Four Out of Five Isn’t Too Bad, Right?

This week saw a lot of leftovers. Although we are down to usually three or four for dinner, sometimes a couple more around the table, I still cook for at least six people. Old habits die hard, but it makes for some great next day lunches, or an evening off to eat a leftover of one’s choice.

Our week started out with a four-cheese macaroni and cheese. This was the recipe where I posted how much I love the smell of frying onions on my social media. The mac and cheese had my mouth watering from the get go. It didn’t stop watering throughout the whole process. Watching the cheese starting to melt, then bubble in the oven, I mean, how could you not have a little drool about to run down your chin. Yes, it was that good, and a good that just kept giving for a couple of lunches and leftover night.

Four-cheese macaroni and cheese

My second dish of the week was linguini with pesto sauce. This is one of those recipes that I just can’t seem to get to the taste I want. I’m not sure what that taste is yet, but I’ll know it when it happens. Pesto usually has some type of nut in it, although I’ve made one that was mainly parsley, no nuts. This recipe called for walnuts, but since we had New Mexico pecans in the house, I figured a nut was a nut. In using pecans as a substitute, they just didn’t seem to add anything. Even attempting to compensate with some spices and extra Parmesan, it just tasted kind of blah in the end. I may give it another try, but with the walnuts as originally stated.

Linguini with pecan pesto sauce

I remember, what I believe to be, the first time I had crab cakes. It was in Baltimore while I was attending an NCTE annual conference. The restaurant was right on the bay and the picture looked intriguing on the menu. Let me tell you once you have fresh crabs in a crab cake (or any meal for that matter), you don’t forget the taste. I’ve tried making crab cakes from time-to-time, but mine never turned out as good as those first ones. However, this round came pretty darn close; I think having the patties rest in the refrigerator for an hour helped the flavors mingle together for just the right amount to time.

As you can see they turned out crispy on the outside, and tender in the inside. Even my kids were commenting on how good they tasted, and that almost never happens—that doesn’t mean my food is bad, just that I don’t often get recognized by them for my contributions. The aioli that went with it was very good too, and as a bonus, tasted good on some chicken leftovers I had later in the week.

Crab cakes and aioli

Although this was dessert for the last new recipe of the week, I made the zucchini chocolate cake with dark chocolate chips in the morning so it would be ready for Sunday dinner. Normally I am not a dark chocolate fan. But, after the blah of the pesto, I figured maybe I should stick to exactly what the recipes actually wants. With the chocolate buttercream icing, a cake that was just the right side of moistness and sweetness, the dark chocolate wasn’t too bad. The sweetness of the cake itself and the icing more than balanced the bitterness I often taste in darker chocolates. It was good enough that the Papas took an extra slice each home for later.

Zucchini chocolate cake with chocolate chips

Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of the last recipe of the week—pineapple ginger chicken. The chicken breast was marinated in a pineapple juice and ginger for a couple of hours, flipping the bag once or twice in the process. After the marinating, the chicken had to sit out for a bit. It actually made me wonder about how un-healthy it felt to leave it out. Since I’m writing this, and everyone is still alive and kicking, I guess it was fine to do so.

The breasts were still cooking when the Papas arrived for dinner. After I took them off to rest, I completely forgot the most vital ingredient as I told everyone to serve themselves, the pineapple. Fried pineapple was supposed to be served on top of the chicken, not as an afterthought. Everyone ended up with their slice of pineapple after they had started eating, but not too far into the meal. This dinner was one of those meals where a thing here and there, like the fried pineapple gets remembered after the fact.

Case in point, I had planned on serving the chicken with a succotash made from leftover vegetables—zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, onion, garlic, and peppers. My home-canned green beans were supposed to go in as well, But, guess what I forgot to add! Yep, the green beans. To spice the veggies up just a little, I added a bit of sage and oregano, plus salt, and drizzled some reduced white balsamic vinegar over the top. Thankfully there was still enough of what I remembered of the veggies to go around, and it didn’t disturb the flavor profile I was hoping to achieve.

With this week behind me, I’m already wondering what will be on the menu for next. What will be on yours?

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