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This Week’s Meal Plan

So I am going to try to keep things pretty simple for the next 10 days or so by using mostly what we have in the freezer since we are leaving for a trip to Charlotte after that and will be gone for a week. I would rather not buy stuff that I know we’ll end up having some leftovers that will just get thrown away. I rummaged through the freezer this weekend, bought a few staples today, and this is what we’ve come up with for the week:

Monday: Baby Back Ribs in the slow cooker, Homemade Potato Salad, Corn

Tuesday – Homemade Chicken Fingers, Homemade Tater Tots and Broccoli

Wednesday: Meatloaf, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Baked Potatoes

Thursday: I have down for our meat-free day, but we haven’t been able to agree on a meal for the day, so this one is still open.

Friday: Our seafood meal for the week will be Shrimp and Grits

Saturday: We’ll be out for the day, so it looks like a leftovers day for us

Sunday: Pork Roast with Apple Stuffing, Rice, Cauliflower

That looks like a pretty good menu for the week. I’ve never made the tater tots before, so that one will be something different, but it doesn’t look like it’s too hard to do. I was finally able to start growing some of mine own herbs, although it hasn’t been quite warm enough to put them outside yet, but I am just starting to get some growth out of the basil, oregano and parsley, so we’ll see how it goes.

A few of my friends have approached me about things that would like to see me write about, so I’ll be taking on some of that while we are away from home and I won’t be cooking as much. If there’s anything you would like to see written here, recipes you’re looking for, new methods to try, or anything at all, just let me know. I’m open to writing about more than what we happen to be eating for the day. You can leave a comment here, send me an email at IguanaFlats@msn.com, visit my Facebook page (the link is on the right) or send me a message on Twitter (also listed at the right). I’ll get back to you as soon as I can and I love new ideas, so I am always looking for something new to try or write about.

Well, back to a lazy Sunday. Sean is under the weather today, so there’s nothing set in stone for a meal today; we’ll have to see how everything goes. Check back in tomorrow to see my recipe for the barbecued ribs in the slow cooker. It’s a good one. Until then, enjoy your day and your meal!

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Cooking, Meal Plan Menu

 

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It’s Guys’ Night In, Next Week’s Meal Plan, and a Chicken

Michelle is away on a business for a couple of days, so that kind of puts the meal plan on hold for a few days until we get settled again. Sean and I are having guys’ night in tonight, which means ordering pizza, playing video games and starting a puzzle we bought. It should be a lot of fun to just hang out for the night and have a good time and not worry about cooking for the evening. It’s nice to do that once in a while. We did go over next week’s meal plan, so here it is:

Sunday – Fish Tacos, Pineapple Salsa, and Vegetable Slaw

Monday – Beef Stew (this will be our slow cooker meal for the week)

Tuesday – Bacon and Chicken Ranch Quesadillas, Rice and Guacamole

Wednesday – Lentils with Rice and Sautéed Onions (this is our meat-free meal of the week)

Thursday  – Sesame Chicken Stir Fry with Fried Rice

Friday – Fish – seeing as how it is Lent, we thought we would try to do fish on Fridays for the next several weeks. I won’t know what I am making until I go to the fish market to check out what looks good and is on sale.

Saturday – Roasted Chicken, Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli

I try to make a roasted chicken every couple of weeks so we can both use the carcass to make stock and use the leftovers for lunches. It works out really well for as far as both go, although I also keep some chicken drumsticks in the freezer to use to make stock as well if I need to in a pinch. if you’d like the recipe for making the stock I make, I had posted it in an earlier blog, but you can get it right here.

Since I am not cooking anything tonight, I thought I would still post a recipe that might be good for everyone, and since I have been talking about chicken, I got this recipe in my email today from Mark Bittman, the author of “How to Cook Everything.” It’s a nice roasted chicken recipe, and to top off our week of one pot meals, it is a one pot meal, roasting vegetables and lentils with the chicken.

