Sunday, September 5, 2010

Al Fresco

Me and my good friend Al Fresco are gonna reacquaint this week. The weather in Oklahoma is finally comfortable enough for outdoor dining, and I know it won't last long this way, so I plan to take full advantage. There's just something about eating outside. It can be formal or casual, romantic or family oriented. Meet my friend Al. You'll like 'im!

Sunday: Grilled Shrimp and Tomatoes, cornbread
The perfect outdoor meal! Enjoy!

Grilled Shrimp and Tomatoes
1 lb. shrimp, thawed and peeled
6 med tomatoes, home-grown or farmers' market work best, cut into small wedges
4 T. olive oil, divided
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. fresh basil, chopped
fresh parmesan shavings, optional

Toss shrimp and tomatoes with 2 T. olive oil, coating well. Grill shrimp and tomatoes in a grill basket over med-high heat 10 minutes, or until shrimp is opaque, stirring occasionally. Combine remaining oil, salt, pepper, vinegar, and basil and drizzle over shrimp and tomatoes. Sprinkle with fresh parmesan, if desired.

Monday: Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, Quinoa Salad with Peaches, Steamed Edamame

The tenderloin is my choice for this month's meal swap. If you make this, you might as well make two at once and freeze one for later in the month. To freeze, prepare the recipe as followed. After you wrap the pork in the bacon, wrap tightly in foil, label and freeze. To prepare after freezing, thaw completely (overnight), then roast as directed.

Buy steam-in-the-bag edamame if you can find it, and this colorful meal will be ready in about 20 min.

Tuesday: Chicken Puttanesca with Fettucine, fresh French Bread, Quick Salad

Quick Salad

1 bag salad, any variety (we like baby mixed greens or romaine)
1/2 pint grape tomatoes
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin 1" pieces
1/4 purple onion, thinly sliced

Our favorite dressings are Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette and Newman's Own Light Caesar. Both add flavor to the salad without adding a whole lot of extra calories and fat. We all know that the dressing is what makes the salad edible--my brother is the only one I know who eats his salad naked--but we all also know that the dressing can be what makes a salad unhealthy. Anyone who has read the nutrition information for a McDonald's salad knows that a salad can be just as bad calorie-wise as a cheeseburger. Sad, but true. My only point is that if you're concerned with health foods, pay attention to your salad dressing.

Wednesday: Maple-Glazed Salmon, Brown Rice Pilaf, steamed fresh broccoli

Use boxed pilaf for simple prep (we like Near East brand).

Thursday: Black Bean Tacos, Fiesta Corn Salad

Fiesta Corn Salad
5 leaves romaine lettuce, cut into fine strips
1 c. frozen corn, thawed
1/2 c. salsa
4 green onions, thinly sliced

Arrange romaine confetti on each of 4 plates. Combine corn and salsa. Top the lettuce with the corn mixture. Sprinkle with green onions.

Note: double the black bean taco mixture and the avocado salsa, and refrigerate for tomorrow's meal.

Friday: Black Bean Nachos

Black Bean Nachos
4 C. baked tortilla chips
black bean taco mixture
8 oz. monterey jack or pepper jack cheese, shredded
avocado salsa

Arrange chips in a single layer on a baking sheet. Top with black bean taco mixture (reserving shredded romaine). Top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 15-20 min or until cheese is melted. Top with romaine and avocado salsa, and serve.

Saturday: Pizza night
This has become a favorite family tradition. We pull a picnic blanket into the living room, start a movie, and have our family meal on the floor!