Menu Plan Monday ~ June 27th

Here’s this week’s menu:

Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Beef Pastelitos, Cristianos y Moros, Avocado Salad
Wednesday: Grilled Chicken with Rainbow Pasta Salad
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Fish Sandwiches with Tartar Sauce, French Fries and a Side Salad
Saturday: Eating Out
Sunday: Whole Stuffed Fish

What’s on your menu this week?

Menu Plan Monday ~ June 20th

I hope everyone had a great Father’s Day weekend and that it was spent with those you love. The husband had to work all weekend, so our Father’s Day celebration has been postponed until Wednesday. Instead of eating in, John has opted to go out for Vietnamese food at one of his favorite local restaurants. Who am I to deny him?

Here’s this week’s menu:

Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Chicken Scarpariello, Orzo, Side Salad
Wednesday: Out to Eat/Vietnamese Food
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Salmon Burgers with a Side Salad
Saturday: Grilled Shell Steaks with Blue-Cheese Butter, Green Bean and Portobello Mushroom Saute
Sunday: Barbecued Spare Ribs, Potato Salad, Grilled Corn
What’s on your menu this week?

Intro to Meatless Monday: Salmon with Lentils

During World War I, the government urged American families to eat less wheat, meat, sugar and fats, to aid the war effort. “Meatless Monday” was introduced. An estimated 10 million families and 7,000 hotels jumped on board, saving over 100 tons of meat in just one week. The campaign returned in World War II, when rationing was used to help feed countries in need in Europe. Over the past several years, Meatless Monday has been reintroduced in numerous communities across the country. The goal is to bring awareness about meat consumption and its effect on our bodies, as well as the environment.

Even I, your friendly neighborhood carnivore, know that there is such a thing as consuming too much meat. Our bodies can use a few meatless days now and then, giving us a chance to explore different grains, vegetables and other foods we may have not thought to try before now. That’s why I’m jumping on board with Meatless Monday. You can read more about the movement at the official Meatless Monday site.

In honor of my first Meatless Monday, here’s an easy, delicious recipe that will leave you feeling light, yet satisfied. Sauteed salmon over lentils is not only a simple dish, it’s one that’s good for you. Salmon is chockfull of Omega-3 fatty acid, which is essential for normal growth in children. It’s also known to have cardiovascular benefits and may even help improve memory.

When I went to shop for the ingredients for this dish, I originally intended to purchase salmon steaks. When I got to the fish counter of my local market, I instantly fell in love with the fresh Alaskan sockeye on display. The gorgeous pink color was unbelievable and I felt a little sorry for the other salmon. I mean, they just seemed dull in comparison! Of course, I asked the fish monger to filet me a few pieces, which I happily brought home.

I paired this delicious salmon with Beluga lentils, but you can easily substitute them for whatever lentils you have on hand. I chose black lentils because they contrast nicely with the pink of the salmon. The compound butter can be prepared ahead of time, even a day or two in advance. Any leftover butter can be used on chicken or a juicy steak. Make sure to print out a copy of this recipe, because it will definitely be a “go to” when you’re expecting company! The presentation is amazing and no one has to know that it required little effort!

Salmon with Black Lentils and Mustard-Chive Butter

What You’ll Need:

For the Butter:
6 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1 tablespoon chopped chives
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Lentils:
1 cup Beluga lentils
4 cups water
1 tablespoon Mustard-Chive Butter (see above)
A pinch of Kosher salt

For the Salmon:
4 pieces skinless salmon fillet (Preferable Alaskan Sockeye)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

To make the butter, mash all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Transfer the butter to a sheet of plastic wrap. Shape the butter into a log about an inch in diameter, using the plastic to help mold the butter. Wrap the log tightly, then chill.

Bring lentils, water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once the water begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer the lentils for about 15 to 20 minutes. Almost all the water will have evaporated and the lentils should be tender. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the mustard-chive butter, then remove the lentils from the heat and cover to keep warm.

Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the salmon for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. I like my salmon medium-rare, but if you prefer yours closer to well done, increase the cooking time by 1 or 2 minutes, total. Overcooked fish is a sacrilege.

Spoon some of the lentils onto a plate, then place a salmon filet onto the lentils. Top with some of the mustard-chive butter. Enjoy!

Menu Plan Monday ~ June 13th

Things have certainly cooled down around here. Last week, we spent our free time on the beach and I was on the verge of a sunburn. This week has been filled with rain and chilly nights. I certainly hope Mother Nature stops teasing us soon, because I love sun-filled days and building sand castles on the shores of Candlewood Lake.

Between the usual errands and chores, I’m going to try and test out a few recipes this week. Next month is our annual barbecue at the lake, so I want everything to be perfect for the occasion!

Here’s this week’s menu:

Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Crispy Rosemary and Lemon Chicken with Red Quinoa
Wednesday: Cedar Planked Cabernet Burgers with Grilled Onions and Portobellos, Side Salad
Thursday: Turkey, Bacon and Avocado Wraps, Red Quinoa
Friday: Grilled Chicken Breasts with Onions and Peppers, Side Salad
Saturday: Skirt Steak Skewers with Grilled Vegetables
Father’s Day: Undecided, probably out to eat

What’s on your menu this week?

Green Chile Chicken Cheeseburgers

At times, I suffer from insatiable burger cravings. They’re often so overwhelming, I find it difficult to concentrate on little else. I’m a big burger lover – beef, chicken, turkey, veggie, I love them all. Melt some cheese on top and I’m over the moon. My boys are burger lovers, too. Logan loves traditional hamburgers, no cheese, topped with just bacon. He prefers his ketchup on the side, to be used as a dipping sauce. John loves all kinds of burgers, but whatever you do, DON’T put tomatoes on his! He absolutely hates them! They often get chucked onto my plate. He’s lucky, though, because I don’t mind one bit!

On this particular day, I craved a burger a bit more on the lean side, but with some heat behind it. I used some ground chicken thighs and created a delicious, fiery, green chile chicken cheeseburger. If you’re not familiar with green chile cheeseburgers, they’re extremely popular in the Southwest. Originally created in New Mexico, these delicious burgers are slowly making their way across the country. Green chiles are fire roasted, then used to top off grilled burgers that have been blanketed in cheddar cheese. Sounds sinful, doesn’t it? Since New Mexico green chiles are tough to find in New England, I used a blend of poblano and serrano chiles. If you can’t handle the heat, you can definitely opt to use some anaheim chiles. Just don’t leave out the cheese! I topped mine with Cabot Sharp Cheddar, because I absolutely love Cabot cheese. Yum!

Green Chile Chicken Cheeseburgers

A Butcher’s Daughter Original Recipe

What You’ll Need:

2 pounds ground chicken thighs
½ of an onion, finely grated
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup plain bread crumbs
½ cup milk
Olive oil
5 poblano chiles
3 serrano chiles
8 hamburger buns
16 slices cheddar cheese (Recommended: Cabot Sharp Cheddar)

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill. If using a stovetop, preheat a grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat.

Rub a bit of olive oil onto the peppers, then place on the hot grill (these can also be broiled on a sheet pan). Grill the peppers until blackened, then transfer to a paper or thick plastic bag to steam. Once cool, peel the blackened skin off the chiles, remove the seeds, then dice into large chunks. Set aside.

Place ground chicken in a large bowl. Add the grated onion, salt, pepper, garlic, bread crumbs and milk. Using your hands, gently combine the ingredients. You don’t want to overwork the mixture! Form into 8 patties. These can be made ahead of time and placed in the fridge to firm up.

Fold a paper towel into square, then dip in olive oil. Using tongs to hold the paper towel, lightly wipe the grill. This will prevent the burgers from sticking. If using a skillet, use just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of your pan. Cook burgers until golden and cooked through thoroughly, about 8 minutes on each side. Top each patty with two slices of cheddar cheese a few minutes before they’re are done, allowing time for the cheese to melt. Place burgers on buns and top with green chiles. Enjoy!