N is for Nuts
Almonds: For last Sunday’s dinner Sarah and I cooked our usual MacNCheese. I added almond coated chicken strips and a salad to make for another meal that everyone in the family enjoyed. For the chicken strips I used Rachel Ray’s Honey Nut Chicken recipe, but I changed the honey nut peanuts to smoked almonds and for seasoning I used Penzeys Forward! The chicken strips were delicious and I can see making them again. They were salty and smokey without adding any barbecue sauce.
Pine Nuts: I’ve cooked with pine nuts in cous cous and in pasta dishes, but I wanted to do something different. I was toying briefly with ‘N is for Nachos’ and came across this recipe for Nachos Caprese that puts pine nuts, basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella on tortilla chips instead of the typical Mexican toppings. I added some Italian sausage and they were awesome. It was sort of like eating a whole plate of brucshetta.
Cashews: With the cashews I did something I rarely do. I made some Cashew chicken by just walking into the kitchen and cooking without using a recipe. I used boneless chicken thighs and added baby corn, water chestnuts, red pepper, carrots, green onion, and cashews to the pan. While I was cooking I was a little worried that I was too heavy with the soy sauce and the Chinese five spice, but the result was one of the best stir fry’s I have ever made. It was just as good for lunch the next day.
Hazelnuts: For some reason I decided to make spring rolls and replace the usual peanuts with hazelnuts. Nothing fancy I just used to recipe on the back of the brown rice spring roll wrappers that I got at the grocery store. I discovered to my annoyance that this isn’t really a week night meal. It took me much longer than I anticipated to make the rolls and in the end they didn’t have much flavor. I could taste the hazelnuts a little, but in my opinion the rolls would have been a total loss without the spicy Thai chili sauce I poured on top.
Walnuts: I started off the week with a recipe for a creamy walnut sauce to be used on pasta, but the night I came home to make that meal I just couldn’t bring myself to cook anything complicated. Instead I just made some noodles and put some jarred sauce on them. This left me with some walnuts that I could use for Saturday dinner. I got ambitious and decided to make a quiche with a walnut pastry. I spent a good chunk of the afternoon making the pastry and remembering how much I hate baking. I made three small quiches, one with spinach, bacon, and onion, one with just bacon, and one with just cheese. They looked beautiful when I finally pulled them out of the oven.
But they did not taste beautiful. The crust was overcooked and crumbly. It didn’t look burnt, but the crust disintegrated when touched and tasted like ash. I might have used too much flour. Or not enough butter. Or something. Baking takes too much precision for me.
Aw Nuts!: A week of nuts may have been a tactical error where the diet is concerned. I like nuts and ate all the extra ones as snacks. No weight loss this week.