September Grilling: Cantanzaro Chicken and Tuscan Panzanella Salad

Tonight’s menu features the Cantanzaro spice mix. Cantanzaro is a city in Italy.  So there are a lot of herbs this Italian girl recognizes: marjoram, basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano. And garlic, lots of garlic. But the kicker is the lemon and lemon peel.

It’s all very fresh for late summer/early fall harvest and great for grilling. Then I’ve added a fresh take on how to use the last of those fresh tomatoes. And just because I’m feeling ambitious, I included Gelato recipes.

On the board tonight:

  1. Grilled Cantanzaro Herbed Chicken Breasts
  2. Grilled Potatoes and Peppers (recipe here)
  3. Tuscan Panzanella Salad (recipe here)*
  4. Gelato (recipes here)

*the recipe calls for bread bowls, but with this meal, I served it over a bed of bibb lettuce.

Continue reading

Holiday Dinner Menu: Flank Steak Pinwheels

What’s on your plate for this holiday weekend (how did that happen)? Are you sad summer is waning or is fall more your season? Most importantly, whatcha cookin’?

This steak is easy to make in the oven, but I thought I’d try it on the grill this time. Works great – just remember to cook it away from the coals or turn the grill off if it’s electric, like mine.

Flank Pinwheel Prep Final

This steak can be prepped the day before, just wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap. Makes it great for a date night, anniversary or small dinner party. I pan-seared and finished in the oven/on the grill in the same pan, because of the cheese. The reward was great pan drippings when I was finished, which I drizzled over the potatoes before serving.

Flank Steak Pinwheels Final

On the board:

  • Flank Steak Pinwheels
  • Grilled Sweet Corn
  • 4-Minute Potato Salad (recipe here)
  • Fresh Sliced Peaches

Flank Steak Pinwheels

  • 1 large flank steak, butterflied
  • salt and pepper
  • crushed garlic (at least 2 cloves)
  • 8 oz sliced provolone cheese
  • 1 bunch washed and dried spinach leaves
  • 8 wooden skewers
  • olive oil

Cast iron skillet Continue reading

Farmer’s Market Dinner Menu: Garden Fresh Pasta

It’s my favorite time of the year for cooking when I can choose fresh ingredients from my garden or the farmer’s market. It so easy to toss pasta with fresh produce and have a quick, light dinner.

On the board:

  1. Garden Fresh Pasta
  2. Steamed Zucchini
  3. Crusty loaf
  4. Sliced Peaches (add a touch of sugar to bring out the juices)

Garden Fresh Pasta Sauce

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed garlic (start with one, add more as desired)
  • 4-6 medium to large tomatoes, rough chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves – more as desired
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves (I like a cute little leaf called ‘pizza oregano’) – more as desired
  • 1 carrot, finely shredded
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes if you desire some heat

saucepan & pasta serving bowl Continue reading

Dinner Menu: Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken w/Mexican Rice

It’s been unseasonably warm here after our early snow in September, so grilling is on the menu.

On the board:

  1. Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken
  2. Mexican Rice Medley
  3. Green Beans
  4. Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe here)

Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup sliced pickled jalapenos and juice

 Place ingredients in a zip-lock bag and marinate 1 hour or overnight.  Broil or grill for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until breasts are cooked to 165 degrees. Continue reading

Full Dinner Menu: Washday Beans and Rice

Photo from JeffreyW

I’ve been watching a home show about buying and selling big mansions in New Orleans. I’m enjoying touring these big old mansions.  Since I was in a Louisiana mood, time for one of my favorite dinners.

On the board tonight:

  1. Washday Beans & Rice
  2. Sliced Steamed Zucchini
  3. Corn Bread
  4. Blueberries & Raspberries w/whip cream

Washday Beans & Rice

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 14oz can red kidney bean
  • 4 links Italian or Andouille sausage (sweet or spicy) – slice each link into 4 pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp Cajun Creole Seasoning (start with teaspoon and work your way up to taste)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large tomato diced (or 14 oz can)

2-quart saucepan and skillet Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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