Monday, November 26, 2012

Menu #28

Turkey Noodle Soup

I hope everyone had a Thanksgiving to be grateful for!  I’m happy to say that the deep fried turkey worked out and was absolutely scrumptious!  We’ve had a great time with family, but it is definitely exhausting!  It’s been a whirlwind of activity since, with Black Friday shopping and taking X-man to his first ever NFL football game.  His first football game was such a great experience, and we have decided to make it an after-Thanksgiving tradition. 

This week’s menu is pretty much based off Thanksgiving Day leftovers, and here it is. . .

Monday:  Turkey Noodle Soup w/ corn muffins
The base of this soup is turkey stock that I made from the turkey bones, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, herbs, & peppercorns.  To make the soup, I sauté carrots, onions, garlic, & potatoes.  I then add bay leaves, the stock, and season with S&P and poultry seasoning.  When it comes to a boil, I add chopped up kale & noodles.  After 10 minutes of boiling, I add chopped up turkey meat and cook another 5 minutes until meat is warmed through.  It’s such a comforting soup!

Tuesday:  Leftovers

Wednesday:  Creamy Tomato-Basil Sauce over Spaghetti Squash w/ garlic-cheese bread

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday:  Tamales w/ black beans, Mexican brown rice, and salsa
I’ll be working all day at the winery, so hubby is in charge of dinner.  I have a bunch of shredded pork tamales that my aunt made stored in the freezer, so this should be easy for him to put together. 

Saturday:  Shepard's Pie w/ green salad & balsamic vinaigrette
For those of you who don't know about Shepard's Pie, it's a comforting dish of ground beef, carrots, peas, & onions in a brown gravy topped with mashed potatoes and baked.  For my Shepard's Pie, I top it off with a sweet potato-red potato mash and add parmesan cheese.  I'll post about it later.  :-)

Sunday:  Leftovers

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cranberry-Jalapeno Relish

Cranberry-Jalapeno Relish

2 oranges
2 jalapenos, seeded
3/4 C sugar
1 # cranberries
1 T fresh mint, finely chopped

Zest the oranges, peel them, and them coarsely chop them.

In a food processor bowl, pulse together 1/2 of the chopped oranges, zest, & jalapenos until finely chopped.  Add sugar and pulse a few more times.  Add cranberries and pulse until finely chopped. 

Pour into serving dish and add remaining chopped oranges & mint.  Mix together & enjoy!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cornbread Stuffing Muffins

I made these kid-friendly mini stuffing muffins for X-man’s Feast Day at school.  My mom has made this cornbread stuffing as far back as I can remember, but she adds a lot more vegetables including lima beans, celery, onions, and olives.  I know how too many or unfamiliar vegetables scare kids, especially 4-year-olds, so I went with the oh so familiar peas, carrots, and corn.  J 

Cornbread Stuffing Muffins

12 cornbread muffins
1/2 C chicken broth
1/3 C frozen peas
1/3 C frozen diced carrots
1/3 C frozen corn
1 t poultry seasoning
S&P, tt

For the cornbread, I make muffins because they have more of the crusty edges which make stuffing yummy and they cool quicker.  Make them according to the package or just use store-bought. 

After the cornbread muffins are cooled, break it into crumbs. 

Add chicken broth a little at a time, until its completely moistened.  Mix in vegs & seasonings. 

Spoon stuffing mix into cupcake molds.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

Thanksgiving Countdown Plan!

There is no weekly menu this week because it’s time to get ready for Turkey Day!  I will be posting my Thanksgiving Countdown Plan along with pics and recipes rather than a menu this week.  We are celebrating the holiday with a Feast Party on Tuesday with X-man’s class and then heading to sis-in-law’s for Thanksgiving Day. 

For Feast Day, my contribution was mini stuffing muffins and turkey cookies.  For Thanksgiving, my sis-in-law is baking a ham with all the traditional fixings including mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and a veg casserole.  For our contributions, we went a little more nontraditional with a deep-fried turkey (wish us luck!!!), cranberry-jalapeno relish, and butternut squash mac n cheese.  I’m also making pastry-wrapped brie and a veg platter for appetizers. 

