Trashy TV, Snazzy Dinner

Dinner was a conundrum tonight.

I wanted to cook.

I wanted to eat quickly.

I wanted to make something indulgent but still sort of healthy.

Enter:  Yankee Taco Salad

A little of this.

All in the pot together.

With a can of…wait for it…baked beans!

Served on top of:

Topped with:

Only a smalll mountain of cheese.

And a little plain Greek yogurt.  Oh, and chips.  It wouldn’t really be a taco salad without them.  Not even yankee style.

Drool.

Trashy TV for the evening graciously provided by Bravo.

Nice little Thursday.

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Rags to Riches

I’m at a bit of a loss for words.

My friends, I just had a near out-of-body food experience.

Before I get to that, let’s cut to lunch.

Remember dinner last night?  Well, I cooked up some pasta and basically threw all of my leftovers in it for lunch.

Now- don’t get me wrong.  This is actually a healthy and satisfying lunch.  There’s carbs (brown rice pasta), protein (organic baked beans and chicken sausage) and vegetables (carrot sticks).  It tasted good.  Wasn’t the most exotic thing I’ve ever eaten, but it got the job done.  And I’m pretty sure the net cost of this meal was approximately 89¢.

But sometimes a girl’s got to put her fancy panties on.

And tonight, that’s exactly what I did.

Now, I’m not a girl who likes clubbing and wearing fifteen inch stilettos with a three inch skirt.  Nor am I the kind of girl who enjoys dresses that don’t allow for eating due to their corset-like styling.  But man, if there’s fancy food- I’m there.

**Braisified (Life) Tip**

You will never know what life will bring you if you always say “no” to opportunities.

———————-

Tonight, I was invited by a coworker to be treated to a meal at the Four Seasons.  Now, it’s a school night, kids.  After the shenanigan that was Tuesday night I was tempted to stay in.   But it’s the FOUR SEASONS.  The restaurant there (appropriately named Seasons) is award winning!

So, after work we started our evening at Zed 451.  They have one of the best rooftops in Chicago.

I ordered a wine flight.

It was a Mark West pinot noir and two others.  The server took my menu away too quickly for me to remember what they were.  They were all good, though.  You can’t go wrong with a wine flight. 🙂

After our drink (or three) we walked over to the Four Seasons, I unbuttoned my pants and we got ready to EAT.

(I will preface the next section by saying that the lighting wasn’t ideal in the dining room.  But I had to take pictures of everything, so here we are.)

My appetizer:

Tuna tartare with toast, microgreens and a quail egg.

I’m not usually one to order tartare anything, but this was recommended and it was sooo buttery and mild.  I’d definitely order it again!

My entree:

Crispy chicken under a brick with veggies and a delicious au jus. Plus, the BEST polenta I’ve ever had:

I have a sneaking suspicion that the answer to my question “how did they make it so good?” is: “butter”, but I don’t care!  It was awesome!

This entire meal was amazing, but the standout, A+, teacher’s pet, can-do-nothing-wrong dish was my dessert.  I ordered the passion fruit chocolate soufflé and it was obnoxiously good.

It came with a little scoop of coconut sorbet and the little square on the lower left hand side is a piece of key lime fudge.

Check out the chocolate goo action:

I would like all of you to read the rest of this post with Berlin’s 80’s hit “Take My Breath Away” playing in your head.

It was one of the top 5 desserts I’ve ever eaten, and that says a lot!

You can see the passion fruit!

And the sorbet was awesome!

At one point our server tried to take the plate before I had licked it clean and I almost bit his hand.

Thanks to Amber and Michiel for an amazing meal!

And it just goes to show you- if you say “yes” to things without hesitation or second thought you can experience truly wonderful things.

That is how to take an average day of eating to a foodie’s paradise.

What’s the best meal you’ve been surprised with?

Ghetto Mac

Ahhh, the simple pleasures.

Kittens.

Warm bath towels.

Snow days.

and…

Mac ‘n Cheese!

Tonight I was all over some hot, cheesy pasta.  I don’t frequently crave pasta dishes, but when I do it’s mac ‘n cheese in a BIG way.

When I do make it, I call it Ghetto Mac because I almost never make a trip to the grocery store so I end up throwing anything that I’ve got in my kitchen into the dish.   It’s like a science experiment!

I started with some Trader Joe’s organic brown rice penne.

This stuff kind of sticks to the pot when you’re boiling it, but I still love it.  It tastes good, sure, but check out the nutritional stats on this baby:

You can’t beat that!  I made a quick little cheese sauce.  Here’s how:

Melt some butter in a pan and add an equal amount of flour to it.  Add some chopped onion and garlic and let them cook together for a minute or two.

Ordinarily, I’d add milk here as the base of the sauce, but I didn’t have any (fail!) so I subbed in chicken broth.  Trust me, this works juuust fine. 🙂

Whisk in the liquid and reduce heat to low.  While this simmers away, add whatever cheese you’ve got on hand.  I used a little chopped up sharp white cheddar and half of a string cheese.  Yes, I ripped a string cheese in half and tore it up into my lovely white sauce.  You’re jealous of my classiness, I can tell.

I then added some sun dried tomatoes…

These are a personal favorite.  I also threw in some broccoli and cut up leftover coq au vin from last night.

Once the cheese is melted, add the pasta to the pan and stir!

Here’s my plate, with an extra side of broccoli:

There was a lot going on in this pasta, but it was all kinds of good!  I may have even eaten more after I finished that.

It was a comfort food kind of evening.  Mission accomplished.

What’s your go-to comfort food dish?  Do you make it for yourself or order it in a restaurant?