Saturday, December 19, 2009

Honey Vanilla Pound Cake by Barefoot Contessa

I got the recipe from the Back to Basics cookbook and just poured the batter into the mold of a caslte given to me by my dear friend Gwen. It is made by Nordic Ware. The cake can easily stand on its own so if you get a piece you could just remove the candy and enjoy whats left!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing

I made this one into one giant cupcake with the Nordic Ware Pan I got at Target. If you choose to go this route it will take 50 min to bake. It came out really nice!

by Barefoot Contessa and found at

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 tablespoons brewed coffee
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup good cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing, recipe follows
Chopped salted peanuts, to decorate, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.
Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount).

Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frost each cupcake with Peanut Butter Icing and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired.

Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Coconut Cupcakes

By Barefoot Contessa found at

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:
1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mini Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins by Emeril

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2004 found at

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon, softened
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 large egg
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 mini muffin tins (each with 12 (1 3/4-inch) wells) with 1 tablespoon softened butter and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together cake flour, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds.
In a medium bowl, combine the egg and sugar and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and beat in the yogurt, remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, lemon juice, zest and vanilla until well incorporated, about 30 seconds. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry just until moistened and being careful not to over-mix. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins, filling each halfway.
Bake until the muffins are set and golden brown and a tester comes out clean, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from the oven and use a toothpick to poke several holes in the top of each muffin. Brush each muffin generously with the lemon glaze. Allow the muffins to cool for 10 minutes in the tin and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Lemon Glaze:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, strained
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

In a small bowl, combine ingredients and whisk to incorporate.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sunday - 5 Day Meal Planner 12/13

Monday: Tex-Mex Chicken Quesadilla
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Savory Pot Roast
Wednesday: Pasta with Sausage and Butternut Squash
Thursday: Campbell’s Souper Sloppy Joes
Friday: Prego Easy Skillet Chicken Parm

I will assume you have potato chips, yellow mustard, olive oil and salad dressing.

From the store:
1 boneless beef bottom round roast or chuck pot roast (3-3 ½ pounds)
¾ pound sweet Italian Sausage (I think Whole Foods has this in bulk so you don’t have to remove casings)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 pound ground beef
1 rotisserie chicken
2 green onions
Carrot sticks (1 bag of carrots should do it)
6 small red potatoes
Fresh cilantro
1 med butternut squash
1 pack fresh basil
Iceberg lettuce
Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
Shredded Mozzarella
Grated parmesan
Reduced fat sour cream
1 1 pound package corkscrew pasta
1 jar jalapeños
Salsa verde
Your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 can 98% fat free condensed cream of mushroom soup
4 flour tortillas
Burger Buns

On Sunday night I would shred the chicken and chop all vegetables. If you do this then next week should be even easier!

Monday - Tex-Mex Chicken Quesadilla 12/14

found at

2 green onions
2 cup(s) shredded skinless rotisserie chicken meat
1 1/2 cup(s) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 pickled jalapeño chile, finely chopped
1/4 cup(s) (loosely packed) fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
4 (10-inch) burrito-size flour tortillas
3/4 cup(s) salsa verde
1/2 cup(s) reduced-fat sour cream , optional

1. Preheat toaster oven to 425°F. Thinly slice green onions; reserve 2 tablespoons dark green tops for garnish.
2. Evenly divide chicken, cheese, jalapeño, cilantro, and remaining green onion on one side of each tortilla; fold other half over.
3. In single layer on foil-lined toaster oven tray (working in batches if necessary), toast quesadillas 8 to 10 minutes, or until tortillas are golden brown and cheese is melted.
4. Cut each quesadilla in half. Serve with salsa verde, plus sour cream if you like; sprinkle with reserved green onions.

Tuesday - Slow Cooker Savory Pot Roast 12/15

found at

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
1 envelope (about 1 ounce) dry onion soup and recipe mix
6 small red potatoes, cut in half
6 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 boneless beef bottom round roast or chuck pot roast (3 to 3 1/2 pounds)

Stir the mushroom soup, soup mix, potatoes and carrots in a 4 1/2-quart slow cooker. Add the beef and turn to coat.
Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 9 hours* or until the beef is fork-tender.
*Or on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours.

Wednesday - Pasta With Sausage and Butternut Squash 12/16

found at

1 medium (about 1 3/4 pounds) butternut squash
3/4 pound(s) sweet Italian-sausage links, casings removed
1 package(s) (16-ounce) corkscrew pasta
1/3 cup (s) (plus additional for garnish) packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cut butternut squash lengthwise in half; discard seeds. Peel squash and cut into 1/2-inch chunks. Set aside.
2. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat until browned, about 7 minutes, stirring frequently to break up sausage. With slotted spoon, transfer sausage to bowl; discard all but 2 tablespoons drippings from skillet.
3. Meanwhile, in saucepot, cook pasta as label directs in boiling salted water.
4. To drippings in skillet, add butternut squash, 1/4 teaspoon salt , and 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper. Cook, covered, over medium heat, about 10 minutes or until squash is tender, stirring occasionally.
5. Drain pasta, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking water. Return pasta to saucepot; toss with sausage, butternut squash, basil, Parmesan, and reserved pasta water. Garnish with basil.

Thursday - Campbell’s Souper Sloppy Joes 12/17

found at

1 lb. ground beef
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed
Tomato Soup (Regular or 25% Less Sodium)
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp. prepared yellow mustard
6 Pepperidge Farm® Farmhouse Premium
White Rolls with Sesame Seeds

Cook the beef in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it's well browned, stirring often. Pour off any fat.

Stir the soup, water and mustard in the skilletand cook until the beef mixture is hot and bubbling. Serve the beef mixture on the rolls.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with carrot and celery sticks and potato chips.

Friday - Prego Easy Skillet Chicken Parm 12/18

found at

1 tbsp. olive oil
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves
1 1/2 cups Prego® Traditional Italian Sauce OR
Prego® Organic Tomato & Basil Italian Sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oil in 12" skillet over medium-high heat.

