Monday, December 21, 2009

A Week of Menus

(The date of this posting is deceiving. It spent just over a week as a draft. The actual posting date is December 28.)

Just thought it might be interesting to record our dinner menus for one week.

Sunday we were guests at friends' home. The dinner was plentiful: ham, sausage chunks, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, peas, carrots, applesauce, pineapple slices, coleslaw, raw carrots, broccoli, and yellow pepper with dip, wine, juice, Saskatoon pie with ice cream and cheesecake with Saskatoon topping for dessert. No wonder we were stuffed!

Monday at home: grilled pork (from pork tenderloin) with sweet and sour sauce, oven baked sweet potato chunks garnished with olive oil, celery salt, ground cumin and ground coriander, steamed broccoli, salad of fresh tomato slices with onion and peas, choice of Italian or Ranch dressing. No dessert.

Tuesday: Fresh spinach salad (spinach, mushrooms, onions, grated mozza, choice of dressings), Tilapia (gently heated in pan with dab of butter and sliced onions), Basmati rice (with onion and green, red, and yellow peppers), asparagus (from the freezer.) We have a prolific asparagus patch, and eat as much as we can in season. The rest goes into the freezer (boil 3 minutes, drain, freeze).

Wednesday: whole wheat spaghetti noodles, sauce: 3 mild Italian sausages, cut into rounds, sauteed with 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms chopped, 1/2 large onion chopped, green, red and yellow sweet peppers chopped, 1 clove garlic (all I had or I would have used 2 cloves). When the saute is ready, add 1 jar of Classico Tomato Basil sauce, and heat through. Add some dried oregano and a little ground anise seed. Serve with focaccia bread and red wine. Finish with a serving of frozen vanilla yogurt.

Thursday: Salad: fresh tomatoes, cut into 12
sections, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with dried dill. Main dish: Prime Rib roast (1st time I've done Prime Rib!), mashed potatoes, vegetable combination of carrot slices, onions and celery slices, boiled lightly and dressed with a little butter, sauteed mushrooms on top of prime rib, accompanied by a glass of red wine.

Friday: Christmas Dinner: turkey thigh and drumstick, slow roasted for 3 hours at 350 in an oven bag, mashed sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar, boiled Brussels sprouts, homemade cranberry sauce, stuffing (from a box, alas), accompanied by a glass of red wine. Maybe a dish of frozen yogurt later on for dessert.

Here's a wonderful recipe for a big batch of stuffing, cooked in a large crockpot.
1/4 cup butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 (8 ounce) can of mushrooms, drained
(OR use fresh mushrooms)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
12 cups (or whatever) toasted bread cubes
2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups chicken bouillion
1 pound pork sausage, cooked and drained

Put all ingredients into large crock pot, stir thoroughly.
Cook on high for 1 hour.
Reduce to low and cook for 1 to 2 more hours.

Note: 22 slices of bread, cubed and toasted,
yields 12 cups of toasted bread cubes.

Saturday: We had our neighbors, our good friends L and M, over for supper this evening. I had made a huge pot of chili on Monday, refrigerated it for two days to let the flavours blend, and then froze it in quart containers. I took out four quarts in the morning to thaw and gently heated it in a crockpot throughout the afternoon. Here's how we serve chili: crumble some corn chips in the bottom of a large soup bowl, spoon hot chili over the corn chips, top with grated cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped onions and fresh tomatoes, and finish with a dollop of sour cream. Add focaccia buns on the side, along with a glass of red wine.

For dessert: a slice of homemade cheesecake with a spoonful of homemade strawberry topping.

1 pound (or more) ground beef, cooked and drained
1 1/2 chopped onions
3 large carrots, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
5 cups sliced mushrooms
1 medium zucchini, shredded
1 14 ounce can of black beans, drained
2 28 ounce cans of red kidney beans, drained
1 28 ounce can of white kidney beans, drained
2 28 ounce cans of Romano beans, drained
2 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1 13 ounce can of tomato paste
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup red cooking wine
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon basil
2 teaspoons dill
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 bay leaves
Combine all ingredients in a BIG heavy pot, and simmer for the afternoon.
Remove the bay leaves and serve. (Or leave them in and give a prize to the person who finds them in his/her bowl.)

4 pkg (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups heavy cream
6 eggs
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 10 inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with baking parchment. Wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil, to form a collar above the pan.
Beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. (Use a few of the eggs with this or your mixer will suffer.)
Add sugar, then cornstarch, butter, cream and eggs, beating well after each addition. Pour into pan. Place pan in a pan filled with 1" of water.
Bake for 1 hour or up to two hours--until the top is golden brown. (I usually bake it for close to two hours, and it's never been overbaked.)
Cool on a wire rack for 3 hours.
Take out of pan and refrigerate, or cut (into 24 slices) and freeze.

This is a VERY rich cheesecake. Made with these ingredients it comes to about 300 calories per slice (when divided into 24 slices). Top it with some nice homemade strawberry topping.

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