Saturday, March 30, 2013

Corned beef and potato hash

Left over corned beef
Hash makes a great breakfast.  Simply chop your corned beef and boiled potatoes (and carrots and cabbage if you like).
Melt 1 Tbsp of butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Place corned beef and potatoes in a single layer over melted butter.  Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly browned on bottom then flip and cook an additional 2 minutes until fully heated.

Serve with eggs and a side of toast.

*An over-easy egg on top of hash is divine!


Friday, March 29, 2013

April meal plan

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

Italian Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Pork Chops
Roasted Root Vegetables

Turkey Scallopine
Lemon Kale

Asian Chicken Salad Pitas
Five Spice Carrot Soup

White Ragu Spaghetti
Caesar Salad

Flank Steak

Lemon Chicken with Kasha

Picadillo Shepherds Pie

Turkey Meatloaf
Mashed Potatoes

Coq Au Vin

Tater Tots

Grilled Chicken with Chimichurri

Spinach Pesto Lasagna
Garlic Bread


Chicken Kiev
Rice Pilaf

Pizza Bread with Sausage and Kale

Baked Potato Bar

Ham and Swiss Quiche

Grilled Sirloin
Potato salad
Pasta salad

Chicken Cordon Bleu
Baby Potatoes

4/22 - Earth Day
Broccoli Garlic Pasta

Calzones - Build your own

Fried Rice
Egg rolls

Chicken Fajitas
Yellow Rice

Vaca Frita
Avocado Salad

Shish kebobs

Garlic Rosemary Pork Roast
Mashed Potatoes

Cobb Salads

Vodka Cream Pasta
Garlic Bread

Monday, March 25, 2013

Thai chicken salad with peanut dressing

Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing
1 head shredded iceberg lettuce
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 sliced peeled cucumber
1/2 sliced red pepper
3 scallions sliced
1 cup crispy Asian noodles
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss well to combine.

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup hot water
2 Tbsp soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic - pressed or finely minced
Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.

Don't be afraid to try the dressing, even people who do not like peanut butter will love this dressing.  This salad also makes a great wrap.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Kid Friendly Pad Thai

I am forever trying to introduce my kids to new foods.  This simple Pad Thai dish was a hit with my little ones.  Add more vegetables or some heat if your family likes it, this recipe is a good base.  Also on the plus side this dish is vegan and gluten free if you are trying to please people with food restrictions.

Pad Thai - serves 4
1/4 cup peanut butter (or any nut butter that you like)
7oz package of rice noodles (sometimes called rice sticks)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 clove garlic - finely mined
3 scallions - chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
2 cups bok choy finely sliced
2 Tbsp tamari sauce
1/2 tsp pepper
Salt - to taste
Chopped peanuts for garnish - optional

Prepare rice noodles according to package directions.  I like to break them up a bit before cooking so they are easier for kids to eat.
While the noodles cook, heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and scallions and stir-fry for 2 minutes then add in bok choy and ginger continue cooking for 5 minutes. 
When noodles are done remove from water directly into skillet.  Use the cooking water to thin the peanut butter to a pourable consistency.
Add thinned peanut butter, tamari, and pepper to the noodle mixture and toss well to coat.  Add more cooking water if needed.  Taste and adjust seasons if needed.
Serve topped with peanuts if using.


Smokey turkey baked chimichangas

Looking for something a little different for a Mexican night?  This is it.  The filling is versatile so feel free to adjust to your liking.  Just follow the baking instructions for a crispy tortilla without frying!

Smokey Turkey Baked Chimichangas - Makes 6
8oz bag shredded cabbage (Slaw mix)
4 scallions - thinly sliced
1 pound smoked turkey deli meat - Thin slices from the deli then cut into 1/2 strips
1 chipotle in adobo - finely minced (try 2 if you like it with a kick)
1 cup tomato sauce
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
6 - 12 inch flour tortillas
1/4 cup olive oil
Sour cream for serving