Add chicken and cook 10 min. or until well browned on both sides.

Stir sauce and 3 tbsp. Parmesan cheese in skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook
10 min. or until chicken is cooked through.

Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmesan cheese over chicken. Let stand 5 min.
or until cheese is melted.

Serving Suggestion: Serve an Iceberg lettuce salad with red wine vinaigrette.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sunday - 5 Day Meal Planner 12/06

Monday: Tarragon Chicken in the Crockpot
Tuesday: Mar-a-Lago Turkey Burger
Wednesday: Spaghetti Carbonara
Thursday: Indian Lamb and Spinach Curry
Friday: Empty your fridge night

I will assume you have canola oil, salt, pepper, 4 eggs, grated parm, olive oil, light salad dressing, unsalted butter, AP flour, dry white wine, ground cumin and turmeric.

From the store
4 pounds ground turkey
3 pounds boneless leg of lamb
1 whole chicken cut up and skinned
12 slices Italian bacon (pancetta)
3 Granny Smith apples
5 yellow onions
6 cloves garlic
1 lemon
6 cups baby spinach
6 sprigs fresh tarragon
1 2in piece of ginger
1 bag salad
2 cups plain full fat yogurt
Heavy cream
2 packages spaghetti
2 cups beef broth
Chicken stock
Major Grey’s Chutney
Sunflower seeds
Tabasco chipotle pepper sauce
1 bag Alexia sweet potato fries
Frozen steamed vegetables

On Sunday night prepare the chicken for tomorrow. Chop onions, celery and garlic as these will hold up until cooking time and will save you some prep time during the week. Now drink a nice glass of wine while you nestle into Dexter tonight.

Monday - Tarragon Chicken Recipe (for the Crockpot) 12/07

by Dominique Browning found at

Serves 4–6
· 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
· 1 tsp. salt
· 1 whole chicken , cut into 8 pieces and skinned
· 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
· 2 Tbsp. olive oil
· 1 yellow onion , finely chopped
· 1 cup dry white wine
· 1 cup chicken stock
· 6 sprigs fresh tarragon
· 1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

Combine 1/2 cup flour and salt in a resealable plastic bag. Add chicken to the bag, several pieces at a time, and shake to coat completely.Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat, and add butter and oil. Place chicken in pan and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, until browned on both sides. Using tongs, transfer chicken to paper towels to drain, then arrange pieces in the slow cooker.Set the sauté pan over medium-high heat and add onion. Sauté, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Sprinkle with remaining flour, and cook until browned.

Gradually add wine, stirring to scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add stock and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes, until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour sauce over chicken in slow cooker and lay 2 sprigs of tarragon on top.Cover and cook on low until chicken is tender, at least 3 hours (up to 8 hours). At 3 to 4 hours, chicken will still be firm and hold its shape. At 6 to 8 hours, the meat will be falling off the bone.Pour in cream and stir well.

Cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes to heat thoroughly. While chicken finishes cooking, strip leaves from remaining tarragon sprigs and coarsely chop. Remove and discard tarragon sprigs from slow cooker and stir in freshly chopped leaves.Turn off slow cooker. Divide chicken and sauce among plates; serve immediately.

Serve with steamed vegetables.

Tuesday - Mar-a-Lago Turkey Burger 12/08

by Jeff O’Neill and found at

Serves 8
· 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
· 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
· 3 Granny Smith apples , peeled and diced
· 1/8 cup canola oil
· 4 pounds ground turkey breast
· 2 Tbsp. salt
· 1 Tbsp. black pepper
· 2 tsp. Tabasco® chipotle pepper sauce
· 1 lemon , juiced and grated zest
· 1/2 bunch parsley , finely chopped
· 1/4 cup Major Grey's Chutney , pureed

Sauté the scallions, celery and apples in the canola oil until tender. Let cool.Place the ground turkey in a large mixing bowl. Add sautéed items and the remaining ingredients. Shape into eight 8-ounce burgers. Refrigerate for 2 hours.Season the turkey burgers with salt and pepper. Place on a preheated, lightly oiled grill. Grill each side for 7 minutes until meat is thoroughly cooked. Let sit for 5 minutes.Serve with your favorite toasted bread, pita or hamburger roll.

This was great with sweet potato fries by Alexia that are found in your grocer’s frozen food section.

Wednesday - Spaghetti Carbonara 12/09

found at

Makes 4 servings
· 1/2 inch olive oil (for frying pan)
· 2 cloves minced garlic
· 1 chopped onion
· 8 to 12 thick slices Italian bacon
· 4 eggs
· 2 packages spaghetti
· 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

In a frying pan, combine 1/2 inch of olive oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic, one chopped onion and the Italian bacon cut into small squares. Let simmer for about a half-hour, being careful not to let the oil get to a boiling point.In a bowl, beat 4 eggs with lots of salt and fresh ground pepper.Bring a pan of salted water to a boil. Cook both packages of spaghetti until al dente, drain and immediately add egg mixture to pasta. The eggs are actually cooked by the pasta. (Make sure the eggs are thoroughly cooked before proceeding.) Stir the egg mixture until it is well mixed. Pour in the mixture from the frying pan and stir. Finish with the Parmesan cheese and serve!

This is awesome with a fresh salad out of a bag with sunflower seeds and your favorite light dressing.

Thursday - For The Crock Pot Indian Lamb and Spinach Curry 12/10

by Dominique Browning found at

Serves 6–8
· 1/3 cup canola oil
· 3 yellow onions , chopped
· 4 cloves garlic , peeled and minced
· 1 (2-inch) piece of ginger , peeled and grated
· 2 tsp. ground cumin
· 1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
· 1 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
· 2 cups beef broth , preferably high quality
· 3 pounds boneless leg of lamb , cut into 1-inch cubes
· Salt
· 6 cups baby spinach
· 2 cups plain full-fat yogurt

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm oil. Add onions and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in ginger, cumin, cayenne, and turmeric and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in broth, raise heat to high, and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom. When broth comes to a boil, remove pan from heat.Put lamb in a slow cooker, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt. Add contents of frying pan. Cover and cook on high-heat setting for 4 hours or low-heat setting for 8 hours.Add baby spinach to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Just before serving, stir in 1 1/3 cups yogurt. Season to taste with salt. Spoon into shallow bowls and serve, passing remaining yogurt to add as a garnish.

