Meal Swap: Wednesday Group’s May ’14 Recipes

MAY 2014 RECIPES for Wednesday’s Swap

All recipes serve 6 unless otherwise specified.

Your Choice

Jenica: Sicilian meatloaf

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2 pounds ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cups tomato juice
2 Tablespoons parsley
1/2 teaspoons oregano
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons pepper
8 slices boiled ham
6 ounces shredded Mozzerella cheese

*FYI this recipe is for 2 meatloafs*

Prep Day Directions: Mix first 7 ingredients, then add to beef, combine. On wax paper form meat mixture into a 10×12″ rectangle. Line with ham and cheese. Roll and seal seam. Cut in half. Seal ends and seam well, otherwise the cheese will just ooze out all over the place.

Freezing Directions: Follow directions but do not bake. Instead, wrap the meatloaf in wax paper and then plastic wrap. Place in a freezer bag until ready to use.

Serve Day Directions: Thaw. Unwrap and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake 1 hour 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Bridget: chicken taco bowls

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Adapted from budgetbytes.com

Serves: 9

1½ lbs. chicken breasts
1 (16 oz.) jar salsa
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
½ lb. (8 oz.) frozen corn
1 Tbsp chili powder
½ Tbsp cumin
½ Tbsp minced garlic
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp salt
to taste cracked pepper
2 cups dry rice
8 oz. shredded cheddar
½ bunch cilantro (optional)

Serve Day: Add everything except the rice, cheese, and cilantro to the slow cooker along with ¼ cup of water (for good measure). Give everything a good stir and make sure the chicken is covered in the mixture. Secure the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hrs.

Near the end of the cooking time, cook the two cups of rice according to the package directions (Bring the rice and 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot with a lid in place, as soon as it reaches a boil, reduced the heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving).

After 8 hours of cooking, carefully remove the lid of the slow cooker. Stir with a fork to shred the chicken (it should be super tender and will shred easily). Build the taco bowls by placing rice on the bottom, then the taco chicken mix, shredded cheese and fresh cilantro.

North American/European

Brittany: lamb burgers

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1 large onion, minced
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno (left out)
1 clove garlic
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 pound ground beef

Prep Day Directions: mix together all ingredients, make into 6 patties. freeze

Serve Day Directions: Thaw overnight and grill

Kirsten: super sloppy joes

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1 1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 c brown sugar
1 onion chopped
1 c pepper chopped (I used a mixture of red, yellow & orange)
1 Tbsp steak seasoning (McCormick)
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
1 c tomato sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste

Prep Day Directions: Brown beef with steak seasoning, drain. Add onions and peppers, vinegar and Worcestershire and cook 5 minutes. Add sugar, tomato paste and sauce and cook another 5 minutes. Let cool, put in ziplock and freeze flat.

Serve Day Directions: Thaw bag, reheat on stovetop or microwave and serve with buns.

Italian/Mediterranean

Nicole: prune and olive chicken

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3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup pitted prunes, halved
8 small green olives
2 tablespoons capers, with liquid
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
3 pounds chicken cut into pieces
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Prep Day Directions: Add all ingredients to bag and freeze.

Serve Day Directions: Thaw and spread mixture in the bottom of a 10×15 inch baking dish and refrigerate overnight- you can Use foil to make clean-up easier. If thawing in the gallon freezer bag, put long side down so the marinade in getting all the chicken pieces. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Remove dish from refrigerator. Sprinkle brown sugar on top and pour white wine all around chicken (all ready included but you can add extra). Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until done, spooning juices over chicken several times as it is baking. To serve, spoon juices over the top, and garnish with fresh parsley (if desired).

Ashley: chicken pesto pasta

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1 pound chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1/3 cup pesto
1 large red pepper (I used mini peppers, red and orange)
2 teaspoons minced garlic splash of lemon juice
1 package angel hair pasta

Prep Day Directions: Bake chicken breasts at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool then cube. Slice peppers into strips. Combine chicken, peppers, pesto, garlic, and lemon juice in freezer bag.

Serve Day Directions: Thaw bag. Cook sauce in skillet until warmed through and the peppers are as soft as you like. Serve over cooked angel hair pasta.

Asian/Indian

Kendra: Indian buttered chicken

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1 cup butter, divided
1 onion, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
3 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons salt skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Add spices to your liking…
2 tablespoons tandoori masala
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala

Serve Day Directions:
Note: The sauce has no spice of any kind in it right now. I thought that with families and children spice level would be different for everyone. I cooked mine at home one night with cayanne pepper, gram masala, and a curry spice. I tasted and added more as it simmered along. I also added some cilantro on top after it was plated.

Rice Instructions: 2 cups of h2o for 1 cup of uncooked rice. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down and cover with a lid. Simmer 15 minutes or until all water is absorber

Kellie: pineapple ginger flank steak

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3/4 cups pineapple juice
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 cups soy sauce
1/4 cups canola oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 pounds flank steak

Prep Day Directions: Mix all ingredients and place in ziplock bag. Freeze.

