancakes. Step 2, make French toast of them. Step 3? Who knows! But it reminded me of this SNL sketch and made me laugh.



Thursday, February 17, 2011

When He Fends for Himself: Snack Dinner II

It's back to back weeks of "When He Fends for Himself". How exciting. This week I'm bringing back the dinner concept that swept that nation. That's right, it's Snack Dinner II!!! I feel it is my responsibility to present to you a makeshift dinner for when you are in a pinch. As a disclaimer I must mention that this snack dinner was planned.

I knew a couple of days in advance that I was going to be home alone and decided on a course of action. I wanted to center my meal around a recent stand-by, yogurt and granola. The challenge I faced was in filling in around it. I thought about popcorn, fruit, or ice cream for potential sides but didn't make up my mind until I went to the store. On the way to get the popcorn, I walked down the chip aisle and remembered one of my favorite snacks. It had to be a part of Snack Dinner II! So, instead of popcorn I went with Terra's SWEETS and BEETS. Because it rhymes, and because it tastes so good, I am unable to control the volume of my voice when saying "sweets and beets". Therefore, it always comes out as SWEETS and BEETS. Once I had the bag in hand, I went through the fruit section but was uninspired, gave up, and decided to head towards the register. On the way, I noticed a display of mini Ben and Jerry's containers and decided that would be the perfect dessert. I had my three course dinner decided on and headed home.

Once at home I decided to start with the SWEETS and BEETS, wait a little bit and then have the yogurt and granola, then wait a little bit longer and finish with the ice cream. Unfortunately, it didn't end up going as planned. I opened the SWEETS and BEETS and went to town on them. If the wifey was home and had tried to grab some for herself I would have probably taken a bite out of her hand. Before I knew it I had ate the whole bag! Six servings worth.....ugh. Because of this, I was actually kind of full. I took a comfortable seat on the couch (the couch always makes a cameo on "When He Fends for Himself") and ended up getting in a little bit of nap.

When I came too, I decided to continue on with Snack Dinner II because I had promised wifey a post worthy dinner. (Insert joke here). I dragged myself up and started to do my only prep of the evening - mixing the yogurt and granola. I like to put the granola in the bowl first so that the yogurt can be easily mixed in on top of it. Since wifey had just made granola the day before I wanted to use it for the second course. However, it wasn't where we normally keep the granola in our pantry. I looked in all the shelves, checked the counters, and even tried the refrigerator. I like to say that she was hiding the granola from me, but she'll say that it was my super hero personality "Captain Oblivious" making an appearance. It turns out, the granola was on the dining room table. Before we left for work in the morning she told me where it was, but by dinner time I had just forgotten. Whoops.

Anyway, I instead went with the pumpkin and flax seed granola I normally get from the bulk aisle at Whole Foods. It is pretty tasty and I usually mix it with plain Stonyfield yogurt. I was still a little full, but knew I had a job to do. Once the second course was finished I went back to the couch and decided there would not be a third course. There was no room for the tiny Ben and Jerry's anywhere in my stomach. Snack Dinner had defeated me. To top it off, when I went to pick up the wife at the train station my stomach began to hurt. I think maybe I had a little too much SWEETS and BEETS. Thankfully, it didn't last long and it didn't ruin my night.

All-in-all, I think it was a successful snack dinner. The purpose of snack dinner, in my mind, is to not go hungry while expending as little energy as possible. This I accomplished in spades. While this was a manufactured snack dinner, I want it to be a guide for when you're home alone, lazy, and afraid of wasting away. It is OK to eat a bag of potato chips for dinner every once in a while. If all you have is canned olives and a granola bar at home, by all means eat them! No one is there to stop you. Our market research shows us there's a high probability you are an "adult." Go for it! You'll be glad you did, I promise.

Friday, February 11, 2011

When He Fends For Himself: Using the Oven

Welcome back to another addition of "When He Fends For Himself". With wifey back in school for the semester, I'm back on my own one night a week. Since she's been taking classes for a year and half, being alone one night a week is not a shock to the system. I actually planned ahead and got a package of Wild Mushroom Lasagne from Vic, The Pasta Man (Fior D'Italia Pasta and Cheese), at the Russell's Garden Center winter farmers market in Wayland, MA. I've had his ravioli before and was excited to try something else of his. Knowing that the lasagne was frozen and would take while to heat up, I didn't dilly dally when I got home. I immediately got to work.

