July Menu ~ 2013

Sorry my monthly menu plan is a little late. Believe it or not, I actually forgot to put one together (oops)! It’s not like I didn’t know it was July already, it’s just that I’ve been a little preoccupied with physical therapy and whatnot, but it’s here for you now ūüôā Also, you may have noticed I didn’t do much cooking last month via my June menu so some of this months recipes will come from there.

July Menu – 2013

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Romano-Crusted Chicken with Salad

Taco Cornbread Pizza

Dijon-Dill Salmon withRice Fritters and Parmesan Tomatoes

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Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Four Bean Salad

Turkey Salisbury Steaks with White Bean Mash

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Cous Cous-Stuffed Peppers and Salad

Turkey Ragu with Creamy  Polenta

Ultimate Baked Beans

Chicken Rio with Cilantro Lime Rice

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Salmon and Pasta in Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce

Beef Stroganoff and Pesto-Parmesan Green Beans

Garlic Tilapia with Mexican Rice and veggies

Crock Pot Meatloaf and Gravy with mashed potatoes and veggies

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Chicken Salad with Grapes and Pecans

Chicken and Rice Pilaf

Pineapple Galette

Harvest Bread

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Recipes I’m (still) working on:

Crunchy Fish Tacos with Cilantro Cream Sauce

Chocolate-Drizzled Cheesecake Cream Puffs

Spinach & Artichoke Crusted Chicken

Tomato Cucumber Bread Salad

Cow Pies (GF)

Crock Pot Swiss Chicken

 Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites (GF)

Spinach & Goat Cheese Tilapia Roulade with Tarragon Bechamel

Mexican Bruschetta

Chocolate Chip Blueberry Muffins

Patron Punch

Chocolate Fudge Tart with Mint Cream

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Asian Chicken Pizza with Peanut Sauce

Two Girls and a Party, Cast Party Wednesday, Wednesday Extravaganza, What’s in Your Kitchen, Full Plate Thursday, Thursday’s Treasures,

20 Recipes for Summer

Summer is here! Okay, well maybe not “officially” but I think all the moms out there can agree that summer starts when school lets out. Now that it’s hotter outside and the days are longer we want to avoid turning on the oven as much as possible and either grill or eat light, refreshing meals. ¬†I don’t know about you but my kitchen gets really hot when I use the oven so I will definitely be planning any baking for very early in the day and relying more on the grill and other summertime fare.

Here is a roundup of 20 recipes that are summer worthy from appetizers to desserts, and not a one requires an oven.

summer recipes

Appetizers: Bruschetta, Cherry Caprese

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Salads: Deviled Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad, Cheeseburger Salad, Chopped Thai Chicken Salad, Chili Lime Chicken Salad, Greek Chicken Salad with Grapes & Pecans

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On the Grill: Grilled Balsamic Chicken, Bourbon BBQ Sliders with Garlic Aioli, Honey-Lime Chicken Kabobs

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In the Crock Pot: Honey Sesame Chicken, Sweet Chicken Rio, Cashew Chicken, Chicken Teriyaki

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Cool Desserts: Chocolate Banana Pudding Pie, Mud Pie, Watermelon Petit Fours, Chocolate & Peanut Butter Ribbon Dessert, Easy Eclair Dessert

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Marvelous Mondays, Melt in Your Mouth Mondays,

Southwest Chicken Wraps

The other night I was going to a friend’s house for an evening of homemade pesto on pasta, wine, and girlfriends (the best kind of evening!) so I decided to make these easy wraps for all my boys so they would have something for dinner. I know, I’m so nice.

This is a great recipe for when you have leftovers or if you’ve pre-planned a little bit. I knew I was going to make these wraps so I had already poached some chicken breasts and cooked the rice. Then all I had to do was throw everything together and it was ready in no time.

