Monday, February 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

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Sometimes It's just too hard to find inspiration and I have to say joy (shame on me) in planning a week's worth of meal, and I was thinking about trying a monthly plan!!! But thank goodness for internet and it's overflowing cooking blogs and web sites !! The library is also a good source of inspiration. Sometimes I even ask my sister or my mom for ideas...It makes it slightly easier. And then the kids is another problem, especially my picky kids. There's nothing more unmotivating than spending a whole day cooking a good meal and hear your chicks say "I don't like it" or "is there anything else for diner???" Aaaahh the joys of motherhood.

Anyway let's get on with the plan.

Monday : Ratatouille lentil soup

Tuesday : Couscous with meat sauce

Wednesday : Tortellini and spinach soup

Thursday : Texas cottage pie

Friday : Chicken tikka masala

Saturday : It's my son's birthday, so it will be he's choice and he's still thinking..

Sunday : Leftovers

Have a great week, hopefully with no more snow.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mommyyyyy, what's for lunch????

I heard that question at least 10 times today, and the week just started, it seems like all they think about when on vacation is food, food, food!!! So after seeing a lonely loaf of bread on the counter, I decided to make  croque-monsieur  . I haven't done that in ages. But those croque monsieur were made with a twist, I made them with smashed potatoes to make it more of a "complete" meal. I remember reading the recipe on a Martha Stewart magazine I don't remember where and decided to try it just from memory even if not exactly the same. Well it was yummy, the boys almost had a fight over the last one!!!!

First you'll need a crusty loaf of bread sliced in thick slices (the recipe is for 4 slices)


Cook 5 small potatoes until tender and smash them.


Then make a bechamel sauce by melting 2 tbsp of butter in a heavy saucepan.


Add 2 tbsp of flour and whisk until mixture bubbles slightly about 2 minutes

Whisk in 1 cup of warm milk, bring to a boil to thicken. Season with salt and pepper.


Make the croque monsieur. Preheat oven at 425F. Toss potatoes with olive oil. Spread bechamel evenly on 4 slices of bread and top with 1 slice of ham



Put some potatoes and 2 slices of cheese. I used extra sharp cheddar, I didn't have any gruyere in my fridge, but taste just as good!!


Bake on a baking sheet until cheese is golden and bubbling. 12 to 14 minutes, check from time to time.


Plate your croque monsieur with a fresh green salad and voila...delicieux!!


Bon appetit.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Menu plan monday and a teaser...

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It's that time of the week again (boy it never ends!!!! just kidding.) And this week the kids are off for a whole week. So I decided to ask them to each give me a dish they wanted for dinner. This way it makes my meal planning just a smidge easier!!! Also I put back the salmon dish from last saturday, we went out for dinner that day.

And I also wanted to put out there that the Minestrone from PWC  was AWESOME!!! OMG all the vegetables in the soup are fantastic together (although I passed on the mushroom, not a big fan of them) and don't skip on the tumeric touch it makes a big difference in the taste. It's hearty and homy, but it's also something that I would serve for my friends on one of our girls friday lunch, with a nice crusty bread, Mmmmmm....can you see the drool!!!

Ahem....where was I, ah yes meals planning. I also had to have some ideas for lunches for the kids, but it's simple  things like tacos one day, baked chicken fingers and brocolli, homemade mac and cheese that kind of easy stuff.

Monday : Spaghetti and meatballs (Ileana's request)

Tuesady : Black bean stuffed peppers in the crock pot

Wednesday : Breakfast for dinner, which is french toast, sausage and eggs (Massin's request)

Thursday : Sloppy Joe's with buttermilk biscuits (Aylan's request)

Friday : Pasta with pancetta and leeks

Saturday : We'll have friends staying over with us for the week end, so I plan on doing my herbed grilled salmon with the potatoes gratin and and grilled zucchinis.


Now for the teaser part. Can you guess where I'm going with these???
2 plates, a candle stick and a broken cake stand (courtesy of my husband!!)


Friday, February 18, 2011

Easy Peasy pasta recipe

Who doesn't love an easy pasta recipe or any recipe for that matter you can just put together in 15 minutes or less!!! Well I have one of these in my collection that I've been making for 10 years, and it never failed me. It is so easy it just makes me giggle (I know I'm easily content when it comes to food..), and you only need 5 ingredients.
who wants a bite???
 Here's want you need. You don't have to have wine (chicken broth will do), but let's face it, wine makes everything taste better!!


First chop as much garlic as you want, 10 cloves was enough for me.


add it to your hot pan with olive oil and saute until fragrant but not burnt

Then in go 5 or 6 spicy sausages,

turkey sausages in my case, with the casing removed, and cook until 95% done


Add a big splash of white wine (1 cup will do), and cook another 5 minutes


Add a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes, 1/4 cup of chopped basil, and let the sauce simmer for another 10 minutes

Put your cooked pasta in a large serving bowl, pour the sauce over them and add a big handful of parmesan, toss everything together



And there you have it, the easiest and most delish pasta recipe in my book!! Bon appetit.



