It’s a Pizza Monday!

Aya,

It was a Pizza Monday at Mark’s this week!

On the menu was:

  • Goat Cheese, Pesto, and Mozza Pizza
  • Pepperoni, Bacon, and Double Cheese.

It was my first time making homemade pizza with bacon, but since it’s probably the best meat out there, I knew I needed to give it a whirl. Thankfully, Farmland delivered another outstanding package of thick-sliced, tasty bacon for the pizza!

To craft you’re version of these pies, all you need is:

  • dough! (from a deli, or pizza crust from the supermarket will suffice)
  • goat cheese (1 tub)
  • 1 can of basil pesto
  • a bag of shredded mozza and cheddar
  • Fresh pepperoni.
  • 1 pkg of thick-sliced bacon (necessary brand is Farmland if you’re American or live here!)

and you’re good to go! Bake it at 450 for 8-10 minutes, or until crust is as you like it!

There were also some obstacles in the way this week, as Maria’s Deli (small Italian deli and market in town, amazing proscuitto and mozza sandwich!!!!) was out of their fresh pizza dough.

So, rather than give up all hope, drown in despair, and change the menu, I simply drove up the road to Ralphs and picked up 3 packages of pizza crust. Naturally, it didn’t quite compare to homemade dough, but I thought it still passed!

This was a special Mondays as well because we had “the family” over. Let me introduce you:

From left: Baloo, Burt Reynolds, Trebek, and Terd Ferguson.

This is “the family”: Baloo, Burt, Trebek and Terd. They came over just about every week for Mondays at Mark’s last semester, but we haven’t had them all out together since December. This group of men (contrary to what you may think after viewing the picture above) are hilarious, and great friends of Tara and I. We’ve really come to cherish the time that we’ve had with this crew as we’ve got to eat dinner and hang out . We’ve definitely grown to love them all very deeply, and will miss them next year after we move home!

Here are some pics of our short, but sweet time together last Monday!

Well… what a wonderful Monday! Wouldn’t you say?

Return soon, as we have another great Mondays coming up in a few days!

LOVE,

Chef.


Just so you’re aware…

I passed the CLEP test, so I can graduate!


Warning!

To all my friends and followers, I apologize for this right away.. there will be no Mondays at Marks this Monday due to me needing to study on Monday night for a test I take on Tuesday that will quite literally determine whether or not I graduate this May.

So, like Tara, myself, and my friends…. join us and weep…

Until Next Monday, which I promise will take place…

Love,
Mark


Another Monday, Another Meal.

Hello, world!

Another Monday has come and gone.. actually 2 have since I last blogged.

After being convinced by my wife that my readers around the world will revolt if I don’t update, I knew it was necessary to do so right away.

“Why have you taken so long to blog” – you ask?

Because I’ve been crazy busy with schoolwork, and keeping up with all my reading, and I’m lazy..

….I don’t really know!

Anyways, out with the bad news and in with the good (right?)

Here’s the recipe for the week (and I’ve been told it turned out mighty good):

Sauteed Chicken with Sage Browned Butter, Roasted Carrots and Mashed.

The meal... nice bowl for the mashed right? Thats the guy in me i think.

 

I’m just gonna be honest with you I think, I was nervous with this one. Anything with “sauteed” in it sounds pretty intense, atleast from my perspective. BUT, it sounded super good so I decided to go for it!

The carrots were prepared first:

  • Take 12 carrots, wash ’em, and slice ’em (lengthwise first), and then in 1.5 inch pieces (they shrink while roasting). Finally, put sweet diagonal corners on them so they look good (MOST IMPORTANT THING OF THE NIGHT: see pic below)
  • Then take a bowl, and add some oilve oil (ballpark it), and salt+peps and toss em.
  • Place on a baking sheet and roast in oven for about 20-25 minutes, til their nice and brown
  • Last step: Toss with minced dill. ( For all you dill haters, I thought it would taste gross with dill, but it was amazing!)

Next, was the chicken! This was a process, I’ll be honest…. save yourself the time and get the guy in the deli at your local supermarket to halve your chicken breasts, its terribly hard…(remind yourself right now of my experience, or lack thereof)

Here are the basic steps for the chicken!

(recipe is for 8 halves)

  • Slice 4 breasts in halves (so there about 1/4 inch thick) – pounding them is an alternative as well.
  • Sprinkle them with salt+peps
  • Dredge them in flour (1 cup), and cook them in a large skillet on a medium-high heat (coat with cooking spray!)
  • I cooked each for about 5 minutes a side, or until they’re done, then remove them from the pan.
  • Add 6 (!!!) tablespoons of butter and 4 sage sprigs to the pan and cook chicken over medium heat until the butter browns.
  • Throw out that sage business, add 2 Tbsp of minced shallots and 2 tsp of chopped thyme…then cook for 30 seconds.
  • LASTLY, add 4 tbsp of lemon juice and cook for about 30 seconds.

This last part, is really, really important…. serve it on a nice dish, again, we’re all about presentation here.. and EAT IT!

That’s all! We added some mashed potatoes as well, they were a mix though, so I’m ashamed to put the “recipe” up here … (dont hate.. we’ve all done it…. right?)

Here are some pics from the night!

sprinkling that salt and peps... ohh soo good.

les challots, and les thyme.. or is time?

sauteeing that chicken.

Siona, Pete, and Linds! Great guests! Great Friends!

me, hard at work.

 

Every REAL chef has a stache right? …. Just filling the role.

Well, that’s all for another week!

Truthfully, thanks for stopping by!

I hope you’ll return next Tuesday for another edition of Mondays at Marks.

p.s. I need your thoughts, comments, suggestions, anything! I’m a helpless man trying to learn how to cook, surely someone has some wisdom for me! What should I cook next week??




Balsamic Roast with Mashed and Beans!

Before I write anything else… read my wife’s blog www.cupcakescoasttocoast.blogspot.com and love it.

Okay…now on to this week’s meal.

This Monday I used the slow-cooker for the first time, and I was pretty nervous, especially with last Monday’s accident playing over and over in my head (read post below for more details!) … another burnt pot? a dry roast? a broken slow-cooker? What was going to be the conflict in the kitchen this week?!!!

I’m thankful to say there wasn’t one! (Atleast that I’m aware of… yet)

We had a Balsamic Roast with Fresh Green Beans and Cheddar and Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes, and invited 4 of my friends my school to partake with us.

The roast was really easy to make, as I’m learning most things are in a slow-cooker..

Here are the steps for enjoying this great meal in your kitchen:

  • Sear the Chuck Roast on all sides in olive oil (our 3lb Roast served 6 comfortably)
  • Place the Roast in the cooker with juices
  • Slice 2 Medium Sized Onions into strips
  • Smoosh 4 garlic cloves with the head of your knife
  • Place the Onions and Garlic in the slow-cooker with the Roast, being sure to push onions down the sides of the cooker, and spread out the garlic cloves in the cooker as well.
  • Pour 1/2 cup of Balsamic Vinegar over the meat, onions, and garlic and cook for 8 hours!
  • (credit goes to the 5 dollar dinner mom for this recipe!)

I steamed some green beans and added some mashed potatoes as well as basically carriers for the meat! This roast will melt in your mouth and the onions and juices serve as a great gravy for mashed potatoes, or even something to mop your bread with after the meal!

And that’s it!

Another one of my favorite parts about  Mondays at Mark’s (besides cooking) is the opportunity to have people over and get to know them more than I do, to ask questions, and listen in on what the Lord is doing in their lives. These guys are all super great guys who love the Lord and are super humble. It was a blast to be able to hang with them and get to know them a little better! Looking forward to more hangouts soon.

Here are some pics from the night:

Slicing the onions and smooshing the garlic!

the meat with the onions, garlic and vinegar! all ready to go!

the cooking process.. a few hours in.

 

Tara's Homemade bread... I have an amazing wife! So GOOODD!

The reason Mondays at Mark's is what it is..... Great People! (nice face Micah.. wow bud!)

Until next week!


Goat Cheese and Pesto Chicken Penne

Well.. it’s official..

Our first Mondays at Mark’s of 2011 has come and gone. It was a quicker meal and hang out tonight due to some friend’s having a night class and Tara and I having a meeting to attend later in the evening, but still great nonetheless.

AND we only had one casualty – a pot that I ruined by cooking too much pasta, leaving me unable to stir, and therefore destroying it… but hey, that’s a part of the learning process right?

For this Monday, I cooked Goat Cheese and Pesto Chicken Penne, one of our FAVORITE Sylvester Specialties – and something our friends have come to love as well.

It’s sounds and tastes amazing, and is super easy to make!

First: you need to gather all the ingredients.

a few boxes of whole wheat penne, 1 jar of basil pesto, 1 tub of crumbled Goat Cheese, and three chicken breasts.

Next, you need to slice the chicken breasts into inch size pieces, while your water is boiling.

Once your water has come to boil, pour the pasta in it, and give it a stir (make sure you don’t fill the pot with too much pasta or you’ll have problems… scroll UP to see MINE)

Then take a medium size pan, and pour some EVOO in it, covering most of the base of the pan and scatter your chicken on the pan, medium heat… I like to add some Montreal Chicken spice to give it some extra taste!

And last, but most important.. when your  chicken is ready and pasta is al dente, strain in out and throw it in a bowl, then take the jar of pesto and add it to the mix, stir it around, and then add the goat cheese and stir it around.

(there are no specific measurements, just add ALOT)

And you’re done!

We baked and broiled some garlic bread for the side!

Here are some pics, now go cook your own!


Coming up!…

Tomorrow Nights Meal: Goat Cheese and Chicken Pesto Pasta (w garlic bread) !!

Come back Tuesday for recipe and pictures!