Friday, July 31, 2009

MENU Sat Aug 1st through Fri Aug 14th

Menu planning... where to start?

Keep mid-week meal prep time to a minimum. This is generally not the time to try a new recipe b/c they take much longer - - unless of course it's a really easy recipe.

Weekends mean you'll have more prep time available, but keep in mind that weekends can also be very active. Don't marry yourself to a weekend meal plan that means you won't have time to do the restful things you enjoy!

Plan for the most delicate produce to be used early in the week.

Plan for lunches - make something early in the week that has leftovers you can use for lunch later in the week.

Build in flexibility - make sure there's one meal a week that can drop off the menu without consequences... something from the freezer + cans + anything that keeps for a while. Allow for spontaneity!

Have a variety - a variety of ingredients, main entree meats, a variety of cooking styles, casual to involved, etc.

SAT 8/1 - Going to a friend's for dinner.
Lunch will be chicken wings - Buffalo for Jess, Barbecue for Dinah.

SUN 8/2 - Grilled tenderloin steaks, spinach for Jess, other veggie for Dinah (asparagus), baked potato

MON 8/3 - Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (make enough for lunches, too - use 2 packs of gr. beef), salad (use the bit of broccoli left from last week), bread

TUE 8/4 - Poached Fish with Tomato and Basil (using fresh basil from the garden), Mediterranean Succotash, veggie (squash)

WED 8/5 - Italian Breaded Pork Chops, Rosemary Potatoes, salad

THU 8/6 - Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole, veggie. Either have it ready the night before or do it right when you walk in the door. It's super-easy, but it cooks for almost an hour.

FRI 8/7 - leftover Chicken Enchiladas from the freezer; serve with chips and salsa w/ avocado, canned corn

SAT 8/8 - Yogurt Grilled Chicken Breast with Pineapple Roasted Red Pepper Salsa - now that's a descriptive title!

SUN 8/9 - Chicken-Andouille Casserole Let's give it a shot!

MON 8/10 - Roasted Chicken Quarters (we have some breasts, some leg/thigh quarters - either works for the recipe), baked potato, salad

TUE 8/11 - Trout with Honey-Citrus Glaze (recipe was originally for salmon, but let's try trout b/c it's what's on hand), wild rice mix, veggie

WED 8/12 - Sweet and Sour Pork with rice

THU 8/13 - Sauteed Chicken Breast with Cucumber Salad, pasta salad

FRI 8/14 - Sloppy Joes, baby carrots on the side

Remember for next time: we have lamb in the freezer! May put on next menu set. Also plan a sushi night!

Grocery list:
baking potatoes x 2
salad ingredients for 2 nights
veggie x 2
Dinah veggie
fresh spinach
fresh parsley
one pepper (any color is fine)
jarred roasted red pepper
bag of frozen veggies
remember to purchase lunch-related items

Grocery list for perishables in week 2:
salad ingredients
green pepper
fresh parsley
rolls for sloppy joes
remember to purchase lunch-related items

Sunday, July 19, 2009

MENU Sat July 18th through Fri July 31st

Well, the refrigerator was rebelling in mid-July, last week, so we ate out *a* *lot*. Then it was back to our regularly scheduled programming... but I'm just now posting the menu.

I'm going to make a concerted effort toward having easier, quicker meals during the week. I enjoy cooking, but I don't want to spend hours each night preparing & cleaning up from dinner. There are so many other things I want to do!

SAT 7/18 - Grilled ribeye, Salad, Bread

SUN 7/19 - Roast Chicken, Risotto, Veggie (Broccoli)

MON 7/20 - Pork Stirfry

TUE 7/21 - Chicken Chilaquiles using leftover chicken

WED 7/22 - Walnut Crusted Trout, Baked Potato (microwaved, actually), veggie

THU 7/23 - Brandy-Orange Chicken, Rice, Carrots

FRI 7/24 - Soft Tacos (beef)

SAT 7/25 - scheduled dinner at a friend's house

SUN 7/26 - Crablegs for Jess, Catfish for Dinah, Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice, veggie

