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Blog Archives

Fall Menus: Sept Week 2

This is a little late, but I suppose better late than never. I’ve been crazy with work and glued to hurricane coverage, as I have Florida family (and friends).

Since we are moving into cooler weather, I’m bringing the meals in from the grill and into the kitchen. Although we do have a Grilled Steak on Monday – it’s in a soy/wine marinade that I love because you can use an inexpensive cut of beef and still get a great steak out of it.

One of my favorite meals, Red Beans and Rice, heads up Wednesday’s menu. And Friday is a slow-cooker BBQ Beef on Kaiser Rolls. 

All the PDF menus can be found here: September Week 2 Menus

The color-coded weekly shopping list is here: September Week 2 Shopping List The color coding allows you to eliminate any ingredients you won’t need if you skip a recipe.

Tonight’s bonus recipe is Creole Vegetables and Black Beans, which can be found here.

If you any questions, hit the comments and I’ll try and get you an answer. Have a great week!



 

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Vegetarian Meatballs in Fire Roasted Tomato-Basil Sauce

Most of the recipes I looked at used Italian Breadcrumbs. But I really feel these need fresh breadcrumbs, so I’ve included instructions for making your own. I didn’t season mine because I didn’t want them to overpower the delicate flavors of the cheeses. Fresh breadcrumbs absorb flavors and moisture more than packaged ones, so I thought it gave the whole meatball a better, lighter texture. I added a bit of  garlic powder (fresh garlic did not work with this, it was overpowering and a touch bitter), basil, oregano and fennel. The fennel really took it up a notch. I think next time I might add a bit of red pepper flake.

Spinach and Ricotta Vegetarian Meatballs

  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (instructions below)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, asiago, romano cheese mix
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (not salt)
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 eggs, beaten

=======

  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, asiago, romano cheese
  • Olive oil

Breadcrumbs: this took a full 1-lb loaf of day-old Italian or French bread. I bought it from the day-old rack for cheap. I tore it into small pieces, spread out on a baking sheet and dried it in a 200 degree F oven for about 30 minutes. I didn’t want them toasted or seasoned because I thought it would overpower the delicate flavors of these meatballs. Once they were dried, I ran them through the blender. I reserved 1/4 cup for rolling the balls in before cooking.

Meatballs: Mix together ricotta, grated cheeses, spinach and spices. Add the eggs and mix well. Then add the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup at a time. You want it to come together to form soft balls, but you don’t want it to be dry. Once you can form a soft ball with some structure, you don’t need to add more breadcrumbs.

Scoop up a heaping tablespoon (I used my cookie dough scoop) and roll the mixture into balls.

Mix together 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup grated cheeses in a bowl and roll each meatball in the mixture, coating on all sides.

You can bake or pan fry these. I chose to pan fry, it used a bit of oil, but it gave them a nice flavor. Baking them would be my option if I was doubling the recipe.

To fry: heat olive oil in a skillet on medium and add the meatballs, leaving enough space between them to easily turn them. They are soft, so it’s a delicate process. The good news is, if you really want them round (instead of kind of flattened) you can reshape them after they come out of the pan. Turn them until they are golden brown on all sides.

To bake: place them on a well oiled baking sheet or use parchment paper. Brush them with a bit of oil if desired. Leave space around each one so they brown evenly and bake at 375 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. You can turn them halfway through if desired.

Fire Roasted Tomato and Basil Sauce

  • 28 oz fire roasted crushed tomatoes or better yet, click here to make your own.
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbsp fresh chopped)

Add ingredients in saucepan, bring to a low boil, reduce to low and let simmer while prepping meatballs.

Serve sauce and meatballs over your favorite pasta.



 

Summer Menu: August Week 2

Tonight’s bonus recipe is Key Lime Pie Gelato (click here)

The second week of August and many kids are heading back to school next week. For me, summer doesn’t end until the leaves turn.

Thank the stars JeffreyW has photos to match with just about every menu this week. Here’s his salsa.

This week, Tuesday features Fresh Garden Salsa to top some souped up Nachos. 

Click here for the PDF of all this week’s menus: August Week 2 Menus

….and his Bruschetta

Thursday features a fresh garden Pasta with Marinated Vegetables and Bruschetta.  And Friday has a ground lamb or turkey Curry Burger. 

Spicy Lamb Burgers by JeffreyW

For the detailed and color-coordinated shopping list, click here: August Week 2 Shopping List.

That’s it for this week.  Hit the comments with any questions. – TaMara



 

Summer Menus: July Week Two

JeffreyW is the pizza king.

I’ve been busy in the yard today, so this will be short and sweet. For the menus, click here: July Week Two Menus

Tuesday features Adobo Sirloin and Garlic Roasted potatoes.

