Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 10/4

Happy October! I can't wait to put all the stuff out for Halloween! The wind has come back to Oklahoma after a much appreciated absence, which will make securing our decor somewhat of a challenge. Last year all my spider webs blew down, constantly, so that well before Halloween it just looked like a mess rather than a spooky welcome.

My new Cooking Light came today. Imagine my disappointment when my recipe did NOT appear in the Reader Recipe section, as I was promised it would for the October issue. I guess I can't be in the news AND in a magazine in the same week unless I change my name to Paris or something. Still, I'm bummed.

The magazine is loaded with fall comfort food recipes that look very tempting. But, it's still hot here, and so I'll leave those recipes for later in the fall.

Monday: playing baseball tonight, so I'll make Mom's Chicken Enchiladas on a Timed Bake and program the oven to be done when we walk through the door.

Mom's Chicken Enchiladas

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I cook these in the microwave and shred them by pulling apart with two forks)

4 green onions, sliced

2 T. fresh cilantro, chopped

1 jalepeno, seeded and minced

3 cans green enchilada sauce

8 tortillas (calls for corn but I use flour)

1 C. cheddar cheese, pre-shredded (reduced fat preferred)

2 cups lettuce, shredded (or Shreds brand)

1/2 c. salsa

1/2 c. light sour cream

1 can ripe olives, sliced

Oven to 350. Spray 9X13 baking pan with cooking spray. Heat nonstick fry pan over med heat. Add green onions, cilantro, and jalepeno, and saute 2 minutes. Add shredded chicken and 1 can enchilada sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Pour remaining 2 cans enchilada sauce in med. bowl and microwave until warm, about 2 minutes. Dip each tortilla in heated sauce and fill with about 1/8 of the chicken mixture. Roll up and place seam-side down in prepared baking dish.

Pour remaining heated sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until heated through, about 15 minutes. Serve enchiladas with lettuce, sour cream, salsa, and black olives, if desired.

Tuesday: my work night, which means I'll be absent from the kitchen--leftover night or out to eat

Wednesday: Kary's turn to cook..If you're not swapping (why NOT?), try this one for quick jambalaya: grab a box of Zataran's Jambalaya, a green bell pepper, and a lb of pre-cooked sausage or shrimp or chicken (or any combination....I've even used leftover fish fillets). Dice the green pepper, and throw it in a rice cooker with the Zataran's, the amount of water specified on the box, and the meat. Turn on the rice cooker. When it dings, you're done.

Thursday: my turn to cook : Chicken Parmesan, caesar salad, fresh bread (hint, make at least 2 extra chicken breasts for a later meal. Budget saver: buy a head of romaine and a bottle of commercial caesar dressing rather than a caesar salad "kit." Tear the lettuce leaves off the stem just as you need them, and wash them only after you've plucked them...the stem will keep the leaves fresher longer and the lack of excess moisture will also aid in longevity)

Chicken Parmesan (from Cooking Light--prep time, 12 min; cook time 13 min)

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (or 6 if you're planning on "planned overs" tomorrow)

1/2 c. seasoned breadcrumbs

1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese

1/2 t. ital seasoning (if you don't have seasoned breadcrumbs, increase italian seasoning to 1 tsp.)

1/8 t. black pepper

1/3 cup. all purpose flour

2 large egg whites, lightly beaten (stir rapidly with fork until bubbled)

4 cups hot cooked spaghetti (we use whole wheat, about 8 oz uncooked)

3 C. Ultimate Quick and Easy Pasta Sauce (recipe follows) or 3 C. commercial bottled pasta sauce

1 C. preshredded mozarella cheese

Chopped fresh basil, optional

Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap. Flatten to 1/4 inch using meat mallet or rolling pin (I use this one from pampered chef:

Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, italian seasoning, and pepper in a shallow dish. Place flour in a separate shallow dish, and the egg whites in still another shallow dish. Arrange them left to right as follows: flour, egg, breadcrumbs. Dredge each chicken breast in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add chicken, and cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. (Note, if you don't pound them thin enough, this step will take longer... Still tastes good, just be aware.)

Preheat broiler.

Place 1 cup cooked spaghetti in each of 4 au gratin dishes. Spoon 1/2 c. pasta sauce over each serving. Top each with 1 chicken breasts (you'll have two breasts leftover for tomorrow's chicken ceasar salad). Spoon 1/4 cup sauce over each serving, then sprinkle with mozzarella (about 1/4 cup each). Place gratin dishes on a baking sheet; broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish with basil, if desired. 4 servings.

I like to bake and serve these in individual au gratin's a neat way to present the meal. I just got some really cute ones from the Rachael Ray line: If you don't have au gratin dishes, you can put it all in one 9X13 dish and broil it, and serve it from there onto plates.

Friday: Chicken Caesar Salad (slice the extra chicken you made on Thursday and fan it out over a bed of romaine. Sprinkle with parmesan and croutons and drizzle with caesar dressing. Optionally, add cherry tomatoes and red onions.)

Saturday: our Pizza night

Sunday: We're planning a trip to Tulsa today, so we'll be eating out.