Monday, November 29, 2010

Chef Challenge: Meat & Potatoes

Editors Note:  This is a guest post from Colin.

Before you go any further, go ahead and cue this post's theme music.

Good.   Now that you've been put in the mood with staccato violin notes, behold:
If you've ever shot a gun, parallel parked, or used coozies as oven mitts, then you've cooked a steak, or stood over someone's shoulder drinking a beer while they cooked a steak.  If so, you can hear the crackle and pop of the meat and fat on the grill (as well as staccato violin notes, of course), and you can smell the meat cooking--turning from dead animal to prime delicacy.  If your steak was done well (and not well done), your mouth should be watering.  Lastly, if you ate something from a drive through tonight, you should be feeling regretful for more than just the indigestion you're going to have, and here's why:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pan Seared Salmon with Whole Grain Spaghetti Pesto

Thankfully, training season - and my marathon - is over (for the year).  I probably won't miss logging 60+ miles per week, but I am going to miss my ability to eat whatever I wanted without feeling any guilt.  Especially carbs.

Daylight savings time is pretty depressing for someone like myself.  The idea darkness arriving by 4:30 p.m. everyday is frustrating - especially if you want to be outside taking in the sights and sounds of mother nature.

Nevertheless, there is comfort in a heaping bowl of pasta.  I've never been much of a sweets guy, so I typically drown my sorrows in a bowl of Linguine rather than a quart of Rocky Road.  To each his own, right? 

Anywho, I thought I would share one of my favorite training dishes that makes use of lean protein and Omega 3's with whole grain pasta and a fresh pesto.  Honestly, this ain't that bad for you... good fats, good carbs, and lean protein. 

Pike's Peak Marathon and the Grand Tetons - I'm coming for you.

Oh - and for those of you looking for great Thanksgiving recipes, please shoot us a request at with the item you are looking to prepare.  We'll do our best to shoot you an outstanding recipe before the big day.

Pan Seared Salmon with Whole Grain Spaghetti Pesto

1 8 oz Salmon Filet
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
4 oz Whole Grain Spaghetti
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Tablespoons Pine Nuts
1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Parmigiano Reggianno Cheese
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, add salmon filet and season liberally on both sides with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Cook for 4 - 5 minutes per side, remove from heat and set aside to rest.  Meanwhile, heat a large pot of salted water to boiling and cook spaghetti until al dente, about 8 minutes, or box instructions.  In a food processor, pulse together the garlic, pine nuts, and basil leaves until broken down and smooth.  Add the lemon juice, cheese, and season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper and pulse to incorporate.  Finally, with the processor running, slowly stream in olive oil to create an emulsion.  Remove and strain pasta and toss in the pesto sauce, ensuring an even distribution of the pesto in the pasta.  Top with salmon filet and serve.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chef Challenge: Spaghetti

Editors Note:  This is a guest post from Colin.

Have Her Over For Dinner.  The irony of a spaghetti dinner for one from the Have Her Over For Dinner vault conjures up scenes of Lady and the Tramp, and how sad a scene that would it have been to just have the Tramp eating his spaghetti, alone, without a Lady (the word "Lady," incidentally, reminds me of a great song). 

The reality of the situation is that spaghetti is only an engaging meal when you’ve given it to your two year old with full knowledge that most of it isn’t making it down the chute.  The other 99% of the time, it simply an easy, filling, and wonderfully reheatable dish that involves three simple steps:  Heat up, drain, and mix.  This recipe's extra inclusion of cooking up some Italian sausage is one small step for preparing the meal, one giant leap in how much taste it adds.  

You want your simple meal?  Here it is, with leftovers to boot.  

Spaghetti with Italian Sausage

2 Links Hot Italian Sausage
1 Jar Classico Basil and Tomato Pasta Sauce
Kosher Salt
6 oz Dry Spaghetti Pasta
Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, grated

Preheat a skillet/heavy bottomed pan over medium heat.  Add sausage links and brown for 2 minutes on each side.  Pour in pasta sauce, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat a large pot of salted water over high heat.  When water comes to a boil, add pasta and cook until just under al dente, about 7 - 9 minutes.  Drain pasta into a colander, and add into the pan with the sauce and sausage.  Mix thoroughly, ensuring the pasta is well coated in sauce.  Add a generous serving of the pasta and sausage to a serving plate.  If desired, slice sausage, every one inch or so before plating.  Add cheese to taste.  Serve.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Chef Challenge-Something Fishy

Editors Note:  This is a guest post from Colin.

