February 1st - 6th

February. Really?  Where did January go? If your new to my blog, thanks for stopping by; I hope this site is helpful to you and I would appreciate you passing it along to your family and friends.  For those of you who have been here since the beginning, 4 whole weeks, thanks, you rock!  You now have 24 new recipes and I hope they were easy to follow and more importantly that they were good and helped you get dinner to the table each night with ease.  Please let me know if the format is working for you, if you are happy with the variety of meals or any idea you have that could improve the site?  I want to provide you with as much helpful information as possible.
The month of February brings us the Super Bowl and Valentines Day, two great days to cook up some good grub.  Since the Super Bowl is Sunday the 7th, I have decided to post 5 dinner meals and my Super Bowl menu, instead of the usual six.  Ingredients for the regular meals will be in black type and the Super Bowl menu ingredients that are not used in other recipes will be highlighted. If you choose not to make these meals, just omit them from your grocery list.  This week I’ve posted a meatless pasta dish, a fun twist on a homemade hot pocket, yummy sloppy Joe’s, an Asian dish and in my effort to eat more seafood, a Ahi Tuna meal.  
Don’t forget to take my poll to the right, and while my Super Bowl menu is going to consist of BYONB (building your own nacho bar), chicken strips with a tangy dip, a veggie dish with a sun-dried tomato spread and chocolate dipped strawberries, I would love to know what you usually serve at your party.  Email me at mydinnerplaybook@aol.com or leave a comment.  Also, if you are a newbie and would like a copy of my easy grocery list to streamline your time at the grocery store, let me know and I’ll send one off to you.   As always have a fabulous week!  
Grocery List:
Shallots, 2
Scallions, 12
Large Sweet Onion, 1
Medium Yellow Onion, 1
Bok choy, 1 med head
Radish or Sunflower Sprouts, 1 pkg
Anaheim Chili Peppers, 2
Green Chili’s, 12 Fresh to be roasted or canned green chili’s
1 Pint Grape Tomatoes
Parsley, 1 bunch
Cilantro Leaves, small amount
Red Pepper, 1 small
Garlic Head, 1
Tomatoes, 2
Tomato, 1
Lime, 1
Ginger, you have an option of buying a fresh one or a tube of minced ginger
Veggies for Veggie Tray
White Wine
Long grain rice
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can Fire Roasted diced tomatoes
1 (3.25 oz.) can of black olives
1 Can of Pinto Beans
Sun-Dried tomatoes in olive oil
Worcestershire Sauce
Soy Sauce
Chili-garlic sauce (in the Asian Isle)
Chinese five-spice powder (optional)
Panko Bread Crumbs
Hamburger Buns, 1 Pkg
Kaiser Rolls, 4
Tortilla Chips, 1 bag
Ground Beef, 2 lbs
Ground Beef, 1 lb
Rotisserie Chicken, 1
Chicken Tenderloins, 2 pkgs
Pork Shoulder, 2 1/2 lbs
Ahi Tuna Filets, 1 1/2 lbs (fresh or frozen works)
Kosher Salt
Ground Pepper
Red Pepper Flake
Olive Oil
Sesame Oil
Canola or Peanut Oil
Brown Sugar
Lemon Pepper
Ranch Dressing
16-18 oz. Cheese Ravioli (this can also be found in the freezer isle)
Sour Cream (1 cup for SB Menu)
Cheddar Cheese slices (8)
Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Velveeta Cheese, 1 large box
Cream Cheese, 2 bricks
Refrigerated crescent rolls, 2 (8 oz) pkgs
Quick Meal 1
I found this recipe in my Real Simple magazine on how to make ravioli 10 different ways.  Everyone enjoyed it, especially the kids, and it was super fast to make.  I used ravioli from the refrigerated section and while I used the cheese ravioli the recipe asked for I think that a mushroom ravioli would make this dish better.  I also topped mine with some Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  Serve with a salad and garlic bread.
Recipe courtesy of Real Simple
Serves 4
16-18 oz. of Fresh or frozen cheese ravioli
Salt and Pepper
2 shallots, chopped
Olive Oil
1 pint of  grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup White wine
2 tbs butter
1/4 parsley, chopped
Cook the ravioli according to package directions.  In a large skillet, cook the chopped shallots in olive oil over medium heat until tender about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and wine; season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the tomatoes begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the ravioli, add the butter, parsley and tomato mixture.
Quick Meal 2
Sloppy Joe’s, hmmm, there really isn’t much to say about this humble sandwich.  While it’s a kid pleaser, I usually make this when I need an extra quick meal.  My version adds more of a grown up flavor then the typical canned version you can buy.  While the kids enjoy theirs topped with cheddar cheese, I usually top mine with pepper jack cheese.  I also serve mine with a salad since the only veggie is the pepper.  
Recipe Courtesy of Jo Davison
Serves 8
2 tbs Olive Oil
6 scallions, diced, greens included
1 small red pepper, trimmed, seeded and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs ground beef
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can of diced tomatoes
1 tbs sugar
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
3 tbs mustard
Salt and Pepper
8 slices of Cheddar cheese
8 hamburger buns
In a large pan, heat oil over med-low heat.  Add the onions and peppers and sauté for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.  Remove the veggies, set aside and add the meat to the pan, increase the heat to medium, break up and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove the excess fat from the pan and then add the veggies back.  Add the tomatoes, sugar, Worcestershire, and mustard.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes.  (If the mixture appears to thick add a splash of beef stock or water.)  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the mixture to the buns, top with cheese and enjoy.
Got Some Time - Meal 1
Do you know the song by Johnny Cash, Ring of Fire?  Every time I’m going to make this meal, I start singing this song, thus the name.  Ha ha.   Anyway, while this recipe is a take on a warm chicken sandwich, you can virtually put any combination of flavors in this.  I’ve done a BBQ version and when I’ve had left over ham from a weekend dinner or holiday, I’ve created a great ham and cheese version.  Leftover roast with provolone and a quick sauce would be a great combo also, may have to try that.  Serve with a salad and dinner is on the table in no time.
Recipe courtesy of Jo Davison
Serves 8
2 (8 oz.) packages of refrigerated crescent rolls
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
2 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 (3.25 oz.) can of black olives, sliced
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tomato, chopped
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Heat oven to 375.  Combine shredded chicken, 1 3/4 cup of the cheese, olives, onions, mayo, sour cream and tomato in a bowl. Unroll crescent rolls; separate into 16 triangles and arrange them in a circle on a pizza pan, coated with cooking spray, slightly overlapping each other. (wide ends pointing towards the outside of the pan)  
With a large ice cream scooper, scoop filling over dough in a continuous circle.  Bring points of triangles up over filling and tuck under dough at center to form a ring.  Brush with egg white, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Let set for 5 minutes before serving.
Got Some Time - Meal 2
So this was a new recipe I decided to try and was pretty pleased with it.  I was concerned that it may be too spicy for the kids so I omitted the Chinese five-spice powder and felt the flavor was great without it.  In addition to being good, it was fast.  One thing you do have to be careful with is, if you are not using a smaller Crockpot and only have a larger one the cooking time can be reduced.  I cooked mine for 3 hours on high in my big Crockpot and it was perfect. 
Recipe courtesy of Real Simple
Serves 4

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 to 2 tbs chili-garlic sauce
1 tbs Chinese five-spice powder (optional)
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 1/2 lbs pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup long-grain white rice, cooked
1 medium head bok choy, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
2 scallions, sliced
In a 4-6 qt. Crockpot, combine the soy sauce, sugar, chili-garlic sauce, ginger, five-spice powder (if using), 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Add the pork and toss to coat.  Cook, covered, until the pork is tender, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.
Twenty-five minutes before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions.  
Meanwhile, skim off and discard any fat from the pork. Gently fold the bok choy in the  pork and cook, covered, until heated through, 2 to 4 minutes.  Serve with the rice and sprinkle with the scallions.

Got Some Time - Meal 3
In an effort to eat more seafood, even though I’m the only one in my family that isn’t a huge fan, Ahi Tuna is a fish that I like.  I came across this recipe while doing a search for Ahi, and since there was some spice to it and it had the word burger in it, I thought I’d give it a whirl.  To my surprise this was a very tasty burger and a hit with my Husband who could eat seafood a lot more than I make it.  If you don’t want to go thru the steps of roasting the fresh chili’s, I’m sure that canned ones would work just as well.   I figured there were enough veggies in the burger to allow me to pare my burger with my favorite chips; Jalapeno Cheddar Kettle Chips from the Target line, Archer Farms.  Although for the pic, Doritos looked better. :) 
Recipe Courtesy of foodnetwork.com
Serves 4
2 Anaheim chili peppers
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tbs sour cream
3 tbs finely chopped cilantro leaves
1 tbs fresh lime juice
2 tbs minced fresh ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
4 tsp soy sauce
4 tsp sugar
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs minced fresh ginger
1 tbs minced garlic
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp grated lime zest
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 lbs ahi tuna filets, finely chopped
1 tbs vegetable oil
4 seeded Kaiser rolls, split
1 large sweet onion, sliced
1 large tomato, sliced
1 pkg radish or sunflower sprouts
Sauce: Char peppers over gas flame, bbq grill or under broiler until blistered on all sides.  Enclose in a paper bag and let stand 15 minutes.  Peel peppers, remove stem and seeds, (want some of the heat? Leave the stem in) and dice.  Measure 1/4 diced peppers into a small bowl and add mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, ginger, garlic, and salt; stir well.
