Friday, February 08, 2013

February 2013 Menus

Here are some of the things I plan to cook this month. It will be a lower cooking month than usual, with Valentine's & Mardi Gras dinners out, a weekend retreat, and Jeannene's birthday dinner possibly out, as well.

-Porcupine meatballs, broccoli stir-fry, fruit
-Cream of zucchini soup, sourdough, fruit
-Sour cream & herb burgers, garlic-rosemary potato wedges, corn
-Jambalaya pasta, macque choux, salad
-Ants climbing a tree (Chinese New Year potluck contribution)
-Chicken cordon bleu, scallion mashed potatoes, broccoli casserole
-Roast turkey breast, roasted root veggies, dilly beans
-Halibut/Grouper/Tilapia/Red Snapper with coriander-pepita butter, Greek pan-crushed potatoes, farmer's salad
-Picadillo chili dogs, crinkle fries, salad
-Herb-rubbed steak with olives proven├žale, Tuscan kale with raisins, potatoes & artichoke hearts with wine & coriander
-Fettucine Alfredo, grilled veggies, bruschetta with tomato & basil
-Turkey pepperoni Reubens
-Pasta frittata
-Chocolate chip brickle bars
-Pumpkin bread
-Banana bread
-Lacy Susans
-Popcorn balls
-Chocolate rum balls
-Chile-spiked wedding cakes
-Marshmallows
-Gingerbread butter

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Swoony Vodka Sauce & Heart-y Salad

Jeannene's favorite things to eat are steak and pasta. Last week, I wanted to make a special dinner for her, so I went with Rachael Ray's vodka cream sauce on pipe rigate, with a salad starring romaine, hearts of palm, and artichoke hearts, and a loaf of Italian bread. At first, I was distressed over how thin the sauce looked, thinking I was going to end up with bland pasta and a puddle of sauce at the bottom of the pan. However, once I tossed the pasta with the sauce, it was vividly flavorful. I will definitely be making this one again! I ate the leftovers for lunch and dinner and lunch again last week, too. I am still not tired of them. The recipes come from her 30-Minute Meals 2, which is a great collection of entire meals, including dessert, that you can make easily after work. Lots of terrific ideas, from family dinners to romantic special occasion meals. Here's my adaptation:

Vodka Cream Pasta
1 tbsp. olive oil 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 tbsp. butter Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 small onion, finely chopped 16 oz. small, shaped pasta (penne, pipe rigate, shells)
1 c. vodka 20 leaves basil, torn into bits
1 c. chicken stock

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook garlic & onions in oil and butter about 3-5 minutes. Add vodka and cook about 3 minutes, to reduce by half. Add stock and tomatoes, with their juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer. Season with salt & pepper, then allow to cook gently. Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente. While everything's cooking, make your salad. Then, stir the cream into the sauce and heat through. Drain pasta and toss with sauce and basil leaves. Serves 4-6.

Heart-y Salad
1 heart of romaine, sliced thin horizontally 14 oz. quartered artichoke hearts, drained
A generous handful of torn basil leaves 4 oz. shaved pecorino or asiago (I used shredded. Don't.)
14 oz. salad-cut hearts of palm, drained Balsamic vinegar & olive oil
1/4 lb. prosciutto, torn into narrow strips Salt & pepper

Toss romaine with basil. Wrap hearts of palm in prosciutto. Add to romaine, along with artichoke hearts. Scatter cheese on top and drizzle with oil & vinegar. Season with salt & pepper. Serves 4-6.