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Southwest Chicken Wraps

1 cup cooked rice*

1 cup cooked & shredded chicken

1 can black beans, drained & rinsed

1 (4 0z) can chopped green chiles

1/4 cup bell pepper, chopped **

1/4 cup red onion, chopped fine

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

juice of 1 lime

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp southwest seasoning

2 cups shredded cheddar

flour tortillas

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Preheat oven to 350* and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Mix rice together with the chili powder, cumin, and garlic salt. *If using precooked rice make sure it is not cold; room temp or even a bit warm is best.

Add the remaining ingredients except for the cheese because you may not use it all, though mixing it into the chicken mixture would certainly not be a crime, so by all means do it that way of you wish. **For the bell peppers I used 3 mini yellow bells. You can use any colors you like.

Arrange cheese and chicken in the center of tortillas and fold in the sides, making a little pillow. Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Bake for about 10 or 15 minutes or just until the tortillas brown slightly.

Serve with avocado, sour cream, salsa, green onions, and tomatoes. Yum! Recipe yields about 6 burrito-sized wraps or a dozen smaller (6 inch) wraps.

Wednesday Extravaganza, Cast Party Wednesday, What’s in Your Kitchen, Thursday Treasures, Full Plate Thursday, Weekend Potluck, Foodie Friday, TGIF, Saturday Spotlight, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Marvelous Mondays,¬†

Mushroom & Peas Pulao

A pulao is an Indian rice pilaf. Honestly, this dish could be a meal in itself. It’s hearty and delicious; a perfect vegetarian dish.

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Mushroom and Peas Pulao

2 cups brown or basmati rice, cooked

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

8-10  oz. mushrooms, any kind (I used baby bella crimini)

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

small onion, diced

3-4 garlic cloves, sliced thin or minced

1 green chili, minced (I used jalapeno)1/4 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cardamom (or 1/2 & 1/2 nutmeg-cinnamon)

1/4 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp chili powder, or to taste

juice from 1/2 a lime (about 1 T)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

salt & pepper to taste

1. Cook your rice according to package directions. I always prefer to cook rice with chicken broth over water. It adds flavor and a little protein.

2.¬†While the rice is cooking you can get the onions, garlic and jalapeno going in the skillet in 1 T of EVOO over medium heat.¬†While that’s happening you can wash and cut your mushrooms into quarters, or smaller pieces if you prefer.

3. Time to get those spices in the skillet (ginger, cardamom, cloves & chili pepper). Make sure the heat isn’t too high. You want to release all those flavors without burning up your skillet. What you end up with is like a paste so put it your broth now and whisk.

4. Add the mushrooms and peas (if frozen. If fresh, wait until mushrooms are almost done). You’ll see quite a bit of moisture come out of them. Cook it all down slowly and combine everything well.¬†

5. Combine with cooked rice and stir in lime juice, fresh cilantro, and salt & pepper.

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May Menu ~ 2013

You may have noticed that I took a little sabbatical from blogging. I didn’t know I was going to take a break but it was obvious that I needed one. It’s also pretty obvious that I didn’t cook nearly as much of my April menu as I intended and I usually try to make those recipes up the next month, but alas, I probably won’t get to those any time soon. But I do have a whole menu of new and exciting recipes to share, and I appreciate all you wonderful readers and fellow bloggers for coming back to see what I’m cooking ūüôā

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Recipes I’m cooking that I’ve shared before:

Zucchini Noodles,  Cilantro Lime Rice,  Spinach Tomato Feta Frittata,  Cheeseburger Salad,  Black Bean & Steak Taquitos

Recipes I’m working on this month:

Quinoa, Black Bean & Corn Burritos

Fish Cakes with Cilantro-Lime Dip

Mushroom & Peas Pulao

Chicken Enchilada Pasta Bake

Skinny Cheeseburger Casserole

Southwest Chicken & Corn Chowder

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken

White Bean Turkey Chili

Marinated London Broil

Cajun Chicken Fritters with Cajun Aioli

Bourbon BBQ Sliders with Garlic Aioli

Southwest Chicken Wraps

Honey-Lime Chicken Kabobs

Shredded Beef Tacos with Lime Cabbage & Queso

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad

Chipotle Steak Burritos

Crispy GF Sweet & Sour Chicken

Chili’s Chicken Enchilada Soup

 Sides & Other:

