Saturday, February 28, 2009

Meal Plan and Grocery List 3/2- 3/8

Hello friends! Here's the plan for the first week of March:

Monday March 2nd

Pasta with Green Beans, New Potatoes, and Pesto

Tuesday March 3rd

Slow Cooker Fajitas

Wednesday March 4th

BLT's with Avocado Spread

Thursday March 5th

Spinach and Bacon Quiche

Friday March 6th

Make Your Own Pizza Night

Saturday March 7th

An appetizer:
Sesame Asparagus and Caramelized Onion Bruschetta


Sunday March 8th

Broccoli Cheese Soup and Sandwiches



Grocery List

Produce

1/4 cup pine nuts
2 c. basil leaves
garlic
8 new potatoes
1/2 lb. green beans
1 each: green, red, yellow pepper
3 onions
cilantro
lettuce
tomato
avocado
lemon
spinach
1/2 lb. asparagus

Deli

1 lb fresh fettuccine
favorite bread for BLT's

Meat

2 lb. boneless beef sirloin
bacon

Dairy

1/4 c. Pecorino Sardo or Parmesan cheese
shredded cheddar
8 flour tortillas
eggs
sour cream
light cream or milk
shredded mozzarella
shredded Swiss
8 oz. Velveeta

Dry goods

flour

Freezer

16 oz. broccoli florets

Spices

cumin
chili powder
cayenne pepper
nutmeg
sesame seeds

Canned Goods

extra virgin olive oil
red wine vinegar
lime juice
salsa
chicken broth
sesame oil

From Angie's Kitchen: Individual Beef Wellingtons and Whipped Potatoes



My youngest sister, Angie made this lovely Christmas Eve dinner of Beef Wellington and Whipped Potatoes. She sent these pictures long ago and I am finally getting around to posting this. It's now or never. Today is the 1st of March. Spring is just around the corner(I can only hope!). In another month or so, the only steak recipes that I will feature will involve a grill. However, since snow is flying in a blur outside of my window at this very moment, these little Beef Wellingtons seem just right. I was unable to join my sister on Christmas Eve, but this does look delicious.

Alright, I'll let my little sis take it from here:



Season both sides of each tenderloin with salt and pepper.


Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef tenderloin and sear for 1 minute.


Flip and sear for a minute on the other side. Remove to a plate and cool completely.


Now to make the Mushroom Duxelles. Melt a tablespoon of butter in your skillet. Cook and stir the green onions or shallots and garlic for 30 seconds.


Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until all of the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms begin to caramelize, about 12 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring to deglaze the pan, until all of the liquid has evaporated. This is where I messed up and put 1 ½ cups of wine instead of 2-1/2 tablespoons of wine. You can tell what was on my mind (a little Christmas cheer, perhaps?) I corrected it and drained the wine and it still turned out okay! Remove from heat and let cool before using.



Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 14 inch square, and cut into 4- 7 inch squares. (I had to use the puff pastry shells- they are circles so I rolled them out to close dimensions, it also worked!)



Spread one quarter of the mushroom duxelles on top of each filet and top with one slice of pate and press to flatten. If you're using pate, that is.(Ewww.) Place 1 filet mushroom side down in the center of the puff pastry square.


Using a pastry brush or your finger, paint the inside edges of the pastry with egg wash. Fold the pastry over the filet as though wrapping a package and press the edges to seal. Place the packages seam side down on the baking sheet.


Brush the egg wash over the tops and sides of each package.


Bake until pastry is golden brown and an instant read thermometer shows 140 degrees for medium rare, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes. Note: the plain beef tenderloin was for a non-mushroom lover.


I served these yummy Beef Wellingtons with whipped potatoes (recipe below) and corn. A lovely Christmas Eve dinner before heading to church!


Individual Beef Wellingtons
4 (6 ounce) thickly cut filet mignons (I used beef tenderloin)
1 t. salt
½ freshly ground black pepper
1 T. olive oil
(It also called for 4-1 ounce slices of goose or duck liver or pork country style pate- I didn’t use this!)
Mushroom Duxelles- recipe below
One half frozen pastry puff (1 sheet), thawed (Or puff pastry shells work if that’s all your grocery store has!)
1 large egg beaten with 2 teaspoons water to make egg wash

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Season both sides of each filet with ¼ t. salt and 1/8 t. pepper. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the filets and sear for 1 minute on each side for medium rare. Transfer to a plate to cool completely.

Make Mushroom Duxelles:
1 T. unsalted butter
2 T. minced shallots- I used green onions
½ t. minced garlic
10 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean, stemmed and finely chopped
¼ t. salt
1/8 t. freshly ground white pepper- I used black
2 ½ T. dry white wine
Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until all of the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms begin to caramelize, about 12 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring to deglaze the pan, until all of the liquid has evaporated. (this is where I messed up and put 1 ½ c. of wine- you can tell what was on my mind, I corrected it and drained the wine and it still turned out okay!) Remove from heat and let cool before using.

Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 14 inch square, and cut into 4- 7 inch squares. (I had to use the puff pastry shells- they are circles so I rolled them out to close dimensions, it also worked!)

Spread one quarter of the mushroom duxelles on top of each filet and top with one slice of pate and press to flatten- if using pate! Place 1 filet mushroom side down in the center of the puff pastry square. Using a pastry brush or your finger, paint the inside edges of the pastry with egg wash. Fold the pastry over the filet as though wrapping a package and press the edges to seal. Place the packages seam side down on the baking sheet. Brush the egg wash over the tops and sides of each package and bake until pastry is golden brown and in instant read thermometer reads 140 degrees for medium rare, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes.

Whipped Potatoes
2 ½ pounds potatoes, peeled, quartered and cooked
1 (3oz) pkg softened cream cheese
½ to ¾ c. sour cream
¼ c. butter, softened
½ t. garlic salt
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large bowl, mash potatoes. Add cream cheese, sour cream, butter, garlic salt, salt & Pepper; mix until smooth. Transfer to a greased 1 ½ quart baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika (if desired) Bake, uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes or until heated through.


Thank you, Angie! I'm thinking that I might not wait until the next holiday season to try out this recipe. I don't blame ya for leaving out the pate. We're not liver lovers here either. I have tried liver in many ways...cooked with onions, as pate, in casserole...and I have never enjoyed it. I guess my taste is just not terribly refined. ; )

Krista

Tostada Pizza



After my family's response to last night's fish tacos, I had to redeem myself. Thank goodness that this Tostada Pizza was a huge hit.

I began by preparing my pan with oil and a tablespoon of cornmeal. Next I unrolled a tube of pizza dough onto the pan and baked it for 5 minutes at 400 degrees.


Then, I browned a pound of lean ground beef and drained off the fat. Next, I added half a packet of taco seasoning, a teaspoon of chili powder, 3/4 cup of water, and a can of green chilies. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Just like you're making tacos.


Now mash a 15 oz. can of pinto beans. I like to use my pastry cutter. You could also use a potato ricer or a fork. I'm just partial to my pastry cutter. It works great on avocado and bananas too!


Spread those mashed beans onto the pizza crust. I also sprinkled the adult portion of the pizza with 1/2 of a finely chopped jalapeno pepper.


Top with the beef mixture and pop it back into the oven for 10 minutes.


Remove from the oven. Drizzle with taco sauce and top with Monterrey Jack cheese. Now back into the oven for another minute or two until the cheese is melted.


Now top with green onions, chopped tomatoes, and shredded lettuce. Are you feelin' it?! I am.


We had ours with a little sour cream. So good! My family loves mamma's cookin' again! Yay!


Tostada Pizza from Better Homes and Gardens

Start to Finish: 40 minutes

Ingredients
1 pound lean ground beef
3/4 cup water
1 4-ounce can diced green chile peppers, drained
2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 13.8-ounce package refrigerated pizza dough
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces)
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions (4)
Bottled taco sauce (optional)
Directions
1. In a large skillet cook ground beef until brown. Drain off fat. Stir in the water, chile peppers, taco seasoning mix, and chili powder. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is gone.