I serve this over rice. Y-u-m-m-y

Friday - Empty the Fridge Tonight! 12/11

found at

Most recipes this week were meant for 6+ people so heat up all the rest of what you have and relax tonight!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sunday - 5 Day Meal Planner 11/29

Monday: Citrus Poached Red Snapper
Tuesday: Chicken with Pistachio Parsley Pesto
Wednesday: Slow-Cooker Barbeque Beans and Sausage
Thursday: 30 Minute Turkey Chili
Friday: Savory Tuna Burgers

I will assume you have minced garlic, salt, pepper, tomato paste, light brown sugar, molasses, honey mustard, some type of a barbecue seasoning, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, evoo, kosher salt, chili powder, dried oregano, 1 bottle of beer, tortilla chips (just a few), Dijon mustard, hot sauce, sweet pickles. Light mayonnaise and dry bread crumbs.

From the store:
4 4ounce red snapper fillets
1 pound ground turkey
1 and ½ pound chicken apple sausages
1 pound of chicken for cubing (breasts will work best)
1 orange
1 beef steak tomato
1 small onion
1 medium onion
I avacado
1 bunch cilantro
12 cloves garlic
Fresh Parsley
Pico de gallo
½ cup diced tri-peppers
4 Kaiser Rolls
Sour cream
Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
Vegetable broth
1 14.5 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
1 15.5 ounce can kidney beans
Low Sodium Chicken Broth (a couple boxes)
3 6 ounce cans of light tuna in water
Caesar dressing
Pickled jalapeño peppers
Chipotle in adobo
1 15 ounce can low-sodium black beans
1 packet Baja Citrus Marinade
1 1-pound box fusilli
Pistachio Nuts

On Sunday night I would chop garlic and onions for the week. You could also go ahead and since there is not that much stuff to do form the tuna patties for Firday.

Monday - Citrus Poached Red Snapper with Black Bean Salad 11/30

by Sandra Lee and found at


1 cup vegetable broth
1 orange, zested
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small onion, sliced
1 packet Baja Citrus Marinade (recommended: McCormick)
4 (4-ounce) red snapper fillets
For the bean salad :
1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium black beans, drained
3/4 cup prepared pico de gallo
1/2 cup diced tri-peppers
2 tablespoons Caesar dressing
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves


In a large skillet with a lid combined all ingredients except snapper. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

Once liquid comes to simmer a turn down heat to low and add snapper fillets and let poach for 8 minutes.

Carefully remove the snapper from skillet.

For the salad: In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients. Serve immediately with snapper.

Tuesday - Chicken With Pistachio Parsley Pesto 12/1

by Robin Miller and found at

1 (1-pound) box fusilli
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium chicken broth , and more if needed
1 pound cubed chicken
1 packed cup fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons roasted pistachio nuts
3 cloves garlic, peeled
Ground black pepper

Cook fusilli according to package directions.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the broth in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook 5 minutes, until golden brown on all sides.

Meanwhile, in a blender, combine parsley, remaining broth, pistachio nuts, and garlic. Process until smooth, adding more broth, if necessary, to create a sauce-like consistency.

Add sauce to chicken in skillet and cook 1 minute to heat through. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.

Wednesday - Slow-Cooker Barbeque Beans and Sausage 12/2

by Food Network Magazine and found at

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons honey mustard
2 tablespoons barbecue seasoning blend
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound dry navy beans, rinsed and picked over
2 cloves
1 small onion, halved
1 1/2 pounds chicken-apple sausages, each halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Pickled peppers, sliced scallions and/or sour cream , for garnish (optional)

Whisk the broth, 3 cups water, tomato paste, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, barbecue seasoning and garlic in a slow cooker. Add the beans. Push a clove into each onion half; tuck the onions and sausages into the beans in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until the beans are tender, about 6 hours.

Discard the onion halves. Stir in the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, then let the mixture sit, uncovered, about 15 minutes. (The longer the beans sit, the more flavorful they will be.) Garnish with pickled peppers, scallions and/or sour cream, if desired.

Thursday - 30 Minute Turkey Chili 12/3

by Food Network Kitchens and found at

• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
• 5 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 2 teaspoons chili powder
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 1 chipotle chile en adobo, coarsely chopped, with 1 tablespoon sauce
• 1 pound ground turkey
• 1 (12-ounce) Mexican lager-style beer (I used a regular beer)
• 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice
• 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
• Sliced scallions, cilantro sprigs, avocado, sour cream , grated Monterey jack cheese , and/or tortilla chips , for garnish, optional

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, chili powder, and oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and the chipotle chile and sauce; cook 1 minute more. Add the turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until the meat loses its raw color, about 3 minutes. Add the beer and simmer until reduced by about half, about 8 minutes.

Add the tomatoes--crushing them through your fingers into the skillet--along with their juices and the beans; bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 10 minutes.

Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with the garnishes of your choice.

Cook's Note: A skillet's larger surface area reduces sauces faster than simmering in a saucepan.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sunday - 5 Day Meal Planner 11/22

With Thanksgiving being this week I have designed Monday and Tuesday to have plenty of leftovers for you to enjoy on Wednesday while you prepare to cook a big feast on Thursday. I have also put a lot of work into designing a custom Thanksgiving Day menu so check it out!