Thai Dragon Noodles

Turkey Bacon & Cheddar Potato Cakes

Four Bean Salad

Parmesan & Chive Quinoa Patties

Deviled Potato Salad

Breakfast Enchilada Bake

Desserts:

Gooey Butter Bars with Fresh Strawberries

Mini Apple Tarte Tatin

Strawberry Tart with Basil Cream

Vanilla-Coconut Rice Pudding

Chocolate Banana Pudding Pie

Lemon Cake with Raspberries and Yogurt Frosting

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Poor Man’s Mongolian Beef

This was sooooo good! Who would have thought you could get so much flavor from regular old ground beef, and feel like you’ve just ordered from a top-notch Chinese restaurant? Make this soon. You will love it. Seriously. Soon.

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Poor Man’s Mongolian Beef

2 lb. lean ground beef (nothing less than 85%)

3 T sesame oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 cup soy sauce, or more to taste

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 cup green onions, sliced, greens too

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, or more to taste

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

4 cups cooked rice

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the beef in the sesame oil with the garlic. Cook and stir often until the meat is browned. Allow to simmer so most of the juices and oil are absorbed.

2. Add the ginger, soy, brown sugar, cayenne, wine, vinegar, peanut butter, pepper, and salt. Combine well. Simmer for several minutes for the flavors to fuse together. Toss in a small handful of the onion whites and simmer.

3. Serve over warm rice and top with chives (green part of onion stalk).

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Creamy Lobster Risotto with Green Peas

This is a very rich and filling meal. I love risotto any way, but the lobster gives it a bit of an elegant twist that makes it suitable for a main course even for guests. Make sure you serve it with a light salad and some crusty bread (or my Cheesy Pesto Bread!)

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Lobster Risotto

1 cup Arborio rice

1/2 onion, chopped

4 cups chicken broth, divided

1/2 cup white wine

2 (6 oz) lobster tails, frozen is fine

1 cup frozen green peas

2 T EVOO

4 oz. cream cheese

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided

salt & pepper

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1. Heat EVOO in skillet over medium heat and saute onion for about 3 minutes.  Put dry rice in skillet and saute/toast for an additional 2 or 3 minutes.  Pour in wine and simmer until absorbed.

2. In a sauce pot bring 1 cup broth to a soft boil and throw the lobster tails in. Cover and allow to steam about 4 minutes, or until shells turn bright red. *If using frozen lobster it may take a few extra ¬†minutes, but don’t worry if you see they are not completely cooked through when you shell them. You can get to that later.

3. Start putting broth into your rice 1/2 cup at a time while keeping the liquid at a gentle simmer. Stir frequently and allow broth to absorb. Salt & pepper a bit. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time.

4. Shell the lobster meat and cut into small pieces. Any bits not cooked through  can go back into the sauce pot broth for a minute or two.

5. If the rice isn’t cooked enough (it should be slightly al dente) you can add some of the broth from the sauce pot. Your rice should have about 3 1/2 cups of broth in it, plus the 1/2 cup wine.

6. Stir in the cream cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan, the lobster, and the peas. Allow everything to combine and heat through thoroughly.

7. Salt & Pepper again if needed, and serve with a sprinkle of the reserved parmesan on top.

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Easter Brunch & Dinner Ideas

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Easter is almost here and that usually means a big spread for your table. If you will be celebrating, and possibly even entertaining, you may want a few extra ideas – I know I am always looking for new ideas ūüôā Here is just a simple round-up of breakfast/brunch, sides, main dishes, and desserts for you.