2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle with the cornmeal. Unroll pizza dough onto the baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes.

3. In a small bowl mash pinto beans with a fork. Spread beans over partially baked dough to within 1/2 inch of edges. Spoon meat mixture over beans. Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes more or until crust is just golden. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake 1 to 2 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Top with lettuce, tomato, and green onions. Cut into 12 pieces. If desired, serve with taco sauce.

4. Makes 6 servings

5. Taco Pizza: Prepare as above, except add crushed tortilla chips or corn chips to the toppings. In desired, serve with dairy sour cream.
Per 2 pieces: 470 cal., 20 g total fat (8 g sat. fat), 67 mg chol., 989 mg sodium, 47 g carbo., 6 g fiber, 29 g pro.
Daily Values: 24% vit. A, 23% vit. C, 22% calcium, 24% iron
Exchanges: 3 Starch, 3 Medium-Fat Meat, 1/2 Vegetable

Nutrition Facts
Calories 423, Total Fat (g) 17, Saturated Fat (g) 7, Monounsaturated Fat (g) 7, Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 1, Cholesterol (mg) 67, Sodium (mg) 939, Carbohydrate (g) 41, Total Sugar (g) 2, Fiber (g) 6, Protein (g) 28, Vitamin C (DV%) 23, Calcium (DV%) 20, Iron (DV%) 23, Starch (d.e.) 2.5, Vegetables (d.e.) .5, Medium-fat Meat (d.e.) 3, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Weight Watchers Points per serving: 9...but awfully good. Bank em'...flex points, whatever they're doing these days.

Fish Tacos



My eyes have often rested on the words "fish tacos" when reading the menu of whatever Mexican food restaurant I have landed. I may take a risk and order the seafood enchiladas, but I have never tried fish tacos. If I'm having dinner out, I want to make sure that I actually like what I order. I was flipping through my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook when I saw these fish tacos. Why not try them out at home? I have to say, I was NOT disappointed! The crunchy corn shell, the yummy fish, the creamy coleslaw mix...all topped with a flavorful mango salsa. It was all good with me. Unfortunately, the rest of my family did not feel the same way. When my husband phoned home a little before dinnertime he asked what we were having. "Fish tacos," I said, enthusiastically. "Oh." He responded. "Oh" is such a short word, but I heard exactly what he thought about fish tacos for dinner in that one syllable. He continued, "Well, I've got a lot to finish up here. Don't hold dinner for me." He honestly thought that he could hide out from my fish tacos in the safety of his office. Oh, you'll eat fish tacos, buddy. And you'll like em' too. As it turned out, dinner took extra long to prepare and wouldn't you know that it was ready just as he walked through the door.

We sat down to eat and I devoured both of my tacos in about 3 minutes. I looked over at him, still holding his uneaten taco. To his credit, he did take two bites without complaint. "Mmmm." he said, rolling his eyes in my direction. All for the benefit of our children, who were pushing theirs around on their plates. Then I heard him mutter something under his breath about throwing his fish tacos out the window. I also commend him for trying to hide his laugh when our four year old proclaimed, "Mommy, these taste like you made them with 3 cups of rotten eggs and 3 cups of smelly cheese"! Lovely. She's so creative in her criticisms. Oh well, I thoroughly enjoyed these fish tacos. So if they're your cup of tea too, here's how I made them:

I started preparing the mango salsa early in the day, doing some chopping while the kids ate breakfast. This is the baggy of chopped jalepeno, green onion, and red pepper that I stored until I got my mangos from the store later. The mangos that I bought last week rotted on my counter while I was out of town.


Now chop your mango. If you've never cut into a mango before, you might want to check out these easy instructions.




Throw all of the veggies into a bowl with your chopped mango and...


grate a little lime peel. Add it to the bowl with some salt, pepper, lime juice, vinegar, and olive oil and give it a stir.


Now melt some butter for the fish and stir in some cumin and garlic powder.


Pat your fish dry and cut it crosswise into 3/4" slices.


