Weekly Menu for February 22nd thru 27th

Aaahhh, Super Bowl parties are behind us, the special meals of Valentine’s Day were cooked, and with no holidays in sight you can relax and just make some regular meals.  Now after cooking 44 different meals since starting this blog I normally would be ready to start repeating some of those meals; especially since there were some very tasty meals posted.  But, in my quest to post three months of different meals before we start repeating, I have been scouring my numerous cookbooks, my binder full of recipes and my cooking magazines!  I have to say that I’ve been having fun going back and looking through older cookbooks and remembering when I made the different meals.  Usually when I get a new cookbook I tend to read it through and book mark the recipes I’m interested in making.  After I make the recipe, I date the page and leave a comment about the meal so when I look through it again I will know if the recipe was a hit or miss, if it was worth the effort to make again, etc.  It's as if I have these additional scrapbooks that conjure up past memories of food.  This week my mailbox has been overflowing with my March subscriptions and I have to say I am extra excited with what I’m seeing.  While your making next weeks menu, I’ll be testing a group of new recipes for the week of the March 1st.  
How do you like the new layout?  It seemed a bit more relevant to my vision.  Don’t forget that you can now just click the title of the recipe to access it.  Throughout the week I’m sure I will continue to tweak the site as there is so much to learn about blogging successfully, which I'm guessing should be a goal for this site. Email me at mydinnerplaybook@aol.com with any suggestions, recipe ideas, or how I can take over the world with my blog, ha ha just checking that your still paying attention.  I’d love to hear from you and don’t forget about my goal of having 100 followers, sign up today and send this blog off to family, friends and strangers!   This week I'd also like some additional help, I need your “Sunday Dinner” recipes.  Let me know about the meals that invoke those special memories that not only touched the senses of smell, sight and taste; but the sense of love that you knew came with all the effort.  I would love to add them to my “Pass the Wine; I got all the time meals” section.    As always, have a fabulous week!
Find this weeks Grocery List here
Quick Meal 1

This recipe was a random pop-up from the Food Network and I thought it looked easy enough to be a quick meal and a way to use a different protein this week.  While I’m sure there will be people who wouldn’t categorize it as “real” dirty rice, it is a very tasty version and you will be able to create it quick.  Personally, I felt the bell pepper was a bit overwhelming, and since our family isn’t a huge bell pepper fan I will probably omit it the next time I make it.
Quick Meal 2

This is a recipe I have had in my binder for a couple of years and one I have made on several occasions.  When searching the Kraft Foods website I found that they now offer 6 foil pack meals; foil pack meals are great because the food is always moist, it’s fast and easy and there is virtually no clean up.  The reason I like this particular one is that I get potatoes in addition to the chicken and I only need to add a veggie to have a complete meal.  Now over the years I have made a few changes from the original recipe to give it less of a Mexican flavor; I omit the Taco Bell seasoning mix, as it’s a flavor I don’t care for, I use sharp cheddar cheese and I mix 2 tbs of Mayo and a 1/4 brick of cream cheese in with the salsa of my choice before spreading it over the chicken.  Explore the different options they have to offer and decide which one will work for your family. 
Got Some Time - Meal 1
I’m sure there are going to be those who say pizza is for the nights I don’t have time for anything else, or I have a favorite pizza joint that makes a pretty good pie, so I might as well dial 1-800-bringmeapizza.  I admit I also do this occasionally but I really prefer to make my own.  If I schedule it within my week then I treat it as pizza getting made for dinner.  Over the years I have tried different crusts, different techniques for a crispy crust, different sauce and so on.  So this recipe is a mash of what I think is a great pie.  The crust and technique is a recipe that came from a Parents magazine years ago but the corn meal was something I added to give it a more authentic taste.  The sauce is a blend of information I found in a Rachael Ray Magazine for the best pizza recipe; but I added spices I like to it (I have also used my sauce that I store in the freezer from my meatball and sauce recipe).  The toppings are of course your choice, but if your budget allows, try fresh mozzarella sliced on top and you will be amazed.  I’m sure that once you and your family try this recipe, you will ditch the 1-800 #. 

Got Some Time - Meal 2

While I’m all for not repeating a recipe, I definitely need a burger more than once every three months.  How many of you love burgers topped with sautéed mushrooms, but hate that when you bite into the burger the mushrooms always fall out?  Well, I do so I figured out a solution, I created Bella Burgers.  You are basically adding a portobello mushroom on top of your burger so that with each bite you will get that wonderful mushroom taste.  Perfect, right?  I know that once you add the portobello mushroom on top of the patty, and then the bun and condiments you are going to end up with a really big burger to get your mouth around, so here are few suggestions. 1. Share, I usually divide my burger with my little one and we both have plenty.  2.  You can also use less ground beef and make the patties thinner, you will save $ on the grocery bill and still get a great burger with all of the taste.  3. If you follow that diet that doesn’t allow bread or pasta (which there is no way I could ever give up my pasta) you can just omit the bun and the meal will still be satisfying and filling.
Got Some Time - Meal 3
Once again I pulled a recipe from my big blue binder.  This is a recipe that has  been in there since 2004 and I have no idea who to credit for it, but whoever created it, thanks, I love it.  This is a huge family favorite and I just add some garlic bread and a side salad.  Yum!  I'm sure your family is going to love it also.
Pass the Wine; I got all the time - Meal 1

How many of your receive the Williams-Sonoma catalog?  I do and I have to say it is one of my favorites as I am a huge kitchen gadget junkie.  While this catalog boasts some very cool cooking items for sale, it also tucks some wonderful recipes inside.  I found this recipe about a year ago and it just begs to be in the “Sunday Meal” category.   I’m sure that whoever created this recipe has some wonderful family memories to share and I promise that if you take the time to make this recipe you will not be disappointed.

