October ’10 – Week 1 – Monday Dinner/Entree
I think about this recipe and I see it as being something to come inside to after a long afternoon of shoveling snow. Steaming stewed veggies from the slow cooker served with tender orzo pasta and savory meatballs. This recipe could very easily be vegan, just omit the meatballs! Ragout is a French way of saying that it’s a heavily spiced stew, but no worries, this one is lightly seasoned, letting the winter veggies speak for themselves. This recipe calls for frozen meatballs, which I buy pre-made at a local butcher, but you can make your own from scratch and keep them frozen on hand, too. (*Orange text highlights easy steps that kids can do.)
1/4 C Olive Oil
4 Carrots, chopped
4 C Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed
2 Red Onions, cut into thin strips
2 C Green Cabbage, coarsely chopped
2 Turnips, coarsely chopped
2 Plum Tomatoes, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/3 C Vegetable Stock
1/3 C Dry White Wine
3/4 t each Dried Sage and Thyme
1 lb Orzo pasta
2 lb Frozen Meatballs, partially thawed. (Cook two packages, you’ll use half of them for tomorrow’s dinner recipe!)
Preheat a large skillet to med-high heat, add olive oil. Brown meatballs on all sides before transferring to the slow c0oker. Deglaze skillet with the white wine, pour deglazing liquid, including any remaining olive oil, into the slow cooker as well.
Arrange veggies on top of the meatballs, pour over the stock, and season with the salt, pepper, and herbs. Allow to cook on high for 6 hours, or until sauce is thick and veggies are tender. About 20 minutes before serving time, cook orzo according to package directions. Serve together with the ragout.
October ’10 – Week 1 – Sunday Dinner/Entree
What’s more Sunday dinner than a roasted chicken with potatoes? For me, it’s important to slow down and gather around the table, so meals that allow for that are something I’m grateful for. I’m desperately in love with French cuisine, so this chicken in particular calls for Fleur de Sel and mushrooms, but feel free to switch it up for whichever flavor profile you like the best. For Italian, use Italian seasoning and white wine, for Indian, use garam masala and ginger, for Mexican, use lime and cilantro, etc! Anything goes. (*Orange text highlights easy steps that kids can do.)
1 Roasting Chicken, about 4 lbs
1 Stick Butter, softened
1 T Fleur de Sel
1 C Mushrooms, finely diced
1 lb Fingerling or any small Potatoes
Fresh Rosemary, chopped
Preheat oven to 375°. Wash chicken inside and out, and pat dry.
In a small bowl, combine butter, Fleur de Sel, and mushrooms. Rub chicken all over with butter mixture, getting under the skin when possible.
Cut potatoes in half and sprinkle with salt and rosemary. Line the bottom of a roasting pan with them, and place chicken on top. Roast in the oven for 90-105 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 165°. Baste as needed, tent with foil if chicken darkens or dries out.
Cut chicken into parts before serving, with potatoes on the side, dressed in the mushrooms, butter and rosemary collected in the bottom of the pan.
September ’10 – Week 3 – Thursday Dinner/Entree (to be served with green beans.)
Chicken Cordon Bleu, which means ‘blue ribbon‘ in French, is a classic roulade. This simply means that the meat has been rolled up around a filling. In this case, it’s tender ham and swiss cheese. My husband loves Chicken Cordon Bleu, and though my search for the perfect recipe marches on, this one is pretty darn good.
4-6 Chicken Breasts, beaten into thin paillards with a tenderizer or heavy pan
Thinly sliced Ham and Swiss Cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/4 C Flour
1 C Panko
2 t Water
1 t Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 350°.
Lay out slices of ham and cheese on the chicken breasts, being careful to leave a margin around the outside so the breast can be sealed and no cheese will escape while baking. Tucking in the sides of the roll, roll up tightly, taking care to squeeze and seal up edges as you do. Employ toothpicks for the cooking process if they will not stay rolled up. This may become an issue especially during the breading process.
Season the flour with salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge each chicken log in the flour mixture. Beat together eggs and water, dip each log in the egg mixture. Combine panko, oil and thyme, with salt and pepper. Gently roll each log in the breadcrumbs.
Bake in a baking dish for 20 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.
September ’10 – Week 3 – Tuesday Breakfast
Crepemaking doesn’t have to be rocket science, though I’m sure it feels that way for most people the first several times. Crepes are definitely on my list of things that intimidate me in the kitchen, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try, because the results are delicious enough to warrant the risk. Start these the night before to allow your batter plenty of time to rest so that your crepes don’t tear during cooking.
3/4 C Milk
1/2 C Water
1 C Flour
3 T Melted Butter
Cream Cheese (with or without chives)
Thinly Sliced Ham (or Smoked Salmon!)
Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse to combine smoothly. Allow to sit in refrigeration overnight, or at least for an hour.
Heat a small-to-medium sized pan over medium heat. Grease well with butter. Pour about 1 oz of batter into the center and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan evenly. Cook for about half a minute before flipping and cooking 15 seconds more. Turn out onto a plate or cutting board to allow to cool flat. Repeat until all the batter is used.
Fill by spreading cream cheese (I prefer mine with chives) and thinly sliced ham, and roll up to eat. For a more adult-inclined version, try smoked salmon in place of the ham!