Every month for the past 10 years or so, I have been teaching a cooking class at the Council on Aging in Rochester. I look forward to this class every month. It’s so much fun! And I cook for about 20-30 hungry people.
This month, I made one of my favorites, Oven Fried Chicken Cutlets! YUM!!! And it did come out yummy! I normally choose my menus like I choose my family’s menu plans…based on what’s on sale or what I have in my freezer. In the case of the cooking class…based on what the Council on Aging may have received in donations or what may have been left over from another function. One month, they called and said they had pork loin roasts, so I made the roast with potatoes and veggies or a Hot Brown with Pork instead of Turkey. Easy! It’s the same way many people plan their menus. Except, I need to be able to do most of the cooking in about 30 minutes AND feed about 20-30 people. No problem! Of course, I do some of the prep ahead of time. Who wants to see me dredge and coat 30 chicken cutlets? NOBODY!!! So I leave about 3-4 for on camera and the cooking class. Easy! Then I hope that I have enough to say to fill up the 25-30 minute time slot. Most of the time it works our perfectly but sometimes, not so much. I’ll let you be the judge of this time.
Mix crumbs with seasoning. Put in a shallow bowl. Put flour in another shallow bowl and eggs in a third shallow bowl. Dredge chicken in flour, then egg and finally in breadcrumbs. Place on a greased sheet pan. Bake for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
1 cup cooked ditalini pasta or other type of small pasta
1 package of torn romaine lettuce (8 cups)
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1 firm ripe avocado
3 sliced green onions
6 sliced of cooked bacon crumbled
1 cup blue or feta cheese
1/2 cup wine wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and Pepper to Taste along with Italian Seasoning
Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and rinse under cook water. Drain well. Set in large salad bowl.
Chop lettuce, avocado, tomato and slice green onions and set in salad bowl.
Cook bacon to crisp and crumble. Add to the bowl with the cheese.
Make dressing by combining vinegar, olive oil, chopped shallot, minced garlic and heavy cream. Add salt, pepper and Italian Seasoning. Whisk until thickened. Add to salad and toss.
To serve, add salad to plates and top with sliced oven fried chicken. Enjoy!
Here’s my weekly installment of my menu plan. Yes, I am a little late but better late than never. So, Ham Croquettes are on the menu this week. You’re probably saying..”Ham Croquettes? What are those?” Well, they were popular probably in the 50’s to use up leftovers. They use mashed potatoes, leftover meat and cheese to make a nice fried pancake or cylinder type dumpling. Really good, when you make them right. I have been trying to perfect these for a while. I went to a great restaurant near me where they were on the menu. Of course, I ordered them and they were fantastic.
Since we had ham on the menu for Easter AND mashed potatoes, I figured I would try out this recipe for Ham and Oaxaca Cheese Croquettes. We will see!!!
I hope you enjoy the menu plan. If you have any questions, just let me know. All recipes and the grocery list can be found on my website in the new section. Menu Plan
Day 1: Ham & Oaxaca Cheese Croquettes & Salad
Day 2: Stuffed Boneless Turkey Breast with Roasted Potatoes & Brussels Sprouts
Day 3: Cod with Italian Crumb Topping with Steamed Broccoli and Rice Pilaf
Day 4: Pan-Roasted Chicken & Vegetables
Enjoy and let me know what you think! Again, for all the recipes, just go to Menu Plan under New Section for the recipes, links and grocery list.
Finished Menu Plan for this week!!!! I love it when it is done. I just feel so empowered because I have a plan!! As you can tell I only do 4 days of meals. Why? I like to leave flexibility in my menu for leftover night and nights when we may want to go out to eat. Flexibility and a Plan…it’s the best of both worlds! At the end is the grocery list. I hope you try the menus. I know they are helping me with that rush of what’s for dinner tonight!
Preheat the Double Burner Grill Pan for 5 minutes on medium-high heat.
For the marinade, juice the lime to measure 2 tbsp (30 mL). Add the juice, rub, and oil to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Repeat in a separate bowl.
Add the steak to one bowl and shrimp to another bowl, stir to coat with the marinade, and let sit, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 5 minutes, or up to 30 minutes.
