The only downside in moving to the country - aside from the ridiculously slow and limited internet options - is that with the longer commute, my dinner prep time has been drastically cut. But I am finding a way!
This quick and easy meal tasted restaurant quality if you ask me and even though, after every bite he was gulping down milk to cut the spice, Mr. Midwest even enjoyed (tolerated?) it too. I'm thankful that he will eat anything I make even though I tend to be a little more diverse in my food preferences.
The key to this meal is the sauce. A good friend and co-worker of mine did the research for me. Born and raised in Singapore, she is always on the lookout for what local gem she can find at Asian groceries and this one (pictured left) had her stamp of approval.
Since the hard part was out of the way all I had to do was cook up some chicken, make sure to use butter to get a nice browned finish, throw in some local farmer's market veggies, and boil some pasta. BAM. The purple carrots really made this dish look special. They taste about the same as orange carrots but liven up the dish. DISCLAIMER: The purple will die the chicken and pasta if stored together for leftovers resulting in some really 'interesting' looking lunch the next day. Also, you'll want to save extra sauce for the leftovers as it soaks in and gets a little dry. Adding a little bit of water before reheating can help too.
One quick meal down, and I've officially become a fan of the one-bowl-meals for weeknights.
It was a simple evening in our farmhouse but the perfect end to the day.
With all of the home grown goodness popping up all over Indiana this time of year and not having a garden yet myself due to the move, I picked up three pounds of green beans a couple of days ago. Had my bag been bigger it could have easily become ten.
I haven't yet expanded my canning experience to beans but I'm more partial to the blanch and freeze method for taste. Just love that "snap!" of freshness and the green flavor they pack in when sauteed even weeks later. All they will really need is a slab of butter and some sea salt to hit the spot, but add some onion, bacon, and a dash of vinegar and they steal the show. I'll have to share that recipe at a later time - thanks to my mum for that one. Spoiler alert: it's amazing. Even Mr. Midwest gobbles down those veggies.
Speaking of Mr. Midwest, I had some help snapping beans tonight in our work-in-progress kitchen. As we filled each other in about our work days and schemed of what project to tackle this weekend (if I can catch up on laundry I'll chalk it as a win) I had a quiet realization - It's only been a month, but this, this feels like home.
When it comes to feeding a meat-and-potatoes guy, he pretty much only wants... meat and potatoes. Insert mind explosion sound effect here. But on my quest to raise a healthy family, I've been trying to explore other routes to getting more greens on the plate and replacing those potatoes. [Enter one of the oldest grains on Earth - FARRO!]
Every time I go to the grocery I have been trying to pick up a different kind of grain or starch to try out. So far Mr. Midwest is open to cous-cous, quinoa, and now farro. I get the questioning eye every time I start peeling potatoes and he asks if they are 'normal potatoes.' Sweet potato fries seem to be only a nod towards the Five Guy's or Penn Station fries he loves so much. We do indulge every once in awhile, life's too short to not occasionally let yourself splurge.
But back to farro... I decided to make a farro salad of sorts and paired it with baked bacon-wrapped free-range, organic chicken breasts. I had to have a bargaining factor here and bacon is always a strong 1-2 punch to seal any deal.
After rinsing the farro with cold water, I cooked 1 cup of farro with about 3 cups of water. I've read that a lot of people like to salt the water but I wanted to hold off until the end to season it to avoid adding extra sodium. It took about 20 minutes of cooking at a low boil to reach al dente status. From here, I pretty much followed the suggested recipe on the back of the farro package. I really only dropped out the parsley and added more garlic and adjusted the measurements based on personal taste.
After a quick drain, I added the farro to a bowl with 2 chopped cloves of garlic, 1/2 yellow onion, a handful of chopped chive (from the garden - yay!), a pint of cherry tomatoes chopped in half, a splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and turn or two of fresh ground pepper and sea salt. Toss and serve! It was a bit spicy due to the garlic and onion, but it was just how we like it. I might have been the only one that went for seconds, but Mr. Midwest did say he'd eat it again. I'll call that a win.
I was drawn to design by a combined love of physics and fine arts. I just love the problem solving aspect of it.