February 8th - 13th

Aaahh Amore!  Nothing says love like a wonderful meal; whether your preparing it for someone, or someone is preparing it for you, food brings people together.  With Valentine's Day just around the corner, love is in the air; or at least it will be on Sunday after the Super Bowl!  Now I don’t know what your Valentine's Day is bringing you; it could be dinner for two at the new hot spot in town, kiddos and finances may make it a table filled with lots of extra love and laughter, or it could be you and a group of friends hanging out, enjoying each others company.  Regardless of what the scenario may be, I hope your day is filled with much love, lots of laughter and lots of really really great food.  
This week we have some budget friendly meals to save you some cash so you can apply it towards the Valentine's Day gifts.  Besides the 6 meals I normally post, I’ve also included my Valentine's Day meal that I will be sharing with my family on the 14th.  Here’s a hint: Lady and the Tramp.
Don’t forget that this is a new layout; in addition to seeing the recipes below you are now able to click the title of the recipe or grocery list (in blue) and be taken to it's own page for easy printing.  Throughout the week I’m sure I will continue to tweak the site, so please feel free to email me at mydinnerplaybook@aol.com with any suggestions or recipe ideas, I’d love to hear from you.   Also, if you are a newbie and would like a copy of my blank grocery list spreadsheet to streamline your time at the grocery store, let me know and I’ll send one off to you.   Last but not least, thank you to all of you who are spreading the word, this blog is just shy of 1000 hits!  WOW! My next goal is 100 followers!  As always, have a fabulous week!  
Find this weeks Grocery List here*
Although please note that the ingredients for my Valentines Day meal are NOT included

Quick Meal 1

While this recipe is fast and can be made in no time at all I have found that since skirt steak tends to be tuff, I prefer to marinate it in the refrigerator overnight, instead of just half an hour.  When you’re ready to grill, remove from the refrigerator at let sit for at least 20 minutes so that the meat comes to room temperature.  I usually serve mine with a pasta or potato salad. 

Quick Meal 2

In my quest to provide a different protein each night, and since pork isn’t as versatile as chicken in my opinion, this recipe adds some zest to your regular old pork loin.  For those who are shy about cooking with alcohol, be assured that all the alcohol burns off and you are only left with the flavor.  I serve this dish over mashed potatoes and add a veggie.
Check out the time saving tip at the end of this post! 

Got Some Time Meal 1
So I created this recipe when everyone got tired of eating the Thanksgiving leftovers one year.  Since there was so much left that was good, I threw all the items together and created a casserole and froze it.  When Thanksgiving was a distant memory a couple of months down the road, I thawed and baked it, and It was such a hit.  Since then I decided to duplicate it with ground turkey and now Thanksgiving doesn’t only have to come once a year.  
Check out the time saving tip at the end of this post! 

Got Some Time Meal 2

So I think I’ve made chicken at least 100 ways, who hasn’t?  While my kids love veggies, spinach isn’t exactly their favorite and I wanted a way to get a bit more into their diet.  By incorporating the spinach with the gorgonzola and adding bacon to the mix, friends we got a winner, the kids love this dish!  I usually serve this dish over yellow rice

Got Some Time Meal 3

As you may remember I love Breakfast, I just don’t like to eat Breakfast between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., so here is another one of my Breakfast for Dinner menus. I saw this recipe on The Food Network years ago and over time I have tweaked it to contain all the components of a big breakfast.  I believe the original recipe only had black beans, eggs and salsa, and I’m sure most would say that’s the way Huevos Rancheros are supposed to be; but adding the bacon and potatoes made the meal complete in my little world.  Plus the best part is that it’s all wrapped up in an individual serving!  :)
 Check out the time saving tip at the end of this post! 

Pass the Wine; I got all the time - Meal 1

I’m sure you guessed that I will be making my family my Magnificent Meatballs and Sauce for our Valentine's Day.  Since it was a recipe I featured last month and were not ready for repeats yet, I thought this dinner would work as our pasta dish for the week and still have that Valentine's Day vibe.  You would be able to combine it with the sides and desert below.
One thing I did realize when making this meal is that after you drain the pasta is add it back into it’s pot, add the sauce into the drained pasta instead of the other way around.  Less mess.

My Valentine's Day Dinner

I’m sure most of you have seen Lady and the Tramp.  My kids have and the little ones feel that your supposed to eat spaghetti and meatballs on Valentine’s Day because the two dogs were in love and that's what they ate.  Since this year we will all be together I decided to make my Magnificent Meatballs and Sauce.  I’ll  be adding my Pear and Gorgonzola Salad, cutting hearts out of bread slices and making some garlic bread and for desert I want to make a Jello cake.  I remember making this cake as a kid growing up and while I don’t quite remember the recipe I found this Strawberry Shortcut Cake.  It’s pretty close to what I remember and seemed pretty Valentine’s Dayish to me.  

