Monday, May 21, 2012

Menu in Review: May 6-20

In a way to make it easier for me to share yummy (new) recipes that we had during the week, I thought that it would work better for me to do one large post at the end of every week, entitled "Menu in Review." That way, I don't have to write a post for each. Here we go:

The last time I posted a meal plan, it was for the last 2 weeks. Here was our menu:

Monday: Spicy Chicken Rigatoni (This item keeps getting pushed back, but we WILL be for sure eating it)
Wednesday: Spaghetti with garden salad and Mediterranean Sourdough Bread
Friday: Leftover Night
Sunday: BJ's White Shark copy cat Pizza
Monday: Mushroom Stuffed Chicken w/ whole wheat egg noodles and a veggie
Wednesday: Bourbon Chicken with Brown Rice and Asian Green Bean Stir Fry
Thursday: Balsamic Pork Chops Marinade with Whole Wheat Couscous and veggie
Friday: Leftover Night
Saturday: Hawaiian Whole Wheat Pizza
Sunday: Turkey Vegetable Crockpot Soup 
I won't go over everything, just the new hits.
Ingredients:
12 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
6 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 1/2 teaspoons cold water
Hot cooked long grain rice (I made Edamame Fried Rice to go with; yumm!)

Directions:
  1. Place chicken in a 4 qt. slow cooker.  
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, soy sauce, cider vinegar, ginger, garlic and pepper. 
  3.  Pour over chicken.  
  4. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or until chicken is tender.  
  5. Remove chicken to a serving platter; keep warm.  
  6. Skim fat from cooking liquid. 
  7. Place liquid in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  
  8.  Combine cornstarch and water until smooth.  
  9. Gradually stir into liquid and stir until sauce is thickened.  
  10. Serve with chicken and rice.
I didn't differ much from this original recipe. It turned out really great and the Edamame Fried rice was a VERY good substitution for plain brown rice. I've made just regular fried rice before, but this was even better! Here is the recipe for it (super easy to do!). 

*from skinnytaste.com*
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups leftover cooked brown rice
  • 2 egg whites, scrambled
  • 1 whole egg, scrambled 
  • 1 tbsp Smart Balance oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced 
  • 5 scallions, chopped, whites and greens separated
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup ready-to-eat shelled edamame
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce, tamari for gluten free (or more to taste)
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
Instructions:
  1. Whisk eggs and egg whites, season with salt and pepper. 
  2. In a hot wok, spray a little oil and cook the eggs. 
  3. When cooked, remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Let the wok get really hot.  
  5. Add oil and cook onions, scallion whites, carrots and garlic for about 30-60 seconds, careful not to burn.
  6. Add brown rice and stir well a few minutes to heat through. 
  7. Add cooked egg along with soy sauce, scallion greens and edamame, mixing well for about 3-4 minutes.   
 **Stats on the meal: SUCCESS. 
Will appear on the menu again sometime. 
VERY good flavor!**


*From Rachelraymag.com*
Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 hass avocado, thinly sliced lengthwise into 12 pieces
  • Crushed tortilla chips
Instructions:
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, lower the heat to medium and cook until the onion begins to brown, about 7 minutes. Increase the heat to high, push the vegetables to the side of the pan, add the chicken and cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chipotles and adobo sauce, then stir in the chicken broth. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, skimming any foam. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place 2 avocado slices in each of 6 soup bowls and pour in the soup. Top with the tortilla chips.

**Stats on meal: SPICY!! However, we both enjoy spicy, so it was a hit for us. Besides it being spicy (which you could tame down) it had lots of complimenting flavors. It was VERY easy to make too. The only negative thing Adam said about the soup was that it needed more added fillings to make him full. Nothing new from a guys perspective on soup. ;) **
*From backtoherroots.com*
 Ingredients:
  • 12 ounces whole wheat penne
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes (about 1/2 lb.) chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 10 ounces medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/3 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
 Instructions:
  1. Cook penne according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet with a lid, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add in garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for 2 minutes or until garlic begins to soften.
  3. Add in mushrooms, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until mushrooms begin to release their water.
  4. Turn heat up to medium-high and add in shrimp. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until shrimp are pink and opaque. Remove from heat, add in spinach and cover skillet. Let spinach wilt for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and place skillet back over low heat. Add the penne, Greek yogurt and pasta sauce. Stir until sauce is mixed well and all pasta and veggies are coated. Heat until just warmed through. Divide into pasta bowls and serve topped with parmesan cheese.
 **Stats on meal: This wasn't Adam's favorite pasta that I have made, 
but it wasn't bad. I on the other hand really enjoyed this pasta. SO GOOD!!**

