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Saturday, March 30, 2019

Tavern Grilled Cheese

Tavern Grilled Cheese_menumusings.com
When I had Asiago (my former cafe) open, we used to make this sandwich.  We probably made it as a special about every two weeks or so.  Every single time we made it we sold out.  Scouts honor.  The thing I want to point out to you is, this is a fantastic use for your leftover pot roast!  That's actually how the recipe came about in the first place.  My family ALWAYS has leftovers when I make a big roast.  I bet yours does, too.  We love the leftovers, but one day I was looking for something different to do with them.

This could not be easier.  I mean seriously, it's kicked up grilled cheese with shredded pot roast!  Some sliced tomatoes, a salad, some salty fries or something acidic on the side go well with it since it's pretty rich.  But this is definitely a hearty, filling sandwich!

Tavern Grilled Cheese_menumusings.com#foodhack #leftovers #sandwich #familyfriendly 
#quick #easy #comfortfood #lunch

Ingredients:
Step-by-Step:
The first thing you need to do is to get your leftover pot roast and pull it apart.  I just use a couple of forks for this.  Oh, and you can save yourself some time by doing this ahead of time.  In case you are wondering, for a whole chuck roast (about 5 pounds or so), I could get about 14 - 16 sandwiches.  But of course that won't be the case with leftovers.  It will just depend on how much you have left. 

If you are going to divide the cooked roast ahead of time, you can put the measured meat into small baggies or reusable containers of about 1/4 cup each.
When ready to prepare sandwiches, butter the bread.  (Oddly enough, mayo works well for this job, too.  It creates a beautiful brown crust.)  There are only a few recipes that I use white bread for.  Grilled cheese is one of them.
Layer your bread with slices of creamy Havarti and a 1/4 cup scoop of warmed pot roast.  I like to warm it first to begin the process.  Cold meat does not lend itself well to good sandwich making when you are trying to melt cheese.



With buttered sides out, obviously, make your grilled cheese until GDB - golden brown and delicious!  - and melty!   It's best if you don't have your pan or griddle up too high for this.  A panini press will work great, too.

Let's also talk about that gravy that came with the roast.  Dip some of that out of the pot or tupperware or whatever you had it in.  Warm some up and serve some on the side for dipping.  Yes I did say that!  Not au jus.  This is full on GRAVY!  Yummm.  Everything about gravy says "comfort."
As a matter of fact, this whole lot does - toasted bread, roast, melty cheese, gravy... I bet you can just taste it now!
Tavern Grilled Cheese_menumusings.com

To have a look at the MenuMusings cookbook...
What a great gift for your senior about to graduate, those "moms" in your life for mother's day, your friends who just moved into their own apartment or house.  Each recipe with step-by-step photos and links back to the blog!

Bonus recipes - 
Individual White Chocolate and Raspberry Bread Puddings - great for a dinner party!

Pickle Brined Fried Chicken - one of my kids' favorites!  Yes it sounds weird, but tastes suspiciously like the chicken at Chick-fil-a.

Beefy Crunch Wrap Supremes - move over Taco Bell!  Call all the kids and teenagers in for this!

Overnight Stuffed French Toast Rollups - Brunch? Sleepovers?  Breakfast in bed? 😁

Puff Pastry Breakfast Pizzas - Something for everyone.  Grownups and kidlets alike. 

Easy Family Favorite Meatloaf - a good basic recipe (oh, and gluten free as well)

Monday, March 11, 2019

Turkey Taco Salad Lunch Bowls (meal prep)

Turkey Taco Salad Lunch Bowls (meal prep) _menumusings.com
I guess I need to apologize, because this isn't really a recipe at all.  It's just a basic concept that I did for a group of my girlfriends that was super successful.  I keep telling my friends that meal prep is so much easier when each person picks a recipe and shares the responsibility.  That way you can just share what you made and enjoy the fruits of each other's labor.  A great way to enjoy friendship, get your meal prep done, eat right and save some bucks! 

I loved this recipe so much.  Of course you could totally use whatever protein you enjoy - turkey, beef, chicken, pork.  The turkey is super healthy and my kids and I enjoy it.  This salad completely hit the spot for my busy days at work when I had only a limited time to pull a lunch out of my mini fridge between classes.  I just took the cold stuff out, popped the meat into the microwave, squeezed the lime over the top, and mixed it up for a super satisfying and healthy lunch.   My daughter took a little baggie of fritos to school with hers instead of lettuce, so there's a kid friendly option if you are looking for one. 

