Monday, June 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Wow, summer sure has been busy so far! I didn't even get my menu posted last week. I can't believe it's almost July. I have been keeping it pretty simple in the kitchen--lots of grilling and easy sides like fresh fruit and veggies. Last week we had two of my favorites: shrimp kabobs with mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, grape tomatoes, and zucchini, marinated in szechuan marinade AND chicken fajitas, marinated like this. Here's what we're eating this week--
Sunday--Roast beef sandwiches, chips, apple slices
Monday--Grilled chicken drumsticks, sweet potato fries, sweet corn
Tuesday--Hamburger/pasta dish, salad
Wednesday--Grilled chicken breasts, pasta salad
Thursday--Ham, mashed potatoes, veggie

Monday, June 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I made everything on the menu plan last week, just changed the days around a little. Instead of pizza, I made pizza burgers with leftover sloppy joe and spaghetti meat on top of leftover buns and frozen garlic bread. This week, hubby and oldest son will be gone half the week at supper time, so it'll be a simple week for the rest of us. Here's what we're eating this week:
Sunday--Eggs, toast, yogurt and grapes
Monday--Pork ribs, mashed potatoes, green beans
Tuesday--Fish, noodles, veggie
The rest of the week will be determined after I make a grocery list and go shopping!

Chicken Curry

From Family Fun magazine, September 2006. This was a completely new recipe with flavors we haven't tried before (coconut milk, curry). I left the chicken and rice plain for the kids as I knew they wouldn't eat it with the sauce. Overall, I liked it, but it isn't a family favorite.

1 1/2 T. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, thinly slice (I left the onion out)
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. curry powder
1 can (12-14 oz.) unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup canned diced tomatoes (I used a whole can)
2 T. tomato paste
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used a 20 oz. package)3 cups packed fresh baby spinach

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and the salt. Cook until softened, about 7 minutes, stirring often. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
Stir in the coconut milk, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.Add the chicken, stir well, and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the spinach and cook for 3 minutes or until wilted, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt. Serve over rice.

I cooked the chicken first. I removed it from the pan, added the coconut milk, tomatoes, tomato paste and curry powder, cooking until thickened. I added the chicken back along with the spinach for about 3 minutes, then served over rice.

Grilled Chicken Tostadas

From Family Fun magazine, May 2006. This was a big hit with the entire family. The chicken was juicy and very flavorful.

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 3-4 limes) (I used the ReaLime in the plastic bottle shaped like a lime)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 vegetable oil (plus more for brushing the tortillas)
1 T. honey2 tsp. minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 4 oz. each (I used thighs and breasts)
8 small corn tortillas, 5-6 in. in diameter
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack (I used cheddar)
1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
Optional toppings:

salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, green onions (we used salsa and sour cream)

1. Place the chicken in a gallon ziplock bag and add all the marinade ingredients. Press the air out of the bag and seal it. Turn the bag to thoroughly coat the chicken, place it in a bowl, and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight), turning the bag occasionally. Remove the meat from the refrigerator 20 minutes before you want to start grilling.
2. Prepare a charcoal fire of set a gas grill to medium-high, close the lid, and heat until hot--about 10 to 15 minutes.3. Remove the thighs from the bag and discard the marinade. Grill the chicken until it's no longer pink inside, about 4 to 5 minutes per side on a gas grill. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for about 5 minutes before cutting it into 1/2-inch strips.
4. Lightly brush both sides of the tortillas with vegetable oil. Grill them on each side until they turn slightly brown, about 1 minute on a gas grill. Before removing the tortillas from the grill, sprinkle each one with 1 tablespoon of cheese. (I used my electric skillet for this step.)

5. To serve, layer the tortillas with shredded lettuce, the chicken strips, the remaining cheese, and any additional toppings.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I followed last week's plan pretty closely. I only switched Friday and Saturday because the birthday girl chose pizza, so we had tuna melts on Friday night. Here's what we're eating this week:
Sunday--Chicken burgers, fruit salad, corn
Monday--Grilled pork tenderloin, baked potatoes, veggie
Tuesday--Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad
Wednesday--Chicken curry (new recipe)
Thursday--Sloppy Joes
Saturday--Chicken Tostadas (new recipe)

Cheesy Ham and Pasta Bake

I found this recipe via orgjunkie from the Finding Joy in My Kitchen blog.

1 lb. whole wheat penne pasta (I used regular penne)
2 C extra sharp cheddar cheese (I used medium cheddar)
1 1/2 C diced ham
8oz. mushrooms, sliced (My small hometown grocery store only had large mushrooms for $3.99; I used canned instead, although fresh would definitely be better)
I also added some frozen peas
4 T white wheat flour
3 C milk* (divided) (I ended up using about 2 cups)
1/4 tsp. pepper

Begin by boiling the pasta according to package directions. Then, mix together 1 C milk and flour in a large measuring cup. Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms in a large skillet with a little olive oil, if necessary. When mushrooms are cooked, remove from the pan and toss with diced ham.
In the same skillet, pour the milk mixture into the pan. Stir constantly, adding additional milk to reach desired thickness while warming the mixture so that it thickens. Simmer about 3 minutes.
Add in the ham and mushroom mix, and simmer until ham warms. Then, add in 3/4 of the shredded cheese.
Spread the pasta into a 9x13 glass baking dish. Pour the cheesy sauce over the pasta. Stir to coat. Then, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Stick the dish into a warm oven... about 300 degrees, for 10 minutes, until the cheese on the top melts.

Cherry Cheese Pie

I take after my dad in that I love desserts made with cherries. This is an easy, refreshing dessert for the summer--just don't trip on your way to put it in the fridge in the garage to chill like I did last fall!

1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice from concentrate
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-9 in. baked pie shell of graham cracker crumb crust
1-21 oz. can cherry pie filling, chilled

In large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla.
Pour into crust; chill 4 hours or until set. Top with desired amount of cherry pie filling before serving. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Pea and Cauliflower Salad

I was looking for a way to use a nice big head of organic cauliflower, so I found this recipe on for Pea and Cauliflower Salad. I made a half recipe; I think making the whole recipe would be great for a BBQ or other gathering, but for our family half was enough.

3 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 cup pitted green olives, chopped
1 cup thinly sliced celery (I didn't have any celery, but I added some thinly sliced carrots)
1/4 cup ranch dressing
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt (I used light sour cream)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup cashew nuts
  1. Mix the peas, cauliflower, olives, and celery together in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk the ranch dressing, yogurt, and garlic powder together in a small bowl. Pour over pea mixture, and stir until ingredients are evenly coated. Sprinkle cashews on top just before serving.