Let the countdown begin!

Monday:  Make Stuffing Muffins & Turkey Cookies.

Tuesday:  Feast Day & Shopping Day!  Make Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese.

Wednesday:  Make Cranberry-Jalapeno Relish.  Cut up vegs & make dip for platter.  Wrap brie.  Brine turkey.

Thursday:  Bake brie & mac n cheese, assemble veg platter, prepare turkey for frying.  Fry turkey at sis-in-law’s!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Menu #27

Sausage-Eggplant Shells

I’m a day late on posting my weekly menu because I was quite busy yesterday.  I was out wine tasting with my best friend, Janna…I do have my priorities!  ;-)  She had the day off for Veteran’s Day, so we had a fun girls day filled with great food & wine.  I had a Tuscan Bread Soup at Callaway Winery’s Meritage and it was superb.  I can’t stop thinking about this soup, so I’m going to try making a bread soup next week & I’ll post the outcome.

Since I was out yesterday, it was leftovers last night for the guys so they had the eggplant & sausage shells from last week’s menu.  These shells are great for batch cooking and then freezing to have on hand for a busy week.  I’ll post the recipe later this week. 

Monday:  Leftovers

Tuesday:  Green Chicken Enchiladas w/ black beans and Mexican brown rice
I’m going to make 2 dishes of these and freeze 1 for the “private chef” menu.  These were on last week’s menu, but I never got around to them because of our super busy weekend. 

Wednesday:  Cheesy Barley-Veg Bake w/ lemon-pepper chicken tenders
I’m also doubling up on these casseroles…1 for us and 1 for the PC menu.  This casserole is essentially like a mac n cheese, substituting barley for macaroni.  I start with a cheese sauce and add cooked barley, bell pepper, zucchini, and yellow squash.  I’ll post about it later this week.

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday:  Spicy Pumpkin Soup w/ cornbread muffins
I’m going to put our Halloween pumpkin to good use.  J 

Saturday:  Spaghetti Bolognese w/ salad & garlic bread

Sunday:  Football & BBQ!
Not sure what I’m making yet, but we’re having some friends over to help celebrate November birthdays.  Broncos & Chargers are playing, so it will be Laddie vs everyone else in the room!  J

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

BBQ Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Chicken

Last week’s dinners were just put together with whatever we had laying around the kitchen because we didn't have time for shopping with traveling from Visalia and back and Halloween.  Nonetheless, we still had some great dinners.  This BBQ Bacon-Wrapped Blue Cheese-Almond-Broccoli Stuffed Chicken was one of them. 

BBQ Bacon-Wrapped Blue Cheese-Almond-Broccoli Stuffed Chicken

2 chicken breasts, pounded out
1/4 C crumbled blue cheese
1/4 C almonds
1/2 C broccoli
S&P, to taste
4 slices bacon
1/2 C BBQ sauce (recipe to follow)

To pound out chicken, I place it between 2 sheets of wax paper to help it from moving around.  If I’m out of wax paper, I throw it into a Ziploc bag and seal it up.  This keeps things easy & clean.

Put cheese, nuts, & broccoli into a food processor and blend into a crumbly paste. . .this is the best way I can think of to describe it ;-).  

Form into log shapes and put into middle of pounded-out chicken breasts.  

Fold up the ends and then wrap with 2 slices of bacon each.

Grill for 20-25 minutes, turning every 4-5 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken breast has reached 165 degrees.  Brush the chicken with BBQ sauce the last 5 minutes of grilling. 

BBQ Sauce

2 C ketchup
1 T Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
3 T BBQ dry rub (recipe follows)
1/2 C red wine
1/4 C rice vinegar
1 t minced garlic

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over med-low heat for about 10 min. 

