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Meals

Fall Meal Plan (THM friendly, too!)

I realized the other day that I haven’t done a meal plan or recipe for a while. Sorry about that. I spend several hours creating the plans and photographing the meals for those posts. I wasn’t sure if they were helpful for readers, so I kind of lost my motivation for creating new meal plans.

So, I’m going to post them sporadically, ideally to help inspire you to add new meals to your usual rotation. You can always refer to a previous meal plan if you’re in need of ideas.

For Trim Healthy Mama (THM) followers, I have italicized those foods off-plan or not conducive to weight loss (like white potatoes).

Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Plan

Short ribs make such a delicious and rich meal. Because they are so good, you might be surprised to know how easy they are to make! I’ve tried a few different recipes, but this one by The Pioneer Woman is terrific. I made this again last night for my sister and brother-in-law, and it was delicious.

For the sides, I either make mashed potatoes from scratch or use the pre-made pouches from Costco. They’re surprisingly good, and highly approved of by my mashed potato lover husband. For the green  beans, I use no-salt canned green beans, drained, with a little butter.

Creamy Mushroom Chicken and Brown Rice

Plan

You can whip this mean up in 35 minutes, so it’s an ideal weeknight dinner.

  • 4 chicken breasts, sliced or pounded into thinner fillets
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup of plain, Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • pinch of mineral salt
  • pinch of ground pepper
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and spray a shallow 9″x9″ baking pan with cooking spray.

Melt the butter in a large skillet, then add mushrooms. Cook about 5 minutes on low-medium heat, until reduced in size and browning. Add yogurt, mayonnaise, and seasonings/spices. Cook until bubbly and thickened, about 5 minutes or less.

Place the chicken breasts in the prepared baking pan, pour the mushroom mixture over them, and evenly coat it with the parmesan cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden on top.

To round out the meal, use a quick cooking brown rice, like

or the pouch kind:

Homemade Pizza

I will include two recipes here, my favorite pizza dough recipe (not-THM friendly) and one that is THM-friendly. Yeast-based doughs and I didn’t get along before I found my favorite pizza dough recipe. But, this is an almost fool-proof dough and it’s never let me down!

http://thefeatherednester.com/index.php/2017/05/12/best-ever-pizza-dough/

The THM-friendly pizza crust recipe I’m sharing is from Briana Thomas. It is similar to the THM Perfect Pizza crust recipe in the THM cookbooks. Although I have yet to find a pizza crust recipe that tastes “just like” the type of pizza that the recipe above provides, this one is a good replacement.

Low Carb Pizza Crust

 

Butternut Squash Manicotti Casserole with Caesar Salad

Photo from Kristi Murphy, https://www.kristimurphy.com

This recipe got awesome reviews recently on the KitchenAid blog. It’s not my own recipe and I confess that I have yet to make it. I have added the KitchenAid vegetable sheet cutter attachment they use to make the butternut squash sheets to my Christmas wish list. If you have this attachment and make it, please comment and let us know how it turned out! Of course, you can do like I’m going to do for now and sub with low-carb or regular pasta. I’ll be using Dreamfields Pasta, a THM-approved substitute. For the Caesar salad, I just use bagged salad from my grocery store. Recipe Link

My friends, I hope you are able to take the time to enjoy this holiday season. This time of year can be   equally joyful and stressful. There are the added social obligations and holiday shopping, our own increased expectations, and family dynamics.

I like to add new routines during the holidays to help me unwind and relax. They include indulging in my favorite calming tea at night, taking a warm bath with essential oils and epsom salt, or cuddling on the sofa to appreciate our glowing Christmas tree. Be good to and gentle with yourself this month. 

meal

Look for my upcoming post on “Top Holiday Gifts for Women.” Until then, seize the day and enjoy!!

Top 5 Fall Recipes for the Week

Let’s hear it for fall! I’m sharing five of my favorite fall meals this week. Now that the weather is cooling off, I love comfort meals. What is more comforting than soup and dumplings? I’ve shared them below:

Chicken Dumplings

For this recipe, I use a rotisserie chicken. I like using the pre-packaged sliced rotisserie chicken that Costco sells, but you can buy one large or two small rotisserie chickens to use instead.

fall

Chicken Stew

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

2 small or 1 large onion

1 ½ cup frozen peas

2 lbs. of chopped or diced chicken

8 cups of reduced sodium chicken stock

4 cups water

2 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. black pepper

Dumplings

2 cups all-purpose flour

⅓ cup cornmeal

1 Tbsp. baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

2 Tbsp. minced fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, chives)

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 cup buttermilk

*minced herbs for garnish

Using an 8 quart or larger heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven, add butter and vegetables and sauté for 5-7 minutes. Add chicken, stock, and water and bring to a boil. While chicken is cooking, prepare the dumplings.

