Monday, March 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I did make a menu plan last week. But Monday got so busy - I never got a chance to post it. It didn't matter much anyway, only two of the meals got made (even Pizza Friday was moved to Saturday). Thanks to the joys of March weather- I've been ready to rip my head off for most of this week which hasn't really made me want to do much cooking. :( I can't even tell you want we ended up eating instead, I do remember that hubby brought home Hot Pockets and freezer french fries for Friday night - and one night I made a quick Alfredo-ish sauce (white sauce with shredded Asiago) for a mixture of California Frozen veggies, sauteed garlic spinach and tortellini for another.

I do know that on Monday we had Buffalo Chicken Dip (pulled from the freezer) on carrot sticks, celery sticks and whole grain baguette. [It was a great way to get some veggies in us, and monitor portions for me, and be able to double dip without spreading my germs since we each had our own little custard cups of dip.] And on Tuesday I made Migas. I 'll post both of those recipes below in addition to this weeks recipes.

For this week, We've got St. Patrick's Day on Tuesday. I'm trying two recipes from the WW site for the first time. I've not made Irish Soda Bread before and always wanted to, so I'm looking forward to that. And the Beef, Brown Rice and Mushroom Stew has Guinness in it and will be a bit different than our usual Corned Beef (I've STILL got to make the Corned Tongue). We've also got hubby's birthday on Thursday. I asked if he wanted anything, but like usual he had no ideas. *sigh* I guess that's the problem when I cook whatever he asks for normally. He got excited at the idea of Bagel Dogs, but I had already pulled them out to thaw for last week and I know they won't last until Thursday (they were short-dated in the first place when I put them in the freezer). He ended up saying that hot dogs in general would be good. I'm going to surprise him with Corn dogs since he loves those. :) I might try a baked corn dog since he's trying to lose weight, but we'll see how much they cost at the store. I'll post a recipe I found though. Here's my menu, and there's more menu ideas here: [It's normally here:]

Monday: Bagel Dogs
Tuesday: Beef, Brown Rice & Mushroom Stew with Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread
Wednesday: Tender Chicken in Gravy
Thursday: Oven Baked Corn Dogs with French Fries
Friday: Chez JJ Pizza (Homemade Pizza - recipe on site, let me know if you can't find it)

Buffalo Chicken Dip
The taste of Buffalo Wings without all the work! This thick and spicy dip is sure to be a hit with wing lovers. If you think it might be too spicy for you, start with 1/4 C. of hot sauce and add from there, if needed. Feel free to use your favorite dippers too… bread sticks, celery sticks… whatever sounds good!
Makes 6 cups (24 servings) [Can be double/tripled etc]

3/4 cup French's hot sauce*
3 cups Shredded or chopped chicken
16 oz. Cream Cheese (2 bricks)
1 cup Ranch dressing (I used blue cheese)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
* = or similar brand. 3/4 C. = 6 oz.

Assembly Directions: Heat chicken and hot sauce over medium heat. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Continue cooking and stirring, until the cream cheese is melted. Mix in the cheddar cheese, heating and stirring until it is melted. Set aside to cool.

Freezing Directions: Put dip in rigid container(s) or freezer bag(s) based on how you will serve it… single servings as a snack, or all of it in one container/bag for a group/family serving. Seal, label and freeze.

Serving Directions: Thaw dip in the refrigerator. Heat in the microwave until hot and bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips or Ritz crackers. OR for a group or party, put the warmed dip in a slow cooker on low to keep it warm.

Nutritional Info: Serving size: 1/4 cup
Per Serving: 179 Calories; 15g Fat (73.3% calories from fat); 11g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 47mg Cholesterol; 417mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1-1/2 Lean Meat; 2-1/2 Fat.

Migas (pronounced MEE-gahs) is a Tex-Mex tangle of eggs, bits of corn tortilla, and a host of savory, from black beans, chorizo and cheese to salsa, avocado and chiles. A dish that many professed egg-haters relish, it probably can thank its existence to thrifty cooks looking to use left-over tortillas, since tortillas are an integral part of the dish. The word, migas, in fact, is derived from the Spanish word for crumbs. Because they are an egg dish, they are traditionally served at breakfast or brunch. Like omlettes though, they can make an excellent dinner as well. The corn tortillas in migas can take the form of either fresh tortillas or tostadas (tortilla chips), as reflected by our recipes. When tostadas are used, they are added near the end of preparation so they retain their crispness. Some additional possibilities for enhancing your migas are:
crisply cooked and crumbled bacon
chopped ham
crumbled chorizo (browned before you add the eggs)
cooked, shredded chicken or turkey
grated or diced potato (sautéed until tender before adding the eggs)
poblano chiles
green bell pepper
green onion
cayenne pepper (a dash or so)
minced garlic

Migas with Fresh Tortillas
Chop the onion, green chiles, tomato, avocado and cilantro before you start the migas so they'll be ready when you need them. This recipe makes two servings, but it can easily be doubled or tripled or more for a larger crowd.

