Monday, February 18, 2013

Week of LOVE

Five delicious sauces make this week's meals extra special! (Plum Syrup, Feta Bechamel, Lemon & Thyme, Adobo, and Chocolate Rosemary Wine Sauce)

RATING KEY:          Jenni, Picky-Eater Husband, Fickle Toddler
*** = great, ** = good, * = okay

Plum French Toast
Servings: 4   Prep Time: ~20 minutes
    1 cup Sugar
    5 Plums, diced with pits removed
    2 Bay Leaves
    8 slices Challah Bread
    1 1/2 cups Fat-Free Milk
    3 Large Egg Yolks
    1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon Salt
    1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
Directions: Place sugar and 1 cup of water in saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Stir in plums, remove from heat, and let cool. Lightly toast challah. Preheat a non-stick electric griddle to 325 degrees and spray with cooking spray. Whisk remaining ingredients together in a large pie plate. Soak toasted bread in milk mixture 20 seconds per side. Using a firm slotted spatula, pick up bread slice and allow excess liquid to drip off. Transfer to griddle and cook 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove bay leaves from plum sauce and serve with french toast.

Beet Greens Frittata
A.k.a. "More Tata!" -I challenge you to get your family THIS excited about beet greens. :)
Servings: 4   Prep Time: ~35 minutes
    2 teaspoons Canola Oil
    1/4 cup Onion, chopped
    Beet Greens from 1 bunch of beets, washed and chopped
    1/2 cup Light Mayonnaise
    1/2 cup Milk
    3 Large Egg Whites
    2 Large Whole Eggs
    1/4 cup Shredded Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add beet greens and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together mayonnaise and milk until smooth. Whisk in eggs and egg whites. Evenly distribute beet greens in the bottom of a pie plate. Pour egg mixture on top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 25 minutes or until center of frittata is set.


Mediterranean Mac 'N' Cheese
Servings: 4   Prep Time: ~45 minutes
(If following Week-in-a-Day, double the recipe and purchase a disposable 8 in. baking pan)
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter
    1 can (14.5 ounces) Diced Tomatoes, drained
    1/3 cup Pitted Kalamata Olives, chopped
    1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
    8 ounces Elbow Macaroni
    1 Garlic Clove, minced
    1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
    2 cups Fat-Free Milk
    8 oz. Reduced-Fat Feta, crumbled
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Set a large pot of water to boil and spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, olives, and oregano. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions; drain pasta and return to pot. Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, whisking constantly, until sauce thickens, 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in 4 ounces feta. Stir in tomato mixture. Pour mixture over pasta; stir to combine. Pour pasta mixture into dish and top with 4 ounces feta. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese begins to brown, about 25 minutes.

L.O.V.E. Wraps
Lettuce. Onion. Veggies. Egg Salad.
Servings: 4   Prep Time: ~20 minutes
    8 Hard Boiled Eggs
    4 teaspoons Mayonnaise
    2 tablespoons Fresh Chives, finely chopped
    Salt and pepper
    8 pieces Whole-Wheat Wrap Bread (9 inches in diameter)
    1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into strips
    1/4 Red Onion, thinly sliced
    1/2 cup Romaine Lettuce, torn into pieces
Directions: Dice eggs and put into a small bowl. Add the mayonnaise and stir with a fork, mashing somewhat for desired consistency. Stir in chives and season with plenty of salt and some pepper. Place wrap bread on a plate and spread the egg salad in the middle. Top with the peppers, onion slices and the lettuce. Fold into a wrap sandwich.

