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Dinner Menu: Santa Fe Wraps

I know this late, but I got hit with a nasty bug and about all I could accomplish this week was work. The cold weather has stayed around longer than they predicted, though except for a day, it was nothing like anywhere else was experiencing.

I thought about doing soup for the menu tonight, but I’m tired of cold weather food (sigh, and it’s only January) so I decided to go for something that seemed a little fresher. I was in the store and passed by the flavored tortillas: sun dried tomato basil; jalapeno cheddar; garlic herb; and spinach and knew what I wanted to do. These are extra large and I really like the flavors. I like this recipe for company, you can make it all ahead of time, keep it warm and put it on the table and let everyone assemble their own.

On the board tonight:

  1. Santa Fe Wraps
  2. Salad w/Creamy Cucumber Dressing
  3. Grapes

Santa Fe Wraps

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 14 oz can black beans
  • 14 oz can red beans
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb sirloin or London broil, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 red pepper*
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • 12 oz shredded Jack Cheese
  • 4-8 burrito size flour tortillas (maybe try a flavored style)

2 saucepans, skillet and 4 serving bowls

In saucepan, add rice, 2 cups water and bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until all water is absorbed. In other saucepan, add beans & heat on med-low until heated through. In 300° oven, place tortilla shells between two pieces of foil and warm. In skillet, heat oil, sauté onion & pepper add steak, cook 5 minutes, reduce heat & add tomatoes, taco seasoning and cook 5 minutes on medium. Put rice, beans, cheese and meat mixture in separate serving bowls, let everyone assemble their own wrap at the table.

*There are a lot of peppers at my grocers, so go wild, use a couple of different colors for some added flavor.

Also, please note my friend who lived in Santa Fe says it needs green chilis to be authentic.

Salad w/Creamy Cucumber Dressing

  • 12 oz bag spring greens
  • ½ head green leaf lettuce
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced

serving bowl

Mix all ingredients together in serving bowl.

Dressing:

  • 8 oz plain yogurt (low fat ok)
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled & chopped (seeded opt)**
  • ¼ Miracle Whip style salad dressing or mayonnaise
  • 4 green onions, chopped (or use the remaining yellow onion)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp dried dill
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

small bowl

Mix ingredients together and toss with salad greens.  **I really like the English cucumbers (those are the long, thin ones, usually wrapped in plastic).

Shopping List:

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 14 oz can black beans
  • 14 oz can red beans
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb sirloin or London broil
  • 1 red pepper (don’t stop there, add a yellow and orange, too)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • 12 oz shredded Jack Cheese
  • 4-8 burrito size flour tortillas (be daring, try a flavored one)
  • green chilis, opt.
  • 12 oz bag spring greens
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 8 oz plain yogurt (low fat ok)
  • 2 cucumbers (I like English)
  • 4 green onions (or use the remaining yellow onion)

Also: Miracle Whip style salad dressing or mayonnaise, lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper, dill

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Full Dinner Menu:Cream of Potato Soup, Orange-Walnut Spinach Salad and Pear and Sour Cherry Crisp

The deep chill set in last week and shows no sign of leaving, so it had to be soup tonight. I just made a big pot of potato soup from leftover mashed potatoes and a few whole potatoes I sliced on my new mandolin to help get me through the big freeze. I thought it should then be the theme for tonight’s menu.

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I’ve been eyeing mandolins for a while and settled on one that would be useful for how seldom I would use it. So far I really liked it. I did invest in a glove to prevent adding my fingertips to any meal prep. So between that and the new camera, I’m hoping to wow you with some pretty plates in the coming weeks.

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But until then, here is tonight’s full menu and shopping list:

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There’s nothing better on a cold night than Creamy Potato Cheese Soup.  I rarely peel potatoes, I scrub the skins thoroughly and that’s good enough for me. It also saves a lot of time and potato skins are full of good things. Yes, there is cheese, but milk instead of cream, and you can even use non-fat milk without noticing any loss. I threw the Pear and Sour Cherry Crisp in at the last minute, because to me, fall is all about fruit crisps.

