Menu Monday for the week of January 21, 2008

This weeks menu swap is being hosted by Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl. The ingredient of the week is one of my favorites, rosemary! I use rosemary a lot in cooking. I had never used it fresh until a couple years ago. I was trying to follow the South Beach diet and there was a recipe in the book for a steak marinated in fresh rosemary. I fell in love. 

Nothing smells like fresh rosemary. Do yourself a favor. If you've never tried it, when you go shopping this week, buy some.
I became so attached to the herb, that I had to start growing it and freezing it to ensure I would not run out all winter. It's very easy to grow and even easier to freeze. I have a post about it
here. There is very little loss of flavor when freezing it too. 

Here are my menus for the week featuring, rosemary: 

Italian Wedding soup (see recipe below, with rosemary), crescent rolls 
Swiss steak with onions and tomatoes, brown rice,salad 
Rosemary marinated salmon with rosemary roasted potatoes (recipe later in the week) 
Taco night
Chicken broccoli casserole, spinach salad 

My brother Chris, sent me another recipe last week. He seems to be reading my mind when it comes to food lately! He adapted this recipe for the gluten free eater. I adapted it for the crock pot. And then adapted it further because I was out of some ingredients and it's way to cold here to leave the house for the store! 

Italian wedding soup is a marriage between meat and green vegetables. Some say it's fed to a wedding couple to give them energy to get through the wedding night! Either way, it's just good. Some people make their soup with pasta or potatoes and some leave those ingredients out. It's another one of those recipes you can tailor to your own tastes.
What I really like about this recipe is I think it would freeze really well. I would like a little gluten free pasta in this soup so I am adding some. If I were going to freeze this, I would freeze it without the pasta. I would add it after defrosting and re-heating it. As most of you know, gluten free pasta doesn't hold up too well. You want to eat it fresh. 

ItalianWedding Soup!
A highly improvised version… 

Whole fresh spinach leafs, 6 oz package (trim the stems only) 
As much garlic as you like, minced. 
1 red onion, finely chopped. 
2 16oz cans whole tomatoes cut into 1/4's (Save the tomato juice from the cans) 
24 small meat balls made with pork or beef. (Use corn meal as a filler, an egg as a binder and add salt)
Roll the meat into bite size balls and bake. (Use your best judgment for baking time) 
Fresh rosemary, 1tbs finely chopped 
Chicken stock, 2 quarts 
Olive oil
Fresh hard cheese 
Red wine, 1/4 cup 

Chop the onion, rosemary and canned whole tomatoes.
Add olive oil to a stove top dutch oven on medium high heat and add the onions, wine, rosemary andtomatoes/juice. Sauté until the onions are transparent.
Add the chicken stock and let it all simmer a few minutes till the sock is up to temp.
Add the meat balls and minced garlic and let it simmer a few minutes.
Add the whole spinach leafs at the last minute, simmer until the spinach leafs just turn soft, (less than a minute) add salt and serve in large soup bowl's with your favorite hard grated cheese on top sprinkled with olive oil. 

So here is how I did it for the crock pot and being out of some things. First I made my meatballs. I started with a pound of ground beef. When I make a loaf of gluten free bread, I always save the heels in the freezer to keep for bread crumbs. So I took out one of the heels, defrosted it and made some crumbs

I put about a 1/2 cup of the crumbs in my bowl and added enough milk to almost come to the top of the crumbs. Then I added one egg and letthat mixture sit while I chopped about a half an onion.

Then I added the onion and a clove of crushed garlic, the ground beef, salt, pepper, a couple squirts of Worcestershire sauce and a couple tablespoons of ketchup and mixed well. I used my smallest scoop (about an inch) to make the meat balls and cooked them in my iron skillet. There are many ways to cook meatballs. Use the method that works best for you. If it were warm out, I would have grilled them. Grilled meatballs are the absolute best! So good in spaghetti sauce.

Then, in my crock pot I added 

1/2 of a large onion chopped 
1 -14 oz. can of petite chopped tomatoes 
1 can of Amy's Organic chunky tomato bisque soup 
2 -14 oz. cans of chicken broth 
3 cups water 
3 teaspoons of Gluten Free Pantry chicken flavor broth mix 
1 clove garlic chopped 
1 tablespoon rosemary chopped 
salt and pepper
1/2 cup red wine. 

You can see I really had to improvise. I was out of broth and canned tomatoes. That's the great thing about soup though. You can cook on the fly!

So here's my rosemary I took out of the freezer. This has been in the freezer since fall. It still looks good, like fresh in fact. And, it still smells fresh.

I added the cooked meatballs to the pot. This is what it looked like when I put it in the crock pot. I let this mixture simmer in the crock pot all after noon.

About 1/2 hour before we were planning on eating, I added the spinach which I did chop a little, and one cup of uncooked gluten free pasta. I used Bionaturae elbows. Look at the label carefully when you purchase Bionaturae because they also sell a wheat pasta.Top with some cheese and a splash of olive oil.

This was a big hit the family. Another keeper from my brother. Thanks Chris!

Also, I finally made the crescent rolls everyone is talking about. I used Cassandra's recipe. Now I know what all the fuss is about. They are fabulous. The minute they came out of the oven, we started devouring them. So good with a bowl of this hot soup. Then I realized I forgot to take pictures! I found one lone crescent left and someone had eaten the little corners off of it.

Do you think it lasted long after I took the picture? This recipe really solves some problems for me. I want something reliable and good I can serve to company and I think this will be perfect. I think these could be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until it's time to bake them. They will be great for the holidays. I was so discouraged at Christmas because my rolls totally sucked! These will be wonderful. I think they are way better that Pillsbury ever were.Look for more recipes and product reviews later in the week!


Filed under Beef, Bread, Soup

2 responses to “Menu Monday for the week of January 21, 2008

  1. Cassandra

    Oooh, that soup looks so good. 🙂

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