Meal One is an easy recipe, which was the point.  It also is a healthy one, supposedly, so this will be something new for me.  No cheese, tortillas, or condiments on a meal I make is a rarity.  Taking on something as potentially volcanic as actually preparing fish to cook is a first.  My only other firsthand experiences with flippers involve grilling frozen tilapia straight from the freezer to the George Foreman, and restlessly getting sunburned with a bobber in the water while "fishing."  The former experience I gave up on after a few bad meals, and a few inedible meals.  The latter I finally learned was just an excuse to drink beer outside, and now something I quite enjoy.  Not that I actually catch anything, though.  But a tuna fillet?  I thought tuna only existed in-between bread, with mayonnaise and pickle relish.  Neverthless, I rolled up my sleeves, un-wrapped my catch from the butcher, and dove into this fishy first feature of the Have Her Over For Dinner Chef Challenge.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Great Meals Start with Great Ingredients

Editors Note:  This is a guest post from Colin.

I was going to go to the store after work, and like all of us, I was running behind.  Work had magically become busy in the last 45 minutes of the day, catching up for the two hour lull after lunch when I split my time between sculpting a new Pandora Station and donating habitats to orphaned toddlers with breast cancer from the BP oil spill checking  It was raining.  I was hungry, and wanted food right then.  In short, I didn't want to go to the store.

Then I remembered the one shining star that guides men like myself all over the City of Dallas to buy groceries--I had a hot grocery store.  I'm sure you do too.  While at the University of Georgia, it was hot Kroger, although, really, Kroger was just another location for the eternally hot women everywhere in Athens to be seen.  Fast forward a few years later, and I'm in Dallas, but have still found the best place to grocery shop--Hot Albertsons on McKinney.  Sure, Gay Kroger off Oak Lawn has better selection, and Milf Central Market has better quality food, but Hot Albertsons has the best patrons.  The crowd may be bigger on Sunday post-hangover/brunch, but this is Hot Albertsons on a Monday evening.  This place is not a secret.  I'm rejuvinated, and will be making a showing of the fact that I am coming straight from my demanding job (ok, Snood held me up) still wearing my expensive suit (Mens Wearhouse) and shouting "Objection!" into my iBerry so that everyone knows I'm a lawyer (I just passed the Bar Exam four days ago). 

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Kitchen Challenge

Editors Note:  This is a guest post from my good friend, Colin.

Colin: I can't believe my job makes me work over 40 hours a week.  I never have time to go to the store. 
Matt: What if I make a week long grocery list and meals with just the bare essentials, think you're able enough to handle that?
Colin: Hey, what do I look like?

Since day one of Have Her Over For Dinner, which was well before the book finally made it into production, I've been excited about the possibility of a cookbook recipe that doesn't end with me frantically waving a towel, cursing the oven fan for not sucking up the smoke billowing from my attempt to simply fry an egg (true story--who knew you had to grease the pan first?).  Matt's book was going to be different.  It was going to be different because I was going to be the kitchen foil to his everyday Bobby Flay, ready to ask the dumb questions so you don't have to.  It was going to be perfect... and it almost worked.  

From Kitchen Clueless to Kitchen Chef

Some of you may remember Colin.  For those of you who don't, see below .  Over the next week or so, Colin is going to share with us his stories of success, failure, espionage, and intrigue.  Trust me, you will want to tune in.  Make it even more fun, and try the challenge out yourself.  We'd love to hear from you - send us your stories/pictures to

A recap.

Meet Colin.  Friend, attorney, Texan, editor of Last Resort Press, and all around humorist.

My Challenge.
  Create a custom meal plan - 4 meals - one week.  Simple, health conscious ingredients.  All easy enough for a man who's idea of cooking starts and ends with using a microwave.

The Deal.  1 trip to the grocery store.  Consistent ingredients.  A write/up and summary of each experience - including recipes for all of you lovely readers - and hopefully, just hopefully - an evening where our newbie 'has her over for dinner'.

The Result.  Stay tuned.  Colin will provide unique posts over the next few weeks detailing his experience in the kitchen - along with a few helpful hints and tricks he learns along the way.  I promise you will find his writing and humor . . . well, better than mine.

Want to get involved?  Take the challenge.  As new posts come out - comment, try out the recipes, send us your pictures (  We'd love to hear from you.

Crack open a cold beer and get to work!

Meal One:  (The busy weekday).  Keep it simple, keep it healthy.  Rely on a few store bought/prepped ingredients to make things easy.  When everything hits the plate, you'll feel like you are eating a home cooked meal from scratch - without the work.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

5 Stick to Your Ribs Soups from Around the Country

It's a cold and rainy day here in Nashville, TN. 

Perhaps I could let that ruin my mood - but instead - I'm using it to my advantage.

Check out my latest post on some of my favorite dishes for a day just like today.

Of course, a big thanks to Brett and Kate over at The Art of Manliness for allowing me to contribute to their site.  If you haven't checked out their content/book - do yourself a favor and go - NOW!

As always, cook and eat passionately!