Dinner Menu: Spring Flavors

Apple Salad1

Lots of fresh spring flavors in this dinner menu, which is what I need after a long cold week.

On the board tonight:

  1. Herbed Fettuccini
  2. Apple Salad
  3. Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt

Herbed Fettuccini

  • 9 oz fresh fettuccine
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz fresh spinach, torn
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 oz fresh parmesan, grated or goat cheese (chevre)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 6 oz artichokes hearts (opt)

2 large saucepans, large serving bowl

Cook pasta according to pkg. directions. Next bring broth to boiling in second saucepan. Add green onion and spinach. Reduce heat, cook and stir for 2 to 4 minutes or until spinach is slightly wilted. Add parsley, herbs, salt & pepper; mix well. Remove from heat; cover and set aside. Drain cooked pasta and remove to serving dish, cover and keep warm

In saucepan combine cheese, milk, and butter. Cook and stir until cheese is melted. Add pasta; toss to coat. Remove from heat. Add vegetable mixture, hazelnuts, opt artichokes, half of the tomato to the pasta mixture; toss gently to mix, heat until warm through. Transfer back to a serving bowl, garnish with remaining tomato.

Apple Salad

  • 16 oz spring greens, washed
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • 2 Fuji (or other sweet red) apples
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 oz toasted  slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled

serving bowl

Layer greens in bowl.  Core and cut apples into large chunks.  Layer over greens, add raisins and nuts.  Mix together vinegar, oil, salt & pepper.  Drizzle over salad, toss, then crumble feta over the top.

Note: If you can’t find toasted almonds, heat a skillet, add almonds and stir constantly until they are lightly toasted.

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Copyright What’s 4 Dinner Solutions Cookbook: Spring Edition

Dinner Menu: Golden Curried Chicken

Golden Chicken Curry4

I love the flavors in this chicken recipe and the dill dip is the perfect complement to the spicy main course. I have finally found a really good flat bread I like, better than the pita bread in the photo above. If you’re in the mood for fresh, try JeffreyW’s Fry Bread recipe.

On the board tonight:

  1. Golden Chicken Pilaf
  2. Cool Dill Dip
  3. Applesauce w/chopped dried figs Curried chicken spices

Golden Chicken Pilaf

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 8 oz diced carrots
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 tsp (2 cubes) chicken bouillon
  • ½ to 1 tsp curry powder
  • ¼ tsp thyme
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into large pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds

skillet, saucepan

In saucepan, melt butter and sauté onions for 2 minutes, add carrots, rice, water, bouillon, curry, and thyme.  Bring to a boil, stir well, reduce heat, cover and let simmer until all water is absorbed (about 20 minutes). Add raisins and fluff rice with a fork.

In skillet, heat oil, add chicken and brown on all sides.  Add salt & pepper, reduce heat and allow chicken to simmer until rice is done.  Toss chicken to rice and garnish with almonds. 

Cool Dill Dip

  • 8 oz container plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cucumber, finely diced
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill (or ½ tsp dry dill)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 pita bread pieces

bowl

Mix together all ingredients, except pita.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve with pita bread, torn into large pieces.

 

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Mmm… Cookies!

DSC_1607 (1600x1060)These are from this recipe, tweaked a bit.  I think it helps to toast the coconut, almonds, and oatmeal before mixing with the rest of the ingredients.  You can use a dry skillet for the toasting on the stove top, or a tray under a broiler.  We used the last of a few different kinds of chocolate we had on hand, both milk and semi-sweet chips and some of those mini candy coated chocolate bits, generic M&M looking things that the Amish store stocks.

Frozen Treats: Vanilla Nut Crunch (and Bonus Kitteh)

Vanilla Nut Crunch

It was time to break out the ice cream maker and cool things off. I’d been focusing on gelatos the last couple of summers, but yesterday I wasn’t interested in standing over the stove and stirring an egg mixture. I dug out the instruction manual for my Cuisinart machine and sure enough, there were some simple cream-only recipes. I decided to start with vanilla.