4 large eggs
1 Tablespoon water
1 Tablespoon salsa (your favorite, but it should be chunky)
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 6-inch corn tortillas, torn into small pieces
1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
2 Tablespoons chopped green chiles
1 medium tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped
1/2 cup chopped avocado, sprinkled with a little lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
2/3 cup grated mild cheddar or Monterrey jack cheese, or combination of both
crema or sour cream

In a small bowl, lightly beat together the eggs, water and salsa, and set aside. Warm the butter and olive oil in a heavy skillet. Add the tortilla pieces and sauté until softened. Add the chopped onion and sauté until it is transparent. Stir in the chopped green chiles. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet, and "scramble" until eggs are done. Remove the skillet from heat, and sprinkle the chopped tomato, avocado, cilantro and cheese into the eggs, again stirring well. Serve at once with warm flour tortillas. Garnish with additional salsa and crema or sour cream.

Homemade Bagel Dogs

Makes 8
4 pts for the "bagel" and points for the hotdog you choose

I haven't tried freezing these myself, but I don't see why they wouldn't. For those that want to do a vegan bagel dog, I don't see why you couldn't use the appropriate "dog" and use the bialy dough recipe I've posted elsewhere on my site instead (or your own bagel recipe without eggs included).

Adapted from: AND

For Bagels:
3/4 Cup Water (80 degrees F)
1 Egg
1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
2 Tablespoons Sugar
3 Cups Bread Flour
2 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
For Water Bath:
2 Quarts Water
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
Egg Glaze:
1 Egg, beaten
1-2 Tablespoons Milk
Topping Ideas:
Poppy Seeds
Sesame Seeds
Dried Onion Flakes
Garlic Powder
Kosher Salt
Celery Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Hot Dogs:
8 Hot Dogs (any type you'd like)

For ABM: Combine in order recommended by your machine. Select dough cycle (makes 1 1/2 pounds). When cycle is complete, punch down dough and remove dough to lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 8 pieces.

If making by hand: You will want the water warmer - about 110-115 degrees and will use all-purpose flour (bread flour is too high in gluten to knead easily by hand). In a small bowl, combine water, 1 teaspoon sugar and yeast and let sit for about 5 minutes until yeast is foamy. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, rest of sugar, and salt. Right before mixing yeast mixture into flour mixture, break egg into yeast mixture and combine. Add to flour mixture and add rest of flour to make a ball. Turn onto lightly floured surface, kneading by hand for about 10-15 minutes and adding extra flour if needed to keep from sticking, until the dough is smooth, shiny and elastic. Spray rising container with oil and let rise in a warm place 1-1 1/2 hours (until doubled, depends on temp of house). Punch down dough and remove dough to lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 8 pieces.

For Food Processor: Use cooler water (80 F) and bread machine flour. Combine water, 1 teaspoon sugar, yeast and egg in a measuring cup. Put dry in food processor with blade attached and mix well with a few short pulses of the blade. Add wet while blade is running and process briefly just enough for dough to come together. Let rest for 15 minutes. Process dough again using quick pulses until it forms a smooth, soft ball. Add more flour or liquid if needed. Dough should easily come away from the sides of the bowl and the blades. Spray rising container with oil and let rise in a warm place 1-1 1/2 hours (until doubled, depends on temp of house). Punch down dough and remove dough to lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 8 pieces.

For Stand Mixer: Use warm water (110-115 degrees) and bread flour. Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed bowl with 1 teaspoon sugar for 5 minutes. Add remaining liquids and dry -except last cup of flour. Using dough hook, turn to Speed 2 for about 1 minute, or until are thoroughly mixed. Continuing on Speed 2, gently tap remaining flour around the sides of the bowl, 1/2 cup at a time, as needed. Mix until dough cleans to hook and cleans the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. When dough clings to hook, knead on Speed 2 for 2 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Remove dough from hook. Spray rising container with oil and let rise in a warm place 1-1 1/2 hours (until doubled, depends on temp of house). Punch down dough and remove dough to lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 8 pieces.

There are two ways to make the Bagel Dogs: Spiral and Enclosed.

For the spiral - roll out each part into a snake that is twice as long as your chosen hot dog. With a rolling pin, flatten the dough snake in both directions- lengthwise and widthwise. Place your hot dog at one end of the flattened snake at approximately a 45 degree angle. Roll your dog, wrapping it up with the bagel dough, allowing the dough to overlap about 1/2 inch as it twists along the dog. Make sure that it is sealed well on each end, I like to dip my fingers in a bowl of water and use my wet fingers to squeeze the ends shut.

I tried the Enclosed this last time, and while I need to work on it a bit more so that one side doesn't have more breading than the other side, I liked it a lot better. For this one I rolled out each piece a little longer than the length of a hotdog, but about double the width of one. I wet one side of the dough by dipping my fingers in a bowl of water and brushing them on the edge. I set the hotdog inside and sealed it, and then made sure it was sealed well inside, once more using wet fingers to make sure the edges were sealed well.

