Weeknight Dinners

Seared Sea Scallops in Vermouth Cream Sauce

If you live in the Midwest, you might have been rejoicing yesterday as your kids went off to school as the week has started in a “back to normal” routine – unlike last week, and the record number of consecutive days off! Below is a photo of the HIGH temperature last week Thursday.

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Our weekly grocery shop happened yesterday morning (Monday Morning Metcalfes Run) and I decided NOT to take a list. This was not a mistake, I wanted to grocery shop with an open mind, letting the creativity flow (lets be honest, this is not how I normally shop, but I was in a cooking rut, so new ideas needed to start popping in!). Metcalfes had some great looking seafood, and I decided to make some seared sea scallops at the last minute. We have not had them in a long time, and now that we have a gas cooktop, why not?

Luckily both kids LOVE seafood, and we are not allergic! And while scallops are very pricey, they were super buttery and delicious. For sure worth the $30 / pound price tag. It was a treat meal for sure, back to the norm today.

This recipe is easy to make during the week; however, if it’s your first time, I’d recommend tyring them over the weekend so you can get a feel for the recipe, how to prepare the scallops and your smoke detectors (it will get smoky, have that vent fan on and perhaps a window cracked!

Our IG LIVE stories still has the recipe live, if you want to see it first hand, otherwise, here is the recipe.

Pan Seared Sea Scallops in Creamy Vermouth Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 pound jumbo sea scallops
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup vermouth
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/8 tsp salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Clean scallops (see instructions in the link above, don’t forget to remove the side muscle).
  2. Heat butter in large skillet on high heat.
  3. When melted, add well dried scallops into butter. Sear on high for 2 to 2.5 minutes, then flip.
  4. Sear for another 2 minutes until a golden crust is formed.
  5. Remove to a plate, turn skillet to low.
  6. Add vermouth to skillet, and simmer for 1-2 minutes to reduce the vermouth, stirring. Scrape up any butter or scallop remains in the pan.
  7. Add cream, salt and pepper. Stir, simmering for another 1-2 minutes to combine.
  8. Serve sauce over scallops.

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Since they can be made very quickly, I recommend making your other sides first. We served ours over pasta and had  a side of broccoli. We estimate about 3 scallops per child and 5 per adult. In total we had 30 scallops in approximately 1 pound. Our scallops were fresh from Metcalfes, not frozen.

 

Snacking

Sweet Banana Bars

Two great things that go great together, banana bread and frosting. Typically I do not frost items that we eat for breakfast; however, I was in a pinch and needed a quick dessert. Frosting a banana bread that I had already made was the perfect, time-saving idea. And here is the recipe.

selective focus photo of bunch of bananas on black surface
Photo by Kio on Pexels.com

Ingredients

 

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (unsalted)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (King Arthur)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt

Frosting

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened (Kraft)
  •  1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (Penzeys)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, bananas and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into creamed mixture just until blended.
  2. Transfer to a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
  3. For frosting, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Frost bars.

You can also use a 13 x 9 pan or a loaf pan. If using a loaf pan, your frosting will be very thick, you’ll need to bake for 55 minutes and then slice it like bread. This will make significantly less compared to the 13 x 9 bars. If you’re going to an event, consider taking a recyclable, aluminum baking pan to make these in. This way, you dont have to worry about getting your dish back at the end of the event.  Also, label it NUT FREE if you’re making it in a nut free kitchen and available to those with allergies.

Enjoy!

 

Weeknight Dinners

Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas

Who likes easy dinner clean up?!

*Raises Hand*

Perfect recipe for weeknight cooking! Especially if you have tiny steak lovers! However, I would HIGHLY recommend grilling the flank steak over putting it under the broiler. The broiler worked fine, if you cook it 1-2 minutes on each side. However, it can easily become chewy and tough in a matter of no time.

Flank steak is not cheap. For a little over one pound, we paid almost $12.00. This steak is delish, but you need to be careful in how you cook it. This recipe was good – and the kids did eat all of their food. But watch that steak! Or grill it quick. You know, Wisconsin style. Shovel a path to your grill, then stand outside in flip flops.

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Two sheet pans is a must. Ideally, you want the veggies to get a little roasty and crunchy. They won’t do that if they are crowded! Keep the meat separate and the veggies in their own space.

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Ingredients:

Directions

  1. Preheat broiler with oven rack in the top position. Place a rimmed baking sheet in oven (leave pan in oven as it preheats).
  2. Combine oil, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, chile powder, and black pepper in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place steak in a bowl. Place bell peppers and onion in a bowl. Add half of oil mixture to steak; toss. Add remaining half of oil mixture to pepper mixture; toss.
  3. Carefully remove baking sheet from oven. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pepper mixture to pan; broil 10 minutes or until almost tender. Remove pan from oven. Move pepper mixture to sides of pan; arrange steak in center of pan. Broil 3 minutes or until steak reaches desired degree of doneness. Sprinkle cilantro and lime wedges over pan.
  4. Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, sour cream, lime juice, and ground red pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Serve sour cream mixture and tortillas with steak and pepper mixture.

