Sunday, November 7, 2010

...and that's what's for dinner tonight!

:)  For those of you that watch know that the title of the post is from Rachael Ray's talk show :)  From time to time, I catch her show, and when i do i try to watch the end to see what she's cooking, since about 95% of the time it's something I would definitely try.  I so enjoy the fact that they're usually meals that don't take too long to make :) 


When I was making my weekly menu for this past week, I was so exhausted that I knew I wanted to have quick dinners.  I went to Rachael Ray's website and looked through some recipes, and made 3 of her recipes.  They were all super yummy so I thought I would share.  I'm including my own side notes - try them and enjoy!




DINNER #1


Mac and Cheeseburger Sliders (or burgers)


2 pounds ground sirloin we used ground turkey

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce, eyeball it

A scant handful parsley, very finely chopped worked fine with dried parsley

2 cloves garlic, minced or very finely chopped or pasted

3 to 4 tablespoons grated onion I just chopped a little

Coarse salt and lots of coarse black pepper

EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling

1/2 pound small elbow macaroni or ditalini or small elbow whole wheat macaroni

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups milk

A few grates nutmeg

1 cup very sharp yellow or white cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Gruyere or Swiss cheese

1/4 cup, about a handful, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Ketchup, for topping (optional)

Bacon-Tomato Jam, for topping (optional) try it!!  


12 slider-size burger buns or split brioche rolls we used some large fresh rolls:)  Just pick something that looks yummy!  HOWEVER, the recipe, for us, made 8 burgers - so purchase bread accordingly


Toothpicks


Preparation

Combine meat with Worcestershire, parsley, garlic, onion -- grate directly over bowl to catch juices -- some salt and lots of pepper. Form 8 3-ounce patties, making them thinner at center and thicker at edges for even cooking. Drizzle patties with EVOO.

Heat a cast-iron skillet or large griddle pan over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, boil a medium pot of water and add salt. Undercook pasta by a minute or so from package directions – just shy of al dente. Drain and reserve.

While pasta cooks, melt butter in a small pot over medium heat, sprinkle in flour and whisk 30 seconds. Whisk in milk and season sauce with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Melt cheese into sauce to combine then turn off heat, stir in Dijon. Fold in reserved macaroni.

Cook meat patties in the hot skillet for 3 minutes on each side for medium. Serve on buns or rolls topped with some mac and cheese and a dot of ketchup or some Bacon-Tomato Jam, if you wish. Secure bun or roll tops with toothpicks and anchor a slice of pickle atop the burgers for a cheeky presentation.


Bacon-Tomato Jam

1/2 pound bacon, chopped small turkey bacon

1 small onion, diced small just a small slice, diced works well

3 cloves garlic, chopped or grated 

Ground black pepper

A pinch of hot pepper flakes

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup ketchup 

Yields: Makes 1/2 cup


Preparation

In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook bacon about 5 minutes, until slightly crispy but not all the way done. Add onions and garlic, and cook another 5 minutes. Mix in the pepper, pepper flakes, vinegar, maple syrup, brown sugar and ketchup. Mix together and cook about a minute to let it all come together. Serve on Mac and Cheese Burger Sliders.  

if the garlic is a little potent, add more ketchup as well as some parsley

watch Rachael make this dish



DINNER #2

Sliced Chicken with apples, pears and *camembert mashed potatoes

2 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes**


Salt

1 tablespoon EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast

Black pepper

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

1 Gala, Honeycrisp or Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice eyeball it, but I used 2

1 Bosc pear, peeled, cored and diced eyeball it, but I used 2; and I got the pears on sale :)

Freshly grated nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon

Zest and juice of 1 lemon I skipped the zest and just used bottled juice

2 tablespoons honey

1/3 pound ripe Camembert cheese, diced into bite-sized pieces *I couldn't find this cheese.  It's similar to brie, and didn't sound too appetizing.  I used some swiss and 2 slices of provalone

1/4 to 1/3 cup milk, half-and-half or cream

10 to 12 blades chives, chopped this is for presentation; it was fine without :)

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped this is for presentation; it was fine without :)

Yields: Serves 4  **this makes enough mashed potatoes for about 10 :)  but they are yummy, so you may enjoy the abundance!

Preparation

Halve the small and quarter the larger potatoes into bite-sized pieces and cover with water in a large pot. Bring the water to a boil and season with salt. Cook for 12-15 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender. 

Heat the EVOO in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and cook until golden and firm, about 12 minutes, turning once. Place the chicken on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apples and pears, and season with salt and the nutmeg. Stir in the lemon juice and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender-crisp, then stir in the honey and cook for minute more. 

Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot. Mash them with the cheese and milk or half-and half and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the potatoes among 4 plates. Slice the chicken breasts on an angle. Arrange the sliced chicken alongside the potatoes and top with the apples and pears. Combine the chives with the thyme and lemon zest and scatter over each plate.

Looks fancy, but it's yummy and you can be at the table enjoying in about 40 minutes or less!




DINNER #3


Lazy Florentine Lasagna

Salt

1 pound wavy edge lasagna noodles, broken into irregular pieces

1/4 cup EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced or chopped

1 onion, finely chopped just a small slice off of the onion chopped is perfect

4 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped minced garlic

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped a couple of dashes of dried works great!

Salt and pepper

1 bundle green or red Swiss chard, Tuscan kale or 1 pound spinach leaves, stemmed, leaves halved lengthwise then thinly sliced

1 cup dry white wine

4 tablespoons butter

3 slightly rounded tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

1 cup Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 cup Fontina cheese, grated used extra parmigiano and omitted this kind

Yields: Serves 4-6 add a salad and bread, and you can easily serve this for 8 with a good sized slice


Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Boil water and salt it, cook pasta to 2 minutes just-shy of al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup starchy cooking liquid before draining.


Meanwhile, heat EVOO in a skillet over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, brown well then add onions, garlic and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook to soften onions then wilt in greens, deglaze the pan with wine, reduce heat to low.

While mushrooms cook, in a saucepot over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour, cook 1 minute then whisk in milk. Bring to bubble, season sauce with salt and pepper. Let thicken, season with nutmeg to taste.


Drain pasta and combine with mushrooms, greens and a little starchy cooking water. Transfer to a baking dish or casserole, pour the white sauce over top and cover with cheese. Bake until bubbly and brown, 20 minutes or so.

We paired this with Tomato and Olive Focaccia bread from Trader Joe's,and the remaining Chardonnay (2 buck chuck is great to cook with and yummy to sip on while you're doing so!)



In trying to keep the grocery shopping costs down, I usually will omit several of the 'random' ingredients.  I look them up online to see how I can substitute them, and if there's something I have already that I can use, perfect, if not, things usually come out just fine without:)  Ingredients like maple syrup I look up recipes for and make them as well.  
              • Also, Tyler doesn't do well with onions and garlic, so for onions I NEVER add the recipe amount (when we were eating the lasagna tonight, I couldn't imagine having used an entire one!), I just take a small slice of it, as you've seen above, and dice it or whatever the recipe calls for.  Sometimes I used the dried minced onions instead.  For garlic, I always use minced and if it isn't a main seasoning, I don't generally use the amount called for.
                Not that I'm an amazing cook or anything, but I know it's easy to get in a cooking rut, so thought I'd share these easy and yummy ideas!  Let me know if you try and enjoy them!

1 comment:

NANI said...

For some reason.. Your words are cut off and I can't read them all??? Is it that way on your site?