Place Bagel dogs on a baking sheet coated with vegetable oil or Silpat mat (this is what I use all the time anyway, it's also what I use to knead/roll out on) and cover with a light towel and let rest for about 20-30 minutes in a draft-free place. [I usually take this time to pre-heat the oven since it takes a while to warm up because of my baking stone, and get the boiling water ready.]

Get a large pot of boiling water ready. I like to add 2 Tablespoon of brown sugar and 2 Tablespoon of kosher salt to it (I do this for my bagels too) but you don't have to if you don't want to. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

When the rising time is up, boil the dogs in batches of 2, for 3 minutes. I try to turn them over at the 1 1/2 minute mark, but they don't always want to, it's not a big thing. Drain and place back on the oiled baking sheet. Continue like this with the rest of the dogs. Brush with the egg glaze (if using, I don't bother) and sprinkle with your choice of toppings on top of the boiled dogs.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving, and remember that these hold their heat really well and will be HOT!

Beef, Brown Rice and Mushroom Stew
Although a rich stew like this is often made with fatty chuck, bottom round provides a healthy alternative without compromising flavor. The stew, a baked concoction, can be made ahead. Refrigerate for up to 3 days and reheat over medium heat, or freeze in plastic containers for up to 3 months.
Makes 6 1-cup servings
POINTS® value per serving: 6

Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 pounds bottom round, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 pound cremini or white button mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 tsp stemmed fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
One 12-ounce bottle Guinness stout
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Spray a large casserole or oven-safe saucepan with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. Add the meat (working in batches if necessary) and brown on all sides, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Spray again with nonstick spray and add the onions. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until they release their liquid, about 4 minutes.

Stir in the thyme, caraway seeds, salt and pepper; cook until aromatic, about 15 seconds.

Pour in the broth and beer, stirring until the foam dissipates. Stir the beef back into the stew and bring to a simmer. Cover and place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes.

Stir in the rice. Cover and bake until the meat and rice are tender, stirring once or twice, about 1 more hour.

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread
Baking soda was the boon to home bakers in the late 18th century. No more yeast! Irish soda bread celebrates this quick-and-easy heartiness: Here's a raisin-and-caraway studded loaf with no fuss and big taste. The soda bread, of course, is "of the moment," best within a few hours of being made.

Makes 1 round loaf (8 slices).
Serving size: 1 slice (1/8 loaf)
POINTS® value per serving: 3

3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 cup plus 1 tsp all-purpose flour, separated
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup golden raisins
4 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Nonstick cooking spray

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Whisk the buttermilk and oil in a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk 1 cup all-purpose flour, the whole-wheat flour, raisins, caraway seeds, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the buttermilk mixture with a wooden spoon until thoroughly moistened.

Dust a clean, dry work surface with the remaining 1 teaspoon flour. Turn the dough out onto work surface and knead for 30 seconds, just until it coheres. Shape into a round loaf about 6 inches in diameter and 1 inch high. Use a sharp knife or a new razor blade to cut an "x" about 1/2 inch deep in the top of the loaf.

Lightly spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray, place the loaf on it, and bake until lightly browned and crusty, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Tender Chicken in Gravy
This comforting dish will satisfy your pickiest eater. Serve over 1/2 cup brown rice with a side of steamed broccoli for a meal with a POINTS value of 7 per serving
From: Weight Watchers 20 Minutes Recipes Spring 2009
Yield: 4 servings ( about 3 chicken tenders and 1/4 cup gravy) Points: 5

cooking spray
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders
14 ounce can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon light butter
2 Tablespoon chopped chopped fresh parsley, divided

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken, and cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn chicken; add broth, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center. Remove chicken from pan; set aside, and keep warm.

Combine milk and flour in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Bring broth mixture to a boil. Cook 4 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1 cup. Slowly stir in milk mixture, butter, and 1 Tablespoon parsley. Cook, stirring constantly until gravy thickens. Serve over chicken; sprinkle with remaining parsley.

Per serving: Cal 254 (14% from fat); fat 4g; (sat 1.7g); pro 43.5g; carb 8.2g; fib 0.4g; chol 105 mg; iron1.7mg; sod 598mg; calc 113mg

Baked Corn Dogs
Baked corn dogs, a new and improved take on a state-fair snack, put fast, fun food at your fingertips. Be sure to buy ice-pop sticks if you don't have them on hand. Serve these with baked beans coleslaw.
From Everyday Food Magazine Jan/Feb 2007
Serves 4.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for dusting sausages
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2/3 cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 precooked smoked chicken sausages (13 ounces total)
Ketchup and mustard, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Make a well in center; add milk, eggs, and oil. Mix just until combined.

Insert an ice-pop stick into one end of each sausage, leaving a 1 1/2-inch handle. Dust with flour; tap off excess. Using handle, rotate each sausage over bowl as you spoon batter to coat evenly. Place on sheet; bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Using a spatula, reapply batter that has slipped onto sheet. Return to oven; bake until golden, 20 minutes. Serve with ketchup and mustard, if desired.

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