I have two favorite ice creams, one was Ben and Jerry’s Wavy Gravy, RIP (their new hazelnut is inedible IMHO) and Blue Bell’s Moo-llenium Crunch (fingers crossed they can come back from the shut down). I’ve mastered Chocolate-Hazelnut Gelato and it’s a fine substitute for Wavy Gravy, so this time I thought I’d tackle the crunchy vanilla ice cream from Blue Bell.

From their description:

Classic vanilla ice cream with a combination of dark chocolate chunks, creamy caramel chunks, roasted pecan halves, chopped almonds and walnut pieces.

The nuts and crunch

Vanilla ice cream recipe? Check. Dark chocolate? Check. Caramel chunks? Nope, but we’ll get to that. Roasted pecans? Nope, will have to live without because I was not going to drop everything and run to the store. Almonds and walnuts? Check and check. On to the recipe:

Vanilla Nut Crunch

  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp really good vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds (raw or roasted, unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (raw)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional 😉 )

mixing bowl, ice cream maker

In the mixing bowl, combine milk, sugar and salt, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine until sugar is dissolved (about 2 minutes). Stir in cream and vanilla by hand.

Freeze according to manufacturer’s direction for your ice cream maker (for mine, I place the frozen bowl on the machine, add the paddle and the top, turn it on and then pour the ice cream mixture in while it’s turning. 30 minutes later I have ice cream).

After it has completed its freezing cycle, fold in nuts and chocolate. Freeze until hard. Makes about 1-1/2 quarts.

Remember the caramel bits? I had a bottle of caramel syrup which made a nice topping and when I was done, it was pretty darn close to Moo-llenium Crunch. I’m sure pecans will make all the difference next time.

And here is a bonus kitteh because he had to “help” me take the photos today.

Z-Man Whatcha making

For tomorrow – Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream.  Until then – TaMara

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Holiday Gift Ideas: Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m busy baking for my annual gift boxes. These won’t be in them, because I”m working on two new cookie recipes I’ve never tried my hand at before. More on that later…

Chocolate Chocolate Cookie

These are pretty and very tasty.  They’re easy and just a touch above regular chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or peanuts), chopped

mixing bowl and cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream together butter and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well.  Sift together salt, soda, flour and cocoa, then add to butter mixture, blending well.  Add nuts and chocolate chips.  Spoon onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Cool on cooling rack.

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Originally posted Nov 2011

Dinner Menu: Better Late than Never, Spicy Chicken Stew

It has been a crazy week and I was going to skip the weekly dinner menu, except it falls completely inline with the Friday Recipe Exchange tonight.

Meanwhile in the kitchen right now I’m making a gluten-free Pumpkin Cake, I’ll post the recipe later, as soon as I know if it came out ok. Company on the way to taste test. 🙂 Although they do not know  it.

On the board tonight:

  1. Spicy Chicken Stew
  2. Sweet Potatoes w/Apples
  3. Tossed Salad
  4. Shortbread

Spicy Chicken Stew

Slow-Cooker Meal

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 boneless breasts, large cubes
  • ½ lb smoked sausage, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tsp to 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds

Slow-Cooker

Combine all ingredients (except almonds) into Slow-Cooker, cook according to manufacturer’s directions (usually on low) for 8-10 hours. Add almonds, simmer 5 minutes & serve.

Sweet Potatoes w/Apples

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 apples, cored & sliced
  • 8 oz can sliced pineapple (including liquid)
  • 2 tsp butter
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt

2 qt casserole dish, greased

Add sweet potatoes and ¼ cup water to casserole dish and microwave for 3 to 5 minutes (until potatoes are fork tender, add more water if needed) Add remaining ingredients to casserole dish, stir gently and bake at 450° for 20 to 30 minutes, uncovered, until apples and potatoes are very soft.

UPDATE: I just received an email from a friend who said that you can actually put all the ingredients from the stew and the sweet potato recipes into the same slow-cooker and create a very popular Mexican stew called Mancha Manteles.  Who knew?  I knew the two dishes complimented each other nicely…all together would be interesting.

