Menu Plan Monday / Parmesan Fish, Taco Bake

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Y’all, I just could NOT think about the menu yesterday. I tried. I really did. I even asked Miss Carolyn what I should make this week, as she is the best cook in the world. And even she had no idea. I was at a total loss. I went out to eat with a friend for dinner and then came back and didn’t feel well.

So today was another day. I really planned on going to Kroger on the way home from the doctor today. But I was SO hungry I decided I might chew off my arm if I had to wait to get groceries, cook something, and then eat. Not to mention, I might have bought half of Kroger. So we had canned soup and grilled cheese. And then, finally, went to the store.

So here’s the plan! My mom is coming in on Thursday and she is doing South Beach Phase II, so I needed to plan things that would be OK for her.

Wed: church dinner
Thurs: I have to go on this video shoot and will be eating with crew and author at what is supposed to be the best down home restaurant in Nashville (Sunset in Lebanon).
Fri: Parmesan Tilapia, broccoli with cheese, something else??
Sat: Taco Bake on bed of lettuce
Sun: I have some chicken, I have a crockpot, we have restaurants…we’ll figure it out!
Mon: Hashbrown casserole with ham (back to Mr. V and me)

Here are recipes for ya:

Taco Bake (these are not my comments. I don’t use mushrooms.)

1 can refried beans (vegetarian if you are on South Beach, they don’t have lard)
1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper chopped
8 oz mushrooms, coarsely chopped (diced, not sliced)
1 can green chilis (like ortega)
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or more, if you’d like)
2-3 TB chili powder
1 TB cumin
1-2 t garlic powder
2-3 TB tomato paste
2/3 C shredded cheese

Garnish – any, all work well: chopped green onions, chopped black olives, sour cream, chopped lettuce and tomatoes, chopped cilantro, chopped white or bermuda onions, salsa

Preheat oven to 450. Take a flat casserole dish, spray with cooking spray and spread refried beans on the bottom. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 15 minutes.Meanwhile, saute meat, onions, bell pepper, garlic (season with S&P) until onion begins to soften and meat beings to brown. Add mushrooms and cook until they’ve released their water and meat is thoroughly browned. Drain fat and add all spices, and cook for about 2-3 minutes until spices toast. Add green chilies and tomato paste, along with a little bit of water, if needed. The mixture should be moist but not runny.

Take the casserole dish with the beans, pour mixture on top and top with cheese (sometimes I add olives and green onions at this stage). Bake in the oven for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and just starts to bubble. Serve with generous heaps of lettuce as a bed (romain, red leaf and iceberg work really well here), and garnish with garnishes of your choice.

Parmesan Fish

2-4 fish fillets (firm, white fish works best)
2 egg whites
2 T milk
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated fine
salt and pepper to taste
1 T parlsey flakes or fresh parsley

Beat together the egg whites and milk. Mix together all other ingredients except fish on a plate. Dip the fish fillets in the egg white, and then coat well in the Parmesan mixture. Let sit at least 5 minutes to set. Meanwhile, coat a nonstick skillet in olive oil or a mix of OO and Canola oil to hot but not sizzling (med to med-high). Cook the fillets for 3-4 minutes on each side, until fish flakes easily. Enjoy!

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