Lemon & Thyme Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato Vegetables
******Servings: 4   Prep Time: ~45 minutes

    3 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
    5 Shallots, finely chopped
    1 Red Bell Pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
    16 oz. package Frozen Zucchini and Yellow Squash Mix
    1/4 cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, finely chopped
    1/4 cup Kalamata Olives, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon chopped Fresh Thyme Leaves, divided
    Salt and Pepper
    4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Fillets, about 1 lb. total
    1 cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
    2 tablespoons Marsala Cooking Wine
    1 Lemon, juice and zest
    1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
    1/4 cup Dried Cranberries
Directions: Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add 2/3 of the shallots and cook until translucent and tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and cook about 3 minutes more. Add the frozen zucchini and yellow squash mix and cook another 3-4 minutes until all of the vegetables are tender. Add the olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and 1 teaspoon thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the vegetables to a serving bowl and keep warm. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in same skillet over medium heat. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper. Saute chicken breasts 3-4 minutes per side to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm. Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in same skillet. Add remaining shallots and cook until translucent and tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, Marsala wine, and lemon juice and let the sauce reduce by half, about 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and remaining thyme. Whisk in the butter and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Drizzle sauce over chicken and sprinkle with cranberries to serve. The sauce also makes a great salad dressing!


Chicken Adobo with Sugar Snap Peas
Since my dish was overdone, this recipe includes modifications to the cooking method that I will try next time. Let me know how it turns out if you eat it before I do!
Servings: 4   Prep Time: ~40 minutes
   1/2 cup White Wine Vinegar
   1/2 cup Soy Sauce
   1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
   2 cloves Garlic, crushed
   1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
   1 dried Bay Leaves
   1 cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
   4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Fillets, about 1 lb. total
   6 oz. Sugar Snap Peas
   Juice of 1 Lime
   Salt and Pepper
   1 tablespoon Olive Oil
   4 cups hot, cooked rice
   1 tablespoon chopped fresh Cilantro (optional)
Directions: Combine the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, red pepper, bay leaves, and chicken broth in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket and lid. Remove the steamer basket and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the chicken to the liquid in a single layer. Put the sugar snap peas in the steamer basket and attach to the pot, covering with the lid. Cook 10 minutes or until peas are tender, but still bright green. Remove the steamer basket and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Turn the chicken pieces over and cook 10-15 minutes more to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove the chicken and discard the bay leaf. Add lime juice to the sauce, bring it to a boil, and let it reduce until the sauce is thick enough to barely coat a spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add the chicken pieces, and very quickly brown on one side. Serve with hot cooked rice. Garnish with cilantro, if using.

Crouton Salad
Servings: 8   Prep Time: ~20 minutes
   1/2 (8-ounces) loaf French Bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
   2 tablespoons Olive Oil
   Romaine lettuce, torn
   Crumbled Blue Cheese (or any cheese that you prefer)
   Your Choice of Salad Dressing (or try the Lemon & Thyme Sauce above)
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bread on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake about 15 minutes until toasted. Set aside to cool. Serve on top of lettuce with cheese and dressing.