JeffreyW grills up some garlic potato wedges and steak.

Wednesday serves up a sweet Oatmeal Apple Cookie, along with an easy Tuna Macaroni Salad.

And Friday offers up two quick pizza dough recipes for a family night of Fresh Pizza built with your favorite toppings.

Shopping list is here: July Week Two Shopping List and remember it’s color coordinated so you can easily skip ingredients from the recipes you’re not using.

As always, you can substitute ingredients to suit your own tastes – skip the tuna in the macaroni salad and add a variety of fresh garden vegetables for a quick and easy vegetarian dinner. Choose your favorite cut of steak or bone-in chicken instead of boneless breasts and substitute favorite vegetables for any of the suggested ones.

And finally, a bonus recipe, since peaches are starting to show up at the local farm stands:

Spicy Peach Dressing

  • 2 large peaches, peeled, pitted and quartered
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 jalapeño or other hot pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Purée all of the ingredients, except oil, in a blender or food processor until smooth. Continue to blend, on low, while adding oil slowly. Mix until well blended. Refrigerate.

Spinach Chicken Salad

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 small sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb cleaned baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
  • 1 peach, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 3 ounces crumbled bleu cheese or chevre

Place the chicken in a plastic zipper bag with ½ cup of dressing. Marinate 2 hours in refrigerator. Remove chicken, discard marinade and grill until cooked through (170 degrees at center).

Toss the spinach, onion, walnuts and cheese with the remaining 3/4 cup dressing. Slice the grilled chicken and arrange on top of the salad.

Serving: 4 to 6

Enjoy! – TaMara



 

Summer Menus: June Week Four

All this week’s photos are from JeffreyW’s library

This week, at the bottom of the menus is a list of substitutions and ideas, save that for future weeks.

As we finish up June, there are more grilling recipes and a couple of quick and simple meals for those busy days when being in the kitchen needs to be kept to the minimum.

Here are June’s menus and recipes: June Week Four Menu (click for printable PDF)

Monday features Chicken Carbonara.  Along with a Sautéed Mushroom Salad

Thursday, Toasted Tuna Sandwiches are paired with a tasty chilled Wild Rice Salad, that can be prepared ahead of time for an easy dinner.

And Friday’s Kid Friendly recipes include Quesadillas and a sweet summer salad.

Click here for the shopping lists: June Week Four Shopping List. Remember they are color coordinated to the menus, so easy to eliminate any ingredients when you skip a recipe. (You skipped a recipe?!? 🙂 )

What’s on your menu this week? Let me know in the comments if you have a question about any of the meals.

Enjoy!



Summer Menus: June Week Three

We’re partying there tonight. Bixby turned three.

Here are the menus for week three: June Menu Week Three

Highlights: Grilled Salmon with Orange Glaze (Thursday) Greek Grilled Potatoes (Monday) and a yummy Chocolate Orange-Cream ice cream treat (Friday).

Here are the shopping lists – remember they are color coordinated so you can easily eliminate any recipe ingredients you aren’t going to use.  June Week Three Shopping List

If you have any questions on any of the recipes, hit the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. What’s on your plate this weekend?

Have a great weekend!



 

Weekly Menu: June Week Two

Wednesday is Tomato-Pasta Salad

Sorry for the delay, as you can see here I had a big project yesterday. Continuing with our summer menu project, here are this week’s menus, recipes and shopping lists. Lots of garden fresh ingredients and grilling as summer kicks into gear.

JeffreyW has a great blueberry harvest. Perfect for Wednesday’s Blueberry-Lemon Parfait

For  the PDF of week two menus and recipes, click here: June Week Two Menus

Shopping lists are here: June Week Two Shopping List

Don’t forget the staples, here.

Monday is Cranberry Grilled Chicken and Minted Cucumbers

That’s it for this week’s menus. You can find last week’s menu, recipes and shopping list here.

What’s on your menu this week?



 

Perfect Standing Rib Roast

Dinner menu (left to right) Cucumber Tomato Salad, Perfect Gravy, Standing Rib Roast, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Spinach Raspberry Salad.

This recipe came from Chef Michael Symon and I don’t think I’ve changed much, except I don’t use as much rosemary and thyme (about half). I’ve been using it for several years and every time it is perfect.

From Michael Symon on The Chew:

GARLIC & HERB CRUSTED STANDING RIB ROAST

1 standing beef rib roast (7 to 8 pounds, rack of ribs separated from roast)

4 cloves garlic (smashed and made into a paste)

2 sprigs rosemary (leaves removed and finely chopped, plus more)

4 sprigs thyme (leaves removed and finely chopped, plus more)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups red wine

1/2 cup beef stock

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Season the roast and rack of ribs with salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Remove the rib roast to room temperature 1 hour prior to roasting. Preheat the oven to 450ºF.

