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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Weekly Menu 6/22+


chicken fajitas
yogurt pops

skillet manicotti

steak salad
dinner rolls

3 cheese stuffed shells
crusty bread

shortcut chicken salsa
ez spanish rice
cucumber salad

summer stir fry

frito pie
chocolate chip cookies

If you don't have a popsicle mold, you can use small Dixie cups, small plastic bowls, etc.  Look around your house until you find something that will work.  You can also use straws for sticks, though you probably don't want too much sticking out of the end. 

Chicken Fajitas
Homemade yogurt pops
Mix vanilla or other flavored yogurt with blueberries in mold.  Another favorite is yogurt layered with orange juice; just pour the juice carefully so it doesn’t mix in too much. 
Skillet Manicotti (Kraft)  [modifications by Mom]
1 jar  (14 oz.) spaghetti sauce (1-1/2 cups) [24 oz]
1 can  (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
½ cup  water
2 cups  chopped cooked chicken [ground beef]
¼ cup  KRAFT Tuscan House Italian Dressing
¼ tsp.  dried basil leaves
1 cup  KRAFT Shredded Italian* Five Cheese with a TOUCH OF PHILADELPHIA, divided [mozzarella]
8  manicotti shells, uncooked
MIX spaghetti sauce, tomatoes and water until blended.
COMBINE 3/4 cup of the sauce with chicken, dressing, basil and 1/2 cup cheese; spoon into manicotti shells. Place in nonstick skillet; top with remaining sauce. Turn to evenly coat manicotti with sauce. Bring to boil; cover. Simmer on medium heat 15 min. or until manicotti is tender, turning after 8 min.
REMOVE from heat. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; let stand 5 min. or until melted.


Steak Salad (Pioneer Woman)
2 whole cooked Rib-eye Or Strip Steaks, Extra Fat Trimmed

¾ cups Canola Oil
3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon (additional) Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Sugar
3 cloves Garlic, Peeled
1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Ginger
½ teaspoons Hot Chili Oil
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
Lots Of Freshly Ground Black Pepper

2 whole Onions, Sliced As Thin As Possible
2 cups Buttermilk
2 cups Flour
1 Tablespoon Salt
½ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
1 quart Canola Oil
Black Pepper To Taste
½ cups Pecans, Chopped
1 cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons Water
Lettuce Mix: Romaine, Arugula, Watercress, Raddiccio, Etc.
Small Grape Tomatoes
¾ cups Crumbled Blue Cheese

To make the dressing/marinade, combine all ingredients in a mason jar with the lid. Shake vigorously to combine; taste and adjust seasonings to taste.

Place steak in a plastic zipper bag. Pour in half the marinade and seal. Refrigerate and marinate for at least two hours.

Prepare the onion strings: Slice onion very thin. Place in a baking dish and cover with buttermilk and soak for at least an hour.

Make the candied pecans: Spread pecans on a baking mat or sheet of waxed paper. Add sugar and water to a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Cook to 280 degrees, or until dark and clear amber in color, about 5 to 6 minutes. Pour mixture over pecans (may not need all of mixture) and quickly stir/poke with a fork to evenly distribute mixture all over pecans. Allow to cool completely.

Make the onion strings: Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Grab a handful of onions, throw into the flour mixture, tap to shake off excess, and PLUNGE into hot oil. Fry for a few minutes and remove to a paper towel-lined plate as soon as they are golden brown. Repeat until onions are gone.

Grill (or sautee) the steak over medium-high heat until medium rare, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and allow to rest. Slice steak against the grain in thin slices.

In a large bowl, add lettuce mix, blue cheese, and cherry tomatoes. Add a little dressing and toss to combine. Add more if needed. Add candied pecans at the end and toss to combine.
Heap salad on a plate, making sure to get plenty of blue cheese, tomatoes, and pecans on each plate. Add half a steak to the top of each plate, then top the steak with onion strings. Serve immediately. Yum!

Soft Dinner Rolls

Three cheese stuffed pasta shells (Pioneer Woman)

8 ounces, weight Jumbo Pasta Shells
30 ounces, weight Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
8 ounces, weight Parmesan Cheese, Grated, Divided
½ cups Grated Romano Cheese
1 whole Egg
12 leaves Basil, Chiffonade
2 Tablespoons Minced Parsley
Salt And Pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ whole Medium Onion, Chopped
5 cloves Garlic, Minced
½ pounds Italian Sausage
½ cups Red Wine
1 whole 28 Ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 whole 15-ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Sugar
½ teaspoons Salt
2 Tablespoons Minced Parsley

Cook pasta shells for half the cooking time; make sure not to overcook. Drain and rinse in cool water. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add Italian sausage and brown, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Pour in red wine and let it cook for a minute or two.

Pour in cans of crushed tomatoes and stir. Add sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check for seasonings; can add crushed red peppers if you like a little heat.

In a separate bowl, mix ricotta, half the Parmesan, Romano, egg, salt and pepper, basil, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Stir until combined.

To assemble, coat the bottom of a baking dish with sauce. Fill each half-cooked shell with the cheese mixture. Place face down on the sauce. Repeat with shells until cheese mixture is gone. Top shells with remaining sauce. Sprinkle on extra Parmesan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Serve with crusty French bread.


Short cut Salsa Chicken
4 chicken breasts
Shake and bake
½ c chunky salsa
½ c grated cheese (Colby jack)
Prepare chicken breasts with shake and bake; bake for ~15 minutes.  Remove from oven and add salsa and cheese.  Return to oven for additional 10 minutes or chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted. 

EZ Spanish Rice
Combine 1 c rice with ½ c picante sauce and 1 ½ c water or chicken broth.  Cook for 15 minutes or until rice is done. 
Cucumber Salad
2-3 thinly sliced, seeded and peeled cucumbers
1/3 c sour cream
1T apple cider vinegar
1 ½ tsp dried dill or 1 ½ T if you have fresh
Salt and pepper
If you have time: Layer cukes in bowl and salt as you lay them in there for about an hour.  Pour off the liquid.  If you don't have time, just skip this step and move on.  Combine the sour cream, vinegar, dill and pepper.  Fold in the cucumbers.  Chill if you have time for such things and then serve. 

 This recipe was so good last summer I think I made it at least three times. 
Summer Stir Fry (Pioneer Woman)
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
12 whole Jumbo Shrimp, Peeled, Deveined, Tails Left On
2 whole Zucchini, Sliced On A Slight Diagonal
2 ears Corn, Kernels Sliced Off
½ cups Grape Tomatoes, Sliced In Half Lengthwise
Salt And Freshly Ground Pepper, To Taste
Chopped Fresh Herbs, If Desired
Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic. When oil/butter is hot, add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Remove to a plate. Do not clean skillet.

Add the rest of the butter and oil and heat over medium heat. Add zucchini slices in a single layer and cook for one minute, tossing once. Scoot the zucchini to the edges of the pan, then add corn kernels to the middle of the pan. Cook for one minute. Add grape tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and toss around, then add shrimp. Cook for an additional 30 seconds, then remove from heat. Serve on a big platter.

Hint: Much better after it’s been allowed to cool for a bit! Yummy and refreshing.

Angel Hair Pasta

Frito Pie
Onions (optional)

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons melted and slightly browned butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)
Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
 Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl.  Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.   Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated.  Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds.  Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds.  Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny.  Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.
Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use #24 cookie scoop).  Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet.  (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.)  Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking.  Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

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