Saturday, October 20, 2012

Week 7 Themed Menu and Recipes

HELLO!  This week I am posting meals that are oldies but goodies our home.  My family has had each and every one of these numerous times and we love them!!!

Oh, and has anyone noticed there are still NO REPEATS?!  Just thought I would mention it.

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 - Strip Steaks w/Side of Blue Cheese Spaghetti

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 4 (8-ounce) NY strip steaks (or steak of choice)
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup cream or half-and-half, eyeball it
  • 8 ounces blue cheese crumbles
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped, a palm full
  • 2 cups arugula (or spinach), a small bunch, cleaned, trimmed and shredded

  1. Put a large pot of water on the stove to bring to a boil for pasta.
  2. Preheat broiler to high with rack on top shelf.
  3. Preheat medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped bacon and cook until crisp.
  4. Salt water for pasta and add spaghetti to the pot. Cook to al dente, with a bite to it.
  5. Season the steaks with salt and pepper on both sides and arrange on slotted broiler pan.
  6. Remove bacon to paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon and drain off most of the fat, return pan to heat and reduce heat to medium. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan and 1 tablespoon butter. When butter melts into extra-virgin olive oil, add in 2 cloves garlic and the shallots, saute for 3 minutes.
  7. Arrange steaks on the broiler pan. Place under broiler - leave door to oven cracked ajar to limit flare ups and smoke. Cook 4 minutes on each side for medium rare, up to 5 to 6 minutes on each side for medium well doneness.
  8. To the garlic and shallots, add in flour and cook a minute more. Whisk in stock, bring to a bubble, about 30 seconds then stir in the cream. When cream comes to a bubble, add in blue cheese and sage and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir until cheese melts. Reduce heat to lowest setting.
  9. Soften 4 tablespoons butter in microwave on high for 15 seconds. Mix in chives and 2 cloves minced garlic and reserve.
  10. Remove steaks from oven and let rest 5 minutes. Place 1/4 of the chive and garlic butter mixture on each steak to melt down over the meat as they rest
  11. Drain pasta and toss with sauce to coat and combine evenly. Taste to adjust seasoning.
  12. Serve steaks with pasta alongside. Scatter the arugula (or spinach) and bacon bits across the top of the pasta
Serves 5, Ready in 30 minutes
Rachael Ray, Food Network  steakwithbluecheesespaghetti
Tuesday - BBQ Chicken Quesadilla w/Tropical Fruit Salsa
*no picture available, who will send me one?
*I have added some great shortcuts to speed this one up.

  • 8 (12-inch) flour tortillas (or whatever size you have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup grated Cheddar, plus 1/4 cup
  • 1/4 cup grated queso blanco (or any Mexican cheese or your choice)
  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken, meat shredded
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 3/4 cup favorite barbecue sauce
  • Tropical Fruit Salsa, recipe follows
*I purchase the jar of tropical fruit in the produce section and use that to make the salsa
  • Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
  • 1 can of refried black beans, warmed and seasoned with salt
  • Sour cream (optional)

  1. Lay out 2 of the flour tortillas on a flat surface. Top with 1/4 cup of the Cheddar, and the queso blanco spreading evenly over the tortillas. Divide the chicken among the tortillas and sprinkle with the desired amount of red onion (if using). Top with barbecue sauce and remaining 1/4 cup of Cheddar. Top with remaining tortillas and press to seal.
  2. Heat a large saute pan or griddle. Add enough oil or butter to coat the bottom of the pan and lower the heat to medium. Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Repeat with the other quesadillas.
  3. Warm refried black beans in a small sauce pot and top with sour cream and serve alongside the quesadilla's.
  4. Let cool for 5 minutes. Slice into 8 or 10 pieces. Garnish with Tropical Fruit Salsa and cilantro sprigs.
 Tropical Fruit Salsa:
  • 1 jar (or can) of tropical fruit
  • 1 red jalapeno, minced (optional)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • Pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until chunky texture.  Let sit for before serving.
*Kid Note: I do not use red onion at all in this recipe and it is still delicious.  I also set aside the kids fruit salsa before I add the jalapeno for the adults.
Serves 4, I usually make enough for seconds.  Ready in 30 minutes
Wolfgang Puck, Food Network  bbqchickenquesadilla
Wednesday - Sweet and Sour Pork w/Rice