I chose to heat up the lasagne in the oven because even though it would take longer than the microwave, I knew it would end up tasting better. This is the first time I had to do anything with the oven for "When he fends for himself" so I'll walk you through my turning on the oven routine. The first thing I do is open up the oven to make sure nothing is in it. This is a product of my childhood. When I was about 10 there was a potato in the back corner of the oven that no one noticed for about a month. Have you ever heard of twice baked potato? Try twenty times baked potato. I remember the way it looked and felt when it was finally removed and am scared to have that be repeated.

 I also, always, turn the oven to 350. Why? Because everything can cook at 350. In my vast experience, no other temperature has been needed.

I let the oven pre-heat and in the meantime placed foil in a small casserole dish and set the lasagne on top. Once the oven was at the required temperature I put in my frozen dinner and ended up checking its status about every 10 minutes.

 After 30 minutes, a quick taste test revealed a done lasagne and dinner was about to be served. Honestly, I was so excited I almost pulled out the casserole dish without using a pot holder. I plated the lasagne, took my seat in front of the couch, turned on the Bruins/Habs game, and got down to business.

The lasagne was really really good. It had great mushroom flavor, was the right serving size for a growing boy like myself, and was covered in an incredible sauce. I can't recommend Vic the pasta man enough. I know this winter he's at least at the Natick and Wayland markets.

After the successful meal I basked privately in the glory of a job well done, but then reality set in. It was less then a week until the wifey had class and I would be fending for myself again. All week the anxiety will build and the pressure will be on. Won't you join me next week to see if I can survive another night alone? With your support I can do it. Who's with me?

Until next time....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

When He Fends For Himself: A Quesadilla Every Man Should Know

The cookbook Recipes Every Man Should Know showed up in the mail a few days after the wife told me that she received an email from the publisher offering her a review copy.  I told her I would review one of its recipes for my next dinner. I knew the book was coming, so when it came I was surprised that the book was so small. My expectations on size and content probably lead to my initial impression that the book was unimpressive. I went through most of the recipes and thought that dishes like "Baked Potato" and "A Great Cup of Joe" did not warrant individual entries. These were not recipes every man should know, they were "recipes" any productive member of society would be embarrassed not to know (and that's saying something coming from me). I was thinking that the follow up to this could be "The Man's Guide to Doing Laundry -- How to survive when you move out of mom's basement"

It took a couple times going through the Table of Contents and seeing titles like "Baja-style Fish Tacos" and "Sexy Strawberry Zabaglione" before I warmed up to the rest of the list and settled on "Quick-and-Easy Quesadillas" as my dish. It also took a few looks at Table of Contents to decide on what to make because I was looking for a dinner meal, which removed more than half the book ("Hearty Breakfast Classics", "Beer, Bacon, and Bar Food", and "Chocolate, Cheesecake, & More") from consideration. I settled on quesadillas because they are a meal I like, I've never actually made them, and they looked pretty easy.

The following night I knew I was on my own for dinner because the wife had after work plans, so I stopped at the grocery store on the way home to pick up the  necessary ingredients. The cookbook said to have flour tortillas, 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, and "fillings of my choice". At the store I picked up the tortillas and cheese, as well as sour cream, salsa, red peppers, and grilled chicken from the store's salad bar. I knew I wanted the chicken but I didn't want to have to cook that as well. Finding the pre-cooked salad bar chicken, I thought, was a nice solution.

I arrived home and immediately jumped into action. I got the skillet out, added some olive oil to the pan and placed the tortilla in. After cutting up a red pepper, I placed it, the cheese, and the chicken on half of the tortilla and let it sit for about 2 minutes. I then folded the tortilla in half, flipped it, and cooked the other side for a remaining 3 minutes. When that was complete, I plated the quesadilla, cut it into quarters, and added salsa and sour cream on the side. The whole meal took about 10 minutes to prepare and was actually very easy. It tasted pretty good and I enjoyed my dinner that night and was pleased with the outcome. When I need to fend for myself again, I might even try to make them again.

As for the cookbook itself, I think my initial expectations blinded me from real purpose of the cookbook. That is, it's a list of dishes that can inspire a man to actually get to work in the kitchen. Everyone has to start somewhere and the basics introduced in this book can be a foundation for future cooking growth. However, it will not be a foundation for me. I know what I am, and more often than not my place is not in the kitchen (except for when the dirty dishes pile up). So please leave a comment. Tell me what you think of this post, my wife's blog, or what you think every man should know and enter to win this cookbook for yourself or your man! Submit your entries by Tuesday, December 28 at midnight. The winner will be selected using on Wednesday morning!

