Happy Friday! As the Rain continues to fall in the Capital District, I hope this fun salad will help bring some pep into your day. It combines a number of delicious flavors that really pleases the palate. Plus it’s pretty healthy! I hope you enjoy it.
Breakfast: Mint and Cilantro Melon Salad
Lunch: Bartlett Pear Salad
Snack: Crispy Fried Tofu
Dinner: Cuban Paella
Dessert: Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
1 (10-oz.) package washed and ready-to-eat fresh spinach
2 to 3 large, ripe California Bartlett pears, cored, quartered and sliced
1 avocado, peeled and diced
3 to 4 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/2 cup pine nuts or other nut, toasted
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup fresh mushrooms, optional
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1 to 2 tsp. Dijon mustard, to taste
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp. salt
- Combine spinach, pears, avocado, bacon, pine nuts, cranberries and mushrooms in salad bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients and drizzle over salad.
- Toss before serving.
Short and sweet. Enjoy!
Breakfast: Strawberry Melon Salad
Lunch: Cuban Lentil Soup
Snack: Baked Sweet Potato Chips
Dinner: Buttermilk Ranch Chicken Breast
Dessert: Peanut Butter Cookies
Happy Wednesday my fellow food lovers! Today’s feature recipe is soup! I love soup and I enjoy soup all year round. Here is a yummy Cuban Lentil Soup for your enjoyment!
Cuban Lentil Soup, also known as sopa de lentejas, is delicious! One thing I really love is having a few spoonfuls and then adding lime to the soup. It completely changes the flavor. Being from the Caribbean, I’m used to it being hot all the time, so soup is something we enjoy year round. I hope you like it as much as I do.
1 cup lentils (rinsed)
1 tbsp vinegar
1 medium onion (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
6 cups water
1 pack Goya beef bouillon
1 celery stalk (chopped)
2 tomatoes (quartered)
1 potato (peeled, diced)
3 basil leaves
1/2 tspn oregano
1/4 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
1 tspn cumin
1 tspn salt
1/2 tspn pepper
- Over low heat, pour the water and add the lentils in a large sauce pan.
- Bring to a boil
- Reduce heat to low
- Cover and simmer for 15 mins.
- Add vinegar, onion, garlic, beef bouillon, celery, tomatoes, potato, bay leaf, cumin, basil and oregano.
- Stir ingredients well
- Bring to a boil
- Reduce the heat to medium
- Cover and simmer for 45 mins.
- Remove the bay leaf and discard.
- Add salt and pepper and wine and stir well.
- Cook an additional 5 mins.
- The soup should be somewhat thick and not very watery, and the potatoes tender.
- To thicken, let stand for several mins.
- Serve on soup bowls and enjoy!
I typically enjoy the soup with a side of rice, but it’s hearty enough to enjoy by itself!
Thursday? Thursday! I don’t know about you, but this week flew by! Here is our Thursday menu!
Breakfast: Yogurt and Granola
Lunch: Five Cheese Mac and Cheese
Dinner: Oxtail Stew
Dessert: Fruit Sorbet
I think I mentioned it before, but I’m Caribbean (Dominican and Bahamian) so oxtail stew was a weekly thing at my house. We typically had it Sundays, but why not spice up your Thursday with something different? It’s delicious with yellow rice, beans and rice or just white rice. A real treat for your family! Enjoy!
- 12 ounces dried lima beans
- 4 pounds oxtails
- 2 large Vidalia onions, chopped
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
- 4 teaspoons hot paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce
- 4 tablespoons gravy master
- 6 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 4 teaspoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons salt
- Right rice, recipe follows
- In a large bowl, cover lima beans with water, cover with a towel and soak overnight.
- In a large pot, add oxtails, onions, scallions, garlic, thyme, red pepper, paprika, bay leaf, hot sauce, and gravy master and marinate at least 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally.
- Add enough water to just cover the oxtails and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover and cook 2 hours. Every 30 minutes for 2 hours add 2 cups of water or broth, alternating, as necessary, to keep oxtails covered with liquid.
- At 2 hours, add the beans, tomato paste, and 2 more cups of beef broth and water, if needed. Bring to a boil then simmer uncovered 2 hours, skimming fat off top and stirring occasionally. In the last 1/2 hour of cook time, season with 2 tablespoons salt. Serve with rice.
Rinse rice 3 times to remove starch. Put rice in a medium saucepan. Fill saucepan with enough water to cover the rice by 1/2-inch or measure by placing your thumb tip on the rice and filling the pot with water until the water reaches the middle of your thumbnail. Bring rice to a simmer, cover and cook until tender and liquid is evaporated, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rice stand another 5 minutes, covered.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Have a great meal!
Start the week with a super easy menu. Mondays are hard for everyone. And this week is even harder because we have the kids at home for the holidays. I’ll try to recycle and re-use as many ingredients as possible.