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
Add cabbage, scallions, turkey, chipotle, tomato sauce, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper in a large bowl and stir well to combine. 
Lay 1 tortilla on a flat surface and place 1/3 cup of cheese followed by 1/6 or about a cup of the filling mixture on the end closest to you.  Fold over the right and left sides then fold up the end closest to you and roll the tortilla away from you to form a tight package.  Place it on the baking sheet and continue with the remaining tortillas. 
Using a pastry brush (or your hands if needed) dip brush into the oil and cover the tops of the chimichangas with a coat of oil.  Also brush the foil under each wrap.
Bake at 400 for 20 minutes until golden brown.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Top with sour cream and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Turkey Shepherds Pie

Turkey Shepherds Pie  (serves 4)

2 pounds russet pototoes - peeled and chunked
3 Tbsp butter
1/3-2/3 cup milk
1 pound ground turkey
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 small onion - chopped
2-3 medium carrots - chopped
2 celery stalks - chopped
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage or 1 tsp dried sage
Salt and pepper
1 cup cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Boil potatoes in salted water for 20 minutes or until fork tender.  Drain and return to pot.  Add butter and 1/3 cup of milk.  Whip potatoes with a hand mixer adding more milk as needed.  Salt to taste and set aside.
While the potatoes are cooking melt butter with oil in a large skillet.  Once melted add in turkey and cook until no longer pink then add onion, carrots and celery and continue cooking for 5 minutes over medium heat.  Stir in flour and mix well.  Slowly add chicken stock then peas and sage.  Allow to come to a simmer (if gravy is too thick add more stock or water). 
Pour meat mixture into a 4 quart casserole dish or 4 individual oven safe dishes.
Top meat with whipped potatoes and smooth so all of the meat mixture is covered by potatoes.
Sprinkle cheese over top.
Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until hot and bubbly.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ropa vieja - Cuban shredded beef

Ropa Vieja literally translates into Old Clothes in English, a nod to the shreds of tender beef.  Whatever you want to call it this is a dish you will make again and again.  It is also one that freezes well and re-purposes beautifully as left overs, so make extra!

Ingredients - serves 4-6
3 lb flank steak
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large onions - chopped
2 peppers - chopped (red, green or one of each)
6 cloves of garlic - minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
14.5 oz can of tomato sauce
1/2 tsp ground annatto seed
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
3 cups beef broth
1 cup green olives
2 Tbsp olive brine or vinegar
4 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro - about 1 bunch

Slice flank steak WITH the grain into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces (this will really help later when shredding).  Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven.  Brown the steak on both sides in batches if necessary add more oil.  Remove meat from pot and set aside in a bowl to catch the juices.  Reduce heat to medium, add in onions and peppers and cook for 5 minutes until onions are translucent then add in the garlic, continue cooking for 2 more minutes.  Deglaze the pan with the wine making sure to scrap the bottom of the pan.  Stir in tomato sauce, annatto, coriander, cumin, beef broth, pepper, olives and brine.  Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to keep a low simmer.  Add meat back to the pot along with any juices that were caught in the bottom of the bowl.  Simmer for 2 1/2 - 3 hours until meat is very tender.  Remove meat pieces to a cutting board and shred using two forks.  (Hold one fork still and pull with the other.)  Return shredded meat to the pot and add in the cilantro.  Stir well to incorporate the sauce among the meat shreds. 
Serve hot with white rice and sliced avocado.


Ideas for left-overs - Omelet filling, Tacos, Enchiladas, Sandwiches

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Greek stuffed chicken breasts

Filled with garlicy spinach and feta these chicken breasts are a hit with any crowd!

Greek Stuffed Chicken Breasts
4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts - trimmed and butterflied
Salt and pepper
1 recipe wilted baby spinach (recipe follows)
8oz feta cheese
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cover a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with non-stick spray.
Trim any excess fat from breasts and split them lengthwise about 2/3 of the way through, try not to go all the way - if you do don't worry you can just stack them. 
Place breasts on the baking sheet to assemble.
Season the inside of each breast with salt and pepper.
Place 1/4 of the spinach and 1/4 of the feat inside each breast pocket.  Fold the top back over.  Don't worry if some is spilling out it will be fine.
In a small bowl combine Panko and oil and mix well.  Top each breast with 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes depending on the size of the breasts.