Serve Day Directions: Thaw and grill.

Southwestern/Latin American:

Erin: tex mex chicken fingers

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Next Swap: Wed. 6/11/14 at 8:30pm

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Meal Swap: Wednesday Group’s May ’14 Menu

MAY 2014 MENU for Wednesday’s Swap

Your Choice

Jenica: Sicilian meatloaf

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Bridget: chicken taco bowls

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North American/European

Brittany: lamb burgers

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1 large onion, minced
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno (left out)
1 clove garlic
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 pound ground beef

Prep Day Directions: mix together all ingredients, make into 6 patties. freeze

Serve Day Directions: Thaw overnight and grill

Kirsten: super sloppy joes

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Italian/Mediterranean

Nicole: prune and olive chicken

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Ashley: chicken pesto pasta

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Asian/Indian

Kendra: Indian buttered chicken

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Kellie: pineapple ginger flank steak

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Southwestern/Latin American:

Erin: tex mex chicken fingers

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Emily: out

Next Swap: Wed. 5/14/14 at 8:30pm

June Menu Categories

Your Choice – Erin and Emily

North American/European – Jenica and Bridget

Italian/Mediterranean – Brittany and Kirsten

Asian/Indian – Ashley and Nicole

Southwestern/Latin American -Kendra and Kellie

Healthy Eating: Benefits of Pesto

Pesto is a sauce traditionally made of basil, pine nuts, olive oil and Parmesan in Italian cuisine. The word pesto means “pounded” in the Italian language, which refers to the culinary way to prepare it with a mortar and pestle. You pound the ingredients into a fragrant, savory mixture perfect for coating long pasta noodles. Most people like use a food processor instead to make pesto, which makes a quick healthy meal that delivers rich nutritional value and unforgettable flavor.

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Vitamins: The garlic and basil leaves in pesto contain vitamins A and C. The vitamin A content in a serving of pesto is 560 IU, or 11 percent of the Food and Drug Administration daily value. The vitamin C content is 5 mg, or 8 percent of the 60 mg FDA daily value. Vitamin A is important for skin and eye health and vitamin C is important for supporting the immune system and generating collagen for skin repair.

Minerals: The minerals found in notable amounts in pesto include potassium and phosphorus. The potassium content is about 60 mg, which is 2 percent of the 3,500 mg FDA daily value. The phosphorus content is 30 mg, or 3 percent of the 1,000 mg FDA daily value. Potassium regulates the heartbeat and phosphorus forms bone and teeth composition.

Oil and Phytochemicals: Olive oil provides omega-3 fatty acids, which protect the cardiovascular system against disease. Among the many phytochemicals pesto ingredients contain, allicin is a compound in garlic that improves blood pressure by preventing blood lipids from sticking together. Basil contains antioxidants, which protect healthy cells from toxins that cause disease, and pine nuts contain healthy fats important for nervous system support.

References:
***USDA: Nutrient Data Laboratory: Nuts, Pine Nuts, Dried; Basil, Fresh; Garlic, Raw***
***”The New Food Lover’s Companion”; Sharon Tyler Herbst, et al.; 2007***

Make Your Own Pesto

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Makes 1 cup

INGREDIENTS
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. Add the garlic, pulse in food processor a few times more.

Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices right away or you can freeze it.

HOW TO FREEZE PESTO

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If you’re planning on freezing some or all of the pesto you make, you’ll need an ice cube tray or two. I also like to have some olive oil in a condiment squirt bottle for drizzling out small amounts, but you can also pour from the original olive oil bottle or use a spoon.

It’s helpful to know how much each of the ice cube compartments holds, so that you can easily remove the needed amount from the freezer later on. To figure this out, use a measuring spoon and add water to one of the ice cube compartments in your trays to determine how much each cube and tray will hold. My ice cube compartments each holds approx. 2 tablespoons.

Use a spoon to fill the compartments of the tray with pesto.

Use a squirt bottle or spoon to drizzle a light layer of olive oil over the top of each cube compartment. This will keep the pesto from getting dark from contact with the air.

Cover the tray with plastic wrap. Gently tap the plastic down on top of each cube section so it keeps out as much air as possible. Put the tray in the freezer for several hours or overnight so that the cubes freeze completely.

Label quart size plastic freezer bags. I like to put the quantity of each pesto cube on the label (1 cube = 2 tablespoons), in case this old brain of mine forgets that detail when it’s time to use the frozen pesto later.

Once the pesto is frozen solid, remove the trays from the freezer.

I flip the ice cube tray over and put it under the the faucet to trickle some cold water on the bottom of the tray for a few seconds–hold your hand underneath the tray so the cubes don’t fall into the sink. The pesto cubes pop right out.

Fill the plastic bag with frozen pesto cubes and return it to the freezer.

The next time you want to add some quick flavor to pasta, or meat, or salad you’ve got it in your freezer. Very yummy!