Malibu Turkey Burgers and the Weekly Menu 4-6-14

Here it is this weeks menu. This was an easy week to put together, pulled a few meals off the waiting list and going out for Chinese for my birthday filled in the last spot. This week kind of got re-arranged and originally the Tuff Pork was going to be featured, haven’t made it yet. I’ll get to it on Saturday most likely as we had the freezer meal earlier in the week. Aspen pollen in out and I’ve been sneezy and foggy.

Sunday – Sweet and sour chicken, rice, broccoli
Monday – Pork Chops Milanese, roasted butternut squash, and green beans almondine
Tuesday – Tuff pork, sweet potato gnocchi, and green beans
Wednesday – Turkey Enchiladas
Thursday – Chinese, eating out for birthday.
Friday – Easy night Malibu turkey burgers, sweet potato fries, and birthday cake!
Saturday – Freezer Meal, thinking soup.

So what the hezmna is Malibu Turkey burgers? They are based on Sizzler’s Malibu Chicken which is a fried chicken patty with ham and swiss cheese. Not something that I make at home and a take on Chicken Kiev. I started doing this with turkey burgers for easy night and it really transforms them from an good dinner into one we really like.

I like Kirkland’s turkey burgers since they don’t have a bunch of weird stuff in them. This is a good example on how to turn a pre-made product into something different. Turkey burgers can be a bit bland and boring, this perks them up. Everyone enjoys this version.
 photo DSCF2078.jpg
Malibu Turkey Burgers
Turkey burgers, cooked
Ham, sliced
Harvarti or Swiss, sliced or grated
Buns if you want them

Put ham on first turkey burger and top with the cheese. Pop under the broiler until cheese is melty. Dinner is ready!

Weekly Menu 2-23-14 and Sweet Potato Fries

I’m in I don’t want to cook dinner mode. I’d rather be cooking for fun than well dinner. Trying to keep it basic and not too crazy since I don’t want to cook dinner. Everyone cycles in and out of I don’t want to cook dinner, it passes. So don’t worry when you get in that mode.

The menu that looks so neat and tidy on here is nothing of the sort. Sunday was supposed to be the steak, but OMG didn’t feel like cooking, that’s a big surprise. Pulled out the Bolgenese one night since I didn’t feel like cooking. Realized that all I had left for red pasta sauces is a lamb ragu. Which reminds me we should have lamb next week. I digress. The point is prepared for the I don’t want to cooks. Having stuff in the freezer makes getting through this much easier.

Sunday – Freezer Soup and corn muffins
Monday – Steak, bulgar pilaf, and the last of the Asparagus
Tuesday – Bolognese and pasta
Wednesday – Sloppy Janes and Sweet potato fries
Thursday -BBQ Ribs, baked potato, green beans
Friday – Easy night Malibu Turkey burgers, oven fries, spinach
Saturday – Stuffed Shells

We love these simple oven fries. I like to use a high heat to get some nice caramelization on them. If they start getting to dark drop the heat down.
 photo DSCF2006-7.jpg
Sweet Potato Oven Fries
Serves 3

1 big and one medium sweet potato, cut up into sticks
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 500. Peel and cut up sweet potatoes. Place on baking sheet and toss with oil and salt and pepper. Pop into oven and cook for 10 minutes. Stir after 10 minutes and cook for another 10 minutes stir again and set timer for 10 minutes. Total cooking time is 30 minutes. Sometimes I need to drop the heat down to 450 after the first 20 minutes.

Corn Muffins

Here’s an easy week night muffin to go with soup or any dinner for that matter. make sure you cornmeal is a whole grain for maximum taste. An easy way to make this even faster at dinner time is to have your dry ingredients mixed together ahead of time.
 photo DSCF2032.jpg
These corn muffins were a nice change from the usual rolls or cornbread we have with soups. Plus they are in muffin form which makes the extras easy to freeze. The recipe says it makes 12 muffins but I got 18 muffins. What we didn’t eat got popped into the freezer for another dinner.
 photo DSCF2033.jpg
Corn Muffins from the Joy of Muffins
2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups butter milk or milk substance of choice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon oil

Stir together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, honey, and oil in another bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine until mixed. Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake until done. Bake at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes. This batter will be runny but firms up, so don’t worry.

