Monday, January 14, 2013

New Dish Challenge: Weekly Menu 1/14/13

Try 14 new dishes in one month. Yup, that's the challenge I've taken on for January and so far, I'm happy to  report that there was only one fail (not pictured here - you're welcome). Why the challenge? To branch out and try some new techniques. To use some cooking gear, such as the brown roasting dish you see in the chicken pic above, that has seen no action since purchase. To continue expanding my family's palate. And perhaps most importantly, to keep giving you the eye candy and easy ideas that make weekly menu planning possible. In case you need a little more oomph, check out these tips on getting started with weekly menu planning for your family.

Thanks for checking out these new dishes. Please let me know if you try them and like them!

Sage & Garlic Roast Chicken with Pomegranate Black Pepper Glaze

 Sage & Garlic Roast Chicken with Pomegranate Black Pepper Glaze


This dish sounds like it will be fancy and complicated, but it is most definitely not. Your kitchen will smell amazing and you'll look like a pro even though the effort is minimal.
  • Use pre-chopped root vegetables, such as butternut squash, from the produce section

Make Ahead Notes
  • Soften butter and chop sage; combine butter, sage, garlic and salt and set aside for later (try not to let it "harden" up in the fridge)
  • Clean chicken and set it at room temp and dry for about 30 minutes before cooking.

  • 4-5 pound fryer chicken (be sure to remove giblets and rinse cavity)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons softened butter, unsalted
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 cups (16 oz) pomegranate juice
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • Pomegranate seeds and sage leaves for garnish (optional)
  • Cubed seasonal vegetables; prep as needed and roast alongside the chicken (suggestions: butternut squash, acorn squash, new or sweet potatoes)

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Finely chop the sage and garlic. Combine the butter, sage, garlic, and salt in a bowl and mix well until combined. Rub the butter over the entire chicken including the cavity and underneath the skin. Place any additional sage or garlic inside the cavity (optional). 
  • Tie the drumstick ends together with cooking twine and tuck the wing tips in towards the chicken. 
  • Place chicken in a roasting pan and add vegetables around the chicken. Drizzle vegetables lightly with olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Place the chicken in oven and roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes. 
  • While the chicken is roasting, pour the pomegranate juice in a sauce pot and add pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the juice has reduced by 3/4 and formed a syrup, about 15 minutes. The glaze is finished when it thickly coats the back of a spoon. Remove the chicken from the oven and pour half of the glaze over the chicken. If the glaze has hardened, heat it over low heat until fluid. Evenly spread the glaze over the chicken with a kitchen/pastry brush. Reserve leftover glaze for serving/plating. 
  • Return the chicken to the oven and roast for an additional 10 minutes. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before carving. Carve and plate. Spoon pomegranate black pepper glaze over and garnish with pomegranate seeds, if desired.
Recipe from In Sock Monkey Slippers blog

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi served with orzo
I grew up with a butter-laden version of shrimp scampi, so this is a bright and much lighter version.

  • Buy fresh or frozen shrimp that are already peeled and/or deveined
Make Ahead Notes
  • Rinse, peel and devein shrimp; refrigerate until ready to cook 
  • Chop parsley and set aside for later
  • Squeeze lemon juice into a small bowl and set aside for later

  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 7 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Place orzo in a medium bowl. Stir in parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover and keep warm.
  • While orzo cooks, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add half of shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in pan. Add remaining shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer to plate.
  • Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in pan. Add garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in shrimp, juice, and pepper; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done.

Recipe from Cooking Light

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Homemade Marinara Sauce
Double or triple this recipe and freeze portions to use for things like lasagna or chicken Parmesan later.

  • Buy pre-chopped onion from the produce section
 Make Ahead Notes 
  • Chop onion and parsley and set aside for later
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Heat the olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. 
  • Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper. 
  • Cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 15 minutes.

Recipe from Ina Garten, Food Network

Extra Credit: Puff Pastry "Pop Tarts"

These taste best warm after baking, but let them cool a bit because the jam inside is lava-hot if you get excited and bite into them too early.

  • One box frozen puff pastry (such as Pepperidge Farm)
  • 3/4 cup (8oz.) fruit jam
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp cold water
  • Place puff pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and allow it to defrost
  • Preheat to 375.
  • Mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Use to fill the pastry tarts.
  • Using a pizza cutter, cut out 12 rectangles from the puff pastry sheets.
  • Place a heaping spoonful of the jam mixture in the middle of 6 rectangles. Top with remaining 6 rectangles and crimp the edges together with a fork.
  • Bake the "tarts" at 375 F for 16-18 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen and  Food Coma Blog

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