To prepare the dumplings: In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and herbs. Stir in the butter and the buttermilk. Stir until just combined, don’t over-mix. Scoop heaping tablespoons of the dumpling mixture and place on top of the stew, leaving a little space between the dumplings (they will expand). You’ll get about 24 dumplings. Cover and cook over low heat for about 15 mins. The dumplings cook in the steam, so don’t lift the lid. Stir the dumplings, recover and cook for another 15 minutes.

Roasted Tomato Soup

fall

3 lbs. Roma Tomatoes

Olive Oil

Kosher Salt

5-7 carrots, roughly chopped

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 tsp each of dried thyme and tarragon

28 oz. diced tomatoes, drained. I prefer to use a carton of Pomi tomatoes

1 carton of low-sodium chicken bone broth

pinch of nutmeg and pepper

1 cup of heavy cream

4 oz. parmesan cheese, grated

4 oz. gruyere cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice tomatoes into thick slices, lengthwise, about 4-5 slices per tomato. Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil, place tomatoes in a single layer on baking sheet, brush or drizzle oil generously over tomatoes and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake in oven for about 90 minutes, until blackened in spots and softened. Let cool.

 

Sauté carrots and onions with herbs in 6-quart heavy pot on medium heat until onions are translucent. Add 2 cups of bone broth, cover pot, and turn heat down to low heat for 15-20 minutes to allow carrots to soften. Then add the diced tomatoes (Pomi or canned) and rest of bone broth. Once they’ve cooled, chop and add the roasted tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes.

fall

Using an emersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully blend in a blender ensuring you allow the heat to vent. Add heavy cream and cheese, stir on low heat until cheese melts. I garnished with crispy bacon bits and additional shaved parmesan cheese before serving.

Chicken Piccata

meal plans

4 boneless, thinly sliced chicken breasts

1 Tbsp. olive oil

3 Tbsp. diced onion

1 tsp minced garlic

juice of 1 lemon

1/3 cup no-salt added chicken broth

1 Tbsp., capers

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter.

Sauté chicken breasts in olive oil on medium-high heat for 4 minutes on each side. While cooking, rinse and dry capers to remove excess sodium. Add onion and garlic and cook 1 minute. Add lemon juice and chicken broth. Simmer until bubbly. Remove from heat and add butter and capers.  Select your own recipe for mashed potatoes, add no-salt added canned or fresh green beans, and your meal is ready.

Pork Tenderloin

 When we were researching our new kitchen appliances, the pork tenderloin made in the Thermador steam oven sold me on getting one. Steam creates such a tender and moist tenderloin. To create a more tender and moist tenderloin, use a pre-marinated one from the store.

2 pounds boneless pork loin roast, pre-marinated

½ cup of white wine

Place pork loin into oven, turning and basting with pan liquids. Cook until the pork is no longer pink in the center, about 1 hour. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 145 degrees F (63 degrees C). Remove roast to a platter. Heat the wine in the pan and stir to loosen browned bits of food on the bottom. Serve with pan juices.

German Apple Cake
Photo Credit: http://www.fuelingwithflavour.com

My German son-in-law loves this cake, so I think it must taste pretty authentic. Using a food processor to slice the apples shortens the prep time. For some interesting information, and a little background on German Apple Cake, check out this website: Apfelkuchen (Apple Cake). My recipe is different, but I liked how they share the history about the cake.

½ cup butter, softened

1 1/3 cup sugar, divided

2 large eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. vanilla

4 large apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

1 tsp cinnamon

½ cup of confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the butter, 1 cup of sugar, and eggs on low-speed for 2 minutes. Add flour, baking powder, and vanilla and mix for 1 more minute. Pour into a 9” greased, parchment paper-lined, spring form pan.

Stir sliced apples with 1/3 cup of sugar and cinnamon. Arrange slices on top of cake, pressing them lightly into the batter.

Bake for 50-60 minutes. Let cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Enjoy the lovely fall weather and be sure to check back on Thursday for a celebratory blog post!

This Week’s Menu with a Hawaiian Tropical Twist

Hi readers! In honor of my Maui vacation, I’m sharing a few local favorites that we’ve enjoyed dining on, along with their recipes. I enjoy Hawaiian food, especially their pork and fish dishes.

There are several different types of fish living off the waters of the Hawaiian Islands. Opah (moonfish), Kumu (goatfish), Monchong, Opakapaka (pink snapper), Ahi Tuna, Uhu, and Hawaiian butterfish can be found in local restaurants. This article explores how to prepare these types of fish: HERE.

