Monday, October 1, 2012

Weekly Menu 10/1: Finger Food Dinners

Chicken Gyro, Deviled Chicken Drumsticks, Fish Tacos and Churros

My kids, 9, 6 and 3.5, are often cavemen not the useful kind of cavemen that bring home game and start fires, but the kind that snarf food and have no knowledge of utensils. Though we constantly nag remind them about how to have good table manners, there are times when I surrender. Such a time came recently when one of my kids was eating salad with her fingers (gross) and I said something like, "That's it! I give up! If you insist on eating with your hands, then I'll make a meal that's meant to be eaten with your hands."

And now I have a list of dinners that are handheld, which is totally appealing to kids because they often get to "build" their dinner, and of course eat with their fingers. Other handheld dinners from earlier weekly menus are the Carne Asada Chicken Tacos, the Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Beef Tacos and the Italian Meatball Sliders.

Easy Chicken Gyro

Chicken Gyro on pita with tomatoes, red onion, salad and tzatziki sauce

We also like to put the salad right in with the chicken and wrap up the whole thing.

Sides: Favorite salad mix with balsamic vinaigrette

  • Use store-bought tzatziki sauce, usually found near hummus and refrigerated salsa at grocery store

Make Ahead Notes 
  • Prepare marinade in the morning and add chicken; store in fridge for later
  • Slice vegetables

  • Tzatziki sauce (I like Trader Joe's)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • lemon, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into strips
  • 6 (6 inch) pita bread rounds
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4-6 Romaine hearts, chopped
  • In a large sealable plastic bag, combine 4 cloves minced garlic, juice of 1 lemon, red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and oregano in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Add chicken strips and shake bag gently to combine.
  • Preheat the broiler and set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source. 
  • Remove chicken from the marinade and shake off excess. Discard the remaining marinade. Place chicken on a large baking sheet. 
  • Broil the chicken until lightly browned and no longer pink in the center, 2 to 4 minutes per side. 
  • Transfer cooked chicken to a plate and allow to rest for 5 minutes. 
  • Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; place each pita bread into the skillet until warm and soft, about 2 minutes per pita. 
  • Serve warmed pita bread topped with chicken strips, yogurt sauce, tomatoes, onion, and lettuce.
Adapted from this recipe on Allrecipes

Tequila Lime Mahimahi Tacos

Mahimahi tacos in a bowl with  chips and guacamole


Don't let a longish ingredient list scare you off - this meal feels much easier when you do a few steps ahead earlier in the day. See the make ahead notes.

Sides: Chips and quickie guacamole (2 mashed ripe avocados + fresh salsa + garlic + lime juice + S&P to taste)

Make Ahead Notes 
  • Note: zest your lime(s) for the sour cream sauce before juicing them for the marinade
  • Combine fish marinade and set aside for later (you don't to marinate the fish all day)
  • Slice cabbage, prepare dressing and toss cabbage with dressing; refrigerate and set aside for later
  • Combine sour cream sauce and refrigerate for later

  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 3 tablespoons tequila
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro, divided (leave this out if you dislike cilantro)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 lb mahimahi
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons honey, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons 2 percent milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
  • 8 corn tortillas (6 inches each)
  • 1/2 firm-ripe avocado, thinly sliced
  • 2 limes, quartered
  • In a resealable plastic bag, combine 3 tablespoons lime juice, tequila, 1 tablespoon cilantro, garlic and cumin. Add fish, seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate, turning once, 1 hour. 
  • In a bowl, combine vinegar, oil, 2 teaspoons honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add cabbage; toss well. 
  • In another bowl, combine sour cream, milk, zest, remaining 1 tbsp juice, remaining 3/4 teaspoon honey and 1/2 teaspoon salt. 
  • Heat grill. Remove fish from marinade; season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Grill, turning once, until just cooked through and lightly charred, 4 minutes per side.
  • Transfer to a cutting board; coarsely chop. Stir remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro into slaw. Grill tortillas, turning once, 30 seconds per side. To assemble, spoon 1 tablespoon sour cream mixture in center of each tortilla. Divide fish, slaw and avocado among tortillas. Garnish with lime wedges.

Recipe from Epicurious

Deviled Chicken Drumsticks

Three crispy oven fried drumsticks on a plate

These drumsticks are good for dinner and  cold the next day for lunch too.

Sides: Baked beans and corn on the cob

  • Buy quality pre-grated Parmesan cheese
Make Ahead Notes 
  • Combine panko, cheese, and spices and set aside for later (do not add butter until you're ready to prep the chicken) 
  • Prep your baking pan and set aside for later 

  • 12 chicken drumsticks (2 1/2 to 3 pounds total)
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne (use a pinch if you don't want the spice)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in upper third.
  • Pat chicken dry, then toss with mustard until evenly coated.
  • Stir together panko, cheese, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Drizzle with butter and toss.
  • Dredge each drumstick in crumb mixture to coat, then arrange, without crowding, in a buttered large 4-sided sheet pan. Roast until chicken is browned and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe from Epicurious

Extra Credit: Oven-Baked Churros

Cinnamon and sugar dusted puff pastry churros

Four ingredients, people. Is there anything better than a warm baked good covered in cinnamon and sugar? It's not a true churro, of course, but the flavors are close enough and you can pull this off any night after dinner because it's ridiculously easy.

Make Ahead Notes
  • Be sure to allow 30-40 minutes for your puff pastry to defrost at room temp
  • Mix up your cinnamon-sugar mixture. I did it in a pie plate, which was just the right size for dipping.
  • 1 (17.3-oz.) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • Preheat oven to 450°. Unfold and cut puff pastry sheets in half lengthwise, and cut each half crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips. Place strips on a lightly greased parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, combine sugar and cinnamon. Remove pastry strips from oven, and dip in butter; roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Let stand on a wire rack 5 minutes or until dry.
 Recipe from MyRecipes

No comments:

Post a Comment