Chocolate Rosemary Beef Tenderloin with Asparagus
Servings: 6   Prep Time: ~ 45 minutes
    6 teaspoons Olive Oil, divided
   1/2 cup chopped Shallots
   1 small Carrot, finely chopped
   1 stalk Celery, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
   1 clove Garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
   2 cups dry Red Wine
   2 cups Low-Sodium Beef Broth
   2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
   1 Bay Leaf
   1 sprig fresh Thyme
   1 (2-pound) Beef Tenderloin Roast, cut into 1 1/4 inch steaks
   Salt and Pepper 
   1 bunch of Asparagus, trimmed
   1 tablespoon unsweetened natural Cocoa Powder
   1 teaspoon chopped fresh Rosemary leaves
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots, carrot and celery and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the wine and broth and stir in the tomato paste. Add the bay leaf and thyme and bring to a boil. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile heat 2 more teaspoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Season both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper. Add the meat to the skillet and sear until well browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Meanwhile, arrange asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toss with remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the meat to a broiler pan or a rack set on a baking sheet. Roast asparagus until tender and steaks until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 140 degrees F for medium-rare, about 20 minutes. Strain the reduced sauce through a fine mesh strainer. Stir in the cocoa and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Serve on the side with the tenderloin and asparagus.
Week-in-a-Day Strategies
Total Time: ~3 hours
  1. Thaw sauteed beet greens (from 2/3 Week-in-a-Day) in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare the croutons for the CROUTON SALAD.
  3. While croutons toast, prepare BEET GREENS FRITTATA according to the recipe, increasing the oven temperature to 400 after removing the croutons. Reserve unused egg yolks.
  4. While frittata cooks, prepare a double batch of MEDITERRANEAN MAC 'N' CHEESE according to recipe. Chop an extra 1/4 cup olives and reserve. Before baking, freeze half of the mac 'n' cheese in a a disposable 8 in. baking pan. Wash sauce pan, store croutons, and wipe bread crumbs off of baking sheet with a paper towel.
  5. While mac 'n' cheese cooks, prepare CHOCOLATE ROSEMARY BEEF TENDERLOIN WITH ASPARAGUS, increasing the oven temperature to 425 after removing the mac 'n' cheese. Wash the skillet.
  6. Arrange 8 eggs in single layer in your macaroni pot and cover with water. Cover pot, bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let sit about 13 minutes until eggs are cooked through. Transfer eggs to a bowl and store in the refrigerator.
  7. Dice and reserve 5 plums and reserve. Slice 2 red peppers into 1/4 inch strips and reserve. Finely chop and reserve 5 shallots. Thinly slice and reserve 1/4 of a red onion.
  8. Start preparing LEMON & THYME CHICKEN WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATO VEGETABLES in skillet using reserved vegetables.
  9. While vegetables cook, start preparing CHICKEN ADOBO WITH SUGAR SNAP PEAS in the hard boiled egg pot. Wash tenderloin saucepan and use to cook rice according to package directions.
  10. Wash saucepan and prepare PLUM FRENCH TOAST according to the recipe using reserved plums and egg yolks.
  11. Prepare L.O.V.E. WRAPS using reserved vegetables.

Reheating Instructions: Heat FRENCH TOAST in the oven/toaster oven. The CROUTON SALAD and L.O.V.E. WRAPS are served cold. Everything else can be microwaved.

P.S. It might sound weird that I include dish washing instructions, but when you finish 3 hours of cooking, the last thing you want to do is wash more dirty dishes than is absolutely necessary. :)

Disclaimer: Saving money is not one of my strengths. Suggestions are encouraged!
*Spices excluded.

$   .14      Sugar, 1 cup ($2.59/4 lb.)
$ 2.49      Plums, 1 lb.
$ 2.15      Challah Bread, 8 slices ($4.29/loaf)
$ 1.25      Organic Fat Free Milk, 1 1/2 cup ($ 6.69/gallon)
$   .44      Large Eggs with Omega-3, 3 yolks ($ 3.49/dozen)

$ 6.47      ($1.62/serving)

Note: I count the beet greens as free since the cost of the entire bunch of beets was calculated into last week's total.
$   .03      Canola Oil, 2 teaspoons ($3.99/48 oz.)
$   .32      Yellow onions, 1/4 cup ($ 2.99/3 lb.)
$   .21      Hellmann's Light Mayonnaise, 1/2 cup ($1.88/30 oz)
$   .42      Organic Fat Free Milk, 1/2 cup ($ 6.69/gallon)
$ 1.02      Large Eggs with Omega-3, 2 + 3 yolks ($ 3.49/dozen)
$   .31      Shredded Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar, 1/4 cup ($2.50/8 oz.)
$ 2.31      ($0.58/serving)

