Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Meal Planning {cooking with wine}

The husband and I are leaving for California wine country on Thursday. WOOOHOOO!!!! We're meeting up with my sister, brother in law, and brother and sister in law, for 5 days in Sonoma. I can practically taste the Old Vine Zin and sinful food as I type. AHH!!!  Then the hubs and I stop over in SF for two days to see old friends. HURRAY! So, while we wont be eating this menu all week, it doesn't mean you can't! Lets cook with wine, shall we? We shall.

Monday: French Onion Soup

Tuesday: Alex's Chicken and Mushroom Marsala

Wednesday: Irish Beef Stew

Thursday: Pasta with Creamy Cajun Sauce

Friday: Chicken with Tomatoes and Garlic

Saturday: Seriously Delicious Ribs

Sunday: Filet Mignon with Spicy Bearnaise

Happy Monday! I need to start making lists, and more lists, and more lists....

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My little one and her very big day

(It's too heavy!)


(See? 7, 8, 9!)

(Let's go, mama!! - wrong way kiddo.)

I love you to the moon and back, baby girl! Sniff. Sniff.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nearly Wordless Wednesday {My Big Girl}

Yesterday she had her first real ballet class. 

And today her first day of pre-school. 

What a big girl!!!!

Happy Wednesday! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Meal Planning

Mornin'! It's my little one's first week of school. WOOHOOO!!!! And the first week of ballet and the first week of soccer. It's a big week for the City Mouse girls. I'm making some of our favorite fall dishes. Here's to a great week! 

Monday: Pizza Pasta:

1 Pound(s) penne pasta
1/4 Cup(s) butter
2 Tablespoon(s) olive oil
1 Package(s) hot, casings removed Italian sausage (chicken sausage is great too!)
6 Clove(s) garlic
2 chopped onion
28 Ounce(s) crushed tomatoes
2 1/2 Tablespoon(s) dried oregano
2 Tablespoon(s) sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoon(s) tomato paste
2 bay leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Cup(s) light cream
Fresh Basil1 Package(s) fresh mozzarella

Saute sausage, onions and garlic in butter and oil for ten minutes. Add remaining ingredients (except for cream) and simmer low for 20 minutes. Add in cream and chopped basil. Toss with cooked pasta. Add fresh mozzarella to individual servings. 

Tuesday: Texas Soup

1 Pound(s) ground beef
1 large chopped onion
1 Can(s) stewed tomatoes
1 Can(s) hominy
1 Can(s)
RoTel tomatoes and chilies
1 Can(s) corn
1 Can(s) with jalapenos pinto beans
1 Package(s) taco seasoning
1 Package(s) Ranch dressing mix

Brown ground beef in soup pot with onion. Add remaining ingredients, simmer.

Some suggested sides:
Shredded Cheddar
Sour Cream

Wednesday: Crockpot Pot Roast

3 Pound(s) beef pot roast
steak seasoning or seasoned pepper
1/2 bag baby carrot
4 Clove(s) smashed garlic
1 packet mushroom onion soup mix
1/2 Cup(s) - 1 cup wine, beer or vermouth
2 peeled & quartered onions

flour or cornstarch

Coat all sides of roast with salt (I always use kosher) and seasoned pepper. Brown in dry skillet on all sides. Toss all the veggies in the bottom of the
Crockpot, top with meat, then add soup mix, top with liquids. Cover and cook on low for the longest time your Crockpot allows. When it's done cooking, take the meat out and stir in a little bit of flour or cornstarch to thicken up the sauce put the meat back in and serve straight out of the pot. I prefer to serve my pot roast over mashed potatoes. But if you want a one pot meal just add small, red, baby potatoes when you add the rest of the ingredients. 

Thursday: Chicken Piccata

4 chicken breast, boneless skinless
1 to taste salt
1 to taste black pepper
1/4 Cup(s) flour
3 1/2 Tablespoon(s) - 4 1/2 tablespoons divided butter
1 1/2 Tablespoon(s) olive oil
2 Tablespoon(s) - 3 tablespoons minced shallot
1 Cup(s) chicken stock
3 Tablespoon(s) - 4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoon(s) drained capers

Trim chicken and sprinkle both sides with salt & pepper. Spread flour on a plate and coat both sides of chicken with flour. Pressing to make the tenderloins adhere. Gently shake off excess.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in 12" skillet until fragrant, add oil. Arrange chicken tenderloin side down in skillet and saute for exactly 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn the chicken and cook until the flesh feels firm to the touch 3-5 minutes more. Remove to a platter and keep warm.

Heat remaining butter in skillet and add shallots. Cook stirring until wilted, about 1 minute. Increase the heat to high and add chicken stock. Bring to a boil, scraping with wooden spoon to dissolve bits. Add lemon juice and capers. Boil until mixture is reduced. About 3-4 minutes. Add chicken juices from plate and reduce again. Remove from heat and add butter. Put chicken back in skillet. Toss to coat and enjoy! 

Friday: Beef Stroganoff (adapted from Gourmet)

3 1/2 Tablespoon(s) divided butter
1 Tablespoon(s) flour
1/2 Teaspoon(s) salt
1/4 Teaspoon(s) black pepper
1 Pound(s) cut into 1/4" pieces beef tenderloin
1 Cup(s) beef broth
2 Tablespoon(s) divided olive oil
1/2 Cup(s) thinly sliced shallot
3/4 Pound(s) quartered or halved
cremini mushrooms
3 Tablespoon(s) room temperature sour cream
1 Teaspoon(s) Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoon(s) chopped fresh dill weed

Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in small saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly for two minutes. Add stock in a slow stream, whisking constantly and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Cover to keep warm.

