9-39: Zesty Meat Casserole

9-39: Zesty Meat Casserole

Not every Simply Delicious recipe is a home run. With 9-39: Zesty Meat Casserole, perhaps unsuccessfully, tries to break the mold. By not forming the beef into a patty, meatball, or kebab, this casserole tries to do something different. To cook this recipe, I had to prepare a parsnip, something I’m not accustomed to. I made this dish before a trip out of town and brought it with me to have something homemade to eat.

I cut my vegetables in a manner similar to the photograph, but my substitution of milk for half and half made the sauce come out runny.

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2-23: Grilled Chicken Salad

2-23: Grilled Chicken Salad

Who doesn’t love a simple salad? The editors of Simply Delicious knocked one out of the park with 2-23: Grilled Chicken Salad. Combining fresh vegetables with nicely cooked chicken is an easy method for creating a killer salad. My final product didn’t look much like the photo below, but the flavor is totally on point.

I love the bowl of strawberries and fresh baked biscuits behind the salad in the product photo.

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1-1: Orange-Glazed Chicken Wings

1-1: Orange-Glazed Chicken Wings

We’re over 3 years into this project, and I’m only now covering the very first recipe in the book, 1-1: Orange-Glazed Chicken Wings. I don’t think I’ve ever made these wings before, but the memory of coming up with this project and starting to put it into motion (by sitting down and actually scanning the cards) features this recipe very prominently. Since this was the very first one, that might explain why the edges of the card pictures are strangely cropped.

While this would probably make a decent appetizer, I feel like as a society we’ve come pretty far in wing technology and distribution methods in the last 30 years–these are a lot of work for something that are pretty easy and cheap to just buy in, especially in more interesting flavor/spice combinations. There’s entire restaurants dedicated to wings at this point (even ones that don’t feature an owl and scantily-clad women).

We did make wings in-house during my restaurant tenure, but people are awfully finicky about the preferred style (fried vs baked, breaded vs non-breaded, vinegar-based sauce or not, etc.) of their wings, especially when craft beer and other hipster-y stuff like chalkboards and cornhole are involved. 🍻

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1-18: Club Sandwich

1-18: Club Sandwich

In honor of Presidents Day today, here’s a classic American dish: 1-18: Club Sandwich. Wikipedia claims the club sandwich (or “clubhouse sandwich”) originated in late 19th century New York. It’s not hard to find one these days, and while the Simply Delicious version is not quite restaurant-sized (usually they’re HUGE), it’s still a hearty lunch or dinner option. 🇺🇸

I have no idea what’s going on with their picture or description of this sandwich–their picture only shows one layer (no middle bread) and the order of ingredients they describe above doesn’t match the recipe. I think I’m sticking with the recipe version.

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1-10: Seafood Cocktail Louisiana

1-10: Seafood Cocktail Louisiana

I’m counting 1-10: Seafood Cocktail Louisiana as the fourth dish I made of this year’s 7-recipe Thanksgiving cooking marathon (TGV 2016) , but its components actually spanned a few days (and a few cooks). This was one of three appetizers I made for my Thanksgiving dinner–the others being a crudité & hummus platter and 1-5: Pigs in a Blanket.

My mom was always big on the idea of “shrimp cocktail” as being necessary for Thanksgiving dinner appetizers (it was always part of her family’s holiday dinner when she was growing up), so in order to honor that idea, I chose this recipe.

1-10-seafood-cocktail-louisianaAs I mentioned above, I’m counting this as the fourth dish I made–it spanned Wed. 11/23 and Thu. 11/24 as different components had varying levels of make-in-advance-ability. My sous chef made the dressing and prepped shrimp the first night, while I assembled the dish itself right before serving the next day.

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11-3: Indian Scampi

11-3: Indian Scampi

Jamie made me a dish when we first started dating that she called “Shrimp Something“. This recipe, 11-3: Indian Scampi is a dish that is pretty similar to “Shrimp Something” so I really enjoyed it. 👍

11-3-indian-scampi_page_1Shrimp has to be one of my favorite crustaceans to eat. 🍤

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13-7: Falafel

13-7: Falafel

I do enjoy getting falafel when I go out to a Middle-Eastern restaurant. It’s much easier to cook them when you have a deep fryer. In the past, I have pan-fried some falafel, but it tastes the best when it is crispy and fried. Since we happened to be borrowing a deep-fryer, I made 13-7: Falafel.

13-7 Falafel_Page_1I didn’t have any pita on hand, so I served the balls with a spicy dipping sauce instead of in the traditional pita pocket.

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2-36: California Egg Salad

2-36: California Egg Salad

I’m not quite sure what makes 2-36: California Egg Salad “Californian”. I think in the 1980s if you served something on lettuce leaves instead of on bread, it was now “healthy” and therefore “Californian”.

2-36 California Egg SaladI like how their idea of “livening up” egg salad is adding Tabasco and mustard. Really living on the edge there, Simply Delicious.

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12-22: Nasi Goreng

12-22: Nasi Goreng

Here’s something a bit different from the Pasta and Rice chapter. Simply Delicious has a lot of international recipes, some more authentic than others. 12-22: Nasi Goreng is a take on a popular Indonesian fried rice dish, a sweeter and spicier variation of the ubiquitous Chinese take-out version.

This recipe doesn’t give you much in the way of creating Nasi Goreng spices if you don’t have access to or want to use a premixed blend. After the jump, I’ll include a Nasi Goreng spice blend I used and a link to the book from which I pulled it.

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1-22: Onion-Potato Diamonds

1-22: Onion-Potato Diamonds

Finally, an appetizer from the first section of the book. Another story for you: in my first apartment after I graduated college and moved back home to LA, I threw an 80s Valentine’s Day party, and 1-22: Onion-Potato Diamonds were one of the appetizers I made for it–another was 5-20: Golden Cheese Tartlettes.

Look at them. Something about them just screams 1980s cocktail party to me. This time around, I made them to take to a get-together I was attending, along with 17-36: Grandma’s Spice Cake. Both ended up being big hits.

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