Monday, February 20, 2012

This Week's Dinner Menu {week 3}

it's the third week of the weekly menu planner!
i wanted to plan my recipes to make family life easier and
i decided to share each week's dinner menu with you.
these are recipes from old magazines and recipes from all around the internet.
this week includes some fun recipes that i hope are new to you!
most of these are new for our family to try.
i would love to hear how your family liked them.
if you use cozi menu planner click here for instructions
(you will want to click on the link to each individual recipe to be able to add it to cozi)
and if you're an email subscriber to my blog you just got a week's worth of
meals delivered to your inbox! yay!!

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 15 min

2 medium red bell peppers, halved and seeded
1 1/2 pounds chinese eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 medium sweet onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oil-cured olives, pitted and halved (optional)
1/4 cup fresh small basil leaves, chopped
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
2. In a large bowl, combine peppers, eggplant, onion & cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
3. Place bell peppers and onion on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill until they become slightly charred, then turn and grill the other side. Add eggplant to the grill and do the same. As veggies finish grilling, remove them to a platter. Place tomatoes in a grill basket and toss until they are lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Remove to platter.
4. Slice bell peppers; place peppers and all other grilled vegetables in a bowl.
5. Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, vinegar, sugar and garlic. Slowly whisk in 2 Tablespoons oil. Drizzle dressing over veggies and toss.
6. Remove vegetables to a platter; add olives (if using), and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, basil and chives.

*Chinese eggplant is the long, skinny type. This is easiest to grill for this recipe since the slices are bite-sized pieces.
*Multi-colored cherry tomatoes make this dish even more colorful!

Yield: 8 servings

Image and recipe source: Recipe Girl September 2009

Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork
Prep Time: 5 Minutes 
Cook Time: 6 Hours 
Servings: 18

1 whole Large Onion
1 whole Pork Shoulder ("pork Butt") - 5 To 7 Pounds
Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 can (11 Ounce) Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce
2 cans Dr. Pepper
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Lay them in the bottom of a large dutch oven.
Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the pan.
Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork (include the sauce.) Pour in both cans of Dr Pepper. Add brown sugar to the juice and stir in.
Place lid tightly on pot, then set pot in the oven. Cook for at least six hours, turning roast two or three times during the cooking process. Check meat after six hours; it should be absolutely falling apart (use two forks to test.) If it's not falling apart, return to the oven for another hour.

Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquid as you can and discard it. Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep warm until ready to serve. (You can also refrigerate the meat and liquid separately, then remove hardened fat once it's cold. Then heat up the liquid on the stovetop and return the meat to the liquid to warm up.

Serve on warm flour tortillas. Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, avocado slices, salsa, and whatever else you'd like.

Image and recipe source: The Pioneer Woman March 2011

Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Serves 6

1 pound bacon, roughly chopped
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
3/4 cup diced celery
4 large Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 medium red potatoes, diced
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 cups heavy whipping cream
Optional garnishes: chopped chives, bacon bits, sour cream, shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese
In a 6- to 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp.
Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, reserving half for garnish. In bacon fat, cook onions, carrots, and celery until the onions are translucent. Add potatoes and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Whisk in flour and stir constantly over low heat until the flour is cooked and the mixture has thickened slightly, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add chicken stock and half of the bacon. Season with salt and pepper.
Over medium-high heat, bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Mash some of the potatoes for thicker, creamier texture. Add whipping cream and simmer for 5 minutes.
Adjust thickness by adding water or stock. Soup should have a creamy consistency.
Season to taste, and garnish with toppings.

Cooks’ notes: Soak diced potatoes in cold water until ready to use to keep them from turning brown. To make bacon easier to chop, lightly freeze.

Image and recipe source: Disneyland's Carnation Cafe

Asian Chicken Burgers
Cooking spray
1 small carrot
1 small red onion, halved
1 pound ground chicken
1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger
4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 teaspoons hot Asian chili sauce, such as sambal oelek
8 ounces white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Juice of 1 lime
4 whole-wheat sesame hamburger buns

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Mist a baking sheet with cooking spray. Grate the carrot and 1/2 onion into a large bowl. Add the chicken, panko, 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, the ginger, 3 teaspoons soy sauce and 1 teaspoon sambal oelek and mix until combined. Shape the chicken mixture into 4 patties and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the remaining 1/2 onion. Toss with the mushrooms, sesame oil, lime juice and the remaining 1 teaspoon soy sauce in a bowl. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce and 2 teaspoons sambal oelek with 1 tablespoon water in another bowl.

Warm the hamburger buns in the oven. Serve the burgers on the buns with a drizzle of the hoisin-sambal sauce and some of the mushroom mixture.

