Saturday, February 9, 2013

Week 16 Themed Menu and Recipes

It's almost the middle of February already!  I had to take a few week hiatus from the blog but we are going to pick up where we left off.  Here are the "new" themes and recipes for this coming week.   

***Since "Fat Tuesday" is this week, we will be skipping our Tokyo theme and having a New Orleans inspired dish:)
NEW Weekly themes are as follows:
  • Mediterranean Monday - We will mostly do Italian or Greek dishes but this day opens you up to try almost any dish.
  • Tokyo Tuesday - Asian inspired dishes
  • Wrap it Up Wednesday - Wraps, Sandwiches, Burgers, Salads, etc...
  • Taco Thursday - Spanish inspired dishes
  • Free for All Friday - This day is used for leftovers, dining out, or pot luck
  • Slow Cooker/Simmer Saturday
  • Seafood Sunday
***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 - Pork Milanese and Cheesy Orzo

  • 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 boneless pork loin chops, pounded thin to 1/3 inch-thick (1 1/2 pounds total)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 lemon wedges
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
  2. Coarsely crush the panko into a large shallow bowl. Stir the cheese into the panko. Lightly beat the eggs in another large shallow bowl. Sprinkle the pork generously with salt and pepper. Dip the pork, 1 piece at a time, in the egg, allowing the excess to drip off, then dredge the pork in the crumb mixture, patting to coat completely. Place the pork on a small baking sheet.
  3. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the pork to the hot oil and cook until golden brown and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then transfer them to a clean baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and fry the remaining pork.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cans (14 ounces) chicken or vegetable broth or stock
  • 2 cups orzo pasta (enriched rice may be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano or Romano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat a 8 inch pot with a tight fitting cover over moderate heat. Add oil, onion and garlic and saute for 2 or 3 minutes. Add broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in orzo and return broth to a boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until liquid is absorbed and pasta tender. Remove lid and stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. You favorite fresh herbs may also be stirred into the orzo or rice to strengthen the flavor even more.
  2. Transfer the pork and orzo to plates and serve with lemon wedges.
***I also make a steamed veggie like green beans or carrots to go with this dish.

Serves 4, Ready in 30 minutes
Food Network---Giada De Laurentiis porkmilanese and Rachael Ray cheesyorzo

Tuesday -  Jambasta
A favorite dish of the hubby's, he is going to one happy guy!

  • Salt
  • 1 pound penne rigate, pasta with lines
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 pound andouille sausage, any brand, casing removed and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped or thinly sliced (1 large jalapeno my be substituted)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 ribs celery from the heart with greens, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup beer, 1/2 bottle
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 (14-ounce) can, crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce (recommended: Franks Red Hot or Tabasco) eyeball it
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 pound chicken breast, diced into small pieces
  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp, cleaned and tails removed
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, eyeball it
  • 2 scallions, sliced

