Monday, September 30, 2013

Menu #64

Cowboy Bowls

These sausage-bean-rice bowls are definitely in Laddie’s top 5 comforting dinners.  This is the kind of food he grew up eating on their ranch in Minnesota, which is where the name, Cowboy Bowls, comes from.  It’s a warm, comforting bowl of rice topped with sausage, beans, and peppers and then splashed with hot sauce.  This particular Cowboy Bowl was filled with Mayacoba beans, jasmine rice, and an array of hot & sweet peppers from our garden. . .Yum!

I’m running short on time, so straight to this week’s menu. . .

Monday:  Beer Can Chicken on the Grill/garlicky red potatoes/salad
Didn’t get to this last week. . .

Tuesday:  Chicken Salad Sliders/potato salad/fruit
Using leftovers from last night.

Wednesday:  Slow-Cooker Hawaiian Pork/steamed brown jasmine rice/edamame

Thursday:  Mac n Cheese/salad/fruit
BDL is on an overnight business trip to OR, so I let X-man pick dinner.  J

Friday:  Leftovers

Saturday:  ???
My mom, brother, and my brother’s new girlfriend are coming to visit for the weekend.  We haven’t decided if we’re going to BBQ at our place or go out to eat. 

Sunday:  Pizza Dip & Italian White Bean Dip w/ soft pretzels & veggies 
Football Lounge Day!  We're eating pretzels & veggies with yummy dips while we watch the 49ers on Sunday Night Football. . .Go 49ers!!! I'll post about both of these yummy dips next week!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Slow-Cooker Green Chile-Chicken Stew

This is the perfect dinner for a chilly Autumn weeknight, after a very long day, when all you want to do is sit down to a warm bowl of comforting food.  This was supposed to be green chile-chicken & rice burritos, but with the chilly weather last night this was much more appropriate.  Although there are a lot of chiles in this they are all mild, so it isn’t very spicy. 

Slow-Cooker Green Chile-Chicken Stew

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lb)
2 7-oz  cans whole roasted green chiles, sliced + 1 4-oz can diced roasted green chiles (just because this is what I had in my pantry…use all whole or all diced if you want)
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 tomatillos, diced
1 large tomato, diced (I used an array of tomatoes from my garden, and I’m guessing they were equivalent to 1 large)
2 Serrano chiles, minced (you can replace 1 jalapeno or omit altogether for a more mild stew)
1/2 T minced garlic
1 C redcued-sodium chicken stock
Salt, to taste

First add the chicken to the slow-cooker and top with the canned green chiles.  

Then throw in the onions, tomatillos, tomatoes, Serrano chiles (if using), and garlic.  Add the chicken stock and season with salt.  

Cook on low for 6 hours.  About halfway through cooking, give everything a mix and re-adjust the chicken a bit.

Serve this stew over steamed rice with chopped cilantro and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Menu #63

Is it really Monday again?!?!  Last week’s menu didn’t work as planned because there were a lot of unexpected events throughout the week.  BDL was really sick for the first part of the week, I’ve been chosen by the PTA to run Red Ribbon Week at my son’s school so there were a lot of meetings about that, impromptu birthday dinner out, and we hosted a BBQ for X’s soccer team after our game on Saturday.  Needless to say, there weren’t too many items from the menu cooked.  I’m not complaining though because we had a lot of fun.  I really enjoyed my night out with the girls for my friend, Lori’s, birthday and our soccer team BBQ was a blast!

 We made homemade vanilla ice cream for the soccer team but there just wasn’t enough to go around for the adults, so Laddie & I decided to make another batch the next day!  This time I used chocolate mint from our garden to steep with the cream and milk and added mini chocolate chips to make Chocolate Mint & Chip Ice Cream, and it was so creamy and refreshing with just a hint of mint.  BDL declared it his favorite ice cream to date and X didn’t have much to say because he was too busy licking the bowl clean.  ;) 

Chocolate Mint & Chip Ice Cream

1/2 gallon heavy cream
1 qt whole milk
2-2/3 C organic cane sugar
4 t real vanilla extract
Handful fresh chocolate mint (use whatever mint you can find at the store)
2 handfuls mini chocolate chips

Put the cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, and mint into a large pot over medium heat, stirring often.  When you start to see wisps of steam, turn down the heat to low and allow the mint to steep for about 30 minutes.  Take the pot off the heat, transfer to a large bowl, and set in the fridge to cool completely.  When it’s cooled, take out the mint and pour the cream mixture into your ice cream machine and use it according to your machine’s directions.  After about 20 minutes of churning, add your chips so that they don’t just all sink to the bottom. 