Put the fish into a shallow baking dish and brush with the butter. Bake at 450 degrees for 4-6 minutes until it flakes with a fork.


While the fish bakes, combine 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise with a teaspoon of lime juice.


Toss it with some shredded cabbage.


To assemble the tacos, spoon the coleslaw mixture into the taco shell. Arrange the fish on top of the coleslaw and then top with mango salsa. Dee-licious! At least to me.


Fish Tacos from Better Homes and Gardens

Start to Finish: 20 minutes

Ingredients
12 ounces fresh or frozen skinless fish fillets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 teaspoon lime juice
1-1/2 cups packaged shredded cabbage with carrot (coleslaw mix) or shredded cabbage
8 corn taco shells, warmed according to package directions
1 recipe Mango Salsa
Directions
1. Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. Cut fish crosswise into 3/4-inch slices. Place fish in a single layer in a greased shallow baking pan. Combine olive oil, cumin, and garlic powder. Brush over fish. Bake in a 450 degree F oven for 4 to 6 minutes or until fish begins to flake when tested with a fork.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl stir together mayonnaise and lime juice. Add cabbage; toss to coat. Spoon some of the coleslaw mixture into each taco shell; add fish slices and top with Mango Salsa.

3. Makes 4 servings

4. Mango Salsa: In a medium bowl combine 3/4 cup chopped, peeled mango or peach; 1/2 medium red sweet pepper, seeded and finely chopped; 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion; 1/2 jalapeƱo chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped; 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil; 1/4 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel; 1-1/2 teaspoons lime juice; 1-1/2 teaspoons vinegar; 1/4 teaspoon salt; and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Makes 1 cup.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 322, Total Fat (g) 19, Saturated Fat (g) 3, Monounsaturated Fat (g) 4, Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 6, Cholesterol (mg) 44, Sodium (mg) 353, Carbohydrate (g) 21, Total Sugar (g) 6, Fiber (g) 3, Protein (g) 17, Vitamin C (DV%) 73, Calcium (DV%) 5, Iron (DV%) 5, Starch (d.e.) 1, Vegetables (d.e.) .5, Very Lean Meat (d.e.) 2, Fat (d.e.) 3.5, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

WW points: 7

Thursday, February 26, 2009

How to Make Your Man Love You More: Philly Cheese Mac



When I saw this recipe on Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice, I knew that my husband would absolutely love it. This recipe, originally featured in Rachael Ray's Big Orange Book combines two of his favorite meals: pasta and Philly cheese steak. I couldn't go wrong. Have you heard the saying, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach"? If that's really the case, then this recipe is a Cupid's arrow bulls-eye straight to the old ticker. So good!

After a week away from my kitchen, my home, and my calendar I still can't seem to get "it" together. I think I mentioned this dilemma yesterday (the day that I was supposed to make this Philly Cheese Mac). As I was sitting at the table trying to get organized this morning, my daughter ran at me, waving a piece of paper over her head. "Mom! Look! An invitation! An invitation! Read it to me." It was indeed an invitation. There are twins in her preschool class and we were invited to celebrate their birthday at Bouncing World (or whatever it's called). When? I looked closer at the invite. What was that?! Today? Yep. Today. The invite had been put into my daughter's book bag the week before, but had fallen to the bottom. Since we were out of town for the week, I hadn't taken the time to go through her papers yet. Oops. I made a quick call to the twin's mom and confirmed that we would be there. There was no way I could turn down my lovely daughter. She'd been looking forward to this party for weeks. The party was from 4-6 and they were serving pizza and cake. No need for Philly Cheese Mac now, right? Wrong. I promised ya'll Philly Cheese Mac and that's what you'll get. Plus, I knew my dear husband would return from work while we were gone and I thought that it'd be nice to have dinner ready for him. He's spent the last two weeks expensing dinners out and living on room service. Poor baby. So, after nearly two weeks away on business, it's time he had a home cooked meal.

