Sunday, October 12, 2014

Weekly Dinners - a few weeks late

I was really good about posting for the first month, then, well, life happened.  And I haven't posted since.

Instead of going day by day, I'm just going to put up a few of the recipes that we've made over the last few weeks in addition to the ones we are doing this week.

Hopefully it will inspire some of you!

Roasted Red Pepper Lasagna - Cravings of a Lunatic

This was delicious.  I really enjoyed the twist on traditional lasagna.  Mine came out a bit runny, but I think I could have let it reduce more and possibly cut back on the liquid a bit.

My substitutions:
- 1/2 ricotta and 1/2 mozzarella cheese.
- Add 2 zuchini
- When I made this, I split it into two small pans, one traditional, and one with spinach instead of noodles (for Jeremy of course, I'd never touch that)
- Add 1 lb ground beef

Orange Ricotta Pancakes - Breakfast - From my Mom - From some Inn somewhere...

Zest and Juice of 2 oranges
1 3/4 cups Ricotta
2 eggs
1 cup self-rising flour (NOTE: SELF-RISING)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
Butter for frying

Mix together orange zest, orange juice, ricotta, and eggs.  Then mix in flour, sugar, and baking powder.

Preheat skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, then add some butter.  Pour pancake mix 1/4 cup at a time into circles.  Cook 3-4 minutes/side.

You can garnish with powdered sugar or orange zest, but I usually just add a touch of butter.  No syrup needed for these babies.

Simple Sausages with Sautéed Spinach and Red Potatoes

Quick and easy, for this dinner I just bought some brats from the store and cooked them up on the stovetop.  I boiled some red potatoes (doused with a lot of butter) and made a side of sautéed spinach seasoned with Anna's Herbs.

Chicken Parm

Another easy one that tends to get forgotten.  Take chicken breasts and slice in half lengthwise to make thin.  Pound with a mallet to make even thinner.

Next, toss them with some bread crumbs and herbs (I used basil and oregano) and lay in a glass dish.

Cover with marinara or your choice of sauce and slices of mozzarella or provolone cheese.

Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes (until chicken reaches 165 and is done)

Pork Carnitas - by Nicolas Mora with Queso Blanco - by Six Sisters Stuff

Carnitas Substitutions:
No Coke
1/4 recipe
No Lard - use butter instead (or bacon grease)

Queso Blanco:
We can't get queso out in CA anywhere, so I've been trying to make my own.  What I really want is to learn how Torchies' makes their queso, but until I figure that out, I've been trying different recipes online.

I'll update once I see how this one goes.

Slow Cooker Pepper Steak - All Recipes

Anything that involves a slow cooker and minimal extra work is right up my alley.

Now you do need to pre-brown the steak and do a little more upfront work, but I'm willing to take on that extra step.

Also, in the comments some folks noted the need to use cornstarch in the last 30 minutes to thicken the sauce and to add the peppers in the last 2 hours to keep them crispy.

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce - Food Network

If you goggle Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce you'll find about 100 different recipes.  You'll also find a bunch of different ones on the Food Network site itself.

I'll admit that I had ambitions of making the peanut sauce from scratch, but at the store they only had 16 oz bottles of fish sauce and really, I just don't need that much.  So I opted to buy premade peanut sauce.  It was late, the store was crowded, and I was tired.  Don't judge me. :)

Salmon with Corn and Asparagus

Not much to say about this one.  Salmon gets sprinkled with salt and pepper and goes into the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Asparagus gets pan fried with some butter and Herbs from Provence.

Corn gets boiled and then buttered.

Simple yet delicious.

One Pot Pasta - ???

I took a picture of this one on my phone and can't remember exactly where it came from, but it looks easy and good.  I've made a few modifications to the original, detailed below.

You throw EVERYTHING in the pot, including the pasta.

12 oz pasta - we use whole wheat - yep, Jeremy's even getting in on this one
1 can diced tomatoes
1 large onion julienned
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 sliced zucchini
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp oregano
2 large sprigs fresh basil
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup water  (note the original calls for 4 1/2 cups veg. broth, but it comes in 32 oz box, not 36, so I wasn't about to buy another can just to use 1/2 of it)
2 tbsp EVOO

Put the pasta, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, garlic, basil in a large pot.  Pour over the liquid and herbs.  Drizzle the top with EVOO.

Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce to low and keep covered, cooking for about 10 more minutes.  Stir every 2 minutes along the way. until almost all the liquid is gone.

Serve in a bowl!

Peanut Butter Fudge

Not sure where I got this one from, or if I ever modified it, but it's so delicious.  In fact, since it only calls for 5 oz of evaporated milk, I'm going to use the rest and make a second batch of fudge... I'm thinking with Andes Mints.

Place the following in a pot and bring to a roiling boil over medium heat.  Stir frequently until reaching 234 deg (softball stage).  If you don't stir toward the end, it will start to burn on the bottom.  Also, be sure to pull it at 234, if you get much over that the texture will be off.  For this batch I went to 238 and I could taste it wasn't as creamy.

1 1/4 sticks butter
1 3/4 cup sugar
5 oz evaporated milk

Remove from the heat and mix in 7oz of Fluff

Now mix in 1 tsp vanilla (ish) and 1 1/4 cups peanut butter (I use Jiff, because it's smooth)

Pour into a square pan that's been lined with aluminum foil (or parchment paper)

Let cool in the fridge.

Bon Appetit!

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