meal plan . . . 1/5/14

Here is what I cooked last week.  This is a great way for me to comment on the recipes, fix them up a little bit and let you know if our crew ate what I cooked.

MONDAY - Supreme Sicilian Lasagna & Kale Salad

I got the recipe from a Sandra Lee magazine and it was good, accept for onions there were not any vegetables and the preparation of the lasagna wasn't easy.  So here is my version, I added vegetables.  My kale salad was great and even eaten by a 5 year old, 2-4 year olds, a 3 year old and a 2 year old . . . plus 4 adults (you can find that recipe below the lasagna recipe).  Serves 6-8.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups spinach, diced
  • 1/4 cup almonds, sliced, diced or crushed
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 30 ounces ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T italian seasoning
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 4 cups shredded italian cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 jars (26 ounces) mushroom & olive pasta sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine (Marsala is a great choice)
  • 1 T garlic

HOW YOU MAKE IT:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.  Coat 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large pan brown ground beef.  Then add onions for two minutes.  And then add spinach for one minute, removed from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl stir together ricotta, eggs, italian seasoning, salt, 3 cups of italian shredded cheese and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.
  4. In another bowl mix together pasta sauce, wine and garlic.
  5. To assemble, pour 2 cups of sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Spread half of ricotta mixture over four pasta noodles and place in baking dish.  Cover with half of the beef mixture and cover with 2 cups of pasta sauce mixture.
  6. repeat step 5.
  7. Top with four more noodles, pour any extra sauce over the top and cover with the rest of the cheeses.
  8. Spray a large piece of tin foil with cooking spray and cover lasagna.  Place lasagna on a cookie sheet (if you have one larger than the baking dish) to collect any dripping during cooking.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.  Remove foil and bake until top is browned, 10 minutes.  Let cool 15 minutes.

KALE SALAD -  I just made this up.  As usual I squeeze in veggies whenever possible.

  • 1 bunch of kale, diced
  • 1/2 cup cranraisins
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (or don't toast them)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup green onion, diced
  • Catalina dressing

Mix it all together.  Add as much dressing as you would like.  Serve.

TUESDAY - we went out to dinner . . . NEW YEAR'S EVE . . .

WEDNESDAY - tacos and cucumber salad

I just did the typical tacos.  Browned the ground beef and threw in a couple cups of diced spinach at the end with the taco seasoning.  Then I assembled the tacos; iceberg lettuce, shredded cheddar and taco shells.

I also made a cucumber and tofu salad.  Serves 8.  Here's the recipe . . .

  • 3 cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • handful of cilantro, diced
  • 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 T salt
  • 1 brick of firm tofu, diced

HOW TO MAKE IT . . .

  1. Put the diced tofu in a pan with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with ground pepper, generously.  Fry until golden brown.  Set aside to cool
  2. To make dressing whisk together lemon juice, lime juice, olive oil and salt.
  3. Combine cilantro, cucumbers and dressing.  Let that marinate for 20 minutes.
  4. Combine the tofu and serve.

CROCK POT PORK CHOPS

My Aunt Pat gave me this recipe and I have posted it before.  The picture isn't great, but the food is delicious.  I served it with a green salad.  Serves 6.

Braised Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

Screen shot 2013-11-10 at 3.45.07 PM

Servings:4-6

Difficulty: Easy

Cook Time: 30 min + 4 hours in slow cooker (crock pot)

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 6 center-cut pork chops, 1/2 inch thick (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all- purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions cut into 1/4- inch slices
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low- sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into 1/4- inch slices, sprinkled with lemon juice to prevent browning if sliced ahead
  • ·  Cooking Directions

Combine the kosher salt, paprika, and cayenne and mix well. Using paper towels, lightly pat the pork chops dry, then season the chops on both sides with the salt mixture. Lightly dredge the pork chops in 1/4 cup of the flour.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium- high heat. Add the pork chops, 2 at a time, and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the pork chops to the crock of a 6- quart slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining pork chops, adding a tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan with each batch.

Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil to the pan along with the onions and season with a pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring, for 30 seconds, scraping to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Turn the heat down to medium. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is lightly browned and smells nutty. Whisk in the stock and apple juice, bring to a boil, and cook until the mixture has thickened, about 1 minute. Pour over the pork chops and add the caraway seeds, bay leaves, 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, and half of the herbs. Top with the onions, then cover the slow cooker.

Set the temperature to high and cook until the pork chops are very tender, about 4 hours. Check the pork chops once or twice during cooking, gently shifting them around in the crock so that they are evenly submerged in the cooking liquid to promote even cooking. During the last 45 minutes, push the onions aside and layer with the apples. Cover the apples with the onions and finish cooking. Remove the bay leaves. Sprinkle with the remaining herbs and serve hot with a side of your choice.

FRIDAY night . . .

I thought about dinner all day long and I knew what was on the meal plan, but I intentionally didn't get around to it.  I knew the meal I was cooking was too spicy for the kids, it needed 3 1/2 hours in the crock pot and then another 45 minutes.  David was going to be home at 3:00 (super early for him) so I wanted to be flexible if we all wanted to go do something.  So I made nothing.  At 4:30PM somebody asked what was for dinner, I told them I didn't know . . . David went and picked up three large pizzas.  We did not eat them wall, we just froze the leftovers.  The slices are great to pull out for lunch or a quick dinner.

SATURDAY . . . the meal I was suppose to prepare last night.  CROCK POT anyone?

I knew this meal was going to be too spicy for the kids, but it still looked so good I wanted to make it anyway.  It's called Chicken Stew (boring name) and I got the recipe from Good Housekeeping.  In the recipe it says to cook the noodles in the crock pot which is why I wanted to try the recipe (I thought that was interesting).  I also thought the sauce looked delicious.  Cooking the noodles in the sauce was not worth the time, they were big and soggy, and with the noodles mixed in you can't freeze the chicken to use in something else . . . so here is my version of the recipe.  I just served this recipe solo over pasta, no side dish, no salad, no nothing.

The Good Housekeeping recipe makes eight servings when served with pasta.  But, you don't have to serve the chicken with noodles and it makes four servings.  Or you can use the chicken in tacos and freeze the sauce to put on noodles (add black beans) at a later date.

CROCK POT CHICKEN STEW

  • 1 - 28 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 green onions, cut into thirds
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (you can find this near the salsa in all grocery stores)
  • 2 T of the adobo sauce from the can (freeze the cans leftovers for soup, chili, marinade)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 t ground cumin

Mix all the above ingredients in a food processor and pour into your crock pot.

  • 1 1 /4 - 2 pounds chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup diced cilantro
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 cup jack cheese, finely grated (or just buy the store bought grated jack cheese)

Add the chicken to your crock pot, turn to low and cook for 3 1/2 hours.  Serve over pasta, rice, couscous, black beans or alone and top with green onions, cilantro and jack cheese.

SUNDAY . . .

I think we are going out to dinner tonight.

Have a great rest of your weekend everyone.  Stay warm!  XO