Monday, February 14, 2011

Menu plan monday and Valentine day


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For this week's menu I've been inspired by the talented Pioneer Woman and some of her fabulous recipes!! If you don't know her yet, I suggest you go and take a long look at her blog, I just LOVE it, I can spend hours just reading and looking at all her beautiful pictures.

Monday : Valentine dinner Chicken tajine with lemon and green olives with couscous (I'll post the recipe this week), red velvet cake and chocolate fondu.

Tuesday : pasta with turkey sausage in tomato sauce.

Wednesday : Red lentil and carrot soup plus leftovers

Thursday : Minestrone from the Pioneer Woman Cooks

Friday : Beef and snow peas stir fry from the Pioneer Woman  the whole family is just in love with that dish and will eat it every week!!!

Saturday : Grilled herbed salmon with grilled zucchinis and potato gratin (I know odd combination)

And today is not only monday but it's also Valentine's day, so for all the people in love or falling in love



As I said on the menu we will have red velvet cake for dessert,  and it was my first time making that cake. I've always been a little bit scared by it I don't know why, but I decided to put all my fears aside and jump right into it. Well it was EASY, just follow the recipe and voilaaaa!!

And don't get me started on the frosting, mmmmmm....by the time I finished frosting the cake I probably eat a 1/3 of it!!! 

I found the recipe on foodtv, I just look for an easy recipe that will make a 2 layers cake, and this one seemed perfect.

Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) cake pans. Cut out a 9-inch round piece of parchment paper, and place on the bottom of each cake pan and grease and flour, of course I discovered then that I didn't have any parchment paper left so I just prayed the cake will not stick at the bottom of the pan.



Cream butter, sugar and eggs in a mixer,
I creamed the sugar and butter first
Then I added the eggs

Combine cocoa and food coloring, and add to the creamed mixture
my food coloring came in a gel (see the blob)



Mix the salt and vanilla with the buttermilk in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, and add to the batter alternating with the flour


Mix the vinegar and baking soda in a small bowl (this will fizz)


Carefully and gently fold this into the batter by hand. Divide batter between the cake pans.


and bake for 30 minutes or until the cakes spring back when lightly touched


Remove from oven, and cool on racks for 15 minutes. Invert onto racks, remove parchment paper and cool to room temperature. Once cooled they are ready for frosting.




Bon Appetit.

Red Velvet Cake recipe :

1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons cocoa
2 ounces red food coloring
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream cheese filling and frosting recipe :

 16 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2 pounds 10x powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat cream cheese and butter together in a heavy duty mixer until smooth and creamy. Slowly add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time, blending between each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Beat for about 5 minutes until very smooth. Spread between layers of cake and on top and sides. Enjoy!! Yield: Sufficient icing for a 2 layer cake

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wordless sunday...

..well almost wordless



this is what happened when I tried to back up from my garage and the garage door decided to come back down again. I didn't hear a thing and just continued backing up and BOUM the worse noise ever!!!!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Turkey chili and cheddar scones.

In my last post I've been talking about how I miss spring and all the nice things that come with it, but the truth is, as much as I want spring in my house, well...when you look at your window and all you see is this


 you just want to put your fluffy pj's on, sit on the sofa and sip a nice cup of tea (or wine if you prefer..) and I think about a nice hearty chili with yummy cheddar scones.


I use ground turkey to make it "healthy", ground beef is just as good.


First I chop 2 medium onions, 1 bell pepper and 1 medium carrot (I put my veggies where I can) 

Then put the veggies in the pot and cook for a little while


Add the meat and let it brown a little bit, turkey will not brown that much.


Then in go 3 cans of red beans and 1 can of chick peas (just because I like chick peas)




Add 1 can of crushed tomatoes, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1 pouch of chili seasonings, salt and pepper.







And I add my secret ingredient....chocolate.
1 tablespoon of it, it really adds a deep flavor to the chili.


Add water until you just cover the beans and simmer for at least 45 minutes


And voila, delicious and even better with cheese on top and a nice cheddar scone.




Cheddar scone recipe :

Ingredients

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons water


Preheat your oven to 375F

Combine all  dry ingredients in food processor bowl.


 Add the butter and pulse a few times.

Now I know I should be transfering the flour mixture in a bowl and do the rest by hand, but I just wanted to try to do everything in the food processor and see if it was OK, but I also was a little bit lazy.

So I added the cheddar and a little bit af dried basil (gives it a nice taste)



then add buttermilk and water


Pulse a few times until the dough comes together


Put the dough on a lightly floured work surface and pat into an 8-inch square or slightly round in my case



Cut into triangles and arrange scones on baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch in between. Brush each scone with the egg wash, and bake for 25 minutes.


Mmmm they come out so fluffy and delicous. Enjoy.