March 24, 2013 ~ Weekly Dinner Menu

Weekly DINNER Menu Sign


Herb-Butter Roast Chicken  |  Tuscan-Style Bread Salad  |  Braised Peas with Prosciutto, Pepper & Pecorino


Lemony Chicken & Orzo Soup  |  Toasted Pita Wedges  |  Ethereally-Smooth Hummus


Best Burgers on the Grill  | Parfaits made with Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Custard & Olive Oil Maple Granola


Chili Californio {Slow Cooker}


Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato Sandwiches  |  Fresh Fruit


Marcella Hazan’s Most Famous & Simple Tomato Sauce  |  Black Zebra Pasta

A Few Notes on This Week’s Menu ~

  • SUNDAY:  This entire dinner is new for us {you know how much I love that} and comes from the April issue of Food & Wine.  The recipes are from Ryan Hardy and the technique used in preparing the chickens requires the birds to be butterflied…if you need a bit of help with this, check out the video under Tools, Tips & Tricks {right-hand side of this page} “How to Butterfly a Chicken”.
  • MONDAY:  This simple weeknight soup gets even easier to prepare by using left-over chicken from Sunday’s dinner…the time saved can be used to peel my chickpeas for the hummus!  I really am going to peel them this time.
  • TUESDAY:  Michael will be making our Best Burgers on the Grill while the girls and I pack.  We will be up around 3:30am tomorrow {Wed} morning so no post tonight, but you can click here to re-visit these amazing burgers & special sauce in my post from a few weeks back.  The parfaits made with Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Custard & Olive Oil Maple Granola are something that I am going to put together {with either blueberries or sliced fresh strawberries} as a little treat on our last night together for the rest of the week.  I will let you know how they turn out when I return home next week.

The girls and I are driving down to Southern California with the horses at this point in the week, but here are the dinners I have planned {and in some cases, cooked in advance} for the boys…

  • WEDNESDAY:  I will make this slow-cooker chili on Tuesday so the boys will have an easy, one-bowl dinner following baseball practice tonight {chili always tastes better the second day after it’s made!}  The original recipe is from the Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger & Julie Kaufmann.  My adapted version, which uses beef short rib meat instead of round steak and leaves out the olives & jalapeño, can be found below.
  • THURSDAY:  This simple sandwich is really a showstopper when served on a warm evening in September ~ when the freshest heirloom tomatoes can be found stuffing the baskets at the farmer’s markets or, if you are lucky, hanging from the vines in your own backyard.  But, for now, using  the best quality bacon {or thick-cut pancetta} & bread {Pan de Mie from Acme Bread here in the Bay area is WONDERFUL} will yield a satisfying sandwich that gives you a hint of things to come this summer.  Click here to check out “The Best BLT I’ve Ever Made” from the Project Recipe blog of Bon Appetit…I know I will be giving this version a try this summer!
  • FRIDAY:  I made Marcella Hazan’s Most Famous & Simple Tomato Sauce on Sunday and put it in the freezer.  All the boys have to do is heat the sauce and cook that fabulous pasta!  Click here to visit the original post for this dinner.

Chili Californio {adapted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger & Julie Kaufmann}:

  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 {14.5 ounces} can diced tomatoes, with their juice, or {4} medium-sized ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped.
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or bacon drippings
  • 1 medium-sized red or green bell pepper, seeded & chopped
  • 2 pounds boneless beef short-rib meat, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 pound pork shoulder, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ cup chili chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons pure New Mexico chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup water
  • shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  1. Combine half of the onions, the celery, garlic, salt, tomatoes, and tomato paste in the slow-cooker.  Cover and cook on HIGH while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil, then cook the remaining onions and the bell pepper, stirring, until softened, 6-8 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  3. Using a handheld immersion blender, partially purée the tomato sauce in the cooker, then add the sautéed vegetables and continue cooking on HIGH.
  4. In the skillet you just used, brown the beef & pork cubes on all sides in the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, sprinkling the meat with the flour. {You will need to do this in batches}  Add the cubes of meat to the cooker.  Add the chili powder, brown sugar, vinegar, chile powder, oregano, bay leaf and water, stirring to combine.  Cover and cook on LOW for 10 hours.
  5. Taste for salt and remove the bay leaf.  Serve the chile in bowls and sprinkle with onions, cilantro & cheese.

As far as this evening’s dinner goes, well…it didn’t happen as planned.  Today {in my typical, neurotic, pre-travel cleaning frenzy}, I washed all the beds & hardwood floors, pressed linens, prepared next week’s menu {as well as the following week’s menu}, prepared our grocery list for the horse-show cooler we need to bring {containing mostly beverages…water and electrolytes…fruit and protein smoothies as well as a few bites of healthy solid food}, pressed horse-show clothes for the girls and painted herb planter boxes for a friend.  I chose going for my afternoon hike, after a day full of chores,{instead of making soup & bread} before going to get Michael from the ferry.  It has been a long week for both of us {after all,my week began in the ER after chopping off half my thumb!}.  Michael sent me a text at 4:30pm {which I received while on my hike} which read…”Meet me at Servinos for a glass of wine at 5:45pm”.  This worked perfectly into my plan for not cooking dinner tonight!

Finished my Island hike, headed into town & grabbed a waterfront table to wait for Michael’s ferry.  Ordered two glasses of  wine just as he was getting off the ferry.  A Friday evening toast…


And some pretty wonderful pizzas were ordered to bring home and enjoy with the children for dinner…


It is Friday and time for another sunset.  Since I spent this evening sitting by the water, enjoying the Bay breezes and late afternoon sunshine, this sunset photo from Beverly Jacobs Equine Massage seemed appropriate {and so very beautiful} …



Happy Weekend Everyone!


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