Thursday, November 18, 2010

Meals for Week of November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving is almost upon us.  I hope that last week's post has been helpful with ideas for side dishes and desserts.
This week I wanted to get you thinking about holiday baking and so I will start with sharing a link to a blog who recently posted some great tips for baking.  Over the next few weeks I'll chime in with a few of my own tips as well as recipes and ideas for homemade gifts.
This post from Jennie at In Jennie's Kitchen, besides having great tips for baking basics includes a recipe for pumpkin buttercream which looks fantastic. 
Baking Basics

This week I am sharing recipes that are a mixture of meals for next week as well as recipe for using turkey leftovers.  And one more pie recipe that I highly recommend.

Next week, I am going to take a break.  The e-mealplanning Headquarters are finally going to move and so we have to spend the week finishing our packing and then take a break for the holiday before getting back to packing and then moving.  And after that, I hope I've got Internet service. Although there's always Starbucks and free wifi...

I wish everyone a healthy and happy holiday, take time to enjoy your family and friends and whoever else you share the holiday with.  We all lead busy lives full of stress and joy, so take time to think about and be grateful for the joy.

Meals for Week of November 22, 2010

Fettuccine with Clams, Basil, Tomato, Corn and Garlic- This dish is low in sodium and calories and fat.  You can make it healthier by using a whole wheat pasta or one of the 50/50 whole wheat blend pasta.

Cheeseburger Pizza- Use a healthy/whole grain English muffin for this super easy and kid-friendly pizza.  Serve with a salad or vegetables with dip.

Creamed Ground Beef- OK, I know it sounds gross and maybe a bit dated.  But it's good and I think of it as a variation on hamburger stroganoff and it's actually lower in fat.  It's a quick weeknight meal and you could eat it over green beans and sauteed mushrooms and no pasta for a one bowl, lower carb meal.
Turkey Cobb Salad- All the parts of this salad except the avocado could be prepped in advance.  Makes it so easy to just assemble and eat.

Leftover Turkey Pot Pie- Pot pie is actually rather simple to make.  And when you have the leftover turkey or chicken already made that makes it quicker and you can use a pre-made crust if you don’t want to make one from scratch.

Leftover Turkey Enchiladas- This doesn’t even need enchilada sauce.  A few simple ingredients and a great way to use up leftover turkey.

Turkey and Wild Rice Soup- Great for leftovers, but good anytime because turkey parts like legs are very inexpensive.  And of course a leftover roasted chicken would work well.

Pineapple Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette- After all the heavy eating over the holiday, have a lighter meal that is low in sodium, fat and calories.

Sweet Potato Pie- It’s really quite simple to make and it’s very tasty!  If you are scared to make your own crust, I highly recommend the pre-made crust at Trader Joe’s.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Meals for Week of November 15, 2010

So this week I have some recipes for dinner, but I have mostly put together a list of Thanksgiving recipes based on requests on the e-mealplanning Facebook page.
I did not include a turkey recipe.  I considered adding one that I have used, but I thought I should focus on the side dishes and desserts.  Please leave a comment here or on Facebook if you are interested in a turkey recipe recommendation or if there is any other recipe you are looking for.

Meals for Week of November 15, 2010

Thai Honey Peanut Chicken- A very easy 10 minute stir fry.  Delicious!

Chicken Posole- This is a very quick and basic version of a traditional Mexican soup.  Don’t use the oregano listed in the recipe, add cumin instead so it has a smokey, Mexican flavor. 

Chicken Strips with Blue Cheese Dressing- This is a lower fat version of baked chicken strips.

Baked Chicken with Rice and Black Beans-Sometimes a meal like this is great on a busy weeknight because you don't have to watch something on the stove.

Black Bean and Tortilla Bake- Kid-friendly and healthy vegetarian meal.  Easy to make and you can always adapt it to suit your tastes.

Artichoke Spinach Lasagna- Vegetarian lasagna that takes very little prep time.  It can be frozen to cook another time or freeze leftovers. 

Pumpkin Pancakes- This recipe is perfect for if you purchased the large can of pumpkin and didn’t use it all as it only requires 6 tablespoons of pumpkin.  Or, just purchase a smaller 15oz can and then keep the extra in the fridge or freezer to make more another day.  Keep in mind with the pumpkin that if frozen or refrigerated a lot of moisture comes out and that’s ok, you should just squeeze the water out of it. 

 Thanksgiving Sides and Desserts

Sweet Potato Spoon Bread- Really good!  And a little bit of a different change from the typical sweet potato casserole.

Mashed Potatoes with Brown Butter, Goat Cheese and Sage- If you are open to  trying something new for Thanksgiving instead of basic mashed potatoes, you MUST try these.  THE BEST.

Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing- For many years, making stuffing was not my job on Thanksgiving.  I actually never cared for stuffing, I would take a tiny serving and that was it.  It’s not that it didn’t taste good, just not my favorite.  Anyway, I found myself having to make stuffing and this is the recipe I used as my guideline.  I really like how simple it is and it tastes really good.  I actually add chopped apple and cook it with the celery and onion.  Look to get a natural, nitrite free sausage.
Simple Stuffing- Basic stuffing recipe that you can adapt to add more ingredients like apples, mushrooms or nuts. 

Thanksgiving Stuffing- Another very easy and traditional stuffing recipe. 

Golden Beets and Brussels Sprouts- I happen to love Brussels sprouts and I recently discovered my love of beets.  The two roasted together is fantastic.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Apples- Brussels sprouts really pair well with something sweet, it gives them a mellow flavor.  In this one the sprouts are shredded, so it's a whole different texture.  The recipe includes using tofu to make it more of a complete meal with protein.  You can leave that out for a side dish or keep it for vegetarian guests.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts-  This recipe is my personal favorite, maybe because it's my own creation and won a contest.  However, I no longer "own" it and it's published in a book, so I don't have permission to post it.  Here's the basic directions:  Trim and then roughly chop sprouts (don't leave them whole) and sautee in a pan with some butter or olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until tender, then drizzle in some good, thick balsamic vinegar, mix it around, let that bubble and caramelize.  Add another pat of butter and stir to create a smooth sauce.  As an option- caramelize onions first, then mix those in with the sprouts toward the end.

Quinoa Pie with Butternut Squash- A vegetarian main dish option using high protein quinoa.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes- As with most things from Paula Deen, these are equal parts delicious and terribly fattening.  They are sort of like a cheesecake bar, but with a cake-like crust.  It's great to bring to a Thanksgiving pot luck, people with love you for them.

Pumpkin Cream Pie- Basically your standard pumpkin pie recipe, but includes a recipe for a whipped cream topping.

Georgia Pecan Pie- This is "my" pecan pie recipe.  I wrote the recipe down in a spiral notebook when I was in high school.  I took it from a Thanksgiving issue of Bon Apetit and I regret that I didn't include the year of the issue.  In any case, I am pretty sure that I've made this pie every year at Thanksgiving (and sometimes Christmas) for probably close to 20 years.  I have never bothered to search for it online since I have it written down, but was happy to find it so I could share it with you.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Meals for Week of November 8, 2010

So it's not Winter yet, in fact the weather here at the e-mealplanning World Wide Headquarters has warmed up to the upper 70's.  But I'm pushing ahead with Fall and Winter meals.  With that in mind, I came across a little article about nutritious "super" Winter foodsCheck out the article here.

Meals for the Week of November 8, 2010

Pasta with Butternut Squash and Pecans- This is a great meatless meal, or it could be a side dish if you wanted.

Quick Chicken Tostadas- These are super easy to prepare.  You can find ready-made tostadas where you find tortillas, or make a lighter kind by baking corn tortillas in the oven until crisp. 

Pumpkin Gnocchi- Give this a try and make gnocchi from scratch.  It’s actually not too difficult. 

Burger Sliders- Fun for kids and inexpensive to make.  Use ground turkey instead of beef if you prefer.  Serve with sweet potato fries and a salad.

Curried Squash & Chicken Soup- You can control the heat with adding a little of the red curry paste at a time, a little goes a long way.  I found a jar of paste made by Thai Kitchen in the Asian food section of the supermarket.   The recipe is written to serve 2, but you can easily just double it to serve more or to have leftovers for lunch.

Herb Garden Chicken Slow Cooker Recipe- Very easy recipe for a whole chicken in the slow cooker.  You can cook sides dishes separately or throw some vegetables to cook along with it.

Turkey Meatball and Tortellini Soup-  I came up with this soup just staring into my freezer.  I had ground turkey and a package of tortellini, some Trader Joe’s frozen green beans, a few other veggies and canned diced tomatoes.    My family loved it because it was actually a soup that was filling as a meal all on its own.  And every time I’ve made it, it’s been a little different just based on what vegetables I have.

Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair- This recipe calls for capers, which add a great little tart and salty flavor to the dish.  You can leave them out if you want or add something else like mushrooms.

Spaghetti with Shrimp and Bacon-  Fast and simple dish that calls for just 2 strips of bacon to add a little smoky flavor.  You could also just use ham or pancetta if you wanted.

Side Dishes
Salad with Beets and Yogurt Dressing- Salad is hard for me in colder weather.  I’m just really not interested in the effort to fix a salad.  Eat out at a salad bar?  No problem.  But at home, I am not so good.  But this salad is really simple and utilizes beets, which I have recently fallen in love with.  Greek yogurt is a fantastic base for a dressing, but if you prefer, use whatever dressing you like.

Roasted Cauliflower- Simple and delicious.

Cran-Berry Green Tea Smoothie- I like the use of brewed green tea in this smoothie; it’s a great way to start the day.