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No Yeast Cinnamon Rolls

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Quiche Lorraine

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Blueberry Bake

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Roasted Potato Frittata

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Poached Eggs with Hollandaise Sauce

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Strawberry-Peach Pancakes

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Chicken Salad with Grapes & Pecans

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Sweet Cherry Caprese Salad

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Wild Rice & Corn Muffins

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Chicken in Cream

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Lemon Chicken Piccata

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Dijon Dill Salmon

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Auntie Mary’s Meatballs (Porcupine Balls)

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Apricot & Tequila Glazed Turkey

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Maple Mustard Chicken

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Parmesan Pesto Green Beans

Creamy Skillet Veggies

Creamy Skillet Veggies

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Carrot Mash Bake

Cheesy Rice Fritters

Cheesy Rice Fritters

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Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese

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Brown Sugar Butternut Squash Tart

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Luscious Tropical Dream Cake

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Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

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Apple Pie Bars

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Sweet Chicken Rio & Rice

This was AMAZING! I mean it- I LOVE THIS DISH! and I’m pretty sure you will, too ūüôā Both of these recipes can be found on Jamie Cooks It Up! You can link to her blog from the button on the right blogroll of this screen.

Since Jamie’s original recipe called for pork, I changed it slightly. Otherwise everything else was pretty much the same. Instead of using chicken breasts, however, I threw a small whole chicken into the Crockpot¬†with about 3 1/2 cups water, and let it cook slowly over night. This yielded a ton of fall-0ff-the-bone meat and about 4 cups thick, luscious chicken stock.

After picking through the meat, which was plenty, I saved the bones, skin, and gunk to boil down for another stock. There really was enough meat for me to make another meal from had I been feeling particularly savvy. I was not. Instead I used all the meat in this recipe, which gave me a HUGE amount of sweet chicken rio. It would not go to waste I was to find out ūüôā

I love Crock-potting whole chickens. It just makes life so easy ūüôā

After the meat was cooked, picked through and shredded, I placed it back into the (clean) Crockpot and added the necessary ingredients. At this point it only had to crock for about 4 hours on low.

Here is the original recipe (remember you can use pork or even turkey if you want.

SWEET CHICKEN RIO

3 lb. chicken meat, cooked and shredded

1 (16 oz.) jar salsa (2 cups)

1 can green chilies

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 can black beans, undrained

1. Combine all ingredients into Crockpot and cook on low to medium heat for 4 Р5  hours.

2. Serve with warm corn tortillas, cheese, lettuce or cabbage, tomatoes, and any other condiment such as avocado, black olives, & taco sauce.

**NOTE: If starting this recipe with raw meat do as follows: In the bottom of the Crockpot mix salsa, green chilies, brown sugar, and black beans. Add the chicken and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 7 hours. Take the meat out of the Crockpot and shred it up with a fork. Return the meat and cook 1 more hour.

I am a BIG lover of corn tortillas. Seriously, I think I can eat just about any meal in a corn tortilla. Something about them just makes me happy. I’m also a big fan of Mexican/TexMex, so this meal was right up my alley.

A perfect accompaniment to this was Jamie’s Cilantro Lime Rice. It was super yummy and yielded¬†way more than her recipe said it would (I am sure this has more to do with me and the kind of rice I used than anything else. Short grain brown rice FYI.) But it gave me plenty of leftovers for another meal.

Cilantro Lime Rice

2 cups uncooked rice

1 tbsp. butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 chicken bullion cubes

1 tsp. lime zest

4 cups water

2 tbsp. lime juice

1 tbsp. sugar

3 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

1. In a large skillet combine rice, butter, garlic, lime zest, bullion, and water. Bring to a boil and stir well.

2. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

3. In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar, and cilantro (I used dried and let it sit in the mixture for about 30 minutes). Pour over the top of hot, cooked rice, and stir to incorporate.

This rice was fantastic. The flavors are subtle yet they compliment the chicken dish so well. I was very glad I tried these recipes and they will definitely be repeated at some time. Enjoy!

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