We purchased fresh Monchong for dinner last week. The resort we are in has a Grill Chef that comes in twice a week to grill for the guests. So, we decided to have it grilled by him.

Hawaiian
Monchong

It was lightly broiled on the outside and flakey inside, exactly how I like my fish.

Grilled Shrimp with Fresh Herbs

Along with the fresh Monchong, we bought fresh shrimp from Costco. The shrimp were straight from the ocean and still had their heads attached! Readying them for cooking was an experience, but well worth the effort. Along with the fish, we had the Grill Chef cook the shrimp. He used butter and fresh herbs from their herb garden to cook them.

Hawaiian

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients and allow them to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.  Heat the grill and brush well with oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Grill the shrimp for only 1-2 minutes on each side, until pink. Remove from grill immediately when done. Serve over rice.

During our stay, we have eaten at a number of local restaurants in Ka’anapali and Lahaina Here are two of their most popular entrée recipes for this week’s menu:

Duke’s Macadamia Nut Herb-Crusted Fish

I found this recipe online at Hawaiian Electric’s website. They have a “find a recipe feature” that has recipes with a Hawaiian twist. This one is from the chef Duke’s restaurant in Oahu.

Hawaiian
Duke’s Macadamia Nut Fish

Ingredients:

4 (6 oz. size) Opah (Moonfish) fillets
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
1 cup panko (Japanese flour meal)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped unsalted macadamia nuts
3 Tbsp. finely chopped basil leaves
2 Tbsp. finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp. finely chopped thyme leaves
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Directions:

Season fillets with salt and pepper. Combine remaining ingredients except olive oil; coat fillets with mixture. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté fillets until golden brown, about 4 minutes on both sides. Serve with Lemon-Butter Wine Sauce with Capers. 

Lemon-Butter Wine Sauce with Capers:
In a saucepan, heat 1/4 cup dry wine, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons chopped chives, and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Cook until liquid reduces to half. Add 1/4 cup heavy cream; simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 1/2 cups softened unsalted butter, a little at a time. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup capers, and 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice. Makes about 1 cup sauce. 

At Kimo’s restaurant in Lahaina, I had some delicious ribs. The glazed sauce was soooo good. I was able to find a similar recipe at Hawaiian Electric’s website.

Pork Ribs with Mango Barbecue Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 to 5 lbs. pork back ribs (20 ribs)
5 bay leaves
2 tsp. cracked peppercorns
1 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup water

Sauce:

1 cup catsup
2 cups mango puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
2 tsp. sweet chili sauce
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cumin

Directions:

Place ribs in a roasting pan. Combine bay leaves, peppercorns, 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke, salt, and water; pour over ribs. Cover tightly with foil. Bake in electric oven at 375°F for 45 minutes. Combine the remaining ingredients to make the mango barbecue sauce. Remove ribs from roasting pan; place on rack of broiler pan. Basting frequently with the sauce, broil ribs in oven 6 inches from broiler unit until browned on both sides.

Dinner would not be complete without a dessert! For desert, pies are really popular here. It seems like each restaurant has a special pie they are known for. One of them is Hula Pie served at Duke’s and Kimo’s restaurants.


From www.tsrestaurants.com
Hula Pie is made with Kimo’s favorite macadamia nut ice cream piled high on a chocolate cookie crust and topped with chocolate fudge, whipped cream, and more macadamia nuts. Here is the recipe for it from www.hawaiimagazine.com.
Hula Pie

Ingredients:

1 9-inch chocolate cookie pie crust
1 half-gallon macadamia nut ice cream (Seems like a lot of ice cream, but you’ll be piling it high.)
4 ounces chocolate fudge topping
1 shot of espresso or strong coffee
6 ounces macadamia nuts
Whipped cream

1. Bring fudge topping to room temperature.

2. Scoop ice cream into prepared pie shell, smoothing it into a rough dome, or bombe, as high as you’d like.

3. Warm espresso or coffee and mix into chocolate.  Use a warmed knife to spread topping even over ice cream bombe.

4. Freeze until ready to serve.

5. Cover top of pie with a layer of whipped cream and chopped macadamia nuts before serving.

Can’t find macadamia nut ice cream in your local store? Just substitute good vanilla ice cream—soften it just a little and mix in chopped mac nuts. We actually prefer this option to store-bought mac nut ice cream, as the flavor is more balanced and the texture of the nuts will remain firm, not soggy.