Weekly Menu for 2-2-14 and Chil Verde recipe

You will notice the reappearance of Chili Verde on the menu this week as it got scratched last week. I’d done a fairly hard session of weight that day after working and by the time I hit dinner it was all down hill, or is that up hill? I realized I had to go out the garage and get more stuff and than the pot I needed wasn’t clean. The pot pushed me over the edge. We had quesadillas instead.
 photo DSCF2010-6.jpg
So it is back this week. Its kind of nice when you can roll a dinner over to the next week one less meal to think about. This Chili Verde recipe comes from the Joy of Cooking, it originally uses chicken. We didn’t care for it with chicken but overall liked it. I made it with pork and loved it that way. I usually use pork tenderloin or chops for this. You can use a tougher cut just make sure to adjust cooking times for the meat.

This recipe makes enough for a dinner and lunch. It freezes well so feel free to big batch it if you want to. A friend in Canada won a chili cook off with this recipe.

Sunday – Lamb Ragu, garlic bread
Monday – Steak, baked potato, and asparagus
Tuesday – Chili Verde
Wednesday – meatball sandwiches
Thursday- Karcho, bread sticks, Freezer soup
Friday – Easy night
Saturday – White Turkey (from freezer) enchiladas

Chili Verde – adapted from The Joy of Cooking
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup celery
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Cook on medium heat until vegetable are tender about 5 minutes, Sprinkle with:

2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook about 1 minute. Meanwhile cut up:
2 pound pork tenderloin

Add to pot and cook for 3 minutes. While pork is cooking drain and cut up

1 cup canned tomatillo ( you can use fresh if you want to)
1 large bunch of cilantro (reserved the leaves for later)
Finely chop cilantro stems and leaves separately.
Add stems to pot with 3 cups chicken stock (use two cups if you wan less sauce.)

4 oz. green chilis chopped (I use canned)
2 fresh jalapeños (optional)
Add to pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cilantro leaves and cook for 10 more minutes.

Add 2 tablespoons lime juice at the end and correct seasons. Serve with tortillas and rice or just eat by itself.

Note: I bump up the chilis and drop the jalapeños as a member of our family does not tolerate hot/spicy food well. The recipe still turns out great.

Weekly Menu for 1-19-14 and Chicken, Avocado, Mushroom, Spinach Sandwiches

Pizza is always a favorite with the family we make it about once a month and at the moment its been about two months since we have had it. Competition for pizza leftovers is stiff so I make two of them. One is a veggie pie and the other a meat and veg pie. The veggie one is made first for two reasons. One it tends to be more moist and doesn’t hold up as well and two we hit the first pie the hardest. I’ve tried adding a salad or carrot sticks, no one eat them so I gave up on that.

Tried another new recipe for Asian style meatballs that was lack luster and am kind of over new recipes for a bit. Going to stick to some of our standards and favorites for now. We have avocados and am going to make a chicken sandwiches with them this week. This particular sandwich is a hybrid of two different sandwiches.

It started out as a duplicate to a Village Inn sandwich it was chicken, avocado and mushroom. Than I came across a recipe in Bon Appetit for chicken, mushroom, and spinach sandwiches. I decided to combine them and come up with my own sandwich. They are really good, If you don’t do bread they are good just as a regular entree. If you do, do bread make sure to use a high quality roll.

Sunday- Pizza, one veg, one meat.
Monday – Asian meatballs, rice, broccoli
Tuesday – Mom’s Chicken and Noodles
Wednesday – Tuff Pork, risotto cakes, and spinach (risotto was frozen)
Thursday – Chicken, avocado, spinach mushroom sandwich and oven fries.
Friday – Easy Day
Saturday – Turkey tetrazini

Chicken, Spinach, Mushroom, Avocado Sandwiches
I love these sandwiches, love them. Don’t let the steps put you off you only use two pans and the chicken takes the longest to cook. I make my own rolls for this. They are so good.
 photo DSCF2018-6.jpg
Makes 4 sandwiches.

2 chicken breasts cooked and cut in half
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 to 3 handfuls Spinach, sautéed
Cheese
Avocado, sliced or mashed.
salt and pepper
olive oil
butter
wine
paprika

1.Take chicken breast and cut them in half. If they are small you will need more breast, tenders also work well. Season with salt and pepper, dust with paprika. Heat pan, add teaspoon of olive oil, and sauté chicken until done. Set aside..

2.To make the mushrooms, slice and in the same pan you cooked the chicken, pour in about 1/2 cup wine and deglaze pan. Add tablespoon butter, toss in your mushrooms, sprinkle with paprika, and sauté mushrooms until soft. Add a little more wine if you need to, you can also add some garlic.

