Monday, February 09, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Yeah, I know I never got around to typing up the trip to WV. I hope to get around to it at some point. I've also been pretty bad about updating. Things have been keeping me pretty busy around here, and add in TOM and the migraines that come with it and you're lucky to even see anything. ;) I pretty much just followed the dinners last week. *SIGH* I had a feeling that would happen (the Red Pepper, Mozzarella Pesto sandwiches I did make once for me, and then on the weekend for us). Oh well. It hasn't been a great eating weekend in terms of diet for me this week, and once my period started I realized why I've been so noshing last and this week. At least my period isn't as bad as it used to be thanks to the ablation, but I still get everything else that goes along with it though. It could be a lot worse, so I can't really complain. I guess the biggest thing is something I've had to deal with my whole life really - the fact that I never know when it's going to come. The only time I did know was when I was taking BCP's (to help control it and my headaches actually) but with my liver problems I can't use them anymore (and it may have actually been the reason for all of my tumors).

I'm now playing around with Google Calendar to menu plan and general calendar stuff. So far it's going well, although figuring out how to sync with Lightening (Sunbird for Thunderbird) took a bit.

Here's the menu plan for this week - it's just dinners this time.

Monday: Slow-Cooker Pork Ragu (using leftover Kahlua pork from Christmas)
Tuesday: Fried Rice (using Freezer Stash)
Wednesday: Turkey Bratwursts
Thursday: Bobotie
Friday: Chez JJ Pizza

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

Slow-Cooker Pork Ragu

Pork butt or shoulder is an economical cut of meat that's perfect for making this slow-cooked stew topping for pasta.
Source: Woman's World - October 17, 2006

2 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds boneless pork butt or shoulder
1 (16 ounce) jar marinara pasta sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine or water
3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon salt
16 ounces fusilli pasta

Place first 4 ingredients in 3-quart slow-cooker. Top with pork.

Combine sauce, tomato paste, wine, fennel seeds, pepper flakes and salt. Pour over pork; cover.

Cook on LOW for 10 hours, until tender.

Transfer pork to plate. Use 2 forks to shred pork; stir into sauce in slow-cooker.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

Basic Fried Rice
Serves 4

2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
3 eggs, beaten
2 strips bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
4 scallions, trimmed and sliced into 1/4-inch rings (reserve 1 heaping tablespoon sliced dark green portion for garnish)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1 tablespoon minced ginger (about a 1-inch piece)
1/3 cup finely chopped carrot (1-2 carrots)
1-2 fresh chilies like jalapenos or Thai chilies, to taste, seeded and minced (optional)
4 cups cooked rice, at room temperature
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce

In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Pour beaten egg into pan and swirl egg around to coat entire bottom of pan. When egg is beginning to bubble, about 1-2 minutes, break it up into pieces using a spatula or wooden spoon, and remove from pan.

Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp, 2-3 minutes. (If bacon begins to burn, lower heat to medium.)

Add scallions, garlic, ginger, carrot and (if using) chilies to pan, and cook, stirring often, for 1-2 minutes or until garlic becomes golden. Return cooked egg to pan.

Add rice and stir to coat well with the other ingredients. Cook for about 2 minutes to allow rice and egg to become hot. Turn heat down to medium-low, and pour soy sauce over rice. The pan may be quite full (depending on its size), so stir carefully to allow even distribution of soy sauce throughout rice.

Taste for salt, and add an additional 1 tablespoon of soy sauce if you like. Sprinkle with reserved dark green scallion slices to serve.

*Add chopped raw shrimp (1/4-1/3 pound) 1 minute after adding scallions, garlic, ginger and carrot.
* Add small cubes of firm tofu (about 1/2 cup) 1 minute after adding scallions, garlic, ginger and carrot.
* Stir in small pieces of leftover cooked chicken just before adding rice to pan.
* For a mellower pork flavor, try pancetta instead of bacon.
* For Thai-style fried rice, sprinkle 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce over mixture before returning egg to pan, and squeeze juice from half a lime over rice just before serving.
* To get more of your vegetables, slice raw green beans (about 1/4-1/3 cup) very thin (1/8 inch) and add along with scallions, garlic, ginger and carrot.
* Drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top

Riva's Milwaukee Brats
From: Riva Heron @ Dinners by the Dozen
Serving Size: 6

6 Bratwurst Links
12 Ounces beer
2 Cups sliced Peppers and Onions
6 Hoagie buns

Combine in bag and freeze. To cook, thaw completely and pour into baking pan and heat on stove or on grill. Heat until sausages are warmed through. If desired, remove sausages and sear on grill for 1-2 minutes. Place in brat bun, garnish with peppers/onions. Enjoy.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 325 Calories; 23g Fat (68.2% calories from fat); 13g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 51mg Cholesterol; 653mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 3 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

South African Bobotie

Serving Size: 6

1/2 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup dried apricot, diced
1 1/4 cups White Bread, cut into cubes
2 1/2 cups 1% Low-fat Milk
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 pound browned ground beef
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup raisins
4 Tablespoons sliced almonds
1/2 cup Egg Substitute

Place bread into small bowl and pour 1/2 the milk over it – allow to soak. In another bowl, combine curry powder, chili powder, lemon juice, salt, pepper and ground beef. Add the raisins, almonds, apricots and soaked bread (including the milk the bread soaked in). Spoon mixture into a greased pan. Combine egg mixture and remaining milk. Pour over the meat mixture in the pan.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 536 Calories; 26g Fat (43.6% calories from fat); 34g Protein; 42g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 89mg Cholesterol; 1174mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 3 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 1/2 Non-Fat Milk; 3 Fat.