BBQ Dry Rub

2 T chili powder
1 T paprika
1 T brown sugar
½ T garlic powder
1/2 T onion powder
1 t cumin
½ t cayenne
1/2 t dry mustard
S&P, to taste

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Everything Brownies

Xavier loves to bake with me, so a couple of weeks ago we paged through my baking cookbooks for ideas.  We came across this recipe in my "Bake Sale Favorites" Cookbook, and Xavier was quite persistent that we make these.  I adapted the recipe a bit and came out with these ridiculously ooey-gooey and sinfully scrumptious Everything Brownies.  We just loved them!  In fact, we loved them a little too much.  I had to get rid of some so we wouldn't scarf them all down in 2 days!  I dumped off a plate of them to his principal for some extra "brownie" points! :-)

Everything Brownies

2-3/4 C quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/2 C whole-wheat flour
1/2 C AP flour
1 C golden brown sugar, firmly packed
1 C walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 t baking soda
2 sticks butter, melted
1-3/4 C mini M&Ms
1 package fudge brownie mix (I used Ghiradelli), prepared according to package directions

Preheat oven to 350F.  

Combine oats, flour, sugar, nuts, and & baking soda in a large bowl.  Add butter until mixture forms coarse crumbs.  Mix in M&Ms.  Set aside 3 cups of this mixture.  Pour the remaining mixture into a 15x10x1 dish and pat down to form a crust.  (For brownies and bar cookies, I line the dish with foil with about 2-3 inch overhang so that I can just pull the whole thing out when it cools.  This makes it easier to cut into bars.)  Pour prepared brownie mix over the crumb crust, carefully spreading into thin layer.  Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over brownie mixture and pat down lightly.  

Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out with moist crumbs.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Menu #26

So, how was everyone’s Halloween?  We had a fabulous time just trick or treating and handing out candy.  Xavier went out in a mommy-made mummy costume, Mama was a witch, and Papa was a vampire…we were The Monster Crew as Xavier dubbed us.  Everyone took notice of him because there just doesn’t seem to be many mummy costumes out there, and he loved the attention!  There were a couple of wardrobe malfunctions, but he just kept on truckin’.  J 

There wasn’t much time for a planned menu last week since we were in Visalia for the 1st part of the week and then with Halloween, so we just kind of winged it.  I’m happy to be back on track with the menu planning, and here’s this week’s. . .

Monday:  Red Curry-Marinated Steaks w/ stir fry brown rice & salad w/ peanut dressing
We picked up some steaks today and I have red curry paste in the fridge, so I just rubbed the paste into the steaks with some fresh-squeezed lime juice.  It will marinate for about 4 hours, and then we are going to season it with salt & pepper and grill it. 

Tuesday:  Skillet Chicken & Rice w/ salad & mandarin oranges
This is Xavier’s pick for the week. . .chicken & rice. . .again!  I’m trying to change it up because he pretty much requests it every week.  I’m going to sear chicken breasts and then add a chicken-flavored rice, (I like Farmhouse’s all-natural Roasted Chicken Rice Pilaf), chicken broth, carrots, peas.

Wednesday:  Leftovers 

Thursday:  Baked Parmesan Fish Fillets w/ spaghetti squash & garlic wheat toast
I’m going shopping for it later this week so I’m not sure what kind of fish I’m using yet.  I’m going to drizzle it with olive oil, season with salt & pepper, and sprinkle with parmesan.  For the spaghetti squash, I’m going to sauté it in olive oil with garlic, tomatoes, and basil. 

Friday:  Pizza @ the Park
We are meeting some friends for an evening park playdate and pizza dinner. 

Saturday:  Sausage & Eggplant Shells w/ salad & grapes
This is Laddie’s pick for the week.  I stuff jumbo pasta shells with a mixture of sausage, eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, onions, ricotta, and mozzarella.  They are yummy! 

I’ve also started a private chef gig where I make weekly dinners for a friend.  This will be doubled to add to his menu also.

Sunday:  Chicken Enchiladas w/ rice & beans
This is on the private chef menu, and there’s no way I can make these and not have them for ourselves also!  J  These are my very favorite enchiladas with a tomatillo-pepper salsa base.  I’ll definitely post about them later.