Fall Menus: September Week 2

Tuesday is Oven Fried Chicken

This is a little late, but I suppose better late than never. I’ve been crazy with work and glued to hurricane coverage, as I have Florida family (and friends).

Since we are moving into cooler weather, I’m bringing the meals in from the grill and into the kitchen. Although we do have a Grilled Steak on Monday – it’s in a soy/wine marinade that I love because you can use an inexpensive cut of beef and still get a great steak out of it.

One of my favorite meals, Red Beans and Rice, heads up Wednesday’s menu. And Friday is a slow-cooker BBQ Beef on Kaiser Rolls. 

All the PDF menus can be found here: September Week 2 Menus

The color-coded weekly shopping list is here: September Week 2 Shopping List The color coding allows you to eliminate any ingredients you won’t need if you skip a recipe.

Tonight’s bonus recipe is Creole Vegetables and Black Beans, (pictured above, recipe at the bottom of post)

What’s on your plate as you end your weekend and begin your week. If you have any questions, hit the comments and I’ll try and get you an answer. Have a great week!

Bonus Recipe:

We’re trying to do a vegetarian night a few times a week. This was one of my favorite creations.

Creole Vegetables with Black Beans and Rice

  • 1 cup Jasmine Rice
  • 1 -15 oz can no salt black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • limejuice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 green onions, chopped (including greens)
  • 1/2 each: green, red and orange pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1-14 oz can no salt diced tomatoes
  • salt to taste

Cook rice according to package directions, keep warm.

Add beans and a dash of limejuice and salt to saucepan and heat through.

In a skillet, heat olive oil, add onions and saute until softened, add peppers and celery, saute for 2-3 minutes. Add carrots, cook additional 2-3 minutes and add tomatoes. Add a tablespoon of Creole seasoning (recipe below) and mix in. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium low and let simmer until carrots are tender.  Salt to taste and add more seasoning as needed.

Place rice, beans and tomato mixture in separate bowls and let everyone mix to their own taste. Put remaining Creole Seasoning on the table for garnish.

Serves 4.

Creole Seasoning

  • 2 tsp paprika (go for the good stuff)
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp dry basil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on the heat you like)

Mix all together and grind with a mortar and pestle or run through a spice grinder.  Add to tomato mixture.

*you can use dried beans, cooked and drained








Fall Menus: September Week One

If it’s a pizza photo, it has to be JeffreyW’s.

Fall is not quite here, so the menus still include grilling favorites.  Monday is Fruit Juice Marinated Chicken on the grill.  Tuesday is Pasta Rustica and Garlic Cheesy Bread.

For all of the PDF menus, click here: September Week One Menus

Thursday is Spicy Beef and Broccoli (photo above from JeffreyW) and Friday is a fun Kid’s Menu of fun and easy pizzas.

Complete shopping lists are here: September Week One Shopping List

Tonight’s bonus recipe is Blueberry Coffeecake

What’s on your plate for the holiday? Anyone else in denial it’s September already? If you have any questions about any of the recipes, let me know in the comments.

Bonus recipe:

Blueberry CoffeeCake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp cultured buttermilk powder (or 1 cup butter milk  & omit water)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 8 oz frozen blueberries

Topping:

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup flour

8×8 baking dish, greased

2 bowls

In bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, buttermilk and mix well. Make a well in the center add egg, water & oil. Stir quickly until all everything is mixed well, but don’t over mix. Fold in blueberries. Spread batter evenly in baking dish. In bowl, mix topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the top of batter. Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.








Summer Menus: August Week 3-4

I know I totally flaked out on you last week…so week 3 will be the last August menu and we’ll jump into September next week.Tonight’s bonus recipe is Veggie-Meatballs in Fire Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce is below.

This week takes advantage of the late-summer/early fall harvest.  Patty pan squash, nectarines, plums, peppers and tomatoes.

Click here for the menus PDF: August Week 3 Menus

Click here for this week’s shopping list: August Week 3 Shopping List

JeffreyW has some nice looking tomatoes, mine are still green on the vine. I’m prepared to survive any frost so they have time to ripen.

