May 22, 2010

What's cookin' this week? May 22, 2010

After being gone for two weeks and practically clearing out the entire refrigerator, I’m back at it and ready to cook this week. I actually missed it while I was gone! This week I had some extra time to work on the menu early so it starts Saturday and goes through Friday giving you a few more menu options to enjoy.

This week has a few familiar favorites and some easy recipes to enjoy the grill while easing back into the swing of things. Between the refrigerator survivors and the happy box, I tried to pick menus that used as much of what we have as I could. I’ve included some of the recipes below for you to try out so apologies for the long post.

Spinach and Asiago Cheese Chicken Sausages (they are basically brats and they are fantastic!) – Sam’s Club
Mustard Potato Salad
Baked Beans

With a church picnic tomorrow, I am also making a fantastic macaroni salad and a strawberry pie. I will also whip up the marinade for tomorrow’s dinner.

Chicken with Mediterranean marinade
Grilled avocado

Greek salad with warm pitas

Garlic Bread


Eggplant, prosciutto and mozzarella cheese “sandwiches”
Hummus and pitas


Hope you enjoy a few recipes from this week and remember…



Macaroni Salad (Aunt Mary’s recipe)
If you are worried about being outside, this is the perfect macaroni salad. It doesn’t have much dressing and is packed with veggies! It is really tasty. This recipe doesn’t really have measurements so you have to just cut and see.
Small box macaroni, cooked
auliflower, chopped
Celery, chopped
Colby jack cheese, cubed or grated
Broccoli, chopped
Onions, chopped
Bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
¼ cup sugar

Use amount of vegetables as desired, same for cheese and bacon. Dressing can be multiplied to desired creaminess

Mediterranean marinade (from Weber’s Real Grilling™)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Mix ingredients – makes about ¼ cup

Greek Salad with warm pitas (adaptation from Rachael Ray’s 365: No Repeats recipe)
This is one of my husband’s favorite meals. We’ve adapted it slightly.
1 ½ lbs. chicken tenders
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon grill seasoning
2 pitas split open
1 large garlic clove minced and mashed to a paste
Zest of 1 lemon and juice of 2 lemons
1 seedless cucumber sliced into half moons
4 vine-ripe tomatoes cut into wedges
1 small red onion (if desired)
½ cup fresh parsley leaves coarsely chopped
¼ cup fresh mint leaves coarsely chopped
1 cup pitted kalamata olives coarsely chopped
Feta cheese (crumbled)
Romaine lettuce coarsely chopped

Cook/grill chicken and season with oregano and grill seasoning. Grill the split pita halves for a minute. Remove when crisp, break or tear into large pieces and reserve. Combine garlic with zest of lemon and juice of 1.5 lemons in bottom of a large shallow bowl. Add cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, parsley, mint, olives, romaine lettuce and reserved bread. Add olive oil and lots of salt and black pepper. Toss salad with hands to combine well. Top salad with grilled chicken and feta cheese.

Option – instead of tearing up pitas, put salad into pitas and eat.

Spinach and Cheese Manicotti (modified from Aunt Mary)
1 10 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (you can also use fresh spinach)
1 15 oz. ricotta cheese
1 c. shredded mozzarella
¼ c. shredded parmesan cheese (I’ve also used the grated parmesan)
1 egg
2 tsp. minced fresh parsley
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. pepper
Manicotti shells
2 jars spaghetti sauce of your choice

Mix together ingredients. Stuff uncooked 8 oz. package of manicotti with filling. Combine two 28-oz. jars spaghetti sauce with 1 ½ c. water. Spread 1 c. sauce into 13x9x2” pan. Arrange stuffed shells over sauce and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with more mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake uncovered at 350 for 40-50 minutes or until heated through.

Eggplant, prosciutto and mozzarella cheese “sandwiches” (from Weber’s Real Grilling™)
2 medium red bell peppers
Extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 globe eggplants (about 1 pound each, trimmed)
8 thin slices prosciutto
8 slices mozzarella, each ¼ inch thick
8 medium fresh basil leaves

Grill the bell peppers over direct medium heat until they are blackened and blistered all over (12-15 minutes) turning occasionally. Place the peppers in a medium bowl and cover with plastic to trap steam. Set aside for at least 10 minutes, then peel the skin and discard the stems and seeds. Place peppers in a food processor with 1 Tbsp. oil and salt and pepper. Process until smooth scraping down the sides as needed.

Cut each eggplant crosswise into 8 slices, each about ½ inch thick. Lightly brush or spray both sides with oil. Grill over direct medium heat until the underside is well marked (3-4 minutes). Transfer half of the slices to a tray with the grilled sides facing up. Turn the remaining slices over and grill until well marked on both sides (3-4 minutes)

Place a Tbsp. of red pepper mixture in the center of the grilled side of each eggplant slice on the tray. Place a slice of prosciutto, slice of mozzarella and basil leaf on top of red pepper mixture. Top each “sandwich” with a slice of eggplant that has been grilled on both sides. Place uncooked side of sandwich onto grill over direct medium heat until cheese is softened and the sandwiches are heated through (2-3 minutes).

Serve warm with remaining pepper mixture spooned, if desired.

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