In a medium bowl, add garlic, herbs and 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, to form a loose paste. Coat the roast and ribs with the herb oil and season with more cracked black pepper. Using kitchen twine, tie the roast every 2-3 inches to secure shape.

In a roasting pan, place the rack of ribs with the ends pointing up. Place a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme on top of the rack. Place the roast, fat-side-up inside the rack of ribs so they act as a roasting rack. Pour the wine and beef stock in to the bottom of the pan underneath the roast.

Place in the bottom half of the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF and continue to cook for another 1 ½- 2 hours, or until the internal temperature of the roast is 125ºF for medium-rare. During the cooking process, baste the meat with the pan juices every 30 minutes. If the pan starts to get dry, add a little more stock or water.

Remove the roast to a cutting board to rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Separate the ribs and thinly slice the roast. Serve with pan juices.

Tip: for ultimate flavor, season the roast and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.

If you’d like some personal instruction, click here for video of Michael preparing it.



 

Bake Flowering Onion ;-)

Don’t want any copyright issues. This was delicious and easy to do. Again, I went to my go-to crispy coating – potato starch. The result was a sweet, creamy onion with a crispy spicy coating.

Baked Flowering Onion

  • 1 very large sweet onion (good time for Vidalias are in season right now)
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  •  2 tsp paprika (the good kind)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch of oregano & thyme
  • dash of cayenne
  • 2 eggs

baking dish(greased on the bottom), two deep bowls

Remove about 1/2 inch slice from the top of the onion and peel. Slice about 8 to 10 slices from top to bottom on the onion, making sure not to cut through the bottom end (root end).

Mix together all dry ingredients in bowl and set aside.

Beat eggs with a dash of water in another deep bowl.

Dip the onion in the eggs, making sure it is thoroughly coated. Then place in the dry ingredients and gently roll and use a spoon to help coat inside and out completely with potato starch. Remove to baking dish.

Bake at 375 degrees F for about 45 – 60 minutes until the onion is soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. If it begins to get too brown, reduce heat to 350 and gently tent foil over it until it’s completely cooked through. Remove foil and give it a minute or two uncovered to do a final crisp. Serve immediately with favorite dipping sauces (mayo, horseradish, southwestern buttermilk dressing, etc).



 

 

Stir Fry Dinner Menu: Orange Chicken and Broccoli

orange-chicken-dinner

I’m not big on deep frying anything, but I love orange chicken so I wanted to find a way to make it so it was still crisp without all the oil and breading. I found the perfect ingredient to produce that result: potato starch. I’ve been using it for a while now and it makes the most perfect Oven Baked Chicken – I’ve been substituting it for the bread crumbs, combining it with crushed rice chex – I’ll post an updated recipe on that technique this week.

I thought it might have the same effect on pan frying chicken pieces. It did. Crispy, light and flavorful. Of course top anything with enough orange sauce and I’m there.

On the board tonight:

  1. Pan-Fried Orange Chicken
  2. Rice or Rice Noodles
  3. Steamed Broccoli

orange-chicken

Pan-Fried Orange Chicken

Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp sriracha or chili sauce (opt)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp white or rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp corn starch

bowl

Mix together in bowl and set aside

Chicken:

  • 1 lb chicken boneless breast (or thighs), cut into large chunks
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 green onions, chopped – save 1 tbsp of chopped greens for garnish
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds for garnish
  • 2 tbsp oil (more as needed)

2 plates, skillet or wok

Add salt and pepper to potato starch. Drizzle a bit of oil over chicken pieces to coat. Dredge in potato starch mixture and move to clean plate. Finish all chicken before cooking.

I used to have a wok, but never got the results I wanted from it. Then I heard Ming Tsai discuss how a skillet works better in regular kitchens because a wok really needs a commercial heat source to get it hot enough to cook the way it is designed. Got rid of my wok and use my skillet now. So don’t feel you need a wok to stir-fry things.

Heat oil and add onions (whites and green) quickly stir until they have softened (about 1 minutes) and then add chicken pieces – one at a time so they all touch oil/skillet surface.  You may have to cook chicken in two batches depending on the size of your pan.

Fry until golden on one side, then flip to brown the other side.  Then I tossed it around a bit until it was golden on all sides.

If you cooked in two batches, remove first batch to clean plate and cook the second batch. Add all chicken back to pan, coat with Orange Sauce and toss until it’s all coated. Let sauce heat through thoroughly over low heat. Serve with rice (or noodles), garnish with sesame seeds and onion greens.