On the board tonight:

  1. Cream of Potato Cheese Soup
  2. Orange-Walnut Spinach Salad
  3. Pear and Sour Cherry Crisp

Cream of Potato Cheese Soup

  • 6 large potatoes, cubed (peeling opt)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp ea: sage, rosemary, basil
  • 4 cups milk
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt & pepper to taste

Lg. saucepan (2 to 4 qt)

In saucepan or Dutch oven, cover potatoes with water and boil until fork tender, drain all but 2 cups water. Add onions, garlic and spices to potatoes*. In a bowl mix together  milk, flour, salt & pepper. Mix well, no lumps, add melted butter. Add to potatoes and mix well.  Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, add cheese, reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

*A great trick is to remove about ½ cup of the cooked potatoes and mash, then add back into soup, this gives you an extra creamy texture.

Orange-Walnut Spinach Salad

  • 10 oz spinach, washed
  • 2 oranges, peeled, remove white skin & cut into chunks (you can substitute equivalent canned mandarin orange slices)
  • ½ red onion, sliced in rings
  • 1 oz bleu cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • Raspberry-walnut dressing

large salad bowl

Tear spinach leaves. Layer in a large salad bowl. Top with orange chunks, onion, sprinkle blue cheese and walnuts. Add dressing & toss before serving.

Pears & Sour Cherry Crisp

Topping:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

Combine dry ingredients and cut in butter until mixture is crumbly

Filling:

  • 4 large fresh pears, cored, peeled and sliced
  • 1 ½ cups frozen pitted cherries, thawed
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup sugar

8×8 baking dish, greased

Combine pears, cherries, sugar, & cornstarch. Spread in baking dish. Top fruit mixture with flour topping. Bake at 375° for 25 to 34 minutes, topping should be golden & pears tender.

Shopping List:

  • 6 large potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 cups milk
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10 oz spinach
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 oz bleu cheese,
  • 4 oz chopped walnuts
  • Raspberry-walnut dressing
  • 1 stick + 3 tbsp butter
  • 4 large fresh pears
  • 12 oz frozen pitted cherries

Also: cornstarch, sugar, brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, cinnamon, sage, rosemary, basil, garlic

Originally posted November 2009

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Dinner Menu: Grilled Salmon with Orange Glaze

This is one of my favorite menus. The salmon is based on a dish from a restaurant and my whole table raved about and the garden fresh soup can be served hot or cold. Substitute any garden fresh fruit for dessert.

  1. Grilled Salmon w/Orange Glaze
  2. Tomato & Bell Pepper Soup
  3. Hearty Bread
  4. Raspberries & Blackberries w/whipping cream

Grilled Salmon w/Orange Glaze:

  • ½ cup orange marmalade
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil (or olive oil)
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4-6 oz salmon fillets, boneless, skinless
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds (toasted, opt)

Combine marmalade, oil, ginger, garlic & vinegar. Brush glaze on each side of salmon, grill 5 minutes each side. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Tomato & Red Bell Pepper Soup:

  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red onion, peeled quartered
  • 1 large red bell pepper, halved & seeded
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled

grilling basket &  saucepan

Toss tomatoes, onions & bell pepper with oil, season with salt & pepper. Place vegetables in grilling basket, cut side down and grill for 6 to 8 minutes. Add vegetables, garlic, chicken broth, vinegar, sugar to blender and puree. Pour into saucepan, bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, add cream & basil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Garnish with bacon when served.

Shopping List

  • 4 oz orange marmalade
  • 2 oz white wine vinegar
  • 4-6 oz salmon fillets, boneless, skinless
  • 2 oz  sesame seeds (toasted, opt)
  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 16 oz chicken broth
  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • fresh basil leaves
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1 pint blackberries
  • hearty bread loaf

Also: toasted sesame oil (or olive oil),  ground ginger, crushed garlic, apple cider vinegar

Dinner Menu: Color It Orange

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In the heat of summer, I like to keep the menus out of the kitchen to keep things cool. So break out the grill and the chocolate.

Sometimes I really want oranges. Orange juice, orange popsicles, orange dreamsicles, orange chicken, and oranges, lots of oranges. When I originally put this menu together, I worried that there would be too much orange with both the chicken and the salad. But the chicken flavor is subtle; more of a tangy citrus and the orange salad compliments it nicely. Instead of bread you can try couscous or a nice variety of rice, I’m into brown Jasmine these days. Chocolate is the perfect finish to an orange themed dinner, so fire up the grill, get out your sticks,  put on your scout cap and make some S’Mores.