Chicken and Lentils

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 whole chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 8 pieces, or any combination of parts

1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon chopped or grated fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup chopped tomato (canned is fine; include the juices)

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large bunch fresh cilantro or parsley sprigs, tied together with kitchen string

Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks

1 cup dried brown or green lentils, washed and picked over

Put the oil in a deep skillet with a lid or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chicken, skin side down, and brown it well, rotating and turning the pieces as necessary; the process will take 10 to 15 minutes. (You can skip this step if you like; heat a tablespoon of oil and go directly to cooking the onions.)

When the chicken is nicely browned, remove it from the skillet and turn the heat down to medium. Pour or spoon off all but a tablespoon of the oil. Stir in the onions, garlic, ginger, tomato, coriander, and some salt and pepper. Add 4 cups water, along with the cilantro or parsley bundle, cinnamon sticks, and lentils. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently but steadily, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are almost tender.

Discard the herb bundle and cinnamon sticks and return the return the chicken to the pan, skin side up. Cover and continue to let the mixture bubble gently until the chicken is cooked through, another 10 to 20 minutes; the chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 155-165°F. Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve. (At this point, you may let the dish sit for a few hours or cover and refrigerate for up to a day before re-heating and serving; you may have to add a little water to thin the sauce a bit.)

This dish goes nicely if you serve this with rice, warmed pitas, or any crusty loaf of bread. If you want to follow Mark Bittman on Facebook, you can check him out here, or try his website here to sign up to get recipes every week.

As a final note, the latest issue of Bon Appetit has some great recipes in it and some St. Patrick’s Day ideas as well (it’s never too early to start thinking ahead. You can check them out at the link to their page that I have listed on the right, or you can just click here to go and see what’s new or even subscribe to the magazine (it’s one of my favorites). That’s all I have for today. Time to get on with Guys Night. Sean has already starting playing one game, and the pizza guy is here, so I will be back tomorrow. I’m not cooking tomorrow either, but I will be back with some “guy” recipes that Sean and I like. Have a great night!

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Cooking, Cooking Websites, Meal Plan Menu, Poultry

 

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Saturday’s Leftovers and Next Week’s Plan

Today is a day we had marked to use for leftovers and we do have some things left from the week. Tonight for dinner, we are going to have hot open-faced pot roast sandwiches on some bread from Rockland Bakery with some mashed potatoes and gravy. It’s all left over from last night’s meal. We’ve done a good job with any other leftovers this week, with Michelle bringing stuff for lunch all week, so there really isn’t too much left to anything with tonight other than what we had yesterday.

So that leads me up to next week’s meal plan. We’ve decided to go with all one pot meals this week to try to make things easy for clean up, and we’re also going to use the slow cooker twice this week to try to ease things as far as time for cooking. I am going to try to start using the slow cooker on Monday’s meal, since this seems to be the busiest day of the week for me with everything that goes on around here. This week, however, I will be utilizing leftovers from Sunday’s meal to make Monday’s meal. So, here’s the plan for this week:

Sunday: Roast Leg of Lamb, Baked Potatoes, Cauliflower, and Turnips

Monday – Shepherd’s Pie

Tuesday – Chicken Marsala (this one is done in the slow cooker)

Wednesday – Black Bean Stew (our meat-free meal of the week)

Thursday – Jambalaya

Friday – Beef Stew (also done in the slow cooker)

Saturday – We are marking as a leftovers day. Saturdays, for us anyway, often seem ideal as a leftover day since we usually try to just relax all day long, or we’ve done chores all day long and no one feels like thinking about meals or cooking.

