Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Weekly Dinner Menu: March 17-23

Our meal plan this week includes a St. Patrick's Day celebration and some great family friendly meals.  Enjoy!


Guinness Corned Beef, Boxty potatoes and Easy Irish Soda Bread
Corned Beef and Bread from All Recipes

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Every year I make a "traditional" Irish meal.  I try to switch it up between Corned Beef and Boxty potatoes and Irish Stew.  This year is Corned Beef.  This recipe is so easy and could also be done in a crock pot.  The potato recipe is straight from Ireland.  It takes some time but it is well worth it.

Guinness Corned Beef

  • 1-1/2 lb corned beef brisket
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1 (12 oz) can or bottle of Guinness or another Irish stout beer


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Rinse the beef completely and pat dry.
  2. Place the brisket on rack in a roasting pan or Dutch oven.  Rub the brown sugar on the corned beef to coat entire beef, including the bottom.  Pour the bottle of stout beer around, and gently over the beef to wet the sugar.
  3. Cover, and place in preheated oven.  Bake for 2-1/2 hours.  Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing.
  4. During the last hour, you may put vegetables in the roasting pan as well.  Try a wedge of cabbage, onions and carrots.  You may need to add a little more beer with your vegetables.
  5. For a crock pot:   Rub the brown sugar on the corned beef to coat entire beef, including the bottom.  Place in the crock pot with the seasonings it came with.  Pour the bottle of stout beer around, and gently over the beef to wet the sugar.  Cook on low for 7-9 hours.

from The Irish Potato Cookbook, purchased at the Cliffs of Moher gift shop in Ireland

  • 8oz raw potato
  • 8oz cooked mashed potatoes
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • good pinch of baking soda
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • pinch of salt
  • large knob of butter
  1. Grate the raw potato into a colander lined with paper towel.  Press down another sheet of paper towel on top and squeeze out as much starchy fluid as possible.  Mix with the cooked mashed potato.
  2. Add flour, salt and soda.  Add enough buttermilk to the mixture to make a soft batter
  3. Melt butter on a hot griddle or frying pan and drop in large spoonfuls of the batter.
  4. Cook over a moderate heat for 3 minutes each side.
Easy Irish Soda Bread
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and butter.  Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly.  Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet.  In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 2 Tbsp of buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture.  Use a sharp knife to cut an "X" into the top of the loaf.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter  mixture while it bakes.


Beer:  Guinness or other Irish stout
Wine:  Saugvinon Blanc


Buffalo Turkey Burgers with blue cheese dressing 
The Book of Burger by Rachael Ray


  • 1-1/2 lbs ground turkey breast
  • 1-1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp grill seasoning, such as McCormick Montreal Steak seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 scallions, whites and greens, finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, from the heart, with greens, finely chopped
  • Vegetable oil, for drizzling
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce, such as Frank's RedHot
  • 1 cup sour cream, reduced-fat sour cream or ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 4 crusty rolls, split
  • Leaf lettuce
  1. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, poultry seasoning, grell seasoning, garlic, scallions and celery;  mix thoroughly.  Score into 4 equal portions and form them into patties slightly thinner at the center than at the edges for even cooking and to ensure a flat surface (burgers plump as they cook).  Drizzle the patties with oil.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook the burgers, flipping once, 10 to 12 minutes, or until the juices run clear.  Remove to a plate.  Wipe the pan clean and reduce the heat to low.  Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the hot sauce.  Return the burgers to the skillet and turn to coat in the hot sauce-butter mixture.
  3. Mix the sour cream or ranch dressing with the blue cheese crumbles and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the burgers on the roll bottoms, and top with lettuce and blue cheese sauce.  Set the roll tops in place.
homestyle wedge fries
carrots & celery

Beer:  An American Pale Ale such as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Wine:  can't imagine it but a crisp white such as a Sauvignon Blanc may work


Pizza Quesadillas
from Snixy Kitchen


  • 8 whole wheat or flour tortillas
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 lb pepperoni
  • 1 (16oz) jar of pizza sauce
  • Optional:  black olives, mushrooms
  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and fry the pepperoni until crisp.  Transfer on a paper towel to drain.
  2. Brush each tortilla with a thin layer of pizza sauce (so thin that if you turned it over, none would drip).
  3. Sprinkle cheese on top of the sauce on the bottom tortilla.  Top with pepperoni and other toppings, if desired.  Sprinkle with another layer of cheese and place the other tortilla on top (sauce side in).
  4. Pre-heat a medium cast-iron skillet over medium heat.*
  5. Lay quesadilla in the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, until cheese is melted and tortillas are crispy.
  6. Slice into quarters and serve with a little bowl of pizza dipping sauce.
*you could also use an indoor grill such as a George Forman.


