Saturday, October 6, 2012

Week 5 Menu & Recipes

I hope that you all had a great week!  Please do not be shy, any meals that you and your family have tried from previous menus feel free to comment on.  If you added anything extra or omitted any specific ingredients let us know.  I am always looking to improve meals, and since these recipes are not mine it is helpful to hear other ideas.

Here is this weeks menu...

Weekly themes are as follows:
  • Mac-n-Cheese Monday - a jazzed up version of mac-n-cheese each week with a protein
  • Taco Tuesday - Mexican fare
  • Wang Chung Wednesday - Asian fare (sometimes becomes "Wacky Wednesday" and it's pot luck)
  • Tuscan Thursday - Italian cuisine
  • Fish Friday
  • Slow Cooker/Simmer Saturday
  • Sandwich Sundays - this can be anything from burgers to panini's to cold cuts
***Saturday and Sunday are interchangeable depending on your families schedule that week.
As always, at the end of each recipe there will be a link to direct you to the site where I found these meals. You can print from the blog page or from the link that I provided.

  1. My daughter has a peanut allergy so we substitute and/or omit items that may be in a particular recipe, please do the same if you or anyone in your family has any allergies/dietary needs/personal preference (vegetarian).
  2. Some meals that I put on the menu will be my first time making them as well. So feedback is always appreciated
  3. If there is a meal that I know my kids will not eat I will make a "kid friendly" version of it for them, I will make note of this within the recipe.
  4. All families grocery budgets vary so please adjust ingredients or brands to fit the needs of your family.
  5. The majority of the meals are 30 minutes or less. We all have busy schedules!!!

Monday - Farfalle w/Creamy Mushroom Gorgonzola Sauce

*You can serve this alongside a steak of your choice or grilled sliced chicken.
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
  • 5 oz creamy Gorgonzola cheese, cubed
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb assorted mushrooms, sliced (see below)
  • 3/4 cup defrosted frozen peas
  • 1 box (16 oz) farfalle pasta
  • 3-4 boneless chicken breast, grilled and sliced OR steak of your choice
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Melt butter in a 2 quart saucepan over moderate heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring the sauce to a simmer and simmer for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Add cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over moderate heat until hot. Add mushrooms and saute until tender and golden, about 12 minutes. Stir in peas (and grilled chicken, if using). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Meanwhile, add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain.
  4. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the Gorgonzola sauce and mushroom mixture, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve dish in a shallow bowl or on a plate alongside a steak (if you choose)
*My kids do not like mushrooms, so I only put in half the amount called for and chop very small so they do not notice the mushrooms are in this dish...tricky:)
Serves 4-6, Ready in 25 minutes
Giada DeLaurentiis, Everyday Pasta. 
Recipe was obtained from Tastebook and Jackie Opitz 
Tuesday - Chili Suizas Bake &
Ground Chicken Quesa's for the kids


  • 3 large poblano peppers
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 12 large or 16 medium to small tomatillos, peeled, rinsed and halved
  • (the short cut to this process is using store bought salsa verde)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, a handful
  • 2 cups chicken stock (reduce amount of stock if you want it thicker)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 3 cups lightly crushed tortilla chips --whole-grain tortilla chips, such as flax seed tortillas add a wonderful texture and flavor
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese, about 1/3 pound
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, about 1/3 pound
  1. Heat the broiler to high. Place the poblanos under hot broiler and char until blackened an all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Leave the door of the oven cracked to allow the steam to escape. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow the peppers to cool enough to handle.
  2. While peppers char, heat extra-virgin olive oil in a high sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and lightly brown, 3 to 4 minutes (if using alternative for kids, save some chicken for quesadillas). Stir in onions, jalapeno and garlic and cook to soften onions about 5 minutes. While onions cook, place tomatillos and cilantro in the food processor and process until smooth (unless you are using store bought). Pour the tomatillos into the chicken mixture and stir to combine. Stir in chicken stock and honey, season with salt and pepper and simmer chili 10 minutes.
  3. When poblano peppers are cool enough to handle, remove seeds and chop, stir into chili. Remove chili pan from heat and stir in lime juice. Add dollops of creme fraiche or sour cream on top of the chili, placing spoonfuls evenly across the pan. Cover the pan with a layer of crushed chips and top with Swiss and Monterey Jack cheeses. Place under broiler until brown and bubbly. Serve from hot skillet, spooning out chili into shallow dinner bowls.
*Alternative for the kids: use the reserved, cooked ground chicken and make chicken and cheese quesadilla's for them. 
Serves 6, Ready in 30-40 minutes
Rachael Ray, Food Network  chilisuizas
Wednesday - Sweet n Sour Sirloin Stir-Fry
w/Ranch Mashed Potatoes


  • 1 1/2 pound piece sirloin or flank steak, 1-inch thick
  • 2 pounds Idaho or red potatoes, peeled and cubed (i prefer red)
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable, peanut or canola oil
  • 2 large red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 2 to 3-inch pieces on bias, greens and whites
  • 2 cups shelled frozen edamame
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • A few dashes hot sauce
  • Handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Handful fresh dill, chopped
  • Handful fresh chives, chopped