On the board tonight:

  1. Orange Grilled Chicken
  2. Orange Salad
  3. Artisan Bread with garlic butter
  4. S’Mores

Orange Grilled Chicken – Marinate Overnight

  • ½ cup orange juice concentrate
  • ¼ cup limejuice
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp dried mint, crushed
  • 1 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt & pepper
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts

zip-lock bag, bowl, brush & saucepan

Mix together all ingredients and marinate overnight in a ziplock bag or sealed container. Remove chicken from marinade and set aside. Add marinade to saucepan and boil until reduced by half, stirring constantly. Grill chicken over medium high heat for 15 to 20 minutes until no longer pink in the center (170ºf). Baste frequently with sauce after the first 5 minutes.

To keep chicken from drying out, sear both sides (about 3-5 minutes) over direct heat and finish cooking away from direct flame.

Orange Salad

  • 1 head red leaf lettuce
  • 3 oranges, peeled, remove pith and slice in thin circles
  • 1 cucumber, peeled & sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced rings
  • 4 oz slivered almonds
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ¼ tsp ea. Oregano, cumin & salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

serving bowl

Tear leaves and arrange in bowl. Layer oranges, cucumber, onion and almonds. Whisk together remaining ingredients and drizzle over lettuce mixture.

Menu serves 4

Shopping List:

  • Loaf of Artisan Bread
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 16 oz box of graham crackers
  • 1 bag marshmallows
  • 4 chocolate bars (okay, to be authentic I think they should be Hersheys)
  • 6 oz can frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 3 oz limejuice
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 oz slivered almonds

Also: lots of crushed garlic, dried mint, oregano, ground ginger, salt, pepper, cumin, white wine vinegar, honey

Originally published June 2010

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Big Box Store Broccoli Salad

DSC_5415 [1600x1200]Mrs J has been eating this broccoli salad often enough to be curious if it could be replicated at home.  Sure enough, there are plenty of recipes out there.  I won’t make you click because it’s simple enough to make:

5 cups of chopped fresh broccoli

1 lb crispy bacon

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup mayo

1/2 cup sugar (Splenda)

2 Tbs white wine vinrgar

1 chopped red onion

1 cup sunflower seeds

Chop the veggies and dump all but the mayo, sugar, and vinegar into a big bowl, whisk the mayo, sugar and vinegar together and pour it over the rest and mix well.  Refrigerate.  Mrs J thinks the bacon adds enough salt but suit yourself.  This is her favorite veggie dish, and says it will be perfect for summer picnics.

Grilled Fish with Mango & Papaya Salsa

Keeping with our light and fresh theme – grilled fish (you can use any firm white fish you like) and a fresh fruit salsa recipe makes for an easy dinner. Add steamed rice, fresh kale and Melon Balls in Lime Syrup for a complete meal.

Grilled Fish w/Mango & Papaya Salsa

  • 1 papaya
  • 1 mango
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped fine
  • 3 tbsp limejuice
  • 1/2 small jalapeno chili, seeded and minced
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lb tilapia, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lemon, quartered

bowl

Seed and peel papaya. Peel mango and remove pit. Dice papaya and mango in a bowl. Toss with onion and limejuice. Stir in jalapeno, cilantro, salt and pepper to taste. Chill. Brush tilapia with oil, season with salt & pepper. Broil or grill for 3 to 4 minutes each side, until it flakes easily. Do not overcook. Serve topped with fruit mixture and lemon wedges.

 

Mmm…pizza

Decided to use up the rest of those tomatoes making Awesome Sauce.  Got a bit more out of them than expected, about 1 quart.  Awesome Sauce makes very good pizza sauce.  I dug a few pitas out of the freezer and turned them into mini pizzas.

I went simple on these, the first has sausage and cheese along with the sauce.  The second one has those, a bit of ham, and some red onion,  Salt and pepper and a few red pepper flakes and they disappeared rather quickly.

 

Brussels Sprouts and Pasta

I wanted to use these sprouts up before they dried out on me.  Roasted in the balsamic vinegar/oil recipe like the cauliflower yesterday would have been fine.  I wanted to do something a bit different and looked at several recipes including a few that called for heavy cream.  I had the carton of whipping cream out and ready but I changed my mind.