From the publisher: The book features over sixty recipes compiled by celebrated food blogger Susan Russo (, a regular contributor to Kitchen Window on NPR, and Brett Cohen, the author of Stuff Every Man Should Know.

Disclaimer: We were provided one copy of the book, free of charge, from the publisher. We were not obligated to review the product and we received no compensation. All opinions expressed in this post clearly belong to the hubby. He decided to give one lucky commenter this copy as a holiday treat (sorry about the few fingerprints on the cover!).

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

When He Fends for Himself: When He Makes Dinner

The wife has been very hard at work on a paper for her graduate school class and needed some help preparing dinner Sunday night. I vacated the house during the day to give her some peace and quiet to concentrate. I went to a sports bar, watched all the early NFL games, and got to see in real time my fantasy football year go down the tubes. On the way home I was asked to stop at the grocery to get some staples for the week and to find something for dinner.

The grocery store was a process of elimination. I stopped early to grab the salad ingredients because I knew I'd be chastised if I didn't come home with some vegetable to go with dinner. After that I scouted out the main course. Knowing that anything too easy (like snack dinner) or too complicated (for me, tacos) were out of the question, I checked out the meat case and looked at the beef, chicken, and lamb. We've been trying to cut down on our beef intake because it seems like a good thing to do, and the chicken and lamb didn't really excite me. Also, I thought if I went with a meat course, I'd have to get another vegetable to go on the side. So all I was left with was pasta.

I went to the fresh pasta case and looked at the selections. At this particular store, we've purchased the trofie and the various raviolis before so I went with the pumpkin tortellini. As I came home I announced what I purchased and said I thought we could mix it with one Pestos with Panache we had on hand. It turns out, pumpkin chipotle was in stock and sounded like a perfect match.

I went into the kitchen and expertly started to boil water. Once that got going, I cut some cucumbers, washed the lettuce, and opened the bag of baby carrots. Also, the pesto was taken out of the freezer and proportional amount was nuked in the microwave for 15 seconds for it to thaw out. Once the salad was ready, the water was at a boil and I put in the tortellini. As it cooked, I cleared off and set the table. The tortellini was finished and I drained the water, added the pesto, and mixed it in.

As I served the food, I could tell that the wife was impressed. It really was a gourmet dinner that I produced. The spice of the chipolte pesto really added a nice kick to the sort of sweet tortellini. The salad was classy and the water to drink was from MWRA! What more could you want? I guess I could have got a dessert too, but I'll have to save that for next time.

Preparation recap from the wife:
1 1b. fresh pumpkin tortellini
2 tablespoons pumpkin chipotle pesto
Splash of pasta water

Microwave frozen pesto for 15 seconds on power level 7 (just to soften, not too cook)
Ask the hubby why he is trying to boil water with the heat on medium and the pot uncovered. Adjust, and then return to your paper writing because you are not supposed to be making dinner tonight.
Eat the delicious meal and give the cook a 5 star review!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

When He Fends for Himself: Bison Burgers

I never thought I would ever say this, but Ted Turner has had a positive influence in my life. Ever since I went to Ted's Montana Grill ten years ago and had my first bison burger, I knew I had stumbled upon something I really liked. There is a Ted's nearby to us and we have gone a couple of times, but I make an effort to see what other bison burgers are being created out there. More often than not, if a bison burger is on the menu I'll order it. Such is my desire to get a good burger that I had a bison burger on the way to Yellowstone, where one of attractions I was most excited about was to see the Buffalo roam. The burger was delicious and I don't feel the least bit guilty about. The herds of buffalo in the park were pretty awesome also. But, what does this have to with lonely dinners?

I don't know if you have noticed, but Whole Foods regularly stocks ground bison. When planning our meals for a particular week, the wife informed me that I was going to be on my own for a night. She told me this right in front of the meat counter, and because I don't really like to put too much thought into what I'm going to have for dinner 2 days in advance, and because the ground meat looked so good, I decided on the spot that I'd do bison burgers for when I fended for myself.

I had a solid plan for quickly forming the burgers and getting them on the grill when I got home, but I decided to take a load off first. This lead to "resting" for an hour or two, and before I knew it the wife was on her way home, it was kind of late, and I missed my opportunity to make the burgers. Admittedly the cooking and execution of my lonely meals is probably biggest hurdle I need to overcome. I can be quite lazy.

However, not all was lost. I originally purchased a half of pound of the meat so the next night I made two burgers for me and the wife to have for dinner. I wasn't fending for myself, but I was giving the wife a night off. Here's how the magic happened:

1. I placed the ground meat into a mixing bowl
2. Added dashes of salt and pepper
3. Sprinkled in some Worcestershire sauce (I've seen this go in burgers before, so it's staple, right?)
4. Added and egg and some breadcrumbs (The wife's suggestion)

I mixed this all up by hand and then formed the 2 patties. In the meantime, the grill was preheating so I took the burgers out back and threw them on. When they looked done, I used our fancy spatula to scoop them up and plated them. I also grilled up some corn on the cob go to with it. It turned out to be a really quick dinner and looking back on it, I'm not sure why I couldn't do it the night before. A couple of weeks back I promised more healthy and complete dinners and I think this one is a step in the right direction. Hopefully it is something I can build on so you all can be impressed by the next "When He Fends for Himself"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

When He Fends for Himself: A Confession and A Pledge

I haven't contributed to the blog in awhile, and there isn't a good reason why. The wife took evening MBA classes from last September through the end of June, which left me on my own at twice a week. For all those lonely dinners (probably in the range of 50), I couldn't create something in the kitchen worth writing about. I look back at those nights in front of TV and can't account for how I got by. I survived those 3-4 hours alone during dinner time, but looking back on it nothing stands out. What the heck did I eat? What I write about today is a confession and a pledge. I confess that not one of those 50, or so, meals was balanced or an appropriate dinner. And because I feel some shame and some embarrassment, I promise to change!

This fall the wife goes back to school and I'll get a second chance! When she had class last year, I obviously knew well in advance which days I was responsible for my own dinner and still I had no strategy or plan on how to feed myself. Every time I got home, I had to try to come up with something while wanting to use as little energy as possible. I tried to wing it the best I could with leftovers, "snack dinners", some skipped meals, take out orders, and old standbys. I made mac and cheese a couple of times, and probably another pasta or two. But I already wrote about those and who wants to write about, much less read about, boiling water more than once? (Even though I can boil water with the best of them!) None of the meals left me satisfied, none of the meals left me proud.

As soon as I plow through the 7 unopened boxes of Mac and Cheese in our pantry, you will see a transformation. I will move on from boiled and microwavable foods to produce nutritious meals that are healthy and worth writing about. I'll use the oven and the saute pans and maybe even the food processor. Every time I learn something new I'll share it with you. We will be on this journey together. "When He Fends for Himself" will again be a regular feature, so get ready!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

When He Fends for Himself - Taco Town!

Recently the wife was away for 5 days and I had to scrounge together some meals in order to survive. I started off slowly. For the first two days I snacked on granola bars, ice cream, fruit, and gummy bears. I felt like I could indulge a little bit because I had lost 5 pounds during the Fall. Eventually though, I wanted some real meals so I ordered out for a Greek salad and a calzone. It was good and hit the spot, but it's nothing worth writing about. The next day I went to Whole Foods for a little grocery shopping and decided to get dinner from their taco and burrito bar.

Whole Foods offers 3 tacos for the low low price of $4.99 so it looked like a good deal. They actually have a lot of options for filling your taco and I decided on one chicken, one beef, and one fish taco. They use soft corn shells for the outside of the taco and fill it with a good amount of protein. I had them add a little lettuce, some salsa (which had some good spice to it), cheese, guacamole, and cilantro. My only complaint about my experience was that there was a weird guy who was standing way to close to me who was fascinated by the sight of a taco bar at Whole Foods. I actually couldn't see all the options clearly because he was in my way. I kept waiting for him to lose interest but I guess filling tacos tops the entertainment options in my town.

I checked out with my groceries and tacos and headed home. Once home, I unwrapped, took a quick picture (action shot!), and had my dinner. All three proteins tasted very good in the tacos. I think I made a good choice for my dinner. It was tasty, had vegetables (lettuce, cilantro, salsa), and was a good portion size. I didn't overeat. I didn't under-eat. I just survived. Next time the wife goes away, I'll hit up the taco bar again. But until then there is no need. I have a good cook at home that feeds me very well. And I rarely have to fend for myself....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

When He Fends for Himself - "The Snack Dinner"

Welcome back to the latest and greatest edition of "When he fends for himself." Today's edition introduces the world to a favorite of mine. It's a meal that is looked down upon, that is thought to be a lazy and unhealthy way to eat, dine, and live. However, all of that can not be further from the truth. In actuality the meal I will describe is a guilty pleasure that we all turn to from time to time.

