Friday, November 5, 2010

Great Pantry Cleanout-Week 1 Menu and Recipes

I started this experiment on Monday, but alas it's Friday and I'm just now getting all this in writing. From here on out, my goal is to get these typed up and posted by Tuesday, but we'll see... Monday was November 1st, so that is when this menu begins. From here on out, I will run a traditional Sun-Sat week. I can say that so far this week has went well. Only 11 1/2 to go! haha

Menu for Nov 1-6
Monday-Chicken Spaghetti and Salad
Tuesday-Crockpot Chicken soup with rice and veggies, Grilled cheese sandwiches
Wednesday-Bible Study
Thursday-Pesto with flaked silver (coho) salmon and garlic roasted brussel sprouts
Friday-Chicken Quesadillas with salad
Saturday-Salmon Patties (crocquettes), butternut squash casserole, and broccoli florets

Chicken Spaghetti
1 jar spaghetti sauce, or 1 pint home-made marinara (that's what I used)
1 lb spaghetti
3 cubed chicken breasts
Parmesan, Mozarella, and/or Crushed Red Pepper Flakes for topping

Cook pasta as directed on package. Saute chix in EVOO in large saucepan. When browned, poor over the sauce. Simmer on low stirring often. When pasta is done, drain and combine with chix/sauce mixture. Twirl it onto plates and top with fixins.

With the spaghetti we had a green salad. While I just toss in whatever we have handy, I have to share one of our new favorite salad toppings; craisins (dried cranberries). It's so good-try it!

Crockpot Chicken Soup with Rice and Veggies
(We had some cartons of steamed rice left over from chinese take-out over the proceeding weekend. This is a great way to use it up-especially if you utilize the crock pot!)

Make a mirepoix (meer pwa) by sauteeing chopped celery, carrot, and onion in EVOO in a saucepan. Transfer to crockpot. Pour over 8 cups chicken or turkey (what I had in my freezer) broth. Add 2 or three chicken thighs or breasts. Simmer on low 8 hours. Remove chicken and shred. Add back to pot along with 2-3 cups cooked rice. Stir, turn to High, cover and let cook 15 minutes more. Serve with grilled cheese. Yummy comfort food! :)

Pesto with flaked Salmon
(I have recently become a huge fan of pesto. Yes, you can buy the $3 tubs of it at the store, but it's sooo easy to make, I suggest you save the money and give it a shot. If you don't have a basil plant on hand, you can buy prepackaged leaves in the herb section of your produce dept. for a couple of bucks-just look for the bigger package and avoid the smaller, cuter little containers that have just one serving's worth)

You'll need:
7-10 basil leaves
1 clove garlic, peeled
pinch of salt (I like Kosher)
pinch of black pepper
1/4c shredded or grated parmesan
1 lb pasta (i.e. spaghetti, angel hair, fettucine, etc)
1 can boneless, skinless salmon

Prepare pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile, break up and saute salmon in EVOO in small skillet. In the bowl of a food processor or mini food chopper, add basil, garlic, salt, pepper and parmesan. Add just a tablespoon or so of oil. Process. Continue adding little dashes of oil until the ingredients are moving smoothly in the bowl, and it has a pasty consistency. Drain pasta, and stir in salmon and pesto. Toss and serve.

Garlic Roasted Brussel Sprouts
(If you don't like traditional sprouts, I'd still give this a try. My hubby and kids who don't care for brussels boiled in water or broth, LOVE this version of them. It's a totally different texture; more caramized and firm. I think my sister said she got this from Emeril.)

You'll need:
1 lb fresh brussel sprouts-washed and quartered.
1 clove of minced or pressed garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Pour a couple of Tbsp oil on a cookie sheet. Spread sprouts on top of oil. Add garlic and salt and pepper. Toss all together and re-spread out all over sheet in an even thin layer. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

Chicken Quesadillas
Flour tortillas
Chicken Breasts that have been browned or grilled, and sliced crossways 1/4" thick.
Cilantro leaves, or dried cilantro
Salsa, Rotel, or Fresh diced tomatoes
can of rinsed black beans (if desired)
Cheddar, Jack, or whatever cheese you have on hand.

Warm tortillas. (In my case I buy the uncooked ones that are still dough. I cook them on a griddle before loading with fillings.) Put on cheese, then a layer of meat, cilantro, beans, and tomatoes. Add top tortilla and slide onto warmed griddle. After cheese has melted (it will help hold everything together while flipping) gently turn the quesadilla over with a large spatula. Slide onto a plate and cut into quarters. I prefer to use kitchen shears for cutting, but you can use a knife or pizza cutter, too. Serve with salad for a light, fresh meal.

Salmon Patties
(I once watched a show where the chef made crab cakes using mayonnaise and chopped bread instead of bread crumbs. I decided to try that with salmon patties, and it has made for a really delicious result!)

You'll need:
2 pints of boneless, skinless salmon
2 beaten eggs
1/3 cup real mayo
1 piece of bread-snipped into small pieces
1/2 tbsp old bay seasoning
1/2 a chopped onion

Combine everything above and mix well with hands. Form into patties, and brown on a griddle or in a skillet with EVOO. Serve with ketchup, Tartar sauce, or Cocktail sauce.

Butternut Squash Casserole
My kids and I have never cooked a butternut squash, but wanted to try it. We are going to try this recipe from allrecipes. com. Not only did it get good reviews, but I do have all the ingredients on hand. I'll let you know how it goes :)

Have a great weekend!

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