Saturday, May 31, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

Okay, so with it being a new month, I am recommitted to cooking dinner at home. And, not passing over the meals that perhaps I'm not THRILLED about in favor of eating out. We'll see how it goes. And, I guess, you'll know because of the frequency at which it shows up as a repeat on my dinner menu.

Sunday - eating dinner with family and cousins
Monday - Ham, Cheese & Asparagus Mac, fruit
Tuesday - Pizza, salad
Wednesday - Peanut-Crusted Chicken with Pineapple Salsa, broccoli, rolls
Thursday - Brie and Riccotta Pasta Rosa, zucchini, crusty bread with sundried tomato and parmesan spread
Friday - Spring Shepherd's Pie, salad, rolls
Saturday - Leftovers

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Short Week Dinner Menu

Ok, we're back from our weekend getaway. We ate out last night, but I am getting "back on the ball." So, here it is the plan for the rest of the week.

Wednesday - Amber's Turkey Enchiladas
Thursday - Pizza (something from the CPK Cookbook)
Friday - Peanut-Crusted Chicken with Pineapple Salsa, broccoli, rolls
Saturday - Katie's Savory Chicken Squares, salad, fruit, maybe dessert

Looks like I'm having a "Poultry Week." I hope that works for everyone.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

I know, I know . . . I have failed to get up a dinner menu for this week. What can I say, our life is always on-the-go. We spent a wonderful four-day weekend out at Lake Chelan with my family. We had a BBQ, pizza, and many other "yummies".

Here's what it looked like, food-wise:
Friday night: local burger shack for dinner
Saturday: Pancakes for breakfast; leftovers for lunch; Dinner was Dad's Famous Burgers, tomato & corn salad, Caitlin's Asian Crunch salad, and Katie's Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert
Sunday: Dad's scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast; leftovers and sandwiches for lunch; pizza and more salad for dinner (we came up with some great new combos)
Monday: French toast for breakfast; "Clean out the fridge" leftovers for lunch

Dad's Famous Burgers
ground beef
diced onions
worchestershire sauce
liquid smoke (if you have it)

Dad's Scrambled Eggs
green onions
red peppers
Johnny's salt

Tomato & Corn Salad
tomatoes (red and yellow cherry)
4 ears cooked corn, blanched
2 peppers (red or orange)
4 green onions
1/2 c. basil
salt and pepper
1/2 c. olive oil
2 T lemon juice
2 T red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced (can subst. garlic powder)

Cut tomatoes in half (or quarters depending on size). Blanch corn, and cut kernels from the cob. Dice the peppers. Slice the green onions. Chop the basil. Mix all together. Combine all ingredients for dressing in a screw top jar, shake well. Pour dressing over salad.
I only used the half the dressing when we had it and it still tastes great! If you use it all, it can get to liquidy.

Caitlin's Asian Crunch Salad
canned mandarin oranges, drained
sliced almonds
toasted sesame seeds
broken, uncooked ramen noodlesand
Newman’s Own Light Ginger Sesame Dressing

Katie's Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks butter
6 T sugar
2 c. brown sugar
Mix until smooth.
2 eggs
4 tsp. vanilla
Add eggs one at a time, beating in between.
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 c. flour
Slowly add to butter mixture.
Add chocolate chips to taste.
Bake at 375 for about 10 min. Don't overbake.

Our Pizzas
standard pepperoni
ground beef, turkey pepperoni, sauteed onions
greek style pizza - onion, artichokes, feta, ricotta, parsley, mint

Saturday, May 24, 2008

This Week's New Recipe Reviews

Sweet Pork Salad with Cilantro Dressing
original recipe here
I am not wure what to say about this one. It was good, but not Cafe Rio. Don't try this expecting to get the same. I think the flavor may have come closer to Cafe Rio's if we had used BBQ sauce instead of the ketchup. I cut the dressing recipe in half, and I added a little coleslaw dressing for "sweetness" because my salsa verde was very spicy.
But, like I said, it was good and it was easy!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Kicked Up" Hummus

I hope that you have all tried making your own hummus. If not, get a move on! You won't regret it. Even my two-year-old eats it.

Mediterranean Hummus
pine nuts
olive oil
dehydrated red bell pepper

Tuscan Hummus (made with White Beans)
olive oil
sundried tomatoes
white pepper

Cilantro & Jalapeno Hummus
chopped cilantro
pureed jalapeno

Spicy Hummus
pureed roasted red pepper

Triple-Layer Hummus
In a clear container, layer: spicy hummus on the bottom, cilantro & jalapeno hummus, with traditional hummus on the top.

Like I said, there's a hummus for every occassion. And, speaking of occassions, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my dad who will be receiving what else . . . hummus as a part of his birthday gift.
For a BIG twist on hummus try this Black Bean Hummus recipe.

