Saturday, March 20, 2010

Another Week of Menus

Hey again, people! I've got another four nights of menus and recipes for you!

Spring has definitely arrived here in Wilmington, although I'm keenly aware (thanks to my brother bitching about the foot of snow they got yesterday in Denver) that not everyone is there yet.

my backyard



my brother's backyard (same day)


Yeah, I know he's a much better photographer than I am. He's also way younger and considerably better looking. Not much I can do about that. Genetic dice roll. I can type faster.

Since we're getting up in the 70s, I've been in the mood for lighter fare. But with a nod to you folks still stuck in snow and cold, I haven't gone all asparagus and leeks yet. I've got a nice hearty dinner salad, a good greek shrimp dish that isn't too heavy, a slightly lightened up beef dish, and good old chicken saltimbocca. Hope you enjoy, and those of you who aren't surrounded by cherry blossoms and bees yet, hang in there - Spring is right around the corner!

Meal #1

Baby Romaine Salad with Spicy Chicken and Warm Chipotle Vinaigrette
Cheddar Biscuits


Meal #2
Greek Shrimp
Steamed Rice


Meal #3
Green Salad
Chicken Saltimbocca
Mashed Potatoes


Meal #4
Garlic Beef
Spiced Couscous


For a printable .pdf version of the recipes and shopping list, click here.

______________________________________

Recipes:
Baby Romaine Salad with Spicy Chicken and Warm Chipotle Vinaigrette
Recipe By : Tony Rosenfeld
Recipe Source: Fine Cooking


6 oz baby romaine, washed and dried
1/4 lb iceberg lettuce, washed and dried
1/2 cup cilantro, loosely packed
1 each chipotle chili canned in adobo, plus 2 Tbs adobo sauce
3 each sun-dried tomatoes, oil-packed, drained and chopped
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tsp light brown sugar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
salt and pepper
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
2 Tbs cornmeal, white
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
3 small boneless skinless chicken breast
1/2 small red onion, cut into 1" strips
1 ripe avocado, diced 3/4"
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
1 lime, quartered


1. Toss the romaine, iceberg and half the cilantro in a large bowl. In a
blender or food processor, puree' the chipotle chili and adobo sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar and mustard. With the machine running, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of the oil. Transfer to a measuring cup; season to taste with salt and pepper. (Note: You can whisk this all together by hand, but you'll need to mash up the chipotles and sun-dried tomatoe with a fork as best you can, first.)


2. In a shallow dish, mix the flour, cornmeal, chili powder and cumin with 1 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Season the chicken with 1 tsp salt and then dredge in the flour mixture.



3. Heat 2 Tbs. of oil in a heavy non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
Add half of the chicken strips, evenly spaced, and cook without touching for
2 minutes. Flip and cook until the strips are just cooked through and firm
to touch, about 1 - 2 minutes. Transfer to large plate lined with paper
towels and sprinkle with salt. Reduce the heat to medium and add the
remaining 1 Tbs. oil and cook the remaining strips in the same manner.


4. Discard the fat from the pan and wipe it clean with paper towels. Set the
pan over low heat, add the vinaigrette, and cook, stirring with a wooden
spoon or spatula, until warmed through. Return to the measuring cup and whisk to recombine.


5. Gently toss the greens with about 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette to lightly coat. Portion among four plates and top with the chicken, onion, avocado,corn and the remaining 1/4 cup of cilantro. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette and serve with lime wedges.


Cheddar Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
8 Tbs butter
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
2/3 cup milk


1. Heat the oven to 425F. In large bowl, thoroughly combine flour, salt, baking powder, cream of tartar, sugar and cayenne.


2. Cut butter into pieces and work it in with your fingers until mixture is coarse and crumbly. Stir in cheese.


3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour in milk, and stir with a fork just until dough comes together. Do not overmix. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently 10 - 12 times.


4. Pat dough into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut out biscuits using a floured 2-inch-round cutter. Do not twist cutter. Transfer biscuits to a lightly buttered baking sheet and bake for 12 - 15 minutes, or until brown.





