Saturday, December 22, 2012

Week 14 Themed Menu & Recipes

Yay!!!  The holidays are here, that may mean more or less cooking for you.  I know that it will be extremely busy the next few weeks and that our usual weekly menu may not go as planned.  However, I will give some meals for this week in case you are in need of a few ideas.
Also, I have been chatting with the kids and hubby and we thought since a new year is coming we should get "silly" and switch up our themes.  Stay tuned for what we came up with!
BUT for 2 more weeks...
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. Meals that do take longer will have steps to help you prepare ahead of time. We all have busy schedules!!!
Monday - Christmas Eve
(your usual family traditions)
We will be eating a lot of great food today!!!  First, we are having a Christmas Eve Brunch, below is the dish that I will be contributing.  It is a breakfast dish, but nonetheless it is delicious and easy.  You should try it sometime:)
 Cinnamon French Toast Bake
French Toast Bake
  • 1/4 c. butter, melted
  • 2 cans (12.4 oz each) Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
  •  6 Eggs
  • 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. maple syrup
  • 1 c. chopped pecans (optional)

  • Garnish
    • Icing from cinnamon rolls
    • Powered sugar
    • 1/2 c. maple sugar (optional)
    1. Melt butter and pour on ungreased 13×9 inch glass dish. Separate cans of dough into 16 rolls reserving the icing for later use. Cut each roll into 8 pieces and add to buttered baking dish.
    2. Beat eggs in medium bowl. Add cream, cinnamon and vanilla and beat until well blended. Pour over cut pieces of cinnamon roll pieces.
    3. Sprinkle with pecans (if using) and drizzle 3/4 cup syrup over the top.
    4. Bake at 375 for 20 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes.
    5. Meanwhile, Remove the covers from icing and microwave on medium or 50% power for 10 to 15 seconds. (Should be thin enough to drizzle.) Drizzle icing over the top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with syrup if desired.
    Serves 12, Ready in 1 hour  cinnamonfrenchtoastbake

    Tuesday - Christmas Day
    (your usual traditions)
    We are having a Christmas ham for dinner, but I want to share with you awesome side dish that my family loves and requests often.
    Classic Potatoes Au Gratin

    • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 1tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper
    • 2-1/2 cups milk
    • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) KRAFT Shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided
    • 2 Tbsp. chopped onion 
    • 6 cups thinly sliced peeled potatoes (about 6 to 8 medium)
    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Melt butter in medium saucepan on medium heat. Blend in flour, salt, mustard and pepper. Gradually add milk, stirring until well blended; cook until thickened, stirring constantly.    
    2. ADD 1-1/2 cups of the cheese and the onion; cook until cheese is melted, stirring frequently. Layer potatoes and cheese sauce alternately in 2-quart casserole dish, ending with a layer of the cheese sauce.    
    3. BAKE 1 hour 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.    
    Serves 8, Ready in 1 hour 40 minutes
    Wednesday - Deli Eggwich
    If you have cooked and spent a lot of time in the kitchen the past few days this recipe is perfect.  It also falls into "Wacky Wednesday"!!!  This sandwich is quick and you can use leftover ham OR turkey from the day before.

    • 3 eggs
    • Splash milk or cream
    • Splash hot sauce
    • Salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 8 slices white or wheat bread
    • 4 rounded tablespoons apricot or raspberry preserves
    • 4 rounded tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
    • 4 slices ham
    • 4 slices Swiss cheese
    • 4 slices leftover turkey or ham (or deli turkey/ham)
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    1. Beat eggs, milk or cream and hot sauce with salt and pepper. Mix together the preserves and mustard. Spread the mixture on 1 side of each slice of bread. Face the coated sides in and make sandwiches of ham, cheese and turkey, folding meat and cheese to fit the bread.
    2. Heat a skillet with butter over medium heat. Coat sandwiches in egg and cook 3 minutes on each side until deeply golden and warmed through. Cut sandwiches from corner to corner and serve.
    3. Pick an easy side to serve with this.
    Serves 4, Ready in 15minutes
    Food Network delieggwiches
    Thursday - Rigatoni w/Sausage, Peppers, & Onions
    We are kind of getting back into the groove of things so here is "Tuscan Thursday".
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

