Weekly Menu for March 22nd thru 27th - Clean Week!

Has spring started to show itself in your neck of the woods yet?  Here in Florida excitement is stirring that the state will soon return to the Florida that everyone loves and expects. In fact, much to my cats delight a lizard showed up on our lanai yesterday to play (not that the lizard knew this) and I noticed that the ducks are back in the lake behind our house from their 3 month absence.  I am curious though where they left, I’m fairly sure we were about as far south as they would go, hmmm.  Anyway, I’m not only excited that this lovely state is returning to the “norm” I keep hearing about I’m equally thrilled that we are no longer eating dinner in the dark.  I love that after we have consumed our meal, caught up with the days events and cleaned up there is still time to take a walk or hang out without feeling like I should be getting ready for bed.
Spring is also the time of year we typically start to clean out all the stuff that settled into our homes during the winter months by spending countless hours scrubbing and rearranging.  For those of you who have children, have you noticed that they will expel twice as much energy to hide their dirty clothes and trash, then simply place it in the hamper and trash can around the corner?  Having recently moved I was convinced that the spring cleaning was not going to be too hard to tackle this year, that is until I started in my kids rooms!  I can’t even begin to tell you how creative they got, unbelievable, oh well.  In addition to the fury of scouring I find that most of the women I talk to start to mentally prepare for that dreaded time of getting it together for the shorts and swimsuits that will make their way out of the bottom drawers.  Gone are the days of hiding in oversized sweaters and coats, ugh.  
To help us all in this yearly ritual I am posting a full week of “clean” recipes. I stumbled upon Clean Eating while looking for new cooking magazines and was pleasantly surprised with the recipes.  When I think of clean or healthy eating my mind tends to automatically think; flavor of food will equal that of  cardboard, not so with these recipes.  However, I did tweak them a little bit since some of the recipes had either low-fat or nonfat products in them.  While I know these products save on the caloric intake I don’t feel they are all that clean since the majority of those products add ingredients that I am unable to pronounce.  While I try to eat as clean as possible I would say I only succeed about 80% of the time, certain recipes will only work with specific ingredients.  While I used full-fat products I am listing the ingredients as stated in the recipe.  Look over the recipe and decide if you want to make the substitution.  Enjoy and happy spring.  
A few reminders for the newbies; you can click the title of any recipe to access it and if you are interested in a blank grocery list sheet formatted for Excel, send me an email and I’ll send one off to you.  This sheet saves you lots of time in the grocery store. As always you can email me at mydinnerplaybook@aol.com with any suggestions, recipe ideas or blog tips!  Don’t forget to sign up as a follower, by doing so you will show up in the “really cool people” slot.  Thanks for sending this blog off to family, friends and strangers!  As always, have a fabulous week!
Find this weeks Grocery List here
Quick Meal 1
This recipe will definitely have the kids wanting to help as “assembly is required”.  The directions have you misting the food with cooking spray, but I chose to brush olive oil on instead and cooked them on the grill rather than broiler.
Quick Meal 2
Since Italian food is my favorite type of food I was a bit skeptical with this recipe. I found that it was rather good and feel it would be worth making again since the caloric intake per serving is drastically reduced from a regular chicken parmesan meal.

Got Some Time - Meal 1
You may remember that I am not one to frequent Chinese food restaurants as the food offered is not a favorite of mine, but every now and then the company I’m keeping decides that this type of food is just what they are craving.  Since I know thats it’s not all about me (most of the time, ha ha) I go along with it knowing I can order the beef and broccoli stir-fry.  While I can’t say I’ve been to a restaurant that this dish was so great that I would be on the lets go get Chinese for dinner wagon, I have to say that is recipe will definitely be made again in this household, it was delicious.  Since I found a great piece of steak on sale I chose to go with a more expensive cut then the recipe specified (since it ended up being equal in price) and I chose to add sliced baby portobello mushrooms to mine. 

Got Some Time Meal - 2
While I don’t think the kids are going to give up my homemade chicken strips for this recipe, the meal was very cost effective and filling.  I do feel that the kale was a bit bitter though for my taste.

