Seafood Chowder & Cooking with a Counter’s-Eye View

To complement this week’s post about last week’s menu, I thought I’d try something different and set up my point-and-shoot camera on the counter while I made dinner. It was also a way to test out the camera as a vlogging alternative for my larger camcorder and, despite needing a larger memory card and more frequent charging, I think it’ll do just fine for casual vlogging.

View from the Countertop #1: https://youtu.be/u-26_0wQdnE

Obviously I’ve edited it down significantly as I spend, on average, half an hour making dinner each night, but what did you think? Want me to do this again? Would you like more commentary or is the music background alone cool? Feedback is always welcome. Like I said, this is an experiment.

On the Menu

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Monday: Seafood Chowder (recipe at the end of this post)
Chowder is less a recipe and more a method, at least the way I make it. Usually you start with bacon but I didn’t have any defrosted so I used the more easily divided local-made Italian sausage–it worked just as well. The thing about seafood anything is that you have to be careful not to overcook it or the shellfish will become tough and rubbery–not exactly appetizing. So you wait to add it once everything else is pretty much done and, in this case, I turned off the heat once I added the seafood mix and let the heat of the soup cook the seafood gently–once the shrimp was pink we were good to go.

Tuesday: Coconut Curry Chicken with Basmati Rice
One of the better freezer meals from that first batch I put together, I did forget that the sauce tended to be a bit thin by the end and didn’t thicken it this time. I’ve noted it on my freezer meal master list so the next time I put some up I can note it on the bag. Sometimes I’ll make a version of naan with this, but opted not to because I had a call to be on at 8 and needed to make sure dinner was done and dusted well before then.

Wednesday: Beef Quesadillas and Mexican Corn
A surprisingly good supper, I was just looking for something a little different to do and this came up in a Pinterest search, though I didn’t use any particular recipe. Seasoned beef with tomatoes and green chilies, my sweet potato refried-bean substitute, and plenty of shredded cheese. The Mexican Corn was just as simple: corn, a little diced tomato, a little diced green chilies, salt, pepper, and cumin for flavor. Top with salsa and sour cream (or Greek yogurt, in our case).

Thursday: Breaded Pork Chops, Quinoa, and Green Beans
I almost didn’t cook this night, I was so tired when I got home. But, at the same time, I was in the mood for some home cooking and the pork chops were defrosted so… Three step breading with coconut flour followed by beaten egg and then seasoned gluten-free breadcrumbs. Baked because it was too hot to even consider pan-frying them (plus a touch healthier, I suppose) and I could at least leave the room once the food was in the oven. The quinoa is cooked in our rice cooker with chicken broth, celery, carrots, and a splash of garlic olive oil. Todd’s turns out better (turns out he adds butter at the end) but mine wasn’t too bad.

Friday: “Brown Foods” Night
Otherwise known as appetizers for dinner. Not something we do often (thank goodness) but sometimes you just want to indulge in snacks and not eat a “real” dinner. So that’s what we did. Originally I’d planned to do breakfast for dinner so it wasn’t like this was any worse than the corned beef hash that we would have had. I regret nothing.

Saturday: Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pasta with Goat Cheese and a Side Salad
Making up for Friday, a bit, this was a meatless meal that started with making the red pepper pesto (super quick and very tasty) and then boiling pasta. Can’t beat simple! Pesto sauces are generally not my favorite as a stand-alone pasta topping but the goat cheese helped smooth it out and even the leftovers were amazing. And the extra pesto came in handy the next night when I was putting together another batch of freezer meals. (Recipe from Table for Two)

Sunday: Greek Lemon Chicken with Tzatziki Sauce and Seasoned Potato Wedges
This was the dinner that almost wasn’t! We got home from the Sam’s/Publix run around 6pm and I got started on the freezer meal prep while Todd went to lay down–he was exhausted! Around 8 something I put the marinade on the chicken and started the potatoes in the oven (seasoned with garlic olive oil, rosemary, oregano, salt, and pepper, like the patates we get at the Greek Festival) and kept going with the freezer meals for another hour. Todd wasn’t interested in getting up for supper–he was out for the night–but I forced myself to sit down and eat something before finishing meal prep. (Recipe from Recipe Runner)

It was after 11pm when I finished the 18 freezer meals. None of these needed any pre-cooking (thank goodness) but they still needed to be put together one by one. In addition to the freezer meals we also added another 7 meals worth of protein to the chest freezer and picked up some of the larger items we needed for the party this coming weekend. All in all a productive, if tiring, day. (And the time change didn’t help matters, but that’s an old rant.)

Seafood Sausage Chowder

Serves 6

2 T Garlic Olive Oil
2 Bell Peppers, Diced
4 Green Onions, Chopped
1/2 lb Italian Sausage, Diced
2 t Salt
1/2 t Black Pepper
1/4 c Flour
6 c Chicken Broth (or 2 T bullion powder and 6 c water)
6 Yukon Gold Potatoes, Peeled and Diced
1 can Coconut Milk
2 lb Seafood Mix

Heat olive oil in a large pot and saute peppers and onions until the peppers start to soften. Add sausage and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetable and sausage mixture, stirring to combine the flour with the oil in the pot, forming a roux. Add the potatoes and broth and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender (about 10 minutes). Stir in coconut milk and return to a boil.

Turn off heat (or reduce to low if your seafood mix is still slightly icy) and stir in seafood mix. Cook only as long as it takes for the seafood to cook (judge by the shrimp or squid’s opacity). Adjust seasoning to taste and serve hot.

Enjoy!

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