Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 5/10

Happy Mothers' Day to all who are moms and those who have moms. I guess that covers everybody.

I found some tadpoles yesterday. I hope to collect a few and place them under observation for my two boys. I planted flowers this week, and am finding empty egg shells in the grass. SPRING IS HERE!

I'm really excited about the grill this week...I'm hoping for great grilling and alfresco dining weather. You should try to eat outside once this week, even if you cook inside. We have these cafeteria trays that I like to bring outside...they just feel right for patio dining. And so far, the flies have been manageable, so outdoor dining doesn't mean sharing it.

Monday (meal swap night, my turn to cook): Stuffed Peppers, cheese breadsticks,1626,129180-251196,00.html

Cheese Breadsticks:
3 1/4 cup breadflour
3/4 grated romano cheese, divided
1/4 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
1/4 t. ground red pepper
1 package rapid rise yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 C. plus 2 T. warm water
2 t. olive oil
cooking spray
2 t. water
1 egg white, lightly beaten

(Bread dough is easier with a breadmaker or a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.)

For breadmaker: place flour, 1/2 cup cheese, and next 5 ingredients in breadpan in the order suggested by the manual. Program for dough and press start.

For stand mixer, place flour, 1/2 cup cheese, and next 5 ingredients in mixing bowl. Turn to speed 2 for 2-5 minutes, or until a dough ball is formed and the dough no longer clings to the side of the bowl. Remove dough hook, and coat dough ball with cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in warm, draft-free place for 40 minutes.

For either method: Mix beaten egg white and water, set aside. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface, knead several times. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into 14 X 10 inch rectangle. Brush each rectangle with half of egg white mixture; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Press cheese into dough. Cut each rectangle into 22 10 inch strips using pizza cutter. Pick up each end of each strip, and twist. Place twists 1 inch apart on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise 20 minutes or until puffy. Bake at 375 12 minutes or until golden.

Tuesday: Grilled Halibut with Pineapple-Lime Salsa, steamed brown rice, steamed sugar snap peas (buy the steam-in-bag for quick and easy prep)

Pineapple-Lime Salsa
1 t. vegetable oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 (4 oz) halibut steaks, about 3/4 inch thick
cooking spray
Lime wedges

Prepare Pineapple-lime Salsa, set aside (recipe follows)

combine oil and garlic; brush mixture over fish. Sprinkle fish with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Coat grill rack with cooking spray. Place fish on rack and grill, covered, over med-hot coals 5-6 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork. Spoon salsa over fish. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Pineapple-Lime Salsa:
1/3 cup pineapple preserves
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalepeno pepper
1 teaspoon dried mint flakes
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (8 oz) can unsweetened pineapple tidbits, drained

Combine all ingredients, stir well. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Wednesday: BBQ chicken breasts, baked beans, roasted potato wedges, marinated cucumbers and tomatoes

Marinated Cucumbers and Tomatoes:
Combine 2 cucumbers, thinly sliced, 4 tomatoes, sliced, and 1/2 cup Olive Oil Vinaigrette. Cover and chill. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, if desired.

Thursday: (Vegetarian) Fettuccine With Blue Cheese-Artichoke Sauce, Commercial french bread, Tossed Apple Salad

Fettuccine with Blue Cheese-Artichoke Sauce

1 9 oz package refrigerated fettuccine
cooking spray
1 (14 oz) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 (10 oz) jar refrigerated light alfredo sauce
2 Tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

Cook pasta according to directions on package, omitting salt and fat. While pasta cooks, coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over med heat until hot. Add artichokes and mushrooms; cook 3-4 minutes or utnil mushrooms are tender. Add alfredo sauce to artichoke mixture; cook until thoroughly heated.

Place drained pasta in a large bowl, Pour sauce over pasta, toss to combine. Sprinkle with Cheese.

Tossed Apple Salad

Combine 1/2 of a 10 oz package of romaine lettuce and 1 cup diced red delicious apple in a bowl. Drizzle with 1/3 cup fat free balsamic vinaigrette (try Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette; it's not fat free but it's low fat, low calorie, low carb, and VERY tasty!)

Friday: Grilled Scallops and Tomatoes, Grilled Corn on the Cob, Spinach-Onion Salad

Grilled Scallops and Tomatoes
1 lb fresh sea scallops
20 cherry tomatoes
cooking spray
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

Place scallops and tomatoes alternately on 4 12 inch skewers. Brush with 1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce.

Coat grill rack with cooking spray; place on grill over med-high heat.Place kebabs on rack and grill uncovered 5 minutes. Turn kebabs, and brush with remaining sauce. Grill 10 more min or until scallops are opaque.

Grilled Corn on the Cob:,1750,156185-246195,00.html

Spinach-Onion Salad:
Combine 1 (10 oz) package spinach with 1/2 purple onion, thinly sliced. Add 1/4 cup fat free red wine vinaigrette; toss.

Saturday: Pizza, Out to Eat, or Leftovers

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 5/3

Experiencing a little kitchen burn-out this week. I don't know if it's cuz I got spoiled with my mom here, and going out way more often than I'm used to, or if it's because we had company two weekends in a row and I just need a break. Whatever the reason, this week I'm taking it easy. I'll still try one new recipe--that's always my goal, one new recipe per week, but the rest will be old simple standbys. The theme of the week is Quick and Easy, and tasty enough so I won't have to battle my children to get them to eat it.

Sunday--too late to post, but we had one of last week's recipes: Southwest Shrimp and Corn Chowder with a side of quesadillas. YUM!

Monday: Spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic bread, salad

vegetarian option: omit the meat or use those ground beef-like veggie crumbles

Tuesday, meal swap day, my turn to cook: grilled pork tenderloins, and, because they were so good, I'm doing the potato-stuffed peppers again, and steamed green beans

Wednesday: tacos (chicken or beef; make extra meat, and chop extra lettuce and tomatoes)

Thursday: baked orange roughy, steamed broccoli, pillsbury crescent rolls

Friday: supreme nachos (use the leftover taco meat from the other night and layer chips, meat, and cheese on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 5-10 min or until meat is hot and chees melts, then add a layer of lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, black beans, salsa and guacamole, or to taste)

Saturday: pizza night

Sunday: I'm not cooking on Mother's Day, but for the dads out there who want to make it special, here's a whole day of menus for you:

Breakfast: blueberry pancakes, syrup, fresh orange juice, bacon, and grapes

Lunch: Green Salad with Apples and Maple-Walnut Dressing

Dinner: Here's two menus that will really wow her: