Monday, July 30, 2012

This Week's Dinner Menu Planner {week 12}

i have a bunch of summery recipes this week for you!

Summer Peach and Balsamic Pizza

YIELD: 2-3 servings
1 batch pizza dough (use your favorite recipe, or use mine here)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced or grated
2 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
4 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped basil

To prepare the balsamic reduction, pour balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the vinegar has reduced to 1/4 cup, about 20 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F or as high as your oven will go. If you have a pizza stone, preheat the stone in the oven for at least 30 minutes to allow it to get thoroughly hot.

Divide dough into tennis-ball sized pieces. Take one piece of dough and punch it down on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a circle approximately 1/4-inch thin. Place the pizza on a pizza peel or pan that has been generously coated with corn meal. Lightly brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Top with mozzarella, goat cheese, and peach slices. Drizzle the pizza with balsamic reduction. Repeat for remaining pizzas.

Place the pizza in the oven-directly on the pizza stone, if using one, or on the oven rack. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until pizza crust is golden and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and top with basil and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Cut into slices and serve.

Image and recipe source: Love and Olive Oil, September 2011

Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole

6 oz Ronzoni Smart taste noodles (or no-yolk)
2 tsp oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
12 oz fresh broccoli florets, chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 medium shallot, minced
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1-3/4 cups fat free chicken broth
1 cup 1% milk
12 oz cooked shredded chicken breast
4 oz shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar (Sargento)
cooking spray
3 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
2 tbsp seasoned breadcrumbs (I used whole wheat)

Cook noodles in salted water until al dente, or slightly undercooked by 2 minutes. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook on medium heat until golden, about 1 minute. Add the broccoli and a little salt, sauté and cover the broccoli for about 3 minutes on medium heat until the broccoli begins to soften. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly spray a 9 x 12 casserole dish with cooking spray.

In a large pot, heat butter over medium-low heat, when melted add the shallot andcook until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add the flour and a pinch of salt and stir well, cooking an additional 2-3 minutes on medium-low heat.

Slowly whisk in the chicken broth until well combined over medium heat; whisk well for 30 seconds, then add the milk and bring to a boil. Simmer on medium heat, mixing occasionally until it thickens (about 6-7 minutes). Remove from heat and add reduced fat sharp cheddar and 1 tablespoon of the parmesan cheese; mix well until the cheese melts.

Add the shredded chicken, noodles and broccoli to the sauce and mix well until evenly coated.

Pour into a casserole dish and top with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray a little more cooking spray on top and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes. Place the casserole under the broiler a few minutes to get the crumbs crisp and golden (careful not to burn).

Mojito-Marinated Swordfish with 
Avocado Chopped Salad

1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons lime zest
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen swordfish, thawed if frozen
Avocado Chopped Salad
2 avocados, pitted, peeled and diced
3 ribs celery, trimmed and sliced
1/2 small red onion, chopped


1. Heat grill to medium-high heat or medium-hot coals.

2. Swordfish. In a medium-size bowl, combine lime juice, mint, 1/4 cup water, sugar and lime zest. Whisk in oil, salt and pepper until blended. Pour 1/3 cup of the marinade into a resealable plastic bag and add fish. Marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare Avocado Chopped Salad. Gently stir together avocados, celery, red onion and 1/3 cup of the remaining dressing.

4. Remove fish from bag (discard marinade) and grill 6 to8 minutes, depending on thickness, turning once. Transfer fish to a platter and drizzle with remaining dressing. Serve with Avocado Chopped Salad.

Image and recipe source: Family Circle

Roasted Cauliflower and 
Aged White Cheddar Soup

Servings: 4+ servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes

1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups aged white cheddar, shredded
1 cup milk or cream
salt and pepper to taste
Toss the cauliflower florets in the oil along with the salt and pepper and arrange them in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
Roast the cauliflower in a preheated 400F oven until lightly golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
Add the broth and cauliflower, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
Puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency with a stick blender.
Mix in the cheese, let it melt and season with salt and pepper.
Mix in the milk and remove from heat.

Sweet and Spicy Citrus Tilapia


4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
Cooking spray
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1. Arrange fish in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Combine orange juice and next 9 ingredients (through garlic); pour over fish. Let stand 15 minutes.
2. Preheat broiler.
3. Sprinkle fish with paprika; broil 15 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Drizzle sauce over fish.

Image and recipe source: Carma Van Allen, South Orange NJ Cooking Light, August 2010

Buttermilk Roast Chicken

Adapted barely from Deb Perelman's Smitten Kitchen, the original version by Nigella Lawson can be found here.
Serves 4 to 6.
Prep time 10 mins, cook time approximately 20 mins.
Begin this recipe at least 1 day ahead.

Note: I made this in a cast iron skillet just because (1) I was too lazy to line a baking dish with parchment and (2) I wanted to use my cast ironware more often. There is really no need to line your baking dish if you're using this recipe as the sugar content is quite low and hardly any drippings result from it to give you a hard time at the sink. As usual, I made my own buttermilk as the boxed stuff had been missing from the store for weeks - use 1 tablespoon acid (lemon juice or vinegar) to 1 cup whole milk (I take no responsibilities if you use skim and then realize the outcome is short). I roasted 5 pieces after 48 hours and the rest 1 day later without incident.

2 cups buttermilk
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, plus extra for sprinkling (I used smoked)
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken parts (I used 3 thighs and 6 legs)
Drizzle of olive oil
Flaked or coarse sea salt, to finish
3 teaspoons goose/duck fat (optional)
Chopped coriander (optional, parsley or thyme works well too)

In the measuring up of the buttermilk, whisk it with the garlic, salt, sugar, paprika and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Place all the chicken parts in a gallon-sized freezer bag (or lidded container) and pour the buttermilk brine over them. Swish it around so that all parts are covered. Refrigerate for at least 2 but preferably 24 and up to 48 hours (as mentioned earlier, we tried an extra 24 hours without incident).

When ready to roast, preheat oven to 425°F (fan on for convection). Heat up a cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Add in the goose/duck fat if using, drizzle over some olive oil. Remove chicken from buttermilk brine, shake off excess and arrange skin side up on the skillet. Turn off heat. (If using a baking dish, just arrange the chicken in it skin side up.) Drizzle lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with additional paprika and sea salt to taste. Roast for 20 minutes if using cast iron skillet or 25-30 minutes if using baking dish, until brown and done. Garnish with herbs of choice if using, serve immediately with pan drippings over some potatoes or greens.

Maryland Crab Cakes

Makes 6 crab cakes, enough to serve 3 adults as a main course

1 large egg
2½ tablespoons mayonnaise (I like Hellman’s Real)
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard (I like Maille brand)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup finely diced celery (you’ll need one stalk)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 pound lump crab meat*
½ cup panko (I like the Whole Foods 365 brand for this recipe)
Canola oil

1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Combine the egg, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire, Old Bay, salt, celery, and parsley in a large bowl and mix well. Add the crab meat (be sure to check the meat for any hard and sharp cartilage) and panko; gently fold mixture together until just combined, being careful not to shred the crab meat. Shape into 6 crab cakes (about ½ cup each) and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

3. Preheat a large nonstick pan to medium heat and coat with canola oil. When oil is hot, place crab cakes in pan and cook until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes per side. Be careful as oil may splatter. Serve immediately with tartar sauce or a squeeze of lemon.

*If you can only find jumbo lump crab meat, you may need to break the pieces up a bit. If the clumps are too large, the crab cakes won’t hold together well.

Image and recipe source: Once Upon a Chef, July 2012

let me know any of your favorites form past weeks and 
any recipes you would like me to post.