"What's for Dinner?!" I'm always thinking about it, thought I'd share.

"What's for Dinner?!" I'm always thinking about it, thought I'd share.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Double Smoked Bacon and Onion Cornbread

8 oz. Double Smoked Bacon (Boars Head has a good one)
1 small Sweet Onion, small diced
1/2 C. frozen Corn kernels
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Cornbread mix (I like Trader Joe's brand)

Preheat oven to 325°F.  

Arrange bacon on baking tray in a single layer.  Put in oven and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until bacon is brown and crispy.  Once done remove and place strips on paper towel to remove excess fat.  Once cooled a little, rough chop or crumble.  Reserve.  
While bacon is cooking, heat olive oil in saute pan until shimmering and hot, add onions and saute until translucent and just start to turn golden.   Add corn, stir and remove from heat.
Make cornbread mix according to directions on box.  While mix is still in the mixing bowl add onions, corn, and bacon.  Cook bread as instructed. 

Roasted Rack of Pork with Caramelized Potatoes and Onions

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 4-pound Pork Rack, frenched or center-cut bone-in pork loin (rib) roast
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

4 large russet potatoes (about 3 pounds), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 large Shallots, peeled, cut into quarters

Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk 1/4 cup oil, garlic, butter, sage and rosemary in small bowl to blend. Place pork in large roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub herb mixture over pork. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.) Cover pork loosely with foil and roast 2 hours.
Divide remaining 1/4 cup oil between 2 heavy large skillets. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Divide potatoes between skillets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until potatoes are golden but not tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer potatoes to roasting pan with pork, add shallots. Toss potatoes and shallots with pan juices. Continue roasting, uncovered, until pork browns, potatoes are tender and juices are slightly reduced, about 40 minutes.
Place pork in center of large platter. Surround with potato mixture. Pour pan juices into 2-cup glass measuring cup. Spoon fat off top of juices and discard. Pour juices over pork and potatoes.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chicken and White Bean Chili

4 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 whole chicken, deboned, skinned, and cut into 1 1/2" chunks
(you can substitute chicken parts or boneless, skinless breasts)
2 med. Onions, chopped
1 Green Pepper, small dice
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
6 oz. Beer
1 C. Chicken Stock
1 small can diced Green Chilies
1 15oz can diced Tomatoes
3 cans White beans
1 Bay Leaf
all spices to taste - 2 Tbsp.Chili Powder, 2 Tbsp. Oregano, 1 Tbsp.Cumin, 1 tsp.Thyme, 1 tsp. Paprika
Salt and Pepper, to taste
optional - Jalapeno or Serano Pepper, diced (depending on how hot you like your Chili)

* 2-3 Tbsp. Corn Starch, alittle bit of water

Season all chicken meat with salt and pepper.  Heat 2 tbsp. oil in large pot over medium high heat.  Once oil is hot, shimmering and just starting to smoke, add chicken and brown.  Once done reserve in a large mixing bowl.  Put pot back on heat, add 2 more tbsp. oil and get hot again.  Add onions, cook until translucent, add green peppers and canned chilies (hot peppers if using).  Cook until peppers are soft, add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more.  Add tomato paste and canned tomatoes, using a wooden spoon rub bottom of pot to loosen all brown bits from the meat, lower heat and cook 5-6 minutes.  Increase heat and add beer, reduce liquid by half.  Add stock, beans, chicken, bay leaf and spices, bring just to the boil and then reduce heat, cover pot, and cook for 30-35 minutes.  Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.  Depending on taste, add addtional measures of spices. 

* If you want the chili to be thicker; put corn starch in small bowl and slowly add water while mixing until mixture resembles heavy cream.  At the very end of cooking time, stir corn starch mixture into chili and mix while over heat.  Chili will thicken, cook for 5 more minutes.  If chili gets too thick thin add some additional chicken stock.

Weekly Menu Jan. 29th - Feb. 4th

Dinner out - Feeling like a Burger & Beer (Maybe, The Lodge in Sylvan Lake)
Roasted Pork Loin Rack with Rosemary
Potatoes with Caramelized Onions
Asparagus with julienned Red Pepper
Cornmeal Crusted Cod with Curried Lentils
Broccoli and Garlic
Chicken and White Bean Chili
Double Smoked Bacon and Onion Cornbread 
Chopped Salad with a Creamy Sweet Onion Dressing
Seared Salmon with a Red Pepper, Citrus-Ginger Glaze
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa
Steamed Green Beans
Meatball and Broccoli Rabe Lasagna
Caesar Salad
"Smorgasbord Night" (don't forget the Martinis)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Weekly Menu Jan. 22nd - Jan. 28th

