Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cooking Light Cook Along June 2010 -Grilled Polenta with Spicy Steak

Today I learned something.

Presentation at dinnertime around here (for regular family nights) as pretty much been limited to putting the chicken nuggets in a flower shape with a ketchup center....
But tonight... I went all out and the results were GREAT! Tonight I cooked up Grilled Polenta with Spicy Steak from the Cooking Light June 2010 issue.

It's part of a cook-along challenge, where I'm actually trying to cook from my magazines. This is the second recipe I've cooked from this issue. For the first post, see Pan Fried Eggrolls.

This dinner was great, easy and fast. In fact, finding the ingredients was the toughest part. Also, you might not think this would be kid friendly, but it was well recieved by my 5 and 7 year old, who ate a piece of beef, the avoacados, and the polenta-- even with the chili oil on it.

Queso Fresca isn't in every grocery store. For that matter, niether is polenta! Save yourself some trouble and hit a specialty store instead of making your buddy (thanks Amanda!) circle Kroger with you... asking the clueless help where it is. (What is it? What was that again? They were willing, just not able.) Also, Amanda asked why I didn't make the polenta myself???? Aparently, although we are friends... she's never really MET me. I ended up using Feta as a substitute for the Queso Fresca, which is embarassing since I live in Texas! (C'mon Kroger...)

Check for Polenta in the produce section where the meatless organic stuff is... is sometimes sold as a meat substitute. (Funny, since here it is served WITH beef.)

The beef took longer to cook than the recipe called for, so allow longer or turn up the heat. I'm not talking about needing it well done...it was raw. Since this was another speed dinner at our house I sliced a few pieces and grilled them up seperately at the end. I also cooked the polenta while the beef was resting, which allowed the beef to rest a little longer. Perhaps my flank steak was thicker than most???

The chili /oil sauce did not make enough to cover my beef and polenta, so I had to mix up some extra. I couldn't believe my littlest didn't use the word "hot" or "PICY" tonight. Wow.
The girls thought the presentation was awesome (followed the directions on page 30)... and it also got a positive nod from the hubby.

Also -- as I mentioned, I gave up on Queso Fresca for tonight...so I used Feta. It was delicious anyway. Quick, impressive and delicious... this one's getting ripped out and added to the keeper file.

Mary Kay wasn't born cheap... but she got there pretty quickly.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Update on PanFried Eggrolls, and new recipie

In case you just arrived, I'm cooking up goodies from the cooking Light June 2010. The first one was egg rolls. The panfried egg rolls were a big hit in my house by everyone over 10. My husband even gave me a "yummy..." (be still my heart!)

They were super easy to make, and Gulf Shrimp 21/25 were on sale at Kroger for $5.95 /lb so they were fairly economical. Knowing there might be some dissention ahead of time, I cooked up some shrimp a little dfifferently, just for the girls.

things I didn't have and had to buy:
  1. bean sprouts (I ended up using canned, as I couldn't find any fresh)
  2. sweet chili sauce (not at all upset about this as we loved it! I can find lots of useages for this)
  3. shrimp (duh!)
  4. egg roll wrappers (these are in the refridgerated produce section next to organic and meatless things)
  5. Rice Vinegar - This is a staple, but I was out.

Overall, not the cheapest recipe.

Things I wish the magazine had told me about cooking them:
  • Pretty small. I ended up throwing a few more shrimp in them, and a few more bean sprouts. Probably took all the "light" out of the recipe, but we thoroughly enjoyed them!
  • They fried a lot quicker than the magazine suggested at 7 minutes. Mine were more like 3 minutes. Nice and quick, but watch them or they'll burn.

Mary Kay wasn't born cheap... but she got there pretty quickly.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cook Along Anyone?

Wow. So this Julia and Julie movie really started something, and now there are cook along blogs everywhere.
Can't really commit to cooking through a whole book. Sorry if you were waiting for that ! :)

I was thinking though, man if I cooked all the recipes in my magazines, I'd never cook the same thing twice. (Mind you, I never said the dynamic duo would eat said cooking...)

My dear youngest gave me a book on Friday about "mom" which stated "One thing Mom really knows how to cook is macaroni and cheese (this is a high compliment from the queen of 5) . One thing my mom doesn't know how to cook is vegetables. (Hope my own Mom is NOT reading this!) Obviously, I might need to add to my selection of recipes. Enter the June 2010 Cooking Light Magazine. There are 70 recipes in the magazine, only 30 days in June. Could I do it????

If you'd like to cook with me, give me a shout. I'm going to start in MAY with hopes of finishing by the end of JUNE.

Tonight's projects (which need to be eaten right away as the fridge is breaking again...) Pan Fired Egg Rolls. I'm sorry to say I won't be posting the recipe here, but if you are a Cooking Light subscriber, you can turn to page 208.

Mary Kay wasn't born cheap... but she got there pretty quickly.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Teacher's Job Fair- Update

So it won't come to a surprise to anyone who knows me, but today I attended the North Texas Teacher's Job Fair at the Arlington Convention Center.

I am sad about this because:
  1. I spent countless hours working on individualizing cover letters and looking up names/titles. One person looked at my carefully constructed packet, tore off the resume, and handed me back the rest.
  2. Each district within a 60 mile driving radius to my house had at LEAST a half hour wait to talk to someone. The "Talk" then consisted of them basically saying "did you bring a resume?" (See number one...)
  3. For this glorious waste of time I missed my pre-school class bringing me roses one by one. :(

I'd be curious what the actual attendance ratio to jobs available numbers would be for this event. I'm guessing they looked like this:

5,678,532 elementary education applicants : 6 jobs

356 bilingual applicants : 489 jobs

2,789 secondary applicants : 48 jobs

10 fine arts applicants : 35 jobs (This table was open at every district!)

6,785,322 cars: 253 parking spots

I'm sitting for my ESL test next weekend, then I'm going to start studying for my 4-8 math. In the meantime, anyone need help flipping burgers?