Presented here is "The Snack Dinner"

I came home to an empty house with all the intention to grill up some bison medallions the wife got for me at Whole Foods. I really like bison meat, but the wife is a little cool to it, so I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to make it for myself. However, once I got home, checked my e-mail, and sat on the couch to see what was on TV, my motivation escaped me and I needed to change to Plan B.

That meant that a formal dinner was out the window. Instead I opened the fridge, checked the pantry, and started to scrounge for food. I've been dining on the snack dinner for years and have realized that it is very important to start with your go-to snack. For me, it's a chewy peanut butter granola bar from Kashi. I go through about a box a week. If I'm on the run, on the golf course, or on the prowl for food, it usually hits the spot.

After my appetizer I turned on the TV and checked to see what was on for a couple of minutes. Then, it was time for round 2. Every time we go to BJs we end up by a 6 pack of canned olives. When the wife is making dinner, she likes to open one up for an appetizer for us to munch on. Since we are usually well stocked, I end up having a full can to myself from time to time.

Now, eating a can of olives in one sitting sounds disgusting and even to me, not appetizing. Because of this, I spread out the olive consumption over the period of an hour. I grab a few from the kitchen, eat them in front of the TV, and at the next commercial break I go back for more. It really spreads out the snack dinner and makes it a full evening of enjoyment!

After the olives, I was in a little bit of a bind. There wasn't anything quick and easy I could munch on. Available to me were chips without salsa, plenty of spreads with no bread, and some dry goods, like pasta. The snacks on hand didn't have their complements and the pasta was out because the purpose of the snack dinner is to do absolutely no cooking.

So I was forced to go the healthy route. At a last resort, I opened the fruit and veggie drawer in the refrigerator and and found my next snack: grapes. The problem I have with grapes is, once I start I can't stop. I can pick at grapes all day and won't stop until they are all gone. And that's what happened.

About 10 minutes later, I was mildly full and looking for another course. Since it was getting late I started to think of dessert. Luckily, the wife had whipped up a batch of the apple kugel muffins that were waiting for me on our counter. I took one (OK, maybe 2) and quickly finished off my meal.

About an hour and a half after I started, I was finished with my 4 course dinner and full. Not only that, I didn't do any food prep, cooking, or cleaning. It's not textbook, but on this night, it worked for me.

I hope I've been inspired others to try this every once in awhile. It's not endorsed by the wife, but it gets the job done. And desperate times call for desperate measures when you're fending for yourself.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

When He Fends for Himself - Baked Ziti

Welcome back to "When He Fends For Himself," where a young man is put to the test.

The calendar says September and with the changing of the season comes the beginning of the school year. Doris is headed back to school for a graduate degree and will be at class twice a week during the evening! That means the hero of this column will be scrounging for dinner multiple times a week.

With that in mind, I went into my dinner preparation trying to think of something that will last for 2 dinners. What I ended up going with was a variation of my special baked ziti. The ingredients for "Loner Ziti" include:

1 package of ziti or penne (with lines is essential)
1 jar of tomato sauce
1/2 bag of mozzarella cheese
1/2 can of pitted black olives
1 package of baby bella mushrooms
Water from the tap

I started things off by boiling the water. It's good to get the meal prep off on the right foot, and I felt with my water boiling expertise I could do no wrong with this approach. As the water was boiling, I sliced the baby bella mushrooms and placed them in the saute pan. I also drizzled some olive oil over the mushrooms because I've seen Doris do this in the past.

Once the water came to boil, I dumped the entire box of penne into the pot and let it cook. Amazingly, the penne and the mushrooms completed around the same time, which would have been good planning if there was any type of planning being done.

I strained the penne and put it back into the pot it was cooked in. I then added the entire jar of tomato sauce, the 1/2 can of pitted olives, and the mushrooms. I mixed them all around and place the contents in a 8 inch square casserole dish. I topped it off with the shredded mozzarella.

I then placed it in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes so that the cheese could melt and the sauce could warm up. As the picture shows, everything came out looking very good and it actually tasted OK too!