Greek Shrimp
3 Tbs olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
28 oz can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/3 cup white wine
1 tsp dried oregano
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and pepper, to taste


1. Heat oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add onion and sauté about 8 minutes, until onion is translucent. Add tomato, wine and oregano. Simmer until thickened. Add shrimp and cook until pink - about 4 minutes. Serve over rice.
Note: I like to mix about 2 oz. of feta cheese and 2 Tbs. or so of chopped mint with the rice.




Chicken Saltimbocca
Recipe By : Tasha DeSerio
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/2 lb. total)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs unsalted butter
24 fresh sage leaves
4 very thin slices prosciutto, cut crosswise into thin strips
4 thin slices mozzarella
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth


1. Cover the breasts with plastic wrap and pound with a smooth meat mallet
(or a heavy sauté pan) until they’re evenly 1/2 inch thick. Season with 1/2
tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper, then dredge in flour.


2. Heat the olive oil and 1 Tbs. of the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the butter is foaming, set two of the chicken breasts
in the pan and sear without moving until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip
the chicken and cook until firm to the touch and cooked through, about another 3 minutes. Transfer to a platter , top with mozzarella, and repeat
with the other two breasts. Add the sage leaves and prosciutto to the pan
and cook until crisp and slightly browned, about 1 minute. Transfer to a
plate lined with paper towels.


3. Pour the fat from the pan, set the pan over high heat, and add the wine.
Boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden
spoon, until the wine is almost completely reduced. Add the chicken broth
and boil until it’s reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Return the chicken to
the pan, stir in the remaining 1 Tbs. butter, and cook for 1 minute to heat
through. Serve the chicken with the sauce, sprinkling the mozarella with the
sage and prosciutto.





Rustic Mashed Potatoes
Recipe By Pam Anderson (I have a cook crush on Pam and her two daughters. You should really check them out at http://threemanycooks.com/. Their recipes are wonderful, they're great writers, and just all-around delightful people.)


These are the real deal—creamy, buttery potatoes that get great texture from leaving the skins on. If you use a ricer or food mill to mash the potatoes there will be small bits of skin in the finished dish. If you use a stand mixer, the skin will be mixed in and add texture.


1.5 lb medium russet (Idaho) potatoes, scrubbed
3/4 cups half-and-half
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs. butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and softened


1. Put the whole unpeeled potatoes in an 8-quart pot and add enough water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium
low and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a skewer or
toothpick, 25 to 30 minutes.


2. Cut the potatoes into chunks and pass them through a food mill or a ricer into a large heatproof bowl. Alternatively, put them in a stand mixer fitted
with the paddle attachment. Cover the mixing bowl with a towel to contain
any splashes and mix on low speed until mostly smooth, about 1 minute.


3.Add the half-and-half, 1 Tbs. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper and mix the potatoes by hand with a wooden spoon until smooth, light, and fluffy. Stir in the butter until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Make Ahead Tips: To keep warm for up to 2 hours, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it over (but not in) a pan of barely simmering water.


Russets are your best choice for fluffy mashed potatoes, due to their high starch content. Keeping the skin on adds flavor, texture, and nutrients.




Garlic Beef with Spiced Couscous
Recipe By : Donna Hay


1 Tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
4 each sirloin steaks
2 cup couscous
3 cups chicken stock, boiling
4 Tbs butter
1 Tbs. cumin seeds
4 Tbs. cilantro
kosher salt and cracked black pepper


1. For the couscous:
Boil the chicken stock and 1 tsp. salt in a small saucepan. Add the couscous, put the lid on the pot and remove from heat. While the couscous is standing, place the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook for 2 minutes. Add to the couscous. Right before serving, add the cilantro, salt and pepper and fluff with a fork to incorporate.


2. To cook the steak, salt and pepper each side and press the garlic in. Grill for desired doneness.


3. Serve with beef on top of couscous.

______________________________________


Shopping List

Produce
baby romaine
iceberg lettuce
additional greens for green salad of your choice
assorted veggies for salad of your choice
cilantro
red onion
yellow onion
avocado
lime
fresh sage
fresh mint (if you would like to mix mint with the rice for the shrimp dish)
1 head garlic
Idaho potatoes (about 1.5 lbs.)

