Sunday, December 7, 2008

MPM--Holiday Swing

Greetings, menu planners!

One recipe that wasn't on my MPM last week was our Sunday dinner. I don't usually include weekend meals because they are often leftovers or at the grandparents' or some other thing that isn't necessarily interesting or useful. But every once in a while, I have Sunday afternoon to try something new, and last week was one of these. It was a busy weekend, with family and turkey and all, but there was this recipe for chicken with onions and garlic hanging around and it seemed like a good thing for a fall weekend. It was easy and delicious and so I put the recipe at the bottom of this post.

Another recipe I tried this week was the Asian Turkey Burgers. They were ok. I made two changes to the recipe, which I am sure made a difference: 1) I didn't have cilantro, so skipped it, and 2) used chicken instead of turkey. They were fine but I have other chicken burgers I prefer so I don't know that I'll be making them again. Still, other than the cilantro, I had everything in the house already (I think some Rachael Ray recipe called for hoisin?) so they did score a bonus point for that. Also, I used my iron skillet again, which I am still mastering. Mine is not really non-stick for food yet, though it's a pretty easy cleanup. The burgers came out pretty uneven (caramelized-to-burned on one half of one side, barely cooked on the other half of the same side). I used Pam for the first set and olive oil for the second...didn't make much difference except in the amount of smoke and particulates in the kitchen. Anyway. I'll post the recipe under the other chicken recipe, but it wasn't a major winner. Though it should be noted, my kids ate them up in a hurry. And, by definition, if it's from DBD, it can be made to point of cooking and frozen for future use--a huge plus in my house.

I know a ton of you from MPM have been following the Year of Crockpotting blog already but if you aren't there yet, she's really innovative. (And better late than never, right?) My first meal of the week is from her, and I think I'll be trying some others--the roasted spiced nuts and roasted veggies come to mind instantly since I have a ton of sweet potatoes and some parsnips from a misguided Delicious Living inspired moment.

And my last blog-inspired recipe for the week: though the mushroom casserole looks ideal to me, I don't think another creature in the house would touch it (sigh). So I'm going to try this feta salsa instead; we have everything for this, too, I think, with the possible (probable) exception of the sun dried tomatoes. (Sun dried tomato pesto, yes; actual tomatoes, we'll have to see.) The other thing this week: cookies. The younger one has his holiday program at preschool on Friday (and then it's break already! Aack! They are going to kill me with all this time off. At least my last work deadline for the year is on Thursday.) I tried these banana chip cookies (finally); they were ok. I'm still not sold on whole wheat flour (even the pastry version) or wheat germ, but I'm trying hard to stretch my kids' palates that direction. Still, for the requisite dozen cookies to the holiday program, I'll be bringing something else. Maybe these Cranberry Blondies from Two Fat Als, though I add more white chocolate and sprinkle some turbinado sugar on top to more closely approximate the piece of heaven these are based on from Starbucks. And, they are an outstanding use of my leftover cranberries.

Oh, and the birthday dinner? Amazing. We went here (for the locals). Standouts were the baby beets with skordalia (which I'd never heard of; it was described, correctly, as like hummus but--as I learned later--made with potatoes, usually, instead of chickpeas) and, the real star, the butternut squash soup with cinnamon marshmallow smeared on the side of the bowl and quick-torched to a toasted consistency. So good I have trouble describing it.

Are you still here? This week's menus, and last Sunday's dinner recipe, below.

Monday: This recipe for maple-Dijon chicken that kept floating around the web. Just need the chicken for this one. Rice, salad, something with carrots.

Tuesday: Spaghetti and sausage sauce.

Wednesday: Autumn Pork Roast, mashed potatoes, salad.

Thursday: Leftovers or freezer meal (all those gnocchi and ravioli are still hanging around).

Friday: We're out to a party. Will probably order pizza/cheesesteak for the kids. (Mother of the year!)
Last Sunday's Dinner

I got this recipe some time ago from the food section of my city paper. I haven't tried the cookbook itself but if this recipe is indicative, it would be a good one. My notes follow recipe.

Chicken Breasts with Caramelized Sweet Onions and Garlic
makes 4 servings

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 4-6 oz each, pounded to uniform thickness
2 large sweet onions, sliced stem to root (not rings)
20 garlic cloves, peeled and slightly smashed to flatten
1 C dry white wine or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup nicoise or other small olives

In a large, well-oiled skillet on high heat, cook chicken until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.
In the same skillet, stir-fry the onions and garlic until lightly browned, 3-5 minutes.
Add the wine; bring to a boil, stirring often and scraping up any browned bits in the pan. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook, stirring often to prevent burning. Cook until softened and browned, about 15 minutes.
Return the chicken and juices to the pan. Stir in olives. Cover. Cook until chicken is done, 3-5 minutes.

-from The 5:30 Challenge by Jeanne Besser and Susan Puckett

Anyone who knows me knows that I used the "Italian Style Chicken Cutlets" from my butcher for this rather than pounding raw meat.
For the garlic, I wasn't sure how many cloves came in a head so I got two. One was fine but some of the cloves were huge. Still delicious.
We used sweet white and kalamatas and still enjoyed quite a bit. Really recommended. The kids ate it, too. (Well, the little one ate the chicken. The older one ate the chicken and the olives and eventually some of the onions too.)

Dinner by Design's Asian Turkey Burgers
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup sliced green onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbl soy sauce
2 Tbl rice wine vinegar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbl hoisin sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs lean ground turkey
6 hamburger buns

In a bowl, stir together the panko, green onion, cilantro, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, egg, hoisin, and garlic. Crumble ground turkey over the seasoning ingredients and mix well. Form into six patties, about 4 inches in diameter.

To grill or broil burgers, preheat grill/broiler to medium-high heat. Grill, covered, or broil 4 inches from heat source for 15-20 minutes, turning once until a meat thermometer reads 165. Alternately, burgers can be cooked in a lightly oiled skillet over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes, turning once or until thermometer reads 165. Serve on buns.

As noted above, I used 1 lb of chicken instead and still got 7 burgers out of it. We didn't use buns. Like most chicken burgers, this would have benefited from sauce of some kind. I wished I'd had Bittersweet Herb Farm's Wasabi Ginger but we were out. And I found it took way longer than 15 minutes on medium low, but again, it might be me trying to get used to the iron skillet.

Until next week!


Jerri - Simply Sweet Home said...

Autumn pork roast...yum!

Domestic Goddess said...

I loooooove year of crockpotting. I have them filed away and have tried a few so far. Tough when you have kids that WON'T EAT FOOD THAT TOUCHES. But the adults enjoy it! The kids get cereal that night. My only food rule. Don't try it? Cereal!

Mommychicky said...

Winter White Burger recipe is now linked - I'll be trying that Asian Turkey Burger after the holidays...