Turkey Taco Salad Lunch Bowls (meal prep) _menumusings.com#clean #glutenfree #lowcarb #turkey #lowsugar #lowcalorie #diabeticfriendly #lunchprep #mealprep #familyfriendly #easy #healthy #quick

Ingredients: (for 6 meals)
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey 
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1 (1.25oz) Packet taco seasoning of choice
    • check labels for GF.  McCormick makes one. 
    • plus 1 cup water according to package instructions
    • plus 2 tsp chili powder
    • plus 2 tsp ground cumin 
  • 6 cups shredded lettuce of choice
  • 12 oz fresh pico de gallo 
  • 12 oz light sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 12 oz shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges 
  • Optional - fresh chopped cilantro to garnish 
Method:
Prepare you "taco meat" as you normally would, adding the extra seasoning if desired.  We like ours to be really flavorful.   While the meat is cooling, divide the other ingredients into containers.  These all work equally well if you chop, mix, shred them yourself or if you pick up premade/pre-shredded items at the grocery for time and convenience.   I used individual 2oz portion cups with lids for the condiments and sandwich baggies for the lettuce.   Refrigerate up to 4 days. 
Turkey Taco Salad Lunch Bowls (meal prep) _menumusings.com
This recipe allows for 1/2 cup each of ground taco meat, which seemed to be perfect in my opinion.  This recipe is also super easy to double, obviously.  
Turkey Taco Salad Lunch Bowls (meal prep) _menumusings.com
If your condiment cups don't fit sideways into your lunch containers, just squish the meat over.  Hey, you do what you need to, right?  
Turkey Taco Salad Lunch Bowls (meal prep) _menumusings.com
Flavorful, filling and healthy without leaving you feeling weighed down.  

To check out the MenuMusings cookbook

Bonus Recipes - 
Butterfly Snack Bags - When it's your time to be "snack mom" but want to send something healthy and cute. 
butterfly snack bags_menumusings.com

Honey Maple Granola   - snacks for the whole family that have ingredients you can pronounce and be proud of. 
Honey maple granola_menumusings.com
Black Bean and Corn Salsa - to go along with any of your favorite Mexican meals ... or just a snack.
black bean and corn salsa_menumusings.com
Crock Pot Beef and Broccoli - great for busy work days!
Crock pot beef and broccoli_menumusings.com
Thai Chicken Flatbread Pizza - make ahead components for a super quick meal.  
Thai chicken flatbread pizza_menumusings.com

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Green Chicken and White Bean Southwestern Soup

Green Chicken and White Bean Southwestern Soup _menumusings.com
I realize some of you are at home with the kidlets and the grands having a snow day right now.  We just happen to be having torrential rains, flash flood watches and tornado watches here in the South, where it was in the 40's yesterday but in the 70's today.  It's really nutso!  But really, no matter what the season, when the weather turns bad, there's just something in my DNA that flips and says, "You should really make a pot of soup for dinner tonight."  There's just something super comforting about it, right?"  But it needn't be difficult or heavy or labor intensive.  In fact, the cool thing about most soups is that you can throw stuff in the pot and be done.  What I really, really like is that I can add some awesome veggies in to most any soup to make it healthier without too many people protesting.  Vegetables either belong to the fat soluble or water soluble vitamin groups.  The water soluble vitamins (especially the B vitamins and vitamin C) tend to leach into the cooking liquid, so even if they do balk at eating the veggies, moms take heart, they will get them in the broth!  Score!! 

I found a pretty cool looking recipe the other day for a chicken and white bean soup that I thought my family might like.  Of course, I always enjoy making things my own by tweaking it a bit, and I also saw great potential to add some nutrition by making it into a "green" soup.  A green soup is one that is loaded with hearty, fiber rich vegetables and includes dark greens like chard, spinach or kale.  I wanted to preserve the lightness of the soup, so I was lighthanded with these, but you get the idea - I just wanted to boost the soup with some awesome  nutritious "greenness."  The soup has that great southwestern flavor that I adore, but remains light (not heavy) - almost like a greenish "white" taco soup.  There's tons of heart healthy fiber and lean protein in here to fill you up and keep your blood sugar level throughout the day, so this would work great as a lunch prep meal.   And since canned beans are so inexpensive and you probably have a lot of the other things on hand in the pantry, it's a very budget friendly meal for the amount of servings!  Win!  Win!  Win! 
#glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo #whole30 #lowcarb #hearthealthy #cleaneating #southwestern #chicken #soup #stepbystep #budgetfriendly #lunchprep #mealprep
Ingredients: (6 servings)
    Green Chicken and White Bean Southwestern Soup _menumusings.com
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lg onion, diced small
  • 1 - 1 1/2 tsp Creole seasoning, divided
  • 1 Tbsp garlic paste of finely minced
  • 1 (4oz) can diced green chiles (mild)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    • start with 1/4 and increase in the end if more heat is desired
  • 32 oz low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (15oz) cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken (breasts or thighs) 
    • or rotisserie chicken - see note in step-by-step section
    • I used 3 large boneless skinless thighs
  • 3 - 4 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 stalks of kale, rinsed clean and chopped finely
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • Optional toppings
    • tortilla chips
    • shredded cheese 
    • sour cream
Step-by-Step - 
In a heavy pot (I used my Dutch oven) add a little oil to the bottom.
2 Tbsp canola oil
Add diced onions to the oil. 
1 lg onion, diced small
Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of Creole seasoning over onions, then saute over medium heat for 5-6 minutes until soft and translucent.
1/2 tsp Creole seasoning
When onions are soft, add 1 Tbsp finely minced garlic or garlic paste and chopped chiles.  Cook another minute until fragrant.  At this point, you may want to turn the onion mixture down to low heat.
1 Tbsp garlic paste or minced fine
4 oz can mild diced green chiles 