Shortbread

  • 1 cup butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 ½ cups flour

baking sheet

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in flour. Chill for an hour. Divide in half. Place each half on baking sheet and pat each into approx. 7 inch circle. Prick each with a fork to make 16 wedges (total of 32). Bake for 30 minutes at 300°

Shopping List:

  • 4 boneless breasts
  • ½ lb smoked sausage
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 apples (my new favorite are Jazz)
  • 8 oz can sliced pineapple
  • 4 oz orange juice
  • 1 1/4 cups butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 ½ cups flour

Also: olive oil, cinnamon, salt, pepper

Originally published on January 2010

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Gluten Free Goodies

Lasagna snap3

This is going to be a quick one. I didn’t want to leave you hanging a second week, especially since I’m going to be travelling next week and there probably won’t be  any recipes.

I asked earlier in the summer  for gluten free recipe ideas. There was lots of input, as always you guys rock. One thing I noticed about  recipes for bread substitutes the ingredient list is daunting. I thought mixes might be a better route for these items. I wanted to test out some mixes for pizza crust, rolls and bread, but I just haven’t found the time.

If you’ve had success with mixes and would like to recommend some, let us know in the comments. I could use some direction and I’m probably not the only one. Share any other gluten free recipes I may have missed in the first go round. And of course talk about any other recipes you’d like to share.

First up, the links that came from various commenters:

Chewy Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies from Alton Brown, here.

Almond Butter Blondies, from Eat Well, here.

Too easy to believe, Chocolate-Walnut Cookies, recipe here.

Then there is my favorite gluten free cake recipe. I love this cake because not only is it gluten free, but you can change up the ingredients to a variety of fruits including cranberry, clementine oranges, and of course chocolate and mocha

And if I had to pick a blog, I like Gluten Free Girl, because she emphasizes foods that are naturally gluten free as a place to start, click here to see her journey and great recipes.

I am not gluten sensitive, but years ago realized that wheat flour, among other things, exacerbated my joint pain, so I cut way back. When my friend LFern went gluten free, she recommended a brown rice pasta that I love. It has great flavor and excellent texture, I’ve used it for all kinds of things, including tonight’s featured recipe, I rarely recommend specific products, but this is my exception, it’s Tinkyada Rice Pasta, link here to products, pricey, but worth it.

So that’s a start. I’m sure you have many more I haven’t even thought of and I look forward to hearing about them.

Tonight’s featured recipe I’ve posted before, but not with the gluten free alternative. I wanted to use it tonight because I wanted to show gluten free doesn’t mean it can’t be yummy.

Gluten Free Spinach Lasagna

Sauce:

  • 3-15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2-6 oz cans tomato paste
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp basil, crushed
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled & finely grated
  • pinch of sugar (reduces acidity of the tomatoes)
  • Optional: ½ lb ground beef and ½ spicy Italian sausage, browned

Saucepan

Add all ingredients to saucepan on medium-high, stirring constantly until it begins to boil lightly. Turn to low and let simmer while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Lasagna:

  • 1 pkg Tinkyada or other gluten free lasagna noodles (16 oz)* – boiled and cooled.
  • 16 oz ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz package frozen spinach, thawed or 8 oz fresh, washed and dried
  • 1 egg
  • 12 oz sliced mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese

13×9 baking dish (I prefer glass), lightly oiled

*I’ve boiled these and also baked them dry. I prefer the dry method, you’ll need to increase baking time by 30 minutes or until the noodles are cooked through.

To prepare: Mix ricotta, spinach and egg until well blended. Ladle a layer of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Cover in a single layer of noodles. Ladle sauce over noodles. Spoon ½ of the ricotta mixture evenly (if you place large dollops evenly like putting cookie dough on a baking sheet, fairly close together, it will spread as it cooks, no need to smooth it). Layer 1/3 of the mozzarella over the ricotta. Repeat: noodles, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, noodles. On top of the last layer of noodles, add remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, uncovered – I like to place the baking dish on a baking sheet to catch any spills as it bubbles. Place knife through the center, if it comes out heated through, remove and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. If it needs more cooking time, you can cover with foil to keep the cheese from burning and cook 10 more minutes. Let stand uncovered before serving.

Okay, this was all done on the fly, so if I missed something or messed something up, let me know, I’ll fix.  – TaMara

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Dinner Menu: Color It Orange

Blood Orange1snap

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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