Saturday, July 24, 2010

menu July 24-30

Yikes!! July 30, summer is cruising on by and we are approaching school starting up again. It is bittersweet the start of school. Michael is entering the 6th grade, which is Junior High and the memory is still firmly planted in my head of his tiny hand in mine as I walked him into kindergarten. Where did the years go?? I certainly am alot more productive in the school year, summer is a distraction for me because I love the sun, and any activity I can find outside as well, but also, Michael still requires driving around, and we even "hang out" some time. Im not sure how much of that will take place next year when he will be on the homestretch of school before entering Highschool. OK, mental note- savor the next 4 weeks, or atleast try. I can start by coming up with a menu that is easy, light, and savory......Here is the game plan for the week, and again it may get changed or tweaked depending on time and sports scheduling(this is playoff week for my 6th grader)

Shrimp DeJonghe(Michael loves, loves shrimp)
Salmon al Fresco
Pizza with Portobello Mushrooms and Spinach
Crepe soup
Penne with Green Olive Almond Pesto
Spaghetti Taco

Balsamic Marinated Chicken over Field Greens

Alright, its officially a HOT summer! Anyone that knows me, knows I dont complain about heat. Im not the best sport when it comes to winter, and everything that goes along with it- cold, wet, dreary etc.....but "heat" I am in heaven. The hotter it is, the happier I am. Infact I make my family crazy because I dont even like airconditioning. Yesterday, I had many work projects going on, including cleaning my garage, and weeding my yard, so I didnt even come in to make dinner until after 7:00. I wanted to make something easy, quick and light since it was late and the temps were still in uper 80's. So I grabbed 7 ingredients, and dinner was on table in less then 20 minutes.
2 chicken breasts $2.29
16 ounces romaine, field greens, iceburg(I used fieldgreens)$1.99
large tomato or 20-30 cherry tomatos $1.99
4 oz blue cheese $1.20
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

wisk olive oil and vinegar in a bowl with a couple shakes of salt

toss chicken breasts in 1/4 cup marinade and put on cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes on each side at 350

In meantime when chicken is cooking, prepare lettuce on 4 plates, devide cheese and tomatos and top each salad, evenly distribute remaining salad dressing on each salad

remove chicken from oven, slicing each making sure completely cooked

slice chicken breasts into strips and top salads


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chicken and Wild Rice Salad

Here's a plan ahead, but really easy salad to make for your friends and family one of these long hot summer weekends!  We're making it Saturday for the Brewer Game that we're going to on Sunday.  A nice big meeting with a bunch of my family on my Mom's side.  Should be a great time.

Chicken and Wild Rice Salad - serves many!

2 1/2 cups cooked Wild Rice (about 3/4 cup uncooked wild rice)
2 1/2 cups cooked chicken breast (any method of cooking will do!)
2 cups chopped celery
8 ounces drained pineapple chunks
1 cup grape halves (green or purple!)
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup cashews
3/4 cup mayo product of choice - I'll be using Kraft Olive Oil Mayonaise

Mix and allow to flavor thru overnight for best results!  (besides, you don't need the stress of prepping salads for the party on the day of the party!!!)

Pork Tenderloin with Mojito Marinade

For years, probably 7 or so, I've been buying a great Mojito Marinade that I cannot find any longer.  Stinks.  You know what that means, time to make my own.  I read a recipe for one that is DISTINCTLY similar on Epicurious, but it's a bit involved for me.  It involves sliding garlic, oil, oj, lim juice, and spices into really hot oil - then blending, then storing for up to two weeks.  I'm thinking I can do the same ingredients, saute the onion and garlic in some of the oil/oj etc, but eliminate the super hot oil thing - which frightens the daylights out of me - then still do the rest of the steps.

If you've got jarred mojito marinade, use it with a pork tenderloin - then grill or bake to perfection.  about 20 minutes. 

This marinade is also fantastic over potatoes - then oven baked as B always does them.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blackened Cajun Style Tilapia servied over a bed of Spinach

we heading to Michigan City, Indiana today, actually very shortly, and I thought I would put this recipe up quick because I making this tonight along with burgers. I allready made my rub and plan to grill the blackened fish. When Ive made this before, I have skilleted it on the stove in a cast iron pan, but tonight we will be going for easy clean up, since we are staying at friends, and there is a total of 16 of us, 11 of which are kids. Hopefully it will be fun in the sun all day at my friends beachfront house. Here is my blackened recipe, and true to form, I just worked with the spices I had, and didnt venture to the store at midnight lastnight when I was making my rub.
4 peices of Tilapia
1 1/2 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried parsley

Mix all dry ingredients together

rinse and pat dry Tilapia
heat skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil
sprinkle on rub thoroughly on each salmon steak
place in skillet and cook 5 or 6 minutes on each side

if grilling, coat each side in rub, and place on grill, same amount of cooking time

