9.05.2007

I Wish I Could Create Menus This Fabulous

As I've been cooking I've been thinking about menu making. On myrecipes.com, they have a ton of menus that you can make (or create yourself). They're supposedly time saving, right? This can start to be a part of my weekly organizing, well, I'm not so sure about organizing but at least I can see what I might or might not make during the week. The first part of this is really to make a shopping list and inventory what we have in the pantry so I save myself time at the grocery store. Hm, maybe menu making could work in my disorganized world! So maybe I'll post a French menu. Oui! J'aime faire du cuisine! If I can remember even an ounce of the french language...

Menu for One Night Only:

Vegetable Potage
Chicken With Garlic Croutons
Provencale Potato Ragout with Green Olives

Vegetable Potage:
5 cups water
2 cups chopped peeled celery
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
1 1/4 cups diced onion
1 cup diced peeled potato
1 cup chopped Granny Smith apple (1 large apple)
1 cup sliced leek
1/2 cup chopped peeled artichoke
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 thyme sprigs
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Discard thyme and bay leaves. Place vegetable mixture in a blender in 2 batches; process until smooth.

Chicken With Garlic Croutons:
12 ounces French bread, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 (4-pound) roasting chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 navel orange, halved
2 bay leaves
Cooking spray
4 garlic cloves, minced
Thyme sprigs (optional)
Preheat oven to 450°.
Place bread cubes on a baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 5 minutes; set aside.
Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Rinse under cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken. Squeeze orange over a bowl to extract juices. Place 1 orange half, bay leaves, and 3 tablespoons orange juice in neck cavity. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under breasts. Place chicken, breast side up, on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Pierce skin several times with a meat fork. Insert meat thermometer into meaty part of thigh, making sure not to touch bone.
Bake chicken at 450° for 50 minutes or until thermometer registers 180°. Place croutons around chicken, and cook an additional 10 minutes.
Remove chicken from pan, reserving pan drippings. Cover chicken loosely with foil; let stand 10 minutes. Discard skin. Arrange croutons on a jelly-roll pan. Drizzle pan drippings and garlic over croutons, stirring to coat. Bake at 450° for 5 minutes or until crisp. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

Provencale Potato Ragout with Green Olives
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
3 1/2 cups coarsely chopped seeded tomato
4 cups cubed peeled baking potato (about 2 pounds)
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup sliced green olives
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 10 minutes or until soft, stirring frequently.
Add tomato; cook 10 minutes or until the liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently. Add potato and next 6 ingredients (potato through bay leaves); bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally.
Stir in olives; cook an additional 5 minutes. Discard thyme and bay leaves.

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