Strawberry Pie

Here is the recipe for the strawberry pie that we always have for Dad's birthday.

Strawberry Pie
9-inch baked pie shell
6 C fresh strawberries (about 1 1/2 quarts)
1 C sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch

1/2 C water
1 pkg (3 oz) cream cheese, softened

Bake pie shell. Cool. Mash enough strawberries to measure 1 cup. Mix sugar and cornstarch, stir in water and strawberries. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Cool. Beat cream cheese until smooth, spread on bottom of pie shell. Fill shell with remaining whole berries, pour cooked berry mixture over the top.

Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chicken in 20 minutes? I'll take it!

I check today and came across this: "20/20: Superfast Chicken Suppers." What an idea! There are some recipe that I can't wait to try, like:

Chicken and Summer Vegetable Tostadas
Chicken, Carrot, and Cucumber Salad
Chicken Cobb Salad
Chicken Souvlaki with Spicy Orange Hummus
Pineapple Chicken Salad Pitas
Peanut-Crusted Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

And, then, there are some that I would probably never make. But, check it out for yourself. Maybe, there's something "fast" that will become your family's favorite. Or, you could try this original Superfast Supper: Turkey and Bean Chili.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Build-Your-Own-Panini Night

Tonight, for dinner it was build-your-own-panini night. I put out:

Bread (Ideally, ciabatta bread)
deli ham
deli roasted turkey
lettuce tomatoes
roasted red pepper spread

But, you could add any sandwich toppings that you like. We also tried the Carrot and Apple Slaw recipe found here with a few alterations, of course.

Carrot and Apple Slaw
Not knowing how well it would be received, I cut the recipe way down like to 1/4 its original size. I didn't have apple jelly or golden raisins, so I put in regular Coleslaw dressing and raisins. Then, I just sprinkled individual servings with the chopped cashews. Well, I enjoyed it and, since I'm the only one who tried it, it was a success. I will be enjoying the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

We are getting back to a normal schedule, and I am excited to get back to cooking. So, here it is, this week's menu plan.

Sunday - Pork Chops Stuffed with Sundried Tomatoes and Spinach, Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella, and who knows (I'll tell you after we eat - Caitlin's cooking)
Monday - Build-Your-Own Panini Night, Carrot and Apple Slaw
Tuesday - Work dinner for the husband, so we're eating leftovers
Wednesday - Dad's Birthday Enchiladas, salad, strawberry pie
Thursday - Sweet Pork Salad with Cilantro Dressing, fruit salad
Friday - Turkey Enchiladas, fruit salad
Saturday - Thai Chicken and Noodles (I know, I know - but, I promised my cousin that I would try out this recipe.)

***I had to shift things around a little, because I forgot about some key events taking place this week. (5/21/08).***

This Week's New Recipe's Review

Ham, Cheese and Asparagus Mac with Tomato and Cucumber Salad
original recipe here
Macaroni: I cut the recipe in half for my family. And, other than peeling the asaparagus (a tip I learned from Food Network to get the asaparagus to cook evenly), I followed the recipe exactly. Oh yeah, I also went a little "shy" on the hot sauce. We really liked the flavor, and the combo of the ham and asaparagus was great. My two year-old ate it (with a toothpick) without complaints!
Salad: This was a little bit of a twist on vinegar-cucumbers, which I don't ever make. But, we like it non the less, and it would be great for a summer picnic. But, if you don't like the taste of vinegar, I would not reccommend it.

Joe's Molten Marshmallow-Chocolate Cakes
original recipe here
Followed the recipe exactly; but forgot to set the timer while baking, so I had to guesstimate. This is a supper easy, impressive dessert that I would reccommend for company. I am going to try reheating our leftovers tonight to see if the marshmallow goes molten again.

Ginger-Peanut Chicken-Salad Wraps
original recipe here
Cut the recipe in half. The peanut sauce had great flavor, with just a little kick. The cilantro was the perfect thing to cool the chicken mixture a little. We really liked this one, and will definitely repeat it. My husband even said that it would make a good leftover lunch, and since the chicken mixture could easily be served cold - I think he is right!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Two Day Dinner Menu

As promised, I am returning with what the plan is now that my husband is home. Well, as exciting as it was, we had Papa Murphy's Taco Grande pizza for dinner last night. Here is the plan for the other two nights:

Friday - Ham, Cheese and Asparagus Mac, Cucumber and Tomato Salad, Joe's Molten Marshmallow-Chocolate Cakes with vanilla ice cream
Saturday - Ginger-Peanut Chicken Salad Wraps, Fruit Salad

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Addicted? Yes!

