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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Meal Plan: 12/19 - 12/25

I hope you enjoy this weeks menu.  We are looking forward to trying some new recipes!  This will be a crazy week for most, so the menu is a quick one, but healthy - most are from Cooking Light.

This week we I don't have eating out because I'm sure the restaurants are going to be insane.  I will let you know we really enjoyed visiting Varanese Restaurant for Mark's Birthday.  Our appetizer was Baked brie wrapped in puff pastry topped with caramel, toasted pecans and sliced apples - let me just say YUM!!!!  Mark had Turducken Served with Butternut Squash Hash, Sauted Haricot Verts and Cranberry Chutney Topped with a Rich Turducken Gravy and I had Tender grilled flat iron steak drizzled with a roasted garlic and boursin cheese demi and gratin potato.  For dessert they brought Mark a trio of bite sized desserts and then we ordered Mocha crème brulee, rich custard with a candied top accompanied by a spring roll stick filled with warm chocolate and caramel.  It was all mighty yummy!

Sorry it is out of order, after posting individually, I realized it didn't show Saturday.  So, I combined the easy ones and then it didn't put them in order.

Enjoy your week, Be thankful for your blessings both big & small, Love your family, and don't forget to play with your food!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday: Lemon-Basil Chicken with Basil Aioli

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and 1 tablespoon aioli)
Side Suggestions:  A salad and side of egg noodles complement the fresh lemon and basil flavors or basil & garlic flavors will pair nicely with this guest friendly dish.
Source: Cooking Light

  • 1/2  cup  chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3  cup  chopped green onions
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 2  tablespoons  white wine vinegar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  lemon pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 4  (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • Cooking spray
Basil Aioli:
  • 1/4  cup  finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2  tablespoons  low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  Dijon mustard
  • 3/4  teaspoon  bottled minced garlic
  • 1/2  teaspoon  olive oil
  1. To prepare chicken, combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken to basil mixture, turning to coat.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. 
  3. Add chicken to pan; cook 8 minutes on each side or until done.
  4. While chicken cooks, prepare aioli. Combine 1/4 cup basil and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Serve with chicken. 

Wednesday - Friday Night

  • Wednesday: Burger Night

    I haven't decided what type of burger we will have.  Be adventurous.  Have fun, make them sliders.  Serve with fried zucchini strips for a variation on fries
  • Thursday Night: Pasta Night

    I'll probably mix tomato sauce with some fettuccine sauce to make my own non-alcoholic vodka sauce and serve over whatever pasta is in the pantry. We'll serve with salad & bread. 
  • Friday: Pizza Night

    Not sure what type of pizza we will be enjoying, but I'll use leftover sauce from Pasta night and it will be on a crescent roll crust.

Monday: Prosciutto and Smoked Gouda Panini

Yield: 10 servings (serving size: 1 panino)
Note: You'll need to cook the panini in batches; keep cooked panini warm in a 250° oven. The sandwiches make hearty lunch fare on their own, or serve them with a tossed green salad or Chicken, Chickpea, and Zucchini Stew.
Source: Cooking Light
  • 20  (1-ounce) slices Italian bread
  • Cooking spray
  • 6  ounces  smoked Gouda cheese, thinly sliced
  • 6  ounces  thinly sliced prosciutto
  1. Coat 1 side of each bread slice with cooking spray. Place 10 bread slices, coated sides down, on a work surface. Divide cheese and prosciutto evenly among 10 bread slices. Top with remaining bread slices, coated sides up.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook panini 5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and cheese melts, pressing with a spatula to flatten.