Grocery List 2/22 thru 2/27

Onion, Lg 2
Celery, 1 stalk
Green Bell Pepper, 1 medium
Carrots, 1 lb.
Red Potatoes, 1 1/2 lb.
Portobello Mushrooms
Cremini Mushrooms, 16 oz.
White Button Mushrooms, 1 lb.
Lettuce (garnish)
Tomatoes (garnish)

Long Grain White Rice
San Marzano Tomatoes (28 oz. can), 1
Tomato Paste, (tube)
Hamburger Buns
Ziti, 16 oz. 
Salt and Pepper
Chicken Stock, 2 boxes
Beef Broth, 1 Box
Vegetable Oil
Olive Oil or Canola Oil
Active Dry Yeast, 1 pkg.
Corn Meal
Taco Bell Seasoning Mix (Optional)
Dried Marjoram
Dried Basil
Worcestershire Sauce
Madeira or Marsala
1 lb. Smoked Pork Sausage, sliced
Chicken Breasts, Boneless & Skinless
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef/chuck
Beef Chuck Roast, 3 1/2 lbs
Pancetta, 1/2 cup
Mexican Style Cheese, shredded
Sour Cream
Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Swiss Cheese, 8 slices
Stilton Cheese, 4 oz.  crumbled (Bleu Cheese)
Heavy Cream
Unsalted Butter, 2 sticks
Pearl Onions
Pizza Toppings of your choice
Irish Stout

Perfect Pizza

Collaboration Recipe
Makes 2 Pizza's
Crust Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup warm water
2 Tbs. canola oil or olive oil
2 Tbs. Corn meal
Sauce Ingredients:
1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano Tomatoes (the best you can find)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Your choice of meats and veggies
Crust Directions:
In a large bowl, mix 1 1/4 cups flour with yeast and salt; add warm water and oil.  Beat with a whisk for 3 minutes.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in another 1 1/4 cups flour, or enough so mixture holds together.  Place dough on a lightly floured surface.  Kneed in 1/4 to 1/2 cup more flour - stop once it's lump-free.  Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Sauce: San Marzano Tomatoes are already blanched and skinned, so they've already been par-cooked and they will roast in the oven.  There is no need to heat or warm them beforehand. Empty the can, drain the tomatoes and crush them with your hands or pulse them in a food processor a few times. Add the remaining ingredients and combine.
Heat oven to 425 F.  On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into 2 portions and stretch dough with hands and get it as thin as you can.  Sprinkle each pizza pan or baking stone with 1 Tbs of corn meal.  Transfer dough to pan's, build up the edges slightly; prick bottom of crusts.  Bake about 8 minutes, remove from the oven.  Add the sauce and toppings and bake until cheese is melted and crust is browned and crisp.

Bella Burgers

Recipe Courtesy of Jo Davison
Serves 4
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lbs ground beef chuck
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
4 Portobello Mushrooms
8 slices of Swiss cheese
4 Hamburger Buns
Lettuce and Tomato for garnish
Mayo (optional)
In a bowl combine beef, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper.  Divide mixture 4 into equal patties. Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill on high, when your ready to add the burgers and mushrooms, drop heat to medium. Clean mushrooms with a damp towel, remove stems, rub with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.  Add the burgers and mushrooms to the grill and cook thoroughly, approx. 4 minutes of each side.  (Make sure that the burgers are cooked through)  After burgers and mushrooms are cooked, turn off the grill, add a slice of cheese to each patty and mushroom cap.  Assemble burgers with the mushroom cap on top of the patty, add the lettuce, tomato and Mayo.

Ziti with Mushrooms, Pancetta & Peas

Recipe Courtesy of ?
Serves 4 - 6
4 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped pancetta 
1/2 cup finely minced onion
4 cups thinly sliced cremini mushrooms (about 16 oz.)
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 cup thawed frozen peas
1/2 cup Madeira or Marsala
2/3 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup to 1 1/3 cup heavy cream
16 oz. dried ziti, cooked in well-salted water until just al dente, and drained
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; more for serving
Heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the pancetta and onion and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and the pancetta has rendered its fat, about 5 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the onion and pancetta to a plate, leaving as much fat in the pan as possible.  Add the additional olive oil to the pan and let it get hot.  Add the mushrooms and thyme, and sauté the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until their liquid has released and evaporated and they are nicely browned, 8 t0 10 minutes.
Add the peas and return the onions and pancetta to the pan.  Add the Madeira or Marsala and the broth to the pan to deglaze it.  Cook, stirring and scraping up the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is reduced by about half.
Add just enough of the cream to round out the flavors and create a clingy sauce. Continue cooking for a minute or so to reduce the cream and to thicken the sauce slightly.  Lower the heat to medium and add the cooked and drained pasta and the cheese to the pan.  Toss the pasta gently with the sauce to heat the noodles and to meld all the flavors; be careful not to overcook at this stage or the sauce might separate. Serve immediately, with additional grated cheese if you like.