Pizza, Burger, and Fries (Dinner for Two Week 23)

Breakfast: Chewy Coconut Almond Raisin Granola Bar, Fruit and Nut Bars

Lunch: Leftovers + cranberries, guava, papaya, grapefruit

Dinner: BBQ Chicken/Veggie Pizza, Cheeseburger ‘n’ Fries Casserole, tomatoes, butternut squash, carrots, persimmons

Dessert: Crepes with strawberries

Fruit and Nut Bars

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Coarsely chop 3 cups of dried fruit and 1 1/2 cups of dry roasted nuts until most pieces are relatively uniform in size. Set aside.
  3. Whisk 1/3 cup of flour, 1/8 tsp of baking soda, and 1/8 tsp of baking powder together in a large bowl until evenly combined. Add 1/3 cup of brown sugar, fruit, and nuts, and mix to coat all fruit and nuts with the flour mixture.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat an egg with 1/2 tsp of vanilla about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir egg into flour mixture until evenly mixed.
  6. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Smooth out the top with a spatula.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Crepes (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

  1. Whisk 3 eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of soy milk, 1 tsp of vanilla, and 3 Tbsp of melted butter (or nondairy butter alternative). Whisk in 3/4 cup of cornstarch, a pinch of salt, and 1 Tbsp of sugar. Stir in 1 tsp of lemon zest and 1 Tbsp of poppy seeds. Let batter rest for half an hour.
  2. Four minutes before cooking, heat wide pan (at least 6-7″) to medium high heat. When hot, add a little bit of butter (or alternative) and spread across the pan evenly. Remove pan from heat to prevent smoking.
  3. Stir the batter and pour ⅛ of a cup into the pan. Quickly spread the batter with a tilt and rotate motion or by using a thin spatula to cover the bottom of the pan evenly. Return the pan to the heat.
  4. Cook the crepe for one minute, loosening the edges with a spatula as it cooks. When the top of the crepe should looks almost dry, flip it over. Cook the other side for a minute and transfer the crepe to a plate.
  5. Repeat the process until you’ve made as many crepes as you want. Add a little butter to the pan periodically to keep the crepes from sticking.
  6. Serve with sliced strawberries. Mmm!

Chewy Coconut Almond Raisin Granola Bars

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil so that some foil hangs over the edges of the pan. Butter the foil and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of old-fashioned oats, 1/2 cup of wheat germ, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 2 Tbsp of ground flaxseed, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/8 tsp of ground ginger, 1 cup of shredded coconut, 1 cup of raisins, 1/2 cup of sliced almonds and 1/4 cup of unsalted peanuts.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp of honey, 1/4 cup of melted unsalted butter (1/2 stick) and 1 Tbsp of fresh orange juice. Pour over the flour mixture and toss together with a fork. The mixture will be dry but sticky. Blend together until all of the dry ingredients are moistened by the honey mixture.

Dump oat mixture into the prepared baking dish. With clean, slightly oiled fingers (or a fork), firmly press the oat mixture into the dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes. The baked granola will still be soft even after it’s baked, but will harden as it cools.

Remove baked granola from the oven and cool for 30 minutes. Place the baking dish in the refrigerator for about an hour before slicing. Don’t skip this step or it will crumble.

Use the overhang foil flaps to remove the baked granola. Use a large, sharp knife to cut block into 12 bars. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in an air tight container. Will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and cube one chicken breast. Place a prebaked Italian bread shell crust on a pizza pan. Spread with 2/3 cup of honey garlic BBQ sauce. Sprinkle with a small chopped red onion, cubed chicken, and 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake for 10 minutes.

Unexpected guests? Cut one of these pizzas up into strips and serve as an appetizer when friends pop by unexpectedly. They are fast to whip up which will give you extra stalling time while you think of what to serve for the main course. Suggestion? Cheeseburger ‘n’ Fries Casserole. See below. 

Game night? Make one or two of these babies with chicken and then one more with no chicken, but load on the interesting veggies instead. I recommend cubed rutabaga, corn, and cubed sweet potato. Kids coming? Make a happy face out of the veggies to make them seem fun. Or lay out the ingredients and let them decorate their own. You’ll be the most happening place in town. 

Cheeseburger ‘n’ Fries Casser0le

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook 2 lbs of lean ground beef in a skillet over medium heat and drain. Stir in a can of golden mushroom soup and a can of cheddar cheese soup. Pour into a greased baking dish. Arrange a package of frozen crinkle-cut French fries on top. Bake, uncovered, for 50-55 minutes.

