chicken

McDonald’s In The Kitchen, Fairsted Kitchen that is.

A Surprise From McDonald’s at Fairsted Kitchen

 

When I got the invitation to Fairsted Kitchen, it was a given that I would say yes. Every time I drive by it, I remind myself that we need to have dinner there, then I get home and life happens and I forget, again, at least until the next time I drive by.  And when I saw that McDonald’s was hosting and Executive Chef Stephanie Cmar (yes, foodie friends, of Bravo’s Top Chef and of Stacked Donuts fame), was going to cook only with McD’s ingredients, I was intrigued. How would this work? What would the menu look like? And most importantly…Would there be fries?!

Photo credit: Debbie Grubstein

 

And not only were there fries – there was a bar of fries!  Everyone talked, laughed and nibbled as we circled the table and there were lots of stories because…fries. And I was so excited that the charming and twinkle lighted exterior of Fairsted Kitchen was a perfect preview to the lovely space within –  warm wood tables, lovely vintage mismatched china, and a welcoming staff. What a wonderful antidote to a cold and rainy night.

Dinner was, as expected, fantastic. And made only from ingredients that would be used in a McDonald’s kitchen. The first up: chicken croquettes with cilantro lime sauce, cucumber, peanut salad, and wilted romaine puree and our hosts explained that the fresh produce was the same used in McDonald’s premium salads and McWraps.  I learned that McD’s sources from local distributors when possible.

Next up, gnocchi made with actual McDonald’s french fries that were put through a meat grinder. Wow, super clever Stephanie Cmar! The Bolognese made with sausage and 100% ground beef, was delicious! I also learned that McD’s uses 100% beef that is ground, then formed into patties and flash frozen, and made with no additives or preservatives. Good to know.

Dessert was seriously the biggest doughnut I have ever seen. It’s okay though, years of training had prepared me for the challenge and I was undaunted. Doughnuts with Cranberry and Salted Caramel made by Stephanie (McD’s uses USDA grade A fresh eggs and North American grown whole wheat flour).

 

Served with a perfect cup of coffee (from McCafe) and made with 100 percent Arabica coffee beans. I loved McDonald’s coffee when it was Newman’s Own and I love it now, too. A great price for great coffee.

Stephanie Cmar Fairsted Kitchen McDonald's In the Kitchen

Photos* were taken by Debbie Grubstein, friend, food blogger extraordinaire, and all around wonderful person. Thanks, Deb!

*except the coffee cup so you can see why Deb is good to have around!

This post was sponsored by McDonald’s. All opinions are, and always will be, my own. Thank you!

 

Weekday Dinners

Weekday Dinners

capability mom.com blog chicken dinner easy weeknight recipesThe summer of no-cook dinners is over and it is time to pull it together and actually use my kitchen to cook. Sigh. Well, I have a few tricks to making weeknight dinners easier and I will share them with you, because I am generous like that. Also, because I am pretty happy that I figured out to do this and am bragging a little bit. Let’s not get carried away, I didn’t split the atom, I just made easy dinners. Still.

First, plan a menu for the week. Hate to do that? I know, me too. Okay. Plan two days out and make the third day an easy default recipe (something you can make with your eyes closed). Here is my Monday-Tuesday solution.

Buy two whole chickens (on sale at Whole foods for 99 cents per pound) and roast them both at the same time. Make one your Monday dinner with roasted veggies. I added potatoes and apples to the pan, any root vegetable would be great or some squash (use a separate pan for squash and apples). Note, the apples will be mush if you leave them in for the whole time, they only take about 30 minutes. Check out Martha for the best recipe, I just tossed them in whole because I’m lazy. My go-to recipe for Perfect Roast Chicken is from The Barefoot Contessa. I ran out of time for the gravy but all was devoured without. Serve with a big green salad.capability mom.com blog chicken dinner easy weeknight recipes

The next night use the second chicken for a fun Make Your Own Burrito Night. We always have tortillas, cheese, avocado, rice (we used frozen brown rice) and beans in the house, so all that is needed is some lettuce, salsa and sour cream if that’s how you roll. Feel free to sautee up some onions and peppers if you want to or add some of the roasted veggies from Monday.