  1. Pop the meat in the freezer for a few minutes to stiffen it up for slicing.
  2. Place potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil. Salt the water and cook the potatoes until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain.
  3. Halve the steak lengthwise then very thinly slice the meat. Heat the oil in a very large skillet over high heat. When oil wafts smoke and ripples, add the meat and stir-fry until caramelized 3 minutes. Add peppers and stir-fry 2 minutes then add in scallions and edamame for 2 minutes more. Stir together the sugar, soy, mustard and ketchup and pour over stir-fry the last minute of cooking. Season, to taste, if necessary.
  4. Mash potatoes with buttermilk, salt and pepper, hot sauce, parsley, dill, chives, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve with stir-fry on top!
Serves 4, Ready in 30 minutes
Rachel Ray, Food Network  sweetnsoursirloin
Thursday - Crock Pot Lasagna & Side Salad
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 29 oz can tomato sauce
  • 8 oz pkg. lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
*See variations below
1. Spray the inside of the crock-pot with cooking spray
2. Brown the ground beef
3. Stir the tomato sauce in with the ground beef
4. Spread 1/4 of the meat sauce on the bottom of the crock-pot
5. Arrange 1/3 of the uncooked noodles over the sauce (I usually break them up so they fit better)
6. Combine the cheeses in a bowl. Spoon 1/3 of the cheeses over the noodles.
7. Repeat these layers twice
8. Top with remaining sauce
9. Cover and cook on low for 4hrs (I've started the crock-pot on high in the morning before I leave for work and then put it on warm when I leave and it's perfect when I get home)
10. Let the lasagna stand in the crock-pot with the lid off for at least 10 minutes
* Variations *
1. Add chopped onion and garlic to the ground beef in step 2
2. Use Italian sausage in place of ground beef or with ground beef
3. Add 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese to the cheese mixture. Replace cottage cheese with Ricotta.
4. Add 1/2 cup additional shredded mozzarella cheese to the top of lasagna 5 minutes before serving
***Serve this with a simple spinach or tossed salad
Serves 4, Ready in 4-6 hours
Creating Through Life  crockpotlasagna
Friday - Salmon w/Citrus Dijon Spinach
  • 1 grapefruit and zest, divided
  • 2 oranges and zest, divided
  • 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted (optional)
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
  • 4 salmon filets (about 6 ounces each)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 bag of spinach
  1. After zesting the grapefruit and oranges, slice the peel and pith off, cut fruit into slices and reserve.
  2. Preheat a small skillet over medium heat to toast the slivered almonds.
  3. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with a few turns of the pan of EVOO, about 3 tablespoons. Season the fish filets with salt and pepper, and transfer to the hot skillet. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked to desired doneness.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat another large skillet with two turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons, over medium heat. Add the red onion, the orange and grapefruit zest, mustard and white wine vinegar. Season with some salt and pepper. Just before you are ready to plate, add in the spinach and toss.
  5. Divide the citrus spinach between your serving plates, top with the seared salmon and sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Garnish with grapefruit and orange slices.
*Kid alternative: I will serve spinach mixture on the side of salmon instead under the salmon.
Serves 4, Ready in 30 minutes
Rachel Ray Show  searedsalmonandspinach
Saturday - Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz size – southwest style, if possible I used petite diced tomatoes w/ sweet onion)
  • 1 packet enchilada sauce mix (or if you can’t find this, mild taco seasoning works well too, this is what I used)
  • 1 1/2 C water
  • 1 can (8 oz)tomato sauce
  • 1 can ( 10 3/4 oz) cream of chicken soup
  • 2 C milk
  • 3-4 boneless chicken breast
  1. In crock pot, mix the enchilada packet together with the water and tomato sauce. Add cream of chicken soup and milk and whisk together until smooth.
  2. Add chicken. Pour drained black beans, drained corn and diced tomatoes on top of that.
  3. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
  4. Before serving, take out chicken and shred or dice, then put back and stir it all together.
  5. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, lime, avocado, or tortilla chips.
Serves 4, Ready in 6-8 hours
Real Mom Kitchen  crockpotchickentortillasoup

Sunday - Salami & Gouda Panini on Ciabatta
w/Veggie of Choice
  • 2 tablespoons orange blossom honey
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 4 small sun-dried tomato rolls (or ciabatta-type rolls), split in half
  • 8 thin slices Genoa salami
  • 8 thin slices sharp Gouda
  • 4 strips jarred roasted red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable of your choice
  1. Heat a panini press according to the manufacturer’s directions until hot. (Alternatively, heat a ridged grill pan over medium heat.)
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey and mustard and spread it over 2 of the bread halves. Top with 4 slices of salami, 4 slices of cheese, and 2 red pepper strips each and top with the other half of the roll.
  3. Brush the butter on the outside of the sandwiches, top and bottom. Put the sandwiches on the press, then pull down the top and cook until browned and crisp, 4 to 6 minutes. If you’re using a grill pan, place a heavy pan on top of the sandwiches and cook, pressing down on the pan and turning the sandwiches once. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve immediately.
  4. Serve with your favorite veggie.
*I increase the ingredients to make enough for 6 sandwiches. 
*You can omit roasted red peppers for the kids sandwiches.
Serves 4, Ready in 15 minutes
Top Chef, Season 1, Dave Martin  salamiandgoudapanini
Hope you enjoy and have a SUPER week!!!

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