New hit #4: Mushroom Stuffed Chicken
*From my recipes.com*
Ingredients:
  • 2 (1-ounce) slices white bread, torn 
  • Cooking spray 
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions 
  • 8 ounces presliced mushrooms 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
 Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2.  Pulse bread in a food processor to form fine crumbs. Place in a dish.
  3.  Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onions and mushrooms; sauté 10 minutes. Stir in thyme and garlic. Cool mixture 10 minutes; stir in cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  4.  Cut a slit through thickest portion of each breast half to form a pocket. Stuff each with 1/4 cup mushroom mixture. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Place eggs in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour. Dip in eggs; dredge in breadcrumbs.
  5. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Place pan in oven. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°.
 **Stats on meal: We both liked the meal, however, the chicken breasts that I had bought we awkward in shape and didn't have much room to have an even layer all the way through for the stuffing, so we only had the stuffing in half of the chicken (or it would have torn). I didn't mind it, but that was a problem for Adam. But it wasn't bad. The flavor was good!**

*From melskitchencafe.com*
Ingredients:
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1-2 lemons)
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, finely minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2-4 chicken breasts

Instructions:
 Combine all ingredients except chicken in a mixing bowl or large airtight plastic bag. Whisk or shake well until the marinade is well mixed. Add the chicken breasts to the bowl or plastic bag so that they are covered by the marinade. If using a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap. If using a plastic bag, press out all the excess air and seal the bag tightly. Refrigerate and marinate up to 10 hours (I would suggest marinading for at least 3 hours at the minimum).

I used the baking method on the site, since we don't have a grill (yet):
 When ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and pour the excess marinade over them. Bake in the oven until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165° F, about 45 minutes (exact baking time will depend on the size of your chicken pieces.) Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Of course we had to have a fun side with this entree, so I made
Ingredients:
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 firm-ripe medium avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced into 1/2-in. wedges

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 450.
Coat avocado slices in the four, then egg, then panko. Spread on a cooling rack that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, then place on a cookie sheet.  Spray the top of the wedges with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, then bake for about 20 minutes at 450, or until they are golden brown (I turned my oven up to 500 for the last 5 minutes).

I served them with this easy sauce I found, which turned out to be the perfect dipping sauce for them:
5 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Juice from 1/2 of Lemon
(blend)


**Meal stats: Holy Guacamole this was a delicious meal!! Since I've been an avocado girl since birth, this meal was right for me! Adam LOVED the flavor of the chicken and couldn't get enough of it! He was unsure about the avocado fries, but they turned out SO good. For the amount of avocado it calls for in the recipe, you actually get quite a bit of fries. YUMMY!!**

 *From bigoven.com*
Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs Chicken Breasts, cut into pieces
  • 1 Tb. Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic Clove, crushed
  • 1/4 Tsp. Ginger
  • 3/4 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Juice
  • 1/3 Cup light brown sugar
  • 2 Tb. Ketchup
  • 1 Tb. Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup water
  • 1/3 Cup light Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tb. Cornstarch
Instructions:
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.
  3. Remove chicken.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium heat until well blended and dissolved.
  5. Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.
  7. Serve over hot rice.
 **Meal Stats: This was a delicious meal, with great flavor all around!
 So good and so easy! Adam loved it!**

For breakfast last Saturday, I made a new treat for us:
 *From: Sweetpeaskitchen.com*
For the Muffins:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
For the Glaze:
  • 3 tablespoons butter; melted
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar; sifted
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
 Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with muffin liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, vegetable oil, and sugars till smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. With the mixer on low speed, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and vanilla until just combined. Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
  3. Spoon batter into cups, filling the cups, and smooth tops. Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups. Bake until muffin tops are a pale golden and springy to the touch, 15 to 17 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 10 minutes before glazing.
  4. To make the glaze, In a medium bowl mix together the melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and water. Whisk until smooth.
  5. When muffins have cooled slightly, dip the muffin crown into the glaze and allow the glaze to harden. Once hardened, dip a second time  and allow to harden then serve.
 **These didn't turn out tasting liked I had hoped (maybe I had placed really high hopes on them), 
so that was a big disappointment for me. 
With that said, they weren't bad. Oh well.**

Sorry for the large post, but it's due to our menu being 2 weeks long. Next week's review will be smaller since we won't be here next weekend **SO EXCITED for our mini-vaca in Seattle/Tacoma!!** So I only planned one week's menu. Here it goes:

Sunday: Penne Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce
Tuesday: Lemon Garlic Shrimp & Veggies with couscous
Thursday: Hawaiian Pizza (we didn't have this on our 2 week menu, we had meatlovers instead)
Friday: leftovers
Cheers to this week (and hoping it flies by!!!) :D

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