Cookbook Featured Menu: Chili Mac and Cornbread

Yummy photo from JeffreyW

This menu tonight is from my Kids Night series. I loved chili-mac as a kid and it’s still one of those quick comfort foods I make when it needs to be easy and tasty. And Friday night’s it almost always needs to be quick and easy.  Even this cook is over being in the kitchen by then.

On the Board:

  1. Chili-Mac
  2. Corn Muffins
  3. Raw Vegetable Tray
  4. Apples*

Chili-Mac

  • 12 oz elbow macaroni (or try something fun like radiatori or farafalle shapes)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • ½ green pepper diced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz can kidney beans
  • 1 tsp to 2 tbsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 qt. saucepan, skillet

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Cookbook Featured Menu: Hearty Tomato Soup And Grilled Cheese, Bonus Flax Cookies

Since we witnessed a 70-degree temperature drop here yesterday, soup had to be on the menu.  And since I have a counter full of ripe tomatoes, tomato soup sounded good.  This is not your basic canned soup and grilled cheese.  These recipes are tasty, hearty and easy to whip up.  And the flax cookies are addictive. If you’re using an Instant-Style Pot, I have instructions for that at the bottom of the soup recipe.  Continue reading

Cookbook Featured Menu: Fajita Bar

I’ve spent the day prepping the lemon cucumbers languishing in my refrigerator. I did some refrigerator dill pickles, some Jalapeno-Cucumber RelishCucumber Salsa and of course, Tomato-Cucumber Salad.  I had a LOT of cucumbers.

Tonight’s menu is part of the Kid’s Menu series. Quick and easy, and everyone can help themselves.

On the board:

Fajita Bar

  • ½ lb. steak, thinly sliced
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • fajita seasoning (recipe here)
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 4-8 flour tortillas
  • 4 oz. shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh salsa (see recipe here)
  • 1 avocado, sliced (or guacamole)
  • sliced black olives

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Cookbook Featured Menu: Pasta w/Marinated Vegetables and Bruschetta

JeffreyW has his own take on Bruschetta here and here

Every Thursday in the What’s 4 Dinner Solutions Cookbook is a travelogue of sorts. Menus with flavors from all over the country and the world. In the summer, we explore various areas of the states and their fresh produce.  Tonight, it’s a New England Farmers’ Market kinda night

On the board tonight:

MENU
Pasta w/ Marinated Vegetables
Tomato & Olive Oil Bruschetta
Grapes Continue reading

Cookbook Featured Menu: Skillet Lasagna and Patty Pan Squash

plate of lasagna

First of all, thanks to everyone who ordered a cookbook! I was surprised by the popularity.  Just a quick NOTE: if you find you are missing Week 12 from your copy – go to “Manage Your Devices” on Amazon and there is an update to restore it to your copy. Somewhere between draft and going live, some copies lost that week. It has been restored. 🙂

On to this week’s menu. Fresh from the garden ingredients and a quick skillet taste treat elevates this weeknight dinner menu.  On the board tonight:

MENU
Skillet Lasagna
Patty Squash Sauté
Italian Bread
Cherries

Skillet Lasagna

  • 6 oz Mafalda (mini-lasagna noodles) or bowtie pasta
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ½ green pepper chopped
  • 1 tsp basil, crushed
  • 1 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce (or 1 lb fresh tomatoes, chopped or pureed)
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 4 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves, chopped
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 oz grated parmesan

skillet
saucepan

In saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions, cooking to al dente (slightly chewy), drain well.  Meanwhile, in skillet brown beef, onion & pepper. Add spices, garlic, carrot and sauté for 1 minute.  Add sauce, paste, stirring well into meat mixture.  Add pasta, stirring gently to mix.  Continue reading

Dinner Menu and Shopping List: Lamb Kabobs and Honeyed Carrots

Photo credit: Food Network

I need some spring in my kitchen as winter drags on.  A touch of fresh lemon and honey is just the ticket.   A simple recipe for the broiler or if it’s a good day, out on the grill.  If lamb’s not your thing, these flavors work well with chicken, too.

For the menu tonight:

  1. Lamb Kabobs -Marinate Overnight
  2. Tabbouleh
  3. Honeyed Carrots
  4. Sautéed Pears

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Dinner Menu and Shopping List: Cuban Dinner and Dessert

JeffreyW does Cuban Black Beans with a side of broccoli

This is a very simplified version of a dinner I had at an LA Cuban restaurant.  I’m hoping in a few weeks I’ll have experienced some authentic Cuban food to share with you.

