Cookbook Featured Menu: Santa Fe Chicken and Black Bean Salad

What’s  4 Dinner Solutions Cookbooks: Summer into Fall is now available. Each week I’ll highlight one of the menus and recipes.  You can order the cookbook here.

Recipes and menus are seasonal, to take advantage of what is local and fresh when available. Not ordinary cookbooks. These are more a weekday dinner menu guide, including menus, recipes, shopping lists, and helpful tips.  Most menus are thirty minutes or less.  Each menu is filled with fresh ingredients that complement each other.

On the board tonight: Santa Fe Chicken and Black Bean Salad

MENU
Santa Fe Chicken Breasts
Tortilla chips
Black Bean Salad
Sliced Strawberries

Santa Fe Chicken Breast

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 cup Picante or salsa (Fresh Salsa recipe here)
  • 4 oz sliced Monterey jack cheese

Reusable plastic container

Add chicken, vinegar and cilantro to reusable container and marinate 1 hour or overnight.

Remove chicken from marinade and slice each breast in a butterfly cut (slicing in half horizontally, but leaving attached at one edge, so it folds open like butterfly wings).

Fold open and grill or broil until cooked through (as little as 5 minutes each side, depending on heat and thickness).

Don’t let dry out.  Use a meat thermometer – remove at 165°

On one half of each breast, add 1 oz cheese and 2 tbsp or more of Picante sauce, fold other half over and heat until cheese is melted.

Serve immediately.

Black Bean Salad Continue reading

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Cookbook News: Summer Into Fall Edition Available Now!

Order What’s 4 Dinner Solutions: Summer into Fall here!

What’s 4 Dinner Solutions actually started years before the blog, as a menu service for busy families. When it was time to move on from that, I started the blog to continue sharing recipes. But what that means is, I have in my arsenal, fifty-two weeks of menus, recipes and shopping lists.

A few years ago, a friend convinced me to turn it into a cookbook. I quickly realized it would be unmanageable as one cookbook, so I’ve created four: Summer into Fall, Fall into Winter, Winter into Spring and Spring into Summer. Continue reading

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!



 

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?



 

Full Dinner Menu: Hearty Tomato Soup and a Couple of Awesome Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

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Awesome Photo by JeffreyW

This is one of my favorite menus, perfect for a chilly week.

For a different take on grilled cheese, JeffreyW makes Inside Out Grilled Cheese here.

This not your mom’s canned soup or grilled cheese.  These are tasty, hearty and easy to whip up.  And the flax cookies are addictive (I can say this because it’s a friend’s recipe).  On the board tonight:

  1. Hearty Tomato Soup
  2. Totally Awesome Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  3. Flax Cookies

Hearty Tomato Soup

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes*
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 8 oz carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 green onions, including greens
  • 1 tsp basil
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour

2 quart saucepan

In a blender, mix tomatoes, garlic, carrots, celery & onions. Blend until liquid. In saucepan, combine tomato mixture with spices, heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. Let bubble (don’t let boil or use high heat, it will scorch) for 5 minutes. Add flour to cold milk, blend until smooth, add to soup. Let bubble again, reduce to low heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

* This is the time to use up any left over garden tomatoes, instead of canned. Blend until you have 4 cups of crushed tomatoes.

Totally Awesome Grilled Cheese

For each sandwich:

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread (or favorite firm bread)
  • Enough favorite cheese (Velveeta, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack, etc.  to cover bread (about 3 slices)
  • Sliced Jalapeños (if you want some heat)
  • 1 large slice of tomato w/dash of salt
  • 1-2 tsp Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • Butter
  • Spray Oil

Spread salad dressing on both slices of bread and add ½ of the cheese to one slice of bread, place tomato & jalapenos on the cheese and top with remaining cheese and the other slice of bread, this keeps bread from getting soggy from the tomato. Lightly butter outside of both sides of the sandwich and grill in skillet sprayed with cooking spray or lightly oiled on medium heat until cheese is melted and bread is toasted. While it is grilling, press down hard with a spatula, “squishing” the sandwich. We don’t know why, but this makes them taste better.  🙂

Flax Cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup ground flax
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped almonds

Bowl & cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream butter and sugar, add egg, vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients together and then fold into egg mixture until well blended. Mix in almonds and drop by the spoonful onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden, don’t let them brown.

