Monday, January 25, 2010

Meringues Chantilly

It seems as though my last few month’s worth of posts have been heavy on the dessert side of things. Sorry about that. Must be the cold winter months bringing out the baker in me. I just have a couple more to share with you and then I’ll get back to boring ol’ healthy stuff.

When I first read through this recipe for Meringues Chantilly, I was a bit put off by what seemed like a lot of steps and a lot of effort for something that contained no chocolate. I mean, how good could THAT be?

However, I was planning a lunch for some friends and needed a dessert I could make ahead of time. I also have a goal for this year to try a lot of new things, and meringues would fall into that category. My only experience with meringue is that fluffy (usually fairly tasteless) stuff you find on top of a lemon meringue pie. These meringue shells were so far from that!

I followed the meringues recipe exactly, baking the meringues late that night and letting them sit in the oven overnight. They were great in the morning, but by lunch there must have been some humidity in the house because a few of the cups were a little chewy on the bottom. The flavor was amazing though.

The warm stewed berries and soft whipped cream were a perfect complement to the crisp meringues, but next time I think I’ll make the meringue shells just a little smaller; the finished dessert was quite rich. I realize now (looking back at Ina’s photos) that I was a little too generous with the whipped cream as well! Look at that mound – sheesh!

For the stewed berries, I followed the recipe, but instead used some frozen mixed berries and it worked great. This time of year usually fresh berries are expensive and it can be hit and miss with the flavor. I also omitted the framboise.

Now what I’m wondering is if anyone has had meringue shells filled with something other than berries and cream? Something chocolate perhaps? Either leave a comment or email me and let me know.

For more information on meringues check this site. It has some great tips and even a Q&A section to help problem solve any of your meringue trauma.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It’s Food Related. I promise.

Each month I get a mailer from Thanksgiving Point.  I usually flip through it and then toss it.  This time the list of cooking classes caught my eye.  Check out Lori Bennett’s class. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Have you tried Lentils?



If you would have asked me last week how I feel about lentils, I would have told you that I hate them.  No, not a mere dislike.  Hate.  Why?  I have no idea.  I must have tried them at some point in my childhood, but I don’t remember a specific meal.  All I know is that when I saw them in the grocery store I felt like wrinkling up my nose and sticking out my tongue. 


Then last year a friend of mine hosted a lunch and served (among other things) a  Warm Lentil Salad.  Guess what?  I tried it and I didn’t die.  Instead, I loved it.  It was delicious!  Bring on the lentils, baby! 



Lentils are legumes, but cook a whole lot faster than your average dried bean.  They don’t need to be soaked, just rinsed (look them over to check for small rocks) and cooked.  Lentils are low in fat, are an excellent source of protein and are high in iron, zinc and calcium.  They are also a great source of fiber.  This superfood would be a great addition to your long-term pantry (a.k.a. food storage).  Store them in an airtight container and in a cool, dry place. 


In the photo above, the lentils on the left are your typical grocery store brand brown lentil.  They are inexpensive and easy to find, however they can get mushy if you over cook them.  The lentils on the right are a french green lentil.  I tracked these down in our local Sunflower Markets, and I bet a Whole Foods-type market would carry them as well.  They were in a bulk bin, which was nice because I could purchase just what I needed for this one recipe.  That’s a great way to go if you’re not sure your family will fully embrace lentils.


A few days ago we tried a really yummy lentil soup.  It’s a recipe I found online from one of my favorite sources:  Ina Garten’s page on   It’s called Lentil Vegetable Soup and it’s a great soup for a snowy winter evening.  I took her original recipe and cut it in half to make 4 large servings.  Both Mr. DoM and I decided that we would like it a little more soupy next time so I’ll add more of the chicken stock and tomato paste.  I also think some chunks of tomatoes would be great so I’ll add some of those in as well.  The recipe suggests serving this with some fresh grated Parmesan, but I preferred it without.


This was great the next day for lunch and I imagine that it would freeze beautifully as well – if you are so inclined to make a large batch, eat some now and freeze some for later.  I did read somewhere that lentils can be frozen for up to 6 months, but reheat them carefully or they may fall apart and become mushy.  


So now that I know I like lentils, I’m searching for more recipes!  Do you have one your family loves that you wouldn’t mind sharing?



Link to Lentil Vegetable Soup recipe


Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Stir fry is one of my go-to meals.  I usually have the ingredients on hand, and I can throw it together quickly.  There is no real “recipe” and my stir fry is a bit different every time depending on what’s in my fridge.  Here is the one thing that is always in my stir fry:



Let’s face it, a delicious sauce made with love from fresh ingredients is the best.  But there are days when I have approximately 16.5 minutes to throw dinner together so we can get on with our busy evening.  When that is the case, a store-bought sauce will have to do.  I’ve tried other bottled sauces and we either don’t like the flavor, or they’re too runny.  This one is our favorite, and it works great as a dip for tempura vegetables as well.  (side note:  while this does contain sugar, don’t get caught up on that.  If some yummy sauce helps your kids eat a plate full of vegetables, then go for it!)


I also keep some of these noodles in my pantry.  They’re thin, so they boil up quickly and I can toss them in with the stir fry at the last minute.  It can help stretch a 3-serving stir fry into a 4 or 5-serving stir fry.  I also use these noodles in my Sesame Ginger Noodles



The vegetables (and fruits) that have made an appearance in this dish at one time or another are (in no particular order):  mushrooms, carrots, yellow onions, green onions, green/yellow/red peppers, sliced water chestnuts, zucchini, cilantro, pineapple, diced tomatoes, broccoli, and celery.  Usually I only have 3 or 4 of those on hand, and I think if you were to use too many veggies it would be kind of a mess. 



To finish off the stir fry, I have some toasted sesame seeds on the table as well as this stuff:  Chili Garlic Sauce.  I can take about 3 drops of this stuff, while Mr. Dinner’s on Me can ladle it on by the spoonful. 


There is not really a recipe for stir fry, so instead I’ll type up the process that I use to create my stir fry.  First I prep all my meats and vegetables.  Usually I’m using chicken, and I chop it into bite sized pieces so it’s easy for the kids to manage.  Vegetables get the same treatment.


I heat a large fry pan (mine’s non-stick) to medium-high heat and add a Tablespoon or so of oil.  Add the chicken pieces and cook until about half way done.  Push chicken to the side, add a little more oil if necessary and toss in your vegetables.  If you pan is not big enough, you may need to remove your chicken for this step.  I let the veggies cook for 4-5 minutes and then I add some teriyaki sauce and stir everything together.  The chicken and vegetables finish cooking in the sauce.  Depending on the vegetables you use, you may need to add a little bit of water.  At this point, I toss in my cooked noodles so they can absorb some of the flavor of the sauce.  You could also serve the stir fry over plain noodles, or leave the noodles out and serve over rice. 


We love this dish as leftovers too! 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Menu No. 105

Monday - Beef Stew, fruit salad
Tuesday - Thin Crust Pizzas, spinach salad
Wednesday - SW Burritos
Thursday - Lentil Soup, Bread
Friday - eat out
Saturday - Mom's Potato Soup, fruit salad
Sunday - something in the crockpot. Suggestions, anyone??

Need more menu ideas? Check out a huge list of links over at!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

No Longer MIA

I know… I haven’t been around in awhile.  I’ve got posts comin’ though.  Stir fry, anyone?  How about  Crepes?  Meringues?  Oreo Bites?  Panzanella?


Well, for now all I have is this:



The smell is intoxicating.