Slice onions and pepper and put on one side of the grill to cook.
Grill the steak first for 7 minutes per side depending upon desired doneness rotating and moving around the grill occasionally to ensure even cooking. Put on cutting board to rest. Then grill shrimp 4 minutes per side or until opaque. Slice the beef against the grain before serving..
In the Rockcrok over medium-high heat, heat oil. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and sear until golden, 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken thighs to slow cooker.
Whisk together soy sauce, ketchup, honey, garlic, ginger, Sriracha, and lime juice. Pour sauce over chicken and toss to combine.
Cover and cook until no longer pink, on low for 6 hours or high for 2 hours. Serve with rice and garnish with cilantro.
Sauteed Green Beans with Bacon
SAUTÉED GREEN BEANS WITH BACON
8 oz (250 g) fresh green beans
3 slices uncooked bacon
2 tbsp (30 mL) water
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground black pepper
Trim ends and cut longer beans in half. Thinly slice bacon crosswise into thin strips. Cook bacon in (10-in./24-cm) Skillet over medium-high heat 7-9 minutes or until crisp.
Finely chop shallot. Add shallot to Skillet and cook 20-30 seconds or until fragrant. Add green beans, water, salt and pepper. Cover; cook 6-8 minutes or until green beans are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.
5 cups (1.25 L) mixed salad greens
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 2-in. (5 cm) strips
1 cup (250 mL) snow peas
1/2 red onion, sliced into thin wedges
1/3 cup (75 mL) snipped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp (30 mL) Asian Seasoning Mix
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 lb (500 g)
1/4 cup (50 mL) dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
For dressing, combine vinegar, soy sauce, seasoning mix and sugar in Small Batter Bowl. Slowly add oil, whisking until well blended. Cover; refrigerate until ready to use.
For salad, arrange greens on large serving platter. Top with bell pepper, snow peas, onion and cilantro. Cover; refrigerate until ready to serve.
Heat Grill Pan over medium heat 5 minutes. For pork, combine seasoning mix and oil in (1-cup) Prep Bowl; rub over entire surface of pork. Grill pork 15-18 minutes or until Digital Pocket Thermometer registers 155°F (68°C) for medium doneness or 165°F (75°C) for well done, turning every 5 minutes. Remove pork to Cutting Board and tent with aluminum foil; let stand 5-10 minutes.
To serve, carve pork into thin slices and arrange around edge of salad on serving platter. Sprinkle with peanuts, if desired. Drizzle with dressing.
2 cups (500 mL) diced cooked chicken
1/2 cup (125 mL) ranch dressing
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and coarsely ground black pepper
Cornmeal for dusting
16 oz (450 g) frozen prepared pizza dough, thawed (see Cook’s Tip)
2 small vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup (250 mL) shredded Colby & Monterey Jack cheese
5 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
2 thinly sliced green onions
Prepare grill for indirect cooking over medium-high heat. Combine chicken, dressing, pressed garlic, salt and black pepper in medium bowl; toss to coat.
Generously sprinkle Pastry Matwith cornmeal; place dough onto center of mat. Roll dough to an 12-in. (30-cm) circle. Place dough onto BBQ Pizza Pan; gently stretching to cover bottom. Top crust with chicken mixture and tomatoes; sprinkle evenly with cheese and bacon.
Place pizza pan on grid of grill. Grill, covered, 18-22 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown, rotating pan occasionally for even grilling. Remove pan from grill. Sprinkle evenly with green onion. Cut pizza into 12 slices.
6 servings of 2 slices
Nutrients per serving:
Calories 470, Total Fat 26 g, Saturated Fat 8 g, Cholesterol 75 mg, Sodium 880 mg, Carbohydrate 35 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 26 g
For best results, let pizza dough stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before rolling it out.
I forgot to post this. I don’t want to waste it even though it is now Winter. So here’s the post I did for fall:
I love fall! The crisp, clean air is always something I look forward to every year. Pumpkins, apples, peaches, squashes, soups, stews, roasts, etc. are all things I love about this time of year. As some of you know from previous posts, I volunteer at our local Council on Aging doing a cooking class and cooking lunch for about 30 people once a month. Each month, I ask what they would like to see me cook the next month. This past month the suggestion was soup because the weather is turning cooler and a nice steamy bowl of soup (with a steamy slice of bread) hits the spot most nights. Plus, soup is so economical. Bonus!!!!!