Monday: Slow Cooker Chicken Chili
Tuesday: Big Chopped Salad with Creamy Bacon Dressing
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Complete Thanksgiving Day Menu
Friday: Leftovers

I will assume you have chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, pepper, dried oregano, soy sauce, ground cumin, ground cinnamon, cloves, 1 beer and 6 eggs.

From the store:
2 pounds ground chicken
¼ pound slab bacon
2 cucumbers
1 lemon
1 med red onion
Sour cream
Grated Cheddar cheese
Gorgonzola cheese
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 (28-ounce) cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 medium sweet potato
1 15 ounce can low sodium chicken broth
Pickled jalapeños
Instant Tapioca
Chipotles in adobo

Nothing to do Sunday except for make your Thanksgiving shopping list and cross reference it with the coupons you have and specials that are going on...that is what I am doing...

Monday - Slow Cooker Chicken Chili 11/23

by Food Network Kitchens and found at

2 pounds ground chicken, coarsely ground preferred
3 tablespoons chili powder, plus 2 teaspoons
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 (28-ounce) cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 medium sweet potato (about 10 ounces), peeled and shredded
1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup instant tapioca (recommended: Minute tapioca)
1 to 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce with seeds, chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
1/2 to 3/4 cup lager-style beer, optional
Toppings: Sour cream, shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese, chopped scallions, and chopped pickled jalapenos

Put the chicken in the slow cooker. Add 3 tablespoons of the chili powder and all the rest of the ingredients, except the beer. Stir everything together, cover, and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
Just before serving, stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons of chili powder, the beer, if using, and season with more salt and pepper, to taste, if desired. Divide the chili among warm bowls. Serve with the topping of your choice.

Tuesday - Big Chopped Salad with Creamy Bacon Dressing 11/24

by Sunny Anderson and found at

1/4 pound slab bacon, diced
3 hearts romaine
2 cucumbers, peeled, halved, and seeded
1 medium red onion
1 cup sour cream
4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola
1 lemon , zested and juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the bacon and saute until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Set aside. Cut the romaine in half lengthwise. Lay flat side down and slice into1/4-inch thick ribbons. Transfer to a large salad bowl. Cut the cucumber into 1/2-inch cubes and add to bowl. Slice onion into thin half moons and add to the bowl with the lettuce and cucumber.

In a blender, combine sour cream, Gorgonzola, bacon, lemon zest and juice and blitz until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour enough dressing over the salad to generously coat the ingredients. Add the eggs and toss gently.

Wednesday - Leftovers 11/25

Just heat up some of Monday's food and serve it with the salad from Tuesday and you are good to go!

Complete Thanksgiving Menu!

Step One: The Turkey. Check out what Alton Brown (one of my personal favorites) suggests…

1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water
For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil

2 to 3 days before roasting:
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

This yummy one was found at

Now, I have been looking for a good sausage stuffing recipe for a long time and this one seems to have caught my eye. It uses cornbread and I love cornbread! This is what we will be having!

1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage (about 4 links), casings removed
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 pounds prepared cornbread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 1/2-3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 10 minutes. Add onion and celery; cover, reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add cornbread, parsley and sage.

Bring broth to a simmer in a small saucepan. Pour 1 cup over the stuffing mixture and toss gently (the cornbread will break into smaller pieces). Add as much of the remaining broth as needed, 1/2 cup at a time, until the stuffing feels moist but not wet. Spoon the stuffing into the prepared pan and cover with foil.
Bake the stuffing until thoroughly heated, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.

You can find this one here

Not Thanksgiving without some Candied Yams is it? Well, Sandra Lee does it right when she makes this dish not only marvelously delicious and pretty but most importantly semi-homemade! You should not have to slave over every single dish should you? You will find this one at

1 stick butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 large (40-ounce) cans large yams or sweet potatoes , drained
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 (12-ounce) jar marshmallow topping

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and pecans. Simmer for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, place drained yams in a large bowl and mash finely with a potato masher (leaving some chunked pieces). Pour sugar/pecan mixture over yams. Stir until combined thoroughly. Add in cinnamon and nutmeg. Transfer to a metal pie pan. Top with marshmallow topping. Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees F. Remove from the oven and raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Bake for an additional 10 minutes at 400 degrees F to brown the top, watching carefully to keep from over-browning.

Try this Cranberry Sauce Recipe for an easy yet fresh and homemade sauce for your turkey! Check to see where I got this one.

1 pound fresh cranberries, washed and dried
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 orange, zested and juiced

In a medium pot, combine the cranberries, sugar and water. Stir to blend. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and add the cinnamon stick, allspice and nutmeg. Stir to blend and simmer for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Some of the cranberries will burst and some will remain whole. Add the orange juice and zest, stir and allow to cool before serving.

For greens I chose spinach this year. My family loves it, we never do it at Thanksgiving and most importantly my girls love spinach. Here is a recipe for spinach casserole by one of my favorite chefs Emeril that you can find at

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 teaspoons
3/4 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 pound button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta
1 cup grated monterey jack
1/2 cup crumbled feta
6 eggs
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish with 2 teaspoons of the butter and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt the remaining butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook until they give up their liquid, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, artichoke hearts, mushroom mixture, ricotta, jack, and feta, and toss to combine.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, nutmeg, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add to the spinach mixture. Add the bread crumbs and mix well. Transfer to the prepared dish and top with a layer of Parmesan. Bake until the casserole is firm and the top is golden, about 45 to 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven and serve.

I searched high and low for a mac and cheese recipe that looked like it would be both cheesy and creamy (not dry) and believe me a good recipe for mac and cheese is hard to find. Anyway, this one had by far the most cheese of any of them and looks like the yield would be great and the time commitment is said to only be 30 min! I finally found this one at

1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
1/2 stick salted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup grated Asiago cheese
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup white Cheddar
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 1/2 cups yellow sharp Cheddar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1/2 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Preheat grill to 350 degrees F.

