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Posts Tagged ‘Wegman’s’

English: A slice of homemade Thanksgiving pump...

English: A slice of homemade Thanksgiving pumpkin pie served on a glass plate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuesday is shopping day for me.  I’m off to Delicious Orchards to buy a Turkey Breast, a pumpkin pie and some apple cider – AND anything else that jumps off the shelf into my basket.  I know I will get sucked into buying some of the produce and ingredients there WHEN I know I will be paying more there than at Wegman’s but I can already feel the deep-bone tiredness that comes from store hopping and grocery shopping.  

Each year I tell myself not to overdo it and that it isn’t necessary to make every dish from scratch.  Intellectually that works right up until shopping day.  For the past several nights I have been cruising around the  Martha Stewart, Real Simple and Cooking with Nonna web sites and for every dish I eliminate, I add yet another.  I really love to make special dishes and prepare meals like Thanksgiving.  It’s not like I am creating dishes necessarily of my own, since if you read this blog, you know I pick out recipes that I think will be delicious.  Over the years I have compiled a large Thanksgiving recipes folder.  It’s filled with several different root vegetable soups, lots and lots of side dishes, salads, a good number of stuffing recipes and of course a bunch of ways to prep and season the turkey.  I even have pie recipes in there but I have to admit once I discovered Delicious Orchards, I haven’t made a Thanksgiving or Christmas pie.  However, lest you get completely disillusioned, let me state that I do make desserts, such as a cranberry trifle, a pumpkin cheesecake (to die for) and this year I making a chocolate ricotta mousse.

My grocery list is now a page and half and I have one day to do it all plus a few everyday errands;  You know the dry cleaner, Staples and the liquor store.  I can’t imagine cooking tomorrow night or Wednesday night, sounds like take-out Chinese!  

We’ve invited 4 guests so it will be six of us which is 3 more than originally planned.  So all of my OCD planning, recipe-reading, list making of what needed to be purchased for each recipe HAD to be revised so each dish will feed that many.  

Now if I can only find those plates!! I can’t believe I’m in this predicament, me who has no less than 4 sets of dishes in my New York apartment  cannot find the china plates for the cottage. This sounds weird I know, but here’s the deal;  The cottage has a 1950’s kitchen theme and motif so all of dinnerware and service pieces of Melmac or Bootonware or one of the other plastic dish wares of that era.  I have turquoise plates, pink plates, bowls in both colors, green service pieces, Jadite mugs, all of my glasses are from the 50’s – I just love it! I even have vintage cookware;  who remembers CLUB pots and pans?  Mine are turquoise.  However, as much as I love my dishes, I would like to serve Thanksgiving dinner on china plates and somewhere I believe there’s a set of Martha Stewart plates.  But where?  This is a teeny tiny cottage and  I know they are not in here, maybe the garage….

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What was going to be our Sunday night supper turned into a tasty side dish when we were invited to dine at Susan and Jim’s house.  Susan made what I thought was salmon but in fact it was Ironhead Trout! Very interesting since it looks like salmon, smells like salmon and tastes like salmon and I understand it is not as expensive as salmon. The salmon aka Ironhead Trout was delicious.  My contribution is the Tasty Tidbits Tuesday recipe.

2 TBS Pine Nuts toasted

1/2 box of whole wheat Fusilli prepared per directions, keep warm

1 pkg of cleaned, peeled butternut squash (20 oz) cut into 3/4″ dice

1/2 red onion, peeled, 1/2″ dice (about 1+ 1/2 cups)

1 TBS basting oil (olive oil with herbs in it)

Salt and pepper

1 pkg chopped escarole (15 oz)

1 pkg or 4 oz of mini-cubes of pancetta

3 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 container or 13 oz of Alfredo sauce

2 TBS of shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Toss squash with onions in basting oil in large bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper.  Spread in a single layer on baking sheet.  Roast about 20 min, or until vegetables are well-caramelized and tender.

Blanch escarole 2-3 min in large pot of boiling salted water. Drain, and set aside.

Add pancetta to skillet on MEDIUM.  Cook, stirring, 3-5 min, until crisp and brown.  Remove from pan;drain on paper towels.  Return to pan. Add garlic. Cook, stirring 1-2 min, until tender

Add wine. Cook, stirring to loosen browned bits on bottom of pan.  Simmer about 4 min, until liquids are reduced by half.  Stir in alfredo sauce.

Bring to simmer; add escarole and black pepper to taste. Stir to blend.  Add pasta; toss until well-combined. Stir in squash and onions, then pine nuts.  Top with cheese.