3. Cook the spinach while you make the mushrooms. Heat a pan and sauté up your spinach. About 5 minutes.

4. Melt cheese on chicken.

5. Let folks assemble their sandwiches.

Weekly Menu 12-29-13: Sloppy Janes and a bonus recipe

As a child I hated Sloppy Joes and ate them because I had too. Sloppy Joes, chili, and chow mien remain three things, I still really dislike and was so happy to stop having to eat when I got old enough to have a say. I came across an Asian style recipe in Fine Cooking and decided to give it a whirl. It is now in the permanent rotation.

New Years Eve is the last indulgent holiday for a while, thank goodness. I know everyone in my family is feeling as they have had enough indulging and decadence with food for a while. Its time to make some more wholesome dinners for a while.

Sunday – Asian Sloppy Janes, sweet potato fries, celery sticks
Monday (NYE)- Chicken, Alfredo sauce, pasta, roasted brussels
Tuesday – Pork and cranberry stew, rice
Wednesday – Easy Beef burritos, lettuce, tomatoes
Thursday- Pork and Bulgar casserole, green beans
Friday – Easy Day – Brats and tots, carrot sticks
Saturday – Freezer Soup

Asian style Sloppy Janes adapted from Fine Cooking
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon onion powder ( don’t measure I just dust it)
3/4 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1 lb. ground turkey
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce

Brown turkey, if needed get rid of extra fat.
Toss garlic and onion powder in with ground turkey cook for a minute
Add ginger, cayenne, tomato sauce, and hoisin sauce and cook on medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes. If it gets away from you this part can go quickly add a little water to thin it.

Ta da dinner. This is a stupid easy dinner that is quick. Its even quicker if you have browned turkey frozen. You could make a big batch and freeze if you want to.

Note it is now 1-1-14 and have decided I don’t want Pork and Bulgar casserole and that the lack of chili paste in the cranberry thing might be too sweet without the heat so… Yeah menus change even mid week sometimes. Thinking Bolognese one night it sounds so good and no idea. There was a pork should recipe on Pinterest, maybe that.

Bonus recipe that is stupid easy. I forgot to take pictures of the Sloppy Janes so you get a bonus recipe this week.
 photo DSCF2011-2.jpg
Pesto Chicken
You will need chicken breast or tenders and 1/4 cups of pesto. I used tenders as you get more chicken in the packets. Cook Chicken until done 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Add pesto and turn off heat, stir to coat and that’s it.

Weekly Menu 12-2-13

I was going to start this segment in the New Year and decided frack it, let’s get it going now! Just what is this new segment? Why has she not told us yet? Here it is the Weekly Menu post. My vision of this is to help you all get started planning your own weekly menus by sharing mine and a recipe each week. Yes, you will be seeing what we eat each week and yes, there will be repeats on those menus.
 photo DSCF2003-3.jpgFriday has been the Weekly Groove post which is getting changed to a monthly thing. I like it but sometimes I feel like it can be a bit sparse and getting people cooking is something I am extremely passionate about.

Its a sbiwy (aka snowy) day here, the kind of day that lends its self well to big pots of food, baking, and lounging about reading or writing with a cup of coffee. This week’s menu is heavy on Italian food and hamburger, just how it happened.

Sunday – Pork and Hominy soup from the freezer and cornbread
Monday – Pizza!
Tuesday Bolognese and pasta
Wednesday – Meatloaf
Thursday – Tasty beef casserole
Friday – Easy day, French dip sandwiches and sweet potato fries
Saturday – Chicken and wild rice soup, pumpkin rolls

Simple Big Batch Bolognese
1/4 cup olive oil
1 to 2 onions, diced
1 cup celery chopped
1 1/2 cups carrots chopped
1 to 5 cloves of garlic chopped
2 pounds hamburger or ground turkey
1 cup wine
1 to 3 tablespoons dried basil or fresh
1 to 3 tablespoons dried parsley or fresh
1 to 2 bay leaves
12 cups of tomatoes that’s 1 number 10 can or oz.
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat pot and put oil in it. Add diced onion and cook until softened. Chop the celery and add it to the pot and do the same with the carrots. While they cook chop up your garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the ground meat in and brown. Add wine cook for a few minutes and add herbs and tomatoes. Simmer for 2 hours on low, stirring occasionally.

