Alley's Recipe Book
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Cleaning Out the Freezer

While I was sick this weekend, I cleaned out the freezer to make room and to create an inventory.  I got rid of some stuff that was way too old to eat and a few things I don't remember why I bought.  Then made a list divided up by meats, fruits/veggies, and 'other'... and then put on the side of the freezer as a reminder to use these before buying more!

After a few days of chicken noodle soup for me and take out for Brandon... my goal this week is to use some of the inventory in the freezer.  Plus, I am still not feeling 100%, so I am not going to the grocery store this week!

* Mexican Chicken Casserole - frozen chicken & corn
* Pan-Seared Shrimp & Arugula Risotto - subbing frozen langostino tails for the shrimp, frozen chopped spinach for the arugula
* Sesame Soy Meatballs - frozen ground chicken
* Broccoli Rabe Mozzarella Ravioli - already freshly prepared, but in my freezer
* Italian Penne - I'm omitting the chicken in this recipe, so nothing from the freezer

I am also making Blackberry Crumb Bars for a co-workers birthday... which I have plenty of blackberries frozen from the past Summer.  Yay for not having to go to the grocery store this week!

Soba Noodles with Chicken & Veggies - total time 30 minutes

This is a nice quick recipe that you can change easily to fit whatever veggies you have on hand.  Add more veggies and you can easily eliminate the chicken to make this a vegan meal!

 .5 cup vegetable broth
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
12 oz. soba noodles
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
.75 pound chicken breast
2 cups of julienned zucchini
2 cups of julienned carrots
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds

1. Combine broth, soy sauce, and hot sauce in a small bowl.
2. Prepare soba noodles in boiling water for five minutes.  Drain.
3. Heat oil in pan and add garlic.  After one minute, add chopped chicken, cook three minutes.  Add broth mixture, zucchini, and carrots, cook three additional minutes.  Add noodles, cook two minutes while constantly stirring.  Add sesame seeds.

Seafood Enchiladas - total time one hour

This recipe would also be excellent as quesadillas.

1 pound shrimp
8 oz. white fish (I used orange roughy)
2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
1.5 cups of chopped bell pepper
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
.5 cup chopped onion
4 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. sour cream
2 tablespoons of flour
.25 teaspoon salt
.25 teaspoon of black pepper
.75 cup of milk
.25 shredded mozzarella
6-10 flour tortillas (depending on size)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray casserole dish with cooking spray.  Bake tortillas for five minutes.
2. Cook tail-on shrimp in pan.  Remove when shrimp is pink and de-tail.  Set aside.
3. Add tablespoon of oil to pan, cook fish three minutes each side.  Add to bowl with shrimp.
4. Add tablespoon of oil to pan, add peppers, onions, and red pepper flakes.  Cook for 8-10 minutes until tender.  Add garlic, cook one minute.  Remove and add to shrimp/fish bowl.
5. In separate bowl combine cream cheese, sour cream, flour, salt, and pepper.  Mix until smooth, gradually add milk.
6. Add 80% of creamy mixture to shrimp/fish/veggie bowl, stir.  Fill tortillas, roll, place seam side down.  Add shredded cheese and remaining creamy mixture on top.  Bake 35 minutes.

Clam Chowder - total time one hour

Clam chowder is pretty labor intensive (or I felt like it was), but really satisfying to make it yourself.  You can make the tweaks you prefer in your cooking like reducing the calories by cutting the cream and adding more veggies.

1.5 cups of chopped onions, divided
.5 cup of chardonnay
3.5 pounds of littleneck clams
8 oz of clam juice
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon of butter
3 slices of pancetta
3 cups of yukon gold potatoes
.2 teaspoon of ground red pepper
3 tablespoon of flour
.333 cup of water
.75 cup of milk
.75 cup of cream
2 tablespoons of chives
1 teaspoon of dried thyme

1. Combine .5 cup of chopped onions, chardonnay, clams, clam juice, and bay leaf in a pan.  Bring to a boil. Cover and let cook for two minutes.  Throw out any unopened clams.  Strain and reserve the cooking liquid, remove clams from shells and throw out shells.
2. Melt butter in pan, cook pancetta.  Add cup of chopped onions, cubed potatoes, and red pepper, cook for four minutes.  Stir in flour, cook for one additional minute.  Add in cooking liquid and .333 cup water, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cover, let simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring every five minutes.
3. Stir in chopped clams, milk, and cream.  Cook for until heated and added chives and thyme.

Spinach, Turkey, & Artichoke Casserole - total time 50 minutes

Casseroles are nice for weekday dinners because there is some work upfront, but then you can relax while it bakes.  It works as an entree or a side, add more veggies and omit the turkey to make it vegetarian.

1 cup risotto rice
12 oz. chopped turkey breast
1 chopped bell pepper
.333 cup chopped onion
3 cups chopped spinach
10 oz. chopped artichoke hearts
.75 shredded mozzarella cheese
.5 cup panko bread crumbs
.25 grated parmesan
16 oz. alfredo sauce - butter, chopped onion, flour, milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray casserole dish with cooking spray.
2. Prepare rice according to package.
3. Add oil to pan, cook turkey, peppers, and onions for ten minutes.
4. In a sauce pot, melt butter, add chopped onions, saute for three minutes.  Add two table spoons of flour while constantly stirring.  Add 1.5 cups of milk slowly while stirring.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat, cover, simmer for five minutes or until it thickens to sauce.
5. Mix turkey, peppers, onions, rice, spinach, artichokes, alfredo sauce, and shredded cheese together in a bowl.  Transfer to casserole dish.  Sprinkle panko and parmesan over top, spray carefully with cooking spray.  Bake 15 minutes.

First Week's Menu

Part of the week in a day planning is picking recipes for the week and then grocery shopping based on those recipes.  It makes grocery shopping easier because you don't end up standing in an isle trying to think of what you have, what you don't, and what you might want to eat that week.  It also helps answer the 'what do you want for dinner?' question that is inevitable every night.

I have a recipe binder full of recipes cut out of cooking magazines (I like to have pictures so I know what it is supposed to look like).  I try to pick out two vegetarian recipes, at least one seafood, one chicken recipe, and lately a soup.

Here is this week's recipe selections!

~Clam Chowder
~Spinach and Artichoke Casserole
~Soba Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables
~Seafood Enchiladas
~Deviled Crab Risotto Milanese

So... I picked a lot of seafood for the first week.  Especially since I picked out a lunch recipe this week and it is Smoked Salmon Quesadillas with Avocado Salsa.  Oops!

Clams in a pot of clam juice and chardonnay (the recipe only calls for a half cup of chardonnay, but we had to finish the bottle).  ;o)

They all opened!  Not sure if bad, unopened clams are common... but I am glad mine were all good!

Clams are not very pretty.

But clams in soup are good and delicious!  I mean, in chow-dah!  Yum!


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