Three Simple Dinners for the Week of Thanksgiving (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday)
November 19, 2010 Corresponding Recipes
Regan’s Egg Salad Sandwiches with her Sister’s Potato and Sausage Soup
Serves 2 to 4 people
- 4 potatoes – scrubbed and diced
- 1/2 c. diced broccoli (optional)
- 4 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
- 1 – 2 TBSP chicken base (Bullion can be substituted, but base is better; do not dilute it before using it in the recipe.)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 link smoked sausage or kielbasa (Cooked and cut into bite sized pieces.)
- 1 cup of your favorite cheese – grated
Put the potatoes in a pan in enough water to cover them plus and inch or so more. Bring them to a boil. Add the salt and the broccoli and cook until the potatoes and broccoli are just tender. Drain the potatoes and broccoli and set them aside. Saute the onions in the butter for a minute – don’t let the onions burn. Then add the flour and the chicken base to the onions and butter – stirring to combine the ingredients over the heat. Then add the milk to that mixture, stirring constantly until desired soup consistency is reached. Now add the diced potatoes, broccoli, and sausage to the soup. Garnish with grated cheese.
- 6 hard boiled eggs
- 1 TBSP salt
- 1/4 cup light mayo
- a generous TBSP of pickle relish
- 1 green onion – chopped (green and white parts)
- 1 celery heart stalk or most of a regular stalk – finely chopped
- 2 sprigs worth of fresh thyme leaves or a pinch of dried thyme
- bread of your choice
To hard-boil the eggs: Bring the eggs, 1 TBSP of salt, and 2 quarts of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. As soon as the water reaches a boil, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let it sit for exactly 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of ice water. Transfer the eggs to the ice water and let them cool for 5 minutes. Remove the eggs from the ice water and peel them. Chop the eggs and put them in a medium sized bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and stir the salad. Refrigerate the salad until you’re ready to serve it on the lightly toasted bread of your choice. Enjoy!
Teriyaki Chicken Breasts, Jasmine Rice, and Garlic Green Beans
Serves 2 to 4 people
- 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 TBSP cornstarch
- 1 TBSP cold water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup light soy sauce
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger (Ginger can be purchased already ground in a jar from the grocery store if desired.)
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 2 cups fresh or frozen green beans
- extra virgin olive oil.
Combine the cornstarch, cold water, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, 1 clove of minced garlic, the ginger, and ground black pepper in a small sauce pan and heat over low heat. Let the sauce simmer, stirring frquently, until the sauce thickens and bubbles. Then turn the burner that the sauce pan is sitting on, off. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pound the chicken breasts out to even thickness using the method used in the “butterflying chicken breasts” video below. It is not necessary to actually butterfly the breasts, but just to pound them out so that they will cook evenly. Place the chicken breasts into an oven safe dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray or lightly greased with oil. Divide the sauce so that most of it is used for basting; you may want to have a little left over that has not been used for basting (so that you don’t contaminate the sauce with raw chicken juices) to use as a condiment. Brush both sides of the chicken breasts with sauce before placing it in the oven. Ten minutes through cooking the chicken breasts, baste them again. The total cooking time is 20 – 25 mins.
While the chicken cooks make the rice. Pour 1 scant cup rice and 1 1/2 cups water into a medium sized sauce pan. Do not stir. Bring the rice and water to a boil and then immediately reduce the heat to simmer. Cover the rice and simmer for just under 15 mins. until the rice has absorbed the water, but so that the rice has not yet begun to stick to the bottom of the pan. Fluff the rice with a fork.
While the chicken and the rice cook start the green beans. If you’re using fresh green beans they’ll need to be rinsed with water and have their ends cut-off. If you’re using frozen green beans, thaw them in the microwave on the defrost setting for a minute before placing them in the pan. Coat the green beans with extra virgin olive oil while they’re in a saute pan and then turn the burner on medium underneath the pan. Then add the remaining clove of minced garlic to the pan. (Adding the garlic later in the cooking process helps to keep it from burning.) Then add salt and pepper to the green beans. If they’re taking to long to cook, try braising them. This method, excellent for cooking meat on the stove-top, also helps to make green beans tender. After sauteing the green beans and garlic in the olive oil, pour cold water (yes, cold) half-way up the green beans (1/8 ” deep in the pan). Adding cold water to the pan will create steam; cover the green beans and continue cooking them this way for a few minutes. Test one of them before serving them to make sure they’re tender enough for you.
Spaghetti Carbonara and Slightly Spiced Steamed Spinach
Serves 2 to 4 people
- 1 lb. whole grain or whole wheat spaghetti
- 1 medium sized can of diced tomatoes – drained
- 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 lb. bacon or pancetta – cut into bite sized pieces (Pancetta is like bacon, but not smoked. Check to see if your deli carries it.)
- 5 – 6 cloves garlic – thinly sliced
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 3 large egg yolks – lightly beaten
- 1 handful finely chopped parsley
- lots of freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan Cheese
- 4 large handfuls of fresh spinach
- a dab of butter
- ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the boiling water generously (with 1 tsp to 1 TBSP of salt) and cook the pasta for about 7 mins. or until al dente. Reserve a cup of the hot water before you drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan, with the extra virgin olive oil in it, over medium to medium-high heat. Add the bacon (or pancetta) to the pan and cook it until almost crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and let it sit on a plate lined with paper towel for a few minutes. Turn the burner off for a few minutes and then pour part of the bacon grease out of the pan. (Put it in a jar or heat safe dish; never down the drain.) Add the tomatoes and garlic to the pan and turn the burner back on low.
Drain the pasta (Don’t forget to reserve a cup of starchy hot water from the pot before you drain it.) and add the pasta to the tomatoes and garlic. Add about 1/2 of the cup of hot starchy water to the light beaten egg yolks while beating them with a fork. (This is called tempering and it is done to keep the yolks from scrambling with you add them to the hot pasta.) Toss the pasta with the bacon and eggs, turn off the burner, and continue tossing using more starchy cooking water if the pasta “tightens” up. (The yolks should smoothly cover the pasta.) Garnish with parsley and serve with the grated cheese at the table.
While you are waiting for the bacon grease to cool before removing part of it, put the fresh spinach leaves into a large microwave safe bowl with a couple of TBSP of water. “Steam” the spinach in the microwave for 2 mins. (Don’t forget to cover the bowl to trap the steam.) Stir it after the 2 mins. to make sure that it’s cooked evenly, placing it back in the microwave to cook for 30 secs. longer if needed. Add a touch of butter and a sprinkle of nutmeg to the spinach after it’s done cooking. (Be careful with the nutmeg – it’s potent.) Then add salt and pepper to it to taste. Cover it to keep it warm.