Serve with rice pilaf or couscous.


Wilted baby spinach

Super quick and easy, this is a great side on its own but also the filling for Greek Stuffed Chicken or Stuffed Meatloaf.  Yum!

Wilted Baby Spinach
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 package baby spinach - pre-washed pack otherwise wash well and spin to dry
3-4 garlic cloves - minced

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.   Add in oil and garlic and saute 1 minute until just softened.  Add in spinach and toss well.  Allow to wilt slightly for 1-2 minutes then remove from heat to a bowl.

That't it!


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Stuffed shells, again

So usually I make stuffed shells with cauliflower or spinach in the mix like this one I posted last year.  However, the spinach didn't look so great at the market this week.  Venturing around the produce department I found some lovely broccolini.  I may never go back!  I blanched the broccolini in the pasta cooking water then trimmed it into 1/2 inch pieces and tossed it in the filling.  The flavor is a great contrast to the Italian sausage, give it a try I think its a nice change to a old stand-by recipe.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Roasted beet salad with goat cheese

1 bag baby spinach or mixed greens
3 pieces crumbled bacon
5-6 roasted baby beets - recipe follows
1/4 - 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Serve with lemon or Dijon vinaigrette.

Roasted beets -
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Remove greens and trim stems, scrub clean with cold water then pat them dry. 
Toss beets with 1 Tbsp olive oil then wrap all together in a foil pouch.
Roast for 30-40 minutes for baby beets or 1 hour for larger beets.
Allow to cool slightly then rub skins off and cut off tops.
If using large beets cube them for baby ones I like slices.
Beets can be roasted days ahead of time and kept covered in the refrigerator.

Basic Vinaigrette-
1 small clove garlic - pressed
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 shallot - minced
1 tsp dijon mustard (optional)
salt and pepper
1 cup olive oil
Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl and whisk in oil slowly.  Or combine all in a jar and shake vigorously to emulsify.


Wedge salad with Roquefort dressing

Salad -
Iceberg lettuce
1/2 Tomato - seeded and chopped
4 slices of bacon - chopped

Roquefort dressing -
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayo
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic - pressed or finely minced
1/4 tsp each salt and white pepper
8 oz Roquefort cheese (Get the real deal, it's worth it!)

Mix all ingredients and allow to chill for 1 hour.

To make the wedge -
Remove outer loose leaves from a head of iceberg lettuce, cut in half then into quarters.  Cut off the base if needed.
Pour dressing over the lettuce and garnish with chopped tomato and bacon.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef and Cabbage and Left-over soup

St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef and Cabbage (Makes 4 servings)

1- 3-4 pound corned beef brisket
2 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes
1- Head of green cabbage
4-5 carrots

Believe it or not - thats it.  Now for some finessing.

Get a BIG POT, you want something that everything will fit in.
Place the brisket in the bottom of the pot and add water to cover by 2 inches.
Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 2 1/2 hours, adding water if necessary to keep it covered.
While brisket is cooking, quarter the potatoes, slice the carrots into 4 inch pieces and quarter the cabbage.
Once the brisket has cooked for 2 1/2 hours place the cabbage on top of the brisket, then the carrots on top of the cabbage and lastly the potatoes.  Add just enough water so everyone is covered.  Continue cooking on a simmer for 30 minutes.  Check to make sure cabbage is cooked if it is still too firm let it go another 10 minutes.
Remove potatoes, carrots and cabbage to a large serving platter and cover with foil.  Remove brisket and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing against the meat grain in 1/4 inch thick slices.

Enjoy this Irish classic anytime.  The best part?  Leftovers! 
Corned beef makes a great sandwich, hash or soup. 

Left-over Corned Beef and Cabbage soup-
1 medium onion - diced
2 stalks celery - diced
1 Tbsp butter
3 cups beef stock or broth
3/4 cup quick cooking barley
1/2 pound corned beef - cut into strips
3-4 left over potatoes - chopped
2 left over carrots - chopped
1/4 head left over green cabbage - chopped

Saute onion and celery in butter until softened.  Add beef stock, 2 cups water, and barley.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Uncover reduce heat to medium low and simmer until barley is tender.  About 15 minutes.  Gently stir in corned beef, potatoes, carrots and cabbage.  Continue cooking 10 minutes.  Serve pipping hot. 


