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Week 4: Anna Back to Work (2 Brett & Anna Special Recipes!)

January 25, 2015

After being on maternity leave since September, Anna is finally heading back to work this week. We are lucky that she got to spend this much time with Henry, and also that there are opportunities these days for the dads out there to take paternity leave. This week starts my final 3 weeks of time off to spend a little more time with Henry before he heads into daycare. For this week’s recipes, we picked things that were filling, comforting, and made enough extras that we could have leftovers for lunch/dinner during the week. The Pulled Pork is one of my favorites and it tastes great the way we are doing it this week, as well as in a “street taco” style with cabbage, radishes and Sriracha Crema. Without further adieu, here are the meals for the week.

Sunday: Spaghetti with ground turkey and marinara, garlic bread on the side via Brett & Anna (recipe to follow)

Monday: Curried Pumpkin Lentil Soup via Yummy Mummy Kitchen

Tuesday: Roasted Red Pepper and Prosciutto Pizza via Brett and Anna (recipe to follow)

Wednesday: Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork via Pioneer Woman

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Metro Chamber Awards Dinner

Saturday: Thai?

Spaghetti:

Ingredients:

1 box pasta of choice

1 package of ground turkey

1 jar marinara sauce

Salt, pepper and other seasonings to taste

Cook spaghetti according to package. Brown the turkey with a little olive oil in the pan. I like to add some spices in addition to salt and pepper while cooking. Typically I will add some dried basil, oregano, a dash of cinnamon and maybe even some red pepper flakes if we are feeling a little spicey ­čÖé I hardly ever measure, so just do it to taste, but remember, add little bits at a time so you don’t end up over seasoning. Once the turkey is fully cooked and seasoned to your liking, dump in the jar of spaghetti sauce. I have made a really tasty sauce in the past, but with the little one now here, it is becoming more and more difficult to spend a bunch of time making things in the kitchen. You can find the general recipe I typically follow here. For the garlic bread, we usually just buy a french baguette, slice it in half long ways, add some butter, then sprinkle it with garlic powder and throw it in the toaster oven until the butter is melted and it is a nice golden brown.

Roasted Red Pepper and Prosciutto Pizza:

Ingredients:

1 pre-made package of traditional style pizza dough from Trader Joe’s

Marinara/Sauce of your choice

Mozzarella cheese (we usually use the packaged, shredded kind)

1 jar roasted red peppers

1 package sliced prosciutto

Fresh Basil if you are so inclined or have some laying around like we did

Special Tools: Pizza Stone

We love using the Trader Joe’s pre-made pizza dough. It is super cheap, and super convenient. I have made my own dough in the past, but to just be able to buy some for less than $2 is way more worth what it takes to make it at home. To cook the pizza I use a pizza stone I got at Costco a few years ago. It is great because it absorbs and retains a TON of heat, and that is what gives pizza that great crispy crust but it stays┬ásoft on the inside. Typical pizza ovens run at upwards of 900┬░+. Most residential ovens don’t come close to that, but, I have found that if I crank my BBQ up to high on all 3 burners, I can get it to over┬á600┬░ in there. So, if you have a pizza stone, here is my recommendation on how to make an awesome pizza at home:

Fire up the grill as high as it goes and place your stone on it. Cover and let it get REALLY hot in there (15-20 minutes). Alternatively, you can preheat your oven to as hot as it can go (I think mine is 500┬░) and put the stone in there. While it is warming up, unwrap your pizza dough and place on a well floured surface and let it rest and rise for 15-20 minutes.

Once the 20 minutes is up, roll/toss it into the shape you need. I like to use a rolling pin to roll it out into a nice circle, about 12″ in diameter (just so happens to be the size of my pizza stone too :)). Make sure to keep the surface you are using well floured as well as your hands (if shaping by hand) or the rolling pin if using that. Every few rolls flip the dough over to insure even spreading. I don’t worry about making a crust like traditional pizzas because I like my toppings to go the the edge.

Now comes the tricky part. First, have all your toppings/ingredients out and prepped so they are ready to go. Now, go out to the grill and get your pizza stone and bring it back inside. Leave the grill on, but if you want to turn the burners down a little bit to save some gas, that is okay. Make sure you use an oven mitt or two. I have a giant spatula that really helps too. Once it is inside I like to place mine directly on top of the stove-top because this stone is HOT and the stove-top can take the heat.