Bonus recipe:

Most of the recipes I looked at used Italian Breadcrumbs. But I really feel these need fresh breadcrumbs, so I’ve included instructions for making your own. I didn’t season mine because I didn’t want them to overpower the delicate flavors of the cheeses. Fresh breadcrumbs absorb flavors and moisture more than packaged ones, so I thought it gave the whole meatball a better, lighter texture. I added a bit of  garlic powder (fresh garlic did not work with this, it was overpowering and a touch bitter), basil, oregano and fennel. The fennel really took it up a notch. I think next time I might add a bit of red pepper flake.

Spinach and Ricotta Vegetarian Meatballs

  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (instructions below)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, asiago, romano cheese mix
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (not salt)
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 eggs, beaten

=======

  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, asiago, romano cheese
  • Olive oil

Breadcrumbs: this took a full 1-lb loaf of day-old Italian or French bread. I bought it from the day-old rack for cheap. I tore it into small pieces, spread out on a baking sheet and dried it in a 200 degree F oven for about 30 minutes. I didn’t want them toasted or seasoned because I thought it would overpower the delicate flavors of these meatballs. Once they were dried, I ran them through the blender. I reserved 1/4 cup for rolling the balls in before cooking.

Meatballs: Mix together ricotta, grated cheeses, spinach and spices. Add the eggs and mix well. Then add the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup at a time. You want it to come together to form soft balls, but you don’t want it to be dry. Once you can form a soft ball with some structure, you don’t need to add more breadcrumbs.

Scoop up a heaping tablespoon (I used my cookie dough scoop) and roll the mixture into balls.

Mix together 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup grated cheeses in a bowl and roll each meatball in the mixture, coating on all sides.

You can bake or pan fry these. I chose to pan fry, it used a bit of oil, but it gave them a nice flavor. Baking them would be my option if I was doubling the recipe.

To fry: heat olive oil in a skillet on medium and add the meatballs, leaving enough space between them to easily turn them. They are soft, so it’s a delicate process. The good news is, if you really want them round (instead of kind of flattened) you can reshape them after they come out of the pan. Turn them until they are golden brown on all sides.

To bake: place them on a well oiled baking sheet or use parchment paper. Brush them with a bit of oil if desired. Leave space around each one so they brown evenly and bake at 375 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. You can turn them halfway through if desired.

Fire Roasted Tomato and Basil Sauce

  • 28 oz fire roasted crushed tomatoes or better yet, click here to make your own.
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbsp fresh chopped)

Add ingredients in saucepan, bring to a low boil, reduce to low and let simmer while prepping meatballs.

Serve sauce and meatballs over your favorite pasta.

That’s it for this week. What do you have cooking as you wrap up another weekend?

 








Summer Menus: August Week 1

Tuesday’s recipe calls for Green Beans and Red Peppers, but if you’ve got an plethora of tomatoes, switch things up, as JeffreyW does in this yummy photo.

I love this time of year because of the abundance of fresh ingredients. This week’s menus rely heavily on farm stand fresh items. In addition to green beans, Tuesday has a quick and easy Pasta w/Fresh Basil.

JeffreyW’s tempting pasta

For a PDF of all this week’s menus, click here: August Week 1 Menus

Wednesday pairs up Grilled Steak and Collard Greens w/Bacon, finishing up with a perfect Apple/Blackberry Crisp.

Full shopping lists can be found here: August Week 1 Shopping List – don’t forget you can use the color coordinated list to customize it.

The week ends with Cheesy Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries.

Bonus recipe:

Stuffed Jalapeno Cheese Burgers

Stuffed Burger Final

Ingredients for each burger:

  • 4 oz ground beef
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed garlic (opt)
  • 1 oz sharp cheddar, sliced thin
  • 2 or more slices of pickled jalapenos

Mix salt, pepper and garlic into the ground beef. Form two, 2-oz patties. Place jalapenos on one burger, cheese on the other.

Prep2

Place the two sides together and seal the edges completely. Gently flatten the burger, but be careful because you don’t want the cheese busting out of the center

Prep1a

The key to grilling or frying these is low and slow. Medium heat seals them and allows the cheese to melt without drying the burger out. I flipped at the 5 minute mark, but depending on the heat, 3-4 minutes may be enough to flip. They’re thin, so the beef cooks quickly, but you want to make sure the cheese melts. I would say minimum 4 minutes per side.

