Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This week's menu

I guess I should start with last week, though.

We were out of town for the better part of the week, so I only had to cook one meal. I made shepherd's pie. This recipe is F-A-N-tastic because it's all done in one pot (plus one extra bowl to mash the potatoes) and you can freeze the meat, so all the ingredients are frozen and/or already in your fridge. That way if you are out of town for a good chunk of time, you can have all the fixings ready when you walk in the door - no running to the grocery store!

Easy One Pot Shepherd's Pie

  • 1 and 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1/3 to 1 cup ketchup (depending on how much you like ketchup)
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce (depending on how much you like Worcestershire sauce)
  • 16 oz frozen mixed veggies (peas, carrots, corn, green beans, lima beans) thawed, but not cooked.
  • 1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar or Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 24 ounce steam-in-bag Ore-Ida Steam n' Mash potatoes ( potatoes require some milk and butter to prepare)
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place the meat in and oven-friendly skillet or dutch oven and cook over med-high heat until thoroughly browned (5-10 minutes). While the meat is cooking, prepare the potatoes per package instructions and mix with cheese (if using) then set aside. Once the meat is browned, drain any fat. Mix in the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce (I go light on the ketchup and heavy on the Worcestershire), add the veggies. Continue cooking for about a minute. Turn off the heat and using the back of your spoon, level the beef/veggie mixture. Spoon then spread the potatoes over the beef and veggie mixture (it's ok if potatoes don't completely cover the meat mixture). Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes just start to brown around the edges. Serves 6.
Note: If you don't have an oven-friendly skillet or dutch oven, then just transfer the meat and veggies mix to a casserole dish before adding the potatoes and baking.

On to this weeks menu. It was raining and a brisk 84 degrees outside when I was menu planning, and I think you can tell I'm ready for Fall...these are a lot of cooler-weather recipes. Wishful thinking I guess!

Minestrone Soup
LOVE this recipe - it makes a TON. It's a tweaked Rachael Ray recipe though, so there's about 5000 ingredients.

  • 2 Tbs EVOO (it's Rachel, I have to use the abbreviation!)
  • 1/4 lb thick cut bacon, pancetta or Italian sausage
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 portobello mushroom caps, chopped
  • 2 med onions, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 stems fresh rosemary (I use 2 tsp dried)
  • 8 fresh sage leaves, thinly slices (I use about 1 or 2 tsp dried)
  • 1 med zucchini, diced
  • 1 15oz can cannellini beans (I use Kidney beans)
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 cups veggie stock (I use more chicken stock)
  • A wedge or Parmigiano cheese with the rind attached (remove the rind and grate the cheese)
  • 1 small bunch kale or chard, trimmed of tough ends and veins and coarsely chopped (4-5 cups)
  • 1 cup ditalini pasta (I can never find this so I use small penne or even just elbows)
Heat a soup pot over med-high heat and add the EVOO. Add the pancetta/bacon/sausage and brown for 2-minutes (some times a little longer if using sausage). Add the red pepper flakes, garlic, mushrooms, onions, carrots and celery. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the mushrooms are lightly browned. Season with salt pepper, rosemary and sage. Add zucchini, beans, tomatoes, stocks and cheese rind. Stir them into the pot then place the lid on the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Uncover and wilt in the kale or chard (2-3 minutes). Add the pasta and cook the soup uncovered at a rolling simmer for 7-8 minutes until the pasta is al dente. Remove the pot from the heat. Re-season with salt and pepper to taste and remove cheese rind and discard. Serve with grated parmigiano cheese and crusty bread. Serves 6.

Chicken Fajitas
I don't know if I should even include a recipe for this one, since everyone does their own thing, but here it is.

  • lb of chicken thighs (or chicken breasts)
  • Fiesta Brand Extra Fancy Chicken Fajita seasoning
  • whole wheat tortillas
  • salsa
  • low-fat sour cream
  • shredded cheese
  • lettuce
  • diced tomatoes
  • cilantro
  • sliced avocado
Season chicken liberally with Chicken Fajita seasoning and cook over med-high heat in a skillet (6-10 minutes on each side). Warm tortillas and offer all the other ingredients as garnishes. I serve with a side of brown rice I cook with a few Tbs of salsa or Rotel and black beans that I cook with a sprinkle of the fajita seasoning and some fresh cilantro. Viola, somewhat healthy chicken fajitas :)

Easy Texas Chili and Corn Bread
This chili recipe is so easy, I always make the corn bread from scratch because I feel a little guilty about how easy the main dish is. No worries, though, this corn bread recipe is SUPER easy. I'm good at many things but baking is NOT one of them.

Easy Texas Chili

  • 1 lb ground chuck (I use ground Turkey a lot)
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chili beans, undrained
  • 1 (6oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 Tbs Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Additional Salt and Pepper to taste
Combine first 3 ingredients in a med soup pot or Dutch oven; cook until meat is browned stirring until in crumbles. Drain and return to pan. Add remaining ingredients; cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.

Corn Bread

  • 3/4 cup enriched corn meal
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg slighly beaten
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 8 or 9 inch round pan. Blend all dry ingredients. Stir in remaining ingredients until dry ingredients are moist. Pour batter into greased pan and bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Ravioli Lasagna
I'm making this one tonight, and have never made it before, so I'll have to let you know how it comes out. It's a modified version of the Spinach-Ravioli Lasagna I shared here.

  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 15oz jar marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 25oz package frozen meat-filled ravioli (do not thaw)
  • 1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
  • Optional garnish: Chopped flat leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese in a bowl and set aside. Combine marinara sauce and beef broth in another bowl and set aside. Spoon one-third of the marinara sauce mixture (about 1/2 cup) into a lightly greased 11x17 inch baking dish. Tow with half of the cottage cheese mixture. Arrange half of ravioli in a single layer over cottage cheese mixture. Repeat layers once. Top with remaining marinara sauce. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly. Garnish with chopped flat-leaf parsley if desired.

Update: Made the ravioli lasana and it was very yummy although a little soupy and too salty for my tastes (these are my complaints about the original recipe too, though, so I shouldn't have been surprised). All-in-all, it was a hit. Will make it again for sure, but will try it with no broth next time to see if that helps make it less runny.

No comments: