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Weekly Main Course Recipes:  Nov. 1, 2013

One:  Fish with with Lemon Butter                    Preparation and cooking time:    15 minutes
Any nice filet of white fish would be good: tilapia, walleye, sole, catfish, cod, snapper, for this simple dish. The Lemon Butter needs to be made at the last minute - but it's quick.

2 nice fish fillets: tilapia, snapper, flounder, walleye,   4 if they are small 12oz total weight  (360gr)
1 tbs butter
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
olive oil - 1/2 tsp
Lemon Butter:
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tbs white wine
2 tbs cold butter

Put fish fillets on a lightly oiled baking sheet.  Melt butter.  Stir in 1 tbs lemon juice and mustard.  Brush on fish.  Bake, 375F (185C) for 12 - 15 minutes, depending on thickness, until fish is done.  It should be opaque and flake easily with a fork.  Spoon Lemon Butter over and serve.
Lemon Butter: Heat lemon juice and white wine in a small saucepan over low heat or in glass cup in microwave.  Remove the from heat and stir in the butter, 1 tbs at a time.  The butter should soften and the sauce get creamy.  The butter is not supposed to melt and separate.  But if it does, the flavor will be just as good....  

Two: Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Pimiento       Preparation and cooking time: 45 minutes
     Pork tenderloin lend itself very well to stuffing. Here we stuff it with pimento or roasted red pepper and a bit of Prosciutto.

14oz (420gr) pork tenderloin
2oz (60gr) pimento or roasted red pepper  I used 1 whole pimiento, cut into strips to fit
1 - 2 slices Prosciutto
1 medium shallot
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tbs dry bread crumbs
1 tbs shredded cheese I used Gruyère
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper, optional

The stuffing:  Slice shallot.  Heat olive oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add cumin and sauté for 1 minute.  Add shallots and sauté until tender and starting to brown.  Reduce heat and continue cooking until well browned, 10 - 12 minutes total.
Cut or tear Prosciutto into strips. Slice pimento or pepper into strips (if needed).  
The pork: Butterfly pork tenderloin - cut it in half lengthwise leaving 1/4 inch intact - so that you can open it like a book.  Open it and give it a couple of whacks with a meat mallet so that it lies flattish... or pound lightly with the edge of a plate.  You just want it to be flat and easy to work with.  Lay Prosciutto on one side of pork about 1/8 inch from the edge. Top with the pimento, sautéed shallots, crumbs, thyme and cheese.  Fold other side over and tie with kitchen string.  Cut five 6 inch lengths of string and wrap around pork and tie every 2 inches - making certain that you do one as close to each end as possible. 
To Roast:   Sprinkle with salt and pepper if using, place in a small roasting pan and roast in 400F (200C) oven for 25 - 30 minutes, depending on size, until done.  When done, slice and serve.
Note: Slightly pink is perfectly acceptable for pork, actually, preferred, as it is much juicer. Pork is done when internal temperature reaches 145F (62C). Slice and peak.

Three:  Pumpkin Leek and Sage Lasagne            Preparation and cooking time: 60 minutes
 Pumpkin is not just for pies. It's a wonderful vegetable, and works well in a lot of savory dishes.  I use moist, deli ham in this lasagne.  I love the combination of ham, sage and winter squash.  You can leave the ham out for a vegetarian version.  The recipe was designed for using no-cook noodles.

1 onion
2 leeks
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 cup (8oz, 240gr) pumpkin
15 - 20 fresh sage leaves     substitute 2 tbs dried
8oz (240gr) baked ham, or equivalent  1 thick slice from the deli
1 tsp butter
1 cup (4oz, 120gr) shredded cheese Swiss, Gruyère, Emmenthal
3 tbs butter
1/4 cup (2oz, 60gr) flour,
pinch of nutmeg
2 cups (16oz, (480ml) milk
10 - 14 sheets 'no-cook' lasagna noodles
1/4 cup (1oz, 30gr) grated Parmesan 

Trim and wash leeks.  Thinly slice the onion and leeks.  Heat oil and butter in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add onions, leeks and sauté, stirring, for 1 minute.  Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium low and let the onions and leeks cook for 10 minutes.  Uncover, increase heat to medium, continue to cook until onions are golden and tender, about 10 minutes longer.  Add the pumpkin, stir well to combine and heat through. 
Cut the ham into thin strips, then the strips into smaller squares.  In another skillet heat 1 tsp butter.  Add sage leaves and sauté until starting to get crisp.  Add ham, sauté until heated through and dry (it can give off a bit of water). 
Béchamel sauce: In a medium saucepan heat 3 tbs butter over low heat.  Add flour, nutmeg and stir with a whisk for 1 minute.  Add a little (1/4 cup) of the milk, whisk to combine.  Turn heat up to medium and keep adding milk, a little at a time and whisking.  You should have added all of the milk in a minute or 2.  When all of the milk is in, bring to a boil (should almost be there), whisking.  Then remove from heat. 

To assemble:  in a 10" (25cm) square baking dish, or 9 X 11 oblong, make the following layers:

1/3 béchamel sauce
2 - 3 noodles,  you may have to break a third one up to get good coverage 
1/2 onion, leek, pumpkin mixture
2 - 3 noodles  or so
1/3 béchamel sauce
all of the ham and sage
1/2 of the shredded cheese
2 - 3 noodles  or so
1/2 onion, leek, pumpkin mixture
2 - 3 noodles  or so
1/3 béchamel sauce
1/2 of the shredded cheese

Cover and bake 425F (215C) for 20 minutes, or until noodles are done.  Test in center with a sharp knife.  Uncover and bake 5 minutes longer to brown cheese.  Remove and let rest for 5 minutes.  Cut into squares (or oblongs) and serve.

Four:  Chicken with Broccoli and Olives                Preparation and cooking time:  30 minutes
     This is a colorful dish full of Mediterranean flavors: capers, olives, peppers, lemon and garlic.  It's made like a stir-fry, leaving the vegetables with a bit of crunch.

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1/2 head of broccoli or one small head 
1 small yellow bell pepper  
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup olives, black or green
1 tbs capers
1 tsp dried marjoram
3 tbs white wine or 3 tbs chicken stock plus 1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbs olive oil

Slice onion about 1/8" thick (.3cm).  Cut pepper in half the short way and then into slices, 1/4" thick  (.6cm).  Mince garlic.  Cut broccoli into bite size florets and stems.  Cut chicken in half, the short way.
Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet.  Add onions, pepper, broccoli, and sauté 5 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté another 2 minutes.  Remove vegetables to a bowl or platter and cover.  Add chicken to skillet and sauté 6 - 8 minutes per side, or until done. 
Pit olives if needed and cut in half.  Return vegetables to skillet, add olives, capers, marjoram and wine or stock/lemon juice.  Stir to combine.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer another 7 - 8 minutes to blend flavors.  Arrange attractively on a small platter and serve.

 Five:  Chunky Beef Hash                                       Preparation and cooking time:   30 minutes
     Steaming the carrots and potatoes lets them brown quickly without long cooking.  The ketchup and Worcestershire makes it savory; if you like it hot, stir a drop or two of hot sauce into the ketchup before adding it to the skillet.   

2 potatoes
2 carrots
2 ribs celery
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
12oz (360gr) beef   flank steak, skirt steak, any beef that's thin and suitable for stir-frying
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbs beef stock   or red wine or chicken stock
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp thyme

Cut potatoes and carrots into large bite-size pieces and steam for 15 minutes over medium-high heat, until vegetables are just tender. 
Chop onion, celery and mince garlic.  Cut beef into bite-size pieces.  (If it's a flank steak, cut the pieces diagonally across the grain).  Heat 1 tbs oil in large nonstick skillet over medium - high heat.  Add onion, celery and sauté until tender, about 7 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes longer. 
Remove onion, etc to a plate.  Add beef to skillet and sauté 3 - 5 minutes until browned.  Put on same plate as onions. 
Heat remaining 1 tbs oil in skillet and add carrots and potatoes.  Stir-fry until vegetables are lightly browned.  Return onions, celery, garlic and beef to pan and heat through.  Add Worcestershire sauce, thyme, stock, ketchup and heat through, stirring constantly, 2 - 3 minutes over medium heat.  Serve.

Six:   Chicken with Mustard and Mushrooms      Preparation and cooking time:  25 minutes
    Whole grain mustard and Worcestershire add a bit of a kick to simple chicken breasts.  I cut the chicken breasts in half for quicker cooking.   

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
4oz (120gr) mushrooms
2 tbs whole grain mustard
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) chicken stock
1 tsp cornstarch (corn flour, maizena) dissolved in 2 tbs water
2 tsp olive oil

Clean and thickly slice mushrooms.  Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet.  Add chicken breasts and brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total.  Remove and keep warm.  Add mushrooms to pan and sauté 5 minutes.  Add mustard, stock, Worcestershire to mushrooms and stir to scrape up any browned bits.  Return chicken to pan, turn heat to low, cover and simmer 5 - 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Add cornstarch mixture and stir until sauce has thickened slightly. Serve, spooning mushrooms on top.

Suggested menus:

One:   Hunter's Eggs
Fish Fillets with Lemon Butter
Rice Florentine
   Pumpkin Timbales with Shallot/Prosciutto
Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Pimiento
Potato Gratin with Sage
Broccoli with Butter and Herbs
Three:  Pumpkin, Sage and Leek Lasagne
Fresh Fruit
Four:   Chicken with Broccoli, Olives and Capers
Potato Gratin with Sage, leftover
Five:  Chunky Beef Hash
Six:  Chicken with Mustard and Mushrooms
Quinoa, Basmati Rice and Red Lentil Pilaf

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