Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chicken, Pot Roast and Trifle

I think I'm finally out of the takeout and eating at restaurant rut that characterized a lot of lunches and dinners in the fall. Looking back over my cooking patterns since Thanksgiving, it seems that I'm depending on some easy, quick and reliable dinners. For example, I've been eating a lot of chicken. After I made a roast chicken and we got a couple of meals out of it, I made soup with the bones and the rest of the meat. There's are at least four servings of the chicken noodle soup in the freezer, waiting for Davy or me to get a cold or need some extra comfort.

Whole Foods had nice snow peas, and that prompted a stir fry dinner with boneless chicken breasts and some leftover broccoli. The other half of the chicken went into an enchilada casserole, which is a simplified version of my rolled, baked enchiladas. Both the stir fry and casserole allowed us to have at least one extra serving of leftovers for subsequent dinners and lunches.

I had never made pot roast before, probably because I didn't really eat it growing up, but the Pioneer Woman's recipe (I saw it posted on Seriouseats.com) intrigued me. It's a substantial yet very simple dinner if you have a Dutch oven, and I think it also makes an impressive meal for guests or anyone else you want to show off your cooking skills to. We had it for our holiday dinner with Shannon and John, and it lent itself to an easy presentation.

Shannon made a mouthwatering, three-cheese macaroni and cheese, and we had green beans from her garden as the vegetable. I made Giada De Laurentiis' Chocolate, Chesnut, and Orange Trifle, which I managed to mess up only a little after hunting down the chestnut component. The recipe calls for chestnut paste, an ingredient I knew I would have trouble finding. Someone who made the trifle said they found at Whole Foods, so I went and tried to find it, but the closest I came was chestnut cream. The nice guy who helped me even gave me the cream for free since they didn't have what I was looking for!

Despite the alternate chestnut material and the fact that I forgot to sprinkle orange simple syrup on the last two layers of pound cake, the dessert was pretty tasty. I made sure to chop plenty of bittersweet Ghirardelli chocolate on the top to make up for my minor mistakes, and it's only gotten better with age.

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