Penne from heaven

April 7, 2009


Sadly, I forgot to photograph the pasta, but here is the pro-version from Everyday Food.

Sadly, I forgot to photograph the pasta, but here is the pro version from Everyday Food.



In search of a little comfort food last week, I browsed the pasta section in the March issue of Everyday Food. I quickly settled on the baked penne with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes because it reminded me of a dish we used to order in Ann Arbor at the Cottage Inn. The magazine suggests you cook half of the pasta and freeze the other half, but I knew the whole thing would be gone within 24 hours, and that’s exactly what happened.



The recipe was pretty easy to follow, especially after a trip to Trader Joe’s where I bought a bag of pre-shredded Quattro Formaggio (I love a good short cut) cheese, which I believe included asiago, provolone and parmesan. I had whole wheat penne in the cabinet, sun-dried tomatoes in the fridge and chicken breast in the freezer. Hooray for using a few things I already own. I put the pasta on and sauteed the chicken, then dealt with the bechamel/cheese sauce. So without explicitly saying so, this is a modified mac and cheese. I think you’ll feel less guilty about eating it if you just call it baked penne, but it’s pretty darn cheesy and completely delicious on a chilly, rainy night. Also, I tend to feel much better about eating like that when I prepare it myself and know exactly what the ingredients are, and that no high fructose corn syrup or processed sodium laden stuff got in. 



3-buck what?

March 16, 2009


I'm assuming Troy is Zac Efron's character, but I've never seen High School Musical.

I'm assuming Troy is Zac Efron's character, but I've never seen High School Musical.



I don’t know if anyone else has noticed the proliferation of $3 wonders available right now, but I have, and some of them are pretty amazing or at least amusing…

3 Buck Bites: This new site from Citysearch showcases cheap eats in cities across the country that will run you $3.99 or less. Added bonus: You can cast your vote for your favorite inexpensive nosh.

Three Buck Chuck: Charles Shaw, the Trader Joe’s private label wine brand, includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc, among other varietals. Bottles go for about $3.99, at least in NYC, and some of them are, at the very least, drinkable. 

3-buck Thursdays:  At bar called Q-Lounge in Phoenix, AZ, there are $3 drink specials on Thursdays.

3-buck copier paper for a cause: Staples has HP Mutlipurpose Breast Cancer Awareness Copy Paper on clearance for $3.90 this week.

3-buck High School Musical Rockin’ Door Hanger: Target is featuring this nifty dry-erace door tag for High Musical enthusiasts at the bargain price of $3.70. 

8-piece order of Chive and Pork Dumplings: Vanessa’s Dumplings on East 14th Street will serve you up a hot meal for just $3.49.



What’s for dinner?

March 12, 2009


Will it be orange, cumin and honey? Or ginger and soy?

Will it be orange, cumin and honey? Or ginger and soy?



As always, the question of what to make for dinner is plaguing me. Not that I cook every night, far from it, but somehow I’m always thinking about it. Today is no different. I have a cut-up chicken in the refrigerator, from Trader Joe’s, and I’d like to roast it with some new flavors or seasonings. Yesterday, I read this recipe from Bittman’s blog in the NYT, and am thinking of giving it a try. Though he’s given instruction for a whole chicken, I will modify cooking times for pieces. I do have a large piece of ginger in the fridge that should be used, in which case I could do his ginger chicken, though this one requires more hands-on time and effort. In any case, I will use that chicken in some way to provide dinner for myself and Max. A side of vegetables is unconfirmed at the moment, but I may stop at the Manhattan Fruit Exchange at Chelsea Market for some provisions. I love wandering the aisles there. There are so many interesting and exotic things to chose from. Though the abundance can make it an overwhelming experience, especially when you just want something easy to make for a dinner side dish. Oh, the humanity! I’m obviously trying to ignore all the real-world issues happening today. It’s a classic case of transference.