If cheese starts to leak out, flip and flip again as needed. DON’T press down on these burgers while you grill, you’ll have a cheesy mess.

Now the warning. Did I say WARNING? Yes I did. You’ll need to rest these burgers to let the cheese cool a bit. Otherwise you could be biting into a scalding cheese center. You’ve been WARNED.

That’s the basics, now let your imagination run wild.

What’s on your plate this weekend? My birthday is tomorrow, so I’m headed up to the mountains for the second weekend in a row. For more of this:

That’s it for it this week. If you have any recipe questions, hit me up in the comments. – TaMara








A Saturday Night Snack: Bananas Foster Bread Pudding

Now we know why all the rum is gone…

Anyhow, TaMara is unavailable and asked if I’d fill in as the emergency backup food goddess. So I’ve gotten out the frilly apron, shined up the tiara, put on the oven mitts (which make it very hard to type), and we’re underway!

Yesterday I made a bananas foster bread pudding so I had just thing ready to go when called back to active duty.

Here’s a slice all set up for enjoyment served with salted caramel ice cream.

Ingredients

2 loaves of challah sliced regular

6 eggs

32 ounces of heavy whipping cream

1 cup of milk

2 cups of dark brown sugar

8 bananas

3 sticks of unsalted butter

Vanilla extract to taste

Rum to taste (or, if you prefer and don’t get hung up on tradition, bourbon) – the alcohol is optional if you want, prefer, and/or need to make a non-alcoholic version. I use a dark rum, but use whichever you prefer.

Directions: Bread Pudding

Let the challah sit a couple of days so it is just beginning to dry out and go stale. Then chop the challah into cubes and place in a very, very large mixing bowl. Combine the eggs, 1/2 the cream (16 ounces), the milk, 1/2 the sugar (1 cup), and vanilla extract to taste in a mixing bowl. Whisk until  everything is combined into a custard. Pour the custard over the cubed challah and mix it around to make sure all the bread is soaking up the custard. Set aside.

Directions: Bananas Foster

Peel and slice the bananas. In a large saute pan melt the three sticks of butter. Add the sliced bananas and allow them to begin to naturally caramelize in the butter. Once this happens add vanilla extract to taste and the remaining brown sugar (1 cup). Cook everything down until everything is well combined and a caramel is beginning to form. If adding alcohol, add the rum (or bourbon) to taste and continue to cook until the alcohol cooks off. Add the remaining cream (16 ounces), combining everything well, and then allow to cook down without breaking the caramel for several minutes. So this has to be watched, you can’t just walk away while it simmers.

One note: in a traditional Bananas Foster, as far as I know, you do not add cream to the caramel/rum sauce. I do it here because I want a slightly richer mouthfeel as I add it as a second custard to the bread pudding mix.

Here’s the Bananas Foster simmering away:

Directions: Banana Foster Bread Pudding

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take a 1/2 hotel pan or equivalent pyrex or aluminum foil pan and spray it with your preferred cooking spray or butter it to prevent sticking. Pour the bread pudding mix into the pan. Then pour the Bananas Foster over the bread pudding and mix to incorporate well. Cover the top of the baking pan with plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil. Don’t worry the plastic wrap won’t melt – it’s there to keep the bread pudding from drying out when baked.

Here’s what it looks like before it is wrapped and put in the oven:

Bake the bread pudding for an hour, then remove from the oven and cool. This is what it looks like after it has baked:

To Serve

The bread pudding can be served hot, warm, or cold. With ice cream, whipped cream, ice cream and whipped cream, or with more Bananas Foster spooned over the top. Or just plain.

As the base bread pudding recipe – the custard and bread mixture – is essentially a French toast/pan perdu, albeit diced up, a great way to serve it is to slice a couple of pieces and reheat them in a skillet in some melted butter as bread pudding French toast.

If you don’t like Bananas Foster, or bananas, or anyone named Foster (he knows what he did…), then you can skip that step completely. Or you can substitute a chocolate ganache for the bananas foster and make a chocolate swirl bread pudding. Or a caramel ganache. Or leave out the alcohol and substitute apples for the bananas and a make a caramel apple bread pudding. How you flavor the bread pudding is limited only by your imagination. And, perhaps, notions of decency and good taste…

And, obligatory:

Open thread!








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