Monday, August 10, 2009

This week's menu

Last week was a five-meal week because I needed lots of leftovers since I was out of town this weekend. Pretty basic stuff for the most part.

Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Peas
(Rachel Ray recipe)
  • 2 Tbs EVOO
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (can sub breasts if watching the calorie intake)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Small yellow onion
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 Tbs fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 med to small red potatoes cut in half then thinly sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
  • Crusty bread
Preheat lg skillet or wide soup pot over med-high heat and add the olive oil. Season the thighs with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and brown on both sides. Scoot the browned thighs to the edges and in the center of the skillet add the onions, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook stirring frequently for a few minutes. Add the wine and chicken stock, turn the heat up to high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the potatoes and stir everything together. Cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Add peas, lemon juice and zest and parsley and cook until the peas heat through. Serve with crusty bread (I served it with rice).

All-in-all, I'm beginning to hate RR recipes, or at least the ones from the cookbook I have (365: No Repeats). I found the cooking times way off and that's why I didn't really include specific times here. Plus, this whole dish came out really soupy and bland despite all the aromatic ingredients. I think when you are basically boiling all your seasonings, that's what happens, but whatev. I plan to taste-ify it next time by removing the chicken after it's completely cooked (not just browned), then adding the garlic, onion thyme, etc to the skillet. Then when that's cooked deglaze the pan using about half or even a quarter of the liquid called for and then adding some butter to hopefully create a tastely sauce for the chicken (instead of a soupy mess). I'll serve the potatoes and peas on the side. I'll have to let you know how it comes out.

Quick and Easy Empanadas
SUPER kid friendly....this is a modified recipe f/ real simple (are you starting to figure out I modify EVERYTHING ?? :). Anyway, we loved it and will definitely make it again and again.
  • 1 or 2 tbs olive oil
  • Lg can of Pillsbury refrigerated pizza dough
  • flour for the work surface
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained, rinsed and pureed or mashed (the result is something that is the consistency of refried beans and tastes exactly like refried beans, but is MUCH healthier)
  • 1 pint of fresh pico de guillo or fresh salsa (I used a can of mild Rotel, drained)
  • 8z pkg shredded cheddar
  • sour cream and salsa for garnish (optional)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush 1 teaspoon of the oil on a lg baking sheet. Roll out the dough and divide into 8 equal portion (dough rolls out into a square...cut the square in half so you have 2 rectangles, then cut the rectangles in half so you have four squares, then cut the squares in half so you end up with 8 rectangles).
On one half of each rectangle of dough, spread a heaping spoonful of beans, 1 1/2 tbs of salsa and 1 tbs of cheese. Fold over the other half of each rectangle covering the filling and slightly fold then press the edges to seal and transfer to the baking sheet. When you've assembled and folded all the empanadas, lightly brush the tops with the remaining oil. Bake for 12 -15 minutes or until golden. Serve with sour cream and more salsa if desired

(I served this with a tossed salad with avocado).

Pot Roast
I am wildly unsuccessful at cooking pot roasts. This time was no exception, so if any of you have any tips on how to make a tasty (and TENDER!) pot roast, I'll all ears!!
  • 4 lb Roast
  • 6 red potatoes cut in half
  • Small bag of baby carrots
  • Chicken broth
  • Flour
  • vegetable oil
  • water
  • salt and pepper
Heated lg stock pot over high heat with a tbs or two of veg oil. Dredged roast in flour and seared on four sides in stock pot. Turned down the heat and added chicken broth. Covered and cooked on low for about 6 hours. Added the veggies and added enough water to cover along with a some salt and pepper and cooked for another hour and a half.

I had a very tough roast and soggy veggies. Is it maybe the cut of meat? Should I bake instead of boil? Like I said, I'm all ears!!

Chicken Pot Pie
This is a slightly modified version of the Bisquick recipe and a staple at my house. I use rotisserie chicken a lot (mainly the breast meat since it's the driest and no one seems to like eating it by itself). I try to make it a little healthier by using the low fat/low sodium soup, but really this is just one of those comfort meals for us.
  • 1 frozen pie crust (thawed or brought to room temp per pkg instructions)
  • pkg 16 oz frozen mixed veggies (thawed)
  • 1 1/2 c cut-up or shredded cooked chicken (I use up to 2 cups depending on how much I have)
  • 1 can (10 3/4oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1/4 cup water or chicken broth
  • 1 c original Bisquick mix
  • 1/ c milk
  • 1 egg
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the pie crust with a rolling pin and place in a greased 2 qt casserole dish (I usually trim the edges that overlap and don't stress about a perfect fit). Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork in several places and bake for 6-10 minutes or until the crust starts to brown. While the crust is baking, mix chicken, veggies, soup and water in a bowl. In a second bowl whisk together the Bisquick mix, milk and egg. Remove crust from oven and turn oven down to 350 degrees. Fill the baked crust with the chicken mixture and spread so that it evenly fills the dish. Top with the Bisquick mixture. Return to the oven and bake (on 350) for 30 minutes or until biscuit topping has browned.

Souperior Meat Loaf
Another staple. Meatloaf recipes are a dime a dozen, but I think every one should have a basic recipe memorized that they can modify as needed. This is perfect for's very versatile and there's a lot of room for interpretation.
  • 2 lbs ground beef (or ground turkey or a mix of turkey and beef, or try half Italian sausage and half beef for some nice flavor)
  • 3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs (can use 1 1/2 cup fresh bred crumbs by placing some toast in a food processor or 5 slices of fresh bread, cubed. I've been known to use cheerios, corn flakes, bran flakes, etc crushed if I don't have enough bread on hand. Also, try Italian bread crumbs if you are using the Italian sausage for a yummy Italian flavored meatloaf)
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix (also great with beefy onion, onion mushroom, beefy mushroom or savory herb with garlic soup mix)
  • 3/4 cup water, chicken broth, beef broth, vegetable broth or a mix of these.
  • 1/3 cup ketchup (I use tomato paste if making the Italian version)
  • 2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl combine all ingredients.
In 13x9 inch baking dish or roasting pan shape into a loaf. Bake uncovered 1 hour until done. If you would like to add a sauce (I use marinara sauce if making the Italian version), add 10 minutes prior to the end or the baking time. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
NOTE: You can also make this meat loaf in the crock pot! Cover. Cook on HIGH for approx. 4 hours or LOW for approx 6-8 hours.

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