March thru Europe week 2

Ok we might not be allowed to travel to and from Europe right now, but that won’t stop me from visiting from my kitchen. My first stop this week could probably justify an entire month’s theme – France! While I have been to France twice, I remember very little about the food. The first time, I was barely 18, and I was able to see Paris. I LOVED the Eiffel Tour, but was not able to visit the Louvre due to a one day workers strike (my only free day!). My second trip was about 9 years ago, and I visited Nice. I remember very little about the meals I had, but I do remember loving all of the fresh food available in the streets. I also remember that the beach was made of pebbles and not the least bit comfortable to lounge on.


For my French dinner, I decided to make Easy Coq Au Vin from Half Baked Harvest. The recipe is in the cookbook, but there’s an alternative Coq Au Vin meatball recipe online, if you want something with similar flavors. This dish includes Bacon sauteed with garlic and onions, and carrots and potatoes. Then, chunks of boneless chicken breast are added and browned, followed by a red wine brought to a quick simmer which reduces into a rich sauce. The best part of this recipe though, was the brown butter egg noodles. This is basically burnt butter, garlic and sage, which is a magical combination. A whole new level of the already simple and delicious “buttered noodles”.


France also deserves a dessert. I decided to make Madeleines, which are a little cakey/cookie lemon delight, made in a special pan. I purchased one of these pans for like $4, awhile ago, and had never used it. I’m pretty sure I bought it because Sally’s Baking Addiction published this recipe. I’d never had a madeleine before I made them, and I was delighted by their light airy texture and hint of lemon. These don’t keep well, so I brought the extras to work!

Since picking just one dinner and dessert for France is not sufficient, we’ll be circling back through France later this month.

Next Stop: Turkey

This one miiiiight be a stretch. It’s definitely an interpretation of steak shawarma. Marinated steak sliced thin, served on quinoa instead of rice. Plus – tzatziki, red pepper hummus, a load of veggies, sweet potato fries, and feta. This recipe is the absolute prettiest recipe in the entire Half Baked Harvest cookbook. It was good, but definitely a lot of ingredients. I ended up taking this entire picturesque pile and scrambling it up into a big ugly, tasty mess. I actually liked this better on day 2; the meat got better after grilling and sitting even longer.

While I did like this meal, and I am more than ok with interpreting international cuisine into something different, Turkey is another country I may just have to revisit on this month’s menu, to try something a little different!

Half Baked Harvest

Ok both of this week’s European visits were from Half Baked Harvest, and I also made two other recipes! I made Mashed Potatoes in my Instant Pot, again with brown butter and sage. Overall, using the Instant Pot wasn’t necessarily any quicker than boiling potatoes on the stove, but the result was perfectly cooked and easy-to-mash potatoes. I’d definitely make these again – maybe Thanksgiving, when the stovetop is already full? It would be handy to use the Instant pot. The second recipe was from the website, with a real long name – One Skillet Saucy Chicken Tortilla Enchilada Rice Bake. It’s basically a spiced (ground) chicken & rice enchilada casserole. Right up my husband’s alley! This was very similar flavors to other dishes from the website. I chose to reduce the recipe by half, make it advance, and bake it with the chips and cheese when we were ready to eat. I used a few less chips during the baking process so the leftovers weren’t covered in soggy chips.

We’re almost halfway through the month, and I’ve already got plans to revisit France and Turkey. That leaves just 3 more countries to visit!! Where else should we go?

P.S. I’m making last week’s paella again. I loved it so much I decided I want it for lunch every day next week!

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