My Italian menu last week really felt like home. Luckily, I have a bunch of visitors coming in the next couple of weeks to keep the feeling alive. Since I'll surely be taking them to the Rodeo and eating way too much food, this week I'll be making lightened up versions of some of my favorites.
Here's what I'm making:
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Pantry Items Olive oil (regular and extra virgin) Canola or peanut oil Rice wine vinegar Cooking spray Chicken stock Cornstarch Honey Dark brown sugar Hot sauce Worcestershire sauce Parmesan cheese Milk Panko breadcrumbs Eggs Soy sauce Sesame oil Crushed red pepper Salt Pepper
Grocery List based on servings for 2 w/ leftovers 1 lb lean ground chicken, all white meat ¼ lb ground pork 1 6-8 oz block good quality cheddar cheese 2 medium yellow onions 1-2 heads garlic 1 stalk celery 1 carrot 1 bulb ginger 1 lemon 1 small head Chinese cabbage 1 bunch scallions 1 bunch fresh spinach leaves 1 bunch fresh watercress 1 small package shitake mushrooms (about ½ cup) 1 tomato 1 8 oz can crushed tomatoes 1 package dumpling wrappers 1 package quinoa 2 good quality whole wheat sandwich buns
Day 1 - Chicken & Pork Potstickers over Warmed Cabbage recipe adapted from foodiewithfamily.com *Makes extra Potstickers for Dumpling Soup
Mix together pork, ½ lb ground chicken, 2 thinly sliced green onions, 1 cup shredded cabbage, 1 inch piece freshly grated ginger, 6 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp sesame oil, and 1½ tbsp soy sauce.
In a small bowl, mix together 1 tsp cornstarch with 1 tbsp water and set aside.
Mound 1-2 tsp of the filling into the center of the dumpling wrappers. Moisten finger tip in cornstarch mixture and rub along the edge of the wrapper.
Fold the wrapper in half to create a half moon, pinching together to close dumpling and squeezing out as much air as you can. You can stop here or continue on to make a peapod, pinching and folding the skin to create pleats. Check out this video for easy instructions. *Freeze half the dumplings for use in day 3.
Lightly coat a heavy, nonstick skillet with canola or peanut oil. Heat to medium high and add dumplings into pan, placing upright to crisp bottom. Fry for 3 minutes, then add ½ cup warm water and cover pan immediately with lid. Steam for 5 minutes, remove the lid, and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove stickers from pan and add chopped shredded cabbage to warm through.
Meanwhile, mix together 2 tbsp rice-wine vinegar, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp honey, ½ tsp sesame oil, fresh grated ginger, chopped scallion, and crushed red pepper.
Serve potstickers hot over warmed shredded cabbage with soy ginger sauce.
Day 2 - Quinoa 'n' Cheese (A Healthier Take on Mac!) *Makes leftover Quinoa for Quinoa Cakes w/ Poached Eggs
Prepare quinoa according to package instructions for 2 cups cooked. *Save 1 cup for use in day 5.
Meanwhile, heat skillet over medium heat and coat lightly with oil. Add in ½ chopped yellow onion, 2-3 cloves of garlic, and a sprinkle of salt and crushed red pepper, cooking until softened.
Gently heat ¾ cup milk. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Stir in 1 cup cooked quinoa, onion mixture, and 1 egg.
In a separate bowl, toss together panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and a bit of olive oil.
Set oven to broil and coat baking dish or individual ramekins with cooking spray.
Add quinoa mixture to baking dish and top with sliced tomatoes and breadcrumb mixture.
Broil until top is golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes, and serve hot.
Day 3 - Dumpling Soup w/ Spinach & Mushrooms *Uses leftover Potstickers
Heat a large saucepan over medium -heat and coat lightly with oil. Add 2 cloves minced garlic and ½ tbsp freshly grated ginger. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1-2 min. Add the 1 chopped scallions, sliced shitake mushrooms, and 2-3 cups chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low to simmer. Add in washed and drained spinach leaves and cook for 5-10 minutes to allow flavors to combine.
Bring soup to a gentle boil and add frozen wontons. Cook until wontons are soft and filling is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.
Serve soup hot topped with sliced scallions.
Day 4 - Light & Spicy Sloppy Joes
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat lightly with oil. Add and brown ground chicken, breaking up with spoon. Add in chopped carrot, celery, ½ medium yellow onion, 2-3 cloves minced garlic, salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 5-10 minutes.
Add in ½ cup crushed tomatoes, ½ tbsp dark brown sugar, ½ tbsp honey, 2 tbsp hot sauce and ½ cup chicken stock. Stir to combine, reduce heat and simmer until sauce has thickened. Taste and add more hot sauce if desired.
Pile into toasted buns and top with shredded cheddar and watercress.
Day 5 - Quinoa Cakes w/ Poached Eggs *Uses leftover Quinoa
Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and coat lightly with olive oil.
Mix 1 cup cooked quinoa, ¼ cup breadcrumbs, 1 egg, ¼ cup finely chopped onion, 1 clove minced garlic, chopped scallion, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mixture should be moist. Add more egg or water to moisten if needed.
Form two patties and cook until browned and crisp, about 7-10 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, poach 2 eggs.
Top quinoa cakes with poached eggs and serve over watercress dressed with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.