Mock Benihana pink sauce

I just love that creamy sauce they serve at Benihana and similar Japanese steak houses.  Its good on... well everything!  I recommend making this ahead of time and letting it come together in the fridge.  Then when you are ready to start cooking pull it out and let it come to room temperature.  No time for that?  OK, hit it with a shot of hot water to thin it out before serving.

Mock Benihana pink sauce
1 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic juice (or 1 very finely minced clove of garlic)
2 tsp ketchup
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp paprika
2-3 dashes of hot sauce
1/2 tsp white pepper

Mix all the ingredients well in a bowl.
Best served at room temperature.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Caesar dressing

Caesar Dressing - (Makes 1 cup)
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2-3 cloves of garlic - minced
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (shredded or grated)

In a blender add mayo, Dijon, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Blend on medium speed and drizzle in olive oil while blender is running.  Once emulsified turn off, add in cheese then pulse a few more times to combine. 
Cover and chill in refrigerator for an hour to one day before serving.

Serve atop a simple salad of romaine lettuce, croutons and shaved Parmesan cheese.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Meal Plan 3/2 - 3/31

March Meal Plan

Fettuccine Alfredo

Chicken Noodle soup
Turkey Club sandwich

Turkey Divan with broccoli
Rice Pilaf

Stuffed Shells
Garlic bread
Ceasar Salad

Shepherds Pie

Taco night
Cilantro Lime Rice

Vodka Cream Pasta

Ropa Vieja

Fried Chicken
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Baked Mac and Cheese
Collard Greens

White Chicken Chili
Corn bread

Ravioli with Asparagus in Pesto

Baked Tortilla chips

Fried Rice
Spring Rolls
Mock Benihana Pink Sauce

Clam Chowder

Beef Stroganoff
Egg Noodles

3/17 St Patricks Day
Corned Beef and Cabbage
Boiled Potatoes and Carrots

Chicken Meatballs with Peanut Sauce
Basmati Rice

Corned Beef and Cabbage soup


Smokey Chicken and Potatoes

Chicken Fried Fish
Green Beans

Stuffed Rice

Grilled Chicken
Oven Fries

Tortellini en Brodo

French Toast
Bacon and Sausage
Fruit salad

Chicken Kiev
Rice Pilaf
Sauteed Spinach

Baked Potatoes
Green beans

Shrimp Scampi
Angel Hair Pasta

French Onion Soup
Creamy Tomato Soup
Green Salad

Cheesy Potato Casserole

Onion soup

Ok I wont lie to you, this is not a soup you toss together for a quick weeknight meal.  However... after a bit of prep you can have this on the table in 20 minutes.  Caramelizing the onions takes about 45-50 minutes but it is worth the effort.  I like to do 3-4 batches of onions in a huge pot then divide and freeze.  When you are ready to make your pot of soup simply defrost the onions add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.  If you want to cook in the crock pot add caramelized onions with additional ingredients and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  As for the toppings, that is personal taste, if you don't like the bread and cheese by all means leave it out the rich broth and onions are plenty delicious on their own.

Ingredients- (Makes 4 servings)
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
5 cups sliced onions - About 3 pounds
1 tsp dried thyme
3 Tbsp sherry wine
4 cups beef stock
4 slices french bread
4-8 slices Gruyere or Swiss cheese

In a large heavy pot melt butter with olive oil over medium heat.  Add in sliced onions cook until they just start to brown, about 6-8 minutes stirring often.  Once they are starting to brown reduce heat to low cover pot, continue cooking stirring every 5 minutes until onions develop a deep rich brown color.  About 40 minutes.  Add in thyme and deglaze pan with sherry.
If you are going to freeze your onions stop cooking now.  Otherwise -
Add in beef stock bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
Ladle broth and onions into oven proof bowls then top each soup with a piece of bread and 1-2 slices or cheese.  Place 2 inches under broiler until cheese melts.
Serve with a simple salad.