Set up a station on the kitchen counter and let everyone build their own. Carve up the chicken and you are good to go. For little ones, put small containers on the table filled with the choices you most want them to eat. Have cut up some carrots, cucumbers, celery and peppers on the table for maximum veggie intake.

But Wednesday? What about Wednesday? No, I won’t leave you without. I made pork chops (again from Martha) but I think I am a little in love with Whole Foods for this:

Image from Whole Foods

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Mini Turkey Meatloaf and Maple Green Beans Sheet-Pan Dinner

I haven’t tried it yet (found it while I was trying to make sure the Whole Foods whole chickens were still on sale). Yum. My family are recent meatloaf converts and I am running this. Only one pan? I’m there.

Note- we didn’t use all the chicken for Burrito Night so I chopped up the rest for chicken salad. Also, if you are still looking for meals, take the chicken carcasses (never a pretty word), place in water and/or boxed chicken broth with some veggies to make a soup. Add pasta or rice. I use my pressure cooker for this quick soup. So very frugal of me, don’t you think?

Where I am a cheap date or Sofra fits the bill for a Tuesday dinner (and breakfast the next day)

I just decided that I am vain…about my blog. I am writing this post about dinner last night – even before I have taken any photos – because that ugly double down is the first thing you see when you pull up my site.

So, dinner. A rare (really rare) dinner out with my husband (during the week! without the kids!) and I wanted…a fancy candlelit dinner? Wine? Table service?  Nope. I wanted… Sofra. I am all about the food. Fresh, beautifully prepared food. Fancy does not factor – well, sometimes it is nice but this is what I craved.  Sofra is open until 7  p.m. and we  made it there from our house in just 15 minutes (the ride may have seemed longer to my husband as I was starving and maybe more than once might have mentioned it).  I have been wanting to go back since my like-minded foodie friend brought me here. I may have mentioned that to him once or twice, too…grin.

So even though we got there around 6:30, fairly close to closing time, the staff was unfailingly polite and lovely. We didn’t feel rushed (any sense of urgency was self-imposed) and had a delicious chicken schwarma and a wonderful stuffed flatbread and a gorgeous salad platter with extra bread  – always opt for the extra bread!   Their herbal iced tea was sweet and light and refreshing (I need no caffeine at this hour – old, so old!  – but rarely like an herbal iced tea when out) but this was perfect.  We sat at a copper topped table and shared everything and talked. It was really relaxing and exactly right for a Tuesday night in the ‘burbs.

Dessert is never an afterthought – for me, anyway.  I peeked past a stunning crumb cake and saw…three earthquake cookies left! I asked for all the remaining and was told there were more! I only got four, one for me after dinner, one each for the children and one more for me sometime tomorrow?  I had to compare them to the Chocolate Cinnamon cookies that I just made….these are different (more cake-like, brownie-ish) and so so good.

I also picked up some of their perfect hummus and the pale pale eggs of slightly different colors (I think of these as Martha Stewart eggs because that’s where I first learned that eggs could be so gorgeous). The eggs will be a later breakfast, I got a lemon poppyseed cake to have with my tea this morning. Maybe that is why I am up so early.
Sofra Bakery and Cafe on Urbanspoon

double down = double disgusting – who is eating this stuff?

kfc double down

If you haven’t heard about the latest release from KFC, here is it. Looks like a heart attack on a plate to me.

Here, from the LA Times – http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/comments_blog/2010/04/kfc-double-down-sandwich-will-you-be-buying.html

 and this from the NY Times –

 http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/12/on-ingesting-kfcs-new-product-the-double-down/

and from ABC News – http://abcnews.go.com/Business/slideshow/calories-fast-foods-biggest-indulgences-10336424

and, of course, The Washington Post who reminds us that the other fast food offerings are as bad…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/19/AR2010041903165.html

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