  • Directions
    1. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until brown on both sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain. (I sliced the sausages before cooking them to reduce cooking time)
    2. Keeping the pan over medium heat, add the peppers, onions, salt, and pepper and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, basil, and garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
      Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the Marsala wine, tomatoes, and chili flakes, if using. Stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the browned bits. Bring to a simmer.
    3. Cut the sausages into 4 to 6 pieces each, about 1-inch cubes. Add the sausage back to the pan and stir to combine. Cook until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.
    4. While the sauce simmers, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes. Drain the pasta and add to the thickened sauce; toss to combine. Spoon into individual bowl and sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese.
    Serves 4, Ready in 40 minutes
    Giada Everyday Italian, courtesy of Smells Like Home rigatonisausagepeppersandonion

    Friday - Barbecued Salmon
    w/ Grilled Romaine & Citrus Vinaigrette

    This is a lighter dish but I figured we needed something on the lighter side after all the indulging of the weeks events.


    Barbecue glaze:
    • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
    • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 1 cup dark amber maple syrup
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 teaspoon curry powder
    • 1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
    • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

    • Vegetable cooking spray
    • 4 salmon fillets or salmon steaks, 6-8 ounces each
    • Coarse salt
    • 1 small navel orange, zested and juiced
    • 1 small lemon, zested and juiced
    • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
    • 2 large hearts romaine lettuce
    • 3 scallions, chopped
    • 1 box of couscous, prepared
    1. Prepare grill or pre-heat grill pan.
    2. On your stove top or outdoor grill, place a small sauce pot over moderate heat and cook onion in EVOO for three minutes. Add vinegar and continue to cook to reduce by half. Add syrup, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, curry, smoke flavoring and pepper. Bring to a bubble and simmer.
    3. Spray salmon with cooking spray and season with salt. Grill for three minutes, then turn and baste liberally with glaze. Turn again and glaze opposite side. If you care for salmon pink at center, remove after six minutes. For opaque salmon, grill five minutes on each side.
    4. Whisk citrus with garlic, mustard, tarragon and salt. Stream in EVOO to combine.
    5. Spray romaine hearts with cooking spray and place on grill two minutes, charring the outside leaves. Remove and cut each heart in half lengthwise, using tongs to help hold on to the charred lettuce. Cut away core at stem. Cut each half heart in half again lengthwise.
    6. Place two quarters of charred romaine on each dinner plate. Drizzle with dressing, working back and fourth. Set salmon on top of the salad. Garnish with chopped scallions and serve.
    7. I will also serve this dish with couscous.
    Serves 4, Ready in 30 minutes
    Rachael Ray bbqsalmonwithcitrusvinaigrette

    Saturday - Slow Cooker Beef & Black Bean Chili
    • 12 ounces ground beef
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 1 green sweet pepper, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2- 15 to 16 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1- 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
    • 3/4 cup beef broth
    • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 2 tablespoons hot chili powder
    • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
    • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    • Toasted baguette slices (optional)
    • Sliced green onions (optional)
    1. In a large skillet cook ground beef, onion, sweet pepper, and garlic over medium heat until browned. Drain fat. Transfer meat mixture to a 3-1/2 to 4-quart slow cooker. Add beans, tomatoes, beans, broth, cocoa powder, chili powder, cumin, and paprika.
    2. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Top with baguette slices and green onions, if desired.
    *This serves 8 so you can reserve half and freeze for later.
    Serves 8, Ready in 8-10 hours
    Sunday - Grilled [Macaroni and Cheese]
    Cheese Sandwich

    Since we are probably not eating mac and cheese on NYE, why not combine two favorites.  "Sandwich Sunday" and "Mac and Cheese Monday"  Hooray!!!!
    • 4 cups leftover mac n cheese, or whip up a batch
    • 1 cup cheese of your choice (a mix is fantastic)
    • 8 large pieces of sour dough bread
    • 4 tbsp. margarine
    • Mixed greens or Spinach for a salad
    1. Heat grill pan over medium.
    2. Heat the mac n cheese in the microwave if its cold, just to loosen and warm things up. (45 seconds). Or if you just made a batch then serve it right out of the pot.
    3. Spread the margarine on the exterior sides of bread.
    4. Pile half of the loose cheese on bread, top with mac n cheese, then the rest of the cheese.
    5. Top it off with the other slice of bread.
    6. Heat both sides until bread is nicely toasted and the cheese is melted.
    7. Cut in half and serve with a spinach salad or mixed green salad.
    Serves 4, Ready in 30 minutes (if making a fresh pot of mac & cheese)
    Simple Recipes grilledmacandcheesesandwich

    Hope you enjoy and have a SUPER week!!!

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