Quarter red and green pepper, then place them on the grill, cooking until tender. Once grill marks are formed, remove peppers from grill and set aside. Boil elbow macaroni in salted boiling water until al dente - drain and set aside. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and then whisk in flour to thicken, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup milk and whisk in. Begin adding cheeses 1 at a time, thoroughly whisking each cheese. If sauce becomes too thick, add remaining cup of milk.

Once all cheeses are blended add salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, grilled peppers, jalapeno pepper and stir to combine. Add elbows to mixture and stir again. Once combined well, add to a cast iron 9 by 13-inch rectangle casserole dish, and sprinkle top with bread crumbs and an additional 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Place on grill for 12 minutes. Let stand a few minutes before serving.

Now for dessert you are on your own. I am making a (there are a couple) Paula Deen carrot cake and a chocolate chip pumpkin cheesecake by Hershey’s. If you want the recipe for either I am happy to e-mail them out upon request.

And last but not least if there are any vegetarians out there this one is for you an entire vegetarian menu!

For 12 Thanksgiving Day menus go to but believe me when I tell you that the best one is right here! I looked at the others and they are not that impressive.

Friday - Thanksgiving Day Leftovers 11/27

Be sure you have a loaf of good bread and plan to make turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce and eat the leftover sides with it. It needs to be as easy as possible today. I would recommend using three slices of bread/sandwich and soaking one entirely in gravy and then putting it in the middle of the cranberry sauce and the turkey. It is so very tasty this way!

You can also make this salad to go with it.

Maybe there is still some dessert left too…

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Friday - Savory Tuna Burgers 12/4

by Robin Miller and found at

3 (6-ounce) cans light tuna in water, drained
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
3 tablespoons seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 hamburger buns or Kaiser rolls
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
1/4 cup thinly sliced sweet pickles (such as gherkins)

In a large bowl, combine the tuna, mayonnaise, bread crumbs, parsley, mustard, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix well and shape the mixture into four equal patties, each about 1-inch thick.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Unwrap the burgers and cook until golden brown and heated through, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Serve the burgers on buns with sliced tomato and pickles.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sunday - 5 Day Meal Planner 11/15

Monday: Chipotle Lime Shrimp
Tuesday: Barbecue Pork Roast
Wednesday: Spicy Tangerine Beef
Thursday: Orechiette with Sausage, Beans and Mascarpone
Friday: Chicken with Apple, Onion and Cider Sauce

I will assume you have ground cumin, brown sugar, olive oil, salt, pepper, AP flour, vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, unsalted butter, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, mustard, celery seed, barbecue sauce, cornstarch, dry sherry, hoisin sauce, honey, chili sauce, sesame seeds and rice.

From the store
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 4 pound pork loin roast
1 pound flank steak
1 pound shrimp
½ pound turkey sausage
1 lime
1 small onion
Fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic
3 scallions
1 big or 2 smaller tangerines
1 large red onion
Small red potatoes
1 sweet cooking apple (a Macintosh worked for me)
Fresh oregano leaves
Fresh parsley
Mascarpone cheese
1 pound Orechiette pasta (or any other small pasta)
Low Sodium Chicken Broth
Chipotle in adobo
2 bags of veggie steamers

On Sunday night just marinate the pork for Tuesday. Now you can get on with your glass of wine and watching Dexter… ahem…or at least I can…

Monday - Chipotle Lime Shrimp 11/16

found at

1 chipotle chili in adobo (chopped)
2 teaspoons adobo sauce
1 teaspoon cumin seed (toasted and ground) I used plain ground
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 lime (juice and zest)
2 Tablespoons cilantro chopped
1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)

1. Mix in chipotle, adobo sauce, cumin, brown sugar, lime zest, lime juice and cilantro in a bowl and let marinate for 20 minutes.
2. Skewer the shrimp or place shrimp in a grill basket
3. Oil up the grill and grill the shrimp for approximately 2-3 minutes per side.

Serve with a side of veggie steamers


Tuesday - Barbecue Pork Roast 11/17

by Paula Deen and found at

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (4-pound) pork loin roast
1 cup barbeque sauce

In a small bowl, combine Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, salt, celery seed, pepper, and garlic. Place pork loin roast in a large plastic resealable bag and pour marinade over pork loin. Seal and marinate in refrigerator for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight).
***I put this is the Crockpot with some small red potatoes and it worked great***
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Remove roast from bag, place in a roasting pan, and discard marinade. Roast pork loin at 325 degrees F for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or to an internal temperature registers 160 to 170 degrees F. on an instant-read thermometer.

Serve with BBQ sauce.

Wednesday - Spicy Tangerine Beef 11/18

by Guy Fieri and found at

3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 pound flank steak or tri-tip, cut in thin strips on the bias
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon chili sauce (I used Sriracha)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup freshly squeezed tangerine juice
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 tangerine, zested
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Cook your rice.

In a resealable plastic bag combine the soy sauce and cornstarch and mix well. Add beef, cover, and let marinate for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

Whisk together the sherry, hoisin, honey, chili sauce, soy sauce, and tangerine juice until completely combined.

In large pan or wok, heat oil on high. Add the ginger and beef and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add sauce mixture and cook for another 2 minutes on medium heat until sauce thickens. Serve on warm platter, garnish with scallions, tangerine zest and sesame seeds.

Serve over rice

Thursday - Orechiette with Sausage, Beans and Mascarpone 11/19

by Giada De Laurentiis and found at

1 pound orechiette pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound turkey sausage, casing removed (I used the breakfast sausage which comes in a roll since it has no casings)
1 small onion, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

In a large, heavy skillet warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and onions. Using a wooden spoon break up the sausage into bite-sized pieces as it browns.
Continue cooking until the sausage is golden and the onions are tender. Add the beans and oregano cook for 2 more minutes. Add the cup of pasta cooking liquid and stir, scrapping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the mascarpone cheese and stir until it dissolved into a light sauce. Add the salt, pepper, and hot pasta.

Stir until coated and serve.

