I made twelve meals at our local A Dinner A’Fare last month, and tomorrow evening I will do it again.Â Twelve new meals.Â I still have two meals from last month in the freezer.Â I gave last month’s meals a mixed review – and I even wrote about what I would do differently this time.Â However, for the most part, the meals were very good, and I want to try it again.Â I will do things a little differently tomorrow evening, though
(1) I will write down all the ingredients – the recipe – for each dish as I assemble it.Â This past month I realized that I had forgotten what was in the various dishes, and it was a lot of trouble to look up the blog post describing the dishes.Â So I’ll write it all down this time and put it with the food.
(2) Before I package the ingredients I will make sure I understand how the meal will be cooked so that I package things properly.Â I messed up a couple meals by not cooking them correctly.Â Nothing major – just not dusting the meat with flour prior to adding it to the pan – little things like that.Â I do a lot of cooking, and so I have to believe that the directions that The Dinner A’Fare provide should probably be a little clearer.Â
That’s it.Â No major changes.Â I’ll take a cooler to transport the meals home, and I’ll have a good time making the meals.Â However, neither my daughter nor my daughter-in-law can join me tomorrow.Â So I won’t have as good a time as I did in December.
I enjoyed writing the briefÂ review of each meal last month as I cooked them.Â So I will do that again this month.Â Here are this month’s dishes and the official description – followed by MY review and assessment ofÂ each dish after I’ve prepared and eaten it.Â If you’re interested, keep checking back because I will adding my reviews throughout the month:
Bistro Steak with Walnut Gorgonzola Butter: This new steak is becoming a favorite in all Dinner Aâ€™Fare kitchens! This shoulder tenderloin is seasoned with kosher salt, pepper, and grilled or broiled to your liking. Sliced and then topped with walnut, Gorgonzola infused butter, our bistro steak is a must try!
Review:Â This was GOOD!Â I copied the recipe (1/4 cup butter, 1 Tablespoon Gorgonzola and 1 Tablespoon walnuts for the “Gorgonzonola infused butter”, and the tenderloin was just salted and peppered.Â Simple recipe, and it was fantastic.Â Enough for RT and me for dinner – with extras for me to take to work the next day for lunch.
Asian Lettuce Wraps: We all love great wraps, but now you don’t have to go out to your favorite restaurant to have them. We mix together ground turkey, green onions, garlic and toss in our out of this world sauce made from sherry, soy, sesame oil and Hoisin. Wrap these up in the lettuce leaves that we provide, and enjoy in the comforts of your own kitchen!
NOTE: Tried these immediately – and they were great.Â It was too difficult to wrap it in the lettuce leaves provided.Â I think another type of lettuce would have worked better.Â However, it was really tasty, and RT and I both enjoyed them.Â I would make this again!
Chicken Parmesan: Melt in your mouth Italian flavor, just like your favorite family ristorante! Our fresh chicken breasts are marinated in a zesty Italian dressing and then baked with a Parmesan and Italian breadcrumb topping. Pour on our Dinner A’Fare marinara sauce and bake to perfection. So easy, and loved by all!
Review:Â Mediocre.Â It was okay – just not outstanding.Â I wouldn’t cook this again.
Garlic Rosemary Pork Tenderloin: Inspired by our cooking tour in Italy, we love this pork tenderloin that is doused in chopped garlic and rosemary. Bake this favorite, and your kitchen will be transformed into the Italian countryside.
Note: 1/30/07 – This was WONDERFUL!Â Tender, melt-in-your-mouth.Â My only complaint is that the dried rosemary is like little twigs on the tenderloin.Â Could it be ground up?
Baked Rigatoni with Sausage and Mushrooms: SautÃ©ed sweet Italian sausage, onions, and garlic are mixed with traditional rigatoni noodles. Baked with ricotta cheese, mushrooms, marinara sauce and then topped with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. You will think you are in Florence!
Note:Â Had this on 2-11-07 – It was decidedly forgettable.Â Very blah.Â Â I wouldn’t cook this again.Â
Steak Fajitas: Strips of our lean flank steak are marinated in Italian dressing, Worcestershire sauce, and limejuice. We cook this tender steak with onions and peppers for a full flavor. Serve them hot in our flour tortillas.
