Monday, December 08, 2008

Weekend Doin's and Menu Plan Monday

This weekend was pretty relaxing - which was good since hubby and were pretty tired. Saturday day we tried to catch up on our sleep it seemed - although Miko once again woke me up really early so hubby slept late and I was up really early *sigh*. Oh well. I spent most of the day drinking tea, 1 1/2 liters worth. WHEW! When I took Miko out for her afternoon "constitutional" it was starting to snow just a bit, and by snow I mean barely. This was around 3 I think it was. We left a little after 5 to head into Richmond and were surprised to see the ground covered with a thin film of snow and it was snowing harder. It was tiny flakes, so we knew it pretty much wouldn't amount to much (the bigger the flakes the more snow we get usually). It was really pretty, and I must admit, I was excited. It got lighter the closer we got to Richmond (our destination was the West End, to FiL's).

We had dinner with FiL, SMiL and we got to meet one of her sons, Snoogy (I think I spelled that right). He was a trip! They are from the Philippines, so he was taking pictures of the snow, since he really hasn't seen it there. It's a shame it wasn't heavier, since it wasn't sticking there. He's a nurse and is hoping to get a job at MCV and move here. He said it seemed that his interviews went well and he was hoping to hear something before he had to go back on Tuesday. He said that it sounded like they were going to try to get a provisional Visa (I can't remember what they called it) so that he can work here sooner than the was planning on (he was originally thinking he had to wait a year or more for the work visa). His mom just recently became a citizen, and I didn't realize that it now takes about 16 years to become one. She was saying that she could have helped him to become one, but then he would have had trouble getting married (for a few years at least) and since he's 31 she didn't want to do that to him right now. We went to eat at Angela's on Forest Rd in the Tuckernuck Shopping Center. It was really good, and while we were there, the line was out the door a few times. It was kind of funny, because if you compare it to some of the restaurants in New York it sat about the same amount of people (without the outdoor seating which most NY places have) but there was more room between the tables (something that New York doesn't have). Angela's is a small, unassuming place from the outside. Set between an Ace Hardware and a 7-11, you don't expect to walk into a white tablecloth restaurant. They didn't offer pizza on the weekends for the sit-down but they do have a brisk take-out business and I gather it's offered then. If you go, the servings are HUGE. Seriously, the plates are probably 11-12" around, they look more like chargers. Usually we're pretty good to each get something different, but this time we didn't. And this time most of us went with the specials too. Snoggy and I both went for the Spinach, Sun-dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Stuffed Rib-eye (it was 14 oz!!!), it was drizzled with olive oil and had a crunch of salt (I'm gathering sea salt since I couldn't see any off hand). I had mine served on sliced tomatoes and he had his on garlic smashed potatoes. SMiL got a Seafood dish (I think it was a mixed, but I know it had scallops, I think it had the name Diane in it. I can't remember if it was a wine sauce or marinara). Hubby and FiL got a Spinach stuffed ravioli (2 each that were 6 oz each) that were topped with crab meat and a spicy blue cheese sauce. I had a bite of hubby's (I was going to order it but since they were going to went with what I ordered, so that's why I remember it so well), and it was wonderful too! All the entrees came with salads and bread. That was the only problem with my meal, I had asked for blue cheese and got ranch, something I'm not a fan of. They were busy, and it's not like I really needed the extra calories anyway, so I ate a bit of it and waited for the main course. And no, I did not finish my entree.

We headed back to FiL's and talked for quite a while. I was one of the few that had left room for some apple crumble topped pie. It had WV apples (they brought them back from their Thanksgiving trip to his sister's home) and was yummy! (Course I could be a bit biased. ;) We got home really late, good thing we had fed and "watered" Miko before we left! We fed and let her out once more and headed to bed. She let me sleep in until 7!!! :)

We didn't go to MiL's since she still wasn't feeling well, so it was a day of catching up on stuff around the house and lazying about. Not too much to report there.