Meat/Poultry/Fish
8 small boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2.5 – 3 lbs. total)
1 lb. shrimp
4 sirloin steaks


Deli
Prosciutto slices


Aisles
chipotle chili canned in adobo
28 oz. can plum tomatoes
sun-dried tomatoes, oil-packed
balsamic vinegar
salad dressing of your choice
dijon mustard
olive oil
kosher salt
chili powder
cumin seeds
dried oregano
ground cumin
cream of tartar
cayenne pepper
pepper
all-purpose flour
light brown sugar
white cornmeal
baking powder
sugar
chicken broth (4 cups)
couscous
rice


Dairy
Butter
Cheddar cheese (8 oz.)
Milk
Mozzarella
Half and half
Feta cheese (if you would like to mix feta and mint with the rice for the shrimp dish)


Beer/Wine
Dry white wine


Frozen Foods
Corn




Monday, March 15, 2010

Carol and David, Lime-Rum Shrimp, and Puerto Rico

Not this Puerto Rico:
This one:















Pootie bought this game a while back and has reeeeeallly wanted to play it. We tried it once, but we didn't have much time, and everyone's attention was wandering - it ended badly with some sulking.  On both parts. I'm not a huge fan of strategy games. Give me a card game like spades, and I'm the Queen! Freecell - stand back! Risk... ehhhh, not so much. I don't have the attention span for it. I'd rather go read a book. But if anyone can make a game worth playing, it's Carol and David. So this was Pootie's last-ditch attempt to get his game played. David had already read up on the rules, so it went much more smoothly having two people who actually knew what they were doing. It wound up being a pretty good game, actually. Takes a while, but they came over about 4:00, we broke for dinner, then finished. David won. (No surprise there.) 

I figured rum would be an appropriate ingredient, given our game. 
And it's really good tossed with some lime over shrimp.

I'm calling to invite him to dinner. He declined.

I also wanted something pretty quick, so I could spend my time with our guests, instead of in the kitchen half the day. Apart from peeling and cleaning them, this recipe is fast. It's also sweetly minimal on ingredients. I mean, what good pirate doesn't have a bunch of bottles of rum lying around? I served it with a green salad that Carol helped me make, and baked sweet potatoes.

Lime-Rum Shrimp
Serves 4
3 lbs. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 shallot, minced
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/3 cup dark rum (I like Meyer's)
grated zest of one large lime
juice of one large lime
kosher salt
pepper

Heat a large pan over medium heat. Saute the shallot in the olive oil until transluscent. Sprinkle the shrimp with kosher salt and pepper and add to the pan. Toss about one minute with the shallots, add the rum, lime zest, and lime juice. Stir until the shrimp are done through and the liquid is reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes - longer for bigger shrimp.

Shopping List:

Produce:
1 large lime
1 shallot

Fish:
3 lbs. fresh shrimp

Aisles:
salt
pepper
olive oil

Booze:
Dark rum

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Duck and Crisp Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette


Have I mentioned a few dozen times how much I love duck? Fresh Market has nice breasts that are big enough that P. and I can usually split one. (Duck breasts, people. Behave.)

I've told you before that my pitiful pretend kitchen doesn't have anything remotely resembling a vent-a-hood. I think the "vent" is actually powered by one of those little fans that go on those novelty pith helmets that you see people wearing at Disneyworld.








So given my current stove (left), I always cook duck breast outside on the gas grill in a cast-iron skillet. I put the skillet on there, crank the heat way, way up, and go inside for a while. I like it around 600 or so for this. Then I slap the seasoned duck breast in skin-side down, put the lid down and go inside again and close all the windows.





The weather has warmed up now, and a big, heavy duck dinner didn't sound good. So I opted for a duck salad, which sounded perfect. Crisp oven potatoes, olives, and some hearts of palm added more substance. My lab rat Pootie declared this one a keeper. So here you go:

Duck and Crisp Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette 
Serves 2

Duck:
1 - 8 oz duck breast (or two smaller ones), salted and peppered, and skin left on
Cross-hatch the duck skin with a knife (makes a criss-cross pattern)

Dressing:
1 medium shallot, minced
1 Tbs. olive oil

3 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1 Tbs. dijon mustard
1 large pinch salt
1 large pinch sugar
cracked black pepper
8 Tbs. olive oil or salad oil

Potatoes:
1 idaho potato or 2 medium yukon gold potatoes, medium dice (skin on)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
cracked black pepper

Salad:
1/4 cup chopped pancetta
1 Tbs. olive oil
4 cups torn red leaf lettuce, or other firm green lettuce
1/2 cup sliced hearts of palm
1/4 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted

Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss the diced potatoes in the olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, until crisp and browned.

For the dressing, in a small pan, sauté the minced shallot over medium heat in 1 Tbs. of olive oil until soft. Place in a small bowl. Use the same pan, add the other Tbs. of olive oil and sauté the chopped pancetta until browned. Set aside.

Add the mustard, vinegar, pinch of salt, pinch of sugar, and a few grinds of black pepper to the bowl with the shallots. Whisk in the salad or olive oil. There. Dressing is done.

Put a cast iron skillet on a gas grill and preheat to about 600F, or turn on your jet engine powered vent-a-hood and heat a cast-iron skillet over medium high to high heat. I'm warning you, it's a godawful mess inside. Grease everywhere. Anyway, when the skillet is hot (on the grill or in your soon-to-be grease-covered kitchen), put the salted and peppered and scored duck in skin-side down. Cook until duck skin is crisp, about 5 minutes. Flip the breast and cook the other side. For rare duck, which is what I like, cook about 3 minutes. If you like yours medium or rare, cook longer. Remove from skillet and let rest on a cutting board for about five minutes.

In a large bowl, add the lettuce, hearts of palm, olives, potatoes and pancetta. Toss with the dressing. Add to your taste - you may not need all of it. Slice the duck breast on a slant across the grain. Split the salad into two servings and top with the duck.

Shopping List:

Produce:
Green leaf lettuce
2 medium yukon gold potatoes (or 1 large idaho/russet)
1 shallot

Meat:
1 large duck breast
Pancetta (usually in the deli)

Aisles:
Oil cured black olives
Hearts of Palm (usually in the jarred stuff with salad dressings and such)
White Wine vinegar
Dijon mustard
Olive oil
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
sugar

For a printable, .pdf version of the recipe and shopping list, click here.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Herminator Cooks and Entertains: Ribeyes, Potato Prosciutto Gratin and Gorgeous Salad

Wednesday rolled around and as I sat at my desk with a little black raincloud over my head, I realized out loud that I hadn't left the house since last Saturday. Which prompted my husband to immediately dub me "The Herminator". I remarked that I was awfully glad his parents were coming over for dinner, because I truly do need more company than just him and the dogs from time to time, much as I love them.


We were past due for dinner and a spades game here. I've been happily busy with work, and just haven't had a lot of time for entertaining much lately. But we took a lunch hour, went out for provisions, and came back with some outstanding ribeyes, pretty prosciutto, and some absolutely beautiful red butter lettuce so that I could put together a simple dinner for all of us.


Truly there's not much easier in my book than steak and potatoes. I'm perfectly happy with a baked potato, but tonight I decided to do a gratin with them, and also went vertical instead of horizontal. I thinly sliced some idaho potatoes, then stacked them vertically in the pan on top of a thin layer of olive oil, salted them, then stuck some of the delicious prosciutto slices in between some of the potato layers. (I know it was delicious because I checked it first to make sure it wasn't poison.) Like this:
 I poured a little chicken stock over that and drizzled some olive oil and baked it with a lid at 400. I took it out and my mother-in-law looked at it and said "That's...interesting..." But she ate it and there wasn't a crumb left, so I'm assuming it met with her approval.


The lettuce I bought was just way too pretty to pass up. I saw it in the produce section, screaming its siren song to me. And as most of you know, I'm not a "green" kinda girl, so joyfully depositing a vegetable besides a potato in my cart is a bit of a rarity. I buy the green variety, just not "joyfully". But look at this lettuce! Isn't it pretty?

It didn't just have good looks, either. It tasted good! I do wish I'd gotten an avocado to go with it, though. Once I tasted it, it really kind of wanted that. Oh well. Next time.