TIP - Since this week we have three recipes that ask for potatoes, here is a quick tip to save you lots of time.  Gather all the potatoes you will need, peel and cube all of them, and start to boil in a large stockpot.  When you make mashed potatoes you usually boil the potatoes for 12 to 15 minutes.  At the 8 to 9 minute mark check on them; they should just start to lose their firmness.  Before they are completely soft remove about 4 large spoonfuls and place in a plastic container with enough of the water to cover them.  These will be the potatoes you use for your Huevos Rancheros, and since they are almost cooked thru, the frying process will be dramatically reduced.  Cook the remainder of the potatoes thru for the mashed potatoes and when they are done, divide equally into plastic containers with the water.  Place all of the potatoes in the refrigerator and when your ready to use them for mashed potatoes just add them back into a stock pot, warm up, drain and proceed with the recipe.  For the Huevos Rancheros you simply need to drain and start frying. 

Grocery List 2/8 thru 2/13

Grocery List:
Red Bell Pepper, 1
Green Bell Pepper, 1
Sweet Onions, 2
Yellow Onion, 3
Carrots, 2
Chives, sm bundle
Garlic, 1
Potatoes, russet or Idaho, 1 lg bag
Beer, 1 can
Tennessee Whiskey, 1 miniature
Teriyaki Sauce
Balsamic Vinegar
Worcestershire Sauce
Brown Sugar
Maple Syrup
Salsa or Chili
Turkey Gravy, 1 sm jar
Pinto Beans, 2 cans
Chopped Tomatoes, 1 - 28 oz. can
Panko Bread Crumbs, 1 box
Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, 1 pkg
Day-Old Italian Country Bread, 2 loaves
Rigatoni or Ziti Pasta, 1 lb
Skirt Steak, 1 1/2 lbs.
Pork Loin, 2 1/2 lbs
Ground Turkey, 2 lbs.
Chicken Breasts, Boneless/Skinless, 6
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Lemon Pepper
Mustard Powder
Poultry Seasoning
Sour Cream
Heavy Cream
Parmesan Cheese, grated (2 recipes)
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Gorgonzola Cheese, 8 oz.
Mozzarella Cheese, 1 lb
Green beans or Peas, 1 pkg.
Peas, 1 pkg
Chopped Spinach, 1 box

Teriyaki-Beer Skirt Steak

Recipe Courtesy of foodnetwork.com
Serves 4 to 6
1 1/2 lbs skirt steak
1/2 cup beer
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbs. black pepper
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 sweet onions, cut into 1/2 inch slice
3 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
Hawaiian sweet rolls
In a zip-top bag, place skirt steak, beer, teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, and season mix.  Push out air and seal.  Shake to combine.  Set aside.
In another zip-top bag, add vegetables, oil, and vinegar.  Push out air and seal.  Shake to combine. Set aside.
Preheat grill or grill pan on stove.  Grill vegetables to desired tenderness, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove from grill and set aside.  Grill steak approximately 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare.  Remove from grill and let rest for 5 minutes.  Thinly slice steak at an angle.
Serve meat and vegetables piled on Hawaiian sweet rolls.

Whiskey-Glazed Pork Loin

Recipe courtesy of The Deen Bros. Cookbook
Serves 4 to 6
1 - 2 1/2 lb pork loin
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tbs. Tennessee Whiskey
1 tsp. dry mustard powder
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line a roasting pan with foil.  Season the pork with salt and pepper; place in the prepared pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, whiskey, and mustard powder.  Brush the pork with half of the glaze. Roast about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until internal temperature of pork reaches 150 F, brushing with the remaining glaze after 45 minutes.  Let the pork rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Thanksgiving in a Pan

Recipe courtesy of Jo Davison
Serves 6 - 8
4 large Idaho or russet potatoes, about 3 lbs, peeled and cut into chunks
2 tbs. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 lbs of ground turkey
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. poultry seasoning
2 cups frozen green beans or peas, steamed
1 can or jar of turkey gravy
1 cup of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
3 tbs. butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
2 tbs. chopped chives
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tbs. olive oil
Place the potatoes in a stock pot, cover with water and bring to a boil, over high heat.  Salt the water and cook until tender about 12 to 15 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tbs of olive oil and sauté the onions and carrots for about 5 minutes.  Add the turkey, breaking it up.  Add the Worcestershire sauce and poultry seasoning.  Mix to combine flavors.  When turkey is cooked 90% through, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Mix in the gravy, cover with a lid or foil and set aside. 
Drain the potatoes in a colander and return them to the pot, add the butter, sour cream, egg and chives.  Mash the potatoes to your desired texture.
In a small bowl combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and olive oil.  Combine well.
Heat oven to 350F.  In a large casserole dish, layer the turkey mixture, vegetables, cheese and mashed potatoes.  Cover potatoes with the breadcrumb mixture and bake until the breadcrumb mixture is golden brown. (Usually about 10 minutes or so)