The Shepherd’s Pie on Monday will use any leftover lamb from Sunday as well as the leftover turnips. The Chicken Marsala on Tuesday is a slow cooker recipe that I’ll be using, but you can also make it traditionally. I thought it would be fun to try it in the slow cooker and see how it comes out. The other meals are great one pot meals to make, even if the Jambalaya requires quite a bit of prep work as far as cutting and chopping. Thursdays also seem to lend themselves well to our seafood meal of the week since I often have the time to get fresh seafood on Thursday mornings. Some of the ingredients I am using this week are a little out of the norm for what you may have around the house, such as the lamb for the shepherd’s pie (if we weren’t having it on Sunday, I wouldn’t be making it at all), Marsala wine for the Chicken Marsala, andouille sausage for the Jambalaya, and black beans for the Black Bean Stew. Other than those items, I didn’t have to shop for anything that we didn’t already have around the house, really bringing the shopping bill down for this week, which is great. If you want to use the same meal plan layout that I follow, you can get it here:family_meal_planner

That’s about all I have to post for today. It’s been a pretty lazy day for me other than the shopping I did, so I think I’ll get back to lounging for the rest of the day :). If you have any questions, comments or recipes that you might like to see, please let me know. Any and all input is appreciated. I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend so far and have a great Saturday night!

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2012 in Meal Plan Menu

 

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Serving Up Some Shrimp Stir Fry

Today will be the last meal of the Sean choices for the week. I was a little surprised he opted to go for this one, but he knows that one meal has to be a seafood meal, and he likes shrimp, so he opted to go for this one. Today’s dinner will be Shrimp with Hoisin Sauce and we’ll be having Fried Rice again, but will just be using the leftovers from last night’s stir fry dinner (which was delicious by the way, not much left in the way of leftovers for Michelle’s lunch today. I try to use fresh shrimp as often as I can. You can usually find a sale on it somewhere during the week, so buy it the day of cooking or the day before at the most. If you want to buy frozen, which I do on occasion, buy shrimp that are already deveined and shell split, it will make your life a lot easier as far as cleaning.

Shrimp With Hoisin Sauce

1 pound medium-sized fresh shrimp, shelled and deveined

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 thin slices of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced

1 clove garlic, crushed 3 scallions,

cut into 1-inch pieces

Mix the water, cornstarch, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce in a bowl and set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ginger root and garlic and stir continuously until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Turn the heat up to high, add the shrimp and stir-fry until they turn pink, about 5 minutes. Add the scallions and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the sauce mixture and coat the shrimp, stirring and mixing; cook for about 2 minutes and serve over rice.

The cooking time for this meal is only about 10 minutes. Remember, don’t cook the shrimp too long (or any fish for that matter) or they will get tough and rubbery. if you’ve never deveined a shrimp before, take the time to do it. Starting at the head of the shrimp, make a shallow cut with a knife all the way down the middle of the back. Hold the shrimp under cold running water to rinse out the dark vein, or just pull it out yourself and rinse the shrimp off when you are all done. if you don’t want to use shrimp, you could scallops or another fleshy fish, or I think chicken would work nicely in this dish as well.

We’ll be using the same fried rice as we had last night, so if you want to check yesterday’s blog recipe for it, please do so, or you can use plain white rice instead. I think either will work well here. While I won’t be making these tonight, Sean came across a recipe for Fortune Cookies that we are going to try one night when we have a group over for dinner. It will be more fun to do the fortunes with other people around, but here is the recipe if anyone wants to try it out.

Fortune Cookies

1 cup margarine, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine margarine, sugar, egg and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add the flour and baking powder and stir everything together to form a ball of dough. Lightly flour a wooden cutting board or flat counter surface. With a rolling pin, roll half of the dough very thin. Use a circle-shaped cookie cutter or the top of a large glass (about 2 1/2 inches wide) to cut circles in the dough. Put a fortune in each circle, off to one side. Fold the circle in half, and then in half again. Pinch the edges to seal the dough. Re-roll leftover scraps of dough to make more cookies out of them. Then roll and make cookies from the other half of the dough. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes on a baking sheet in the oven until they are lightly browned. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Part of the fun of this, of course, is being creative in making up the fortunes for each cookie. They can be predictions, lottery numbers, old sayings, or just fun, goofy things. You can print out 25 or so fortunes on a piece of printer paper and cut them into strips to use for the cookies. i would suggest about 2 inches long, at the most, so they fit nicely in the cookie.

