Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Easy Dinner Menus for the First Week in May

I sat down to make menus this morning so that I could go shopping while my three year old was in preschool. She was having a hard morning, so after I hand fed her breakfast I told her to go snuggle in her bed. When I went to get her dressed she was fast asleep. The poor little thing. At least I gave her the choice to either go to preschool or get in bed. She is still asleep and since I can't grocery shop I thought I would post my menu with links to the recipes. I don't feel great this morning and posting is much easier than cleaning the house.

These are in no particular order. I tried to use some things that are on sale and economize in other ways.

Mediterranean Burgers (I posted the recipe a few posts back) with oven fries--I wash some potatoes, put them through my french fry attachment to my Bosch, then I put them in a large ziploc with about 2 T canola oil on them and shake them. I dump them onto a large, greased cookie sheet and sprinkle them with some Johny's Seasoning Salt from Costco. "It's pure magic!!" I bake them at 475 for about 1/2 hour, turning once after 20 minutes or so.

Omelets with toast or flat bread--I am going to use ham chunks, cheese, tomatoes, fresh herbs, avocado, sour cream etc. Then I just let everyone pick what they want. I cook flat bread on my griddle using flattened pieces of well floured artisan bread.

Strawberry Chicken Salad with artisan bread
I am going to substitute feta for the blue cheese.

Curried Chicken Sandwiches
From Sunset--May 2009 page 106
Lightly season mayonnaise with curry powder. Toast sliced sourdough bread and spread half the slices with your favorite mango chutney (I like Patak's brand) and the rest with the curry mayo. Arrange sliced grilled chicken, baby spinach leaves, and sliced English cucumber on half of bread. Top with remaining bread.
I will probably have fresh mangos, or maybe apricot lassis with these sandwiches. To make an apricot lassi I take 1 1/2 C plain yogurt, 1 can apricot nectar, honey to taste, about 8 ice cubes, throw it all in the blender and blend it up. You can make any flavor by changing the nectar flavor. I bottled peach and apricot nectar in pint jars last year, so that is what I will use.

Ginger Beef Salad with Miso Vinaigrette and artisan bread and fresh fruit.

Bistro Chicken Pasta Salad with bottled fruit salad (I mix peaches and pears--including the juice--with lots of frozen blackberries).

--I am going to buy one big thing of plain Feta at Costco or Sams Club and use it in the pasta salad, strawberry salad, and Mediterranean burgers.

I bought the Top Sirloin Steak for $2.89 a pound at Buy Low and am substituting it for Flank Steak in Ginger Beef Salad with Miso Vinaigrette. I bought extra to freeze for other easy meals.

From my artisan bread dough I am going to make pitas for the burgers, bread for the Curry Chicken sandwiches, flat bread, grill bread, boule shaped bread to go with the salads, etc. It is really easy--I promise.

Strawberries are in season and therefore inexpensive.

I am going to use 1 rotisserie chicken from Costco for all the recipes with chicken even if they say to use grilled chicken instead.

I am using things I have bottled or frozen for side dishes.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chicken Quesadillas with Mango Salsa

My belly is so big that it is hard for me to cook. I am in need of a lot of easy dinners because I still have at least 8 weeks until this baby comes. I went grocery shopping at Buy Low last week and found lots of ripe mangos on sale as well as some avocados. Spencer reminded me of this recipe. I change it a bit depending on the ingredients I have. This is the first time I have used avocados in it. I usually put in steamed asparagus. Getting back to easy, I just used what I had. It was good, so I thought I would share it. I would love other easy (summer) dinner ideas from any of you.

Mango Salsa:

2 ripe Mangos cut into medium chunks. If you don't know how to cut a mango check out this clip.

2 ripe avocados cut into medium chunks.

3 T fresh chives--chopped (or any other kind of onion that sounds good to you--red, sweet, green)

Juice from 1/2 lemon or a whole lime

If I don't use chives I put in some chopped cilantro along with the onion.

Salt to taste


Cheddar and/or mozerella cheese--as much as you want


Sliced Grilled chicken--I put some KC masterpiece seasoning on two small breasts and cooked them on our BBQ. It was enough for two adults and three kids.

BBQ sauce to taste. I like a medium amount. Too much drowns out the salsa.

Make the quesadillas with the cheese, BBQ sauce and chicken in the middle. Serve with the salsa. We had home-made grape juice with this and that was it.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Asian Slaw

This is my version of Asian Slaw. It is really fresh tasting, especially if you grate/slice your own head of cabbage. It is also pretty inexpensive to make. If I am feeling poor and get invited to a pot-luck or asked to bring a salad to a party then I will often make it. It is always a winner. Last night we ate it alongside Lemongrass Pork Sandwiches.

Asian Slaw

1/2 head cabbage--sliced fine (I put mine through my Bosch or Cuisinart slicer, but it isn't hard to do by hand.)

2 carrots--peeled and grated

3 T regular or black sesame seeds--toasted (I use my toaster oven, but you could do it in a pan or your oven. The cheapest place I have found to buy sesame seeds is the bulk section of Good Earth. They keep for quite awhile, so stock up!!)

This is the dressing I use. It comes together quickly, so don't be intimidated.

Sweet Sour French Dressing yield 1 1/4 C
From Mormon Country Cooking by Winnifred Jardine

1/2 C sugar
1/4 C wine or apple cider vinegar
1/4 C fresh lemon juice
1 T onion, grated (I grate mine on my microplane.)
1/3 C canola oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp celery salt (I leave this out if I don't have it.)

In a small saucepan combine sugar and vinegar; cook just until sugar dissolves. In a pint jar combine sugar-vinegar mixture, lemon juice, onion, oil, and seasonings. Cover; shake thoroughly. Shake again before serving. Also good on fruit salad or melon.

Combine cabbage, carrots, and sesame seeds. Just before serving, add dressing to taste (about 1/2 C). This recipe can be easily doubled or even tripled without having to make extra dressing.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Mediterranean Burgers

Some day I am going to travel to Greece. I think I would like to go on a cruise of the islands and then pick my favorite one and stay in a villa by the sea side for the whole summer. I will hire a Greek chef who will cook for me and teach me how to make wonderful recipes (in between sitting on the beach, taking walks among ruins, and swimming/boating of course). Friends and family will be welcome to come stay for as long as they like. Until then I am going to make yummy recipes like these and pretend;).

Mediterranean Burgers

My Mom thinks she got this recipe from me. I can't remember.

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1 cup yogurt

½ teaspoon cumin

1 pound lean ground beef or lamb

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

1/4 cup minced green onion

1/4 cup cilantro, minced

Garlic salt--to taste

Hot sauce--to taste

2 pita rounds

Thin slices peeled cucumber

Lettuce leaves

Combine first 3 ingredients; blend well; chill 1 hour. Combine next 6 ingredients. Shape into 4 patties ½-inch thick. Grill or broil for 6 to 7 minutes on each side till done. Serve patties in pita halves with cucumber, lettuce leaves and about 2 teaspoons feta-yogurt mixture.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tzatziki and "Chicken Kababs"

I made this recipe a little bit ago and it was the best Tzatziki I have ever had. I didn't have any of the Ouzo (Greek alcohol) so I left it out. I also substituted 2 tsp. dry dill for the fresh. I strained a 32oz. container of plain yogurt in a colander for about 8 hours (turning it with a spatula after 4 hours) because there wasn't any Greek yogurt at the grocery store I went to. Despite the modifications it was fabulous. Creamy and almost cheese-like with a great flavor. We had it with this version of "chicken kababs" and grill bread (flat bread made on the grill with artisan bread dough). I used 1/3 C of the strained yogurt in the marinade before putting the rest in the tzatziki. The whole meal was really good. If you don't want to make grill bread then just buy some thick flat bread. Now that I have been thinking about it I am going to have to make it again soon.

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