Saturday, November 14, 2009

Two Weeks

Last week totally got away from me and I never got a chance to post the previous week's menu so today you get a twofer. I was feeling like our veggie consumption was a little lower than it should be, especially with us both fighting colds recently, so I stepped it up in the meals below. Red, green and orange seem to be representatives from the vegetable kingdom.


Although I have eaten it on a few occasions this was my first time cooking kale. A past coworker was always singing it's praises and now I totally see why. I found it to be really satisfying to work with. I loved the heft of the bunch and the hearty texture. This meal left me feeling completely satisfied and the leftovers made two delicious lunches.

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Bacon and Braised Kale
makes 4 servings

1/2 lb whole heat spaghetti (I like to use a pretty thin one what I go for the whole wheat variety)
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
1/2 lemon
grated Parmesan cheese
kosher salt and black pepper

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon or tongs to a paper towel lined plate. Wipe out the skillet leaving a thin layer of the bacon grease. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes more. Add the kale to the onion mixture and about 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook about 10 minutes, until the kale is tender.

Remove from heat, stir in the spaghetti, a handful of Parmesan, juice from the lemon and the bacon. Add salt and pepper to taste.


I printed this recipe out a long time ago and in the shuffle of things I never got around to making it. Somehow it found it's way to the top of the pile and caught my eye again. It was a nice combination of flavors and the glaze you make at the end was really flavorful.

Caramelized Pork with Sweet Potatoes
from Real Simple
makes 2 servings

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced.
1 T olive oil
1 T fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb)
1/4 t kosher salt
black pepper
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T sugar
Juice from 1/2 orange

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly coat two baking panes with vegetable oil. In a bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil. Arrange in a single layer on one of the baking pans and sprinkle with half of the rosemary. Place in the oven and cook until tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, season each side of the pork with salt and pepper, spread with the mustard and sprinkle with the sugar and remaining rosemary. Roast 25 minutes, turning once, until cooked through.

Remove the pork from the pan and cover with aluminum foil until ready to slice. Place the pan on the stove, over medium heat, add the orange juice and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Pour over the pork and sweet potatoes.


Jeremy was the first to spot this recipe several years ago and suggested we give it a try. Sometimes he surprises me. The cinnamon really has the ability to transport the food. And can I just say, why don't I make couscous more often? It is so tasty!

Moroccan Shrimp
from Real Simple
makes 4 servings

box of couscous
1 T olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 red bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup golden raisins
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 t ground cumin
1 t ground cinnamon
1 lemon

Prepare the couscous according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, salt and 1/8 t of the pepper. Cover and cook until the onion is softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the bell pepper and raisins and cook another 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking, place the shrimp in a bowl and sprinkle with the cumin, cinnamon and the remaining black pepper. Squeeze the lemon over the top and stir to combine. Add the shrimp (but not the liquid) to the vegetable mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes.

Fluff the couscous with a fork and serve with the shrimp mixture on top.

You know what would go perfect on top of this Cheeseburger Chowder? Home made garlic croutons. That is if you don't forget them under the broiler until you exclaim, to your kitchen full of people, "Oh my God, what is all of that smoke pouring out of the oven!!!"

Don't ask me how I know that.

Cheeseburger Chowder
makes 4 servings

1 lb very lean ground beef
2 red skinned potatoes, scrubbed well and cubed
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup corn
1 beef bullion cube
1 1/2 cups water
1 t kosher salt
2 1/2 cups milk
3 T all-purpose flour
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

In a soup pot brown the ground beef, drain off any fat. Stir in the potatoes, celery, onion, bell pepper, corn, bullion cube, water and salt. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Whisk together the flour and milk. Slowly add to the meat mixture and cook until thickened and bubbly. Add the cheese and heat, stirring, until it melts.


These come together super quickly if you buy a pre-made dough from the grocery store. Ours has a pizza counter that sells it fresh every day. You can put whatever fillings in you want. this time mine had caramelized onions, black olives, red peppers, mozzarella cheese and a little spicy Italian sausage.