Red Butter Lettuce Salad with Fresh Mandarin Oranges and Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Paprika-Rubbed Grilled Ribeyes
Potato and Prosciutto Gratin
Asparagus with butter and shallots


In all, dinner really only took me about 45 minutes total to put together. My father-in-law informed me that I could cook him that meal every time they came over and he'd be just fine with that. My mother-in-law, despite her "interesting" comment, ate every bite of her dinner and loved the salad, and she is the Salad Queen. (Seriously, she loves her some salad, and makes the some of the best. Period.)


Oh. By the way. My father-in-law and I KICKED BUTT at spades! My husband and his mom got PWNED!!


Red Butter Lettuce Salad with Fresh Mandarin Oranges and Blood Orange Vinaigrette
I got seriously lucky with ingredients with this. I pulled a gorgeous head of lettuce, and the grocery had those wonderful tiny mandarin oranges (fresh, not the canned kind).
Serves 4
1 head Red Butter Lettuce
4 tiny mandarin oranges, peeled, pith removed (don't substitute the canned kind here. Just do a regular fresh orange instead, peeled and cut out the sections)
1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
1/4 cup feta or goat cheese, crumbled
Dressing:
3 Tbs. Blood Orange Vinegar
1 Tbs. minced shallot (I saute mine - I don't like raw shallot in my salad dressing)
1 pinch kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper
6 - 7 Tbs. salad oil


Wash and dry lettuce, and tear into bite-sized pieces. Add almonds and cheese and oranges. For dressing, mix the vinegar, shallot, salt and pepper together, then whisk in the olive oil. Toss the greens with the dressing - you probably won't need all of it.


Potato Prosciutto Gratin
Serves 4
2 large Idaho (russet) potatoes
4 slices prosciutto
1/2 cup (about) chicken stock
4 Tbs. olive oil
kosher salt

Peel and thinly slice the potatoes. Place in a large bowl and toss with kosher salt and 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Stack vertically in a casserole with lid. Tear the prosciutto into smaller pieces and stuff between potato slices, spaced fairly evenly in the dish. Drizzle with the remaining 2 Tbs. of olive oil, then pour the chicken stock over the potatoes. Place in a 400F oven with the lid on and bake about 45 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes.
Paprika-Rubbed Grilled Ribeyes

Serves 4
3 lbs. ribeye steaks (2 large or 3 medium)
kosher salt
pepper
2 Tbs. paprika
Salt and pepper the ribeyes on both sides. Sprinkle paprika evenly over both sides. Place on hot grill and cook to desired doneness - about 3 minutes per side for rare, 5 for medium and 7 -8 for well done. Let the steaks rest for five minutes, then slice thinly across the grain and serve.

Asparagus with Butter and Shallots
Serves 4
2 lbs. asparagus
kosher salt
1 large shallot, diced
2 Tbs. butter

Saute the chopped shallot in butter and add a pinch of kosher salt. Cook the asparagus in boiling salted water until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the asparagus, then toss with the shallots and butter.

Produce
2 idaho potatoes
1 head Red Butter Lettuce
1 box fresh mandarin oranges
2 lbs. asparagus
2 shallots

Meat/Deli
1/8 lb. prosciutto

3 lbs. ribeye steaks
Aisles
kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper
olive oil
chicken stock
toasted almonds
blood orange vinegar

Dairy
butter
goat cheese

Click here for a printable .pdf version of the recipes and shopping list.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Southwestern Chicken Salad, Quesadillas, and Things I Have Learned


Tonight, you're getting a really good glimpse into a night with a half-ass dinner, with ingredients that aren't exactly fresh. Hey. It's March 1. Our Farmer's Market hasn't opened yet, and it's Monday night. Defensive much? I know. Let's proceed, shall we?

First off, I need to complain about two purchases. That's in the Things I Have Learned category.