Add in the cumin, oregano and red pepper flakes.
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
*Note - if you have heat sensitive little people at your house, you may want to start off with less heat and add more in the end if desired.
1/4 - 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Add in the chicken broth.  Oops, forgot to get a picture of that, but here it is.  😏
32 oz chicken broth of your choice
Add in your chicken.  I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  1 - that's what I had on hand in the freezer.  2 - I thought they would stay juicier and have more flavor than breasts. 
HOWEVER... I think this recipe would also work just as good with a rotisserie chicken if you are in a hurry and want to go that route.  Just pull the meat off the carcass before hand and put the chopped, cooked meat in at the END so it doesn't overcook and dry out.
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken
(I used thighs)
Add the remainder of the Creole seasoning.
1 tsp Creole seasoning
Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for about 30 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  Note, if broth reduces too much and becomes overly salty, feel free to add another cup or so of water.
While chicken is cooking, use this time to prep all your other things, like washing the kale (it's often very sandy) and chopping it into tiny pieces.  You'll want to give it time to simmer along with everything because kale can be tough.  Once you get that done, just throw it in along with the chicken.   
2 stalks kale, rinsed and chopped very small
Drain and rinse two cans of Great Northern white beans.  That canned stuff has a lot of yucky sodium "stuff" on them that you don't really want or need.  Go ahead and throw that in as well.   
2 (15 oz) cans Great Northern white beans, drained and rinsed
Once the chicken is tender and cooked, remove it from the pot.
Shred the cooked chicken with two forks into bite sized pieces.   Set aside.
Use a potato masher to mash up a few of the beans.  I did it maybe 10-15 times.  Just enough to thicken the soup just a bit and give it a little more body. 
Now add back the cooked, shredded chicken chunks.  If you are using a rotisserie chicken, add the pieces now.  At this point, everything is on simmer. 
Add in a zucchini that you've cut into sliced, half moons.  We are adding them in the end because they cook very quickly and we don't want them to just be mush.  In 10 minutes, they will be done.
1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
Coming down the finish line, let's add the chopped fresh cilantro.  Don't add it too early or else it will lose its flavor.
3 - 4 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro 
Now to brighten everything up, a punch of acidity from everyone's favorite Mexican acid... fresh lime juice.  
juice from 2 limes
(about 2 Tbsp)
*Fun fact - since capsaicin (the active ingredient in chili peppers) is an alkaline oil, its intensity may be offset by cooking with acids.  Using acidic ingredients such as citrus juices, vinegars, wine, tomatoes, pineapples, etc all help neutralize the pH levels of the spicy oil and reduce the intensity of the heat.   Another thing that offsets the heat is dairy.  It's no wonder that many spicy ethnic foods such as Mexican, Indian, and Thai cuisines are served with both citrus and dairy accompaniments!  (think limes and sour cream)

