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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Weekly Menu 8/4+

In honor of the Olympics I thought we could do a little theme eating, or at least stretch ourselves for one day of such craziness.  As I am typing this up Tuesday evening I consulted the medal count to see what countries I should look to for inspiration. 

While congratulations are in order to Kazakhstan on their 3 gold medals, I am not interested in eating their most common foods; horse meat and mutton.  Yep. 

I also looked to the Finns because I happened to see them during the opening ceremonies, but opted against Hernekeitto – peasoup, usually served on Thursday along with a dessert pancake, because it is just so darned hot and I am not in the mood for soup right now.  I love that it is served on Thursday by tradition, and while I do love Thursday, it’s not happening here; perhaps when the winter Olympics roll around. 


garlic bread

beans & rice
ez ice cream

sticky asian chicken
bananas & orange juice

beef stroganoff

skillet paella
cantaloupe & blueberries

home fried potatoes
green beans

fish & chips
spinach salad
apple pie

If you made this back at the end of June and doubled your recipe, now is a great time to show your Italian spirit and a nod to my paternal grandfather. 

This is for double the recipe.  It’s really good so I always double it, plus doubling the recipe doesn’t add any significant amount to the prep time. 

Lasagna (from Better Homes & Gardens)
2lb ground meat (beef/pork/italian sausage)
1 c chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
2-16oz whole tomatoes crushed or 28oz can crushed + 14 oz can diced
2-8oz tomato sauce
2-6oz tomato paste
4t basil
1t salt
no boil lasagna noodles
4 eggs
5c cottage cheese (24oz + 16 oz container)
1 ½ c parmesan cheese
4T parsley
2lb sliced provolone

Cook meat, onion and garlic till meat is browned (or use frozen meat); drain.  Stir in the tomatoes, basil and salt.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, beat eggs; add cottage cheese, parmesan cheese and parsley.  In a 9x13 pan put ~1/2 c sauce down on bottom of pan since we are using no boil noodles.  They need a little moisture to get them started.  Then layer, noodles, cottage cheese mixture, provolone slices, red sauce.  Repeat.  End with red sauce on top; add a little extra parmesan on top if you’d like.  Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.  Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

If you double the recipe, for your freezer pan use glass or corningware if you have it.  The acid in the tomato sauce will slowly eat through the pan and you can be left with a metallic taste also, be sure to top with plastic wrap first and then foil for the same reason. 

You can assemble the night before and bake the next day, just increase baking time to 55 minutes.  If you have teenage boys in your house, you might want to put a note on there that it is not baked; trust me I speak from experience.  J

Garlic Bread
Spread softened butter and sprinkle with garlic powder.  Top with any leftover provolone cheese, or a sprinkle of parmesan and finally a little parsley on top.  Put in oven as you take out the lasagna and bake for 5-10 minutes.  Time will depend on the thickness of your bread so just keep an eye on it. 

I’m not sure how authentic fajitas are to Mexico, but that’s what I’m aiming for here.  The last time I was in the central part of the country they hadn’t heard of flour tortillas.  That works out because equal distance north of the Texas border they haven’t heard of them either; sorry St, let me know when I need to ship more. 

Save enough fajita meat already cooked and cut up in the freezer for next week's quesadillas.  

EZ ice cream (Woman's Day)
         2 c heavy cream 
         14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
         1 1/2 tsp vanilla
         3/4 lb fruit (optional)
Puree the fruit, set aside.  Using an electric mixer beat the cream, milk and vanilla in a large bowl until tick, stiff peaks form, 3-5 minutes.  Fold in half of the fruit until combined.  Spoon remaining fruit over cream mixture and fold, leaving streaks to create swirls.  Nothing wrong with adding a bit of chocolate here too.  Transfer the mixture to a loaf pan or plastic container.  Tap the pan to distribute the mixture and get rid of air bubbles.  Cover and freeze until firm, at least 8 hours and up to 2 weeks.

China is currently in the medal lead so feel free to do Chinese take-out if that sort of thing is near you. 

For chicken that is glazed or topped with a sauce (like this one), rub with 2 tsp oil before seasoning with salt and pepper. 

Sticky Asian Chicken (Woman’s Day)
½ c ketchup
2T honey
2T soy sauce
1 T chili powder
1T grated fresh ginger
Boneless chicken pieces
Grill chicken over medium-high heat.  Top with sauce in last few minutes of cooking. 

Sliced bananas in orange juice
          I know it sounds a little strange, but it is really good. 
Russia while not on the top five in medal counts certainly comes to mind when you think of the Olympics.  There were plenty of things I didn’t want to eat, but was surprised to learn that mayonnaise based potato salad is considered Russian, especially if you add green peas to them.  In far NW Russia they also serve it on Thursdays. 

--I recommend using a cut up roast instead of ground beef.  It just really makes this dish taste SO much better.  The beef gets nice and tender after cooking all day. 
--Plus if you find a roast on sale, it is often less expensive than ground meat or stew meat.

Beef Stroganoff (Menus4Moms)
3lb roast cut up into small pieces (or 2 c cooked ground meat from freezer)
1 medium onion, chopped (from freezer)
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-2 pkg. fresh sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
10 3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
8 ounces sour cream

Combine all ingredients, except sour cream, in the crockpot.  Cook all day.  When you get home add sour cream, and heat thoroughly. Serve over cooked noodles.

Butter Noodles

All for Spain and this great skillet dish.  If you want to save some time, you can use cooked cubed chicken from your freezer and then season with the spice mix.

Skillet Paella (Food Network)
Spice Mix for chicken
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3lbs chicken thighs (skin removed)
1/4 cup  olive oil
2 Spanish chorizo sausages, thickly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, reserve some for garnish
1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
4 cups short grain Spanish rice
6 cups water, warm
Generous pinch saffron threads
1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed (optional)
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined (optional)
2 lobster tails (optional)
1/2 cup sweet peas, frozen and thawed
Lemon wedges, for serving
Rub the spice mix all over the chicken and marinate chicken for 1 hour in the refrigerator.   Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.   Sauté the chorizo until browned, remove and reserve. Add chicken skin-side down and brown on all sides, turning with tongs. Add salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from pan and reserve.  In the same pan, make a sofrito by sautéing the onions, garlic, and parsley. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on a medium heat. Then, add tomatoes and cook until the mixture caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld.  Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains.  Pour in water and simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Add chicken, chorizo, and saffron.  Add the clams and shrimp, tucking them into the rice.  The shrimp will take about 8 minutes to cook.  Give the paella a good shake and let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, for about 15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, when the rice is filling the pan, add the lobster tails. When the paella is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for 40 seconds until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom, then it's perfect.

Cantaloupe and blueberry salad

A tip of the hat to my maternal grandmother and her German roots. 

Home Fried Potatoes
Green Beans

Good old USA, the great melting pot, and then I even work in the Brits a little since they are the host of the games.  It likely would have made sense to suggest fondue or perhaps a good wholesome casserole for a more American feel, but I don’t have a fondue pot.  If you want to be like the French with your fries (chips) you can dip them in mustard. 

Fish & Chips
Spinach Salad
Apple Pie

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