  1. Toss the pork with 1/2 tablespoon vinegar and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, the soy sauce, cornstarch, ketchup, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/3 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in another bowl.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil) in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the pork and slowly stir until it turns mostly opaque, about 2 minutes. Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. Discard the oil and wipe out the skillet.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil) in the skillet, then stir-fry the garlic with a pinch each of salt and sugar, 15 seconds. Add the carrots and scallions and stir-fry until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. (Add a little water if the garlic starts to stick to the skillet.) Add the pork, snow peas and soy sauce mixture; stir until the pork is cooked through and the sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Serve pork mixture on top of or on the side of prepared rice.
Serves 4, Ready in 20 minutes
Food Network Magazine  sweetandsourpork
Thursday - You Won’t Be Single For Long"
Vodka Cream Pasta w/Chicken
  1. Heat a large skillet over moderate heat.  Add oil and chicken.  Cook chicken until browned, remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Add to the skillet butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan, 3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper, and return chicken to the pan.
  3. While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente.
  4. Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread.
*The original recipe does not call for chicken, if you would rather not have the chicken just omit it from the recipe.
*The alcohol cooks off when it is reduced so the kids can eat this meal too.
Serves 4, Ready in 30 minutes with chicken, 25 minutes w/out chicken
Rachael Ray, Food Network  vodkapasta
Friday - Parmesan Baked Salmon w/Rice Pilaf
and/or Side Salad
1.  Heat oven to 400°F.
2.  Mix mayo, cheese and pepper until well blended.
3.  Place fish in shallow foil-lined pan; drizzle with lemon juice. Cover with mayo mixture and cracker crumbs.
4.  Bake 12 to 15 min. or until fish flakes easily with fork. 
5.  Serve with your choice of Rice Pilaf and/or Side Salad   
Serves 4, Ready in 25 minutes
Kraft Recipes  parmesancrustedsalmon
Saturday - Crock Pot Chili
*To me chili recipes are all subjective, use your own adjustments to make this meal as HOT or NOT as you like.
  • 1-1 1/2 lbs of ground beef (or ground turkey)
  • 1- 15oz can of chili beans, drained (your desired heat level)
  • 1- 15oz can of dark red kidney beans, drained
  • 1- 15oz can of light red kidney beans, drained
  • 1- package of chili powder mix (again your heat level)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1- 15oz can of diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Diced onion
  • Sour Cream
  • Oyster crackers
  • Hot sauce
  1. Plug in and warm the slow cooker on low.
  2. Heat pan and oil, brown ground beef until no longer pink.  Then add the green pepper, onion, jalapeno, and garlic.  Cook until vegetables are softened.
  3. Then transfer meat and vegetables to the slow cooker, add in the remaining ingredients. 
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  5. Serve with desired toppings
*ALERT*  This could also be used as a "Make Ahead" meal or Freeze the leftovers for later!!!
Serves 4-6, Ready in 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high
Courtesy of my Mom...Thanks Jude:)
Sunday - MYOP (make your own pizzas)
Buffalo Chicken Pizza for Us and
Pineapple & Cheese for the Kids

  • 3/4 pound chicken breast cutlets
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2 teaspoons grill seasoning, (recommended: McCormick Montreal Seasoning) eyeball it
  • 2 pizza doughs, store bought or from your favorite pizzeria
  • Cornmeal or flour, to handle dough
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, eyeball it
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons hot sauce, medium to spicy heat
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (1/2 for adult pizza, 1/2 for kids pizza)
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, a few generous handfuls
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 can of pineapple chunks (for my kiddos pizza)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Preheat grill pan to high.
  2. Place chicken on a plate and drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the chicken then season with grill seasoning. When grill is hot, add chicken and cook about 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Stretch dough or remove from packaging, depending on which dough you have.  If store bought pierce dough with fork and drizzle on a little olive oil.  Set pizza on pizza pans to the side and clean board.
  4. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter and stir in Worcestershire, hot sauce, and 1/2 the tomato sauce.
  5. Remove the chicken from grill and thinly slice it. Add chicken to sauce and coat. Cover one of the pizza dough with the saucy Buffalo chicken, cheeses, and scallions.
  6. Let the kids make the other pizza by using the remaining tomato sauce, some dried oregano, dried basil, cheese, and pineapple (if using).
  7. Bake both pizzas at the same time for 18 minutes or until crisp.
  8. Pick your side tonight!!!
Serves 4, Ready in 30 minutes
Rachel Ray, Food Network  makeyourownpizza
Hope you enjoy and have a SUPER week!!!

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