Breakfast: Hand Held Quiche
Snack1: Matcha Shortbread
Lunch: Pear and Walnut Sandwiches
Snack2: Apple Spice Cookie Bar
Dinner: Stuffed Peppers
Dessert: No-Bake Apple Walnut Tart
Today’s Recipe is super easy. It will take you 20 minutes in the kitchen but then you’ll be done for the day. The best part is that you can use the risotto for your burrito tomorrow for lunch.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
- Green peppers (1 per person but you might want to give the little ones half only)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 400 gr ripe tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon Sazon (if you don’t have any left, you can replace with garlic, parsley and onion)
- 1 red pepper shopped
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- For the broth, get 1 bunch of celery, 1 onion and 2 carrots
- 1 cup rice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash the peppers, remove the tops and seeds
- Place the olive oil in a deep pan, add the sazon (or the chopped onion, parsley and garlic)
- Once hot, add the meat and move it until the meat is brownish. At that point add the tomatoes
- Cook the mix for 3 minutes and add the rice and move it
- Place a smaller pot with water, a whole onion, celery and carrot to boil
- Add small amounts of the boiling water you have on the pot until the rice is ready
- Once the rice is ready, fill the peppers with the rice and place it in the oven (375 degrees) for just 10 minutes
Fun Tip: You can get the kids to draw eyes and mouse on the peppers. Use the tops and make use as Mexican sombreros. For the nose, attach an olive with a tooth pin. The kids will love it.
On Sundays I try to make really easy recipes. It must be a family day, focused on spending time together and relaxing. Certainly not a heavy cooking day. That’s the main reason why we send everyone (if you can) to go out for lunch. I would love to hear your reviews about good Kid Friendly places to go eat in Northeastern NY. This post is for Sunday, December 26, 2010 (we publish one week ahead so you can plan your menu one week ahead of time).
Breakfast: Tostada Waffles
Snack1: Apple Spice Cookie Bar
Lunch: Go out! we went to “La Fiesta” see my Yelp Review – Go show them some love. They got 5 stars from me (they’re not family/friends nor did they pay me for this review).
Snack2: Whole Grain Toast with Apple Butter
Dinner: Bucatini all’Amatriciana
Dessert: Sweet Pizzas
Now to today’s recipe: Bucatini all’Amatriciana
This is a super easy and nutricious recipe which can be simply done in 20 minutes and feed a whole army of hungry people. Typical and traditional Italian pasta. The secret to this recipe is the pecorino cheese that you put on top (instead of the parmessian cheese).
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
- 400 gr Bucatini (you can use spaghetti or any other pasta here)
- 100 gr Guanciale cut into small pieces (the Italian bacon made from the pig’s cheek area)
- 400 gr Ripe tomatoes (or 200 gr pealed tomatoes)
- 4 spoons of grated Pecorino Romano
- 1 spoon of olive oil
- 2 spoons of white wine (dry)
- Place the tomatoes inside boiling water for 10 seconds (count to 10), then put them in cold water. Peal them off and cut them in small slices.
- Put water on a pot to boil. That way when the sauce is ready, you can put the pasta
- Clean up the outer part of the guanciale (the bacon), and cut them in small but kind of long pieces.
- Heat up the oil, put the guanciale. When this takes a little color, pour the white wine until it evaporates. Then remove the guanciale from the pan.
- Now on the same pan, cook the tomatoes and add the salt. Keep it on high for about 5 minutes.
- Add the guanciale back to the sauce for another 2 minutes.
- At this point, put the pasta (100 gr per person) to boil for 7 minutes.
- Once the pasta is “al dente” you can put it back on the sauce for 2 minutes.
- Serve hot and put the pecorino romano cheese on top.
November ’10 – Week 3
Breakfast: Granola with Yogurt
Morning Snack: Banana Bread with Mango Lassi
Lunch: Cold Peanut Noodles (made with last night’s leftover soba noodles.)
Afternoon Snack: Puppy Chow
Dinner: Shrimp Scampi
Dessert: Ice Cream with Fruit
Recipe of the Day
Cold Peanut Noodles
Sometimes the urge to eat curry flavors gets to me in the wee hours of the morning while I’m working on writing projects- especially if I’ve been writing about food! This trick, with a few quick ingredients I usually have around, will turn any leftover noodles, from spaghetti to soba, into a great Thai dish.
1/4 C Peanut Butter
1/8 C Soy Sauce
Juice of 1 Lime
1 t, heaping, of Madras Curry Powder
Microwave peanut butter in a medium sized bowl for 15-20 seconds or until melty- DO NOT BURN! Whisk in remaining ingredients and toss with leftover pasts. Stash in the fridge until ready to eat!
October’10 – Week 3
Breakfast: Huevos Rancheros
Morning Snack: Fresh Fruit and String Cheese
Lunch: Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo (made with last night’s leftovers.)