I cut out a quarter and dug in. When Doris came home from her evening activities, she had a quarter herself. Later this week, when I'm alone again, I'll have some of the leftovers for my second self-sufficient dinner of the week. There might even be enough left to bring to work for a lunch!

I can confidently say the dinner was a success based on the execution, taste, cost, and reuse of the dish. For the first twice weekly bachelor dinner, I have found a go to meal that will be repeated again and again. Additionally, if I get tired of this particular recipe, I could always add ground meat, or peppers, or onions, to mix it up a bit.

The challenge for next time is to come up with something just as tasty and resourceful. This baked ziti will be tough to top. But, as always, I am up for the challenge of fending for myself, and I am up for the challenge of topping this ziti!!

Until we meet again....

Thursday, July 30, 2009

When He Fends for Himself - Tortellini

Welcome to another edition of "When He Fends for Himself", where the star columnist puts to together a meal on his own. The meal is guaranteed to leave you full, but with no guarantee of nutrition, taste, or visual appeal.

For this weeks desperate dinner, I went with tortellini. A couple of months back we had a coupon for a family size bag of Barilla three cheese tortellini. Once we got it home, I forgot about it until I spotted it on the pantry shelf last week. Knowing that Doris wasn't interested in having any, I began to plan for it to be my lonesome dinner.

My detailed plan went something like this: Speaking to myself, "Oh right, we have tortellini, I should have that next Tuesday when I'm on my own."

And that was the plan. Brilliant, I know.

I came home and immediately started boiling the water. I won't detail my expert boiling water technique again, instead please refer to my mac and cheese post. As I was watching the Red Sox struggle to hit, pitch, and play defense, I remembered the water was on the stove, and I went back into the kitchen and added the pasta.

The challenge with this recipe is portion control. You see, we got the family size bag, and I knew I couldn't, or shouldn't, eat all of it in one sitting. So I dumped in what looked like a good amount, and packaged up the remaining amount for a later date.

As the tortellini boiled, every minute or two I took 1-2 of them out. I wasn't so much seeing if they were done, but instead I was just hungry and wanted to eat SOMETHING. Soon enough, they all were done and I expertly strained the water and placed the pasta into a bowl.

Since we didn't have spaghetti sauce, I instead added olive oil, butter, and Parmesan cheese to give it some more flavor.

One of things I really like about tortellini, which is also what I like about ravioli, is that I can stick my fork into one and eat it whole. I quickly ate my dinner and was indeed full. But now that I mention ravioli, I think I should get that lined up for a future loner dinner. Hrmm....I think I need to start to plan.

Until next time, please remember to eat in front of the TV as much as you can, because multi-tasking is a sign of genius.

And as promised, my new profile photo. This is my "What's for dinner tonight?" look. Thanks to our friend Jim for the photo.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

When He Fends for Himself

This week has been busy with work, so the regular author of "When He Fends for Himself" has been unable to write his weekly post. Here are some highlights from the past week.

We had leftover dip from the Mediterranean appetizers that we made for our dinner out. He made a quick broiled chicken breast and used the dips to create pita sandwiches for dinner - one with tzaziki sauce and one with olive tapenade. Pretty resourceful! Here's a look:

He was also in charge of Sunday breakfast. Usually he has trouble coming up with flavor combinations on the spot - but this one was quite a hit. With help from Jiffy baking mix, he whipped up some delicious honey-almond-walnut pancakes. They were golden brown and nice and fluffy.
Stay tuned for the next When He Fends for Himself!

Monday, June 22, 2009

When He Fends for Himself - Breakfast for Dinner Two Ways

Welcome to another telling of the husband fending for himself. A couple of weeks ago I came home knowing I was on my own for dinner. I knew there was some left over steak and asparagus in the fridge from the night before. All I had to do was heat it up and eat it. It would be a very good dinner and I would be very satisfied, but there wouldn't have been much to write about.

So as I was opening the fridge and reaching for the steak, I saw something orange out of the corner of my eye. I thought for a second it could be cantaloupe, but I didn't think we had any. Instead, it was something more exciting, more delicious, and more noteworthy. It was lox, and there was enough for one more serving.

I immediately called the wife and made sure she didn't have plans for the fish. It was mid-week and I knew it wouldn't keep until the weekend for our Saturday morning breakfast. Also, I knew I could save the steak and asparagus for the next day's lunch. So I made an executive decision and decided to make my dinner around the night's secret ingredient: smoked salmon.
I took a sesame bagel out of the the freezer, thawed in the microwave for 10 seconds, and then threw it in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Once the bagel was warm and crisp, I took it out of the oven and applied the cream cheese as soon as possible so that it could melt a little.
Then I put on the lox to complete dish.

