Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 6/1

I'm getting this done later than I thought I would. By the state of our refrigerator you'd think we're starving. Fortunately, that's not true (though after my vacation I could use a starvation diet). We had a great time and are glad to be home. It's summertime in Oklahoma, so I've been searching for some easy prep meals, so I'm not wasting sunshine by spending too much time in the kitchen!

Monday: Tacos

Tuesday: chicken nuggets, steamed green beans, garlic toast (I make my own chicken nuggets and keep them in the freezer for a simple kids' meal.)

You can use this recipe for oven fried chicken, and just cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces before coating:

Wednesday: Balsamic Steak Salad

Marinade 8 oz sirloin steak in commercial bottled balsamic vinaigrette (my favorite is Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette) 30 min or more in refrigerator. Preheat grill to med-high heat. Grill steak 8 min per side or until cooked to desired doneness. Slice steak diagonally against the grain into thin strips.

While steak is cooking, place romain lettuce on each of two plates. On the bed of torn lettuce, sprinkle baby carrots, slivered red onions, halved cherry tomatoes, and sliced bottled roasted red peppers. Fan half the steak slices out onto each salad and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and freshly ground black pepper and crunchy garlic croutons. Serve. Makes 2.

Vegetarian Version: grill, slice, and fan out portobello mushrooms over the salad in place of the steak

Thursday: BBQ chicken sandwiches, cole slaw, potato chips or sweet potato fries

(Boil or microwave 4-6 chicken breasts, then shred with two forks. Place in crockpot along with 1-2 onions, sliced vertically, and a bottle of your favorite bbq sauce. Let cook on low all day (8 hrs) or on high 4 hours. Serve on freshly made buns.)

Friday: Grilled Tuna Steaks, steamed brown rice, roasted green beans,1617,133179-245195,00.html

Saturday: leftovers or pizza night

Sunday: Grilled whole chicken, roasted vegetables, fresh rolls

Grilling a chicken instead of roasting imparts a flavorful, juicy bird with a gorgeous golden brown skin with no basting. To grill a chicken, rinse a whole chicken inside and out and place in a heavy duty foil roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, inside and out. Grill over indirect, medium heat. It takes about 15 minutes per pound. 180 degrees when tested with a meat thermometer.

For the vegetables:

1 lb baby carrots
8-10 small red potatoes or 1 lb fingerling potatoes, washed
2 onions, quartered
1 acorn squash or butternut squash, seeded and wedged
3 T. olive oil
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

Toss vegetables with oil and arrange in a single layer in a baking pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for about 60 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

For the rolls:

1 C warm water
1 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 C. sugar
1 t. salt
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 T. gluten
1 packages active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

Add ingredients to bread pan in your breadmaker according to manufacturer's instructions. Set for dough, and press start. When machine beeps at the end of the cycle, turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Punch down. Divide dough into 20 balls, slightly larger than golf balls, and place 1/2 inch apart on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover rolls with a towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. (I like to preheat my oven at this point and let the tray of rolls sit on the stove, nice and warm from the oven's heat.)

Oven to 350. Bake rolls 25-30 minutes or until golden. Immediately after baking, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with your choice of toppings: parmesan cheese, toasted sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or your choice.