I have been an Independent Pampered Chef Director for the past 20 years and this year we are focusing our shows on One Pot Meals. JUST WHAT I LOVE!!!!! One of my favorites is a Chicken Pot Pie Chowder (or Chowdaa). Can we have a double YUM! I made this for my family and it was an instant hit. I think you’ll love it too!!!
As some of you know, I love a bargain. Especially when that bargain is food. Why? Because I love to cook AND food is one of the best ways to save money. Everyone has to buy food! Everyone! If we have a $200/week (sorry, I’m choking) food bill, cutting back is one of the best ways to save money. I’m sure I could have a $200 food bill but I am too cheap thrifty to spend that much. Instead my food bill is about $40-$60 per week depending upon how many I am feeding…and who is living in the house or living at school. One of my daughters likes organic food, so our food bill may go up when she is home.
So, last week, I was shopping at my favorite produce market…Friendly Fruit, aka leftovers from Sid Weiner’s Gourmet Outlet. They had a huge, I mean huge bag of chopped kale for $2 or $3. All chopped and washed, ready to go. I could not, would not pass that up! I thought I would just make some Kale Soup and some smoothies. Well, it was A LOT of kale. And, I did not feel like Kale Soup. While I did make many smoothies, I happened along to a recipe for Potato Kielbasa Skillet at the Taste of Home website. I had to change up a few things, like add kale instead of spinach, remove the bacon and thyme from the recipe and change the cooking instructions. Basically, I made another recipe with what I had on hand and what I like. The result was an amazing dish that I know I will be making again. Plus, it was all done in one pan and in less than 30 minutes. I hope you enjoy it, too!
Kielbasa, Potatoes and Kale Skillet
1 pound potatoes, cubed
3 tablespoons water
12 ounces smoked kielbasa
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 dashes of pepper
4 cups chopped kale
Place potatoes and water in the Rockcrok or other microwavable and stovetop safe pan. Cover and microwave on high for 4 minutes or until tender; drain.
Add oil, kielbasa and onion to the potatoes. Saute for 15 minutes or until kielbasa and potatoes are lightly browned. Stir occasionally so the potatoes do not burn.
Combine the brown sugar, vinegar, mustard and pepper; stir into potato/kielbasa mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; add kale simmer, uncovered, until kale is wilted.
I try to anticipate how much my family will eat for dinner but sometimes, I am just plan wrong. Someone can’t come home for dinner, doesn’t like dinner, ate lunch late so they are not hungry, etc. Sometimes we have leftovers. Not planned overs, where I know I will use the leftovers to make an entire meal…but real leftovers.
I volunteer for a free breakfast program once a week for people who just won’t get a breakfast any other way except by going to this free breakfast. I think this is why I hate wasting food. Or it might come from my mother’s “There are starving people, you should not waste your food.” Whatever it is, I try not to waste food. Even, though, I do throw out my fair share of food.
Normally, my husband and I keep leftovers in check by eating them for lunch. My husband has no problem taking any leftovers for lunch except fish. We all know it smells too much when it’s heated in the microwave. There could be a mutiny at work. So, fish stays home.
Sometimes I have just a lonely piece of chicken or steak or pork and I try to make it into something else for lunch. Today was one of those days. I had this lonely piece of roasted chicken in my refridgerator and decided it would be lunch.
There is an old Pampered Chef recipe for a Chicken Broccoli Braid. I, like so many others love this recipe. But the main filling can be used in making a sandwich or panini. I opted for the panini and it came out fabulous! (the fabulous is for my niece Erin…she says its my word).
Here is how I adapted the recipe. It’s really a rough recipe because I don’t really measure when I cook:
Chicken Broccoli Panini
1 piece of cooked boneless skinless chicken
a few broccoli florets
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1/4 small onion
2 tbs or more of mayonaise
1/4 tsp of dried dill
4 slices of bread of your choice (sturdy bread is best)
a little butter for the bread
Put chicken, broccoli, cheese, garlic, and onion in your food processor. Pulse until it is incorporated into smallish pieces. Only about 4 – 5 pulses.