If you’d prefer to make your own pie crust, too, simply mix chocolate wafer crumbs (about a cup and a half) with a little sugar and about ¼ cup melted butter. Press the mixture into a pie pan.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had any room for Hula Pie after dinner because I’ve been way too full. I will, though, before we leave on Wednesday. 
Bring a little Hawaiian into your life this week and make one of these recipes. I hope you’ll share your experiences below! See you again soon.

This Week’s Meals. All of My Favorites!

This week, I’m sharing some of my favorite meals with you. These recipes are guaranteed to be a hit! Best of all, they are simple and easy to make.

What’s On The Menu

Ordinarily I would have saved the whole roasted chicken recipe for a weekend meal, but there is a reason it’s high on this week’s menu. I’ll shred the leftover chicken from this dinner for the chicken enchiladas.

Fettucine with Grilled Shrimp

Fettucine takes sinfully delicious, so it must be hard to make, right? Wrong! Fettucine is easier than you think, and adding grilled shrimp takes it to a whole new level. This recipe makes 4 servings.

meals
PC:www.aroundmyfamilytable.com
Ingredients:
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 oz. fettuccine (I am using egg fettuccine)
  • Olive oil
  • 3/4 pounds raw jumbo shrimp
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/8 tsp. grated or ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (the best you can find, it makes a difference)
Instructions:

Pat dry the shrimp and arrange on a paper towel until ready to use.Cook the fettuccine to al dente, according to the package. Strain and toss with a splash of olive oil.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 Tbsp of the butter. Increase the temperature to med-high, and add the shrimp at once. Without moving them, let them cook for about 2 minutes, until they are pink, then flip them and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove shrimp to a plate to rest.

Using the same pan over medium heat, add 6 Tbsp. of butter and scrape the pan well, as the butter melts. Stir in the heavy cream and nutmeg and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Lower temperature to low and whisk in the parmesan cheese. Add shrimp and pasta to pan and toss well. Serve immediately.

 

Whole Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

The key to a juicy, delicious chicken is brining. Just like with a turkey. Creating a brine is simple. It’s just salt, sugar, water, and spices.

Menu

Brine:
  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 1cup kosher salt (reduce to 1/4 cup if using regular table salt.)
  • 2cup light brown sugar

Stir until the salt and sugar are invisible. I usually add spices to the brine, one of my favorites is Herbs de Provence and I might add some grated lemon zest.

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil or melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp seasoning of your choice, I prefer Herbs de Provence
Baking the chicken:

Remove whole chicken from package and rinse well. Find a big bowl or special brining bag that will hold the chicken and the gallon of broth. The chicken must be fully immersed in the brine. Brine for at least 1 hour, but not longer than 8 hours. Before baking, remove the chicken from the brine and rinse well, especially the inner cavities of the chicken. Dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush chicken with oil or butter. Truss up the chicken and place in a V-rack or elevated roasting pan breast side up. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the temperature of the breast is 120 degrees and thighs are 135 degrees. Turn off the oven and leave the chicken in for another 25-35 minutes or until the breast if 160 degrees and thighs are 175 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest, uncovered on a carving board for 20 minutes. Carve and serve.

I add mashed potatoes and green beans to round this dinner out.

Ribeye Steaks with Baked Potato and Broccoli Salad

I just love a perfectly cooked steak! And this is something my husband has perfected over the years. We use rib eye because they make excellent steaks, but buy whatever steaks you prefer.

  • Steaks
  • Olive Oil
  • Seasoning, my favorite is Montreal Steak

Meals

The night before, remove your steaks from the package, and dry them off with paper towels. Add enough olive oil to lightly cover the steaks. Liberally apply your favorite steak seasoning evenly over the steaks, or spread it with your hands to ensure that it’s evenly applied. My seasoning of choice is Montreal Steak Seasoning. Cover the seasoned steaks with plastic wrap and return them to the fridge.

Grilling:

Remove steaks from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking (but no more than an hour). This allows your steaks to cook more evenly. Preheat your grill to high heat. Set up a two-zone fire.

Place ribeye steaks on the grill and cook over direct heat for 4-5 minutes on each side for medium rare. Do you wonder why you need a two-zone setup? If your steaks are close to being done, you can move them over to the cold side of the grill to finish them off. Use a meat thermometer to determine if you’ve cooked steaks the way you like them. Here are the temperatures you should keep in mind: 120° F = Rare, 130° F = Medium rare, 140° F = Medium, 160° F = Well done

Remove steaks from grill and let them rest for five minutes. The juices will redistribute throughout the meat, producing a tender, juicy result.