Got Some Time Meal - 3
I almost passed this recipe up since most Gyros are typically made with lamb and while lamb tends to not only be pricey, my family doesn’t really care it’s flavor.  This recipe however is using beef and the handy dandy little pita pockets were fun for the kids.  

Pass the Wine; I got all the time - Meal 1
OK I have to admit that I was not sure I would be satisfied creating a meal that gets stuffed with something that only contained spinach and garlic, because in my opinion, if something is going to be stuffed or rolled into a protein it should be cheese.  I then remembered I do have to wear a bathing suit when I go to the beach, so spinach and garlic it was.  The pine nuts add great flavor to this dish and I find that when I pared it with a very flavorful side dish such as rice pilaf it worked for me, and my thighs would thank me for it.

Grocery List: 3/22 thru 3/27

White Onion, 3
Red Onion, 1
Zucchini, 1
Tomatoes, 2
Cucumbers, 2
Broccoli Florets, 2 cups
White whole mushrooms, 1 8 oz. pkg.
Sliced Baby Portobello Mushrooms, 1 pkg.
Lemon, 2
Orange, 1
Flat-leaf parsley
Green Bell Pepper, 2
Red Bell Pepper, 2
Kale, 1 large bunch
Spinach Leaves, 3 oz.
Garlic Bulb
Brown Rice
Whole Wheat Penne Pasta, 8 oz.
Soba Noodles, 12 oz.
Panko Bread Crumbs, Whole Wheat
Whole-Wheat Pitas, 4
Pine Nuts
Crushed Organic Tomatoes, 1 - 28 oz. can
Sun Dried Tomato Paste, you may have a tube in the fridge..
Olive Oil
Dried Oregano
Dried Thyme
Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper
Dijon Mustard
Tamari Soy Sauce
Apple Cider Vinegar
Red Wine Vinegar
Wild-caught salmon fillets 4 - 4oz. cuts
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, 4 - 4oz.
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Strips, 1 lb.
Lean Round Steak, 1 lb.
Eye Round Beef Steak, 1 lb.
Flank Steak, 1 lb
Reduced-Fat Parmesan Cheese
Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese
Plain Nonfat Greek Style Yogurt

Salmon and Vegetable Skewers over Brown Rice

Recipe Courtesy of Clean Eating Magazine
Serves 4

2 Cups Brown Rice
4 4-oz. Wild-Caught Salmon Fillets (1 lb. total), cubed
1 White Onion, cut into square pieces, about 1/2 inch in diameter
1 Zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
8 oz. whole white mushrooms
Olive Oil Cooking Spray
Juice 1 Lemon
Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste
1 to 2 tbsp Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Wooden or Metal Skewers if using wood soak them in water for 20 minutes prior to use

Cook rice according to package directions.  Set aside.

Preheat broiler to high.  Thread salmon and vegetables onto separate skewers, filling 4 skewers of each.  Mist salmon and vegetables with cooking spray, then brush with lemon juice and sprinkle with salt, pepper and parsley.

Broil skewers, at least 2 to 4 inches from heat source, for 3 minutes.  Flip skewers over and broil for another 3 minutes or until just tender.  To serve, place 1 of each skewer over rice.

Flank Steak Roll with Spinach and Garlic

Recipe Courtesy of Clean Eating Magazine
Serves 4

Olive oil
 cooking spray
1/4 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 lb flank steak, trimmed of visible fat
3 oz spinach leaves (about 6 cups)

Kitchen string

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Arrange a rack in a baking pan and coat with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine panko, nuts, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper flakes.  Set aside.

Cut steak almost in half so it opens like a book. Sprinkle panko mixture evenly over steak leaving an inch on the far end. Arrange spinach on top of panko mixture.  Beginning with the closest edge, roll steak up, gently pressing down on spinach.  Rotate steak roll so it's vertical to you and tie crosswise at 1-inch intervals with kitchen string.  Place steak on rack and bake 30-35 minutes depending on doneness preference.  Transfer steak roll to a cutting board, loosely cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

Remove foil and string and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices.