Now that I have a few appetizer recipes to choose from, I need to decide what to have for dinner. Chicken, beef, pork, vegetarian, seafood? Hmmm. Before the days of the internet, I don't think it was as difficult to decide what to make for dinner. Now with all all the recipe websites and incredible food blogs, the possibilities are endless...and it will take me forever to decide. Trust me. When I go to a restaurant, if the menu has an overwhelming number of options, I cannot decide and usually panic and pick something safe.
Anyhow, I somehow got slightly off topic so back to dinner recipe options.
1 pound fettuccine pasta
1/4 cup butter (half a stick)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
- Bring a pot of water to boil, liberally salt the water and add pasta. Cook about 7-9 minutes. The pasta will be al dente.
- Meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat in a pan large enough to fit the pasta once cooked.
- Add the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes.
- When the pasta has finished cooking, drain it but do not rinse.
- Add the pasta to the pan.
- Add cream and cheese.
- Mix to coat the pasta.
- Cook 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to low, let pasta stand 5 minutes until sauce thickens.
- Toss just before serving.
My friend Val made a really great Christmas Eve fettuccine alfredo with hot sausage and mushrooms that was to die for. I am thinking I should add something to this too. Maybe shrimp and spinach? Sausage and peppers? Broccoli and chicken? Decisions, decisions.
Steak Au Poivre with Brandy Sauce
4 steaks, approximately 1 inch thick
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons black peppercorns, cracked
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots or onions
1/4 cup brandy
1 cup beef broth or stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- Sprinkle salt generously over both sides of the steaks and let them come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over high heat.
- When the oil begins to smoke, take the pan off the heat.
- Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and place in the hot pan.
- Return the pan to the heat and turn the heat down to medium-high.
- Sear, without moving the steaks, for at least 4 minutes. Try to pick up a steak with tongs, and if it comes clean, flip it and turn the heat down to medium. If it sticks to the pan, let it cook for another minute or two on that side.
- Use the finger test for doneness or a meat thermometer. For rare, remove the meat from the pan when the inside reaches 120°F, for medium rare 125-130°F.
- Once the steak is done to your liking remove the meat to a baking sheet and sprinkle on a generous portion of crushed black peppercorns on both sides of each steak.
- Tent with aluminum foil and let the steak rest while you are preparing the sauce.
- Make the sauce. Add the shallots and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add the brandy and as it boils, deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge all the browned bits.
- Once the brandy is almost cooked away, add the beef stock and turn the heat to high.
- Boil the sauce down until there's a noticeable trail when you drag a wooden spoon through the center of it (4-5 minutes).
- Pour in the heavy cream and resume boiling.
- Again, boil down until thickened.
- Remove from heat and add the parsley and any remaining black pepper, up to 1 tablespoon.
- Add salt, to taste if needed.
- Just before serving, pour the sauce over the steaks.
What could I serve with this? Roasted asparagus? Sweet potato fries? Garlic smashed potatoes? Ideas?
I am pretty sure no matter which I choose, the fettuccine alfredo recipe or the steak au poivre recipe, Rob and Ellie would be happy. I need to keep in mind that I do work and Valentine's day falls on a Monday this year. That means this has to be something I can make after work with a 3 year old running around asking if she can help me cook.
What do you think? Any other ideas?