Chez JJ's Pizza
(Using WW Basic Pizza Dough with Variations and Chez JJ's Pizza Sauce so you don't have to hunt for the recipes)

Basic Pizza Dough
Makes 2 (12 inch) pizza crusts (6 servings each)
From Weight Watchers Pizza,Pizza: 150 deliciously dazzling ways to make everyone's favorite pie

This dough makes enough for two pizzas, so you can freeze half the dough for another day. If you freeze it, thaw it in the refrigerator over night or on the counter for 1 1/2 hours. Unlike other bread dough, pizza dough only needs to rise only once. After rising, simply punch it down, then let it rest for 15 minutes before rolling or stretching to the desired shape. If you like you can let the dough rest in a floured zip-close freezer bag in the refrigerator overnight. You'll find it easiest to roll out or stretch bread dough when it's at room temperature.

1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 F)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pkg active dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt

Combine the water and sugar in a 2-cup measuring just. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the oil.

Combine the flour and salt in a food processor. With the machine running, scrape the yeast mixture through the feed tube; pulse until the dough forms a ball, about 1 minute. If necessary, turn the dough onto a lightly flour surface and knead briefly until smooth and elastic.

Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray; put the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm spot until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough, then cut in half. Refrigerate or freeze in floured zip-close [I have better luck with a bit of oil in the bag instead of flour- about a tsp and spread around the bag] freezer bags at this point or use as directed in the recipe.

Per serving (1/12 of dough): 174 cal, 2 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 0 mg chol, 292 mg sod, 34 g carb, 1 g fib, 5 g prot, 7 mg calc, POINTS: 3

TIP: if mixing by hand: To make bread by hand, combine the water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl; set aside until foamy. Stir in the oil, flour and salt until the dough starts to gather around the spoon. Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface; knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Cornmeal Pizza Dough: Pizzas with a Mexican influence are terrific made on a cornmeal crust. Substitute 1 cup cornmeal for 1 cup of the all-purpose flour.
Per serving: (1/12 of the dough): 178 cal, 2 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 0 mg chol. 292 mg sod, 35 g carb, 2 g fib, 5 g prot, 5 mg calc, POINTS: 3

Semolina Pizza Dough: Using part semolina flour makes a crispier-crusted pizza. If you can't find semolina flour, use farina cereal. Substitute 1 1/2 cups semolina flour for 1 1/2 cups of the all-purpose flour.
Per serving (1/12 of the dough): 192 calories, 2 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 0 mg chol, 292 mg sod, 38 g carb, 2 g fib, 6 g prot, 8 mg calc, POINTS 4

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough: Whole-wheat flour makes a higher-fiber, more nutritious crust. Substitute 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour for 1 1/4 cups of the all-purpose flour.
Per serving (1/12 of the dough): 177 cal, 2 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 0 mg chol, 292 mg sod, 34 g carb, 3 g fib, 6 g pro, 5 mg calc, POINTS 3

Chez JJ's Pizza Sauce
This is mostly a mixture of a Cooking Light Marinara sauce for the freezer and one on the web that is supposed to be like Papa John's Sauce. I call it Chez JJ's Pizza Sauce now. :) This makes a little more than enough sauce for 2 pizzas depending on how much sauce you like on your pizzas. We like about 1/2 cup of sauce per 12" pizza.

15 oz crushed tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp crushed fennel [gives a bit of a sausage-like flavor]
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes until thickened. Let cool. You can freeze. You can also double/triple as needed.

To make a pizza:
Preheat oven to 450. Roll dough into a 12" circle. Prick with a fork and place onto oven stone. Par-bake for 4 minutes. If you don't have a stone, place on pan and par-bake on bottom rack of oven instead. Remove from oven - and if it has bubbled up a bit, I usually press down with a towel or my pizza peel and let cool a bit before topping on a wire rack.

For each pizza top with 1/2 cup of sauce (if not using homemade I will just use jarred spaghetti sauce), 3/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese (or 3 oz Italian cheese blend) and then with 17 turkey pepperoni slices and any other toppings (thin sliced onions, mushrooms, peppers, etc). Don't put a whole lot of toppings on because too many will make the pizza soggy. The sprinkle about 2 Tbsp of shredded Parmesan on top.

Bake for about 9 minutes until the cheese is melted and starting to brown and the edges are browning (it's going to be 12-15 minutes total including the par-baking).

Take out and let cool for about 3-5 minutes so the cheese won't slide off when you go to cut it. Eat and enjoy.

It's going to be about 5 points per slice depending on if you add any more pointy things to the pizza when you top it. Now, if you eat two pieces, it's not 10 points for both, it's going to be 11, just to warn you, and it's going to be 16.5 points for 3. So watch how many you eat.

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