Spinach and Gorgonzola Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Recipe courtesy of Jo Davison
Serves 6
1 pkg of frozen chopped spinach, thawed
8 oz. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, minced
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and Pepper
Lemon pepper
6 slices of Bacon
Heat oven to 325 F.  You will need a large baking dish with a wire rack in it.  In a clean dish towel, place the spinach in it and squeeze all of the liquid out.  In a medium bowl, mix the spinach, cheese, mayo and garlic.
Pound out each chicken breast between two sheets of waxed paper or in a large zip lock bag to about 1/8 inch thickness, lightly season on both sides with S & P, lemon pepper and paprika.  Divide filling and place in the center of each chicken breast.  Roll up and secure with toothpicks.  Wrap a slice of bacon around each piece and place in the baking dish.
Bake at 325 F for 45 minutes or until internal temperature reads 160.
Before serving, remind your eaters that toothpicks need to be removed. :)

Huevos Rancheros

Recipe courtesy of Jo Davison
Serves 4
4 flour tortillas
4 slices of Bacon, chopped
Olive Oil
2 cans of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
2 potatoes, peeled, shredded or cubed
1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of Salsa or Chili sauce
4 eggs
Sour cream for garnish
4 Ramekin Dishes
Take your 4 tortillas and stack them one on top of the other.  Place the bottom of the Ramekin dish on the edge of the tortilla and with a paring knife, cut around the bottom.  Do this once more on the other side and you will have created 8 small round tortillas. Set aside.  
In a pan, cook the chopped bacon and then remove from the pan and set aside.  Add 1 tbs of olive oil to the pan add the onions and potatoes, season with S & P, cook through.  Once the potatoes are cooked, remove from pan and add the beans. Smash the beans and add 1/2 of the cheese and the minced garlic, season with salt and cook until all the cheese has melted.  
Heat oven to 350F.  Place the 8 tortillas down on a flat surface and equally spread the bean mixture down on each one.  Next place one tortilla down in theRamekin, beans facing up.  Divide the bacon into the ramekins evenly then add the potato mixture as the next layer.  Next place the other 4tortillas in the Ramekin, beans face up.  Divide the salsa or chili and add on top of the tortilla, set aside.  
In your pan, (clean the beans out so the eggs won't stick) fry 4 eggs OVER EASY.  Eggs will continue to cook a bit in the oven and and you do not want them to overcook.  Next top the ramekins with the eggs and sprinkle the remaining cheese. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet.  Bake for 5 - 7 minutes just until the cheese is melted and golden and the salsa is warmed.  To serve, top with sour cream.

Pear and Gorgonzola Salad

Recipe courtesy of Jo Davison
Serves 4 -6
1 pkg Spring Mix Salad
2 Pears, peeled and sliced
2 tbs. unsalted butter
2 tbs. brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
In a small saucepan, melt butter and sugar, add pecans and cook for 2 minutes or until the pecans are coated well with the sugar. On a piece of waxed paper spread the pecans out and cool.  
Add salad mix to bowl, sprinkle with the cheese, lay the pears out in a circle and top with the pecans.  Serve with the dressing.

News Flash!

This week there were a few developments..... First, my blog was accepted into The Foodie Blogroll. Yay!  Here is a snapshot of my little ol' blog on their site, I'm excited.  I have their widget in place to the right, check them out, there are so many cool food blogs out there.

Next, I've had readers asking for an easier way to print the weekly recipes and grocery lists to save them time since most have been copying and pasting to a Word document.  After lots of research (whew!) I finally figured out a way to do it! So instead of seeing last weeks blog (February 1st-6th) right after this post, you are going to see all the recipes I've posted in the past.  To print the previous recipes I had to re-post them on their own.  If you still need last weeks recipes to finish out this week, scroll down and locate them to the right under post archives or labels.

Tomorrows blog will have my general write up of the recipes along with the grocery list, but now you will be able to click on the recipe title and you are taken to the recipe in solo form for easy printing. :)

Of course I will continue to tweak the blog to make it as easy as possible, because easy in our hectic life is appreciated.  As always, I hope your having a fabulous week!

Chicken Strips and Tangy Dressing

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.


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.