Saturday, February 27, 2010

Week of Menus number 5

Finally, I have managed to get my act together and put together another menu with recipes and shopping list. Whoo, what a month it's been!

I've gotten some interesting feedback from a few folks on these, the two most common being 1.) "This has really cut down on my grocery bill!" and 2.) "We can't get to everything on the menu in a week." There's still a lot of eating out and grabbing stuff on the run. But it is still apparently helpful, so that's encouraging to me.

So here are four more meals, all of which are pretty quick. I have done the shopping list myself, rather than relying on the PERFECTLY USELESS ingredient/shopping list "feature" in Living Cookbook. It sucks more thoroughly than Stanley Steamer. I'm going to have to completely strip it out and rebuild it, which is going to take me a while. It really is horrible. For example, why would it list seven different kinds of canned shrimp, but leave out fresh shrimp entirely? I like everything else about that software better than MasterCook, but MasterCook definitely had one-up on them on the shopping list feature.

Thanks to a suggestion from Ben (holla!), I'm also providing the recipes and shopping list in a .pdf format that you guys can print out more easily. I'm not sure why Ben didn't want to include my wonderful blog writing along with it, but I'm going to pretend it had to do with not wasting paper.

Here's a note about salads. I haven't included many recipes for salads because I figure a lot of you peeps have kids with very definite preferences on what goes in there and what dressing they like. But if you are interested in my posting recipes for salads along with the rest of the meal, shoot me an email at or leave a comment (they're moderated because you wouldn't believe the spam I get) and I'll be happy to toss a salad in there. (heh, heh. Get it?)

Day One:
Green Salad of your choice
Spicy Chicken and White Bean Chili

Day Two:
Pork Chops with a Dijon-Rye Crust
Parmesan Grits
Stewed Cabbage and Apples

Day Three:
Green Salad of your choice
Creamy Shrimp Grits with Prosciutto

Day Four:
Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli with Black Bean Sauce
Steamed Rice

Day One:
Spicy Chicken and White Bean Chili
Recipe by Tony Rosenfeld (I have a harmless, old married lady crush on Tony Rosenfeld. His recipe style really couldn't be much more perfect for me, and everything of his I've cooked has turned out to be wonderful.)
This is from Fine Cooking (of course)

1 ripe avocado, cut in a medium dice
1 large white onion, finely diced

Juice of 2 limes, about 6 Tbs.
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 15-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 14-1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 chipotles, plus 2 Tbs. adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat, or 3-1/2 cups shredded store-roasted chicken
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 cup lager beer, such as Corona (which leaves you a little leftover. :) )
Sour cream, for garnish (optional)

1. Toss the avocado, about one-quarter of the onion, 2-1/2 Tbs. of the lime juice, and 2 Tbs. of the cilantro in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

2. Season the chicken with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or casserole over medium-high heat until it's shimmering hot. Add the chicken (the thighs should just fit, evenly spaced) and sear without touching until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until also golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and let rest for 10 minutes.

3. Take the pot off the heat and set aside. When the chicken has rested, shred it by hand or chop it coarsely.

4. Return the pot to medium-high heat. Add the remaining onion to the pot and cook, stirring, until the onion begins to brown and soften, about 3 minutes. Add the chili powder and cumin and stir for 20 seconds. Add the beer and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to incorporate any browned bits, until it almost completely reduces, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the white beans, the tomatoes and their juice, the chipotles and the adobo sauce and bring to a boil. Stir in the chicken along with any accumulated juices on the bottom of the plate. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes so the chicken finishes cooking and the flavors mix and meld. Stir in 1-1/4 cup of the cilantro and the remaining lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Ladle into large bowls and serve immediately with a generous spoonful of the avocado mixture, a dollop of sour cream (if using), and a sprinkling of the remaining cilantro.
Day Two:

Pork Chops with a Dijon-Rye Crust
Serves 4
This is another from Fine Cooking. It's one of Phillip's favorites.
3 slices rye bread, crusts trimmed
2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
4 bone-in, center-cut pork chops, each 1-inch thick (about 2 lb. total)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs vegetable oil
3 Tbs coarse-grained Dijon mustard

1. Position one rack in the center of the oven and a second rack directly under the broiler. Heat the oven to 400°F.

2. Pulse the bread in a food processor until it forms coarse crumbs. Drizzle in the melted butter and pulse a few more times to evenly moisten the crumbs.

3. Season the pork chops generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil for 1 minute in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over high heat. Put the chops in the skillet and cook until nicely browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

4. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the chops to a plate. Spread the mustard on one side of the chops and then gently press on the breadcrumbs.

5. Return the chops to the pan, crumb side up, put the pan in the oven, and cook until the centers of the chops are slightly firm to the touch and they register 145°F on an instant-read thermometer, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and switch the oven temperature to high broil. Let it heat for about 3 minutes. Put the skillet full of chops under the broiler just long enough to brown the crumb crust, 30 to 60 seconds. Serve immediately.

Now listen. This is IMPORTANT!! If you put a skillet in the oven, REMEMBER TO USE A HOT PAD TO TAKE IT OUT AND KEEP IT ON THE PAN ONCE IT'S BACK ON THE STOVE!! I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!! (Yeah, I've done it, and that burn HURTS!) I'd almost rather you take these out of the skillet and put them on a rimmed baking sheet for that part.

Parmesan Grits
Serves 4
1 1/3 cups Stone Ground Grits I'm serious here. Get these if you can. If you can't, at least use the long-cooking grits. Please don't use the instant ones. They're nutritionless, watery and tasteless.
4 cups Chicken stock
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1. Boil chicken stock in a medium pot with the salt. Add the grits and turn the heat to low to simmer.

2. Simmer until most of the water is absorbed, about 10 - 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the parmesan cheese and stir to incorporate. Serve when the grits are the consistency you like. Longer for thicker grits.

Red Cabbage and Apples
Serves 4

1 small head red cabbage
1 Granny smith apple
1 small onions, sliced
1 pinch kosher salt
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 slices bacon, chopped

1. Slice the cabbage, apple and onion thinly crosswise.

2. Put a medium pot over medium heat. Add the vegetable oil, then add the
bacon. Cook the bacon about four minutes, then add the cabbage, apple and onion. Season with the salt and pepper. Stir until the cabbage and onion are well-wilted, about 5 - 7 minutes.

3. Add the chicken stock and turn the heat down to medium low. Cover the
cabbage and simmer about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

4. Before serving, add the vinegar and stir to incorporate.

Day 3:
Stir-Fried Beef & Broccoli with Black Bean Sauce
Recipe by Ivy Manning Yep. Fine Cooking again
Serves 4
11 oz skirt or flank steak, sliced across the grain 1/4 inch thick

1 Tbs soy sauce
1 small clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
6 dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted in 1 cup boiling water for 20 minutes
1/4 cup black bean garlic sauce (such as Lee Kum Kee brand)
2 Tbs Chinese rice wine
1 Tbs cornstarch
2 tsp Asian chile sauce or paste
2 Tbs vegetable oil
4 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 lb broccoli, crowns cut into florets thinly sliced
1/2 cup toasted cashews, coarsely chopped

1. Combine the steak, soy sauce, and garlic in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Drain the mushrooms, reserving 2/3 cup of the soaking liquid. Discard the stems and thinly slice the caps. In a small bowl, combine the reserved mushroom soaking liquid and the black bean sauce, wine, cornstarch, and chile sauce. Stir to dissolve the cornstarch and set aside. Heat 1 Tbs. of the vegetable oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat. Add the beef and its marinade, and stir-fry until the meat is just browned, 45 to 50 seconds. Transfer the beef to a small bowl.

3. Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil over medium-high heat.

4. Add the ginger and stir-fry until fragrant, 15 seconds. Add the broccoli and 1/4 cup water, cover, and steam until the broccoli is just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the black bean sauce mixture, the stir-fried beef and the mushrooms and cook until the sauce is thick and bubbly, about 1 minute. Add the cashews and toss to combine. Serve with steamed rice.
Just a note on the rice: I always cook mine in chicken stock. It tastes better to me than plain water.

Day Four:
Creamy Shrimp Grits with Prosciutto
Serves 4
4 1/4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup whipping cream
6 Tbs butter
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 cups stone-ground grits

1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 cup dry white wine
15 oz canned diced tomatoes, drained, juice reserved
4 oz prosciutto, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped

1. For grits: Bring chicken stock, whipping cream, butter and garlic to boil in heavy large saucepan. Gradually whisk in corn grits. Return to boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered until grits thicken, whisking often, about 15 minutes.
2. For shrimp: Melt 1/4 cup butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add shrimp and sauté 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to large bowl. Add white wine to skillet and boil until reduced to glaze, about 5 minutes. Add drained diced tomatoes and half of prosciutto and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add parsley, chives and sautéed shrimp and simmer until shrimp are warmed through, about 2 minutes. Thin sauce with some of reserved tomato juices, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Spoon grits into shallow bowls. Top each serving with shrimp-prosciutto-tomato mixture, dividing equally. Garnish with remaining prosciutto strips and serve immediately.


Shopping List:

3 yellow onions
3 - 4 shallots
1 head garlic
2 limes
salad greens
ingredients for your own salad preference
2 lbs. broccoli florets
1 small head red cabbage

4 oz. Prosciutto (do try to get prosciutto in the deli - bacon just doesn't do it for the shrimp and grits dish)
Rye Bread

lager beer (like Corona)
white wine

1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 ea. bone-in 1" thick center cut pork chops
11 oz. skirt or flank steak
2 lbs. large shrimp

Asian Food Aisle:
Asian chile sauce
Chinese rice wine
Black bean garlic sauce
Soy sauce

Spice Aisle:
Kosher Salt
Olive or vegetable oil
chili powder

Other Aisles:
2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 15 oz. cans canellini beans
1 can chipotles in adobo sauce (usually in the Mexican food section)
Salad dressing (your choice)
Stone Ground or non-instant Grits
Coarse grain dijon mustard
Small package dried shitake mushrooms
rice (I prefer Jasmine)
2 qts. chicken stock

Parmesan cheese
whipping cream

For a .pdf copy of the menu and shopping list for easier printing, click here.

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