Instead of a cream sauce I went with a chicken stock based sauce with plenty of lemon juice and zest.  The reason I backed away from the cream was the addition of the diced tasso.  I just couldn’t quite picture how it was going to work so I chickened out.  Not that I could quite figure how the lemon sauce was going to act with the tasso, either.

Anyway, I halved the sprouts and added them to a pan with red onions and several sliced cloves of garlic.  Added some olive oil and butter and cooked them with salt and pepper over medium heat while the pasta boiled.  I zested a lemon and squeezed the juice into the pan, added some red pepper flakes.  I added a cup and a half of chicken stock with some cornstarch mixed into it.  That soon thickened into a pretty decent sauce that hinted at being something you could put on a bread pudding.  LOL!  When the pasta was done I dumped it on top of everything in the pan and hollered in Mrs J for dinner.

She sat there looking at her plate and then said “oh, those are sprouts, I thought they were olives”.  Well now, there was a good idea!  Some cracked green olives and some grated parmesan worked just fine in there.

Enjoy!

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Thursday Night Menu: Creamy Potato Cheese Soup

This is actually one of the highest searched recipes on the blog, so for tonight’s Thursday Night Menu, I’m going to repeat it.  I’m (unfortunately for my blogging escapades) swamped with work and meetings today and didn’t think ahead in time to get a new menu prepped.

Good news is, I have two meatloaf recipes to post as soon as I have a chance to type them up.  Until then…

From November 5, 2009

It’s warm here today, but it’s always good to have a soup recipe on hand for when the cold weather returns. And there’s nothing better on a cold night than Creamy Potato Cheese Soup.  I rarely peel potatoes, I scrub the skins thoroughly and that’s good enough for me. It also saves a lot of time and potato skins are full of good things. Yes, there is cheese, but milk instead of cream, and you can even use non-fat milk without noticing any loss. I threw the Pear and Sour Cherry Crisp in at the last minute, because to me, fall is all about fruit crisps.

On the board tonight:

  1. Cream of Potato Cheese Soup
  2. Orange-Walnut Spinach Salad
  3. Pear and Sour Cherry Crisp

Cream of Potato Cheese Soup

  • 6 large potatoes, cubed (peeling opt)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp ea: sage, rosemary, basil
  • 4 cups milk
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt & pepper to taste

Lg. saucepan (2 to 4 qt)

In saucepan or Dutch oven, cover potatoes with water and boil until fork tender, drain all but 2 cups water. Add onions, garlic and spices to potatoes*. In a bowl mix together  milk, flour, salt & pepper. Mix well, no lumps, add melted butter. Add to potatoes and mix well.  Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, add cheese, reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

*A great trick is to remove about ½ cup of the cooked potatoes and mash, then add back into soup, this gives you an extra creamy texture.

Orange-Walnut Spinach Salad

  • 10 oz spinach, washed
  • 2 oranges, peeled, remove white skin & cut into chunks (you can substitute equivalent canned mandarin orange slices)
  • ½ red onion, sliced in rings
  • 1 oz bleu cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • Raspberry-walnut dressing

large salad bowl

Tear spinach leaves. Layer in a large salad bowl. Top with orange chunks, onion, sprinkle blue cheese and walnuts. Add dressing & toss before serving.

Pears & Sour Cherry Crisp

Topping:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

Combine dry ingredients and cut in butter until mixture is crumbly

Filling:

  • 4 large fresh pears, cored, peeled and sliced
  • 1 ½ cups frozen pitted cherries, thawed
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup sugar

8×8 baking dish, greased

Combine pears, cherries, sugar, & cornstarch. Spread in baking dish. Top fruit mixture with flour topping. Bake at 375° for 25 to 34 minutes, topping should be golden & pears tender.

Shopping List:

  • 6 large potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 cups milk
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10 oz spinach
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 oz bleu cheese,
  • 4 oz chopped walnuts
  • Raspberry-walnut dressing
  • 1 stick + 3 tbsp butter
  • 4 large fresh pears
  • 12 oz frozen pitted cherries

Also: cornstarch, sugar, brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, cinnamon, sage, rosemary, basil, garlic

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