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Weeknight Dinners

White Chicken Chili

Baby it’s cold outside! We were not ready for the 18* Wisconsin weather this morning. Well, let me re-phrase that. I was not ready for this bitter cold. My kids on the other hand, all they can think about is, “MOM IS IT GOING TO SNOW? WE LOVE SNOW!”

This chicken chili recipe will warm you up in no time. And if it happens to snow, you’ll be prepared for 3 nights of dinner, easy. That means you can snow blow your driveway and not worry about your tummy. This recipe makes a lot. So with that, we have thought of how we might recycle the leftovers.

  1. Chicken Chili over Jasmine Rice.
  2. Chicken Chili, minus the liquid, in a soft flour tortilla to make a burrito
  3. Chicken Chili as just chicken chili

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Ingredients

  • 1.5# of chicken
  • 4 cups of low sodium or no sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cans of white beans (great white northern) drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans of green chiles (I used the super small cans)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (or 3 palm fulls of garlic powder)
  • 1 palm full of onion powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano + 1 more tsp after it’s done cooking
  • salt and pepper + 1 heaping tbsp when it’s done cooking if you did no sodium chicken stock
  • cayanne pepper if you like a sprinkle
  • sliced limes for garnish
  • avocado for garnish
  • shredded cheese for garnish
  • cilantro for garnish (yuck)
  • diced ancho chiles for garnish – if you want to substitute topping with scallions instead, kids would be more likely to eat it. The ancho chile is about the equivelent of a medium spicy salsa. Both my kids tried this pepper, but did not want it. To make it less hot, you could remove the seeds, slice it, and sautee or roast it, then serve it.  I liked it crunchy and raw, it was perfect for me, so I ate it!

Directions

  1. spray the inside of your crock pot with Pam non stick spray.
  2. Turn your crock pot on low
  3. Place the chicken in the crock pot and all ingredients over the top of the chicken (listed above until you get to “garnishes”)
  4. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  5. use a fork to pull apart your chicken, stir around, add the extra salt, oregano and garlic. Taste it. You might need 1 more tbsp of salt depending on the type of chicken stock you used.
  6. Serve with garnishes.

Dunking!

  • Joseph Campione in the freezer section makes wonderful garlic bread and bread sticks. The kids LOVE them and they are nut free. I also like that they are made in my hometown, the OC! They warm up fast, too.

 

The garnishes really made this meal. Also, if you have picky eaters, you may want to conisder cubing the chicken first before you just put the whole chicken breast in. Cubed chicken is sometimes more appealing and easy to eat for kids. The shredded chicken can be funky to eat sometimes, but it is good for burriotos and tacos! You decide! Enjoy!

 

 

Weeknight Dinners

10 Minute Baked Potato

What?! Did you even know this was such a thing?

We were in a hurry the other day, yet we were all craving a good, hearty meal. We had potatoes, steak, mushrooms and a bunch of herbs and shallots in the fridge.

With less that 20 minutes to get dinner on the table, we googled this potato recipe, and now it’s a game change for us.

All you need is a baked potato or 4. Rinse well, poke with a fork all over. Pop into your microwave for 5 minutes. Check on it, flip it, put it back in for 5 more minutes.

I’ve made potatoes this way 2 times this week because I am in such awe! The potato turns out PERFECT. Fluffy and hot, cooked all the way through. Top with your favorite things

  • bacon
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • scallions
  • sour cream
  • salt + pepper
  • chili

We had these giant “petite” filets from Metcalfes. After speaking with the butcher this week, he said there are no nuts in the meat prep area, and if there were, it would be on a marinated item, which he could not even think of a possible cross contact scneario. Of course he gave the disclaimer that they could not 100% guarantee, but speaking with him gave me peace of mind. Now for the steak….

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Ingredients

  • 2 (6 or 8oz) petite filets
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • fry pan
  • baking sheet lined with foil
  • meat thermometer

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 and place your lined baking sheet inside.
  2. Let your meat come to room temperature over 30 minutes; just hanging out on the kitchen counter. If you don’t have time to do this, 10 minutes will be fine.
  3. Salt and pepper the ends of your steak to you liking, set aside on a plate.
  4. Melt the butter in the frying pan over high heat, about 2 minutes.
  5. Once your pan is super hot, sear the ends of the steak in the frying pan, about 2 minuets on each side.
  6. Then quickly place your steaks in the oven on the baking sheet.
  7. Baking time will vary depending on the thickness of your steak. Our steaks were huge. So it took about 12 minutes to get the internal temperature to 130, mediuim.
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Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

Enjoy!

We also did some sauteed mushrooms with rosemary, thyme and shallots. Just a large frying pan with 2 tbsp butter, and the herbs and mushrooms on medium heat for 15 minutes or so. It was so , so good!

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