Thursday, July 15, 2010

Birthday Dinner

My fiancé’s birthday was earlier this month and to celebrate, I made him a special birthday dinner with dishes I knew he would love:

Bacon and Steak Spinach Salad
Whole Wheat Baguette
Fontina Mac and Cheese
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie a la Mode

I’ll give the recap on the main meal today and follow-up with a second post on the dessert tomorrow.

Since I was trying out some new recipes I wanted the sides to be fairly easy and simple. I bought the whole wheat baguette from the grocery store bakery and threw together a pretty easy salad. My fiancé is getting a little tired of my spinach obsession, so his salad was not entirely spinach; I mixed in some lettuce for his version. But I thought the spinach was a great complement to the steak so I didn’t take it out completely. I used leftover bacon from BLTs I made earlier in the week and I actually even took a shortcut on the steak.

I knew that I might run behind if I tried to make steak on top of everything else and since steak wasn’t the main focus I decided it would be okay to buy steak that was salad ready. I actually bought a steak burrito at Qdoba for lunch and asked for the steak on the side; already cooked and cut up, bueno! I put the steak in the fridge until that night and then when I was ready I warmed it up in the microwave and then sprinkled it onto the salads. It worked great and I’m so happy I decided to go that route.

Bacon and Steak Spinach Salad

½ bag (approximately) ready to eat spinach
2 lettuce leaves (washed and torn into bite size pieces)
½ carrot (washed and peeled)
½ tomato
6 slices of cucumber
2 slices bacon
1 container of steak from a Qdoba burrito with steak on the side J
Salad dressing of your choice (I went with Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette and my fiancé went with ranch).

Place the spinach and lettuce into two bowls.

Use a peeler to shave off long strips of carrot. Slice the tomato and cucumber into bit size pieces. Place the carrots, tomato and cucumber on top of the greens.

Break up the bacon into tiny pieces. Sprinkle bacon and steak over the tops of salad.

Serve with your choice of dressing.

One of my fiancé’s favorites is mac and cheese, but I wanted to do something a little more special than the usual homemade mac and cheese recipe. I found the perfect solution on Annie’s Eats; Fontina Mac and Cheese. Annie’s family also loves mac and cheese very much so she’s always coming up with new ways to put a spin on the classic dish.

I love Annie’s Eats…it’s one of my favorite food blogs. I have a very long list of her recipes that I’m anxious to try. You definitely need to visit her site if you have not already, it’s great.

Click here for the link to her site.

Click here for the link to her Fontina Mac and Cheese recipe.

Sorry, I didn't get a picture of the Fontina Mac and Cheese plated, but Annie's web site has a gorgeous picture.

It turned out great. The only comment I would add is that the Fontina cheese is very soft which made grating it a little tricky…but that was likely due to my tiny little grater but next time I will probably stick it in the freezer for a bit before grating. It was well worth the effort though.

Tomorrow I’ll post about the star of the show…Strawberry Rhubarb Pie!

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