Tuesday: Lime-Cilantro Pork Tacos

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 tacos)
Notes: Use the same pan to brown the pork and make the rave-worthy sauce. Browning the pork improves its color, and the browned bits enrich the sauce's flavor. Add more jalapeño pepper if you enjoy spicy food.
Serving Suggestions: Pineapple Salsa & Mexican Brown Rice (Brown Rice & Salsa)

 Wine Suggestions: Chardonnay

Source: Cooking Light
  • 1  pound  pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into thin strips
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  teaspoons  olive oil
  • 1 1/2  cups  thinly sliced onion
  • 1  small jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2  cup  chopped plum tomato
  • 3  tablespoons  chopped cilantro
  • 2 1/2  tablespoons  fresh lime juice
  • 8  (6-inch) flour tortillas
  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork with salt and black pepper. Add oil to pan. 
  2. Add pork, and sauté 4 minutes or until browned. Remove pork from pan; place in a bowl. 
  3. Add onion and jalapeño to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. 
  4. Add broth; reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in tomato; simmer 2 minutes.
  5. Return pork and accumulated juices to pan. Stir in cilantro and lime juice; cook 1 minute or until pork is done.
  6. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Spoon 1/2 cup pork mixture into each tortilla; roll up.

Saturday: Chicken Pesto Pinwheel (Appetizer)

We are heading to friends house Christmas night and we are supposed to bring an appetizer.  Mark also took this to work and it received RAVE reviews and it was requested I place on the blog...Here you go ladies!
Yields: 5 small flour tortillas

  • 5 small flour tortillas
  • 5 (un-breaded) chicken tenders, cooked & shredded
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto
  • 8 oz of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 head of roasted garlic (optional, Humana ladies this was not in the one I prepared for the office party. SORRY!)

  1. Mix cream cheese, pesto, garlic & chicken together.  
    • If you have time, allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Divide cream cheese mixture in 5ths and spread onto the tortilla.
    • If you placed in frig over night, warm slightly in the microwave for easier spreading. 
  3. Roll.
  4. Cut the ends off of each tortilla and then divide evenly into pinwheels. 
    • If you warmed the mixture in the microwave, place back into refrigerator before cutting for easier cutting.  Again, not necessary. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Meal Plan: 12/12 - 12/18

I hope you enjoy this weeks menu.  We are looking forward to trying these new recipes!

As always we will enjoy visiting one of our favorite restaurants around the Louisville area this week.   This week we will be visiting Varanese Restaurant for Mark's Birthday.

Enjoy your week, Be thankful for your blessings both big & small, Love your family, and don't forget to play with your food!

Roasted Garlic Pasta Bake

Preparation Time: 15 minutes, Start to finish: 35 minutes
Serving Ideas: salad, crusty bread with pesto & olive oil or balsamic vinegar & olive oil for dipping  

  • 8 oz. tri-colored rotini pasta, uncooked
  • 2 cups cut asparagus spears or small sugar snap peas
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% or whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 3/4 cups Sargento® Bistro® Blends Shredded Mozzarella & Asiago Cheese with Roasted Garlic (7 oz.) divided
  • 1 pkg. sliced fully cooked chicken sausage or 2 cups diced cooked ham (9 oz.)
  • paprika (optional)
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding asparagus during last 2 minutes of pasta cooking time.  
  2. Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; cook, stirring frequently until flour mixture is bubbly and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add milk and salt; bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Simmer uncovered 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in 1 cup of cheese until melted.
  3. Drain pasta and asparagus; return to same pot and add sausage and cheese sauce. Toss well and transfer to a greased shallow baking dish; top with remaining cheese. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.* Bake in preheated 375°F oven for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Crock pot Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

Start to finish: 4 hours

  • 30 oz package of plain frozen hash brown (shredded) potatoes
  • 4 already-been cooked sausage, or leftover diced ham (have fun with the sausage you use)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup skim or fat free milk
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  1. I used a 6 quart Smart-Pot for this recipe.
  2. Spray the inside of your crockpot with cooking spray. Dump in the whole package of hash browns. Spread them out with your fingers, and break up any clumps.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix the dozen eggs with the milk, salt and pepper, cheese, cut up sausage, and diced vegetables. Pour everything on top of the hash browns.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4. This is done when the eggs are fully cooked and the edges start to brown a bit. If you want the cheese to brown and get a bit crispy on the sides, cook it longer.


