Hello Fresh: Crispy Chicken Parmigiana Salad

Tonight’s dinner comes from Hello Fresh, a company similar to Plated that we have tried out previously.  A friend of Sara’s got us a week’s worth of food boxes as a gift to try out the service.  The boxes contain awesome ingredients with easy to follow instructions, it appears most of the recipes are geared toward a 25-35 minute start-to-finish time.

This recipe involved roasting potatoes for a potato salad along with prepping a breaded-chicken main. The chicken is pounded flat and then sour creme and parmagiana breading is put on top.

After the potatoes have roasted for 25 minutes they are mixed with a lemon juice and sour creme based dressing and then the spinach is mixed in to wilt a little bit.

The final result was a delightful breaded-chicken and fresh spinach salad:


The kiddos had picture day at school so Sarai dressed them up in some new duds:



Monday Salmon

We’ve fallen into a routine for the past month: Monday night Salmon followed by 3 nights of Hello Fresh Meals and a special meal on Friday.  And so it is that Catalina joined me to cook Salmon and sides.  I nervously monitored her use of a chef’s knife to prepare the green beens: she insisted on helping cut them.

She was very excited with her work.  We roasted the green beans along with cherry tomatoes.  2 happy customers:


Fried Wontons

After starting my education on Chinese food I quickly strayed down the path of evil: Americanized Chinese food.  What can I say? I’m a sucker for greasy scrumptious food. I found a truly excellent blog called The Woks Of Life and located a Fried Wonton recipe.  Then Catalina and I went to the kitchen and got to work mixing wonton stuffing and prepping 3 sauces.

I read the blogs instructions for two different ways to fold the wontons, then gave Catalina the rundown.  Her folds looked a little different than mine, but she had a ton of fun making her wontons.

The end results tasted AMAZING, we all agreed the Sweet Apricot Dipping sauce was the favorite of the three.


Oliver played with legos during the cook and also worked on an especially important writing assignment that his teacher sent home from school:



Every Grain of Rice

For Christmas this year I received a wok and a cookbook about chinese cuisine called: Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking.


The wok is a 14-inch carbon-steel model that needed to be seasoned before use.  I followed the instructions on the wok by first scrubbing the hell out of it with a scouring pad to remove the store coating that is meant to prevent rust.

After scrubbing off the coating I heated the wok of the stove on high heat and applied/removed many layers of oil.

The resulting ‘patina’ is slick as snot and ready to cook with.  I began with trying the most ‘Americanized’ recipe in the entire book: General Tso’s Chicken.  I also grabbed a fried rice recipe to use as a side.


The cookbook is full of awesome looking recipes, there is also an extremely helpful section that includes descriptions of ingredients for the book that was indispensable when I went to Lubbock’s finest ‘oriental’ markets to stock up on supplies.


The General Tso’s chicken recipe went together without trouble but looked nothing like the picture … it also didn’t taste like I was expecting.  It wasn’t bad, just not what I was looking for.  So much for beginner’s luck!

On the other hand the Fried Rice was spectacular!!!  The recipe included peas, pineapple chunks, onions and eggs.

Overall not a bad first go with the new wok.IMG_2234


Good Morning from the Brinkers!

This morning as the kids were getting ready, Oliver asked to listen to the new Adele song, “hello.”  I turned it on using Spotify and after Adele’s version finished, “hello” by OMFG started to play. The kids thought it was a fun song, and it gave me the idea to make a video of our morning routine, which, as you will see, usually involves a bit of chaos, messiness, and at least two cups of coffee 🙂

We had fun making this together. I made the film on my phone using the iMovie app, which I didn’t even know was possible until my friend Sally and her daughter showed me films they’d made with the app.  Fun times! I hope that in a decade we will enjoy looking at this little vignette of everyday life.

– Sarai  

New Years ….. Resolutions.

Time for a new year and new beginnings ….  or at least reaffirming some things that are important in life.  Sarai and I are not big on new years resolutions, I certainly don’t take them seriously, but after talking things over there are a few things that we have decided.  Sarai has decided to get back to her heritage by cooking more Lebanese/Mediterranean dishes this year.  I on the other hand received a table saw, some new cook books and cooking utensils for Christmas, I have therefore resolved to woodwork with more finesse and to cook AND BLOG more.

To that end Sarai began by looking up recipes for Hummus. This time we began by doing the right thing; we decided to soak and cook the garbanzo beans instead of using store-bought cans.  Home cooked garbanzo’s taste much better.

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After prepping a large amount of Garbanzo beans Sarai took over and made the recipe in the food processor.  The home made beans have more flavor and produced a better hummus.


Spatchcock Chicken

In preparation for Thanksgiving this year I am brushing up on my Spatchcock technique.  After watching a Kenji video about making the perfect Spatchcock Turkey I am prepping a few small chickens in advance to get my technique down.  If you haven’t seen this video take a look:

I took care to brine my chicken for about 6 hours before cooking.  After removal of the back bone I flattened the chicken out over onions and cubed butternut squash.  I cooked this in the oven with high heat at 450 for about 30 minutes until the breast and leg meat hit their appropriate temps.  I removed the chicken to rest and continued roasting the vegetables for a few additional minutes.

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I also prepped some cous cous for an additional side as well.  The results are fantastic. The chicken comes out perfectly cooked – completely done dark meat with moist white meat.  I can’t wait for Thanksgiving to try this with a Turkey!!!!