Friday, May 28, 2010

What's for dinner?

I'm always on the lookout for some good menu ideas. Am I the only one who regularly falls into cooking ruts?

What, you too? How about we make a deal: I'll post some yummy dinner ideas we've tried lately and you share a few of your recent dinner favorites.

Fettuccine with Creamy Tomato Italian Sausage Sauce
Green Salad

With heavy cream and Italian sausage, this pasta dish isn't terribly healthy, but it was sure delicious and pretty easy. It would be a perfect special occasion dinner. We used whole wheat penne instead of fettuccine and omitted the spicy sausage-- only 1/2 lb. sausage instead of the full pound.

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili
Mini Corn Muffins
Green Salad
Orange Slices

Egg Salad Sandwiches (I like to add a little curry powder-- yum!)
Hummus, Pita Chips and Fresh Veggies

Italian White Bean Soup with Sausage and Kale (my version loosely based on this recipe)
Quick Rise Breadsticks
Creamy Fruit Salad (chopped apples, sliced bananas and red grapes, tossed with vanilla yogurt)

Italian White Bean Soup
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/4 lb. sweet Italian Sausage, casings removed
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 c. chicken broth
2 c. water
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, diced
1 tsp. fresh thyme, diced
4 c. kale, washed and torn
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions and celery until tender. Add sausage and cook until crumbly and no longer pink. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (abt. 30 seconds). Stir in beans, broth, water, and herbs. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then simmer for 15 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, partially blend soup-- about half of the solids should be blended. Return to a simmer, add kale, and cook until just wilted. Stir in lemon juice and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and drizzle with olive oil.

Quick Rise Bread Sticks
1 c. warm water
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 c. bread flour (can substitute whole wheat for up to half of the bread flour)

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Add olive oil, salt and flour and knead until smooth and elastic. Let rest 10 minutes. Shape into bread sticks and place on a greased baking sheet. Brush with melted butter or olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 c. fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Let rise 10 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

We have two meal standbys that we can count on every week:

Friday night is pizza night-- cheese for the kiddies and something more interesting for the grown-ups (this one is my favorite). I love the pizza dough recipe from Cook's Illustrated Best Recipe. It's by far the best we've ever tried.

Also, you can make killer pizza sauce with pretty minimal work: saute a couple of cloves of garlic (minced) and a pinch of red pepper flakes in about a Tbsp. of olive oil until fragrant. Drain a can of diced Italian style tomatoes, and puree (we use the food processor, but a blender would probably work). Add the tomato puree to the garlic and pepper flakes, and simmer until thickened.

Sunday nights we have breakfast-for-dinner-- The kids love it and the ease of preparation helps keep Sunday peaceful and restful. We love blueberry pancakes, puffy oven pancakes (topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream!), overnight waffles, french toast, etc. along with fresh fruit salad, hashbrowns, and scrambled eggs.


Britney said...

It all sounds delicious! I always need new ideas. You are welcome to bring me dinner anytime! :)

Angie said...

Your link to the pizza dough recipe is out, and I NEED it! We've been trying different crusts around here and have yet to find a keeper. Will you email it to me?

And I'm thinking your weekly breakfast for dinner is a tradition I really ought to copy.