More easy recipes for the day and that wraps up Sean’s week of dinners. We had a lot fun choosing and cooking everything and they were all quick, easy and tasty meals with little clean up. We haven’t picked next week’s meal plan yet, but that will be tonight’s chore after dinner, so I will post it tomorrow. If you want to print your own meal planner, here’s the document:family_meal_planner We are off to Saranac Lake tomorrow for Winter Carnival, so I won’t be cooking for Friday and Saturday, and most likely Sunday as well since we’ll be getting home Sunday, but i do plan to post some things. I’ll be bringing Chicken Corn Chowder up to Saranac Lake with us, so I will post that recipe on Saturday. if you have any questions, comments or just want to say hello, feel free to leave a comment and I will reply as soon as I can. Enjoy your day today (it actually feels like winter here in New York for a change today) and enjoy your dinner!

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Rice, Seafood

 

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Fantastic Friday Fish & Chips

It’s Friday, the weekend is upon us, and so is February for that matter. Spring is not too far off now, even if the weather here has made it seem like spring already. Today’s dinner was picked by Sean, which surprised me and made me glad. Since we started the meal plan, he has been very open to trying new things and picking out some things we have never made before, including today’s dinner. I have had fish and chips and various places, and have been disappointed many times by it. A lot of the time there is too much breading or the fish tastes too much like the oil it was cooked in and the fries are underwhelming. This recipe, from America’s Test Kitchen’s website, seems like it will be a good balance. It doesn’t have a lot of ingredients to it and seems easy to make. I’ll be using the deep fryer again for this one, but a large Dutch oven and a candy thermometer will serve you just as well.

Fish and Chips

3 pounds russet potatoes (about 4 large potatoes) peeled, ends and sides squared off, and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch fries

3 quarts canola oil, plus 1/4 additional cup

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Table salt

1 teaspoon baking powder 1 1/2 pounds 1-inch thick cod fillet (or other thick white fish, like haddock) cut into 8 pieces

1 1/2 cups beer (12 ounces), cold (you can use any beer here, with the exception of dark stouts and ales)

Place cut fries in a large microwaveable bowl, toss with 1/4 cup oil and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high power until the potatoes are partially translucent and pliable but still offer some resistance when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 6 to 8 minutes, tossing them with a rubber spatula halfway through the cooking time. Carefully pull back the plastic wrap from the side farthest from you and drain the potatoes into a large mesh strainer over the sink. Rinse well under cold running water. Spread the potatoes on kitchen towels and pat dry. Let rest until room temperature, at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour.

While the fries cool, whisk flour, cornstarch, cayenne, paprika, pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt in a large mixing bowl; transfer 3.4 cup of mixture to a rimmed baking sheet. Add baking powder to the bowl and whisk to combine.

In a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, heat 2 quarts of oil over medium heat to 350 degrees. Add the fries to the hot oil and increase the heat to high. Fry, stirring with a mesh spider or slotted metal spoon, until the potatoes turn light golden and just begin to brown at the corners, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the fries to a thick paper bag or paper towels to drain.

Reduce heat to medium-high, add the remaining quart of oil, and heat the oil to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, thoroughly dry the fish with paper towels and dredge each piece in the flour mixture on the baking sheet; transfer the pieces to a wire rack, shaking off the excess flour. Add 1 1/4 cups of the beer to the flour mixture in the mixing bowl and stir until the mixture is just combined (the batter will be lumpy). Add the remaining beer as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition, until the batter falls from the whisk in a thin, steady stream and leaves a faint trail across the surface of the batter. Using tongs, dip 1 piece of fish in the batter and let the excess run off, shaking gently. Place the battered fish back onto the baking sheet with the flour mixture and turn to coat both sides. Repeat with the remaining fish, keeping the pieces in a single layer on the baking sheet.

