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May 17, 2021

4/23/2021 10:05:00 AM
Last week's dinner, today

It’s time to share a few dinners that are on our regular menu at home.

As I was thinking about what to write for this week’s column, it dawned on me to just take a look at our chalk board that Aly writes each week’s dinner down on that hangs on the refrigerator, and we had enough unique recipes in there for the me to share some of our ideas!

So here’s a few things that are served at the Norton household. Most of them are regular staples, but we did have a special meal as well to celebrate our dog’s birthdays (yes, we are those kind of people.)

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2-10 oz. boneless chicken breast
2 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp.onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 dash ground pepper
2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 c. diced onion fresh or frozen
1/2 c. diced bell pepper fresh or frozen
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
3 slices provolone cheese or queso melting cheese

Slice chicken breasts into very thin pieces (freeze slightly if desired to make this easier) and place in a medium bowl.  Add next 4 ingredients (worcestershire through ground pepper) and stir to coat chicken.

Heat one teaspoon olive oil in a large (9") oven proof skillet.  Add chicken pieces and cook until browned -about 5 minutes. Turn pieces over and cook about 2-3 minutes more or until brown.  Remove from skillet.

Add remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil to warm skillet. Then add onions, bell pepper and garlic.  Cook and stir to heated and tender- 2-3 minutes.  

Turn heat off and add chicken back to skillet and stir with veggies to combine.  Place sliced cheese over all and cover 2-3 minutes to melt.

Note: Serve up in bowls for those eating low carb.  Serve with warm hoagie rolls for others. Also, almost any cheese will do here. I’ve used provolone, mozzarella and colby jack and they are all phenomenal. It’s a simple meal that’s low in carbs (we never have the hoagies) and has all common ingredients.

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This one does require an air fryer but is mmmmmm GOOD!
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 c. diced onion
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 pkg. (4 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. beef broth
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
1  taco seasoning mix
6 (10 inch) flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend, or to taste
Avocado oil cooking spray

Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add beef, cream cheese, diced chiles, beef broth, taco seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir until mixture is well combined and cream cheese softened been incorporated.

Heat tortillas in a large skillet or directly on grates of a gas stove until soft and pliable (Optional, but will help with tortillas ripping). Place 1/3 cup beef mixture down the center of each tortilla and top with a heaping tablespoon of Mexican cheese. Fold top and bottom of tortillas over the filling, then roll each into a burrito shape. Mist with cooking spray and place in the basket of an air fryer.

Air fry at 400 degrees F  for four to six minutes. Flip each chimichanga over, mist with cooking spray, and air fry until lightly browned, two to four minutes more.

These aren’t the best for you nutrition-wise, but you at least cut out frying the chimis in oil and when it comes to the texture, you’d almost never know. They are light and crispy, and the filling is beefy and cheesy. The best part is, they really don’t take long to fry up either!

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There are two ways to go about this next one. If you have the time, bake the spaghetti squash. The texture is a bit better, but if you’re like Aly and I and don’t get home until almost 6 p.m. every night and take the dogs for a walk, you don’t quite have time for a an hour prep/bake, microwaving cuts the time way down and still tastes phenomenal.
2 lb. spaghetti squash
2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 lb. italian sausage
Extra virgin olive oil
Favorite pasta sauce

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and ribbing. Drizzle the inside of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper.

Place the spaghetti squash cut side down on the baking sheet and use a fork to poke holes. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned on the outside, fork tender, but still a little bit firm. The time will vary depending on the size of your squash. I also find that the timing can vary from squash to squash.

Remove from the oven and flip the squash so that it’s cut side up. When cool to the touch, use a fork to scrape and fluff the strands from the sides of the squash.

While the squash is baking, brown the Italian sausage with any seasoning you’d like (I always add fennel, rosemary and thyme, but use what you like) and add your favorite pasta sauce. Aly does have a homemade sauce, but I’ll save that recipe for the summer time when tomatoes are plentiful in the garden.

After shredding the squash, top with the sauce and meat mixture. It’s a really great and healthy alternative to pasta, and as long as you have a good sauce, you barely notice that you aren’t eating noodles!

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This one is the treat, simple, and does require a smoker, but it’s the best steak I make. This recipe is for medium rare steaks. If you want rare or anything over medium rare, just adjust the internal temps up or down by five degrees for each level.
Ribeye steaks, at least 1.5 inches thick
1 tbsp. Kosher salt
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper

Salt the steaks on both sides and place them on a cookie sheet in a refrigerator for up to two hours prior to the cook for a dry brine. Remove about 20 minutes before smoking.

Preheat smoker to 225 degrees, and remove the steak from the fridge.

Apply the pepper on the steaks, and then place them on the smoker when it’s up to heat. When the internal temperature reaches 115 degrees, remove from the smoker and loosely tent with foil. Start a gas grill or a cast iron skillet on the stove top and get it to high heat We’re looking for 500 degrees here (if you do this inside, make sure you have a fan going as there will be smoke). Cook the steak on the high heat for about 2 minutes each side to get a nice crust. The internal temp will rise quickly, hence why we pull the steak off about 15 degrees short of it’s finishing IT.

Remove the steak from heat and let rest under loosely tented foil for 10 minutes. Resting the steak in between is key. It allows the meat to retain its juiciness. And yes, we did have these steaks for our dogs birthday simply so we could chop up the fat caps from the ribeyes and mix them in with our dog’s dinner!

TFD: Scratch a dog and you’ll find a permanent job.

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