And now we're ready to ladle it up!  This soup is both light and hearty at the same time.  It's definitely filling and super tasty, but doesn't leave you feeling weighed down. 
It's also a soup you can have fun with.  Do serve some tortilla chips with it, if you feel so inclined.  The flavor profile works perfectly together when they soften up in the soup.  And of course this makes it even more kid friendly.  
Green Chicken and White Bean Southwestern Soup _menumusings.com
You could also throw a handful of shredded cheese and a spoon of rich, creamy sour cream on top.  Yum.  I tried it.  I can tell you.  It totally works.  
Green Chicken and White Bean Southwestern Soup _menumusings.com
Wait.  So you have kids that won't eat the zucchini?  LOL.  Well... hmm.  I have the same problem.  It's a constant battle, actually.  And it's a shame, because zucchini is super nutrient dense, contains zero fat, lots of fiber, and contains significant amounts of both fat soluble AND water soluble vitamins such as vitamins B6, riboflavin, folate, C, and K, and minerals, like potassium and manganese.
Side note - my zucchini'phobe actually ate his whole bowl of this.  Even the zucchini.  Score!  My theory is that they sucked up all the chicken brothy flavor.  
Green Chicken and White Bean Southwestern Soup _menumusings.com
But take heart, moms, even if the kids pick them out, the water soluble vitamins (B vitamins and vitamin C) get leached out into the broth, so your kid can't escape the nutrition that you've added!  And the kale is so tiny depending on how you chop it that you get to call it "seasoning."  Just like cilantro, oregano, and all the rest of the seasoning.  
Green Chicken and White Bean Southwestern Soup _menumusings.com
Bonus Recipes - 
Jar Lid Hand Pies
Jar Lid Hand Pies_menumusings.com
Baked Chicken Parmesan
Baked Chicken Parmesan_menumusings.com
Mozzarella Stuffed 3-Meat Italian Meatballs
Mozzarella Stuffed 3-Meat Italian Meatballs_menumusings.com
Indian Chicken Korma
Indian Chicken Korma_menumusings.com
Mini Sausage Pancake Muffins
Mini sausage pancake muffins_menumusings.com
To buy the Menu Musings Cookbook -
Method:
In a heavy pot (I used my Dutch oven) add a little oil to the bottom.  Add diced onions to the oil. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of Creole seasoning over onions, then saute over medium heat for 5-6 minutes until soft and translucent.  When onions are soft, add 1 Tbsp finely minced garlic or garlic paste and chopped chiles.  Cook another minute until fragrant.  At this point, you may want to turn the onion mixture down to low heat.  Add in the cumin, oregano and red pepper flakes.  *Note - if you have heat sensitive little people at your house, you may want to start off with less heat and add more in the end if desired.  

Add in the chicken broth.  Add in your chicken (unless you are using rotisserie chicken).  Add the remainder of the Creole seasoning.  Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for about 30 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  Note, if broth reduces too much and becomes overly salty, feel free to add another cup or so of water.

While chicken is cooking, use this time to prep all your other things, like washing the kale (it's often very sandy) and chopping it into tiny pieces.  You'll want to give it time to simmer along with everything because kale can be tough.  Once you get that done, just throw it in along with the chicken.   Drain and rinse two cans of Great Northern white beans.  That canned stuff has a lot of yucky sodium "stuff" on them that you don't really want or need.  Go ahead and throw that in as well.   Once the chicken is tender and cooked, remove it from the pot.  Shred the cooked chicken with two forks into bite sized pieces.   Set aside.

Use a potato masher to mash up a few of the beans.  I did it maybe 10-15 times.  Just enough to thicken the soup just a bit and give it a little more body.  Now add back the cooked, shredded chicken chunks.  If you are using a rotisserie chicken, add the pieces now.  At this point, everything is on simmer.  Add in a zucchini that you've cut into sliced, half moons.  We are adding them in the end because they cook very quickly and we don't want them to just be mush.  In 10 minutes, they will be done.

Coming down the finish line, let's add the chopped fresh cilantro.  Don't add it too early or else it will lose its flavor.  Now to brighten everything up, a punch of acidity from everyone's favorite Mexican acid... fresh lime juice.  

*Fun fact - since capsaicin (the active ingredient in chili peppers) is an alkaline oil, its intensity may be offset by cooking with acids.  Using acidic ingredients such as citrus juices, vinegars, wine, tomatoes, pineapples, etc all help neutralize the pH levels of the spicy oil and reduce the intensity of the heat.   Another thing that offsets the heat is dairy.  It's no wonder that many spicy ethnic foods such as Mexican, Indian, and Thai cuisines are served with both citrus and dairy accompaniments!  (think limes and sour cream)

And now we're ready to ladle it up!  This soup is both light and hearty at the same time.  It's definitely filling and super tasty, but doesn't leave you feeling weighed down.  It's also a soup you can have fun with.  Do serve some tortilla chips with it, if you feel so inclined.  The flavor profile works perfectly together when they soften up in the soup.  And of course this makes it even more kid friendly.  You could also throw a handful of shredded cheese and a spoon of rich, creamy sour cream on top.  Yum.  I tried it.  I can tell you.  It totally works.  

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