Burgers: Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat egg and stir in panko, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, lime juice and zest, red pepper flakes, and salt.  Add Ahi and combine gently; form 4 patties.
Heat vegetable oil on nonstick griddle over med-high heat.  Add patties and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Toast rolls under broiler during last few minutes of cooking.  Spread sauce on roll bottom and top with onion, tomato, sprouts, and additional sauce.  Add roll tops and devour.
Pass the Wine, I got all the time to cook - Meal 1

Super Bowl Sunday, a day to eat the foods that we normally don’t, and a day that one eats almost all day long.  So here is the food I’m preparing to get us through all four quarters.
BYONB = Build Your Own Nacho Bar
Chicken Strips & Tangy Dressing
Veggie and Cracker Platter with Sun-Dried Tomato Spread
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Reminder: If you will have a spread of food out for longer than 2 hours, make sure each dish is kept at the proper temperatures. 
Here are the components for building my Nachos:
Tortilla Chips
Ground Beef (cooked) with Pinto Beans
Sour Cream
Guacamole (optional)
Recipe courtesy of Jo Davison
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
Garlic powder
1 (15 oz.) can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 pkg Velveeta Cheese, large box, diced
12 fresh green chili's, roasted and diced
Heat a small saucepan on med-low heat.  Add the butter and olive oil and melt, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.  After dicing the chili sprinkle with garlic powder over the top.
In the Crockpot add the tomatoes and cheese, onion mixture and the green chili. Stir to combine the flavors.  Set on low and cook until the mixture is melted.  You need to stir the mixture a few times during the cooking process.  When the mixture is melted, set on low and serve over tortilla chips.
Now I know what some of you are thinking, Velveeta Cheese?  Yep, while I’m not a fan of glow in the dark food, there are times when a recipe just won’t work otherwise.  
Everyone seems to go for Chicken Wings but I’m not a fan, I want some meat on my chicken, so I make my own chicken strips.  Since these can be served at room temperature feel free to make them the day before and refrigerate.  When you ready to serve, warm them in the oven on low and set them out when your ready to eat.
Recipe courtesy of Jo Davison
Serves 6
Peanut or Canola Oil for frying
2 pkgs of chicken tenderloins, sliced in strips
Salt and Pepper
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Heat enough oil to fill a large frying pan about 1/4 of the pan. Oil should reach a temperature of 365. While oil is heating prepare the chicken.  Pat strips dry and season with salt and pepper on one side.  Create 3 dredging dishes.  One will contain the eggs, slightly whipped with one tsp of water.  The next one will be the flour, season with salt and pepper, lemon pepper and paprika.  Mix together to combine spices.  The last one will contain the buttermilk.  
Dredge each strip in the egg first, the flour next, the buttermilk and then in the flour once again.  Place in the oil and cook on each side until the chicken is nice and crisp on each side.  Make sure not to over crowd the pan.  Remove from pan and place on paper towels to absorb the oil.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes and enjoy.
1 cup ranch dressing
1 cup sour cream
2 handfuls of dill, chopped
Combine ingredients and served chilled.
For your veggie and cracker tray add this spread.  Fun, easy and a crowd pleaser. This can also be made ahead, just remove from fridge 15 minutes before serving to soften.
Sun-Dried Tomato Spread
2 bricks of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of Sun-Dried tomatoes in olive oil
Combine ingredients and serve.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries are a favorite of mine and I don’t feel as guilty eating desert.  Once again these can be made in advance, I buy dark chocolate in either brick or chip form, melt in a heat-resistant glass bowl over a saucepan filled with water to create a double-boiler effect.  Wash and dry your strawberries, dip into chocolate and allow to dry on a piece of wax paper.  This year I plan to draw little white lines on them so they look like footballs. :)