**Serve with homemade potato chips and avocado ranch dip - recipes follow**
Image by Antonis Achilleos. Recipe by Food Network Magazine 

Homemade Potato Chips and 
Avocado Ranch Dip
For Baked Potato Chips:
2 pounds potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt

Preheat oven to 400° F. Using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, shave potatoes into very thin slices. Lay slices onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush lightly with olive oil on both sides and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

Bake at 400° F for 15 minutes or until potatoes start to turn golden on one side. Flip the slices and continue baking for another 7-10 minutes. Flip again and bake until potatoes are golden brown and crisp, another 5-10 minutes. Cool slightly and serve warm or cool completely and store in airtight container.

Makes 6 cups potato chips

For Avocado Ranch Dip:
2 avocados
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
chips and vegetables for dipping

Peel and mash avocados. Mix avocados with Greek yogurt and lemon juice. Stir in chives, parsley, dill, onion powder, garlic powder and salt. Serve with homemade potato chips, pita chips or fresh vegetables for dipping.

Makes 3 cups.

Image and recipe source: Food for my Family

Black Bean Burrito With Carrots, 
Zucchini And Cilantro
The key to this satisfying vegetarian burrito is a well-spiced mix of colors and textures, rounded out with chopped cilantro and plenty of melted Monterey Jack.
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 green onions, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarsely grated Monterey Jack
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
4 large flour tortillas

1. Preheat the oven to 375F and put a baking dish on the middle rack. Prep the beans, carrot, zucchini, onions, cheese and cilantro.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When it's hot and shimmering, add the carrots, zucchini and half the green onions. Leave them alone to brown on one side, 2-4 minutes. Sprinkle in the cumin and coriander. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the spices are toasted and the vegetables soften, 3-5 minutes.

3. Add the black beans and 1/4 cup of water, and simmer the vegetables until most of the water is gone, 2-4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

4. Put the tortillas directly on the oven rack for 30 seconds or so, until they're soft and easy to work with. Remove the baking dish from the oven and drizzle a little olive oil into it. Use a paper towel to coat the bottom and sides.

5. Spoon equal amounts of the filling onto each tortilla, then top with cheese and cilantro, reserving half of the cheese for later. Fold one side of the tortilla over the filling, then tuck in the two sides. Fold the tortilla over the rest of the way to close it and seal in the ingredients.

6. Put the burritos side by side in the baking dish. Cook them for 10 minutes, until the tortillas toast and the filling is heated through. Mix together the remaining cheese and green onions. Remove the burritos from the oven and sprinkle the cheese and green onion mixture over the burritos. Put them back in the oven for another 5 minutes or so, until the cheese melts.

Soba Bowls

Yields: 4
1/4 cup high-temperature cooking oil, such as safflower orcanola
About 1/2 pound shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
About 1/4 pound maitake (hen of the woods) mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 medium leeks, trimmed and cut into matchsticks, washed and well drained
2 inches fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
3 to 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 red Fresno chili pepper, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
Salt and black pepper
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
4 to 6 tablespoons Tamari sauce, to taste
1/4 pound enoki mushrooms, separated
1 package soba or 1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti or thin spaghetti
Chopped shiso leaf or cilantro, for garnish
Chopped scallion greens, for garnish

Heat oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high to high heat. Add shitake and maitake mushrooms. Brown mushrooms until nutty and fragrant then add vegetable matchsticks, ginger, garlic and chili; season lightly with salt and liberally with black pepper. Stir-fry a minute or 2 then add stock and bring soup to a boil. Season with 4-6 tablespoons of Tamari. Add soba or spaghetti and cook to just tender. Stir in enoki.

Using tongs, fill bowls with noodles, mushrooms and vegetables. Ladle broth over top and garnish. Serve with chopsticks and a large spoon for slurping.

Image and recipe source: Rachael Ray Show February 2012

Grilled Chicken & Pineapple Quesadillas

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Servings: 6

8 whole Flour Tortillas
Butter Or Margarine
2 cups Grilled Pineapple, Sliced
3 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Salt And Pepper, to taste
3 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
1 whole Jalapeno, Sliced
3 Tablespoons Barbecue Sauce

Preparation Instructions
(To grill pineapple: cut wedges, stick on skewers, and grill over low heat. Cut into slices.)

(To pound chicken, place inside a Ziploc bag and pound with a mallet or large can to flatten to uniform thickness.)

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and Cajun spice (or cumin/cayenne, etc.) Drizzle olive oil on a grill pan and grill on both sides until done, brushing with barbecue sauce. Set aside and slice into very thin slices.

Warm griddle over medium heat and put sizzling butter or margarine in the pan. Slightly warm and toast tortillas on both sides, then remove from griddle and set aside.

To assemble, sprinkle four browned tortillas with grated Monterey Jack. Arrange chicken slices evenly over the surface. Add pineapple slices and jalapeno slices. Sprinkle on cilantro. If desired, drizzle extra barbecue sauce over the top. Add second browned tortilla on top of each one. (You'll have four complete quesadillas at this point.)

Add to oven to warm, or back to skillet to warm, until cheese is melted. Cut each quesadilla into six wedges. Serve with sour cream, pico de gallo, and lime wedges.