It being dinner time, however, I knew a simple bagel with lox would not satisfy me. So, to stay with the breakfast for dinner theme, I filled a bowl with Barbara's shredded spoonfuls cereal, put in a splash of milk, and had breakfast two ways!

It turned into a great meal that I was very proud of. For me, lox is always a treat, but to have it mid-week, completely out of the blue, was something special. It would have made it more special if the wife was around too, but that wasn't the case. Instead, I made due with what I had to work with and produced a satisfying dinner!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

When He Fends for Himself -- Mixed Grill

Yesterday was Tuesday, which means the regular cook was playing golf. So that leads to another edition of "When he fends for himself."

Because I've agreed to share my loner meals in this forum, I have begun to feel pressure to produce something of value. I don't want to waste this space with dribble. Therefore, I came home Tuesday with a plan. I knew we had marinated steak tips, half of an uncooked chicken kabob, and some asparagus waiting for me in the fridge. When I got home, I fired up the grill and started my prep.

I carefully placed the steak tips and chicken kabobs on a platter to bring out to the grill. On a separate plate, I drizzled olive oil and added some salt and pepper to the asparagus. I brilliantly balanced both plates as I carried them through a storm door as well as a screen door on the way out to the grill.

On the grill, I like to place the meat on the left and the veggies on the right. I have no idea why, but it makes me feel good and calm when that's the order. My mother always says I'm the messiest engineer she's ever met, but I can be particular about some things, apparently. (note from editor, i.e. doris: this does not necessarily mean that this type of organization is practiced "off the grill")

Once placed on the grill I did what I do best. I went inside and went horizontal. Five minutes later, I went back out, flipped the meat and took off the asparagus. Then, back to the couch. Again, once 4-5 minutes passed I went back out and collected my dinner.

I quickly plated my food and sat down in front of the TV to enjoy my impromptu mixed grill. I also added some leftover pasta salad (not pictured) to complete the meal.

All in all, I am quite proud of the dinner I prepared for myself. I know some of you might have been expecting a lot less from me. To that I will ask you not to lose faith. I will lose my motivation about trying to impress in this space, and I am sure to be writing about cereal and "snack dinners" soon enough. The ingredients to this meal were in place and I took advantage.
In the future, I promise you, that will not be the case...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"When He Fends For Himself"

This post is the first edition of what will be a regular feature on this blog titled, "When He Fends For Himself". More often than not, at least one night a week the main cook has evening plans which puts me on my own for dinner. Because I knew I wanted to blog about how I managed without her, the meal I choose for this week is a classic, a staple, and my favorite go to meal.
Macaroni and Cheese. In recent years I've switched from Kraft to Annie's. It was a great move on my part. Annie's is all organic (so I think it's good for me) and instead of yellow goop, the cheese is a nice white cheddar. Also, instead of traditional macaroni, it is in shell form. It is very tasty and I highly recommend it.

For this meal, we had run out of the microwavable three-minute version, so I went the old-fashioned route and boiled some water. What I like to do when I boil water is turn on the burner to about half-way (this drives my wife nuts) so that the water can really ease its way into the boil. While I'm waiting for it to boil, I usually check my email, surf the net, watch TV, or just try to stay awake because the stove is on.

Once it's reached a boil, I pour in the shells, stir it once, and walk back to whatever it was I was doing as I was waiting for the water to boil. At some random time (8-12 minutes later, most likely), I return and strain the water. I then add a nice hunk of margarine. I like to add the margarine first so that it can begin the melting process. I then add some milk (half 'n' half makes it taste extra good) so that there is sufficient moisture available before mixing in the cheese.
Once the cheese is mixed in, I'll dump the whole contents of the pot into an extra large bowl (see picture) and dig in. About a minute later all the shells have been eaten and I am completely satisfied.

Really, the best part about eating macaroni and cheese alone is that I can eat the whole box. If the wife is around, she will say things like "Don't you know there is more than one serving in that box?" So, I'm guilt free until she gets home. Don't get me wrong, I've got to be the luckiest husband on earth because not only am I married to a beautiful, funny, and smart woman, but she also loves to cook. But there are nights when I'm on my own, and when I am, I'll let you know how I managed...


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