Friday, April 17, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 4/19

With tax day (and half of April) behind us, it's time to start thinking about outdoor cooking and springtime meals. In Oklahoma, now is the best time to grill out, because the weather is nice enough and the flies haven't yet found us. Sooner than later, the flies will be out in swarms, making it less fun to eat outside (but we still will!)

Sunday: Pulled a lasagna out of the freezer today, made fresh bread and a yummy romaine salad.

Monday (meal swap night, my turn to cook): meatloaf, roasted potato wedges, raw veggies and dip (carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, celery)

*note: make your fruit salsa tonight to get a head start on tomorrow's meal*

Roasted Potato Wedges:

cut several potatoes into wedges (I use about 1.5 potatoes per person). Put wedges in large ziptop bag with 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Zip bag, and toss to coat. Arrange wedges on baking sheet in single layer. Try not to crowd them. Bake at 400 for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Serve with ketchup.

Tuesday: grilled salmon fillets with fruit salsa, tortilla chips

4 skinless Salmon fillets
salt and pepper
1 cup fruit salsa (recipe follows, or use commercial)
Vegetable oil to coat

Preheat the grill over medium-high heat for direct cooking.
Coat the grill with oil and coat the fish with oil. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Place the fillets at a 45° angle on the grill grates. Do not fiddle with the fish. After two minutes or when the fish will release from the grill easily, turn the fish, on the same side 45° exactly the opposite way. This will create those professional looking grill marks. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes on the first side and 3 to 5 minutes on the other side for medium doneness.

Fruit Salsa
1 can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 banana, chopped
1/2 c. diced kiwi
1/4 c. diced red bell pepper
1 small jalepeno pepper, minced
1 T. lime juice
2 green onions, minced
2 T. fresh cilantro, minced

Mix all ingredients; chill several hours or overnight.

Wednesday: Chicken, Cashew and Red Pepper Stir Fry, white rice, commercial egg rolls, if desired

Thursday: Meal Swap Day, Jen's turn to cook (A good night for leftovers if you're not swapping.)

Friday: grilled teriyaki pork tenderloin, grilled pineapple, crusty french bread

I like to buy the pork tenderloin already marinated in teriyaki. Then there is no prep except for heating up the grill. Grill it whole, turning occasionally, until it reaches an internal temperature of 155-160 degrees farenheit. To serve, slice into half inch slices, and fan them out on a plate (alternate with the grilled pineapple slices for a more dramatic presentation).

To grill a pineapple, I buy a fresh ripe pineapple (you can tell it's ripe by smelling the bottom stem--if it smells like a pineapple, it's fresh. If it has no smell or smells fermented it's best to leave that one alone. Another technique is to pull the green leaves out. If they come out easily, that is a sign of ripeness.) Cut off the top and the bottom of the pineapple. Then stand it up on one of the cut ends, and slice off the peel in strips. Then lay the peeled pineapple flat, and cut into slices, about 1/2 inch thick. (I do not remove the core. Pineapple cores are edible, and the grilling process usually softens them to a paletable texture.) You can marinate your pineapple slices if you wish (a nice bottled teriyaki marinade would be good), but I usually let the fruit speak for itself, especially since the meat will be flavored. Coat the grill rack with cooking spray, and cook the pineapple directly on the grill rack about 3 minutes per side.

Eat this meal outside if you can!

Hint: make the leftovers into sandwiches (grilled pork slice topped with a grilled pineapple slice on the leftover french bread. Some sprouts to top it off.

Saturday: this is my (other) night off. So it's out to dinner or pizza tonight.