Afternoon Snack: Banana Bread and Mango Lassi
Dinner: Soba Noodle Bowls
Dessert: Chocolate No-Bake Cookies
Recipe of the Day:
Soba Noodle Bowls
It never fails, whenever I’m at any kind of noodle or Asian fusion place, from The Pasta Factory to Pei Wei back in Arizona, I always order a soba noodle bowl. The sugary soy, green onions and lime combine to create this masterful sauce that I could eat forever. Cabbage, tofu and buckwheat soba noodles make this dish as healthy as it is tasty.
1 Package Buckwheat Soba Noodles, (found in Asian supermarkets or the Ethnic aisle.)
1 Block Extra Firm Tofu
1 Wedge Bok Choy Cabbage, cut into shreds
3-4 Green Onions, whites and light greens sliced
1 qt Beef Stock
1 t Freshly Grated Ginger
1 Garlic Clove, crushed and minced
1/4 C Soy Sauce
2 T Sugar
Set a pot of water to boil for the soba noodles and cook according to package directions.
Meanwhile, pat the brick of tofu dry. In a small skillet, sear the brick of tofu on all sides, adding just a touch of oil if necessary to prevent sticking.
Whisk together ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, and the juice of one lime. Once tofu is browned, add half of this mixture to the skillet and continue cooking until tofu darkens and takes on those flavors.
Once Soba has finished cooking, drain it of the water and add the beef stock and remaining soy sauce mixture back into the pot of noodles, heating until very hot. Remove tofu from skillet and slice into thin slices, toss with what’s left in the skillet to coat every piece with sauce.
Assemble bowls with a serving of noodles, covered over in broth. Add several tofu slices, cabbage and green onions on top. Serve with an extra wedge of lime.
October ’10 – Week 3
Breakfast: Cereal with Fruit and Milk
Morning Snack: Puppy Chow
Lunch: Chicken Quesadillas
Afternoon Snack: Banana Bread and Mango Lassi
Dinner: Fettucine Alfredo with a Green Salad
Dessert: Ice Cream
Recipe of the Day:
I love this stuff, and so do kids! When I was little, I used to buy baggies of it for a quarter at the bazaar at my grandmother’s church. It’s a truly addictive snack. This recipe is very simple and great fun for kids to help out with. Make up a huge batch of this for your next party or get-together, everyone loves it. (*Orange text indicates simple steps that kids can do!)
9 C Chex Cereal
1 C Chocolate Chips
1/2 C Peanut Butter
1/4 C Butter
1/4 t Vanilla
1 1/2 C Confectioner’s Sugar
Prepare the cereal into a large bowl. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Pour chocolate mixture over Chex cereal, then pour everything into a large plastic bag or plastic tub. Add powdered sugar and shake well to coat.
Spread mixture evenly on wax paper and let cool, then watch it disappear!
October ’10 – Week 3
Breakfast: Oatmeal with Fruit and Nuts
Morning Snack: Banana Bread and Mango Lassi
Lunch: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
Afternoon Snack: Fresh Fruit and String Cheese
Dinner: Chicken Fajitas
Dessert: Ice Cream with Chocolate No-Bake Cookies
Recipe of the Day:
Chocolate No-Bake Cookies
My late Mother in Law used to make these cookies for my husband when he was little, and they’re still his favorite. Every once in a while, late at night, when we’re craving something sweet, we’ll whip up a batch of these. We always add coconut to ours because we love it, but they do not traditionally contain that ingredient and it may be omitted. We also do ours with crunchy peanut butter for the texture. These are a favorite in the summer because they don’t use the oven!
2 C Sugar
4 T Cocoa
1 Stick of Butter
1/2 C Milk
1 C Crunchy Peanut Butter
1 C Sweetened Flaked Coconut
1 T Vanilla Extract
3 C Quick-Cooking Oatmeal
Bring the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Add the peanut butter, vanilla, coconut and oatmeal. Let boil for one minute. While still hot, drop tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet or tray covered in waxed paper. Place in fridge. Let cool completely before eating.
October ’10 – Week 2 – Friday Dinner/Entree
This recipe is a take on a recipe from one of my awesome mom friends back in Arizona. She’s shy about most flavors in food, but Italian isn’t one of them. This is a quick slow cooker meal that cooks itself while you’re busy doing mom stuff. The result is tender chicken and rice in a flavorful sauce, and it uses some cheater ingredients, too. The less work you have to put in, the more time you have to spend with your kids.
4-6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 C Brown Rice
2 Packets Italian Salad Dressing Mix
Frozen Veggies of Choice
Put chicken, rice, dressing mix and 1 quart of water in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 6 hours. Add more water if needed. About 1 hour before serving, add a bag of frozen veggies- I usually use peas. Meal should be ready when rice is tender and chicken pulls apart easily.