This week’s menu. . .

Monday:  Teriyaki Fish/stir-fry brown rice/edamame & pineapple
This is carried over from last week, but I didn’t give you the back story on it yet.  I’m not sure where he got it from but Xavier has been begging me to make catfish!  ???  Well, when I went shopping haddock was on sale and I bought it and told him it was catfish.  Don’t judge me for lying to a 5-year-old please! 

Tuesday:  Slow-Cooker Maya Coba Beans/leftover rice/leftover sausage/sauteed peppers
We have leftover sausage from the soccer BBQ, so I’m going to make sausage-bean-pepper bowls over leftover brown jasmine rice.

Wednesday:  B4D—veg frittata/waffles/yogurt-granola parfaits

Thursday:  Slow-Cooker Green Chili-Chicken & Rice Burritos/salad
Carried over from last week. . .

Friday:  Leftovers or Take-Out

Saturday:  Roasted or Beer Can Chicken/potatoes/cucumber-tomato salad
Depending on the weather, either I am going to roast a wholechicken and potatoes in the oven or BDL is going to grill it beer-can style with grilled potato wedges on the side.  I’m really hoping for the roasted version because it’s been a while since we’ve had it that way.

Sunday:  Chicken Salad Sliders/potato salad/leftover cucumber-tomato salad
I’m using the leftover chicken for chicken salad and the same with the potatoes. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Big Daddy Laddie's Wings & Drumettes

Over the years Laddie has perfected a few recipes, such as BBQ tri-tip, BBQ ribs, super garlic bread, and these hot wings & drumettes.  Whenever he perfects a recipe he dubs it a “Big Daddy Laddie” recipe; hence the BDL nickname.  There are no precise measurements for these BDL recipes because he kind of just throws them all together, but I can tell you what ingredients were used and how he cooked it.  J

BDL's Wings & Drumettes

Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
Garlic cloves
Cayenne peppers
1/2 stick butter

So, he just throws the wings into a big pan and starts drizzling on the sauces and honey.  He adds whole crushed garlic cloves, cayenne peppers, and pats of butter.  The honey and butter help the sauce thicken and coat the wings perfectly.   He sets the whole pan on the grill and allows it to cook in the sauce for about 20 minutes.  He then removes them from the sauce and finishes it all off by grilling them.   

These wings and drumettes are super yummy and are perfectly paired with a cool veggie platter, ranch dressing, and a nice refreshing mug of beer.  Now we are ready for Football Lounge Day!  J  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Menu #62

Yup, I missed my weekly menu plan post yesterday. . .again!  My hubby is pretty sick right now, so yesterday I took care of my duties as well as some of his and at the end of the day I just didn’t have it in me to sit at the computer and type away.  Today things are looking much better and I’m ready to post my weekly menu. 

Above is this week’s breakfast item. . .breakfast quesadillas!  These are so yummy and can also be made and thrown in the freezer  to have throughout the week.  I just added scrambled eggs with zucchini, potatoes, and green onions to a whole-wheat tortilla and topped with strips of sharp cheddar cheese.  I sprayed them down with olive oil and toasted each side.  I served mine with a dollop of plain non-fat Greek yogurt and chipotle salsa. . .yum!

This week’s menu. . .

Monday:  Slow-Cooker Tri-Tip Sliders w/ BBQ au jus/watermelon
I got this all ready in the morning before Laddie even got up and then found out he was sick.  Needless to say, I had sliders by myself and X had PB&J in a slider bun with watermelon.  This is a super easy tri-tip recipe and the meat comes out so flavorful and moist. I'll post about it tomorrow.  

