Sunday, March 18, 2012

This Weeks Dinner Menu {week 7}

this week is easy, yummy, and budget friendly

Beef and Pineapple Tacos

Serves 4
Time: 30 minutes

1 pound skirt steak, cut into 3 pieces
kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped pineapple
1/2 red chili, sliced
8 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed
cilantro and lime wedges, for serving

Season the steak with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the steak to the desired doneness, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare; slice.
Add the pineapple and chili to the skillet and cook, tossing frequently, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
Dividing evenly, top the tortillas with the steak and pineapple. Serve with the cilantro and lime wedges.

Quinoa with Kale
Serves 4 as a main course, 6-8 as a side dish.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups vegetable stock (Okay, I cheat and always use chicken stock, but that’s not very meatless. Let’s just say you can use either, depending on your commitment level.)
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1 bunch kale, center stems discarded, leaves chopped into half-inch strips

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil; add onion and reduce heat to medium low. Cook onion very slowly until it starts to caramelize, about 20 minutes. Don’t rush this; the caramelization adds an extra level of flavor. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add quinoa and cook for 1 minute. Stir in stock, red pepper, and salt. Gently place kale on top of stock without stirring so that it can steam while the quinoa cooks. Cover and cook at a low simmer for 20 minutes or until stock is absorbed.

Remove from heat and gently fold the kale into the quinoa until well combined. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if required.

Chicken and Broccoli Braid
2 cups diced, cooked chicken meat
1 cup fresh broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove crushed garlic
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1/4 cup diced onion
2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent rolls
1 egg white, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees F).
In a large bowl, toss together chicken, broccoli, red bell pepper, garlic, Cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, dill weed, salt, almonds and onion.
Unroll crescent roll dough, and arrange flat on a medium baking sheet. Pinch together perforations to form a single sheet of dough. Using a knife or scissors, cut 1 inch wide strips in towards the center, starting on the long sides. There should be a solid strip about 3 inches wide down the center, with the cut strips forming a fringe down each side. Spread the chicken mixture along the center strip. Fold the side strips over chicken mixture, alternating strips from each side. Pinch or twist to seal.
Brush braided dough with the egg white. Bake in the preheated oven 25 to 28 minutes, or until golden brown.

Roasted tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons
6 cups (3 pints) cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped onion
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 cup whipping cream

Heat the oven to 400°. On a baking sheet, combine the cherry tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and the salt and pepper. Toss the ingredients to coat evenly and spread them in a single layer. Roast the tomatoes until they are shriveled with brown spots, about 35 to 45 minutes.

In a large pot, heat the butter and the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes with their juice, the broth, the thyme, and the roasted tomatoes, including any liquid on the baking sheet. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 40 minutes.

Using a food processor or blender, puree the soup until it's smooth. Return it to the pot and stir in the cream. Without letting the soup boil, warm it over medium heat, stirring often, until steaming. Add salt and pepper, if necessary.

Chicken Tenders with Creamy Honey Mustard
This is fast food you can feel good about eating. Children and grown-ups alike will love not only the crispy chicken, but also dipping it (and some veggie sticks) in the sweet, tangy sauce.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Serves 4

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
coarse salt and ground pepper
4 cups crisp rice cereal
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders (tenderloins)
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
4 medium carrots, cut into sticks
1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into sticks

Preheat oven to 475. Place flour in a shallow bowl, and egg in a second one; season both with salt and pepper. Pulse cereal and oil in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Season with salt and pepper; transfer to a third shallow bowl.
Coat chicken: first in flour, shaking off excess; then with egg, letting excess drip off; and finally in cereal mixture, pressing to help it adhere. Place on a baking sheet, and bake until light golden brown and cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes, turning over halfway through.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together sour cream, mustard, and honey; season with salt and pepper. Serve tenders and vegetables with creamy honey mustard on the side.

Gnocchi Mac n' Cheese
1 pound purchased or homemade gnocchi
2 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup shredded fontina cheese
Salt and white pepper to taste
1/3 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
Basil leaves for garnish, optional (I chopped fresh basil and added it in to my cheese sauce)

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare gnocchi according to package directions. Drain and place gnocchi in a single-layer in a 1-1/2 quart shallow baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in flour until it thickens and bubbles, then whisk in milk and Dijon. Continue to whisk mixture and cook until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes.

Meatloaf and Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
Our comforting menu of meatloaf and buttermilk mashed potatoes is as hearty as the diner original -- but better for you. Panko is sold in many international aisles; regular breadcrumbs can be swapped in, too.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

2 small carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/4 medium onion
1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 large egg white
3/4 pound ground beef sirloin
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 cup homemade or store-bought barbecue sauce
1 pound baking potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 pound green beans, stem ends removed
1 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a food processor, chop carrots, celery, onion, and panko with egg white until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl; mix in beef, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
On a foil-lined baking sheet, form meat mixture into a 6-inch-long loaf; brush with half the barbecue sauce. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in loaf registers 160 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes, brushing halfway through with remaining sauce.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover potatoes with cold salted water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain; return to pan. Stir over medium until a starchy film forms on bottom of pan, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; mash with buttermilk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
While potatoes cook, set a steamer basket in a saucepan filled with one inch water; bring to a gentle boil. Add green beans; cover, and cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; add oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss. Serve meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans.