Tuesday, September 4, 2012

dinner menu. week of september 3, 2012

The goal before our big trip in October is to clean out the freezer! Every dinner must use at least one item currently on hand, whenever possible!

MONDAY (Labor Day)
Filet Mignon
Butternut squash & potato puree
Garlic green beans

Swiss Cheese and Chicken Casserole
Roasted brussel sprouts

Chicken Turnovers
Glazed carrots

Sausage & tri-color bell pepper pasta
Garlic toast

Burger sliders
Sweet potato fries

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

white elephant - girlfriends and cocktails!

I am posting some of the recipes I prepared for my book club pals for our White Elephant party. Such a fun night with fun ladies!

Caramelized Apple and Onion Tarts
(Original recipe courtesy of Real Simple Magazine, but I modified it a little)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
2 red apples (such as Braeburn or Gala), cut into small pieces
kosher salt and black pepper
1 sheets frozen puff pastry (from a 17.3-ounce package), thawed
1/2 C sour cream
1/4 C crumbled gorganzola or blue cheese

1.Heat oven to 400º F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the apples, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until just tender, 2 minutes.
2.Place each sheet of pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet and prick all over with a fork. Spread with the crème fraîche, leaving a ½-inch border. Top with the onion mixture and bake 15 minutes. Sprinkle with blue cheese and return to oven and contiune baking until the pastry is crisp and browned, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Cut into pieces before serving.

Artichoke Cheese Tarts
12 round wonton wrappers
1 container Boursin or Allouette garlic/herb cheese spread
1 egg
1/4 C chopped marinated artichoke hearts + 1 T marinade
2 T chopped sun dried tomatoes
1/2 T fresh snipped chives

Spray 12 mini muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray. Press wonton wrappers into each. Sitr togther remaining ingredients. Spoon into wontons and bake for 10-15 minutes or until edges are brown and cheese is set.

Pecan-Caramel Tarts
1 pkg. Athens mini filo dough shells (15 per pack)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened (maybe a little less)
1/2 C brown sugar
2 T butter
1 t vanilla
Kraft caramel bits (5-6 bits per shell)
2 oz. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Press about 1t of cream cheese into the bottom of each shell. In a small bowl, melt the butter; add the brown sugar and vanilla and mix well. Spoon about 1/2t of the butter mixture over the cream cheese. Sprinkle 5-6 bits into each shell. Next, sprinkle with chopped pecans. Bake for 7-12 minutes until shells are lightly browned and caramel bits have melted.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

easy crock pot french dip

This is simmering in the crock-pot right now. The boys just came in from school and Jason said "Oooh, mom! What's for dinner??" It smells divine!

Crock Pot French Dip
4 pounds rump roast
1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed French onion soup
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
6 French rolls
2 tablespoons butter

Trim excess fat from the rump roast, and place in a slow cooker. Add the beef broth, onion soup and beer. Cook on Low setting for 7 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Split French rolls, and spread with butter. Bake 10 minutes, or until heated through.

Slice the meat on the diagonal, and place on the rolls. Serve the sauce for dipping.

Monday, September 19, 2011

kevin's birthday dinner

Kevin requested pork chops for his birthday celebration dinner tonight. I remembered this recipe I made awhile back that was delicious! I am serving it with butternut squash & potato mash and a simple green salad. We also surprised him with his favorite applesauce cookies...It's going to be yummy!

Cider Brined Pork Chops with Creamed Leeks and Apples
(Courtesy of http://www.epicurious.com/)
4 1/4 cups apple cider
3 tablespoons coarse salt
6 allspice berries (I omit)
1 bay leaf
4 10-ounce bone-in center-cut pork rib chops

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
5 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
1 cup whipping cream

1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, halved, each half cut into 4 wedges
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1/3 cup Calvados (apple flavored brandy)

Olive oil

Bring 4 cups cider, salt, allspice, and bay leaf to boil in large saucepan, stirring to dissolve salt. Cool completely. Place pork in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Pour brine over. Cover; refrigerate overnight.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks; sauté until tender, about 7 minutes. Add cream and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Creamed leeks can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add apples and sauté 10 minutes. Add sugar and sauté until apples are golden, about 6 minutes longer. Add stock, then Calvados and remaining 1/4 cup cider. Simmer until liquid thickens slightly and apples are tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Prepare barbecue (medium heat) or preheat broiler. Drain pork. Rinse under cold water; pat dry. Brush pork with oil. Grill or broil to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium.

Meanwhile, rewarm leeks, thinning with 1 to 3 tablespoons water if necessary. Bring apples to simmer. Spoon leeks onto plates. Top with pork, then apples.

Applesauce Cookies with Browned Butter Glaze
(Courtesy of http://www.best-ever-cookie-collection.com)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup applesauce

Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Line cookies with silicone liners, nonstick foil, or parchment paper. Alternatively, use ungreased cookie sheets to bake your cookies. In a medium size bowl whisk the flours, spices, baking soda, and salt until well blended and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Beat in the egg and applesauce then stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake until no indentation remains when touched and light golden brown around the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack with a spatula.
Ice cookies if desired.

Browned Butter Glaze
Heat 1/3 cup butter over low heat until golden brown; remove from heat. Stir in 2 cups powdered sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat in 2 to 4 tablespoons hot water until smooth and of desired consistency for spreading.

Friday, September 16, 2011

target sliders. yum!

Last night was an delicious easy, breezy weekend night dinner that all three of my men raved about. Target has packaged, preformed sliders, $4.99 for 8. I chopped an onion and carmelized it in a little butter and oil. And in another skillet, I pan-fried the sliders, sprinkling with a little Montreal Steak Seasoning. I paired with TJ's sweet potato fries, carrots & ranch and grapes. I served the sliders on mini Hawaiian rolls with lettuce, tomato and the grilled onions and let everyone pick their own cheese...J and I loved the gorganzola! Yum-o!

Friday, September 2, 2011

labor day weekend

We are headed to the Monterey Peninsula with some friends for the weekend. The weather is supposed to be beautiful! Looking forward to sipping some good wine and having some chill time at the beach. We are keeping the meals simple, simple. I am marinating the meat today for dinner tomorrow night. This marinade is always a hit. So simple and delicious. I usually cut down the amount of salt by using garlic powder instead of garlic salt.

Marinated Trip-Tip (courtesy of http://www.foodtv.com/)
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup soybean oil
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup black pepper
1/2 cup garlic salt (recommended: Lawry's)
1/2 cup chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped dried onions
2 (4-pound) tri-tips, trimmed
To make the marinade, mix all of the ingredients except for the beef in a large mixing bowl. Place the trimmed tri-tips in a plastic container and pour the marinade over. Let stand in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.

Heat grill to medium temperature.

Place tri-tips on grill at a 45 degree angle to establish grill marks and cook about 35 minutes, or until cooked to desired doneness. Remove the tri-tips from the grill and let rest about 2 to 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with your favorite side dishes.

Ore Ida Potato Casserole (courtesy of http://www.food.com/)
2 lb. bag frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 pt. sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
10 oz. grated Cheddar cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3/4 c. butter, melted
2 c. crushed corn flakes

Mix all ingredients together (except corn flakes) using one-half of the melted butter. Place in 9x13 pan. Mix remaining melted butter with corn flakes and spread over mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

crock-pot balsamic chicken

I came across this recipe on a Facebook message board today. I had all of the ingredients on-hand, so thought I'd give it a try

Balsamic Chicken
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes (or 1 28 oz. can)
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced (or more to taste)
1/2 C balsamic vinegar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 t each: dried oregano, basil, rosemary
1/2 t dried thyme (or substitute all herbs with 3t Italian seasoning)
salt & pepper to taste

Pour the EVOO in the bottom of a crock pot. Add chicken breasts, seasoning each with salt & pepper. Place sliced onion on top of chicken. Sprinkle with dried herbs and garlic. Pour vinegar and tomatoes over the chicken.

Cook on high 4 hours. Serve over angel hair pasta.