"Freezer-Night" (my version of left-overs.  I see Stuffed Pork Loin, Roast Beef, BBQ Chicken in there)
Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa, Broccoli slaw, & a Black bean Quesadilla
Bratwursts with Onions and Peppers
Chopped Salad
Chicken, Wild Mushroom, and Rice Casserole
Sauteed Green Beans 
Curried Lentils with Basmati Rice and Ginger
Homemade Macaroni & Cheese
Baby Greens salad with a Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette
Mystery Night - it could be anything, Jeanne's in charge

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Turkey Meatloaf with Feta and Spinach

1 1/2 # Ground Turkey meat
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 Tsp. Oregano
1/2 small Onion, minced
1 small clove Garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 Egg, well scrambled
2 Tbsp. Applesauce
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 C. Panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 C. chopped fresh Spinach
1/2 C. crumbled Feta cheese
2 Zucchinis, sliced length-wise and grilled (season with salt and pepper)
4 red Onion slices, grilled (season with salt and pepper)
4 slices of Tomato
Tzatziki sauce, (Trader Joe's is excellent)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, salt and pepper.  Reserve.  In a saute pan heat oil to shimmering over med-high heat.  Add onions and cook until translucent.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add oregano and cook a minute more.  Let mixture cool a little and add to turkey.  Add egg, breadcrumbs, mustard, applesauce, spinach and feta, mix well. (I put on latex gloves and use my hands) 
Line a sided baking sheet with foil and coat with non-stick spray.  Shape turkey mixture into a loaf with hands.  Using a baking sheet instead of a loaf pan will give your meatloaf a much better crust, while remaining moist inside.  Put loaf in oven and cook for approximately 30-35 minutes.  Meat thermometer should read an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees. 
Remove loaf from oven and reserve warm for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing.
Arrange grilled vegetables on a warm serving tray and place sliced turkey meatloaf in the center.  Serve with Tzatziki sauce on the side. I am serving with Baby Red Bliss potatoes and Rosemary, but it can be served with tabbouleh and hummus with flatbread as well or rice.

Seafood Gumbo

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
8 oz. Bacon, small dice
1 med. Onion, medium dice
1/2 Green Pepper, medium dice
3 stalks Celery, medium dice
5 cloves Garlic, minced
(1) 15oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 C. Chicken Broth
2 Andouille Sausages, medium dice
1# Cod, 1 1/2" pieces
1 packet Trader Joes Seafood Mix (Calimari, Shrimp, Scallops, etc)
1 C. Okra, frozen- do not thaw before
2 Tbsp. Oregano
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tbsp. + Old Bay seasoning, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. fresh Parsley, finely chopped
Cayenne pepper (optional)
2 Tbsp Corn starch

1/2 Onion, small dice
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Bay Leaf
Old Bay seasoning, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to aste
1 C. Long Grain Rice

Rice Procedure-
Over high heat place a medium pot, add oil.  When oil is shimmering add onions and cook until translucent.  Add garlic, bay leaf, and Old Bay seasoning, cook 1-2 minutes.  Add rice, mix well and heat for 1-2 minutes.  Add 2 cups of water to rice, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Cooking liquid should taste like soup.  Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat and cover.  Cook rice for 12-15 minutes covered.  Once all liquid is absorbed by rice and it's tender, remove from heat and reserve covered.

Gumbo Procedure-
Heat a large heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat.  Add olive oil and heat until shimmering.  Add bacon and brown.  Skim bacon out of pot and reserve on the side.  To the hot bacon fat in the pot add onion, celery, and green pepper and cook until onions are translucent.  Add garlic, Old Bay seasoning, and oregano, cook 1-2 minutes.  Add andouille sausage, okra, tomatoes, broth, and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat immediately, add bacon back to mixture and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add seafood, simmer until seafood is done 7-8 minutes.  In a small bowl put corn starch and mix in a small amount of water, mixture should resemble the consistencey of heavy cream, no lumps.  While stirring constantly, add corn starch mixture to Gumbo, continue to cook until thickened.  Add parsley and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and if more spicy is desired, add cayenne.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wild Mushroom Macaroni and Cheese

