Summer Menus: July Week Three

JeffreyW’s yummy zucchini and summer squash

A bit delayed this weekend. No real excuse, except life, as usual, was a little hectic. Today I went for my first ride in at least a year. Had to test out my bike after the crew that was here to replace my furnace and add energy upgrades, also fixed my bike. Loved those guys.

When I got home, I was startled to find a hawk sitting peacefully in my driveway, awaiting my return. I believe he was a young Cooper’s hawk.

For this week, we are raiding the garden –  Zucchini and Summer Squash Saute featured along with a Family BLT on Monday.

One of JeffreyW’s many BLT photos. Now I’m hungry.

You can find all the menus and recipes here: July Menus Week Three

At least someone has fresh tomatoes…mine are a long way from JeffreyW’s crop.

Click here for the PDF of the shopping lists, July Week Three Shopping List. Reminder that they are color-coordinated and you can easily cross out ingredients you won’t be using.

Technically this is my BBQ pulled pork sandwich, but you get the idea.

Friday’s menu features Slowcooker Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, perfect for those hot mid-summer days when you don’t even want to fire up the grill.

I’ll be out of town next weekend, so next’s recipes could be delayed. I’m a little nervous – first time with the new pet sitter. She seems great and has had Great Danes herself. But I never know if Bixby is going to be a big lovebug or decide to throw his weight around. And fingers crossed Bailey doesn’t decide to eat any more furniture. Crazy dogs.

What’s on your menu this week? What’s your favorite summer garden food? Mine is corn on the cob. Someone asked in one of the recipe threads how best to cook on the grill. I like to peel down the husks, wash off the silks and then pull the husks back up and grill the wet corn. The steam helps it cook quicker. If you desire a little char  on the corn, once it’s done cooking, pull the husks off and grill for a minute or two more, turning often until desired char is achieved.

Open thread!








Summer Menus: July Week Two

JeffreyW is the pizza king.

I’ve been busy in the yard today, so this will be short and sweet. For the menus, click here: July Week Two Menus

Tuesday features Adobo Sirloin and Garlic Roasted potatoes.

JeffreyW grills up some garlic potato wedges and steak.

Wednesday serves up a sweet Oatmeal Apple Cookie, along with an easy Tuna Macaroni Salad.

And Friday offers up two quick pizza dough recipes for a family night of Fresh Pizza built with your favorite toppings.

Shopping list is here: July Week Two Shopping List and remember it’s color coordinated so you can easily skip ingredients from the recipes you’re not using.

As always, you can substitute ingredients to suit your own tastes – skip the tuna in the macaroni salad and add a variety of fresh garden vegetables for a quick and easy vegetarian dinner. Choose your favorite cut of steak or bone-in chicken instead of boneless breasts and substitute favorite vegetables for any of the suggested ones.

And finally, a bonus recipe, since peaches are starting to show up at the local farm stands:

Spicy Peach Dressing

  • 2 large peaches, peeled, pitted and quartered
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 jalapeño or other hot pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Purée all of the ingredients, except oil, in a blender or food processor until smooth. Continue to blend, on low, while adding oil slowly. Mix until well blended. Refrigerate.

Spinach Chicken Salad

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 small sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb cleaned baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
  • 1 peach, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 3 ounces crumbled bleu cheese or chevre

Place the chicken in a plastic zipper bag with ½ cup of dressing. Marinate 2 hours in refrigerator. Remove chicken, discard marinade and grill until cooked through (170 degrees at center).

Toss the spinach, onion, walnuts and cheese with the remaining 3/4 cup dressing. Slice the grilled chicken and arrange on top of the salad.

Serving: 4 to 6

What’s on your plate this weekend?

Enjoy! – TaMara








Summer Menu: June Week Three

All this week’s photos are from JeffreyW’s library

This week, at the bottom of the menus is a list of substitutions and ideas, save that for future weeks.

As we finish up June, there are more grilling recipes and a couple of quick and simple meals for those busy days when being in the kitchen needs to be kept to the minimum.

Here are June’s menus and recipes: June Week Four Menu (click for printable PDF)

Monday features Chicken Carbonara.  Along with a Sautéed Mushroom Salad

Thursday, Toasted Tuna Sandwiches are paired with a tasty chilled Wild Rice Salad, that can be prepared ahead of time for an easy dinner.

And Friday’s Kid Friendly recipes include Quesadillas and a sweet summer salad.