Oh, and my sister sent me her Sweet Potato Casserole recipe, and it is different from my SiL's (besides the nuts used):

Kelly's Sweet Potato Casserole

1 large can sweet potato (40 oz)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 stick butter
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup corn flakes - mashed
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter - melt

Drain and mash the sweet potato, add sugar, beaten eggs, soften butter, salt, milk and nutmeg.
Bake at 400 for 30 mins

Topping: Mix together and bake 5 to 10 more mins

My menu plan for this week (recipes below)

Monday: Lasagna (using the leftover Manicotti filling I froze from a few weeks ago)
Tuesday: Greek Lemon Chicken (from Fix-It-and-Forget It Lightly)
Wednesday: Cabbage Beef Soup
Thursday: Kushary
Friday: Pizza (not sure what type I'll make yet - recipe for dough elsewhere on site many times - if you can't find just email me)

For more menu ideas visit: I'm an Organizing Junkie

New World Easy Lasagne
Developed and Tested by the San Giorgio Kitchens
Ready in a flash, there's no need to pre-cook the lasagne noodles in this crowd-pleasing dish. [This is the one I usually make subbing veggies/spinach/meat as I want.]

9 pieces (8 oz.) SAN GIORGIO Lasagne, uncooked
1 lb. ground beef
3 cups (about 26-oz. jar) spaghetti sauce
1-1/2 cups water
1-3/4 cups (15-oz. container) ricotta or small curd cottage cheese
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella or Monterey jack cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat oven to 350°F.
In 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, brown meat; drain. Add spaghetti sauce and water; simmer about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in large bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, one-half mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper.
Pour about 1 cup sauce on bottom of 13x9x2-inch baking dish.
Arrange 3 UNCOOKED pasta pieces lengthwise over sauce; cover with about 1 cup sauce.
Spread one-half cheese filling over sauce.
Repeat layers of lasagne, sauce and cheese filling.
Top with layer of lasagne and remaining sauce; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil.
Bake 45 minutes. Remove foil; bake additional 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
10-12 servings.

Greek Chicken (Crockpot)
“Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly” -Judy Govotsus Monrovia, MD
Makes 8 Servings. (Ideal slow-cooker size: 6-quart)

4-6 potatoes, quartered
3 lbs chicken pieces, skin removed
2 large onions, quartered
1 whole bulb garlic, minced
1/2 cup water (or lemon juice)
3 tsp dried oregano (or Greek Seasoning)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil

Place potatoes in bottom of slow cooker. Add chicken, onions, and garlic. In small bowl mix water with oregano salt, and pepper. Pour over chicken and potatoes. Top with oil. Cover. Cook on High 5-6 hours or on Low 9-10 hours.

Per serving: 430 calories (70 calories from fat), 8g total fat (2g sat fat, 0g trans), 145 mg cholesterol, 430 mg sod, 31 g total carb (4 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 56g protein, 30% DV Vit C, 6%DV Calc, 20%DV iron.

Cabbage Beef Soup
Serving Size: 6

1/2 small cabbage head, shredded
1 large onion, chopped
5 1/2 cups tomato juice
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1 bay leaf
3 black peppercorns
4 allspice berries
1 pound extra lean ground beef
2 tablespoons dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine cabbage, onion, tomato juice, and beef broth. Bring to a boil.

Add molasses, Worcestershire sauce, salt, bay leaf, pepper and allspice. Crumble in ground beef, dill and garlic powder. Simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Serve hot.

Source: The Book of Regional American Cooking: Heartland

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 296 Calories; 14g Fat (39.7% calories from fat); 21g Protein; 25g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 52mg Cholesterol; 2065mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 2 1/2 Lean Meat; 2 1/2 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

Remember that kushary is a very simple working-class meal; there is nothing elegant to it, and you may wish to make and eat it for the same reason an Egyptian would--it’s satisfying, filling, and healthy.
You will be able to do steps 1, 2 and 3 at the same time if you are well organized. An easy way to serve kushary to a group of people is to leave the pasta in its colander from draining and rest it over a simmering pot of water. Place the mixing bowl of rice and lentils over another simmering pot of water to keep warm. Leave the tomato sauce in the saucepan you cooked it in and leave the onions in the skillet. Serve by spooning the cooked macaroni in a bowl and then spoon the rice and lentils on top. Spoon a quarter of the tomato sauce on top of the rice and then some onions. Serve the remaining sauce on the side. Eat with a spoon.