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Homemade Spinach Pizza

Every once in a while I get a super big taste for this pizza, and I have to have it. I call it my "special" pizza, because I made up the recipe for the "crust", which is more like a cracker, and its, super healthy and can be mixed and matched with many, many diferent toppings, or eaten alone.(its that good)
2 cups soy flour(if you can find, otherwise, whole wheat or white)
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
1 tsp salt

mix ingredients together, forms kind of a paste. using your hands,(floured if necessary) flatten evenly onto a cookie sheet
bake at 300 for 20 minutes, until crisp and golden brown
can be topped with any kind of vegetble or cheese. Im going to do mine white tonight, with no tomato sauce
1 lb frozen or fresh spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove fresh garlic minced
heat skillet on medium, add olive oil and garlic, saute for five minutes, add spianch cover with lid, stir occasionally until spinach is completely wilted, add salt remove from heat
top pizza with spinach, and 1 1/2 cup grated mozarella cheese
bake for 10 minutes until cheese is melted
let stand for 5 mintues and cut peices with sharp knife or scissors

Crepe Lasagna

I cant pinpoint when, but I would guess about 15 years ago one of the amazing chefs in my family realized that if lasagna was make with crepes, it would be so much lighter(not to mention easier to make) we usually made the noodles the traditional way with eggs and flour. Crepes are made with eggs and flour as well, but it is a liquid batter vs a heavy dough. Lasagna dough is heavy and dry because it needs to go through a machine that flattens it into strips, crepes are light and airy, made with a combo of egg, flour and milk. I had never made lasagna with crepes, but I had enjoyed it many, many times because my grandma, mom, sister inlaw, aunts have all converted to making the pasta dish that way. So the other day when I was following my fellow cooking bloggers recipe for sweedish pancakes, I decided while I had the frying pans going, I would make up some crepes for Lasagna. I omited the sugar, but followed the recipe just the same, and a base for my Lasagna was born.
here is the crepe recipe again, minus the sugar
3 eggs
1 3/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt

mix all in blender
heat pans a little spray of oil, pour in batter and let cook, occasionally moving sides with spatula,
when crepe is easy to move in pan, flip(although I cant flip them in the air....yet) I just use my fingers and flip, and cook on otherside for another minute

depending on pan and how thick you make your crepes, you should have between 8-12 cr epes
I made 10

for sauce:
bottled marinara will do
I make a simple sauce using ingredients from my local convenient store

1 cans tomato sauce
1 can diced tomato
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried onion
salt and pepper to taste
in sauce pan combine all ingredients, and simmer for 30-45 minutes

10 ounces cottage cheese
2 egg whites
tablespoon dried parsley
salt and pepper
combine in blender or food processor

to make lasagna
take a 9 x 9 pan or similar
spoon out a layer of sauce on bottom of pan
layer bottom with three crepes
top with sauce and cottage cheese mixture
layer again with three more crepes, sauce and cottage cheese
again, making sure to use up all the cottage cheese
on top layer just layer with sauce, shredded mozarella, and a sprinkle or parm cheese
bake at 300 for 40 minutes
remove and let stand atleast 15 minutes

Monday, July 19, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

Oh, man, I totally owe you this recipe from Saturday of last week.  I've made like 16 servings of this in the past week...we've shared it with friends and family and neighbors and each time they're either being nice or really liked it - and these folks aren't usually throwin' down compliments for exercise, so I'm betting you should try it!  I loved it!
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

8 ounces chunky pasta - farfalle, penne, rigatoni, etc.
16 ounces chicken breast (about 12 ounces prepared)
1 red pepper (orange can substitute - want color!)
1/3 cup low fat ranch dressing
3-4 tbsp Frank's Buffalo Red Hot sauce

Cook pasta to al dente (crunchy) per package directions.  Drain, and rinse with COLD water to begin cooling immediately.  Chill.

Prepare chicken to your liking, I've grilled it for the best flavor, but you could use ready to serve, left overs, or whatever you've got.  Chill.

Dice peppers.

Mix Ranch and Red Hot Sauce.

Mix, refrigerate, and serve over a bed of lettuce for a meal or next to your burger at a picnic.  Either way, it's a superstar meal!
Well, it's officially the "dog days of summer" for me, now! I've gone on three vacations, had our closest family friends over for a nice weekend, and now, it's time to settle down again. Get some routine back into things. And lounge and read books and sit in the sun and enjoy and soak it all in.
Yeah right on the last part...

Here's what you should be eating this week...
Italian crepe Lasagna
Homemade pizza with rosemary crust and Spinach
Blackened Salmon with Sweet Potato Fries
Mojito Marinaded pork tenderloin (grilled) with summer squash and zucchini.
wild rice pasta salad
Balsamic Miarinated Chicken over field greens
ravioli with pesto