Amanda's Week in Recipe form...A lot of my meals are just being thrown together. Maybe easy, maybe a recipe Ive made so often i Just know what to do with it.
Also, My family and I tend to eat 'easy' meals half of the week. I don't enjoy slaving in the kitchen 7 nights a week. So I take the occasional easy road out. I buy these 'easy meals' to try to combat fast food orders. Does it work? No. Ha! There are still nights where we wind up with subway-or the local pizza joints slop...But I try Dammit to get inspired by all the food blogs i see, or recipe threads of friends of Forums...
This weeks menu was created on a whim when i needed to make a quick list and get to the store already! I had company coming! My company was going to show me how to make my own 'sauce'! (*Gasp* to all of those other Italians who are rolling over in their graves!) What Italian can't make a sauce that's not in a jar?! Well it was me-but no longer-i have been shown how obliviously simple it can really be. Thank you Heather!
I guess we will start with that lovely pasta dinner we had on Saturday with homemade sauce-MMmm, One loaf of Wheat Italian soft bread, and a loaf of crusty Italian bread, Salad if you prefer, and your favorite pasta-ours was Angel Hair...Never made a sauce before?
In your pan: EVOO, minced garlic, maybe some salt-Now listen-all seasonings are subject to your own taste buds-It really was simple-and I don't know if i could ever bring myself to buy another jar again! I WILL be experimenting however with eggplant soon...
Once your oil & garlic is cooking (stirring frequently)-but not burning-add in some fresh chopped basil and parsley-flat leaf...let that mingle for a moment-then add your tomato products-From chunky to smooth pureed-your style of tomato lies solely on your preference. Add to your tomato product -tonato paste-this along with some water will determine the thickness of your sauce-add the paste with more* water for a thinner sauce, and less water for thicker...trial and error. Once together, bring to boil-add more spices (onion powder, pepper etc) and reduce heat to low simmer till you are ready to use it. I made meatballs-so once they were cooked-i threw them into the boiling sauce-and let simmer together for about 15-If i had had time, i would have let them simmer for a couple hours-maybe just an hour-it would be experimental-as Ive not left meatballs in a pot of simmering sauce that long ever-never had the time-I might turn into a old world Italian woman after all!
Now because I have very poor planning skills, I went ahead and messed this one up. Yes, my poor poor family is having another pasta dinner two nights in a row. Tonight-it will be a Seafood Alfredo. Hey-we already have the bread! This dish includes, Linguine, Alfredo sauce, (don't be mistaken in thinking it won't be jarred! LOL Alfredo and Red sauces' are so different-Im not taking on cheese lol) Shrimp, Scallops & Calamari! Believe it or not my kids are slightly excited about this one-its the calamari! When they were younger-we had them try it fried (Heart it) and they both loved it! Even after we told them what they were eating! Its the scallops that will be hard to convince them to eat! Also with this dish I can only ever think to pair it with a salad. A bare-bones salad-Tomato and cuke-that's all...
Occasionally-we do a "fend for yourself" meal-this is when its too hot-or its too late-or hell-There aren't enough clean dishes-we all get either a sandwich, cereal, or maybe even mac & cheese-I can't be a good example all of the time! LOL-So These meals won't always occur when i plan them to be.
Next on the list: Homemade Italian breaded chicken with roasted Brussels Sprouts & Rice Pilaf.
Start this with Thin cut breasts. If you can't get them already like that-slice a whole breast yourself. Or hell, you could use pre-cut tender-sized pieces for this too. Get a mallet-flat side, and pound out whatever pieces you use-so that they are all a uniform thinness. You will only be able to cook so many at a time. Gee a pan/fry pan, fill with oil (veg/canola?) about an inch to an inch and a half deep-You will want to warm the oil till its it rippling-medium heat sounds good-listen, once you drop those chicken in there-the trick is to get the right temp-so your outside doesn't cook faster than your inside. They won't take long either, so watch em close. Depending on the size of your chicken pieces, up to maybe 3-5 minutes for each SIDE. This is what you need after the mallet-2 eggs, scrambled and in a dredgable container- In another container-Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs, I'd say maybe 1/2-- One full cup-depending on amount of chicken. Once your oil is hot-Start with 3-4 pieces in the egg-move em over to the breadcrumbs and into the oil. I think the trick is to get the temp just right-so that it's still a rolling boil-but that it isn't so hot-the oil is splattering you & your counter/stove top without a cover on it. It is achievable. A timer will be your friend.
The rice Pilaf is cooked according to directions on box. The Brussels need to be trimmed of their outer leaved and stumpy stems. Then quarter them. Place them in a medium size bowl, Drizzle with a tbs. to 2 tbs. of EVOO, and your favorite spices + salt - mix all the ingredients together in the bowl until coated evenly-then place on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake at 400 flipping after the first ten minutes-then cooking another 5 10 more. Some like to sprinkle all kinds of gourmet cheeses just before serving, or hell even Parmesan shake cheese is a great way to eat these buggers, but the way they come straight from the oven is rad too. You'll feel proud your family will eat them :)
(Spices in my kitchen vary between a neat little dried garlic grinder, onion powder, seaS&P, Old Bay, Paprika, Cumin, etc...switch it up every time and there is no getting bored. I also roast a ton more of our veggies this way-and the key is to make sure they are not wet with too much water-or they will just steam in the over and get soft instead of crispy and sophisticated!( I have found a salad spinner to be highly useful in the removal of excess water.)
Meal #4, The last of my involved* meals...A twist on the traditional family Taco night. We're going Fun-With Nachos instead! Except we're going to make it at least a smidge healthy with turkey instead of ground hamburg. My turkey is 93%. Bargain $2 bag of tortilla chips, Avocado, Smooth cheese (by request-shredded does not cut it for this meal) re-fried beans, lettuce & tomato, and if anyone wants some-black olives...This will be a happy one for sure...Dinner that looks like junk food-? Sure!
So all that leaves is the two easy meals I have nights where Im just drained, or I forget to thaw something in time! Fish sticks...With frozen fries-not the best-but i buy the ones made from whole fish rather than minced...that makes me feel better when i don't go fresh-caught-fish. We do that often, but I already have the Seafood Alfredo...With the sticks and fries will be roasted asparagus or peas.
And finally-last but not least, Homemade pizza! Wheat dough for crust and fresh sauce with cheese and peperoni :)
Our week in food will be nice-Lets cross our fingers the kids will agree! Happy eating friends, Amanda