Yield: Makes 6 servings

4 large onions, peeled
1/2 cup brown lentils, picked over (should yield 1 cup cooked lentils)
3 cups water
7 tablespoons samna (clarified butter) or 2 tablespoons samna and 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups raw long-grain rice, well rinsed or soaked in water to cover for 30 minutes
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups mixed dry pasta (see Note below)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups hot Egyptian-style tomato sauce (dim’a musabika)

Slice the onions from the stem end into very thin slices, less than 1/16th inch. Arrange the onion slices on some paper towels, sprinkle generously with salt, and leave for 30 minutes covered with paper towels to absorb moisture.

Wash the lentils under running water. Put them in a medium-size heavy saucepan, add 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon of the salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are al dente, anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour. Check the lentils occasionally so they are not overcooked, since lentil cooking times differ; they should be ever so slightly hard, not completely soft. Add some water to the pot if it is drying out and the lentils are not yet cooked. Drain and reserve the lentils.

In another large, heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat 2 tablespoons of the samna over medium-high heat, then cook the rice for 2 minutes, stirring continuously to coat all the grains, then add the remaining 2 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover while the rice cooks until the water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Do not lift the lid or stir while the rice cooks.

While the lentils and rice are cooking, prepare the onions. In a large skillet, melt the remaining 5 tablespoons samna or heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion slices and coat with the samna or oil. Continue turning the onions as they turn from white to yellow to brown. Once they turn brown, 10 to 20 minutes, continue to cook until some turn dark brown, another 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the burner and quickly transfer the onions to a paper towel-lined platter to cool and drain. Once they are cool, they will have become crispy.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of abundantly salted water to a vigorous boil and add the pasta. Cook until soft (not al dente) and drain well. Mix together the rice and lentils in a large metal (preferably) bowl with a pinch of black pepper, tossing gently with a fork. Serve according to the instructions above.

Note: Half the dry pasta should be short macaroni such as ditalini, tubetti, or small elbow and the other half should be spaghetti broken into 2-inch lengths. The 2 cups dry pasta should yield 4 cups cooked pasta.

Egyptian Stewed Tomato Sauce (Dim'a Musabika)
The Nile delta has been a productive agricultural area feeding Egypt since ancient times. Once the tomato arrived from the New World it became as ubiquitous in Egyptian cooking as it did in all other Mediterranean cooking. So much so, in fact, that among the Bedouins of Egypt’s Western Desert, and throughout Egypt in general, vegetables are always cooked bisalsa, with a tomato-based sauce, such as the ubiquitous dim’a musabika (literally, stewed sauce). This sauce is excellent with kushary, on top of spaghetti, or with any vegetable.
Yield: Makes 4 cups

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed
One 6-ounce can tomato paste
4 cups water
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then cook the onion until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn.

Mix the tomato paste and water and add to the onion. Reduce the heat to low while you simmer the tomato sauce for 20 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, salt, black pepper, and cayenne and cook until denser, about another 5 minutes.


Rona's Home Page said...

I love Fresh & Easy whole wheat pizza dough. It's only around $2 each and great for our diabetic diet family.

JJ (Lady Di) said...

If I don't make my own (which I will usually make either whole wheat or 1/2 whole wheat), we've now got Trader Joes. I can get whole wheat pizza dough for 0.99! It's usually easier for me to make it though, since any store is at the most a 20 minute drive one way and I'm not working so I'm not always out or near one. Plus - I grew up with homemade pizza since I lived in a rural area growing up too, we didn't even have a pizza place nearby, so it's just natural for me to make my own. :) But I will keep an eye out for it, my grocery store is bad about where they put the pizza stuff, sometimes it's near the milk (I don't know why), sometimes near the cheese, sometimes near the deli, and other times near the lunch meats (pepperoni).