Recipe from Wegman’s MENU magazine

What I learned: I couldn’t find any Alfredo sauce so I used something called Parmesan Cheese sauce and it was fine.  My first thoughts were that there were too many steps and too many bowls and pots.  There was a large pot to blanch the escarole and a large bowl of ice water to shock it.  Another large bowl for tossing the squash and onions.  A baking sheet to caramalize the veggies and a large skillet to saute the pancetta.  I had meant to “toast” the pine nuts in the same skillet but forgot and if I had had a toaster oven, I might have used that but I didn’t.  The array of utensils and containers made for a large wash-up before the meal.

Other than the prepping, the pasta was DELICIOUS as I had hoped and expected it would.  I don’t think I have ever gotten a bad recipe from the Wegman’s MENU magazine.

Harvest whole wheat pasta with escarole and butternut squash,

Butternut Squash cubed


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The first real chilly and very breezy day of the season was yesterday and so since we had invited our next door neighbors to join us for dinner, I could see that a cook-out was definitely out of the question! Hard to believe that last Saturday, we were sitting on the beach in bathing suits no less! Well all the windows were shut all day in an effort to keep the cottage somewhat warm and not have to put the heat on yet.  We were going to need a good hot meal… so this is what I served:

Antipasta platter

Bowtie Pasta with Vodka Blush & Chicken

Green Beans with a garlic cheese finishing butter

Mixed Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Fresh Italian bread with sun dried tomatoes in it. (Costco)

Homemade coffee cake, fresh fruit salad and coffee

Bowtie Pasta with Vodka Blush & Chicken

1 lb Farfalle pasta, cooked according to preference

24oz of Vodka Blush sauce

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 # Chicken cutlets marinated in Lemon & Garlic (I bought them already marinated)

1 Tbsp basting oil (purchased)**

1Tbsp butter

4 tsp of shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

Simmer sauce on low in small saucepan

Heat Olive oil in large pan on MEDIUM-HIGH till oil fairly smokes, add chicken. Turn when chicken changes color one-quarter of the way  up and seared side has turned paper bag brown, 3  4 minutes.

Reduce heat to MEDIUM; cook chicken 10-12 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Add basting oil and butter to pan, swirl.  Baste chicken with spoon 1 – 3 minutes. Transfer to clean plate.

Toss pasta with sauce. Divide evenly on 4 plates, top with chicken and sprinkle with 1 tsp of cheese.

Recipe from Wegman’s  MENU Magazine

The green beans were blanched and then tossed with a “finishing butter” which is seasoned with garlic and cheese.

My neighbor made the delicious homemade coffee cake.

This is what I learned: The chicken cutlets were thick and took longer than recommended time and were not reaching 165 degrees – so I covered pan for a bit so they wouldn’t dry out.  I used freshly made (and purchased) Vodka Blush sauce but believe you can use a jar of Vodka sauce.  A pound of Farfalle was too much pasta for 4 people, you could cook less or save the leftover like I have for next day.  The recipe does not call for slicing the chicken cutlet when you put on top  of the pasta but the photo in magazine suggests that.  ** You can make your own basting oil by combining grape seed oil and canola oil with dried thyme, dried parsley and garlic powder.

**** Sorry that so many of these ingredients were purchased at Wegman’s and you might not have one near you.  Wegman’s carries their own line of products like the basting oil, the Vodka Blush fresh sauce and the finishing butters.

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You know the thing about Costco is the darn size of everything!  You go to buy a can of Comet but if you want one, you need to buy a 3-pack.  Need some chicken broth? You have to buy 6 cartons, and the Salsa comes in giant jars, like the pickles and the olive oil.  Big is better, things are cheaper by the dozen, large economy size means economy BUT where oh where to put/store/stash this stuff,  I mean my bargains!

And the samples!!!! Perfect way to get suckered in.  We now have Madras lentils, Pot Stickers, Spinach Ravioli, Stacey’s Pita Chips and a GIANT Chicken Pot Pie!! Every trip home from Costco entails emptying the freezer and re-arranging the huge bags of Broccoli Flowerets, Tortellini, Chicken Breasts, Salmon Burgers, Blueberries and after all that shuffling and stuffing and pushing and squeezing, there is NO ROOM for the Chicken Pot Pie.  Not even sure what possessed me to buy it in the first place since it could clearly feed 8 people and our table only seats 5.   By the way, I can never get ALL the frozen food in our freezer at the shore and half of it is going back to New York with us – BUT how to keep it frozen till we are on our way home?