I’m serving the steaks with a broccoli salad and baked potatoes. I purchase pre-cut and washed broccoli. For two servings (double for 4): Roughly chop the broccoli into bite sized pieces, add 1/4 cup of raisins or dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts or sunflower seeds. Drizzle with Poppy Seed Dressing. I have to tell you that I don’t even like broccoli but I love this salad, lol.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

There are so many ways to make enchiladas. Fair warning, this is not one of the lower calorie versions. I’ll include a link below to one like that, if you are so inclined.

I discovered this recipe several years ago and have modified it over time. This is one of those meals that wow people. I made them for my daughter’s bridal shower and they were a hit.

Ingredients:
  • 8 flour tortillas (I’m using white flour for my husband and LaTortilla Factory low-carb for myself)
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 3/4 chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 (4 oz) cans diced mild green chilies

meals

 

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×9 pan
  2. Mix chicken, 1 cup cheese, and 1 can of chilies. Warm your tortillas slightly in the microwave, either in the package or wrapped in paper towels. 30 seconds should do it. Roll up in tortillas and place in pan.
  3. In a sauce pan, on medium heat, melt butter, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat until thick and bubbly.
  4. Turn down heat to low or simmer. Stir in sour cream and the second can of chilies. Do not bring to boil, you don’t want curdled sour cream.
  5. Pour the sauce over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
  6. Bake 20 min and then under high broil for 3 min to brown the cheese.

Here is a lower-calorie version using just green sauce: http://www.skinnytaste.com/enchiladas-verdes-green-enchiladas/

If you are short a few meals this week, or need other ideas, check out some of my other recipes: http://thefeatherednester.com/index.php/2017/05/12/best-ever-pizza-dough/

http://thefeatherednester.com/index.php/2017/06/19/pork-carnitas-recipe-new-favorite/

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This Coming Week’s Meals

Although we’re out-of-town this week, I haven’t forgotten about you.

This weekly meals series is a work-in-progress, and for this week I decided to simplify things. Rather than list day-by-day meals, I’m sharing four easy-peasy weeknight meals, and one special weekend dinner. In the comments below, share which format works best for you.

Easy Weeknight Meals
Turkey Meatloaf with Green Beans

 

I have a confession to make. I don’t make all of my meals from scratch. Around 10% of the time, I rely on certain pre-made, convenience foods I’ve found that are worth buying.

This Fra’Mani frozen turkey meatloaf from Costco is one of those.

mealsThe package contains two meatloaf trays. Each should feed two adults and two young kids, or three adults. I keep this on hand for “those days.” Freezer to plate in less than an hour. As a side dish, I add mashed potatoes for my husband and green beans (low-carb option) for myself.

If you’d prefer to make your own Turkey Meatloaf, here is a good recipe to try: Low-Carb Turkey Meatloaf

Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with Rice and Caesar Salad

meals

Chicken breasts are low in fat and calories, but high in protein. It is so easy to get burned out on chicken, though. Luckily, there are hundreds of ways to chicken to provide a little variety. Here is a simple and delicious recipe for chicken breasts. Serve with rice and Caesar salad (low-carb option).

Ingredients

  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

Let chicken stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Heat a large stainless-steel skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan, rounded side down; cook 5 minutes. Turn chicken over; reduce heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from pan; let stand 5 minutes.

Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil, onion, and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Next, add flour and sauté 30 seconds.  Stir in stock; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 3 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, butter, and sugar. Sprinkle with parsley.

Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa
PC: onceuponachef.com

These shrimp taste best grilled, but you can also use your broiler. Look for extra-large or 21-25 count shrimp. Here is the recipe: Shrimp Tacos Recipe

Weekend Splurge Meals

Dinner
Short Ribs with Red Wine Cream Sauce and Mushrooms

Short ribs are one of the ultimate comfort meals. They are one of the first foods that I make when the weather is turning to fall. I give full credit to The Pioneer Woman for introducing me to this wonderful dish.

Short Ribs Recipe

Dessert
Chocolate Lava Cake

This is one of my favorite desserts ever, and it is so easy to make. I have used jumbo sized cupcake pans for this recipe, as well as the custard cups.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray four custard cups with baking spray and place on a baking sheet.

Microwave the butter, bittersweet chocolate and semisweet chocolate in a large bowl on high until the butter is melted, about 1 minute. Whisk until the chocolate is also melted. Stir in the sugar until well blended. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolks, then add the vanilla. Stir in the flour. Divide the mixture among the custard cups.

Bake until the sides are firm and the centers are soft, about 13 minutes. Let stand 1 minute. Invert on individual plates while warm and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Leave me some comments on the new format. Which do you prefer?