Then the knife guy showed up. I'd forgotten that I scheduled a sharpening while at the Home Show last week. I've had my Cutco knives since I sold them as a requirement for a sales and marketing class in my junior year of college. I'll age myself here...that's 11 years. I still love them. I'm not even sure that they've been sharpened before. They still work great. Even 11 years dull. Adrian, the Cutco guy came out and sharpened them completely free of charge and...he didn't even try to sell me a thing. Awesome! He did suggest that I send my knives away next year to be re-bladed (or something like that), which is also FREE. And he did show me a really great new knife that is going on my wish list, but other than that he just made my knives sharp again. I was fully prepared to sit through a presentation at the expense of my sharp knives. Nope. No need. No pressure. This made me almost as happy as my super sharp knives. Yay for Cutco!


Once Adrian departed and while the baby napped, I dove into the preparation of Philly Cheese Mac. I decided to cut the recipe in half a)because most of us wouldn't be around for dinner and b) because I really didn't want leftovers of this mouth-watering stuff hanging around to sabotage my Spring break diet. Usually I know how many calories, how much dietary fiber, and how many grams of fat per serving are in the meals that I prepare. I don't even wanna know with this one! I began by slicing an onion. My newly sharpened chef knife slid through it like butter.


I heated a couple of tablespoons of oil in a skillet and tossed that onion in to caramelize.


While the onion caramelizes, prepare the pasta. Because I cut this recipe in half, I only used 1/2 lb. of pasta.


Aren't these little Cavatappi noodles cute? Just like little piggy tails.


Toss them into a pot of salted boiling water and cook according to the package directions.


Now that the onions are on their way to carmelization and those pasta piggy tails are boiling away, cut up a package of Steak Umms. Or in my case, half of a package of Steak Umm's.


Caramelizing the onions is a must. It brings a delicious savory sweetness to them. These need a little longer. I like mine just a deeper brown. However, I'm running out of time before the party.


So, I go ahead and throw in my Steak Umms and a little broth. Cook and stir until those Steak Umms are no longer pink.


While the Steak Umms brown you can pull yourself away for a moment to drain the cooked pasta and...


start the cheese sauce. Just melt butter in a sauce pan and whisk in the flour.


Once smooth, add your milk and cook and stir until bubbly and slightly thickened. Add some salt and pepper too.


Now for the cheese. Go ahead and stir in the provolone and the Swiss cheese until melted.


Stir the cheese sauce into the onion-Steak Umm's mixture. I stopped here to salt and pepper to taste.


Stir in the pasta.



Transfer everything to a casserole dish.


Top with some more cheese. I used more Provolone and a little Monterrey Jack. I also threw on some chopped parsley.


I put mine under the broiler until the cheese was melted and bubbly.


Just look at that!


No. Wait a minute. Look closer. Mmmm. Just...Mmmmm.


Ready to dig in? No, none for me, thanks. Remember? I'm off to eat pizza and birthday cake at Bounce World. Okay, maybe I'll have a taste...or two...or a few bowls. Nope, I put this amazing concoction into the refrigerator...with instructions, of course. Then I headed out the door.



Philly Cheesesteak Mac and Cheese adapted from Rachael Ray

Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound cavatappi-shaped pasta
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded provolone
1 cup shredded Swiss
1/2 cup broth (chicken, beef, vegetable)
1 pkg Steak Umms slices, roughly chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Preparation
Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring it to a boil.
Once the water boils, cook the cavatappi to al dente according to package directions. Once the pasta has finished cooking, drain it and return it to the pot it was cooked in.
While the pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the onions to the pan and top them with a lid or piece of aluminum foil for 2-3 minutes, just to get them cooking. Remove the lid or aluminum foil and continue cooking the onions until tender and lightly caramelized, 8-10 minutes.

While the onions are caramelizing, melt the butter over medium-high heat in a medium-size pot. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and cook the mixture for about 1 minute. Whisk the milk into the butter-flour mixture slowly and bring up to a bubble to thicken. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and reserve.
To the skillet with the onions, add the broth and the Steak Umms. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.
Add the cheese sauce and the onion-beef mixture to the pot with the drained pasta and toss everything to combine. Transfer to a casserole dish. Top with additional cheese and parsley. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
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