Luckily for me, we are friends with Dick and Jane (yes those are their real names), who own an Inn in Ocean Grove and she lets me store my Manhattan-bound food stuffs in a freezer in the Tea Room.  So last weekend I loaded up her freezer with bags of frozen food to take to New York and when I went to retrieve it I realized that NOT ONLY could I NOT fit the pot pie in my freezer bag and if I got it home, it wouldn’t fit in my apartment freezer either.  Good  thing Jane let me leave it there!!

Obviously the pie was way too big for Peter and I so when in doubt or in trouble, think What Would Martha Do? So, I invited friends for dinner.  I had already asked Heide to dine with us on Friday night and so I asked Dick and Jane to join us too.  Heide graciously asked what could she bring and I said without a moment’s hesitation, “your plum tart”. Jane said she would bring wine and the dinner menu was taking shape.

Chicken Pot Pie seemed Southern to me and even though I know it isn’t particulary Southern anymore than it is exclusively Irish or New England fare, tonight it was going to be Southern.  I decided to make Collard Greens – never have made them before BUT Wegman’s to the rescue.  I had a brochure from the store that I had saved from last year all about braising greens.  Seemed simple enough and it was.  The Collard Greens would satisfy Peter’s insistence of a green vegetable at dinner and I thought a salad would be refreshing but then I remembered that Dick really can’t eat a lot of greens so I set out to buy a head of cauliflower to bake.  Inspiration was running high so I decided to bake some drop biscuits too – love those Bisquick biscuits.

BAKED WHOLE CAULIFLOWER

1 head of Cauliflower                                                                        Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup margarine melted

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp salt

pinch of dried oregano

pinch of red pepper flakes

Place whole head in steamer in 1″ water. Bring to boil over med heat and cook till tender about 20 minutes.

Mix bread crumbs, margarine, cheese.  Season with garlic powder, salt, pepper and oregano.  Put cauliflower in baking dish and coat with bread crumb mixture.

Bake 10-15 minutes till golden brown.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food.

COLLARD GREENS

Add 6 cups of water, 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice, 6 cloves of garlic (or 2 Tbsp minced), 1 Tbsp salt, 1/2 cup pure olive oil to braising pan on HIGH.

Add greens and bring to a boil and cover.

Cook until tender – Greens will change color as they cook (depending on the greens) 5-30 minutes.

Transfer to serving dish, season to taste and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Recipe from Wegman’s

 

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red convertible, raining, caught in the rain, top down, lawn furniture

Top Down and Caught in the Rain

Jim and Susan were lucky that they were near Wegman’s when the downpour started.  They took refuge under the building canopy at the drive-up window for prescriptions.  Talk about chagrined! Lawn furniture on its way back to the store because the style wasn’t right for their home after all and would only fit in the car if the top was down. Who knew it was going to rain??? Not to mention the automated voice asking them over and over again what was the number of the prescription they wanted to renew!!!

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Pappardelle with Caramelized Onions and Parmesan.

Tonight’s dinner except I used Farfalle-it was DELICIOUS!! I want to make it sometime for guests because it is pasta BUT not your ordinary pasta and sauce dish or as we knew it in my house growing up – macaroni and gravy.  And just because Mr. P insists that I don’t give him enough vegetables, we had escarole too.  Even if pride cometh before the fall, I have to say this meal was totally great. And YES it is a Martha recipe.  The recipe for caramelized onions and the pappardelle dish came out of Every Day Food.  The escarole recipe came from Wegman’s.

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It’s a weekend house (read relax on weekend), it’s in a vacation area. BUT it is a house, not an apartment with a Super, Handymen, an elevator and a laundry room.  In Manhattan, that means someone else shovels the sidewalk, you don’t have to make 8 trips from the car to the house carrying bags of groceries and I don’t have to transport the dirty linens and clothes from NJ to NY and then back again.

Friday: Breakfast at Nagle’s because there is no milk or orange juice in the house (we arrived last night). Go to hardware store to buy more salt -they are ALL OUT.  Bought a shovel to chip the ice away and a shovel for the car because next time if we arrive after a snow storm, we might even be able to dig our way out of the car and onto the sidewalk and up the stairs and to the backyard where the snow shovel is stored! There was also this handy little gadget up at the counter that I thought was ingenious – an extension magnet. It looks like a pen and instead of a point has a small round magnet on the end and you can telescope the pen-like case out.  So next time I drop and earring back or hair clip down between my dressing table and the bookcase,  I won’t have to ask Peter to move the heavy furniture so I can retrieve it.  There is another upside to this – I don’t have to acknowledge all the dust bunnies underneath the dressing table!!