Click here for the shopping lists: June Week Four Shopping List. Remember they are color coordinated to the menus, so easy to eliminate any ingredients when you skip a recipe. (You skipped a recipe?!? :-) )

What’s on your menu this week? Let me know in the comments if you have a question about any of the meals.

Enjoy!








Summer Menu Series: June Week Two

These two were absolutely no help with this project yesterday.Wednesday is Tomato-Pasta Salad

Sorry for the delay on the recipe exchange, as you can see above, I had a big project yesterday. That’s my sectional, assembly required. Nothing major, but damn putting the very fitted fabric on the very firm cushions was a workout.

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? Anyone harvesting anything right now? I got a surprise when I went to water my strawberries this week – several bowls of big berries.

Those are the June berries – if I remember correctly from last summer, there were berries all the way until late September, so if I didn’t manage to pull out all of any one variety when I thinned them, I should expect the same this summer.

Hit the comments with some of your favorite recipes for this time of year…. TaMara








Something New For Summer: Weekly Menus

Hi everyone – I’m going to try and keep this up for the summer. I thought it was time to get back to some fun, everyday things. Hit the comments with any questions, share your weekend menu and anything else that makes you happy. The menus and shopping lists are PDFs, so you’ll have to click on them to see – and they should be easy to print out. Let’s keep it a politics/apocalypse free thread.

From the cooking blog:

Shrimp and Pasta by JeffreyW

Wednesday’s recipe: Shrimp and Pasta

So a long time ago, before I started my blog, I ran a little business creating weekly menus for subscribers, called…you guessed it…What’s 4 Dinner Solutions. It included simple 30-minute recipes and complete shopping lists for weekday dinners. I found the past few months, as life got busier, I began relying on my library of menus and recipes.

With that in mind, I decided that I should begin sharing them with you.

Click here for the menu and recipes for the the first week:  June Menu Week One

Jeffrey W makes the most delicious looking sandwiches.

Friday’s recipe: Spicy Club Sandwiches

I’ll post on Fridays so if you want to use them, you’ll have them for the weekend shopping excursions. The shopping lists are actually color coordinated with the menus so if you don’t use a menu, just cross out anything that is the same color.

Click here for the shopping lists: June Week One Shopping List

Both the menus and shopping lists are PDFs you should be able to print out easily.

The shopping lists do not include pantry staples, those are here:

 

I hope you enjoy! – TaMara

Writing Group Note:  I will be posting an open writing thread at our usual time on Sunday. We’ll keep it simple for the summer and get back to it in late August/early Sept.








Friday Recipe Exchange: Corned Beef and Cabbage, Reprise

Corned beef is really one of the perfect foods to do in a pressure cooker. You get a nice, tender beef and instead of mushy, colorless vegetables, you get perfectly cooked vegetables infused with that great corned beef broth flavor.

Tonight’s featured recipe uses a bit of dill pickle juice in place of some of the water and a touch of spicy brown mustard. But I saw recipes that used chicken broth, sherry or beer in place of some of the water. I think you should experiment and use what sounds good to you. I really  like dill pickle juice. And I have become a big fan of Napa cabbage with my corned beef.

A lot of recipes call for 3-4 lbs of corned beef. I picked up two, since both the pressure cooker and slow-cooker recipes are easy, you don’t need to save corned beef and cabbage for a special occasion. Just freeze the other one for another day.

I know I’ve been very busy and haven’t posted a lot of new recipes, but I have been doing a lot of cooking and just bought some new cookware (here). I’ll try and do better…I’ve got a great new technique for very, very crispy oven chicken and I’ll try and get that posted.

Are you a corned beef fan? Reuben’s anyone? What’s on your plate this weekend?

Now for the recipes:

JeffreyW tackles corned beef  leftovers – see his gallery of Corned Beef Sandwiches here. (lots of yummy pictures at those links)

My family weighs in on their favorite ways to fix corned beef, including grilling. (click here)

Now tonight’s featured recipes:

Pressure Cooker Corned Beef Dinner:

  • 3 to 4 lbs corned beef, trim the fat to about 1/4 inch
  • Water
  • Spices included with corned beef or the following: 1 tbsp black peppercorns, 1 tbsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp fennel seeds,
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed – opt
  • 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 – 6  medium to large potatoes, cut into four to eight pieces, peeling optional
  • 4-6 carrots, sliced in half and cut into 2” lengths
  • Cabbage, cut into 4 to 6 pieces – for a change of pace, I’ve used Napa cabbage to great success.

pressure cooker and cooking rack

Remove the corned beef from the brine (discarding the brine), rinse thoroughly and place in the bottom of the pressure cooker, fatty side up. [You don’t want to brown this beef, because it’s been brined.] Sprinkle spices over the top of the beef. Add enough liquid (water or water and a combination of ONE of the following: pickle juice, chicken broth, beer or wine) to come to the top of beef, about 3-4 cups usually.  Cover and bring to pressure and let cook for 1 hour. I use the cold water method to depressurize (that is when you run cold water over the pan in the sink, otherwise you can remove it from the heat and let slowly depressurize).