Friday - Chicken with Apple, Onion and Cider Sauce 11/20

by Food Network Magazine and found at

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
All-purpose flour , for dredging
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large red onion, cut into large pieces
1 sweet cooking apple, cored and cut into large pieces
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess. Add 2 tablespoons oil to the pan. Place the chicken in the skillet smooth-side down and cook until golden, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking dish and bake until cooked through, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the onion and apple to the skillet, along with 1 tablespoon oil, if the pan is dry, and increase the heat to high. Cook, tossing, until the onion has wilted slightly and the apple is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the pan. Let the mixture boil until the vinegar becomes syrupy, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and return to a boil. Cook until the broth reduces by half. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper and whisk in the butter.

Remove the chicken from the oven; add any collected juices to the sauce. Divide the chicken among four plates and spoon the apple, onion and pan sauce over each piece. Sprinkle with the parsley.

Serve with veggie steamers

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sunday - 5 Day Meal Planner 11/8

Monday: Catfish au Lait
Tuesday: Tequila Lime Chicken
Wednesday: Pork Chops
Thursday: Bacon and Tomato Pasta
Friday: Turkey Meatloaf with Feta and Sundried Tomatoes

I will assume you have tequila, chili powder, kosher salt, black pepper, light salad dressing of your choice, Old Bay seasoning, evoo, red chili flakes, red wine, grated parmesan cheese, light salad dressing of your choice, paprika, cumin, PAM, 2 eggs and whole milk.

From the store:
3 whole boneless, skin on chicken breasts
1 pound ground turkey (dark meat)
3-4 catfish fillets
1 pound thick cut bacon or pancetta
4 6-8 ounce pork chops
6 limes
2 oranges
1 jalapeño
Flat leaf parsley
4 big baking potatoes
9 cloves garlic
1 onion
1 red onion
1 pack of fresh basil
2 cups of Roma tomatoes diced
2 bags of salad
Chopped garlic and herb marinated sundried tomatoes
Cottage cheese
½ cup crumbled feta
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 pound spaghetti pasta
Plain bread crumbs
1 bag frozen veggie steamers

On Sunday marinate the chicken for Tuesday and pork for Wednesday. I would also go ahead and put the meatloaf together for Friday. Then…see if Dexter finally gets “Trinity…”

Monday - Catfish au Lait 11/9

by Alton Brown and found at

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
3 to 4 catfish fillets

Combine the milk, crab boil seasoning, pepper, salt, and onion in an electric skillet, cover, and bring to a simmer. Add the catfish to the liquid, spooning some of the liquid over the fillets.
Reduce the heat to low, around 140 to 145 degrees, cover the skillet, and poach for 6 to 9 minutes.

Serve with half of a baked potato with cottage cheese!

Tuesday - Tequila Lime Chicken 11/10

by Barefoot Contessa and found at

1/2 cup gold tequila
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 to 6 limes)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno pepper (1 pepper seeded)
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 whole (6 split) boneless chicken breasts, skin on

Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat a grill with coals and brush the rack with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, sprinkle well with salt and pepper, and grill them skin-side down for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from the grill to a plate. Cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Serve with a bagged salad with light dressing.

Wednesday - Pork Chops 11/11

by Grubstake and found at

4 (6 to 8-ounce) pork chops
1/2 cup red wine
1 teaspoon paprika
Pinch cumin
4 cloves garlic
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

In a large bowl or plastic zip-top bag, add the pork chops and top with the red wine, paprika, cumin and garlic. Place into refrigerator for about 1 hour.

Remove the pork chops from the marinade and discard marinade. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Once heated, add pork chops and sear on both sides until golden brown and cooked through.

Serve with half of a baked potato with cottage cheese.

Thursday - Bacon and Tomato Pasta 11/12

by Guy Fieri and found at

2 tablespoons kosher salt
16 ounces spaghetti pasta
1 pound thick-cut bacon or pancetta, chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup red onion, diced
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 cups Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup red wine
4 tablespoons basil, chiffonade
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large stock pot, boil 3 quarts of water, when boiling add 2 tablespoons kosher salt and the pasta and cook until the pasta is al dente.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, add bacon and saute until bacon is crispy. Remove bacon to drain on a paper towel-lined plate and remove 3/4 of the bacon fat from the pan. Add extra-virgin olive oil, onions, and red chili flakes. Cook until onions are translucent, add garlic, cook for 2 minutes then add tomatoes. Saute for 5 minutes, then deglaze with wine.

Drain pasta and add to the tomato mixture pan. Add basil and bacon. Toss with Parmesan, and add salt and pepper, to taste.

A bag of salad goes perfectly with this dish

Friday - Turkey Meatloaf with Feta and Sundried Tomatoes 11/13

by Giada De Laurentiis and found at

Vegetable cooking spray
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped garlic and herb-marinated sun-dried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced, optional
2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Spray a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, if using, eggs, milk, feta, salt, and pepper. Add the turkey and gently stir to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat.

Carefully pack the meat mixture into the prepared pan and bake until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and slice. Put on a serving platter and serve.

This goes great with a bag of steamed veggies from your grocer’s freezer section

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday - 5 Day Meal Planner 11/1

Monday: Halibut Puttanesca
Tuesday: Shrimp with Lemon-Chive Tartar Sauce, Ditalini Salad with Mixed Peppers
Wednesday: Lazy Pork Hot Pot
Thursday: Cheesy Ham and Banana Casserole
Friday: Mac and Cheese Dog Casserole

I will assume you have red wine, salt, pepper, penne pasta, evoo, mayo, dried oregano, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, sherry, toasted sesame oil (but it is optional so don’t but it if you don’t want it), milk, ground nutmeg, milk, 4 large eggs, plain potatoes chips (enough for 2 cups), butter, AP flour, beer, spicy mustard and ketchup.

