Saturday, November 3, 2012

Week 9 Themed Menu and Recipes

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On the last menu my family had not previously tried the Greek Mac-n-Cheese.  We thought it is was just okay.  We may have it again, but some adjustments would be made to the recipe.  On Tuesday we had the Mexican Stuffed Shells...YUM!  The rest of the week was very good as well.  I am looking forward to today (Saturday) to have the crock pot chicken!

For this menu we have 3 pasta dishes in the beginning half of the week, but they are balanced out by not having pasta the last part of the week:)  It is just how the "themed recipes" fell into place.

*Quick Reminder*
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 - Grilled Steak &Tortellini 
w/Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce


  • Kosher salt
  • 4 Steaks, cut of your choice, seasoned with steak seasoning
  • 2 9-ounce packages cheese tortellini
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for topping (optional)
  • 1 package of fresh broccoli, steamed and seasoned


  1. Preheat a grill or grill pan. 
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta.
  3. Season steaks and grill to desired doneness. Let rest 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin and nutmeg and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in the cream and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to medium low; simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese and cook until thick, about 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the tortellini to the skillet and toss with the sauce, adding some of the reserved cooking water to loosen, if needed.
  6. Divide among plates and top with more cheese and parsley.  Serve alongside the steaks and steamed broccoli.
*The tortellini can be served alone, but I wanted to make meal of it by adding a protein and vegetable.
Serves 4, Ready in 25 minutes
Food Network  tortellinipumpkinalfredo
Tuesday -  Chicken Enchilada Pasta
  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded or shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1- 4 oz. can diced green chile's
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2- 10 oz. cans green chili enchilada sauce
  • 2/3 cups red enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheese, colby & monterrey jack preferred
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 box Penne pasta
Optional toppings
  • Avocado
  • Green Onions
  • Black Olives
  • Tomatoes
  • Sour Cream
  1. Cook chicken, drain, and shred or shred your rotisserie.
  2. Meanwhile boil water and cook pasta according to package..
  3. Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet and cook onions for about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic & red pepper and cook for another 3-5 minutes. 
  4. Add cooked chicken, green chile's, cumin, chili powder, salt, & enchilada sauces. Let sauce simmer for about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Add cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and heated through. Now toss in the sour cream, but whatever you do, DO NOT bring to a boil! Cook on low heat or the sour cream will curdle. 
  6. Drain pasta & return to pot. Pour sauce over pasta and mix well.
  7. Serve with additional toppings.
*Short cut is to purchase and use a rotisserie chicken.
*Kid Friendly - I only use half of an onion instead of the whole onion that it calls for.
Serves 4, Ready in 30 minutes
Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happiness chickenenchiladapasta
Wednesday - Roast Pork Tenderloin
w/Apricot-Miso Glaze and Rice
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 5 tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 1/4 cup red miso
  • 1/4 cup Champagne vinegar, I use red wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 pork tenderloins (1 pound each)
  • 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 cups of minute rice (brown or white), cooked
  • 1 package of stir fry veggies, steamed and seasoned (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with oil spray. Combine preserves, miso, vinegar, orange peel, and garlic in small pot over medium heat. Cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Reserve.
  2. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Place on prepared baking sheet, tucking thin end under to ensure even cooking. Brush with 2 tablespoons apricot glaze; roast 12 to 15 minutes. Turn pork over with tongs and brush with 3 more tablespoons glaze. Continue to roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 150°F, 8 to 10 minutes longer.
  3. While pork is baking, prepare your rice and vegetables, if having.
  4. Transfer pork to cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add chicken broth to remaining apricot glaze. Bring to simmer and cook until reduced to 2/3 cup sauce, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Slice pork crosswise into 1/2- to 3/4- inch-thick slices and arrange on platter. Spoon sauce over and serve with your rice and vegetables.
Serves 6, Ready in 55 minutes
Thursday - Lasagna Soup

For the soup:
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1-1/2 lbs. Italian sausage
  • 3 c. chopped onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 c. chicken stock
  • 8 oz. mafalda or fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the cheesy yum:
  • 8 oz. ricotta
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • pinch of freshly ground pepper
Additional cheesy yum:
  • 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.
  2. Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. See notes below OR add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Do not over cook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy and absorb all the soup broth. You may even want to consider cooking the noodles separately, and then adding some to individual bowls before ladling the soup over them. This would be an especially smart move if you are anticipating any leftovers. Right before serving, stir in the basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yum. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
  4. To serve, place a dollop of the cheesy yum in each soup bowl, sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.
Some changes that I make are:
1.  Cook the pasta separately and add to soup when ready to serve. 
2.  Cook sausage and veggies in a pan and then transfer to a slow cooker and add the remaining ingredients (except pasta and cheese parts), let cook on low for 4-6 hours.
3.  Make double and freeze for later.