MON 7/27 - Tomato/Mozzarella Sausage with pasta and veggie

TUE 7/28 - Grilled pork tenderloin, grilled veggies (squash, mushrooms, onions, peppers), potato

WED 7/29 - Cashew Chicken

THU 7/30 - Broiled Tilapia Parmesan, veggie, polenta with marinara sauce and Fontina cheese

FRI 7/31 - Pasta w/ Chicken & Vodka Cream Sauce, bread, salad

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cheeseburger Cupcakes

How to make cheeseburger cupcakes:
Here are the instructions I followed - link


- Use the gooiest chocolate batter you can find.

- After pouring the batter into the cupcake pans, be sure to flatten it down a bit - you want your cupcake tops to come out as flat as possible, to look convincingly like bread.

- We used Starburst to emulate cheese. The orange kind looked best.

  1. Microwave one unwrapped Starburst at a time on a plastic cutting board
  2. Depending on the strength of your microwave, time will differ. We did 6 seconds.
  3. Using your thumb, squish the Starburst flat to about a 2" diameter squarish-circle
  4. Cut the disc in quarters.
  5. At time of assembly, put the corners down, peeking out from under the "bun" top
  6. Use frosting (red for ketchup, yellow for mustard) to cover up the edges of your cheese triangles, creating the illusion that there's a big slice of cheese under there.
The whole process took us about 3 hours, but was well worth it. We brought some to our neighbors and some to a friend's house that night.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

MENU Sun July 5th through Sun July 19th

We're all about variety and economy. Pay attention to what's already stocked in your pantry, to what's on sale this week. You can have great meals at a decent price - sure, it takes a bit of planning, but it can be done. It's my job to teach you how! You don't have to live on frozen pizza anymore.

SUN 7/5 - Puerco Pibil and Maque Choux (pronounced something like "mock shoe")

MON 7/6 - Favorite Shrimp of Dinah's, Snow Crab legs, Fried Okra with Remoulade Sauce, Zatarain's New Orleans Style Red Beans and Rice

TUE 7/7 - Grilled pork tenderloin, stuffing (made from a mix), salad

WED 7/8 - Salmon with Caper Relish, rice, veggie

THU 7/9 - Stuffed Chicken Rolls, Pasta with Creamy Shallot Sauce, salad if we have leftover salad ingredients still

FRI 7/10 - Enchiladas (from the freezer - made them several weeks ago & froze the extras). There's nothing like an easy meal on a Friday.

SAT 7/11 - Grilled Lamb Chops, Roasted Rosemary Potatoes, Grilled Veggies (mushrooms, peppers, onions, squash)

SUN 7/12 - Homemade pizza

MON 7/13 - Pork Stirfry

TUE 7/14 - Brandy and Orange Chicken, rice, veggie

WED 7/15 - Broiled Tilapia Parmesan, Risotto, Glazed Carrots - use this recipe but with all carrots instead of carrots and parsnips.

THU 7/16 - Grilled Ribeye Steak, Stuffed Mushrooms, Bread with Dipping Oil & Spices, Salad

FRI 7/17 - Vodka Cream Sauce with pasta and chicken (I just cook the chicken on the stove-top after pounding it flat).

SAT 7/18 - kabobs - undecided yet what kind to do. Probably will be "Prosciutto" Chicken Kabobs. Feel free to make them with real prosciutto, as opposed to using salami. But for the money, I'll use salami. Maybe one day I'll make it back to Spain and come back with a suitcase full of Serrano Ham, though.

SUN 7/19 - Coq au Vin. Between those instructions and Joy of Cooking, I'm going to give it a try, I think. If the weather's nice, though, I may forego cooking this, go kayaking, and have cheeseburgers for dinner.

I'm realizing just how often we cook with alcohol... let's see, this two-week menu has tequila, wine, sherry, brandy, and vodka. The alcohol cooks off, and you are left with a complex, irreproducable flavor. My, but I love Vodka Cream Sauce. I have a special relationship with fresh basil.