Monday, March 11, 2013

Spring Forward: Weekly Menu 3/11/13

Hello friends! It's the time of year for corned beef and soda bread, but those are the kinds of things that I think taste best prepared by someone else... at a restaurant. What I do like, however, is interpreting the St. Patrick's Day theme of green in different ways, such as the Shrimp in Green Sauce (garlicky! amazing sauce when mopped up with bread!) and the definitely not sauerkraut-like Turkey Sausage with Braised Cabbage and Leeks. Also, lamb is traditional on a lot of spring menus, specifically for Easter, but these lamb loin chops come together in about 5 minutes before grilling and fall into the "5 Ingredients or Less" category. Lamb is not in regular rotation on our menus, so even though this dish is dead simple, it feels a little special.

Enjoy. I'm off to try and get my lost hour of sleep back.

Herbs de Provence Lamb Chops

Herbs de Provence Lamb Chops with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots

 Never tried lamb on the grill before? This is the one to try. Loin chops can be a little pricey, but since lamb is often served at Easter, start looking for good deals now.

Sides: Roasted carrots and roasted or mashed potatoes 

Make Ahead Notes
  • Combine the first five ingredients (all but the lamb chops) and refrigerate until ready to use
  • 1 tablespoon dried herbes de Provence
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 8 (4-ounce) lamb loin chops, trimmed
  • Cooking spray
  • Prepare grill.
  • Combine first 5 ingredients; rub evenly over both sides of lamb.
  • Place lamb on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.

Recipe from Cooking Light

Shrimp in Green Sauce

Shrimp in Green Sauce

 Warning: This great, simple meal is quite garlicky, so it's a little strong for some people. Feel free to reduce the amount of garlic.

Sides: Crusty French bread to soak up the sauce
  • Use already-peeled garlic cloves (such as Trader Joe's)
  • Buy your shrimp already shelled and deveined if you can
Make Ahead Notes
  • Combine and process the first four ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use
  • If shrimp are not already peeled and deveined, do that and refrigerate the shrimp until ready to use
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped green onions
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 2 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 6 ounces sourdough or French bread, torn into 6 (1-ounce) pieces
  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Place olive oil and garlic in a food processor; process until garlic is finely chopped, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add green onions and parsley in food processor; pulse until minced. Spoon garlic mixture into a large bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, red pepper, and shrimp to garlic mixture, and toss well to coat.
  • Spoon the shrimp mixture into a shallow roasting pan, and add the wine. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until the shrimp are done, stirring once. Serve with bread.

Recipe adapted from

Turkey Sausage with Braised Cabbage & Leeks 

Turkey Sausage with Braised Cabbage and Leeks

 I crave this meal when it's chilly outside and I want comforting food, but don't want to eat a pile of carbs. Think your kids won't go for this? Yeah, mine don't either. But they do like the sausage on its own, plus when I serve this, I have a pack of hot dogs handy as a backup for them.

Sides: Rye bread (dill rye if you can get it) and applesauce

Make Ahead Notes
  • Slice your cabbage and refrigerate for later
  • Olive oil
  • 8 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (about 2 pounds), divided
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced leek (about 3 small)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pound smoked turkey sausage, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard or spicy, grainy mustard
  • Coat the bottom of a large nonstick skillet or Dutch oven with olive oil and place over medium heat. Add 4 cups cabbage and leek. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Stir in remaining cabbage and black pepper. Cover and cook 5 minutes; stir in broth.
  • Add sausage to pan, nestling pieces into vegetable mixture. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until sausage is heated. Serve with mustard.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Pumpkin Banana Smoothie 

Pumpkin Banana Smoothie

That large stash of canned pumpkin that I had from the fall is dwindling, but this sounded like a good option to use up some of it. It was a nice change from our usual strawberry and banana smoothies. Be sure to peel and freeze the bananas ahead - the texture really helps.

  • 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin, chilled
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice 
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash of ground cloves
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced and frozen
  • Milk as needed to thin the smoothie if too thick when blending 
  • Dash of ground cinnamon (optional)
  • Combine yogurt and next 8 ingredients (through banana) in a blender, and process until smooth.
  • Garnish with dash of ground cinnamon, if desired. Serve immediately.

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