Add mayo and dill and pulse a few times until all mixed.
Heat your panini or grill pan with press.
Assemble sandwiches and butter both sides of the sandwiches. Put sandwich on heated pan and top with press. After 2 minutes or less, flip and press again for another minute or two. You are done! Enjoy!
If you do not want a hot sandwich, you can always use the mixture as a chicken salad and serve it cold.
Let me know what you think of this recipe and what you do with small leftovers.
I have never had a Muffaletta Sandwich. I have seen them being made on various cooking shows but I have never had one.
I have made a really great olive and red pepper salad. This salad is great for bruschetta and to serve with crackers. I also had it for breakfast with cream cheese and a bagel. YUM!!!
I was thinking about making a sandwich for the Council on Aging Cooking class and immediately Muffaletta Wraps jumped into my head. Why not? Instead of using a large round loaf of bread for the sandwich, how about a wrap. It could work…and it does work! In fact, it is delicious. Here’s the recipe and here is the What’s Linda Cooking Segment where I made the wraps. Enjoy!
10 tortilla wraps
10 slices of smoked ham
10 slices of salami
10 slice of provolone cheese
1 cup green olives with pimentos
1 cup pitted black olives
1 small jar of roasted peppers
1 small bunch of parsley or 1tbs. dried
4 garlic cloves, minced
Make an olive salad: Chop the olives and peppers. Mix in with the parsley, garlic and olive oil. Set aside.
Assemble the wraps. Place one wrap on cutting board. Top with a slice each of ham, salami and provolone cheese. Top with a small scoop of olive salad. Tuck in sides and roll up to wrap. Repeat with the remaining 9 tortillas. Put onto a platter and for best flavor refrigerate for at least 2 hours. To serve, cut wraps in half and serve with a green salad.
Sometimes I get Sweet Italian Sausage on sale. Most of the time it is $2.99/lb. where I shop. But sometimes, it drops to $1.49 or even $.99/lb. for quick sale. When I see those prices, I pick up a few packages. Because it’s reduced for quick sale, I need to use it right away or package it up in 1 lb. or 3/4 lb. packages and put it in the freezer for later use.
Not long ago, I found a really good deal on Italian Sausage and came up with a Shepherds Pie using up the sausage. It was a huge hit at home and also at my cooking class “What’s Linda Cooking”. I hope you enjoy this and hopefully we will find some sausage on sale at $.99/lb.!
Linda’s Italian Sausage Shepherds Pie
1 lb Italian Sausage-casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
1/3 cup water
3 cups mashed potatoes (either homemade or packaged)
2 cups green beans (cooked)
1 cup cheese
Remove casings from sausage and sauté though with chopped onion, breaking up into crumbles in a 12″ oven safe skillet.
Meanwhile, mix cheese with mashed potatoes and other spices of your choice.
Once sausage is cooked, move to the sides of the pan. In the middle of the pan, melt butter and combine with flour. Cook for 30 seconds or so. Add water and combine with meat to make a gravy. Turn off heat. Add green beans on top of the sausage. Then top with the potato and cheese mixture. Dot with butter and bake in a 350 degree oven until bubbly about 20 minutes.
I love to travel. I love to travel for business and for pleasure. In my former job, I would travel to sales meetings and to conference shows. I loved talking with people at conferences.
I love going to new places, new cities and eating what the locals eat. Normally, I will not eat at the hotel. I know the hotels don’t want to hear this but the hotel restaurants tend not to be “local” establishments. Don’t I ask the concierge for restaurant ideas. I normally ask the bellmen, the hotel desk staff or the valet. Why? I ask them where they go to eat lunch in the city. They go to where the locals eat. The concierge normally sends me to restaurants that are touristy places. I don’t want to go to a tourist place. I want to eat locally.
For food talk, I love talking to cab drivers, people walking along in the city, hotel staff, etc. Really anyone who is from the area. I like to find out those hidden gems.