When the oil reaches 375 degrees, increase the heat to high and add the battered fish to the oil with tongs, gently shaking off any excess flour. Fry, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer the fish to a thick paper bag or paper towels to drain. Allow the oil to return to 375 degrees.

Add all the fries back to the oil and fry until golden brown and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the fries to a fresh paper bag or paper towels to drain. Season the fries with salt to taste and serve immediately with the fish. Serve with your favorite malt vinegar and tartar sauce.

Granted, this is not the healthiest meal we have made, or the healthiest way to cook fish either, but once in a while as a treat it will be pretty good. There’s not much to cooking this one either once all the prep work is done. I think it will be a very tasty dish, just be careful deep-frying; you’ll want to use the largest Dutch oven you have for safety. Sean couldn’t really pick out a vegetable to go with this meal, but green beans were on sale at the store this morning, so that’s what were going with for tonight. I found a good recipe that braises them.

Skillet-Braised Green Beans

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, minced

1 pound green beans, ends trimmed

3/4 cup chicken broth (I am using homemade, but low sodium store-bought is good)

1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, or 1/8 teaspoon dried

Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the shallot and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and broth. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer,stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender but still offer some resistance to the bite, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.

A simple, easy and a little different way to cook up your green beans, and you’re all set with your meal for the night. I think it will go over very well.

We laid out the meal plan for next week last night, so here it is. If you want to use the same meal planner we are using, here is a link to the print out to use:family_meal_planner. I decided to let Sean pick the whole menu for next week. He had taken a couple of cookbooks out of the school library and picked some recipes that he wanted me to try. Since he picked them out, he’ll be participating in the cooking all week as well. He read through a Chinese food cookbook and an Italian food cookbook, so this is what we came up with:

Monday: Chicken Stir Fry with White Rice

Tuesday: Rustic Vegetable and Polenta Soup (this is our meat free meal of the week)

Wednesday: Pork with Peppers and Pineapple and Fried Rice

Thursday: Shrimp with Hoisin Sauce and Rice

Friday and Saturday next week we will be in Saranac Lake to celebrate Winter Carnival, so they’ll be no meals to cook on those days. However, we are bringing up a Chicken Corn Chowder with us, so I will post that recipe next week. I think Sean made some interesting choices and it will be fun to cook with him. Tomorrow’s meal is a simple Roast Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Roasted Winter Vegetables so we can bake all in one pan and cut down on dishes for the day. Tune in tomorrow to check it out and I’ll let you know how the fish and chips went. As always, feel free to add a comment, recipe, question or just say hello! Have a great day and enjoy your Friday night.

 

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Potatoes, Seafood, Vegetables

 

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The Other White Meat

It’s Thursday, and I’ve actually been doing this for a whole week now and it’s still going. I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am. Today’s menu involves a little more work than the previous ones, but it’s not so labor intensive that you couldn’t do it on a weeknight, you just need a little time to do it. It might be better suited for a Saturday or Sunday meal, but since I have the time today to do it, we are going to give it a shot. Today I am making Pork Chops with Butternut Squash and Apple Stuffing, Roasted Potatoes, and Swiss Chard with Garlic and Shallots. It sounds fancy, but it’s pretty easy to make. There are a few ingredients that you may not have around the house for this one, so you may have to do some shopping. It’s one of the things I use the family meal planner for at the beginning of the week:family_meal_planner.

There are a lot of different variations of pork chops available for use with this recipe. The only thing to keep in mind is that you want chops large enough for you to stuff. Whether you choose them on the bone or not is up to you. Today, I am using some large boneless chops I found at the store this week that were on sale. Bone-in chops work really well this recipe also. I also bought butternut squash that was already peeled and diced to make things a little easier for me, but you could easily do it yourself.

