Mmm, last week's menu plan hit the spot, and we're looking forward to a fabulous long weekend followed by another week of easy cooking. Since it is a long weekend, and long weekends mean we can drink more, you may want to add a drunk watermelon to the menu for Labor Day.
On the menu for next week:
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Pantry Items Olive oil Cooking spray Vegetable or peanut oil Rice wine vinegar Butter Sour cream Eggs Ketchup Yellow mustard Low sodium soy sauce Sugar Panko breadcrumbs Kosher salt Pepper Sesame oil Hoisin sauce (Chinese barbecue sauce) Chili Powder Cayenne Pepper Ground cumin
Grocery List - Amts based on servings for 2 people 1 package hot dogs 1 lb chicken breasts or tenders 1 lb lean ground beef 8 oz tilapia filet 3 oz shredded cheddar cheese 1 head Boston lettuce 1 bag shredded carrots Fresh basil 2-3 heads garlic 1 bulb ginger root 2 Hass avocados (check out tips on how to buy) 1 lemon 2 limes 3 plum tomatoes 2 yellow onions 1 red onion 2 large Idaho potatoes Fresh corn (as many as you want just make an extra for the corn salsa) 1 bunch scallions 1 package mushrooms 1 can water chestnuts 1 pack soft flour tortillas
Day 1 - Labor Day Chili Dogs and Grilled Corn on the Cob
Heat a large pot over medium heat and coat with cooking oil. Add ground beef and break into pieces using wooden-spoon. Cook, stirring until meat is browned and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Add 1 chopped onion, 3-4 large cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, and 1 tsp ground cumin. Cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup ketchup and ¼ cup yellow mustard. Simmer for 15 minutes until thickened, adding more ketchup/mustard if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set some chili aside and freeze for use later in the week.
Meanwhile, prepare perfectly grilled corn on the cob with herb butter (using fresh basil).
Cook hotdogs on grill, warm buns, and top with chili. Serve w/ grilled corn on the cob (saving at least 1 ear for use later in the week).
Day 2 - Fish Tacos w/ Homemade Guac and Salsa
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.
Set up breading station. In one bowl, place flour and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Place eggs in another bowl and beat. In a third bowl, place panko bread crumbs.
Pat filet dry and cut in half. Begin breading process by dredging in flour and shaking off excess. Dip in eggs then into breadcrumbs, pressing gently into fish. Place onto baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Meanwhile, prepare tomato and corn salsa. Heat up leftover grilled corn bits and combine with 1½ diced plum tomatoes, ¼ of a minced red onion, chopped fresh basil, 1-2 tbsp olive oil, and ½ tbsp red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
For guacamole, scoop out flesh of avocados into a mixing bowl. Mash lightly with fork, leaving somewhat chunky. Fold in ½ diced plum tomato, juice of ½ lime, 1 clove minced garlic, ¼ of a minced red onion, salt, and pepper.
Flake fish into large chunks and serve with warm tortillas, tomato and corn salsa, chunky guacamole, and wedges of lime.
Day 3 - Ginger Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Remove stems from mushrooms and clean with damp cloth. Chop ½ package into bite size pieces, reserving remainder of package for use later in the week. Chop ½ lb chicken into small chunks. Freeze remainder. Prepare lettuce cups by removing small leaves from lettuce.
In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp water, a pinch of sugar, ½ tsp sesame oil, and ½ tbsp each of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar.
Heat large wok or skillet over high heat. Coat with vegetable or peanut oil and add chicken. Sear for 2-3 minutes, then add mushrooms. Cook for another minute or two before adding 2-3 cloves minced garlic, 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger*, salt and pepper. Cook a minute more, then add ¼ cup chopped water chestnuts and 2 tbsp chopped scallions. Add hoisin mixture and toss to coat evenly. Cook another minute. Serve in crisp lettuce cups and top with shredded carrots.
*Extra ginger root can be kept in a freezer bag. It will hold its flavor frozen for months.
Day 4 - Chili Stuffed Baked Potato
Defrost and reheat leftover chili.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Scrub potatoes thoroughly under cold running water then pat dry. Using a fork, pierce the skin all around the potato to allow moisture to escape during cooking. Rub skin with olive oil and season with Kosher salt. Bake directly on rack or on a baking sheet for 1 hour until soft on the inside and crisp on the outside (should be easily pierced by a knife).
If you don't have the time, place potatoes on a dinner plate and microwave on high for 8 minutes. Turn over and microwave on high for 6-8 minutes more until soft. These won't be as crispy, but they are being topped with chili and cheese - so does it really matter?
Top with leftover chili, sour cream, chopped scallions, and shredded cheddar.
Day 5 - Chicken & 'Shroom Wrap-ups
Defrost leftover chicken and heat large skillet over medium high heat.
Season remaining chicken with salt and pepper and place in bowl or plastic bag. Drizzle in 1 tbsp of olive oil and ½ tbsp of balsamic vinegar. Toss and add to grill pan. Sauté until browned and cooked through, about 7 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and set aside to rest. Add sliced mushrooms to pan and cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes. Mince 1 big clove of garlic and add most to pan, cook for another 1-2 minutes. Save remaining bit for dressing.
Meanwhile, prepare garlic basil mayo by combining ¼ cup mayonnaise, a couple squeezes of fresh lemon, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, ½ tsp minced fresh basil, and reserved minced garlic (not too much, raw garlic is a powerful thing).
Prepare a garden salad using ingredients leftover from the week; lettuce, shredded carrots, tomatoes, red onions. Toss with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
Warm flour tortillas and fill with sliced chicken, mushrooms, and shredded lettuce. Drizzle with basil mayo. Roll into wraps and serve with side garden salad.