Next we need to go to the storage area so we can put away the Mardi Gras beads, bring back a bin of stuff from our now defunct antique booth so I can photograph it all and put it up on eBay.  Also we need to check the oil in the Metro because it does leak a bit.

A quick stop at Habitats for Humanity to see if we need or must have some treasure we find there and we always do.  Down the road apiece and the next stop is the liquor store to buy wine as there is a dire need of red wine in Manhattan as well as gin for the shore house.

Next two stops: buy my Grande Americano at Starbucks today so I can have it tomorrow morning and not have to go out – again, this just isn’t New York City where I need only to walk a block to get to a Starbucks.  And while we are in that plaza,  might as well stop at Harmon Discount Beauty Supplies and get Peter the gooey stuff he puts in his hair and some hair clips for me.

Costco is next, gas is $2.45 per gallon – should we fill up here and now or wait till tomorrow or Sunday and hope that Citgo is the same price? We opt to wait, because unfortunately this is not the last stop.  Costco is a trip in itself.  You can never just go in and say you are only going to buy one thing. It doesn’t happen that way.   I went to pick up a prescription and if you don’t know, you should – Costco has the best prices ever on drugs.  And while we are here, we need to buy seltzer, blueberries and bananas.  We’re not done yet, the Costco ladies are hawking their food wares and who can resist having a nibble here and a bite there.  There was pizza, yogurt, dried blueberries, your choice of shrimp, salmon or crab salad, veggie chips, protein drink and salmon and cream cheese on cracker.  Sampling works on us – we left with some canned salmon and the yogurt as well as sardines and cranberry-grape juice.

I am already tired and can’t believe I still have to do grocery shopping at Wegman’s.  Both households need the essentials which are so much more reasonably priced in New Jersey so shopping is a weekly errand.  I LOVE Wegman’s and even if I didn’t LOVE it, I would still shop here in NJ because I totally detest and freak out in Gristede’s at home in NY.  Having lived most of my life in Connecticut where the grocery stores are CLEAN, bright and the shelves filled with multiple choices, I find grocery shopping in Manhattan almost impossible unless of course you to Agata and Valentina or Eli’s and there you will definitely pay for the quality.

Back in the car and on our way home, I remember that we need to go to Michael’s so I can buy some yarn.  Susan has promise to design a pattern for me so I can make something for Miss Finny, hopefully a sweater.  Susan has been very encouraging and helpful in getting me back to knitting, something I haven’t done in years!  Peter offered a comment about the knitting idea and said between the blog, Mah Jongg and now knitting, there would be no time left for him, lol lol – although I don’t think he was kidding.  Anyway, he has told me he does NOT want to be in the blog – that’s pretty difficult to do since so much of what we do is done together and I can’t always write in the first person singular when clearly there is another person involved.

Home Depot was on the errand list for today and we forgot to stop at the tile store also to check on finding tiles that match some we bought in South Africa two years ago.  As you can see, most projects take a very long time in our house.  He who shall not be named ( I love Harry Potter) and who does not want his name in this blog has to get some half inch round molding for yet another little project I have planned for our apartment in Manhattan.  I strongly suggest Home Depot and the tile store be put off till tomorrow.  Believe it or not, it is already past 5pm and I still have tons of stuff to put away when we get home.

Finally home, 6 trips from the car to the house, 45 minutes to put away the groceries, trying to sort what stays and what goes to New York and repacking the freezer so I can fit some frozen food I want to take back to Manhattan.   My freezer is something like Fibber McGee’s closet so anytime you want to put something in you literally have to take many somethings out.  I found a way – I took out a at least packages of left-over hamburger buns,  hot dog rolls (yes from last summer) and a few dinner rolls hanging around since Thanksgiving!! I tore them all up and threw the bread out for the birds and squirrels and now the snow in the backyard looks like it has freckles!  Seriously, I had a little talk with myself and likened my keeping fifty cents worth of rolls in precious freezer space to the argument I often pose to you know who about how much expensive New York City real estate certain videos, old magazines and lots of record albums occupy in our den.

I LOVE Wegman’s and even if I didn’t love it, I will still shop here at the Super Shop-Rite or Foodtown because I absolutely hate going into Gristede’s at home.  Having lived most of my life in Connecticut, I am used to large CLEAN, bright stores with shelves stocked with multiple choices.  Actually I won’t buy anything at Gristede’s unless it is prepackaged or non edible.  I know that sounds terrible and snobbish but I think the store smells bad.  I would rather go to Agata and Valentina or Eli’s and pay more but know I am getting great quality.

So, do you think I’m having fun?

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