Pork Chops with Butternut Squash and Apple Stuffing

1 1/2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced Granny Smith apple (or any apple you prefer)

6 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 large shallot, diced

1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (about 1/2 this if using dried)

1 1/4 cups bread crumbs

4 pork loin chops (bone in if you choose; I am actually using boneless center cut chops this time)

1 onion, diced

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups water

3 teaspoons chicken stock

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, stir together the butternut squash, celery, apple and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring frequently, about 10 seconds. Add the squash mixture and cook until just softened, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the heat and let cool. Stir in the bread crumbs.

Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Insert a sharp knife into the side of the chop (opposite the bone if you are using bone-in) making a long slit all the way down. Wiggle the knife to form a large pocket. Repeat with the remaining chops. Stuff each chop with 1/2 cup stuffing, packing it into the pocket with your fingers.

Set a pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Brown the chops, turning once, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to the oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the stuffing reads 160 degrees F, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chops to a platter. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Strain any juices into a smaller bowl; set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion and apple and cook, stirring, until softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the water, chicken stock, and reserved pan juices and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sauce begins to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in the vinegar. Using an immersion blender (or blender, or food processor) puree the sauce until smooth. Place the pork chops on individual plates and drizzle with the sauce.

Not too bad, right? A little more work and a little more equipment used in this one, but it’s still not a tough one to do. I have extra butternut squash from the package I bought, so I can use that either for a side dish for another meal or get a little more squash and make some soup with it later on in the week. I don’t use a lot of apple cider vinegar, but I do have a small bottle on hand to use. You just have to watch the expiration date if you don’t use it often.

The roasted potatoes are fairly easy, they just take a little time to cook. I am using fingerling potatoes, but you could use red potatoes, or new potatoes, or really any potato you like to use and have on hand. Roasted sweet potatoes are great. It’s very simple and straightforward.

Roasted Potatoes

2 pounds fingerling potatoes (or any potato you like), quartered

1/4 cup olive oil (or less, I usually just eyeball this)

1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (1/2 this if using dried)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl combine the potatoes, oil, thyme, salt and pepper and stir to coat the potatoes evenly. Transfer to a baking pan or rimmed baking sheet and roast until the potatoes are tender, golden brown and crisp, about 45 minutes.

A very easy dish to complete, I think. Now on to the Swiss chard. It’s not something I make very often. As a matter of fact, I don’t think Sean has ever had it. Chard is a bitter, leafy vegetable with colorful stems. It is a member of the beet family and is highly nutritious. It’s used a lot in Mediterranean cooking and I thought it might be something different to try. When sautéed, it’s a lot like spinach and a lot of the bitterness cooks out. if you’re wary of trying it, you could easily substitute spinach into this recipe and it would work fine. I have leftover broccoli from earlier dinners this week on standby in case Sean won’t eat this.

Swiss Chard with Garlic and Shallots

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large shallots, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, I am leaving them out because I want Sean to at least try it)

3 bunches Swiss chard, stems and ribs removed, leaves cut into 1/2-inch strips

Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the chard to the pan in batches, about one-third at a time, waiting until each batch wilts slightly before adding more (it cooks down quite a bit and quickly, like spinach). Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard is wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

If your family won’t go for the Swiss chard or spinach, you could substitute any vegetable you feel like having for the evening. Just about anything will go well with the pork chops and potatoes. And I am sure you could add in some applesauce, if you desire.

So another recipe is in the books for the day. Please feel free to leave any comments or suggestions you may have. Tomorrow night is the non-meat night of the week, and Sean has chosen, what else, but pizza for the dinner. We’ll actually be making our own, so check in for that one and I would love everyone’s suggestions for pizza night. I think lots of people make some great and interesting pizzas. We’ll be having salad along with it, because every meal needs a vegetable, so I am going to try to find a good dressing for the salad as well. Pass along any suggestions you might have for that as well. I’ll also print out the meal planner for next week and start filling that in. I’ll let you know what everyone picks, and if you have ideas of what you might like to see, pass them along!

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Pork, Potatoes, Produce, Vegetables

 

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Jennifer Probst

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Laissez Faire

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