Kosher Salt
1# Cavatappi pasta
4 Tbsp Butter, plus for baking pan
1/4 C. diced Onion
1 small Garlic clove, minced
1# mixture of Shitake, Portabella, Crimini, sliced thinly
1 Bay Leaf
2 Tbsp. all-purpose Flour
1 1/2 C. Whole Milk
1/4 C. Heavy Whipping Cream
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1# grated Extra Sharp White Cheddar
1/2 C. Parmesan Cheese, grated
Paprika, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1/3 C. Panko Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add enough salt to water so it tastes like the sea.  Add pasta and cook until pasta is cooked, but firm to the bite (Al dente), about 10 minutes.  Drain, put back in pot and cover with cold water to stop the cooking process, drain and set aside.
Melt all but 1 Tbsp. of butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat.  Add onions and sweat until translucent (approx. 5 mins.), add garlic, cook one more minute.  Add mushrooms and cook until all the water has evaporated and they start turning brown (10-12  mins). 
Add bay leaf and flour, cook another 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Slowly add the milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly to avoid clumping.  Once all milk is combined, stir in cream.  Turn down heat to medium and simmer for about 3 minutes.
Stir in mustard, cheddar cheese, half of the Parmesan, and paprika, salt and pepper to taste.  Mixture needs to be very flavorful to adjust for pasta.  Simmer for 5 minutes and then set aside.
Butter the bottom of an oven safe baking pan (large enough to hold all the pasta).  Add pasta to mushroom, cheese mixture.  Mix well.  (may need to adjust consistence with small amount of cream).  Transfer mixture to baking pan.  Melt remaining butter and in small bowl pour over breadcrumbs and remaining Parmesan cheese; mix well.  Evenly sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over the pasta.  Put into oven and cook for 35-40 minutes. 
Macaroni and cheese should be bubbling and golden brown on top.  Serve and enjoy.

Weekly Menu Jan.15th - Jan. 21st

Seafood Gumbo
Turkey Meatloaf with Feta and Spinach
Roasted Baby Red Bliss Potatoes with Rosemary
Grilled Zucchini with Red Onion
Miso Soup
Oriental Stir Fried Vegetables with Sesame Crusted Tofu
Vegetable Lasagna
Italian Chopped Salad with Herbs and Lemon Vinaigrette
Oven Roasted Barbecued Chicken
Root Vegetable Medley with Roasted Garlic
Catfish in a Cornmeal Crust with Red Beans and Rice
Collard Greens

Chef's Night off - Dinner out

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pan Seared Salmon with Maple-Mustard Glaze served on a bed of Baby Arugula

1 side Salmon, deboned and portioned into 6 oz. pieces
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 Tbsp. Flour
1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
Onion and Garlic powder, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste


2 cups Baby Arugula, washed and spun dry
Juice of one Lemon
1 small clove Garlic, minced
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
1/4 C. Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Make Vinaigrette-

In a bowl combine lemon juice, mustard,garlic and mayonnaise, whisk to combine. slowly add oil, whisking constantly to form vinaigrette.  Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.  Reserve.

Prepare Fish-

Season fish with onion and garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Reserve.  Place saute pan over medium high heat, add oil.  While oil is coming up to temperature, put flour in bowl and dredge seasoned fish in flour shaking off excess.  Once oil starts to shimmer and you can see a wisp of smoke add fish, in batches, searing to golden brown both sides.   Reserve pieces when done on baking tray.  In small bowl combine mustard and syrup, spoon over the top of the fish.  Place fish in oven and cook to just done 5-6 minutes.  Remove from oven.

In a mixing bowl place arugula and drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the greens, mix and mound in the center of the plate.  Place one piece of fish atop greens and serve.

Beef Broth with Asian Vegetables

4 C. Beef Broth
1 clove Garlic, sliced thin
1 Scallion, sliced thin
1 C. Stir-fried Vegetables can be frozen or fresh
2 Tbsp. Oyster Sauce
Soy Sauce, to taste

In pot over medium heat combine all ingredients except vegetables.  Stir to dissolve Oyster sauce.  Heat until hot, approx. 10-15 minutes.  Add vegetables at least 10 minutes prior to serving.  Adjust seasoning with Soy Sauce.  Serve hot.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Weekly Menu Jan. 3rd- Jan. 7th

Oven Roasted Chicken with Herbs
Chopped Salad with Avocado and Tomato, Lemon-Honey, Balsamic Vinaigrette
Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Beef Broth with Asian Vegetables
Pan Seared Salmon with Maple-Mustard Glaze served on a bed of Baby Arugula
Oven Roasted Broccolini with Garlic

Chicken Broth with Vegetables
Quinoa Salad with Toasted Tofu, Corn, Scallions, and Vegetables, Lemon Vinaigrette

Tomato-Vegetable Soup
Fish Tacos
Spicy Black Bean Salsa

Chicken Soup with Vegetables
Turkey Meatloaf with Wild Mushroom Pan Gravy
Oven Roasted Potatoes
Brussel Sprouts with Sweet Onions