Monday, June 18, 2012

Menu Planning

Looking back, I realized that it had been a LONG time since I've shared my menu.  Since I am hoping to compile a family cookbook, I think better get back into the swing of things!  Previously, I shared my menu on Thursdays.  Given the number of grad school deadlines, work commitments, and the Thursday Photo Challenge, it seems a new day would be better.  I am going to play around with it for a while before deciding.  Let's see how Mondays go, shall we?

Menu for this week:

Monday - shredded steak tacos with onion and cilantro, roasted tomato salsa, and avocado slices
Tuesday - Jambalaya with sausage, shrimp, and chicken & fresh fruit salad
Wednesday - meatballs, pasta and steamed broccoli
Thursday - left-over day 
Friday - eat out!
Saturday - grilled bacon burgers with cheese & roasted sweet potatoes
Sunday - roasted turkey breast, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and green bean with almonds.  

Jambalaya is one of those dishes I really love to make as there are no rules - anything goes and the more veggies, the better.  I do start with a boxed mix as it is cheaper than purchasing all the seasonings and trying to get the correct ratios.  Sometimes, if I remember, I add in a few sliced and dehydrate tomatoes from the previous year's garden.  Don't add fresh; however, as they exude too much liquid and the rice is either too wet or overcooked.

Jambalaya (semi-homemade version)

1 medium onion,  finely diced
1 bell pepper (any color you prefer), finely diced
handful of re-hydrated tomatoes, chopped 
1 -2 tsp of red pepper paste (found in Asian markets) or red pepper flakes to taste
1 tsp of cajun seasoning
boxed jambalaya mix of your choice (and any tomatoes, water, or other ingredients as required)
half cup of cooked chicken, shredded/chopped
half cup of sliced sausage - we used beef polish but any kind you like is fine 
half cup of mini precooked shrimp

In a large wide pan, saute the sausage until browned.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.  If necessary, add oil until you have 2 T in the pan.  Saute the onion and pepper until they begin to get a bit of color (color = flavor).  Stir in the tomatoes.  Add in the rice, seasoning packet, water and any other required ingredients.  At this point, I also add 2 tsp of red pepper paste and the additional cajun seasoning.  We are adding a lot of additional additional ingredients so we need to bump up the seasonings, too, as the seasoning was perfect for the rice mix only.  When the rice is nearly cooked, toss in the sausage, chicken and shrimp. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  

Serve with fresh parsley.      

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