Beer:  A light Lager, such as Sam Adams Light
Wine:  Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir


Croissant Croque Monsieurs 
from Savury & Sweet adapted from Barefoot Contessa

Croissant Croque Monsieurs *fancy grilled ham+cheese

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 12 oz Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 8 croissants 
  • Dijon
  • 8 oz honey ham, sliced but not paper thin
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.  Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly until the sauce is thickened.  Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.
  3. Halve and toast the croissants, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 4 minutes.  Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.
  4. Lightly brush half the croissant with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere.  Top with another piece of toasted bread.  Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes.  Turn on the broiler and broil for 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubble and lightly browned.  Serve hot.
frites (shoestring fries)

Beer:  A light Lager, such as Sam Adams Light
Wine:  Pinot Noir or Syrah


Sole with lemon cream
from Food and Wine
Sole with Lemon Cream

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 lbs sole fillets, cut to make 4 pieces
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  1. In a large nonstick frying pan, melt the butter over moderate heat.  Sprinkle the sole with 1/2 tsp of the salt and the pepper.  Dust the sole with the flour and shake off any excess.  Put the sole in the pan and cook for 2 minutes.  Turn and cook until just done, about 2 minutes longer.  Remove the sole from the pan.
  2. Add the cream and lemon zest to the pan.  Bring to a simmer and cook until starting to thicken, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the remaining 1/4 tsp salt, the lemon juice, and parsley.  Serve the sauce over the fish.
  3. Fish Alternatives:  other members of the flounder family, such as sand dab or fluke, will go well with the sauce, as will such mild fish fillets as trout, hake, or whiting.

Wine:  California Chardonnay


Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells
from Around The Table
Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells


  • 12 dry jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lb boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • OPTIONAL:  2 cups of cooked chopped broccoli, 1/2 cup bacon bits
  1. Preheat broiler with rack 5 inches from element.  Spray oven safe dish with cooking spray (You can use tin foil throw away pans); set aside.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
  2. Cook shells in boiling water until al dente, 12-15 minutes; drain and rinse under cold water.
  3. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken and saute until cooked through, 8-9 minutes per side; cool slightly, then chop into small pieces.
  4. Warm cream and garlic in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming.  Whisk in butter until melted.  Add 1/2 cup Parmesan, 2 tsp black pepper, and 1 Tbsp parsley.  Increase heat to medium-high and simmer until reduced, about 5 minutes.  Stir in chicken (broccoli and bacon if using) and remove from heat.
  5. Fill each shell with 1 heaping Tbsp chicken mixture. Sprinkle shells with remaining Parmesan.
  6. Broil shells until sauce bubbles and parmesan melts and is golden, about 2 minutes.  Garnish shells with remaining parsley.


Wine:  Pinot Grigio


Tater Tot Casserole
from our Family Favorites File

This is a family favorite and comfort food to the extreme.  We make it a lot and it is also perfect for pot lucks or when you need to make a meal for a friend.  Adults and kids love it!  There are two versions of the recipe...the original and a healthier alternative.  I will include both.

Original Version

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1-16oz bag of frozen tater tots
  • 1-2 cup bag of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1-14.75 oz can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1-16 oz bag of frozen mixed veggies
Alternative Health(ier) Version:
  • 1 lb ground turkey breast
  • 8oz frozen tater tots
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1-14.75 can of cream of chicken soup
  • 24oz frozen mixed veggies
DIRECTIONS (for both versions):
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 2-1/2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.  Mix ingredients in a bowl and place in casserole dish.  (If making the Alternative Health(ier) Version do not mix the cheese in with the other ingredients.  Sprinkle on top of the casserole before putting in the oven).
  2. Bake for 1 hour.

Beer:  this is comfort food so choose your favorite beer 
Wine:  again your favorite would be great with this comfort food

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