Pat beef dry and season well with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a 12" heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Add beef in two batches and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides but still pink in the middle, about 1 minute per batch. Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to a plate.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter and oil to skillet and heat until hot but not smoking. Add shallots and cook until golden brown. About three minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes.

Return meat and juices to skillet and stir to combine. Reheat broth over low heat, then whisk in sour cream, mustard, dill, salt and pepper. Pour over beef and serve over noodles.

Saturday: Sauteed Braised Pork Tenderloin with Herb Pan Sauce

2 tenderloins of pork
1 to taste salt
1 to taste black pepper
4 1/2 Teaspoon(s) divided butter
1 1/2 Teaspoon(s) olive oil
1/3 Cup(s) chicken broth
1/4 Cup(s) minced shallot
1 bay leaves
2 Teaspoon(s) Dijon mustard
1 1/2 Teaspoon(s) lemon juice
1/4 Cup(s) heavy cream

Pat tenderloins dry with paper towels. Season (generously) on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons butter and oil in a large skillet over high heat. Brown tenderloin well on all sides, cover the pan, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes (I do 16). Remove tenderloins to a plate, cover loosely with foil and let stand for 5-10 minutes while preparing sauce.

Basic herb pan sauce:

To skillet add chicken broth. Stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up bits, bring to a boil and add shallots, bay leaf, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally, over medium high heat until slightly thickened. About 1-2 minutes. Add heavy cream and cook for 3 more minutes. Remove pan from heat and add rosemary and 1 tablespoon butter.

Slice tenderloin and add to sauce. Garnish with sprigs of rosemary if desired.

Sunday: Southwestern Pulled Brisket Sandwiches

3 Pound(s) beef brisket
1 to taste kosher salt
1 to taste black pepper
2 Tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
5 Clove(s) peeled smashed garlic
1 halved thinly sliced Spanish onion
1 Tablespoon(s) chili powder
2 Teaspoon(s) ground coriander
2 Teaspoon(s) cumin
1/4 Cup(s) apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 Cup(s) water
14 1/2 Ounce(s) canned
undrained whole tomato
2 whole
chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
2 bay leaves
3 Tablespoon(s) molasses

Season the beef generously with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat just until beginning to smoke. Add the meat and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker; leave the skillet on the heat.

Add garlic, onion, chili powder, coriander, and cumin to drippings in the skillet and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vinegar and boil until it's almost gone, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in water and pour the mixture over the brisket. Crush the tomatoes through your fingers into the slow cooker; add the tomato juices,
chipotles, bay leaves, and molasses. Cover the cooker, set it on low, and cook the brisket until it pulls apart easily with a fork, about 8 hours.

(I cooked mine more like 10 hours)

To serve, leave the meat in the slow cooker and use 2 forks to pull it apart and stir it evenly into the sauce; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove and discard bay leaves. Pile the meat on sandwich buns and serve with pickled jalapenos. This is also great rolled up in tortillas.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday Meal Planning {back to school!}

Oh, hey party people! I haven't forgotten about you and your desire to eat good food. Please forgive me and we'll move on..k? Thanks.

It's back to school for many this week! Not us, (sobs in corner) my littles start next week. BUT, that doesn't mean your sweeties shouldn't have yummy dinners this week! I've put together some easy, family friendly meals.  Happy first week kiddies. Cheers, mamas!!! ;)

Tuesday: Crockpot Carne Asada - let them build their own tacos with this yummy filling

Wednesday: Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne - this makes 2. One to eat and one to freeze! Brilliant.

Thursday: Mini Meatball Sandwiches - my girls will eat just about anything if I call it "Mini" or "Baby".

Friday: Chicken & Broccoli Stir-Fry with Hoisin and Ginger Sauce - Stir-Fry. 'Nuff said.

Saturday: Artichoke and Chicken Stuffed Pizza - Yum!

Sunday: Smoky Tomato Soup with Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Happy Back to School!

Friday, September 2, 2011

90 hours...Oh, Irene.

The amount of time we had neither power, nor running water, after Hurricane Irene came blowing through and knocking us on our ass. And we got lucky! No damage to our house or property. No major trees down or massive flooding of our basement. No sewer lines exploding poo into our brand new homes (this happened to someone I know, who is 8 months pregnant with a toddler at home!) That, Irene. What a real bitch! 

Here's how we survived:

1. Chutes and Ladders, Memory, Animal upon Animal. 
2. Uno & Monopoly. 
3. Manhattans & Martinis. 
4. Velveeta Mac and Cheese. Until I realized that without any running water, washing dishes is a real PITA. And nasty. 

5. PB&J's.
6. Avocados.
7. Tasters Choice (that stuff is gross, until you haven't had power for three days and then it tastes awesome. I need a french press, what a dumb dumb.)
8. Car cell phone and portable dvd chargers.
9. Dunkin Donuts! It was open the next town over. I love you DD!!!!!!!

10. Our grill. 
11. Playgrounds. 

12. Beer.
13. Wisps. 
14. Friends who live on lakes with generators! 
15. Filling our bathtubs full of water to flush toilets. Such a joy, let me tell you. Oh, and our upstairs bathtub doesn't hold water. Good to know!
16. Lots and lots of candles.
17. Baby wipes. 
18. Coolers of ice and frozen water bottles. (We still lost all of our freezer and most of the fridge. They needed a cleaning anyway, I just keep telling myself that.)

19. My husband. 
20. Laughter. Seriously! 

Hoping all of you effected by Irene are back on your feet very soon!!

Happy Friday, peeps.