Friday, September 20, 2013

Week 31 Menu and Recipes

Another week full of wonderfully delicious dinners already planned for you!!! 

Few things to note...we have a couple of beef and chicken entrees in a row.  This is the way the theme and proteins fell this time around.  The menu is from summer and there are a few more sandwich type meals than the norm.  However, with the weather still being warm these dishes will work for the beginning of fall. 

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 - CrockPot Italian Beef Sandwiches
w/Spinach Salad

  • 3.25 lbs. boneless beef round (could also be called bottom round roast)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. onion salt
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 packet dry Italian dressing seasoning 
  • 2-3 c. water
  • Fresh spinach with favorite salad ingredients
---- Optional ingredients for sandwiches: soft hoagie buns, sliced onion, sliced sweet or hot peppers, marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella

  1. Lightly coat the crockpot with cooking spray.  Pour the water into the crockpot. Stir in the salt, pepper, basil, onion salt, parsley, oregano, garlic powder, and Italian dressing packet. Place the meat in the water mixture; cover with a lid, and turn on low for 10-12 hours.
  2. Once meat is fork tender, I remove it from the crockpot and place it in a large bowl and shred beef with your fingers or a fork.
  3. Place beef back into crockpot and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to low broil. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and place split hoagie buns on the sheet.
  5. Sauté sliced onions and peppers in olive oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until just softened.
  6. Place warmed beef (with a slotted spoon to remove from juice) on your split hoagie bun. Top with sautéed onions and pepper. Spoon sauce over the top, then sprinkle on mozzarella as desired. Broil on low for 2-3 minutes, just until the cheese is melted. 
  7. Serve with the spinach salad and optional sandwich ingredients.
Alternately, you can serve these beefs with just their au jus...equally fantastic and super easy!

*Freeze ahead meal option...You can also freeze the beef in its own juice in large or individual portions. When ready to use thaw and simmer on low until heated through.
Serves 12-15 (6 hoagie rolls), Ready in 10-12 hours on low
Tuesday - Middle Eastern Steak Pitas
  • 1 1/4 pounds flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley and/or mint
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 3 small Persian cucumbers (or seedless), peeled and chopped
  • 4 pocketless pitas
  • Sliced watermelon (or seasonal fruit)
  1. Combine the steak, onion, pumpkin pie spice, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 minced garlic clove, 2 tablespoons chopped herbs, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl; toss well to coat. Set aside while you prepare the salad.
  2. Whisk the tahini, the remaining garlic and 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a separate bowl; stir in the tomatoes and cucumbers.
  3. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Brush the pitas with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil; cook until lightly toasted, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to plates. Working in batches, add the meat and onion to the skillet in a single layer and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side.
  4. Serve the steak and onion on the pitas with the cucumber salad. Top with the remaining herbs.
  5. Serve steak pitas with sliced watermelon on the side or any seasonal fruit.

*Kid Friendly Note: I omit the onions from my kids pitas and just serve the tomato and cucumber salad. 

Serves 4, Ready in 40 minutes
Food Network middleeasternsteakpitas

Wednesday - Chicken Bread Salad
  • 1 chicken (3 1/2 lbs.), cut into 8 pieces (or 4 boneless chicken breast)                       
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 day-old baguette, split lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tomatoes, cored, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 1 cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups basil leaves, torn
  • 8 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 1 lemon, halved
---Option---substitute the tomato and cucumber for fresh sliced peaches or nectarines.                       
  1. Preheat a grill to medium. Season the chicken. Grill, turning occasionally, until juices run clear, 35 minutes. (less time if you are using boneless chicken breast)                   
  2. Drizzle the cut sides of the baguette with EVOO. Grill, cut side down, covered, until crispy, about 5 minutes. Cut the bread into 1-inch pieces; place in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, onion, cucumber, basil, feta and olives. Toss with 3 tbsp. EVOO; season.
  3. Place the bread salad on a platter. Top with the chicken. Squeeze lemon over before serving.

Serves 4, Ready in 35 minutes
Rachael Ray grilledbreadsaladwithchicken

Thursday - White Chicken Enchilada Casserole

  • 4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced (or store bought rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
  • 2 (4 oz) cans diced green chilis
  • 1 (16 oz) container sour cream
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (10 oz) package tortilla chips
  • 1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients except for the chips and cheeses together. Spray a 9x13" baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place chips in the bottom of the baking pan and pour chicken mixture over chips. Top with grated cheese and bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  2. Serve with your favorite toppings (lettuce, tomato, salsa, avocado, hot sauce, etc).
Serves 6-8, Ready in 40 minutes
Friday - Free for All
Use this day for whatever you want!!! 
Leftovers, go out, breakfast for dinner, etc...

Saturday - Easy CrockPot Barbecued Ribs
w/Mashed Potatoes

  • 1.5 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • S&P to taste
  • 2 lbs pork (baby) back ribs
  • 1-3 cups barbecue sauce
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • Mashed or baked potatoes (your choice)
  • Carrots, prepared and seasoned
  1. In a small bowl, mix together paprika, brown sugar, cayenne and S&P.  Rub this mixture all over both sides of your ribs well.  
  2. Arrange ribs in the slow cooker.  Pour barbecue sauce over the ribs, cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low.
  3. Once the initial slow cooking is done, very carefully (as they are tennnnderrrrr) remove the ribs to a baking pan which you have lined with foil and put a rack on, bone side up.  Set to the side.
  4. Skim any fat that has risen to the top and strain all of the remaining juices from the slow cooker through a mesh strainer into a small saucepan.  Bring to boil and allow to simmer and reduce by about a third, approximately 15 minutes.
  5. In the meantime prepare your side dishes (potato and carrots). 
  6. Put your oven’s broiler or grill.  When the broiler/grill is preheated, brush the ribs with sauce and broil for 3 or 4 minutes.  Take them out and very carefully flip them over, brush with sauce and broil again, meat side up, for approximately 9 minutes.
  7. Serve any remaining sauce on the side with the ribs.
  8. Plate ribs alongside potato of choice and carrots.
Serves 4, Ready in 8 hours on low for Mommy easybarbecuedribs

Sunday - Seared Mahi Mahi w/Zesty Basil Butter
& Rice Pilaf
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 (6 to 8-ounce) mahi mahi fillets
  • Rice Pilaf (I prefer Near East)
  • Veggies, prepared
  1. Combine the butter, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring until the butter melts. Cover and keep warm over low heat.
  2. Prepare rice pilaf according to package directions
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook the fish for 3 minutes; then turn and cook until just opaque, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer the fillets to individual plates.
  4. Spoon the warm basil butter over the fish and serve with rice and veggies.
Serves 4, Ready in 25 minutes

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