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out a single serving of dough into an oval shape and layer your choice of fillings on one half of the dough. Fold the second half of the dough and crimp tightly to seal. Brush the top with olive oil and bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Serve with pizza sauce for dipping.

I had peanut sauce left over from the Thai Chicken Pizza I made a couple of weeks ago so I just took a cue from the recipe on the bottle and made this pasta salad. I bought a rotisserie chicken from the store and used half of the meat for this and half for the next meal on the menu.

Thai Pasta Salad
makes 4 servings

10 oz. thin egg noodles
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
1 carrot, shredded or cut into matchstick size pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into matchstick size pieces
4 scallions, slices into 2 inch lengths
1/2 cup peanut sauce

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Stir in the chicken, vegetables and peanut sauce. Serve hot or cold.


An old standby around here. Anything wrapped in a tortilla with cheese and something spicy.

Shredded Chicken Burritos

Place the cooked, shredded chicken into a skillet over medium heat, add taco seasoning and water. Cook until a sauce forms and the chicken is heated through. Layer on a tortilla with your choice of toppings. I overstuffed mine as always with black beans, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado and salsa.


This meal was born out of nothing working out the night I made it. Each component was originally meant to be used in some other way but Murphy's law was definitely in effect and as it was I still had to have Jer stop by the market on his way home to get me some mayo. For all of my careful planning sometimes I still have to fly by the seat of my pants. It is good to know that I can.

Pork Chops and Potato Salad
makes 4 servings

For the pork:
2 T all-purpose flour
1 t ground cumin
1 t kosher salt
1 t black pepper
4 medium size boneless pork chops OR one 1 1/2 - 2 lb. pork tenderloin cut into 1/2" thick slices
1 T vegetable oil
1 T butter
1/4 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 T white wine vinegar
2 T grainy mustard (optional, but delicious)

Mix together the flour, cumin, salt and pepper on a large plate. Lightly coat each piece of pork with the flour mixture and set aside. Heat the vegetable oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the pork in the skillet, sprinkle with the parsley, and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, mix together the broth and vinegar. When the pork is done remove it from the skillet and set aside. Pour the broth mixture into the skillet, stirring and scraping up any bits from the bottom. Bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened.

Serve each piece of pork with a drizzle of pan sauce.

For the Potato Salad:
6 Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 cup Tarragon Vinaigrette Dressing (recipe to follow)
4 hard boiled eggs, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 red or white onion, diced
1/2 cup chopped green olives
1 cup mayonnaise
kosher salt and black pepper

Scrub the potatoes well but do not peel. Dice into bite-size cubes and cook in water to cover until just tender, about 10 minutes after water boils. Drain and toss with the dressing. Set aside and allow to cool thoroughly.
In a large bowl, mix together the potatoes, eggs, celery, onion and olives. Add enough mayo to make the salad moist but not mushy. Chill thoroughly. Sprinkle with Paprika before serving.

For the dressing:
3 oz. olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 t red wine vinegar
1 1/2 t French mustard
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 t dried tarragon
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper

Mix together all of the ingredients.


I have made this oven roasted broccoli once before and I think I made the same mistake of cooking it a little too long. I like the flavor the broccoli takes on from being roasted rather than steamed but the texture suffered a little from being almost burnt. Maybe recording it here will help me remember next time.

Spaghetti with Oven Roasted Broccoli
makes 2 servings

1 broccoli crown, cut into florets
2 1/2 t olive oil
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Toss broccoli with 1 1/2 t of the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.

Stir together the remain 1 t oil, garlic and the red pepper flakes. Drizzle over the broccoli and roast another 5-8 minutes, until the broccoli is beginning to brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Anonymous said...

Yum, I LOVE kale. I can't wait to try that recipe and the cheeseburger chowder. Great recipes!