19 September 2010

Dinner Menu & Recipes 9/19 - 9/25

We have had a nice change in weather the past two days cooler weather and by cool I'm talking mid 80's.  Yes I know that is still "hot" by all stretches of the imagination.  But in South Texas we see that as the end to summer. I was so excited yesterday by the rain and drop in temperature that I made my first pot of chicken soup in honor of the weather.  It prompted me to also pull out some fall recipes. So here's to a week of  yummy recipes.

Sunday Dinner Plan 9/19
Chicken Soup (Caldo de Pollo) Serves 5-6  these are actually my leftovers from Sat nights dinner
3-4 Chicken Breasts, 4 large potatoes (peeled & cut into 1/3 chunks) , 3 carrots peeled cut into large chunks,  5-6 corn on the cob (cut in half), 2 green (summer) squash cut into thick slices, half white onion, 1 minced garlic clove, small- medium cabbage cut in 1/4 chunks, 1/3 fresh cilantro leaves, sea salt 1 tablespoon or more to taste, lemon wedges if desired.
In large stock pot add chicken breasts to water 3/4 full. Bring to a boil 1 hour, add corn ( I use the frozen corn on cob), potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, cabbage and cilantro boil 30 minutes. Add in squash boil another 30 minutes. Chicken should be separating from bone (this is how I know it is fully cooked) and vegetables very soft. Add salt to taste. I serve with a lemon wedge for taste.

Sides: Jiffy corn bread (2 boxes in a small cake pan) which goes in the oven when squash goes in the pot.

Monday Dinner Plan 9/20
Chicken & Dumplings Serves 6-8
For the chicken: 4# chicken, 16 cups of water, 1 onion, 9 cloves of garlic, 2 carrots (peeled cut in quarters),
4 celery stalks (cut in quarters), 2 bay leaves, 1 whole stem and 1/2 cup of cilantro (chopped), 1 can of Ro-Tel, 1 jalapeno (sliced), Juice of one lime,1/2 cup of cream, Salt, black pepper, cayenne and cumin to taste

For the cornmeal dumplings: 1 cup cornmeal, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1 jalapeno (finely diced)
2 tablespoons of minced cilantro

Directions: Clean/rinse chicken place in large stock pot. Add water, onion, 8 cloves of garlic, carrots, celery, bay leaves,and 1 whole cilantro stem. Add salt & pepper to taste. Bring to a boil & simmer for 1.5hours occasionally skimming the foamy off surface.
Remove chicken from pot & turn off the heat. After it’s cooled, remove fat & remove meat from bone, shred  chicken to favored size. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
Take cooled broth and remove vegetables(you don't need them). Remove the fat from the broth with gravy separator or Take a quart-sized plastic storage bag, pour some broth into it.  Fat will rise to the top. Snip a bottom corner of the bag and drain the broth into a large bowl, stopping when you get to the fat layer. Do this in batches & throw out fat. Place broth back into the pot & add shredded chicken & lime juice. In a puree or blender, add Ro-Tel, sliced jalapenos, chopped cilantro, garlic and blend. Add puree to the pot. Add cream,  salt, black pepper, cayenne and cumin to taste. Bring to a boil. While the soup is coming to a boil, make the cornmeal dumplings. Sift together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder & salt. Beat milk with eggs add to dry ingredients. Stir in melted butter, cilantro and jalapenos.When soup comes to a boil,heat low & gently drop  dumpling batter into the pot, one tablespoon or at a time. Do not stir. Place lid on top & steam dumplings for 20 minutes. 
Ladle the chicken and dumplings into bowls and sprinkle cilantro on top. 
For thicker broth, add flour, 1/4C at a time.

Tuesday Dinner Plan 9/21
Crock Pot Roast serves 5-6
4# chuck, bottom or rump roast, 1 package McCormick Bag 'n Season Roast, 4 cups cut-up fresh vegetables (potatoes, carrots and onions), 1/4 cup water.
Place roast in crock pot, I use the seasoning from the McCormick Bag 'n Season and spinkle it all over the top of the roast. Add in 1/4C water and veggies. Cover and leave on medium 8+ hours. 
Mashed potatoes ( I love homemade)
yeast rolls (I buy the frozen that you pop in the oven for 15minutes)

Wednesday Dinner Plan 9/22
Spaghetti & Meatballs serves 5

Use your favorite marinara and noodles.
Meatballs : 1# ground beef, 1cloves garlic, minced, 2 eggs, 1 cup freshly grated Romano cheese, 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, salt and ground black pepper to taste, 1 cup  bread crumbs.
Combine beef in large bowl, add garlic, eggs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Blend bread crumbs into meat mixture. add 1/3 C water,  mixture should be moist but still hold it's shape if rolled into meatballs. Shape into meatballs. Pour 1/4C marinara in large glass or metal 4 sided baking pan place meatballs in pan and bake @ 350 for 30 minutes.Then add the rest of your marinara and bake another 10 minutes.
Serve on top of noodles.
Sides: breadsticks

Thursday Dinner Plan 9/23
Leftovers, because by now my fridge is ready to be cleaned out from the last 3 dinner meals.

Friday Dinner Plan 9/24
Beef Tacos 
1# lean ground beef, salt, pepper, lemon pepper, corn tortillas, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce (if desired), diced tomato (if desired), avocado sliced (if desired), oil
Cook ground beef and sprinkle with 1tablespoon lemon pepper (this is a family tradition that I know my dads side of the family would love to know that I have incorporated into my own taco nights). Heat oil into a deep pan (I wing it about 1 in of oil in pan). Place corn tortillas in pan at medium heat flip each tortilla and fold into a taco in oil with tongs. Tortillas should not get hard but still be soft enough to fill and fold. About 2 min each tortilla. Place on paper towel to drain oil. I make about 10 tortillas and fill them with meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado.
Sides: Mexican rice & pinto beans

Saturday Dinner Plan 9/25
Out to eat!!

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