Note:Â I cooked these on 2-17-07.Â I didn’t care for them.Â RT thought they were okay.Â I served them with shredded cheese and sour cream and salsa.Â They neededÂ all thatÂ and more.Â
Sweet and Sour Cashew Pork: Much better than Chinese take out! This sweet and sour sauce is made from scratch with low sodium soy sauce, rice wine, ketchup and served with cubed pork, cashews, and pineapple. More flavorful and healthier than the recipe at your corner take out kitchen!
Note: February 1 – This is probably one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever made.Â This is wonderful!Â I will sign up for this meal every single time it is offered!Â
Pan Asian Tilapia with Five Spice Panko Crust: Six flaky Tilapia filets are marinated in a pan Asian sauce made from rice vinegar, orange juice, and soy sauce. The filets are then coated in a panko crust seasoned with Asian five spices, which gives all the five flavors of sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, and salty. The Chinese claim that these five spices represent the five elements of life. We just love the flavor!
Review:Â This was the last meal from this set that we had.Â It was good.Â RT kept asking me what was in the crust – and I couldn’t remember, and this was one of the ones that I didn’t write down the ingredients.Â It wasn’t my favorite – but it was pretty good.Â I think I’d prefer NOT to have the sweetness with fish.Â It just didn’t taste quite right.
Key West Shrimp with Black Bean: If you love shrimp you must try this flavorful version where The Dinner A’Fare pairs up with McCormick’s Key West spice blend. We brush butter, limejuice, and Key West spice over our famous shrimp. Serve with our black bean salsa, made by you, of black beans, mango, onions, and pineapple juice and start dipping!
Note: Had this on 2-12-07 – It was fair.Â Not outstanding.Â The salsa did not look appealing at all, but it tasted okay.Â I wouldn’t cook this again.
Bold and Zesty Peppered Flank Steak: Everyone loves these steaks that are marinated in a special blend of garlic, steak sauce with a dash of Worcestershire making this an unbeatable marinade! Add a little pepper into the mix and you have a bold and zesty flavor with our popular tender and juicy aged Angus flank steak. Top of the line quality is what we do best!
Note: Tried this on 2/19/07.Â It was pretty good.Â I served it with scallopped potatoes and a fresh salad.Â The flavor was definitely a steak sauce flavor – good but nothing outstanding. I could have marinated a steak in steak sauce and gotten the same flavor.Â
Sesame Chicken with Brown Rice: Cubed boneless, skinless chicken breasts are marinated in low sodium soy sauce, brown sugar, chopped garlic and pepper and then stir fried until tender and juicy! We toss the chicken in even more soy sauce glaze, serve it over healthy brown rice, and top with sesame seeds.
Note: 1-29-07 – Very easy, butÂ a tad bland for my taste – but still good.
Teriyaki and Pineapple Pork Chops: Everyone loves this combination of teriyaki and pineapple. We take our tender, hand cut pork chops and marinate them in a teriyaki sauce made from scratch! Top these chops with thick slices of pineapple for a beautiful presentation with no hassle!
Note:Â I cooked these on 2-20-07.Â They were fairly good.Â I had baked potatoes and salad to go with them.Â Good flavor.
Note after my second visit to A Dinner A’Fare:Â I was impressed again with the freshness of the ingredients, the friendliness of the franchise owners, and the fun of the experience.Â It’s such a great idea for a business.
My daughter and I are both convinced that it saves on grocery money.Â It saves many trips to the grocery store to get one or two items.Â Everything for the main dish is already right there altogether.
Here’s to good taste!
Later Note (2-22-07):Â My daughter went to Supper Thyme a couple weeks ago.Â Although their meals don’t sound as good, she has been thrilled with them.Â She says every single meal she has cooked has been delicious, and the grandgirls (3 and 5 years old) have enjoyed them, too.Â She says thatÂ the Supper Thyme meals are more complete “meals” as opposed to just the entree.Â Â I think I’ll try Supper Thyme next month.