Then I usually roll the dough onto the rolling pin and then unroll it onto the pizza stone. It will immediately start cooking, but that is okay (and is what you want). Then I grab my sauce and spread it on the dough, it took me a few tries before I figured out the amount of sauce we liked. When in doubt, use a little less than you think. Next spread out your cheese of choice, this, like the sauce, takes a few tries to figure out how much you like. I discovered that “less is more” when it comes to the sauce and the cheese. Next spread your chosen toppings accordingly.

Now, take your pizza back out to the grill (or put it back in your oven). Turn the heat all the way back up and close the lid. Set a timer for 5 or 6 minutes. Once the time is up go out and check on the pizza. My grill is hotter towards the back, so I have to rotate my pizza. Let it cook for another 5 minutes or so and you should have a nice golden brown bottom and the cheese should all be melted on top. Bring it back inside and remove from the stone and place on a cutting board. Let it rest for a couple minutes, otherwise the cheese is too gooey and all falls off. Top with the fresh basil, cut it up, and enjoy!

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Week 3: A Little Late, but Better than Never

January 19, 2015

We hosted a birthday lunch for Anna’s mom on Saturday that consisted of our play on Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup (only we didn’t use any tomatoes in our soup…)

Saturday Afternoon: Creamy Red Bell Pepper Soup via Food Network and Turkey Avocado Grilled Cheese or BSTA (Bacon, Spinach, Tomato, Avocado). I substituted dried thyme for the fresh springs and just used it to taste for the soup. For the grilled cheese, we use our Panini Press that we got for our wedding all the way back in 2008. It works awesome, and is much easier than using a pan on the stove-top.

Sunday: Leftovers

Monday: We took a day trip out to Muir Woods so we were both tired and didn’t feel like cooking, so we pushed “Meatless Monday” to Tuesday and just ate more leftovers.

Tuesday: Winter Squash Risotto┬ávia Interstitial Cystitis Network: The IC Chef Cookbook. We came across this recipe a few years ago and really loved it. We have also always used Butternut Squash. It is quite simple to make, just takes a bit of “hands-on” time while cooking the Risotto.

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken via Just A Taste. I came across this recipe while perusing the internet and it looked delicious, so I thought we would give it a try. Just need to remember to leave myself plenty of time to cook the brown rice to go with it.

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Pizza, maybe homemade (Have you noticed a theme here?)

Saturday: Still holding out for Chandos Tacos, or maybe we will get Thai from our favorite place, A Bakery and Thai Food

Week 2: Keeping it Easy

January 11, 2015

This weekend quickly filled up with plans and chores, so meal planning almost got pushed off. But, Henry and I made a quick trip to the store after meal planning around a few ingredients we already had around the house. Here is what we came up with:

Sunday: Creamy Prawn and Mango Curry via Greedy Gourmet

Monday: Spaghetti Squash with Roma Tomatoes, Basil and Olive Oil via Brett & Anna (recipe to follow)

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Stuffed Peppers with Turkey and Vegetables via All Recipes

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Chandos Tacos or Chipotle

Spaghetti Squash with Fresh Roma Tomatoes, Basil and Olive Oil

Serves 4-6

Total time – 1 hr 30 minutes, Active time – 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 medium sized spaghetti squash

10ish Roma Tomatoes (depends on how much tomato you like)

Basil

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 375┬░. Line a baking sheet or dish with foil. Pierce spaghetti squash several times with a sharp knife on all sides. Place in oven for 40 minutes. Rotate 180┬░ and cook for an additional 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 or so minutes.

While it is cooling, dice up all your tomatoes and roughly chop the basil. Then, cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the middle darker part that looks more like the inside of a pumpkin and the seeds with a spoon or a fork. Check remaining part for tenderness, it should be like slightly al dente spaghetti. If it is still uncooked, cover both halves with foil and place back in the oven for 15 minutes. When it is fully cooked, I like to take a fork and rake all around the shell, the “spaghetti” will pull apart nicely. Place directly on plate, or in a large bowl. When you have scraped everything out it should just be the shell left. Next, put a bunch of diced up tomatoes on top, salt & pepper to taste, drizzle some olive oil and top with some chopped basil. Give it a quick stir and there you go, a quick, ridiculously easy, healthy meal. Enjoy!

Week 1: Let’s Get This Year Started

January 4, 2015

Sunday: Cauliflower Chowder via Damn Delicious

Monday: Classic Greek Salad via Food Network

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Crockpot Parmesan Garlic Chicken with Whole Wheat Orzo via how sweet it is

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Takeout Pizza

Saturday:┬áTrader Joe’s frozen Naan Bread with Chicken Masala