$   .38     Land O' Lakes Unsalted Butter, 1/4 cup ($ 3.00/lb.)
$ 1.00     Diced Tomatoes, 14.5 oz.
$   .71     Pitted Kalamata Olives, 1/3 cup ($5.59/11.1 oz.)
$ 1.19     Barilla PLUS Pasta Elbows Multigrain, 7.25 oz. ($2.37/14.5 oz.)
$   .05     Garlic, 1 clove ($0.50/head)
$   .04     All-Purpose Flour, 1/4 cup ($2.79/5 lb.)
$ 1.67     Organic Fat Free Milk, 2 cups ($ 6.69/gallon)
$ 4.38     Reduced-Fat Crumbled Feta, 8 oz. ($2.19/4 oz.)
$ 9.42     ($1.57/serving)
L.O.V.E. WRAPS, 4 servings
$ 2.33     Large Eggs with Omega-3, 8 ($ 3.49/dozen)
$   .07     Hellmann's Light Mayonnaise, 4 teaspoons ($1.88/30 oz)
$ 2.50     Whole-Wheat Wrap Bread, 8 pieces
$ 2.50     Red Bell Pepper, 1 ($4.99/2)
$   .14     Red Onion, 1/4 ($0.57/1)
$ 7.54     ($1.89/serving)
$   .42     Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 3 tablespoons ($13.99/51 oz.)
$   .93     Shallots, 5 ($1.67/9)
$ 2.50     Red Bell Pepper, 1 ($4.99/2)
$ 2.19     Frozen Zucchini and Yellow Squash Mix, 16 oz.
$   .58     Sun-Dried Tomatoes, 1/4 cup ($3.49/3 oz.)
$   .54     Pitted Kalamata Olives, 1/4 cup ($5.59/11.1 oz.)
$ 2.99     Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, 1 lb.
$   .80     Swanson Low Sodium Chicken Broth, 1 cup ($ 3.19/32 oz.)
$   .22     Marsala Cooking Wine, 2 tablespoons ($3.59/16 oz.)
$   .75     Dried Cranberries, 1/4 cup ($2.99/5 oz.)
$   .
34     Lemons, 1 ($2.99/2 lb.)
$   .09     Land O' Lakes Unsalted Butter, 1 tablespoon ($ 3.00/1 lb.)
$12.35    ($3.09/serving)

$ 1.60     White Wine Vinegar, 1/2 cup ($3.49/17 oz.)
$ 1.02     Kikkoman Soy Sauce Less Sodium, 1/2 cup ($ 2.50/10 oz.)

$   .04     Light Brown Sugar 1/4 cup ($1.99/32 oz.)
$   .10     Garlic, 2 cloves ($0.50/head)
$   .80     Swanson Low Sodium Chicken Broth, 1 cup ($ 3.19/32 oz.)  

$ 2.99     Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, 1 lb.
$ 2.99     Sugar Snap Peas, 6 oz.
$   .40     Lime, 1
$   .14     Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 tablespoon ($13.99/51 oz.)
$ 1.15     Success Boil-in-Bag Brown Rice, 4 cups ($2.29/14 oz.)
$11.23    ($2.81/serving)
CROUTON SALAD, 8 servings
$ 1.65     French Bread, 1/2 loaf ($3.29/loaf)
$   .28     Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 tablespoons ($13.99/51 oz.)
$ 4.99     Organic Romaine Lettuce
$ 1.64     Crumbled Gorgonzola, 3/4 cup ($ 2.19/4 oz.)
$ 8.56     ($1.07/serving)


$  .28     Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 6 teaspoons ($13.99/51 oz.)
$  .37     Shallots, 1/2 cup ($1.67/9)
$  .04     Baby Carrots, 1/4 cup ($1.99/2 lb.)
$  .50     Celery, 1 stalk (3.99/16 oz.)
$  .05     Garlic, 1 clove ($0.50/head)
$ 3.52    Red Wine, 2 cups ($3.59/16 oz.)
$   .80    Low-Sodium Beef Broth, 2 cups
$   .14    Tomato Paste, 2 tablespoons ($0.69/6 oz.)
$21.98   Beef Tenderloin Roast, 2 lb. ($10.99/lb.)
$ 5.19    Asparagus, 1 bunch
$   .09    Cocoa Powder ($3.89/8 oz.)
$32.96  ($5.49/serving)


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