When my husband and I went to the Big Island of Hawaii, we asked the Valets where to go for breakfast. They told us about a little place about 15 minutes away from the hotel. We went there and had a jackpot breakfast of pancakes, eggs, a linguica type sausage, homefries, and toast. We ate like kings! The plates were huge and filled with delicious food. The whooping cost? $15 with tip! That’s right, $15 with tip!!! We went there 1 other time…it was that good. When we went back to the hotel, we heard the hotel breakfast was great but was $50 per person. That’s right, $50 per person!!! Ouch! We told everyone about the breakfast we had. Needless to say, the restaurant was busier the next time we went with people we saw at the hotel.
On a recent trip, I went to Louisville, KY for a conference. During a lunch break, we saw a Panera Bread across the street from the convention center. While I love Panera Bread, I do not want to go the same chain restaurant that I could at home. I want a different experience. I want a local experience.
I spied a food cart just across the street to my left and told my friends that I wanted to go there instead. Off we went to talk to the guy at the hot dog cart. I asked him what was so special about his hot dogs. He told me about the toppings he has…garlic aioli, sweet pepper sauce, caramelized onions, potato sticks (I love potato sticks) and coleslaw. I was sold! I told him to put it all on the dog.
I loved every minute of eating this delicous hot dog. I recreated it at home and got 2 thumbs up from my family. I cooked it a the Council on Aging got rave reviews.
So, here is the kind of recipe I used. And, if you want to see me in action, cooking the Louisville Hot Dogs, go to this link
Here’s the recipe:
Louisville Hot Dogs
Grilled Hot Dogs
Sweet Red Pepper Sauce
Put hot dogs in a bun of your choice. Top with Aioli, Pepper Sauce, Onions, Potato Sticks and then Cold Slaw. Enjoy! Super yummy!
Sweet Red Pepper Sauce
1 cup roasted red peppers (from water-packed jar)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a blender, combine the red peppers, vinegar, and oil and process until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
1 cup mayonnaise
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 of one lemon, juiced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Mix mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
6 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 cup sugar
Salt and pepper
In a large bowl, make dressing by combining mayonnaise, vinegar, celery seed, sugar, salt and pepper. Combine cabbage and carrots on top of dressing. Toss dressing into cabbage mixture and let chill.
My daughter and I were walking in the mall. I hate malls. I hate shopping…except food shopping. But, my daughter was called out of work due to the weather & wanted me to go to the mall with her. Much to my dismay, I ended up at the mall. (I thought she had a driver’s license and a car just so I wouldn’t have to do this!) But, I’m getting off track. Back to the story.
Off to the mall we went. While there, we spied a pretzel place selling pretzels wrapped around a hotdog. Pretzel + Hot Dog = YUM!!! Being frugal and knowing I can cook just about anything (except Turducken but that’s another story), I passed on buying the Pretzel Wrapped Hot Dogs.
I thought about those hot dogs for a few days. I checked out my refrigerator and confirmed that I did indeed have hot dogs. Tonight, was the night! I gathered all my materials…flour, yeast, sugar, butter, baking soda and those hot dogs. And to make it easy, my bread machine. Off I went on my culinary adventure (hot dogs = culinary…ha, ha, ha).
I came up with a really great recipe that got 2 (count them) TWO thumbs up from my kids. Success!!! Enjoy…
Pretzel Wrapped Dogs
3/4 cups warm water
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt (I used regular but you can use Kosher)
1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp of butter cut into 4 equal pieces
Put into your bread machine and put on the dough cycle.
about 10 cups water
1/2 cup to 2/3 cup baking soda
Once bread machine beeps and finishes its cycle, take dough out of the machine and cut into 8 equal pieces. Bring a big pan of water (about 10 cups or so) and baking soda to a boil.
Meanwhile, take each section of dough and roll each into a rope about 10 – 12 inches long. Wrap each dough rope around each hot dog and seal the ends.
Place pretzels 2 at a time in the boiling water for about 30 seconds. (1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi…or use a timer or guess)
Remove them with a slotted spoon and put on a greased baking sheet (I used a stone)
1 egg yolk beaten with a little water (I saved the white for an egg sandwich for tomorrow’s breakfast)
Brush each pretzel dog with egg and top with a sprinkle of salt. (or add some grated cheddar cheese = extra yummy)