Sunday, January 30, 2011

Menu Sunday: Something New

Okay.  I'm about to change shizz up on y'all. Apologies in advance.

Much of my original inspiration for weekly menu posts and meal planning came from Rachel.  She and her husband J are a finely tuned meal-makin'-machine, and I end up snagging quite a few recipes from her Menu Mondays.  

Well, I'm ganking another idea from her. {If imitation is the best form of flattery, consider me a Grade A}  Henceforth, Sundays shall be for the posting of our menu from the prior week.  Because why should you care about what I'm making in the future?  What if it blows?  Or the market is out of marscapone? What if I wimp out and decide just to shovel rotisserie chicken straight from the carcass into my mouth whilst standing at my kitchen island in my underpants?  

This new plan neatly covers all those contingencies... I make something, snap a photo, then tell you about it.  No more flipping back and forth to see my comments on what I made last week at the end of this week's post.  That was getting tedious.  And no one likes tedium.  

Away we go.

{And, yes, more Instagram. Deal, por favor.}

Bow-Tie "Lasagna" "Casserole"

I believe I've blogged my notes on the original recipe before, but I'm entirely too lazy to sweet-talk my search bar into actually performing an accurate search of my archives {does anyone else have this issue?}... they can be summarized thusly: (1) this recipe easy and awesome; (2) to make it healthier, use whole wheat pasta, lean ground turkey, and light sour cream; (3) make sure your pasta sauce is delicious on it's own as it will be providing the most flavor - I like to use homemade or a good, jarred arrabiata sauce for some more kick. 

 I spiced things up a little bit this time around by popping my batch into a casserole dish, sprinkling some whole wheat breadcrumbs {Carb-on-Carb: It's like the most sinfully delightful Culinary Porn} and some fresh Parmesan on top and baking at 375 for about 20 minutes. Huge, honkin' SCORE on the Simple Weekday Meal Meter. 

{Served with salad tossed in this dressing, which I could eat by the spoonful. At my kitchen island. In my underpants.}

Tilapia in Mustard Sauce + Risotto a la Brussels

While simply grilled or baked fish is always a Thumbs-Up, I'm constantly on the look out for different ways to spice up fresh and/or saltwater fare.  And this?  Is delightful!  The sauce is light, but... special {?} and doesn't overpower the tilapia.  I also think it'd be a hit over baked chicken tenders... which I might be making soon in order to use up this teensy carton of whipping cream.  {Note: Ingredient-wise, I followed the recipe exactly, save for subbing dried thyme for fresh.  And I omitted the 'shrooms. I did allow the sauce to cook a bit longer than the instructions state... mostly to combat the few comments that complained of thinness. For those with electric stove-tops --> ... remove fish from skillet after sauteing / poaching in the broth, make sauce, allow to thicken slightly, then replace filets and turn burner off but leave skillet over burner as it cools.}

Risotto a la Brussels... Okay.  It's about to get a bit Semi-Homemade up in herrrr.*  Can you handle it?  Yes?  Excellent.  Let's continue.   Target's Archer Farms brand rocks my socks off a little bit..  9 time out of 10, the product is yummy. And the packaging is cute.  Which isn't all that important, but I'll appreciate The Pretty wherever I can find it.  I'd turned up my nose at all boxed risotto until Archer Farms Asparagus Risotto somehow wormed its way into my cart.  It's not homemade, but it's pretty damn good for Boil, Stir, & Simmer {20 minutes, start-to-finish, low-to-no maintenance}.  To really amp shit up, I roast a pound of brussels {or asparagus or broccoli or squash} tossed in olive oil and kosher salt at 450 degrees for 30 minutes {give it a good stir 2x during cook time}, roughly chop it after it cools, and incorporate it into the risotto pot about 15 minutes into the simmering.  Add a few grinds of peppercorn, a sprinkling of fresh Parmesan, and a pinch of red pepper flakes, and you're on your way to foolin' just about everyone into thinking you've spent the last 50 minutes crumpled over a hot stove, frantically stirring broth into Arborio and diced shallots. 