The key to getting the perfect corned beef and vegetables with the pressure cooker is to cook them separately. Prep the vegetables during the last 15 or so minutes of beef cooking time. Once the beef is done, put it on a cutting board, cover loosely in foil and put a towel over the whole deal.

Remove all but enough liquid to come to the bottom of the cooking rack when placed in the pressure cooker. Place potatoes first on the tray, then carrots and then cabbage, cover and bring to pressure. Cook for about 12 minutes. The vegetables will be fork tender, not mushy and the beef will be fully rested. Slice, plate and serve.

For the slow-cooker:

Place rinsed beef in the bottom of the slow-cooker, sprinkle spices, add liquid to come to the top of the beef,  and cover. Cook on low for 4 hours. At the 4 hour mark, add potatoes and then carrots. Cook additional 4 hours, adding the cabbage during the last 30 minutes. With the exception of adding the vegetables, try to resist the temptation to open the lid. You need it to stay covered to properly cook. Let the meat rest, covered with foil for about 15 minutes before carving.

There you go, some easy ways to put together a nice corned beef dinner.

Enjoy your weekend and watch out for leprechauns… – TaMara

ETA: There will be a special writer thread tomorrow by request. Stop by and give Mnemosyne some advice.








Christmas Eve Dinner Menu: Spinach Lasagna

Our first Christmas Tree casualty. Bailey, Dane of Destruction. Homemade gift I’ve had since just out of high school. Goofy dog.

Tossing around ideas for my Christmas Eve party and settled on lasagna this year. It will once again be gluten-free using specialty noodles. Excited to have our traditional party in the new house.

On the board:

  1. Spinach Lasagna
  2. Tossed Salad
  3. Garlic Bread*

This recipe takes about an hour to prepare and another hour to cook. It easily serves 6 – 8. I will make it a day ahead and refrigerate. It will need additional cooking time to bring center up to temperature.

Spinach Lasagna

Sauce:

  • 3-15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2-6 oz cans tomato paste
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp basil, crushed
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled & finely grated
  • pinch of sugar (reduces acidity of the tomatoes)
  • Optional: ½ lb ground beef and ½ spicy Italian sausage, browned

Saucepan

Add all ingredients to saucepan on medium-high, stirring constantly until it begins to boil lightly. Turn to low and let simmer while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Lasagna:

  • 1 pkg lasagna noodles (16 oz), cooked and placed in cool water until layering
  • 16 oz ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz package frozen spinach, thawed or 8 oz fresh, washed and dried
  • 1 egg
  • 12 oz sliced mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese

13×9 baking dish (I prefer glass), lightly oiled

To prepare: Mix ricotta, spinach and egg until well blended. Ladle a layer of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Cover in a single layer of noodles. Ladle sauce over noodles. Spoon ½ of the ricotta mixture evenly (if you place large dollops evenly like putting cookie dough on a baking sheet, fairly close together, it will spread as it cooks, no need to smooth it). Layer 1/3 of the mozzarella over the ricotta. Repeat: noodles, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, noodles. On top of the last layer of noodles, add remaining sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, uncovered – I like to place the baking dish on a baking sheet to catch any spills as it bubbles. Place knife through the center, if it comes out heated through, remove and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. If it needs more cooking time, you can cover with foil to keep the cheese from burning and cook 10 more minutes. Let stand uncovered before serving.

Garlic Bread

*I’m going to purchase a gluten free loaf  (we have a great local bakery for that) and I’m also going to make this Slow Rise recipe.  Making the garlic bread is easy. I slice the loaves in half lengthwise, melt butter, add a healthy amount of crushed garlic and brush liberally on each loaf half. Then I top with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan.  Broil until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown. Slice and serve.

Tossed Salad

I try to change it up each year, and I don’t know how I’m going to do this time. Maybe spinach/raspberry or a veggie toss with romaine.

Next up: Dessert Menu