What's Cooking This Week?

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Brooke Viggiano
Au jus for two
Despite the beautiful weather, last week I made a dinner menu gearing me up for fall (not my fault - I'm from Jersey and I miss my pumpkin spice lattes). I'll keep the autumn feeling going with a couple of next week's meals. Here's the plan.

On the menu:

Spinach & Scallops w/ Bacon Vinaigrette
Beef Roast w/ Parsnip Puree
Baked Eggs w/ Garlic Toasts
French Dips w/ Tomato & Greens Salad
Mini Mushroom Lasagnas

Pantry Items
Cooking oil (I prefer regular olive oil)
Cooking spray
Extra virgin olive oil
Butter
Milk
Eggs
Flour
Beef stock
Kosher salt
Pepper

Grocery List - Amts based on servings for 2 people
8-10 sea scallops
1 boneless beef eye round roast 1-2 lbs, fat trimmed
1 package bacon
4 oz Fontina cheese
4 oz grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 small bunch fresh rosemary
1 large package fresh spinach
1 large package mixed greens
1-2 parsnips
1 large pack cremini or button mushrooms
2 yellow onions
1 red onion
1 head of garlic
1 package cherry tomatoes
1 crusty loaf of bread
1 package spinach lasagna
1 bottle red wine (one that's good enough to drink)

Day 1 - Spinach & Scallops w/ Bacon Vinaigrette

Heat two skillets over medium heat.

Heat oil in one of the skillets. Pat scallops dry and lightly season with salt and pepper. Add the scallops to skillet and cook until golden and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side depending on size of scallop. Squeeze fresh lemon over and transfer to plate. Cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in other skillet, add ¼ cup chopped red onion and 1-2 slices of bacon, chopped. Cook until bacon is crispy. Remove from heat, drain out excess bacon grease, leaving a bit in pan. Add 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Season as needed.

Toss halved cherry tomatoes and ½ package fresh spinach with bacon vinaigrette and top with seared scallops.

Day 2 - Beef Roast w/ Parsnip Puree

Preheat oven to 375.

Heat large cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with olive oil.

Cut slits into beef and add fresh garlic cloves. Rub meat with olive oil, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. Add to skillet and brown on all sides. Once browned, remove beef from skillet and add sliced mushrooms and wedged yellow onion. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened.

Add beef back to skillet and place entire skillet in oven. Roast about 15 minutes per pound for medium rare.

Meanwhile, bring 1-2 parsnips, peeled and cut into small chunks to a boil. Cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes. In a small saucepan, heat milk, 1 clove garlic, and 1 sprig rosemary over medium low heat to warm. Drain parsnips and add to food processor. Add a bit of milk (take out rosemary and garlic clove) and pulse until smooth, adding more milk as necessary. Return to pot and add 1 tbsp butter, salt and pepper to taste.

When meat is cooked to desired preference, remove skillet from oven. Remove meat and cover, allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Remove onions and mushrooms and cover to keep warm.

Remove excess fat from skillet and over low heat, add ½ cup red wine and ½ cup beef stock, scraping bits off bottom. Whisk in flour to thicken.

Serve sliced beef roast, mushrooms, and onions over parsnip puree and top with red wine gravy.

Save remaining beef and gravy for use later in the week.

Day 3 - Baked Eggs w/ Garlic Toasts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat large skillet with olive oil and add ½ cup chopped yellow onion, cooking until softened. Stir in ½ package of sliced mushrooms and 1-2 strips chopped bacon, cooking until mushrooms have softened and bacon is crisp. Add 1-2 cloves garlic and fresh spinach leaves and cook for another minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste (only a little salt is needed, as you have salt from the bacon).

Coat 2 oven-safe ramekins or gratin dishes with cooking spray and add vegetable and bacon mixture. Crack an egg or two on top of each and bake until eggs are cooked, about 10-12 minutes for runny eggs.

Cut a few slices of bread on a bias and add to oven to toast while eggs rest.

Meanwhile, prepare simple green salad by tossing greens with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Rub garlic on toasted bread and serve with spinach, mushroom, and bacon baked egg and side salad.

Day 4 - French Dips w/ Tomato & Greens Salad

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add ¼ cup minced yellow onion and cook until translucent. Add leftover red wine gravy and more beef stock if desired. Bring to a bubble and allow to simmer until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, prepare salad by tossing mixed greens, halved cherry tomatoes, and sliced red onion with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut leftover bread to make two sandwich rolls. Dip sliced leftover roast beef into gravy and add to sandwiches. Pour leftover sauce into ramekins or small bowls.

Serve French dips with side of au jus and tomato and greens salad.

Day 5 - Mini Mushroom Lasagnas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook spinach lasagna noodles to al dente (make about 10 noodles). Drain and set aside, coating lightly with olive oil so noodles don't stick.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and coat with olive oil. Add sliced mushrooms and ½ cup chopped yellow onion and cook until mushrooms have given off juices, about 5 minutes. Add 2-3 cloves garlic minced and cook another minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Make a béchamel by heating 1 cup whole milk in a small saucepan. In another saucepan, melt 2 tbsp butter and slowly whisk in 2 tbsp flour, cooking for 1 minute over low heat. Whisk in the warmed milk and season with salt and pepper (add nutmeg if desired but I personally am not a fan). Cook over medium low heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Coat individual gratin dishes with a bit of the béchamel. Arrange a layer spinach lasagna on top, then add more sauce. Add a layer of the mushhroom mixture and then a layer shredded Fontina and Pecorino Romano cheeses. Repeat again two more times, layering noodles, sauce, mushroom, and cheeses. Top final layer with noodles, sauce, and sprinkle with remaining cheeses.

Bake until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly, about 20-25 minutes. Allow to sit for 5 minutes then serve. If you didn't finish the wine yet and it stayed tasty, enjoy with your meal - cheers!



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