Sunday, March 25, 2012

This Week's Dinner Menu {week 8}

hello friends! 
welcome to the weekly dinner planner.
i hope you and your family enjoy this week's tasty meals!

Grilled Chicken Sausage with Pears

Sliced pears become exceptionally sweet when given a quick turn on the grill (or the stove top). This recipe can be made on a grill pan, although you may need to increase the cooking times by one minute per side.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Serves 4

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 firm, ripe pears, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
8 precooked chicken-and-apple sausage links, pricked with a fork
Fresh thyme, chutney, and assorted mustards, for serving

Preheat grill to medium-high. (If you are using a charcoal grill, coals are ready when you can hold your hand 5 inches above grill for just 3 to 4 seconds.)
Whisk lemon juice with mustard. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Whisk in salt and pepper. Toss pears with 2 tablespoons dressing.
Grill sausages, turning frequently, until heated through, 10 to 12 minutes total. At the same time, grill pears until softened and lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Top sausages and pears with thyme, and serve with chutney, mustards, and remaining dressing.


2 cloves Garlic, Minced
1/2 whole Red Onion, Diced
1 whole Large Cucumber, Diced
5 whole Roma Tomatoes, Diced
1 whole Zucchini, Diced
2 stalks Celery, Diced
1 dash Salt To Taste
1/4 gallon Tomato Juice
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/8 cup Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tablespoons White Sugar
6 dashes Tabasco
1 dash Black Pepper To Taste
Preparation Instructions
In the bowl of a food processor or in a blender, combine the minced garlic with half the red onion, half the cucumber, half the tomato, half the zucchini, half the celery, half the tomato juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, Tabasco, and a dash of salt.

Pulse until all ingredients are blended well; mixture will have a nice speckled, colorful texture.

Pour into a large bowl and add the rest of the tomato juice, and half of the remaining onion, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, and celery. (Reserve the rest of the diced vegetables for garnish.)

Stir mixture together and check seasonings, adding salt if needed. Chill soup for at least a couple of hours; soup needs to be very cold!

Remove the soup from the fridge and stir. Check seasonings one last time. Ladle into a bowl and garnish with remaining diced vegetables, a sliver of fresh avocado, sour cream, and cilantro. Finally, place a grilled shrimp on the top and serve with grilled slices of bread.

Moroccan Chicken Stew with Sweet Potatoes

Cinnamon and ginger complement the sweet potatoes in this easy but exotic-tasting chicken stew. Fluffy couscous absorbs the aromatic sauce.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Serves 4

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 piece fresh ginger (2 inches long), peeled
1 cinnamon stick
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound total), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
Pinch of saffron, (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup couscous
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish (optional)

Place flour in a wide, shallow bowl. Season chicken with salt and pepper; dredge in flour, shaking off excess. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken, and cook until browned, 4 to 6 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.
Add onion, ginger, and cinnamon to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Return chicken to pot. Add broth, sweet potatoes, and, if using, saffron. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until chicken is cooked through and sweet potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Discard ginger and cinnamon. Stir in lemon juice, and season stew with salt and pepper.
While stew is simmering, prepare couscous according to package instructions. Serve chicken stew with couscous, garnished with cilantro, if desired.

Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Cool, buttery avocado makes a soothing salsa -- a palate-pleasing contrast to spicy meats, such as these cayenne-rubbed chicken breasts.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Serves 4


Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, (6 to 8 ounces each)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 Hass avocado, pitted and cut into chunks


In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne; rub all over chicken.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add chicken, and cook until browned on the outside and opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine onion and lime juice; set aside. Just before serving, fold avocado chunks into onion mixture; season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken topped with salsa.

Image and recipe source: Martha Stewart Everyday Food, January 2008

Roasted Tomatoes With Shrimp and Feta

5 large tomatoes, cut into eighths
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup Feta, crumbled
crusty bread, for serving

Heat oven to 450° F. Place the tomatoes in a large baking dish and spoon the olive oil and garlic over them.
Sprinkle with ¾ teaspoon each salt and pepper and toss. Roast on top rack of oven for 20 minutes.
Remove baking dish from oven and stir in the shrimp, parsley, and lemon juice. Sprinkle with the Feta.
Return the dish to oven until the shrimp are cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm with the bread.

The Best Lasagna. Ever.

1-1/2 pound Ground Beef
1 pound Hot Breakfast Sausage
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 cans (14.5 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes
2 cans (6 Ounce) Tomato Paste
2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
2 Tablespoons Dried Basil
1 teaspoon Salt
3 cups Lowfat Cottage Cheese
2 whole Beaten Eggs
1/2 cup Grated (not Shredded) Parmesan Cheese
2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
1 teaspoon Salt
1 pound Sliced Mozzarella Cheese
1 package (10 Ounce) Lasagna Noodles
(add 1/2 Teaspoon Salt And 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil To Pasta Water)
Preparation Instructions
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet or saucepan, combine ground beef, sausage, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until browned. Drain half the fat; less if you’re feeling naughty. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons parsley, basil and salt. After adding the tomatoes, the sauce mixture should simmer for 45 minutes while you are working on the other steps.

In a medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, beaten eggs, grated Parmesan, 2 more tablespoons parsley, and 1 more teaspoon salt. Stir together well. Set aside. Cook lasagna until “al dente” (not overly cooked).

To assemble:
Arrange 4 cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of a baking pan, overlapping if necessary. Spoon half the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Spread evenly. Cover cottage cheese with a layer of mozzarella cheese. Spoon a little less than half the meat/sauce mixture over the top.

Repeat, ending with meat/sauce mixture. Sprinkle top generously with extra Parmesan.

Either freeze, refrigerate for up to two days, or bake immediately: 350-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until top is hot and bubbly.

Vegetarian Greek Israeli Couscous

Serves 3Ingredients
2 cups Israeli couscous
2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
2 cups boiling water
1 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 cups sliced baby portabella mushrooms
fresh ground black pepper and salt, to taste
1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
2 tablespoons red wine
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1 cup grape tomatoes
1/4 cup reduced fat feta cheese

In a sauce pan over medium-high heat, brown the couscous in 1 tablespoon olive oil for 5 minutes.
Slowly add in the boiling water, stirring as you pour.
Reduce the heat to low, cover and let sit for 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables.
In another sauce pan over medium-high heat, sauté the onion in the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil until slightly tender (about 3 minutes).
Add in the mushrooms, pepper, salt, and Greek seasoning. Sauté until the mushrooms shrink down a bit (about 3 minutes).
Add in the red wine, turn the heat up to high, and stir until the liquid evaporates.
At the last minute, add in the spinach allowing it to wilt.
Once the couscous is done, stir and add in the vegetables.
Remove from heat, add in the tomatoes and feta cheese.
Serve and enjoy!

Image and recipe source: Chocolate and Carrots, March 2012
happy cooking!