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I'm still enjoying my newest cookbook: The Dinner Plan. This is a recipe they served us at the class my husband and I took with one of the cookbook authors. It's called Savory Tart: 3 ways. This is a variation on way #1: Asparagus and Ham. (I added some leftover lemon pepper chicken we had in the fridge, too).

VERY SIMPLE, but tastes and looks so fancy. Thaw some puff pastry and fold up the edges of it to make a crust edge. Put holes in it with a fork. Make a layer of pieces of ham, spread dijon mustard over the ham, line with asparagus, drizzle with oil, sprinkle on some thyme salt and pepper, bake at 500 for 12 minutes, then add some cheese, and cook 3 more minutes.

I served with some extra side veggies and some tomato soup. One Bryant isn't home yet, so I don't know what she thinks, but both adults like it. The youngest wrinkled up her nose at the mustard, but what does she know? She's only ten. She'll get it someday :-)
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Corn and Potato Chowder from The Dinner Plan by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion. I'm enjoying this new cookbook and so far, it does seem to be all it was cracked up to be. Food that is interesting enough, but not so interesting that your youngest child won't eat it, with prep times that fit into a busy schedule.

I made Corn and Potato Chowder a few days ago when the weather was very cold and we needed a staggered dinner plan because we'd be eating at different times over the course of the evening. My husband helped chop potatoes while I prepared other ingredients, so we had it all in the pot within 15 minutes or so and ready to eat at about the 40 minute mark, so do-able even on a weeknight. (It also makes ahead if you want to put it in the fridge a day or two in advance).

My husband "Mama Bryant" ed (our family term for messing with the recipe by adding something that may make it more interesting or may make it just strange) his bowl by adding dijon mustard and dill. He said it was lovely that way. I ate mine as the recipe directed with a garlic knot roll.

Tastier and more interesting than the potato soup I usually make, with the same comforting feeling that is so good on a cold or hard day. I'll be keeping this one in our repertoire.
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I got a couple of new cookbooks for winter holidays, including The Dinner Plan by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion. Sweetman and I attended a cooking demonstration class Brennan offered at our local fancy food store, Southern Seasons, and were intrigued by the premise of this cookbook which promised a range of dinner solutions for busy family lives. The book is organized by usual cookbook categories, but also tabs recipes as cook ahead, staggered, and other helpful circumstance markers.

This was the first recipe I tried out of it: Skillet Chicken and Rice Two Ways. I only made it one way, the simpler "plain" version tonight. The three Bryants who were home all found the chicken flavorful.

I misread the recipe and used already-cooked rice instead of cooking rice in the chicken broth, so my rice and peas portion got too soggy to be palatable, but that's on me, not the recipe. I was pleased with how hearty the recipe was and how good it smelled. I will definitely try it again, following the directions a little better next time.
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1/2/18
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Well, 2017 has come to a close and sadly, I must report that I failed to try a new #recipeaweek as I had hoped in 2017. My collection has 34 posts in it, though, so it's not a complete disaster. I found several things my family enjoyed and definitely reignited my interest in meal preparation.

I think I'll set my goal a little lower for 2018: a new recipe every month. Given the busy pace of our lives, that's probably a little more realistic. A new recipe, even one that eventually becomes quick and easy for you, always takes more time the first time you prepare it, and time is the thing I am chronically short one (I know: I'm so punny).

Here's hoping we find some new delicious and nutritious meals to delight our tastebuds in 2018.
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We're in a belt-tightening time at La Casa Bryant, which meant choosing our meals this week based on what ingredients were already in the pantry and could be made without buying much else. Luckily, our pantry was reasonably well stocked, so it's not been our favorite eating week ever, but it's hardly been dire.

We had Bisquick on hand. I'm not sure why, as it's not usual for me to buy bread mix things like that. I must've bought it to make something with earlier this year and then just left it on the shelf. So, looking for recipes to use it, we found this one.

So tonight's dinner was this Impossibly Easy Lasagna Pie. My overall review is, "It's okay." I followed the advice in the comments and spiced it up a bit, adding garlic and some Italian herb mix to the beef (the recipe only asked for salt). The resulting dish was neither good nor bad. Not gross, but not wonderful either. Sort of comfort-y, if boring. Sort of an it'll do sort of meal.

Makes me wonder about those song lyrics though, from Little Shop of Horrors. "I cook like Betty Crocker and I look like Donna Reed." Is it really a selling point to advertise that you make passable, but dull meals?
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I have totally failed to keep up with my #recipeaweek plan in the second half of 2017, but I'm hoping to finish well :-)

Tonight I made Soba Noodle Soup With Beef. It ended up being just the meal I wanted: fresh and light, but warm and hearty enough. No Sweetman tonight, but the elder daughter and I both really enjoyed it. The younger daughter not so much, but she's still young enough that we're working on the "eat something made of multiple ingredients mixed together" part of life. She'd rather have a compartmentalized plate, I think.

It was a quick fix, about half an hour, which is short for soup and the ginger gave it just a bit of kick without becoming spicy. I'm a fan of soba noodles. They have a comforting texture.

I purchased stew meat to make this soup, mostly as a time saver: it was already chopped into cubes. But the cubes ended up being a little large, and the meat, probably as a result of the size of the chunks, a little too chewy. When I make it again, I'll buy higher quality beef and chop it smaller.

But all in all, a nice, comforting, not too complicated soup. You can find the recipe here: http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a34263/soba-noodle-soup-beef-recipe-122635/

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#recipeaweek I was craving soba noodles, which are yummy, but not something I have often prepared at home. So, I found this recipe: https://www.nospoonnecessary.com/thai-veggie-soba-noodle-bowls/# Thai Veggie Soba Noodle Bowls.

I have to say I'm pretty pleased. It felt light and healthy (lots of veggies) and, with my husband helping with the chopping it only took about 30 minutes start to finish. I cooked all the veggies together in the wok with the noodles and oil, then added some rotisserie chicken. We mixed in the cabbage in our individual bowls to keep it crisp.

Colorful food makes me happy, and this one made both elder Bryants very happy. The teen is not home, so didn't get to try it. The tween found it too spicy (it's not very spicy, she's just tender that way).

I'd make it again. Could be nice without meat or with other kinds of meat, and stuck with me better than some Asian dishes do.
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9/16/17
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I've made another similar recipe sometime fairly recently, but I like this one better. Asian Lettuce Wraps. The addition of water chestnuts made a nice texture I really enjoyed. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/71722/asian-lettuce-wraps/

I neglected to take any pictures, being in a hurry to get to family game night, so here's a picture from the website. Mine wasn't as beautifully displayed, of course, but it did look similar in the bowl.

All four Bryants ate it happily enough (the youngest still resists mixture-food, but we're winning her over). It was filling without being heavy, and spicy without being too hot for the younger Bryants who are less fond of spicy foods.
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We had such a lovely fall day today. Just a little chill come morning and again in the evening, warming to a warm but not overheated afternoon. It put me in a mood for a nice soup or stew, so I made Pork and Tomatillo Stew: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/pork-and-tomatillo-stew I've made a similar stew before, but the texture of this one was nicer.

Putting it together took an hour or so, with a fair amount of chopping of vegetables and adding things in stages, but it smelled wonderful and I had a good audio-book (Emma Donaghue's The Wonder) so it was pleasant enough work.

It made a hearty and delicious meal. I had mine with some buttered saltine crackers, a trick I inherited from my Dad. Sweetman had his just straight up. The eldest still hasn't had dinner (she's working tonight). The youngest isn't well, so I didn't push it on her, but indulged her with a chicken broth and honey tea and other seasonal cold/allergy treats.

There's enough that we can all have it again for lunch tomorrow, too. That's always nice when a bigger effort meal feeds you more than once. All in all, a hit.
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Tonight felt like a good night to try something new, so I looked through an Eating Well magazine I hadn't yet opened and found this recipe for Creamy Chicken and Mushrooms. It sounded tasty, but not too time consuming for my energy level. Took about an hour, so maybe not a great weeknight choice (we try to keep meal prep to 1/2 an hour on weeknights), but fine for a weekend.

I was really pleased with how it came out. I served it with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. A hit with all the Bryants and lots of wistful looks from the pup as well.
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9/2/17
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