Shopping List:

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes (4-6 large)
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 8 oz carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 green onions
  • 8 slices whole wheat bread (or favorite firm bread)
  • 8 – 10 oz favorite cheese (Velveeta, cheddar, Monterey Jack, etc)
  • 1- 2 Jalapenos or 2 oz pickled Jalapenos
  • 1 large tomato for slicing
  • Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 2 sticks + butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground flax

Also: crushed garlic, basil, oregano, pepper, whole wheat flour, unbleached flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, oil spray

Originally posted October 2009

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Weekly Dinner Menu: Seared Ginger Tuna with Mint-Papaya-Pineapple Salsa

I love tuna steaks. I live in a land-locked state. This is when it’s good to have a relationship with your butcher, because he’ll let you know when some really good tuna arrives.  I don’t make this every often, but enjoy it when I do. It very simple. I’ve also grilled it instead of pan-searing, which adds a depth of flavor. Remember to preheat the grill and oil the grate well before placing steaks on to cook.

On the board tonight:

  1. Seared Ginger Tuna
  2. Rice*
  3. Mint-Papaya-Pineapple Salsa
  4. Tossed Salad
  5. Sliced Apples w/Caramel dipping sauce

Seared Ginger Tuna

  • 4-4oz tuna steaks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger, or 2 tsp dried
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste

skillet

Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. While pan is preheating, rub tuna with 1 tbsp lemon juice, season with a little salt & pepper. Cook tuna for 1-2 minutes on each side, depending on thickness, and remove from pan. This will cook it rare (it will be cool pink in the center). Remove and place on serving platter. Turn heat down to medium and add remaining lemon juice & the rest of ingredients to pan and cook for 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper. Pour over tuna and serve immediately.  Serves 4

Mint-Papaya-Pineapple Salsa

  • 1 papaya, cut in small cubes
  • 8 oz pineapple chunks, canned or fresh
  • 1 cup fresh mint – chopped
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • chili pepper flakes to taste

serving bowl

Combine all & stir well.  I know it’s called salsa, but it’s a nice fruity side, or serve it over the rice. Serves 4

*Rice:  Change things up a bit and try a different style of rice – Jasmine, Aborio, Basmati or Brown rice, each one brings its own flavors.

Shopping List:

  • 1 lb tuna steaks
  • 1 small fresh ginger root
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 small white or yellow onion
  • 1 papaya
  • 8 oz pineapple chunks, canned or fresh
  • 1 bunch fresh mint (enough for 1 cup)
  • 1 oz white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup rice
  • Salad fixings of your choice
  • 4 apples
  • Caramel Dip

Also: olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, chili pepper flakes

Originally posted September 2009

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Thursday Night Menu: Tropical Nights Edition

Had a little trouble deciding what to post tonight. We’ve been pretty busy at work and we are all a bit tired, when I asked the guys what I should post, ordering pizza instead of cooking won out.

I pulled three different menus before I decided on a little taste of Sanibel Island. I like the fresh flavors in this menu and I really enjoy tuna and swordfish.

The Butter Pecan Turtle Bars are as decadent as they sound, and a breeze to make.