SHOPPING LIST: 

24 oz of mozzarella cheese

Eggs

Soy milk (or other nondairy milk)

Non dairy butter alternative

3 prebaked Italian bread shell crust (14 oz)

3 red onions

3 tomatoes

Butternut squash

6 carrots

3-18 persimmons (depending on size)

Rutabaga

Corn

Sweet potato

Cranberries

Strawberries

Guava

Papaya (1 large or 3 small)

3-6 grapefruits

Lemon

Orange

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 2 cups of leftover cooked chicken)

2 lbs lean ground beef

Pkg of frozen crinkle-cut fries (20 oz)

Can of golden mushroom soup (11 oz)

Can of cheddar cheese soup (11 oz)

Honey garlic BBQ sauce

Old-fashioned oats

Unsalted peanuts

Dried fruit – I recommend apricots, dates, and cherries

Dry roasted nuts – I recommend pecans and almonds

[Also needed: wheat germ, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ground flaxseed, ground ginger, shredded coconut, raisins, sliced almonds, honey, unsalted butter, vanilla, sugar, cornstarch, poppy seeds, flour, baking soda, baking powder]

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Green Eggs and Ham (Dinner for Two Week 22)

Breakfast: Green ‘n’ Gold Egg Bake, Yogurt with Toasted Quinoa, Almonds and Apricots

Lunch: Leftovers + banana, pear, orange, cherries

Dinner: Breaded Pork Chops, Spaghetti Carbonara, Easy and Elegant Ham, red potatoes, sauteed red peppers and red onion

Dessert: Yogurt Tartlet

Breaded Pork Chops

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine 1 cup of Italian-seasoned bread crumbs and 2 Tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese in a shallow dish (like a pie plate). Place 1/3 cup of ranch salad dressing in another shallow dish. Dip 6 pork chops in ranch dressing, then coat in the crumb mixture.

Place in an ungreased baking pan. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a jar of red sauce in a small pot. Pour over pork chops and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese to serve.

Green ‘n’ Gold Egg Bake

Thaw 2 packages of frozen spinach and squeeze dry. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of seasoned bread crumbs into a greased baking dish. Bake for 3-5 minutes. Combine spinach, 3 cups of cottage cheese, 1/4 cup of grated Romano cheese, 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, 3 eggs, and 3/4 cup of seasoned bread crumbs in a bowl. Spread over the baked crumbs. Beat 2 more eggs. Pour over spinach mixture.

Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Yogurt Tartlets

I’ve featured this recipe before on Week 21 in my Year as a Single College Student Series. You can view the recipe here:

https://theshortchef.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/week-21-special-week-5-recipes-for-50/

 I decorated mine with dates, nectarine, and peach slices this time.

Yogurt with Toasted Quinoa, Almonds, and Apricots

To toast the red quinoa, add 1 Tbsp to a medium saute pan and cook over medium/low heat about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool.

Add 1 Tbsp of sliced almonds to the saute pan, and toast over low heat, moving around the pan constantly. Almonds will toast in 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

Add 1 Tbsp of coconut chips to the saute pan, and toast over low heat, moving around the pan constantly. When coconut is toasted, transfer to a bowl to cool.

Add 6 oz of Greek yogurt to a small bowl. Top with toasted quinoa, almonds, 3 roughly chopped dried apricots and coconut chips. Drizzle with honey and a small sprinkle of sea salt. Flaky sea salt, like fleur de sel works best.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Cook a package of thin spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, dice 10 strips of bacon, and cook over medium heat in a skillet until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Add 1/3 cup of butter to the drippings. Heat until melted.

Drain spaghetti. Toss with 2 lightly beaten eggs and 3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Add to the skillet. Cook and stir over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with bacon.

Easy and Elegant Ham

Drain 2 cans of sliced pineapple, reserving the juice and setting aside. Place half of the pineapple in an ungreased slow cooker. Top with a 6 lb fully cooked boneless ham. Drain a jar of maraschino cherries well. Add cherries, remaining pineapple, and reserved pineapple juice on top of the ham. Spoon a jar of orange marmalade on top as well. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours.

Remove to a warm serving platter. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Serve pineapple and cherries with sliced ham.