Tuesday:  Leftovers

Wednesday:  Teriyaki Fish/rice noodle salad/edamame & pineapple
I’m going to marinate fish in a pineapple juice-teriyaki sauce and serve with a rice noodle salad that’s tossed with peanut vinaigrette, snap peas, radishes, and green onions.  

Thursday:  Slow-Cooker Green Chili-Chicken & Rice Burritos/salad w/ salsa dressing
This is another super easy slow-cooker recipe that's perfect for a busy day.  I add chicken breast to the slow-cooker along with chopped tomatoes, tomatillos, chopped green chilies, onions, and garlic and cook on low for 6 hours.  I shred the chicken and add steamed brown rice.  

Friday:  Delivery or Take-Out
I’m also teaching a Lil’ Chefs Class this afternoon and we’re making our own ice cream and Magic Shell.  Fun!

Saturday:  Crispy Chicken Sliders/fruit salad/onion rings

Sunday:  Football Food!  Antipasto Platter & Pizza Spirals

I’ll post about these pizza spirals too.  I’ve been seeing a lot of these “pizza rolls” on blogs lately.  It’s just pizza dough with sauce, cheese, and toppings and then rolled and sliced before baking.  They look like something X-man would love, so I’m going to try them out with just sauce and cheese and I’ll let you know how they turn out.  For the antipasto platter, I’m just setting out salami, pepperoni, caprese salad, goat cheese-stuffed red peppers, and olives.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fish Tacos w/ Peach-Avocado Salsa

These fish tacos are easy, healthy, and tasty; everything I’m looking for in a weeknight dinner.  The rice I served alongside was also simple and served as X’s taco filling as well.

I steamed brown jasmine rice in a rice cooker with just water and salt.  I had slow-cooker black beans in the freezer to add but you could easily use a can of black beans; be sure to drain and rinse either way.  When the rice was done, I added the rinsed beans, 1-2 T chopped cilantro, juice of 1 lime, and S&P to taste. . .Ta da, you have cilantro-lime black beans & brown rice!   X tried the fish and actually enjoyed it but he was not interested in the salsa at all, so he just had peaches on the side.  :-) 

Fish Tacos

1/4 C flour
1/4 C cornmeal
1/2 T mild chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
S&P, to taste
3 4-oz white fish fillets (sole, snapper, tilapia, swai, halibut, cod. . .), sliced into strips
2 T grape seed oil
6 corn tortillas
Peach-Avocado Salsa for serving, recipe follows

Mix together flour, cornmeal, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and S&P in a shallow dish.  Dredge the fish into the seasoned flour mixture.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Once heated add the floured fish and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.
Serve the fish in warmed corn tortillas with peach-avocado salsa.

Peach-Avocado Salsa

1 peach, peeled and diced
1 tomato, diced
1 serrano chili, minced
1 T cilantro, chopped finley
4 green onions, thin sliced
1 avocado, diced
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch of salt

Mix everything together and serve with fish tacos.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Menu #61

Woohoo. . .my weekly menu is actually being posted on a Monday!  I owe it to our fun and relaxing weekend, beginning with X’s  first soccer game of the season, followed by a visit to our friends’ for a belated birthday BBQ and swimming, and ending with Football Lounge Sunday.  By the way, whoop whoop for the 49ers!!! 

Last week I made a simple focaccia with leftover pizza dough and it was wonderful!  The whole family loved it and it was great packed in X’s lunch the next day also.  Tonight I’m going to try grilling it and I’m betting it will be even better.  Although I only used half a dough ball, I’m going to give you the recipe using a 1-lb pizza dough ball, and here it is. . .

Simple Whole-Wheat Focaccia

Whole-wheat flour & cornmeal, about 1 Tbs each
1 lb prepared whole-wheat pizza dough
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
1 t garlic powder
1/2 T dried Italian seasoning
Salt, to taste

Adjust your oven rack to the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425.  Add a pizza stone to preheat also, but if you don’t have a baking stone just use a baking sheet with cooking spray. 

Lightly sprinkle the flour and cornmeal on the surface you will be stretching your dough.  If your dough seems a little hard to stretch let it sit at room temp for about 10 minutes and try again.  Stretch into a large oval and transfer to baking stone or sheet. 

Drizzle the olive oil onto the dough and massage it into the dough making dimples throughout the dough. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt. 

Bake the focaccia about 20 minutes, until golden brown. 

This week’s menu . . .

Monday:  homemade SpaghettiO’s/grilled focaccia/salad
Go Chargers!!!  Although I am a loyal 49ers fan, I have a soft spot for the Chargers since I lived in San Diego for many years.  :-)

Tuesday:  fish tacos w/ peach salsa & avocado/rice & black beans
I have peaches leftover from last week, so I’m going to use my mango salsa recipe and sub peaches. 

Wednesday:  B4D—French toast/omelets/fruit & yogurt smoothies

Thursday:  chicken & veg quesadillas w/ peach salsa & avocado/rice & black beans

Friday:  Family Game Night!  crispy Chex chicken fingers w/ honey-mustard sauce/veg platter w/ garlic-herb yogurt dip/apple slices w/ caramel sauce
X-man’s teacher sent a family activity list in his monthly homework folder and 10 of the activities must be checked off by the end of the month.  Board games are on the list, so family game night has replaced family movie night for the month.  Tasting different kinds of apples is also on the list, so I bought an array of apples to set up with caramel sauce for our dessert.  J

Saturday:  Date Night! 
Xavier is heading to our friend’s, The Browns, for a sleepover and we’re heading to Brew Legion for a tasty dinner and even tastier beer.  After dinner, we’re meeting a bunch of friends at a comedy club. 

Sunday:  Football Lounge Day!  grilled mussels/grilled Spanish chorizo/crusty bread
I’ve always steamed mussels on the stovetop but we thought we would give grilling mussels a shot.  We’re going to set them in a large pan with white wine, lemons, garlic, & herbs and cover tightly.  I’ll post all about them next week.  J

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sausage & Veggie Breakfast Burritos

I didn’t post my weekly menu this week but for good reason; I was just too freakin' busy this week!  We went to Visalia over Labor Day to visit my family for our birthdays.  My brother threw us a big birthday BBQ with grilled steaks and all the fixings including chocolate cake.  He stole Xavier for the afternoon and they baked our cake together—so cool! When we returned home, my in-laws were here to greet us.  It was nice visiting with them and X loved having breakfast with grandpa before school.  From there it’s been room parent & PTA meetings, soccer team mom obligations, cooking for the PC menu, and so on and so forth.  

With our hectic schedule I’ve been trying to think of ways to simplify our lives, and these breakfast burritos are one of my steps in that direction.    I made a big batch of eggs with whatever I could find in the fridge, wrapped them in whole-wheat tortillas, and froze.  Just like that we have a healthy and tasty breakfast to go!  I also started making big smoothie batches and freezing them in ice cube trays.  I just throw a couple smoothie cubes in a cup to thaw a bit while I’m getting ready in the morning.  I nuke a burrito, grab my smoothie, and I'm out the door!  :-)

Sausage & Veggie Breakfast Burrito

1 T grape seed oil
12-oz package breakfast sausage, chopped into bite-size bits
4 oz mushrooms, chopped
6 mini sweet bell peppers, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
12 eggs, whisked
Hot sauce, to taste
S&P, to taste
1 C Colby jack cheese, shredded
6 whole-wheat tortillas
Salsa to serve alongside

*Sub whatever meat, vegs, or cheese you have; this is just what I had left in my fridge when I returned from our trip to Visalia.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add sausage to cook for about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes.  Add bell peppers and green onions and cook another 5 minutes.  

Turn down to medium-low, add the eggs, and season with hot sauce and S&P.  Allow to cook for a couple minutes, add cheese and fold in.  

When eggs are cooked to your liking, heat up your tortillas and wrap them into burritos.  Serve with salsa.  

 **If you’re going to freeze them, allow the eggs to cool before wrapping into burritos.  I don’t add salsa to the burritos because it makes them a bit too wet to freeze, which is why I serve the salsa alongside.