*bee-tee-dubs, that link is worth clicking. 

Chile-Lime Peanut Chicken + Roasted Asparagus Rice Pilaf

Peanut Chicken from Everyday Food is one of my go-to EZPZ recipes.  This week, I had a little fun with it... and, since Tuesday's mustard cream sauce was such a hit {& because who wants good whipping cream to go to waste?}, I whisked a little of that up, too!  

- 4 chicken cutlets (or breasts pounded thin)
- 3/4 cup of peanuts {regular ol' dry-roasted or half dry-roasted, half chile-lime flavor from World Market}
- 1/2 cup of Panko 
- dash of olive oil
- 1 whole egg + 1 egg white, lightly beaten with a splash of whipping cream
- dash of salt & pepper
- 3/4 c. chicken broth
- 2 T. whipping cream
- 2 T. Dijon mustard 

Pulse peanuts in blender or food processor.  Mix with Panko with peanuts and splash of olive oil in a shallow bowl.  Place egg mixture in another shallow bowl.  Salt and pepper chicken cutlets.  Dredge cutlets, one at a time, in egg mixture; then dredge in peanut mixture.  Place breaded cutlets on olive oil spritzed cookie sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  

Meanwhile, heat chicken broth in a skillet over medium heat until it reaches a slight boil.  Add whipping cream and Dijon mustard, whisking to incorporate.  Lower heat slightly, whisking often, for about 10 minutes or until sauce thickens.  

Drizzle chicken with sauce and serve with roasted asparagus and rice pilaf.  {Yes, that's twice in one week... Sandra would be so proud.}

I was skeptical of this recipe when I saw "1 c. cottage cheese"... Cottage cheese is just one of those things that I don't do.  But the rave reviews and the promises of "you can't even taste it" made me stop and consider.  Eventually, I pulled on my Big Girl Panties and gave it a shot... No.  No Bueno.  Take back the BGPs, and give me back my Food Issues Security Blankie, por favor.  Evs ate it {kinda... and then he ate half a carton of peanuts}, but I couldn't get past the consistency.  Perhaps it was the mere knowledge of the presence of the Offending Curdled White Stuff... a Mental Block, if you will.  Whatever it was, I'm not scaling that particular mountain again any time soon.  Or ever. 

Then... this happened.  
And all was right with the world. 

So, there you have it.  The New & Improved Menu Sundays... thoughts on the format change?  


  1. Oh yum .... cheese enchilada casserole .... I want!

  2. Love the format change. Thinking about changing mine now, too, because I am just as much of a copycat as you are!

  3. Finely tuned meal makin' machine??? Man, you make us sound good :) I sent this to J and he felt special to be on here!

    I'm glad you copied! It's a much easier way to track what you changed/liked/didn't like, and it's fun to put in the pictures when you share the recipe.

    Happy cooking :)

  4. Lundberg Farms boxed risotto is also excellent,,

  5. I like that you're doing it this way better. Um sorry to be negative nancy here though, but the instagram photos really don't make the food look very appetizing. perhaps save that particular filter for artsy outdoor shots?

  6. @Maureen - I agree with you. I've been a little snap-happy with the Instagram... likely to my detriment here. I'm a pretty terrible food photographer in general, actually. Meh.

  7. I love Annie's honey mustard vinaigrette. We keep one in the fridge & a back up in the pantry at all times. It is great with spinach, cranberries, goat cheese & a little crumbled bacon. SO good. Also, if you follow French's fried onion baked chicken recipe, the honey mustard is great to dip that in. The chicken is just like your peanut chicken just sub French's fried onions.

  8. Wanted to do the Archer Farms Risotto, but didn't get to our Super Target this weekend. So, I'm just doing your roasted brussel sprouts. I know they are JUST roasted, but I've never given it a whirl. Yum. Cooking up right now.


happy little comments!