1. I will never, ever, buy Pier 1 pillar candles again. I will spend the additional buck (not even) and get the ones from Pottery Barn. Holy Disappearing Wick, Batman! The Pier 1 candles just... SUCK. Someone is going to send me a message or post a comment (which I will publish, as long as it's not just an insult on my person or my parentage), saying I'm crazy - they're wonderful. But I gotta say, side-by-side testing has proven to me over and OVER again (I'm a slow learner), that the Pottery Barn candles are better. I can burn those babies almost all the way down to the bottom with NO PROBLEMS. The Pier 1 candles, on the other hand, I have to pull out cutlery and dig out wicks after every single use. This is not only hard on my digits, it's a pain and it only pulls the wick out long enough to let the candle burn maybe ten more minutes before the wick disappears again. OK. NEVER AGAIN.

2. I will never, ever again buy Artisan salad greens.

Pretty, aren't they?


Well, they may be beautiful, and they're reasonably fresh and tasty, but I washed mine SEVEN TIMES tonight and they STILL had grit coming out! Now, first of all, there is nothing, and I mean NOTHING that will ruin a dinner faster for me than chomping down on something gritty. Yes, I include peas in that. I'd rather eat an entire bowlful of nasty, disgusting, mooshy green peas than eat a delicious salad, put my molars together, and feel "ZZHHHTTT"!!! - That instant, pull your mouth wide open and clutch your jaw, jarring grit-filled bite. So I washed the greens. Again. And again. And again. And I'd go on, but I'd freaking run out of room, because apparently these greens were grown UNDERGROUND by BEACH MOLES living in SAND DUNES.




 Proprieter and manager of Artisan Greens




Traumatic(!).


OK, so there are my two lessons. Buy Pottery Barn pillar candles for almost the same price as Pier 1, and NEVER buy Artisan lettuce again, unless I have eight full hours to wash the greens.


Here was dinner. And you'll see where I cheated. Kind of. Well, OK, a lot.


Southwestern Chicken Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing
Black Bean Quesadillas

but isn't the picture pretty!?

Salad
Serves 4
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, salted and peppered and grilled on a foil-lined pan until cooked
4 tomatillas, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
6 cups NON ARTISAN BRAND mixed greens, hopefully already washed and dried for you. Holy cow.
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, diced small
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
generous pinch Kosher Salt
1 can black beans (cheating, kind of)
1 can Rotel chilis (cheating, totally)
1 cup frozen corn (sort of cheating, but not really because it's not fresh corn season)
Dressing:
1 package (I almost can't bring myself to say this) Ranch dressing seasoning (hanging head in shame)
Juice of 1/2 lime
2/3 cup olive oil mayonaisse
1 1/3 cup buttermilk
1 chipotle pepper from canned chipotles in adobo sauce

In two small pots over medium heat, divide the olive oil. Add 1/2 the diced onion to each pot and a pinch of kosher salt to each. Saute until the onion is slightly browned and limp. Add 1/2 the can of Rotel Chilis to each pot. In one pot, add the can of black beans. In the other, add the corn. Simmer over low heat until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Mix all of the dressing ingredients together until well-blended.

Shred the lettuce into a large bowl. Add the tomatillas, cucumber, cilantro, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Top with feta cheese. When the beans and chicken and corn are done, chop the chicken and top the salad with all of these warm ingredients. Dress with the chipotle dressing and serve with quesadillas.

Quesadillas
Serves 4

4 large wheat tortillas (I use whole wheat, because they're better for you, but there not as good as white)
soft butter for spreading
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozarella
1 large spoonful of corn mixture from above
1 large spoonful of black bean mixture from above

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Butter one tortilla and place butter side down in the skillet. Add the mozarella, corn mixture and bean mixture and spread somewhat evenly. Butter another tortilla and place it butter side up on top of the other. Cook until the tortilla on the bottom is browned and crispy, then flip and cook the other side. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Cut into quarters and serve.


Shopping list:
Produce:
4 tomatillas
1 cucumber
6 cups mixed greens (ANY BRAND BUT ARTISAN ,UNLESS YOU HAVE TONS OF TIME)
1 onion
cilantro
1 lime

Meat:
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about a pound)

Dairy:
1/4 cup feta cheese
buttermilk


Aisles:
2 Tbs. olive oil
mayonnaise
1 can black beans
1 can Rotel chilis
canned chipotles in adobo sauce
1 package Ranch dressing seasoning

Frozen:
frozen corn