Monday, September 08, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Yes, the menu changed drastically last week. Hubby was mostly left to his own devices. The cheese strata worked out wonderfully when I was finally able to start feeling like eating though (after canned soups - I went from tomato first and then ventured into the chunkier but soft veggie ones HaHa!) It was so nice to eat real food again. And even the lentil spaghetti worked out well for me too. I finally tried (used up too since I had it for a while) some lentil pasta I had bought a while back. So we had a double dose of lentils that night. It actually ended up tasting a bit like Chef-Boyardee canned pasta since I used a bottled Four Cheese sauce. I did end up cooking the lentils beforehand though. I was just too worried to cook them in the sauce since all I've ever heard is don't cook beans with tomatoes since they'll never soften. I just drained them and then put the sauce in with them and warmed that while I cooked the pasta. It turned out well and will be made again. I am pretty sure I made it once before when I was trying to eat vegan and we liked it then too (I don't remember if I used a recipe then either). I'm not bothering to use the recipes that weren't made for this week since it looks like this week will be pretty warm and most of the recipes are oven recipes. Luckily they are also mostly things I keep on hand - so it's not like I went out to buy stuff for them either.

I had friends over for dinner Saturday. This is when "Hurricane" Hanna came through. They were just predicting about 3-4 inches of rain and some wind here - nothing big. But the news really bothered me - they really over-reacted to it. I can understand warning people, and I know that Hurricanes/Tropical Storms can be unpredictable and it does do some damage but really! They were acting like it was Katrina/Isabel (the one that did damage for us recently) getting ready to come through. We went into town Friday afternoon, ate lunch and decided instead of shopping there because it's a pain with the crowds and all - that we'd rather shop closer to home and one of our normal FoodLions for the dinner with our friends. Now I hadn't planned anything special (I'll post a freezable recipe below that we used at Dinners By The Dozen where I was the Executive Chef). Bad choice. They had pulled all the perishable items: deli meats, produce and meats (they stated this with a sign). I didn't even go to the dairy section I was so frustrated. We walked out of there empty handed and mad. We drove back into town and shopped at Kroger's instead where they hadn't pulled anything. When our friends came to dinner - they brought dessert. I was telling them of the problem I was having with finding dinner items. They looked at each other and then told us of the problems they had finding the pie they brought for dessert. They had to go to two FL's and they didn't have much choice at either. And the ones they went to - they are even further inland than the FL that hubby and I went to. The eye of the storm - it passed near the coast of VA - way on the other side of Richmond. We live smack dab in Central Va - on what I guess I should say is the other - other side of Richmond.

I am using the Saving Dinner Frugal Menu Mailer this week. You can get an ebook of it here: Frugal Menu Mailer E-Book It's cheaper if you buy it as a the whole year -but you can buy it just as seasons too. It serves 6 - but is pretty easy to cut down too. Once more, all of this may end up not being made but that's ok - at least I've planned for it and I can use it next week too.

Monday: Bacon Potato Frittata with spinach salad and whole grain rolls
Tuesday: Tortellini and veggies with salad and garlic toast
Wednesday: Honey chicken thighs, broccoli slaw and baby carrots
Thursday: Beefy Quesadillas with corn on the cob and salad
Friday: Teriyaki Orange Pork with brown rice and steamed broccoli

Hand Slappin' Walnut-cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Serving Size : 6

1 cup Ricotta Cheese (can be lowfat)
3/4 cup Chopped Walnuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 Chicken Breast Halves -- with skin and bones
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking dish.

In a bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, and oregano.

Loosen the skin on the chicken breasts to form a pocket, and stuff with the ricotta cheese mixture. Arrange the chicken breasts in a single layer in the prepared baking dish, and brush with oil.

Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

To Freeze: Freeze after stuffing and before baking. To cook: Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake as above.

My Notes: This time I tried it with lowfat ricotta and used Penzey's Pasta sprinkle instead of just oregano. I also added 1 Tbsp chopped dried tomatoes (not in oil). They were great. I haven't tried them with nonfat ricotta. We were able to find boneless chicken breasts with skin (it took about 20 minutes to cook them) at the store but I haven't found them "in the wild" so I use split chicken breasts and it takes about 45-50 minutes to cook. You can, of course, de-bone the breasts yourself. You can also make a pocket in a boneless, skinless chicken breast and fill with the mixture. The mixture is not a really oozy mixture so it won't ooze out like most cheese-based mixtures do. BTW: I didn't name this - Tom did. :)

From Tom Heron @ Dinners by the Dozen

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