From the grocery:
¾ pound pork tenderloin
4 5 ounce halibut fillets
2 pounds large or extra large peeled and deveined shrimp
8 large slices deli ham
1 package beef or pork hot dogs
1 pack pre cooked bacon
2 cups shredded cheddar
3 cup sharp yellow shredded cheddar
9 cloves garlic
1 2 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 medium onion
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms
Fresh chives
3 green onions
Sweet gherkins
Bell pepper
Parsley Leaves
Fresh basil leaves
4 bananas
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 and ½ cup spaghetti sauce
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
Stuffed green olives
Pickled jalapeños
Jar of roasted red peppers
Anchovy paste
12 slices white bread

Monday - Halibut Puttanesca 11/2

by Robin Miller and found at

1 1/2 cups tomato sauce, left over from Spaghetti and Meatballs or storebought
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup stuffed green olives, chopped
3 tablespoons drained capers
1/2 cup red wine
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
4 (5-ounce) halibut fillets
Salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Add tomato sauce to a saucepan. Add garlic, olives, capers, wine and anchovy paste and bring mixture to a simmer for 5 minutes over medium heat. Meanwhile, season halibut on both sides with salt and black pepper. Add halibut fillets to sauce, cover and simmer 3 to 5 minutes, until fish is fork tender.

I would serve this with a small side of penne with the same tomato sauce.

Tuesday - Shrimp with Lemon-Chive Tartar Sauce, Ditalini Salad with Mixed Peppers 11/3

by Robin Miller found at

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pounds large or extra-large shrimp , peeled and deveined
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
2 tablespoons minced sweet gherkins
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Cooked ditalini (1 pound)
2 cups diced roasted red peppers (from water-packed jar)
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/3 cup diced pickled jalapeno peppers
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season shrimp with salt, pepper and oregano. Place shrimp in hot pan (or stove-top grill pan) and cook 2 minutes per side, until opaque and cooked through.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, chives, gherkins, and lemon zest. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine ditalini, remaining olive oil, peppers, parsley, and vinegar. Toss to combine and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve the ditalini salad with 1 1/4 pounds of the shrimp and all of the tartar sauce.

Reserve extra shrimp (about 1/2 pound cooked) for another meal.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wednesday - Lazy Pork Hot Pot 11/4

by Aida Mollenkamp and found at

1 1/2 quart (6 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup sherry
6 tablespoons soy sauce
5 medium garlic cloves garlic, smashed
1 (2-inch piece) ginger, sliced
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, caps removed and reserved, tops thinly sliced and reserved
3/4 pound pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
3 green onions, thinly sliced on bias, for serving
Toasted sesame oil, for serving (optional)

Combine broth, sherry, soy, garlic, ginger, and mushroom stems in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to low and simmer until broth is infused with flavors, about 30 minutes.

Strain broth, return to pot over high heat, add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, add pork and mushrooms and cook until pork is just cooked through, about 3 minutes.

Garnish with green onions and sesame oil, if using, and serve

We ate this with rice and it was really yummy!

Thursday - Cheesy Ham and Banana Casserole 11/5

by Paula Deen and found at

12 slices white bread
8 large slices deli ham
4 bananas , sliced on the bias
2 cups shredded Cheddar
2 cups crushed potato chips
6 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg (I used powdered)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter a 9 by 13 glass baking dish. Butter both sides of the bread and layer 6 of them into the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping them as necessary but keep them even. Layer the slices of ham on top of the bread and then the bananas, 6 more slices of bread, then the cheese, potato chips, and bacon. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, cream, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Pour this over the casserole almost to the top. Bake for 45 minutes until brown and bubbly.

Cut into squares and remove with a spatula, like lasagna.

Friday - Mac and Cheese Dog Casserole 11/6

by Rachel Ray and found at

1 pound elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 package beef or pork hot dogs, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all- purpose flour
1/2 cup beer, 1/3 of a bottle - whatever you have on hand, chicken broth can be substituted
2 cups milk
1 rounded tablespoon spicy mustard
2 rounded tablespoons ketchup
3 cups yellow sharp Cheddar, shredded, divided (Buy preshredded cheese . You will need 1 1/2 sacks of 10-ounce packages.)

Boil a large pot of water for macaroni. Salt water and under cook macaroni, cook about 7 minutes until just under al dente in doneness.

Preheat broiler and set rack 12 inches from heat.

While pasta works, heat a large deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, then add hot dogs and brown on both sides, 4 minutes total. Remove the dogs with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Add another tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, and the butter. When butter melts, cook onions 4 to 5 minutes, then add flour and cook another minute. Add beer and cook off completely, 1 minute.

Whisk in milk and bring to a bubble, then season the sauce with salt and pepper and stir in the mustard and ketchup. Lower heat and add 2 cups of the cheese. Stir to melt, 1 minute. Adjust mustard, ketchup, and salt and pepper, to your taste.Drain pasta well. Combine pasta and hot dogs with sauce and coat evenly then pour into large casserole and top with remaining cheese.

Melt and brown cheese under broiler, 2 minutes. Serve.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday - 5 Day Meal Planner 10/25

Monday: Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
Tuesday: Dry Rubbed BBQ Beef Brisket
Wednesday: Chicken Divan
Thursday: Pork Wellington
Friday: Carbonara Deep-Dish Pasta-Crusted Pan Pizza

I will assume you have salt, pepper, seasoned salt, dried thyme, ground cumin, paprika, mayonnaise, dry white wine, butter, grated parmesan, curry powder, 5 eggs, all purpose flour, whole grain mustard, evoo and crushed red pepper flakes.

From the store:
1 rotisserie chicken
1 1 pound pork tenderloin
1 4 pound beef tri-tip
5 chicken breasts
1 and ½ ounces sliced prosciutto
¼ pound pancetta
1 med onion
4 cloves of garlic
Fresh flat leaf parsley
Fresh thyme
2 baking potato
Sour cream
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
Cottage cheese
2 cups ricotta cheese
Shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup shredded provolone or mozzarella
Frozen puff pastry
4 14 ounce cans of chicken broth (I buy the bigger containers)
Fine Herbs
2 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg egg noodles
2 9 ounce packages fresh linguini
½ cup soft bread crumbs (I like Panko)
1 ounce dried apple rings
1 pkg vegetable steamers
2 10 ounce packages chopped frozen broccoli

On Sunday night I would chop all veggies for the soup for tomorrow and I would also go ahead and marinate the beef for Tuesday. While you are at it chopping and marinating away why don’t you just toss the 5 chicken breasts for Wednesday into the oven to bake so you can then shred them up before the week starts? Don’t forget to watch Dexter to see if Lundy and Deb lived…

Monday - Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup 10/26

by Sandra Lee and found at

1 store-bought roasted chicken
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrot
4 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth
2 (10.75-ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup with roasted garlic
2 teaspoon fines herbs *
Salt and pepper
2 cups egg noodles, cooked

Remove the skin from the chicken and shred the meat from the bone. Put the chicken into a slow cooker along with the onions, celery, and carrots. Stir in broth, mushroom soup, and fines herbs and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high setting for 3 to 4 hours or low for 8 to 9 hours.

When soup is finished, stir in egg noodles. Adjust seasonings and serve.

*Cook's Note: Fines herbs are a classic blend of herbs that usually consists of chervil, chives, parsley, and tarragon. Fines Herbs can be found pre-blended in the spice section of the grocery store.

Tuesday - Dry Rubbed BBQ Beef Brisket

by Bobby Flay and found at

1/2 cup seasoned salt
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon dried whole thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 pound beef tri-tip, or 6 skinless chicken breasts

Combine all the dry ingredients and mix together. Generously sprinkle the mixture onto the tri-tip or chicken and let it sit, covered, overnight in the refrigerator.

Just before grilling, rub the mixture a second time all over the tri-tip or chicken, making sure all sides are coated with the seasoning. Grill the tri-tip until the internal temperature reaches 130 degrees F, or the chicken reaches 160 degrees F. Let the tri-tip or chicken rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Serve with a side of vegetable steamers.

Wednesday - Chicken Divan 10/28

by Paula Deen and found at

2 (10-ounce) packages frozen broccoli , chopped
6 cups shredded chicken, cooked
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the outer wrappers from the boxes of broccoli. Open 1 end of each box. Microwave on full power for 2 minutes, until thawed. Drain the broccoli and put into a casserole dish. Add the shredded chicken.

In a medium bowl, combine the soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, Cheddar, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper, to taste, and wine. Whisk together to make a sauce. Pour the sauce over the broccoli and chicken. Mix well with a spatula.

Place the mixture into an 11 by 7-inch casserole dish or 2 (9-inch) square disposable aluminum foil pans that have been sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray. Pat down evenly and smooth with a spatula. Combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle over the top.

Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Cook's Note: Try topping with Cheddar or Gruyere cheese.

Thursday - Pork Wellington 10/29

by Alton Brown found at

1 whole egg
1 tablespoon water
1-ounce dried apple rings
1 whole pork tenderloin, approximately 1 pound
4 1/2 ounces thinly slice prosciutto ham
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 sheet puff pastry , thawed completely
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat to 400 degrees F.
Whisk the egg and water in a small bowl and set aside. Place the apple rings into the bowl of a mini food processor and process for 30 to 45 seconds or until they are the size of a medium dice. Set aside.

Trim the pork tenderloin of any excess fat and silver skin. Slice the tenderloin down the middle lengthwise, creating 2 separate pieces. Lay the tenderloin pieces next to each other head to tail, so when laid back together they are the same size at the ends.

Lay out a 12 by 16-inch piece of parchment paper on the counter and arrange the pieces of prosciutto in the center, overlapping them enough to create solid layer that is as long as the tenderloin. Top with a second piece of parchment, and using a rolling pin, roll over the prosciutto to help adhere the pieces to each other. Remove the parchment paper and sprinkle the prosciutto with the salt, pepper, and thyme. Set the tenderloin down the middle of the prosciutto. Spread the dried apples in between the 2 pieces of tenderloin and push back together so the apples are held between them. Using the parchment paper to assist, wrap the prosciutto around the tenderloin to completely enclose in a package.

Sprinkle the counter with flour and roll out the pastry to 12 by 14 inches. Spread the mustard thinly in the center of pastry and lay the prosciutto wrapped tenderloin in the center of the pastry on the mustard. Fold the puff pastry up and over the top of the tenderloin, then roll to completely enclose, brushing the edges of the pastry with the egg wash in order to seal. Turn the tenderloin over so the side of the tenderloin with the double thickness of pastry is underneath. Pinch the ends of the pastry to seal.

Brush the entire pastry with the egg wash. Place the tenderloin on a parchment lined half sheet pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of at least 140 degrees F.

Remove the tenderloin from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Serve w half a baked potato topped with cottage cheese.

Friday - Carbonara Deep-Dish Pasta-Crusted Pan Pizza 10/30

by Rachel Ray and found at

2 packages fresh linguini, 9 ounces each
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 pound pancetta, cut as thick as bacon , chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like it
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
Freshly ground black pepper
4 large eggs
1/2 cup cream
2 cups ricotta cheese
A handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 cup shredded provolone or mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat water for pasta in large pot, salt it and add pasta for 3 minutes.

While water boils, heat a large skillet with extra-virgin olive oil, 3 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes.

Drain pasta, add to pan and toss. Stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano and season with salt and pepper. Beat eggs with cream and pour over top of pasta. Let eggs begin to set up, about 1 minute, and pat pasta into even layer to make the pizza pie crust. Place in oven and cook 5 to 6 minutes.

Mix together the ricotta and parsley. Remove pie from oven and smooth the ricotta over the top. Scatter with the provolone or mozzarella and return to oven. Bake 8 minutes more until cheese is melted and golden at edges. Cut into wedges and serve.