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.


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 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

baby romaine
iceberg lettuce
additional greens for green salad of your choice
assorted veggies for salad of your choice
red onion
yellow onion
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.)

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

Prosciutto slices

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
all-purpose flour
light brown sugar
white cornmeal
baking powder
chicken broth (4 cups)

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

Dry white wine

Frozen Foods

1 comment:

D said...

I affectionately disagree with Ben. I do NOT want you to tell me how to make something "fresh and new" with the packets, cans and boxes of sh*# I used to stock my cabinet with- there are already 1001 "cookbooks" for Campbell's, Pillsbury and casseroles made thereof. The whole point of this, for me, is to move beyond the unhealthy and, in the long run, more expensive and more time consuming, dependence upon prepared processed food ingredients. I'm not sayin' I want to start making my own Asian Black Bean Garlic sauce...just that I don't need one more suggestion of what to do with ketchup and Cream of Mushroom soup other than donate it to the food bank.

I think the meals take a LOT longer for me to prepare because I don't have good skill- like chopping- and because I am not in so much good physical shape- so that by the end of the workday on my feet I'm prettty wiped out physically. But, that's my own dayum fault. I don't want you to "dumb down" the recipes for my own wastoid life. Bring it on! Reminds me of the one yoga class I've ever taken in my life: "Just do what you can without injury and know your own limits." I have yet to completely destroy anything except maybe the grits, but I liked them so to me...