We all have our own fave recipe for chili....Enjoy!

Pesto Turkey Burgers

Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 10 minutes, Start to finish: 20 minutes
Pairs Well with: Sauvignon Blanc, Beer, Lemonade
Serving Ideas: sweet potato fries with honey

  • 1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. 
  2. Mix together ground turkey, pesto, garlic, feta cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt, and breadcrumbs in a bowl until evenly blended. Form into 4 patties. 
  3. Grill pesto burgers until no longer pink in the center, about 5 minutes per side. Sprinkle with seasoned salt halfway through cooking. 

Gouda-Stuffed Cajun Pork Chops with Caramelized Onions

Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 20 minutes, Start to finish: 35 minutes
Serving Ideas: roasted carrots

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 tsp. Cajun seasonings, divided
  • 4 bone-in center cut pork chops, about 1 inch thick
  • 4 slices Sargento® Deli Style Sliced Gouda Cheese
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  1. Heat oil and butter in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet (wrap handle in foil) over medium-high heat. Separate onion slices into rings; add to skillet. Cover; cook 3 minutes or until onions are wilted and beginnning to brown. Reduce heat, stir onions; cook uncovered 10 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Stir 1/4 tsp. of the Cajun seasonings into the onion; transfer to a small bowl and cool at least 5 minutes. (Do not wash skillet.)
  2. Cut a horizontal pocket in the side of each pork chop (or ask your meat retailer to do this for you). Spoon 1 Tbsp. of the onion onto center of each slice of cheese. Fold cheese over onion; stuff in pocket of pork chop and pinch edges together to close pockets. Sprinkle remaining 1 tsp. Cajun seasonings and oregano over chops.
  3. Place same skillet over medium-high heat. Add chops; cook 3 minutes per side or until browned. Spoon remaining onion over chops. Transfer skillet to a preheated 375°F oven. Bake until chops are no longer pink in center, 8 to 10 minutes depending on thickness of chops. Drizzle any juices from skillet over chops.

Paula Deen's Creamy Chicken Pot Pie

Servings: 8
Preparation Time: 10 minutes, Start to finish: 48 minutes
Notes: You can choose to substitute 2 cups chopped cooked ham for the chicken.

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, green beans, peas) thawed and drained
  • 1 tub PHILADELPHIA Savory Garlic Cooking Crème (10 oz.)
  • 1 ready-to-use refrigerated pie crust (1/2 of 15-oz. pkg.)
  1.  Heat oven to 400.
  2. Cook and stir chicken in large nonstick skillet on medium heat 5 to 6 min. or until chicken is lightly browned. Add vegetables; cook 1 to 2 min. or until heated through. Stir in cooking crème; spoon into 9-inch pie plate.
  3. Cover with crust; seal and flute edge. Cut several slits in crust. Place pie plate on baking sheet.
  4. Bake 25 to 30 min. or until golden brown.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Meal Plan 12/5 - 12/11

I hope you enjoy this weeks menu.  We are looking forward to trying these new recipes!

As always we will enjoy visiting one of our favorite restaurants around the Louisville area this week.  

Enjoy your week, Be thankful for your blessings both big & small, Love your family, and don't forget to play with your food!

Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach

Preparation Time: 15 minutes, Start to finish: 35 minutes
Serving Suggestions: Salad, Asparagus
Recipe Link 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bag frozen spinach (10-ounce) thawed and excess water squeezed out
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 4 center-cut pork chops (4-ounce)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  1. Warm the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook until combined, about 2 more minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the goat cheese and the cream cheese. Stir to combine and set aside.
  2. Use a sharp knife to cut a pocket into the thickest portion of the pork chop. Stuff each pocket with 1/4 of the spinach and sun-dried tomato mixture and close the pork around the stuffing. Season the outside of the pork with salt and pepper.
  3. In a small bowl combine the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard.
  4. Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add the pork. Cook until golden and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to a side dish and tent with foil to keep warm. Add the chicken broth mixture to the skillet over medium-high heat. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the chicken broth simmers. Reduce the broth by half to make a light sauce, about 8 minutes. Spoon some sauce over the pork before serving.