So, my new favorite snack, meal, any occasion food . . . HUMMUS! Yes, I could eat it 24/7, much to my husband's chagrin. My mom introduced me to Trader Joe's Creamy Meditteraenian Hummus. It could almost convince someone who doesn't like hummus that it is a decent thing to eat.

There are numerous health benefits to hummus as well. It is very low in fat, and high in protein. You can serve it with raw veggie sticks, pita bread, or (my favorite) rice crisps. (Really andything that can scoop it up!) Hummus is a good alternative to mayonnaise on a sandwich. And, one funny thing I read, apparently the chickpeas used to make hummus are an "early ancestor" of Prozac. So eat up, and be happy!

Basic Hummus Recipe
5 medium garlic cloves
15 ounces canned garbanzo beans, drained
1/4 cup sesame paste (tahini)
1/8 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon + 1/4 tsp soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch ground coriander
pinch teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup cold water, if needed

Fit a food processor with the steel blade. Process the garlic cloves until finely minced, stopping the processor occasionally to scrape down the sides of the work bowl. Add the beans and pulse the machine a few times to chop them coarsely. Then, with the machine running, puree them while you slowly pour the sesame paste through the feed tube. Still with the motor running, pour the olive oil, lemon juice, and soy sauce through the feed tube, stopping the processor occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stop the processor, open the lid, and add the salt, cumin, coriander, and cayenne. Process until thoroughly blended. If the puree seems too thick for dipping or spreading, pulse in the 1/8 to 1/4 cup cold water. Transfer the puree to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate to chill well before serving.

Coming later: Ideas for kicking up the flavor of your hummus. Once you've "tweaked" and perfected the basic recipe!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Another Meal at Mom's

Tonight, we ate at Mom's again, followed by an incredible evening at Cirque de Soleil's Corteo. We had: Split Pea (or Sausage) Soup, Rosemary Polenta, and Salad (spinach, craisins, mandarin oranges, feta, and toasted pecans).

Split Pea (or Sausage) Soup
from Sister Susan Tanner

3 qts water
1 lb split peas
1 lb sausage
1 C chopped celery
1 C chopped potatoes
1 C sliced carrots
1 C chopped onion
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of sage
pinch of rosemary

Cook peas until soft. Brown, drain and rinse ground sausage. Add cooked sausage and vegetables about the last 30 minutes of cooking. You can add more water if it gets too thick.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Two Meals at Mom's

For Mother's Day, we had: tri-tip steak, rosemary roasted potatoes, broccolini, 12-grain bread, salad, and Lemonade Layer Cake with vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Monday night, we had: our own CPK Thai Crunch Salad with Beef and Butternut Squash Stew.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

My husband is going out of town on a business trip Sunday through Thursday, so I'll be staying at my parents' house with the boys. I'll try to post about what we're eating up there, because Caitlin always comes up with something good. Check back later in the week to see what we're doing once my husband is home.

And, PLEASE, help everyone who checks this blog out by posting your Dinner Menus in the comments sections!

Smokey Chipotle and Black Bean Chilaquilles:Recipe Review

Smokey Chipotle and Black Bean Chilaquilles
original recipe here

I started by cutting the recipe in half. I used handmade flour tortillas from Trader Joe's instead of the corn tortillas it calls for, and I did not use "smoked" cheddar cheese. I, also, forgot to serve it with the sour cream, cilantro and scallions. We really liked the flavor of this one. The only thing I would change is possible the addition of some shredded chicken (at my husband's suggestion). Oh, and to remember to serve the toppings. Even, my two-year-old "picky eater" went back for bite after bite!

10 6-inch corn tortillas (or 4-5 cups stale corn tortilla chips)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
Zest and juice of 1 lime, divided
1 medium red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (from a 7-ounce can), seeded and chopped, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
2 15-ounce cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups corn, fresh off the cob or frozen and defrosted
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained
A few dashes hot sauce
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3/4 cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese
3 scallions, chopped on bias
1/2 cup (about a handful) chopped cilantro
1 8-ounce container sour cream

Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Stack the corn tortillas on top of one another and slice them into strips about an inch thick. Place into a mixing bowl along with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, cumin, coriander and lime zest. Give everything a toss to evenly coat the tortilla strips then place them onto a baking sheet. Bake the strips until they're crispy and golden brown, 12-15 minutes.
While the tortillas are crisping up in the oven place a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of vegetable oil, about 1 tablespoon. Toss the red onion and garlic into the pan and cook 2-3 minutes to soften them up. Add in the chipotle peppers along with the adobo sauce and the tomatoes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir to combine. Transfer everything to a food processor and pulse until it resembles salsa. Set aside.
Place another skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter. Add the corn to the melted butter and cook it until really golden brown, 8-10 minutes. (The secret to getting it good and brown here is to only stir it occasionally – let the corn sit so that the sides can brown up.)
While the corn is cooking, place the same skillet the onion and peppers were cooked in back over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of the vegetable oil, about 1 tablespoon. Add in one can of black beans and heat them through. Using a wooden spoon or potato masher, mash the beans to a paste, then stir in the other can of beans and hit it with the hot sauce and some salt.
Assemble the chilaquiles by ladling half of the salsa into a 9x13" casserole dish. Arrange the toasted corn strips or chips in the dish and top them off with the black beans, followed by the corn and the remaining salsa. Top with a shower of your shredded cheeses and pop it into the oven to melt the cheese, 7-8 minutes.
When the dish comes out of the oven squeeze the juice from the lime over the top and garnish with scallions and chopped cilantro. Pass some sour cream at the table to dollop on top.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

This recipe originally comes out of the Taste of Home Annual Recipes cookbook (from 2000?). But, I have tweaked it to MY liking over the years. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Macaroni & Cheese
2 T unsalted butter
1/4 C chopped scallions
2 T flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 C milk
1/2 C sour cream (optional)
1 3/4 C shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 C elbow macaroni, cooked
1/4 C unseasoned bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine flour salt, dry mustard, pepper and cayenne. Melt butter in a medium skillet. Add scallions and saute for 2 minutes or until slightly softened. Add flour mixture and cook for 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 1/2 C cheese, and sour cream if using. Add macaroni. Pour into a greased 1 1/2 qt baking dish. Top with remaining 1/4 C cheese and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until bread crumbs are lightly browned. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Okay, that's it. Now here's how I alter it. I always add the sour cream, but I don't really measure it. I don't cook the noodles ahead of time, but I add 2 Tbsp water to the sauce to compensate. You have to bake it for the full 25 minutes, in order to cook the noodles. I, also, don't measure the breadcrumbs because I love the crispy topping. This is not an ooey-gooey mac n' cheese, but it is so good! I double the recipe when serving as a main course at dinner.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cinco de Mayo, Again!

Due to a whole slew of doctor's appointments, we stayed at my parents' house on Tuesday night. They had gone to a baseball game on Monday, so we had their Cinco de Mayo celebration on Tuesday. It was delish! But, what else can you expect when Caitlin is planning the menu? Try it out, it was so yummy.

The Menu
Beef-and-Chicken Fajitas with Peppers and Onions
Fruit Salad (apple, strawberry, banana, grape, kiwi, and "cara cara" orange)
Shiree's Summer Salsa with Tortilla Strips

Shiree's Summer Salsa
1 can corn, drained
1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
2-3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 avocado, pitted and diced
large handful of cilantro, chopped
Zesty Italian dressing

Combine all ingredients except dressing. While stirring, add dressing just until "wet". Be careful not to stir too much or the avocado will get mushy. You can also add finely diced red onion to taste.

Monday, May 5, 2008

This Week's Dinner Menu

Leftover Week
That's right, we have so many meals that I planned for and didn't make that "This Week's Menu" won't be a lot of new ideas. Sorry!
Sunday was dinner with my parents & siblings.
Monday - Cinco de Mayo food
Tuesday - Smokey Beef Stew with Blue Cheese and Chives, salad and rolls
Wednesday - Baked Macaroni & Cheese, broccoli
Thursday - Thai Chicken and Noodles
Friday - Smokey Chipotle and Black Bean Chilaquiles
Saturday - Leftovers/Eat out

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday Morning Cinnamon Rolls

This is an incredible recipe for cinnamon rolls, it is probably my favorite. It is from a woman in the ward I grew up in. I, also, love it because you can do it all at once - there isn't a huge amount of time for rising involved.

Quick Cinnamon Rolls
6 Tbsp yeast
3 C water
1 C sugar
Mix together, and let sit for 15 minutes.
3 eggs
10 1/2 C flour
Mix together. Roll out immediately. Spread with butter, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture. (If you add brown sugar, you will get a more "caramelly" filling.) Slice 1-1 1/2 inches thick. Place on a greased baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Spread with icing, and serve.

I make a half-batch for my family on Sunday mornings, and bake them in a metal 9x13 inch pan. I like to use a cream cheese frosting on my cinnamon rolls.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cinco de Mayo

It's time for our next holiday! Since Cinco de Mayo falls on Monday, I thought I'd post now so that you can plan it into your grocery lists for next week. Enjoy!

Here is a great link for a Cinco de Mayo Taco Bar. However, for the "little people" in your life my may need to tone it down a little. Try these. For dessert, how about some sombrero cookies? Or make these Mini Pinatas with your kids. You could also use this Chili Pepper Print to decorate any thing from napkins to a t-shirt. We'll be coloring this mexican mother and son.


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