On the board tonight:

  1. Fish Tacos
  2. Black Bean Tropical Salad
  3. Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

Fish Tacos

  • 1 large mango, peeled & chopped
  • ½ large tomato, chopped
  • 1 small cucumber, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 2 tbsp limejuice
  • 8 taco size flour tortillas
  • 1 lb halibut, swordfish or tuna, 1” thick
  • ½ tsp Jamaican jerk seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce

bowl, foil, platter

Combine mango, tomato, cucumber, cilantro, green onion, jalapeno in bowl. Toss with 1 tbsp limejuice and set aside.  Wrap tortillas in foil and warm in the oven or on the grill (keep away from coals) Drizzle remaining limejuice over fish, sprinkle with jerk and grill or broil for 5 to 9 minutes, until fish flakes easily. Cut fish into chunks, fill each tortilla with 1/8 of the fish, fruit mixture and lettuce. Serves 4

Black Bean Tropical Salad

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 avocado, cubed*
  • 1 to 2 jalapeños
  • ½ large tomato, chopped
  • ½ head red leaf lettuce, washed
  • 14 oz can black beans, drained

serving bowl

Seed & slice peppers & jalapenos. Add everything to serving bowl and toss with dressing.

*easiest way to slice an avocado is to cut in half, remove pit, cut cubes with a knife, then scoop out.

Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp limejuice
  • ¼ cup light olive oil
  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic

In jar or mixing cup, mix all ingredients together well.

Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups pecan halves

Topping:

  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 12 oz milk chocolate chips

well oiled 9×13 baking dish, bowl, saucepan

Combine flour, brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter; blend until crumbly. Pat mixture firmly onto bottom of pan. Sprinkle pecan halves over the unbaked crust.

Topping: In small saucepan, combine brown sugar & butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Drizzle caramel over pecans and crust. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until caramel layer is bubbly and crust is light brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. Spread chips evenly as they melt. Cool completely before cutting.

Shopping List:

  • 1 large mango
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3 green onions
  • 3 jalapeños
  • 8 taco size flour tortillas
  • 1 lb halibut, swordfish or tuna, 1” thick
  • 1 head red lettuce
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 avocado
  • 14 oz can black beans, drained
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 ½ cups pecan halves
  • 12 oz milk chocolate chips

Also: lemon juice, limejuice, Jamaican jerk seasoning, light olive oil, crushed garlic

Copyright 2014 What’s 4 Dinner Solutions Cookbook: Summer Edition

Dinner Menu: It’s Not Turkey

I thought to combat Turkey Fatigue, it would be nice to have some fresh vegetables and pasta. Have leftover cranberry sauce? Use it to make some cobbler.

On the board tonight:

  1. Pasta Primavera
  2. Crusty Bread
  3. Cranberry Apple Cobbler

Pasta Primavera

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 ea. green, red, yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 8 oz frozen sliced carrots
  • 1 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 yellow squash, cubed
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp ea, crushed rosemary, basil, oregano
  • 12 oz bowtie pasta, cook according to package directions
  • ½ cup grated parmesan

skillet, saucepan and large serving bowl

Put water on to boil. Heat oil in skillet, sauté onion & garlic, until onions are translucent. Add peppers, sauté for 2-3 minutes, add the rest of the fresh vegetables and more oil if necessary. Sauté for 5 minutes, then add tomatoes & spices. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Drain cooked pasta well. In serving bowl, add pasta, vegetable mixture, & parmesan. Toss well and serve immediately.

Cranberry Apple Cobbler

  • 5 cups peeled & sliced apples*
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup raw chopped cranberries (or 1 cup whole cranberry sauce, reduce sugar to 3/4 cup)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted

2 qt baking dish, buttered

Mix ingredients together and spread in the bottom of baking dish. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes, until bubbly.

Topping:

  • ¾ cup flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 3 tbsp milk

large bowl

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in bowl, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in milk until soft dough forms. Drop by tbsp onto hot apple mixture. Bake additional 30 minutes until golden brown.

* if you want to substitute equivalent amount of pie filling, reduce sugar to ½ cup.

Shopping List:

  • Loaf of Crusty Bread
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 ea. green, red, yellow bell pepper
  • 8 oz frozen sliced carrots
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 12 oz bowtie pasta
  • 4 oz grated parmesan
  • 5 apples
  • 1-1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup raw chopped cranberries
  • 1 stick butter

Also: Milk, salt, pepper, baking powder, flour, cinnamon, rosemary, basil, oregano, olive oil

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