Grilled Flank Steak with Soy-Chili Glaze

Servings: 4
Serving Suggestions:   Carrot Risotto & Salad
Recipe Link
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 1/4 pounds flank steak
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Lime wedges
  1. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a small saucepan, heat the oil. Add the garlic and ginger and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic begins to turn golden. Add the soy sauce, sugar and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until syrupy, about 3 minutes; let cool.
  2. Season the steak with salt and pepper. Grill the steak for 10 minutes for medium-rare meat, turning once; during the last minute, brush all but 2 tablespoons of the glaze over the steak. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Thinly slice the steak and brush with the reserved 2 tablespoons of glaze. Transfer to a platter and serve with lime wedges.

Pat's King of Steaks Philadelphia Cheese Steak

Servings: 4
Start to finish: 15 minutes
Serving Suggestions:  Alexia Sweet Potato Fries (coupon on website)
Source: Recipe courtesy Pat's King of Steaks
Recipe Link

  • 6 tablespoons Soya bean oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 24 ounces sliced rib eye or eye roll steak
  • Cheese (store processed recommended), American or Provolone
  • 4 crusty Italian Rolls
  • Sweet green and red peppers, sauteed in oil (optional)
  • Mushrooms sauteed in oil (optional)
  • Ketchup (optional)
  1. Heat an iron skillet or a non-stick pan over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of oil to the pan and saute the onions to desired doneness. Remove the onions and add the remaining oil and saute the slices of meat quickly on both sides. 
  2. Melt the cheez whiz in a double boiler or in the microwave. 
  3. Place 8 ounces of the meat into the rolls, add onions, and pour the store-processed cheese over top. 
  4. Garnish with sweet peppers, mushrooms, ketchup.

BBQ Chicken Casserole

Start to finish: 45 minutes
Serves: 4
Serving Suggestions: Carrots
Recipe Link

The barbeque sauce is the primary seasoning here, so choose one you love.

  • 1 pkg. Hash Browns (or 20 oz. potatoes, peeled and shredded)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • Time Saver Tip: Purchase the hash browns with the onions included
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
    • Time Saver Tip: Use pre-cooked chicken
  • 1 1/4 c. bbq sauce, or more to taste
  • Fresh cilantro (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400-degrees. In a medium bowl, combine hash browns, onion, oil, salt and pepper and mix well. Spread the mixture in the bottom of a 9x13-baking dish. Top with chicken breasts; spread bbq sauce evenly over chicken. 
  2. Bake until chicken is no longer pink, about 45 minutes.  OR  if you are using precooked chicken, cook till the hash browns are cooked through.

Inside Out Burger

Preparation Time: 15 minutes, Start to finish: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Serving Sides: Salad
Recipe Link

  • 6 slices bacon, cut into bite size pieces
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 ounces Swiss cheese, cubed
  • 4 sesame seed buns
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil  (find out more about grapeseed oil)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Place the bacon in a large saute pan and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Set the mushrooms aside to cool in a bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the beef, shallot, black pepper, salt, and Worcestershire. Separate the mixture into 4 equal portions. Divide each portion into 2 separate patties.
  4. Combine the cheese into the cooled mushrooms and bacon mixture. Take 1 patty and top with 2-ounces of the filling. Place another patty on top and pinch around the edges to make sure that the filling is totally covered. Make the rest of the patties the same way.
  5. Over medium-high heat, heat a large skillet with grapeseed oil. Once hot, add the burgers and cook for 2 minutes per side. Place the pan into the oven and cook for 4 to 6 more minutes for medium burgers.
  6. Remove from the oven and serve on a sesame seed bun.