I add the veg as I chop them, you want to start building your flavour layers at this point in time. I usually add some herbs but if you don’t its okay. You are looking at about a half hour to an hour prep time depending on your knife skills, they will get better and you will get faster. This cooks for a long time but you can do other things while it simmers, just give it a twirl now and then. I get 4 to 5 quarts.

Easy Roasted Winter Squash Recipe

Winter squash or pumpkin is an easy way to change up your veggies and make them more seasonal. Once fall hits I start looking forward to this addition into dinners. I like to roast a big batch and than I have leftover pumpkin for lunches. You can stuff it, roast it, bake with it, smoothie it, eat it sweet or savory. It is a very versatile veggie.
DSCF2011 photo DSCF2011-2.jpg
This is my favorite way to cook pumpkin and how we eat it most often. It adds such a bright cheeriness to a fall or winter meal. Cooking it this way also brings out the natural sweetness in the pumpkin and you can get some nice caramelization depending on the type of winter squash you picked.

Easy Roasted Winter Squash
1 pumpkin sliced
1 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice you pumpkin and toss in oil and salt and pepper. I do that on the baking sheet, makes life easier. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The thicker your slices the longer it will take.

Unstuffed Cabbage

The other day at the T&C I came across some of the most beautiful Hutterite cabbage.  It was the size of my head and nice and dense.  So we bought one.  Stuffed cabbage recipes are so good, but so time consuming.  That whole having to blanch the cabbage, make filling, roll it up, cook it, and by that time your exhausted.
 photo DSCF2011-1.jpg
I came across an unstuffed cabbage recipe and started using that method for the couple of “stuffed” cabbage recipes we like. I think this came from Bon Appetit but I am not sure and it was modified.  This is a fall and winter recipe that is comforting and hearty when the weather is cooler.  I am not a stickler for following a recipe exactly as written and rarely put as much dried fruit in as they tell you too.  It has a strong flavor already and a1/3 cup is just too much for my families tastes. Likewise with the meat use whatever ground meat you like or leave it out to make a vegetarian version.  Off the carbs don’t add the rice, we have one person who insists we have that little bit of rice.

Unstuffed Cabbage
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 onion sliced
3 cloves garlic chopped
2 pounds cabbage cored and sliced
1 to 1/2 cup broth
1/8 to 1/3 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons rice (uncooked)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey
28 oz. tomatoes

Brown ground meat and remove excess fat.  Add onions and cook until soft than add garlic. Add tomatoes, broth, cranberries, rice, vinegar, and brown sugar.  Cover pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Menu Planning

Have you ever wondered what the hell you were going to eat for dinner? You open therefrigerator and find it empty or maybe you have food in the freezer but who wants to wait forit to thaw and prepare a meal when you are hungry now. Next thing you know you are on thephone ordering delivery again. This used to happen to me all the time and I didn’t think about it too much and then I went back to school and discovered I was allergic to milk. Going back to school meant that there was not as much money for restaurants and delivery, second not being able to eat any milk or milk products meant I couldn’t trust food I didn’t prepare. It was at this point I started planning my meals and at one point lunches (I was gone all day between work and school) and boy did it save me from tater tot dinners.
 photo DSCF2001-4.jpg
First decide what your shopping style is. When I lived in the city I did weekly shopping trips and would use the ads and sales to plan my meals. Now I live in the middle of nowhere and we go to Costco monthly and hit the local grocery when in town if we need to. Remain flexible when shopping it fresh produce looks bad at the store it is not going to get any better once you get it home, don’t buy it and change your plan if you have to.

Determine what your staples are. What foods do you enjoy eating? Which cuisines? What are your favorite dinner recipes? Once you figure that out you will have a better idea of which items you need to keep on hand. Canned tomatoes, pasta, rice, chicken, pork shoulder, and frozen vegetables are some of my staples.

Keep spices and herbs on hand. I find this let’s you experiment more easily and try new recipes. Build up your spices and herbs if you do not have a good supply on hand. Many of them are used by more than one culture so if you like Mexican and Middle Eastern food cumin and coriander will be good spices to have on hand.

Collect your favorites and make them easy to find. Food magazines are a great resource for finding new recipes but it is not fun having to sit down with a big stack of them trying to find one recipe. I’ve been there before. I started pulling out the recipes I use. My three ring binder with plastic sheaths has saved me so much time. If the magazine is a special issue or has several recipes I use, I write “keep” on the front and put it with the cookbooks. Find a few basic cookbooks you like, or in my case add a few more to your collection.