SHOPPING LIST:

Parmesan cheese (at least 2.5 cups worth grated)

Romano cheese (1/4 cup worth)

Cottage cheese (24 oz)

Greek yogurt

Plain lowfat vanilla yogurt

Eggs

Italian-seasoned dry bread crumbs

Red chili pepper

Red onion

Bag of red potatoes

3 red peppers

Bananas

6 pears

Dates

Nectarine

Peach

6 oranges

Cherries

6 lb fully cooked boneless ham

6 pork chops

Bacon

2 pkgs of frozen chopped spinach

Jar of maraschino cherries (6 oz)

Jar of orange marmalade (12 oz)

Jar of red pasta sauce

Pkg of thin spaghetti (7 oz)

Red quinoa

Dried apricots

Coconut chips

Natural cane sugar

[Also needed: butter, sliced almonds, honey, sea salt, all-purpose flour, oats, salt, maple syrup, lemon juice, seasoned bread crumbs, ranch salad dressing]

Fruit Galore! (Dinner for 2 Week 6)

Lunch: Sunshine Salad or Fruit Salad with Maple Cream Fruit Topping; Pear or Date; Roasted Mixed Nuts

Dinner: Turkey Broccoli Hollandaise or Fisherman’s Specialty; Black Salsify or Eggplant; Mock Champagne Punch

Maple Cream Fruit Topping

Combine 1 Tbsp of all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup of maple syrup, and 1 egg in a pot until smooth. Ad 1 Tbsp of butter. Bring to a boil. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until completely cooled. Whip 1 cup of heavy whipping cream. Fold whipped cream into flour-maple syrup-egg-butter mixture.

Spoon on top of fruit salad or sliced melons.

Fruit Salad Suggestion: Sliced strawberries, bananas, kiwis, cubed honeydew melon, and squeeze a lime on top of everything to keep fruit tasting fresh and to prevent browning in the fridge.

Sunshine Salad

Drain a can of pineapple tidbits and a can of mandarin oranges, but reserve the liquid. Combine a package of instant lemon pudding with reserved fruit juices in a large bowl. Fold in pineapple, oranges, and 1 cup of quartered strawberries. Chill for at least 2 hours. Add a few slices of banana to each serving just before eating.

Turkey Broccoli Hollandaise

Cook and cube two turkey or chicken breasts or use leftover cooked chicken or turkey from a previous dinner. You will need approximately two cups worth.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place 1 inch of water and 1 cup of fresh broccoli florets in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5-8 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a package of stuffing mix and an envelope of hollandaise sauce mix according to package directions.

Spoon stuffing into a greased baking dish. Top with 2 cups of cooked chicken or turkey. Drain broccoli. Arrange over turkey/chicken. Spoon sauce over the top. Sprinkle with a can of french-fried onions. Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes.

Fisherman’s Specialty

Crush 30 crackers into a pie dish or shallow bowl. Beat 2 eggs and a tsp of lemon-pepper seasoning in another shallow bowl. Dip 6 bluegill, crappie, or perch fillets in egg mixture, then coat with cracker crumbs. Sprinkle with another tsp of lemon-pepper seasoning.

Heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in a skillet. Fry fillets for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Roasted Mixed Nuts

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine 1 lb of mixed nuts 1/4 cup of maple syrup in a bowl. Mix well. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp of brown sugar and an envelope of ranch salad dressing mix. Stir gently to coat.

Spread in a greased baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool. Store in an airtight container.

Mock Champagne Punch

Combine equal parts of white grape juice and ginger ale in a punch bowl or individual glasses. Garnish with strawberries and raspberries.

SHOPPING LIST:

Heavy whipping cream

Eggs

Broccoli florets

6 black salsify roots

Eggplant

2 bunches of bananas

2-3 flats of strawberries

2 flats of raspberries

Honeydew melon

Lime

3 kiwis

6 pears

6 dates (If you don’t like to eat them on their own, chop them up and add to green salads)

6 bluegill, perch, or crappie fillets (2-3 oz each)

Chicken or turkey (use leftovers, breasts, deli, whatever works, but you will need roughly 2 cups worth)

1 lb mixed nuts

Saltine crackers

Can of french-fried onions

Can of pineapple tidbits (20 oz)

Can of mandarin oranges (11 oz)

Package of instant lemon pudding

Package of stuffing mix (6 oz)

Hollandaise sauce mix

Ranch salad dressing mix

Lemon-pepper seasoning

Ground cloves

White grape juice

Ginger ale

Maple syrup

All-purpose flour

[Also needed: brown sugar, vegetable oil, butter]