I have included Instant Pot instructions for the chicken recipe.

This week’s dinner menu:

  1. Marinated Chicken w/flaming pineapples
  2. Cuban Black Beans & Rice
  3. Ensalada Cubana
  4. Fried Plantains

Continue reading

Play Ball! Opening Day Menu

I am traveling, again. Taking both dogs with me, which should be…interesting. I’ve actually never taken a car trip with two (or three when I had them) Danes. Although, when I purchased my car, that was the one of the requirements. Hold two Danes. Wish me luck!

I thought I would leave you with a little something since today is the best day. OPENING DAY!!

Here’s a little baseball trivia for you: The Colorado Rockies Mascot is an anthropomorphic purple triceratops named Dinger. Do you know why? (Answer at the bottom of the post).

Here’s my traditional opening day menu to bring the ballpark to your house. I tried to be as authentic as I could with each dog. Personally, I would grill any of mine, authentic or not. I was lucky enough to have my friends spoil me with authentic Fenway Franks (grilled) and buns while I was back east. They were as good as I remember them. My all time favorite though is the Italian Sausage with grilled peppers. Here in Colorado you can’t swing a metaphorical cat without hitting a brewery (even our Governor is a former brew master), so we have plenty of great choices for a cold brew. Okay, PLAY BALL!!

On the board today:

Pick Favorite (recipes below):

  • Fenway Franks
  • Boston Dogs
  • New York Dawg
  • Italian Sausage w/peppers
  • Denver Dogs
  • Dodger Dogs (adults only)

Vinegar & Salt chips (if you can find them, Cape Cod chips are excellent)

Raw Vegetable Tray (hey it can’t all be junk food)

Pick one:

  • Ice cream in dipped cones
  • Cracker Jacks
  • Popcorn
  • Peanuts in shells
  • Lemonade
  • Favorite Ice Cold Brew

Fenway Franks

The closest I can find to these are to use Ball Park Brand Franks. The secret to these tasty franks is to bring the water to a boil, then add the franks and let them cook until just heated through. If you can find them, authentic Fenway franks are served in white bread sliced rolls (these look like two bun size slices of white bread, joined together at the bottom and sliced open at the top). If not, regular buns will do. Mustard only, please …though I like them plain.

Boston Dogs

Follow in the instructions above and add hot chili and shredded cheddar.

New York Dawg

Follow the instructions for Fenway Franks and add sauerkraut.

Denver Dogs

Split your dog lengthwise, but not all the way through. Flatten on hot grill, keep the rack far from the flame, don’t let them burn, flip and grill the other side. Brush rolls with melted butter and a touch of garlic, toast on the grill. Bring bun & dog together, top with relish or spicy brown mustard.

Dodger Dogs (Adults ONLY)

Get a can or bottle of your favorite beer, take your dogs and use a fork to poke holes around the dogs. In a large, shallow bowl, add dogs & beer and let soak 30 minutes. Now, this is a two-step process for authentic dogs, but if you want, you can skip the boiling part. Bring water to a boil, drop dogs in for 3 to 5 minutes, remove and immediately pop onto a hot grill and grill all sides. Serve in warm rolls, top with spicy beer mustard or relish.

Italian Sausage w/Peppers

Spicy Italian sausage or bratwurst grilled or pan-fried. These are thick, so make sure you cook them long enough to cook completely through (follow pkg. directions) Slice a green pepper in rings and sauté in butter & olive oil. Toast regular hot dog bun in skillet or on grill, add sausage and top with peppers.

Ice Cream in Dipped Cones

  • 4 waffle cones
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 oz package chocolate sprinkles
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream

In a double-boiler (or a saucepan with a Pyrex or metal bowl place on top), add water to the bottom and melt chocolate & butter. Dip top of cones into melted chocolate, then dip immediately into sprinkles. Let cool completely, scoop in ice cream and top with remaining sprinkles

Why is the Colorado Rockies mascot a dinosaur? Because when they were excavating the stadium – they found a triceratops skull.  Not the first time around there – this past summer they found one near my old house.

Okay, I’m off. Wish  me luck.