Serves 8, Ready in 45 minutes, or try the slow cooker way
A Farm Girl Dabbles and 300 Sensational Soups lasagnasoup
Friday - The Ultimate Fish Tacos by Tyler Florence

  • 2 pounds mahi mahi (skinned, boned and cleaned) cut into 1-ounce strips (you can adjust amount of fish to make less tacos)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1/2 head savoy cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves picked
  • 1 bunch chives, chopped
  • 3 limes, cut into wedges for garnish
  • Corn or flour tortillas, warmed
Pink Chile Mayonnaise:
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 chipotles in adobo, plus 2 tablespoons of adobo sauce
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mango-Radish Salsa:
  • 2 limes
  • 2 mangoes, diced
  • 4 to 5 red radishes, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Prepare the fish. Cut the pieces of fish into 1-ounce strips. Set up a breading station of flour, lightly beaten eggs with water, and seasoned panko bread crumbs. Season all with salt and pepper. Dredge the pieces of fish in flour, egg then bread crumbs. Once all the fish is breaded deep-fry in small batches in (375 degrees F) oil. Drain on paper towels and season with salt. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  2. Prepare the pink chile mayonnaise. Put the chipotles in a blender and puree until smooth. Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, adobo sauce and lemon juice and continue to process until the mixture is consistent and creamy. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Prepare the mango-radish salsa. Remove the peel and pith from the limes and cut between the membranes to remove the segments. Put these segments into a bowl and squeeze over the juice from the membranes. Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Season and refrigerate until ready to use. You can also place all of the ingredients into a food processor and puree for a smoother salsa.
  4. To serve, set up the tacos "family-style". Assemble the fish in a pile on a plate; the pink chile mayonnaise in a bowl; and mango-radish salsa in another. Set a pile of shredded savoy cabbage, cilantro leaves, chopped chives and lime wedges next to the fish. Toast the corn tortillas lightly over an open flame (on your stove top) and serve.
*Kid Friendly Notes:
1.  I set aside a small amount of sour cream and mayo mixture before adding the chipotles.
2.  I make the kids their own "salsa" by just dicing some mango for their tacos.
3.  Serving "family style" allows them to make their own tacos with the toppings I set aside just for them.
Serves 8, Ready in 50 minutes
Tyler Florence and Food Network ultimatefishtacos
Saturday - Crock Pot Ham & Pick Your Sides
  • 1 Ham, pre-cooked, bone-in, spiral cut
  • 3 Cups Brown sugar
  • 1 Can pineapple tidbits, undrained
  • Pick your sides                       
  1. Cover the bottom of the crock with brown sugar.
  2. Place ham on top of the brown sugar and add the pineapple tidbits with the juice. Sprinkle ham with more brown sugar. 
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, but check periodically to make sure it does not dry out.
  4. Serve with sides that you chose for today.
Serves 8, Ready in 6-7 hours
The Crockin' Girls crockpotham
Sunday - French Dip Panini w/Sweet Potato Fries
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 pound sliced roast beef
  • 1 baguette or rolls of choice, split lengthwise and sliced crosswise into 4 sections
  • 4 ounces sliced pepper Jack cheese, for adults
  • 2 ounces sliced provolone cheese, for the kids
  • 1 package of sweet potato fries
  1. Preheat oven for fries.                       
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cornstarch and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the beef broth.
  3. Add the roast beef to the sauce and warm over low heat.
  4. Bake fries according to package directions.
  5. Preheat a nonstick grill pan over medium heat. Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons butter on the split sides of the baguette sections. Using tongs, top half the sections with the warm roast beef, reserving the sauce. Top with the cheese and the remaining baguette sections. Place the 4 panini on the hot pan. Weigh down with a heavy skillet and cook for 2 minutes, then flip the panini and cook for 2 minutes longer.
  6. Remove the panini from the heat and divide the sauce among 4 small bowls for dipping.

Serves 4, make more for seconds, Ready in 25 minutes
Rachael Ray Magazine frenchdippanini

Hope you enjoy and have a SUPER week!!!


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