  1. Heat a pot of water to a boil for pasta and add salt to it then pasta. Cook to al dente and drain.
  2. While pasta works, heat a deep skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, butter and andouille. Brown the sausage 2 to 3 minutes to render the fat. Remove with a slotted spoon.
  3. Add garlic, peppers, celery and onions. Saute the veggies for 5 to 6minutes. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and add flour to the pan. Cook flour with veggies 2 minutes more then whisk in beer. Cook beer out, 2 minutes.
  4. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, hot sauce and thyme. Bring liquid to a bubble and add chicken and shrimp. Cook 6 to 7 minutes until chicken is firm and shrimp are opaque and firm. Stir to mix in cooking juices then add in cream.
  5. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Ladle up the jambasta and top with chopped scallions and reserved crispy andouille.
Serves 4, Ready in 30 minutes
Food Network jambasta
Wednesday - The Ultimate Ham & Cheese Sandwich
w/Fresh Green Salad
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • A few grates fresh nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 slices white bread
  • 12-16 slices deli ham
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese or Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry jam
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar-
  • 1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 4-5 cups mixed salad greens
  1. Place a medium-size pot over medium heat and melt 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and cook for about 1 minute. Slowly whisk the milk and mustard into the butter-flour mixture. Season it with some fresh nutmeg, salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook for about until it thickens up.
  2. Place four slices of bread on the counter. Spread some of the sauce onto each slice of bread, then lay down some ham, a couple slices of cheese, another smear of sauce and top each sandwich with the remaining bread slices.
  3. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and melt the remaining tablespoon of butter. In a high-sided dish, whisk up the eggs. Dip the sandwiches in the egg and transfer them to the hot pan. Cook until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side.
  4. While the sandwiches are cooking, whisk the raspberry jam, white vinegar, EVOO, some salt and freshly ground black pepper in a large salad bowl. Toss the salad greens in the dressing and serve along the ulitmate grilled cheese sandwiches.
Serves 4, Ready in 30 minutes
Rachael Ray  ulitmatehamandgrilledcheese
Thursday -  Slow Cooker Chicken & Black Bean Tacos
  • 12 oz raw skinless chicken tenders or breast (I used store bought Rotisserie Chicken)
  • 15 oz can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 10 oz can tomatoes with mild green chiles (I used Rotel)
  • 1 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp plus 1/8th tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1 medium scallion, diced
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro (optional)
For the Slaw
  • 1 1/3 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar (or lime juice)
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
For the Taco
  • 12 crisp corn or flour taco shells
Optional toppings
  • pico de gallo
  • 1 medium haas avocado, sliced
  1. Season chicken with pinch of salt, garlic powder, oregano, 1/8 tsp of the chili powder and 1/8th tsp cumin.
  2. Add the beans and tomatoes to the crock pot and season with the remaining chili powder and cumin. Place chicken in the crock pot and cover. Cook on HIGH 2 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, combine shredded cabbage with vinegar (add more to taste), season with salt to taste; set aside.
  4. Remove chicken from the crock pot and shred with two forks (unless you used Rotisserie Chicken). Drain beans and transfer to a platter, or back to the crock pot to keep warm. Top with shredded chicken, scallions and cilantro.
  5. To serve, warm the taco shells according to package directions. Fill with equal amounts of bean and chicken mixture. Top with cabbage and your favorite toppings.
  6. Serve with your favorite chips and salsa.
Serves 4, Ready in 2-3 hours on low
Skinny Taste clowcookerchickenandblackbeantaco

Friday - Free for All -TGIF!!! 
Take this day off of cooking and use up the leftovers from the week
OR treat your family to a night out for dinner!!!
Saturday - Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili
  • 2 1/2  lb boneless skinless chicken thighs and/or breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium stalks celery, sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 cup chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce (from 12-oz jar)
  • Crumbled blue cheese, if desired
  1. Spray 5- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In cooker, mix all ingredients except buffalo wing sauce and cheese.
  2. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 8 to 10 hours.
  3. Stir in buffalo wing sauce. Serve sprinkled with blue cheese.
  4. Complete this dish with a small side salad, if desired.
*Kid Friendly Note: add the buffalo sauce to the chili after the kids dishes have been served.  That way it will not be too spicy for them.  Then you can sprinkle the blue cheese on the individual bowls.

Serves 4, Ready in 8-10 hours
Pillsbury slowcookerbuffalochickenchili

Sunday - Salmon and Ravioli
  • 9 ouncepackagerefrigerated four cheese ravioli
  • 1 lemon
  • 4- 6 ounces skinless, salmon fillets
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 ounce package baby spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Cook ravioli according to package directions; drain.
2. Meanwhile, halve lemon. Squeeze juice from one half of the lemon; cut remaining half into small wedges. Set lemon juice and lemon wedges aside. Rinse salmon; pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat; add salmon; cook for 6 to 8 minutes until salmon just flakes, turning once. Remove salmon; add spinach to skillet. Cook 1 minute or until spinach just begins to wilt. Remove spinach from skillet. Add lemon juice, garlic and butter to hot skillet. Cook and stir over medium heat until butter melts. Cook and stir 1 minute more.
4. Slice salmon and divide among 4 plates. Add ravioli and spinach; pour pan juices atop. Serve with lemon wedges and pass Parmesan.
Serves 4, Ready in 30 minutes
Better Homes and Gardens salmonandravioli
Hope you enjoy and have a SUPER week!!!
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