Full Dinner Menu: Pasta Jambalaya and Orange Cookies

Pasta Jambalaya_Snapseed2

My goal with the dinner menus is to have a quick meal planned that doesn’t taste quick and uses fresh foods, versus over-processed frozen or microwave dinners. I think this one really meets that test. It’s full of great flavors and fresh vegetables. And the Orange cookies are a quick dessert, but you can always substitute fresh oranges for a healthier alternative.

On the board:

  1. Pasta Jambalaya
  2. Broccoli
  3. Orange Cookies

Pasta Jambalaya

  • 12 oz penne pasta
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 oz can chopped green chilies
  • 4 oz smoked sausage, sliced (I like Andouille)
  • 4 oz shredded Mexican 4-blend cheese

saucepan Continue reading

Dinner Menu: Cranberry Pepper Steak and Bleu Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Cranberries are on sale now, so it seemed a good time to re-up this recipe.  You can use sirloin steak, or ribeye or NY strip. Works well on chicken breasts, too.

My love of cranberries has been well documented here. So no wonder this is one of my favorite dinners. The potatoes are very creamy – you can make them more calorie friendly by reducing the amount of butter, you probably won’t miss it with the creamy dressing.

  1. Cranberry Pepper Steak
  2. Bleu Cheese Mashed Potatoes
  3. Sliced Carrots
  4. Grapes

Cranberry Pepper Steak

  • 1/2 cup canned whole cranberries*
  • ¼ tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 lb sirloin steak
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

saucepan, broiler pan

In saucepan, combine cranberries, pepper flakes, & vinegar.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, cook until thickened and reduced by half. Rub sirloin on both sides with garlic, chili, salt & pepper (use more of each if desired).  Cut into 4 pieces, broil (or grill) 5 minutes on each side for rare.  Spoon sauce over cooked steaks & serve.

Bleu Cheese Mashed Potatoes

  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ cup blue cheese dressing

saucepan

Wash and cube potatoes (peeling optional – I never peel mine, just scrub really, really well), add to saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are fork tender (about 20 minutes).  Drain well.  Add butter, salt, pepper and dressing.  Mash potatoes until fluffy (I find a hand mixer works best)

*I keep fresh cranberries in the freezer. If you want to use fresh, add 1/4 cup of sugar and dash of orange juice as a substitute for canned.

Dinner Menu: Grilled Steak with Coffee Rub and Blueberry Coffeecake

Blueberry Coffee Cake

More of my most requested grilling recipes.

From August 2013

A friend of mine spent a few months one summer experimenting with coffee rubs. This was one of my favorites. If you need something fun to do with your next grilled steak, this is a recipe to try. And with my love of blueberries, can’t go wrong with a blueberry coffeecake.  Yum.

On the board tonight:

  1. Steak with Coffee Rub
  2. Green Beans w/Bacon & Onion
  3. Baked Potatoes
  4. Blueberry CoffeeCake

Steak with Coffee Rub

  • 3 tbsp chili powder (pure ancho or a blend)
  • 3 tbsp finely ground coffee (espresso works best)
  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika (use a good one)
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 to 1-1/2 lb of steak (rib-eye, sirloin, NY strip, etc) in 4 thick pieces

Continue reading

Grilling Menu: Stuffed Jalapeno-Cheddar Burgers and Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

Stuffed Burger Uncut Snap

I make these all the time because they really are easy and a great way to have a cheeseburger without losing half the cheese to the grill. And the sweet potato cajun fries are the perfect sweet, spicy combo.  Grill some peaches, pears or plums and dinner is done. Enjoy.

On the board tonight:

  1. Jalapeno-Cheddar Stuffed Burgers
  2. Kaiser Rolls
  3. Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
  4. Grilled Sweet Corn  (pull husks back, clean off silk, wash, pull husks up & grill-yum!)
  5. Plums

Continue reading

Dinner Menu: Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork, Pineapple Slaw and Lemon Tarts

Had company over on Friday and went all out on the menu

On the board:

  1. Pulled BBQ Pork Sandwiches
  2. Pineapple Slaw
  3. Waffle Fries w/special sauce (recipe here)
  4. Spinach Salad
  5. Lemon Tarts

Pulled BBQ Pork

I used the electric pressure cooker for this and it was great. I marinated the pork in apple cider vinegar and adobo seasoning overnight. I browned it in the pressure cooker, than cooked on high for 45 minutes, using the liquid from the marinade and enough water to come up to about 1/2 of the pork loin.

Once it was finished, I released the pressure, shredded the pork, added about 1/2 cup of Baby Rays Sweet and Spicy BBQ sauce and turned on the slow-cooker feature and let it sit uncovered for 2 hours until company arrived.

If you don’t have time for the slow-cooker, turn up the heat and let the liquid reduce by half before adding BBQ sauce.

Serve on toasted rolls with Pineapple Slaw 

Pineapple Slaw (pictured above)

I saw a similar recipe when looking for cooking times for the pork. And it was a great addition to the pulled pork sandwiches.

  • 2 cups shredded cabbage (I used green, but you can use red or a Napa)
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, crushed
  • 1/2 apple, shredded
  • 4 green onions chopped (including greens)
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro (opt)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Mix all ingredients together and let set for at least 2 hours for flavors to meld.

Lemon Tarts

When I was in Paris I was on the hunt for tarts – specifically lemon tarts and strawberry tarts. Strawberries were out of season, so I had to settle for raspberry. The lemon were by far my favorite. They had a shortbread tart (the raspberry ones were pastry) that worked well with the tart lemon filling.

Lemon cream filling

  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Combine the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, water, lemon juice, lemon zest and butter in the top of a double boiler set over, but not touching, boiling water. Cook, stirring, until thick and creamy, about 5 or 6 minutes.  Cool thoroughly before putting tarts together.

Okay, so all the recipes for lemon filling wanted a double-boiler.  I started with one, but after 5 minutes of stirring and not thickening, I changed over to a saucepan and whisked it for 5 minutes while it boiled and thickened and had no issues with it burning or sticking.  High altitude may have been the reason for my original troubles.  Water boils at a lower temperature here, so the double boiler may not have offered enough heat to thicken the sauce.

Shortbread Tart

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

baking sheet

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in flour and mix well, then knead for 3-5 minutes until dough forms a ball.

Press dough into mini-tart pans. Prick each with a fork . Bake for 15-20 minutes at 300°  Cool thoroughly before assembling tart.

To assemble – add lemon filling to each cooled tart. Top with whipped cream and serve with crushed raspberries.

This made a lot of tarts, so I refrigerated half of everything and I’ll be making more for dinner guests later this week.



 

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.



Fall Menus: Another October Week

Another week has flown by. This week’s menus include some of my favorites.

Monday, Cream of Potato Cheese Soup, always perfect on a chilly fall day.

 

Potato Soup Photo by JeffreyW

Wednesday features Pan-Fried Catfish and Buttered Potatoes. You can find all the menus here: October Menus 2

Thursday is a German Pocket Burgers and Apple Strudel.  And Friday will have the kids licking their fingers with Buffalo Chicken Legs, a healthy alternative to deep fried buffalo chicken.

Complete shopping lists are here: October Weekly Shopping List 2   A reminder that the menus and shopping lists are color coordinated. You can easily disregard any item you won’t need.

JeffW’s awesome biscuit photo.

Tonight’s bonus recipe is Garlic Biscuits Which you can find here.(perfect with potato cheese soup).

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend! – TaMara