Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Week Plan Wednesday

Wednesday- Pasta with broccoli dijon sauce.  This was not great, but we didn't get home from grocery shopping until 6 pm.  *whew*

Thursday- Kale, sausage, and potato soup (here's one recipe, although you can really let your heart be your guide with a title like that).  Bread.  Lettuce and tomato salad.

Friday- Mushroom, spinach and cheese muffins.  Cucumbers and humus. 

HOLY CATS!  I'M TAKING A VACATION!!  No, seriously.  The Hubby and I are going away for something like 48 hours, leaving Friday after work and coming home Sunday around dinner time.  And the littles are staying here with Auntie A.  That's two whole nights off.  We're going up to Door County, WI, so it's too far to come home to solve problems.  I have not spent a night away from the littles literally since The Gibbon was born.  I am terribly excited!  Also a bit apprehensive, if I'm going to be honest here.  But if I think about the apprehensive part, I don't want to go away on a romantic weekend getaway with The Hubby.  And I know this is a completely super idea, so I can't think about not wanting to go. 

Because Auntie A is completely in charge, I have not planned anything for the littles to eat or do while I am gone.  This means the littles will probably eat Doritos and McNuggets and ice cream for every meal after the one I prepare for Friday dinner.  But at this point, I don't care.  As long as everyone lives through the weekend, we'll just do a vacation detox for 4 or 5 days when I get home.  No more fun, no more treats, but at least you don't have to (horrors!) sleep all alone in the bed anymore.

Saturday- Gloriously care free.  Let's go out someplace fancy and linger over dessert.

Sunday- Gloriously off.

Monday-  Opo squash in tomato sauce (a recipe, but ignore the ugly ugly food photography at the top).  Meatballs in cilantro sauce.  Rice.  A fresh vegetable if we've got one kicking around that doesn't require too much prep.

Tuesday- Chicken, green bean, and potato casserole.  Or maybe roasted chicken, baked potatoes, and steamed green beans.  Either way, same basic ingredients.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Week Plan Wednesday

Wednesday- Pasta with salmon cream and asparagus.  See the end for a recipe.  Salad with red peppers.  Yum.

Thursday- The Hubby is sick, so the littles and I will eat a leftover buffet with the neighbors.  Their leftovers are new to me!  My leftovers are new to them!  It's weird, I know, but it works.

Friday- Roasted potatoes.  Green Beans and Eggs.  If you search for a recipe for green beans and eggs, you will find on your first page of results Armenian, Turkish, Mexican, Georgian, Martha Stewart, and White Trash versions.  So international!  Basically, saute onions and garlic with whatever spices fit your ethnic profiling, add some steamed green beans, throw some scrambled eggs in, and cook until the beans are hot and the eggs are cooked.  Top with whatever toppings fit with the spices you chose.  Look, that's sort of a recipe, too!

Saturday- Auntie A is cooking artichokes and chicken.  With pasta, I think.

Sunday- Main dish salad.  I've got 2 t-bone steaks, which isn't enough to make "steak" for 5 people, but is more than enough marinated and grilled meat on a big lettuce, tomato, and broccoli salad.  Bread, because bread is the stuff of life.

Monday- Tabbouleh.  Homemade hummus.  Pita bread (I've still got some of the store-bought stuff in my freezer).Roasted Indian eggplant.  They're cute!  These little tiny egg sized eggplants!  I'm going to cut them in half and marinate them briefly in soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, chopped garlic, and a tiny smidgen of sugar before roasting them.  Three!  Three recipes in one week.  You're spoiled! 

Tuesday- Cabbage and chicken stir fry, which honestly never turns out the same way twice.  Brown rice.

Pasta with Something Cream

Choose at least two Italian (or reasonably forgiveably not Italian) ingredients that taste good together.  I used a can of wild salmon and some fresh steamed asparagus.  Other excellent choices are roasted red peppers, olives, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, diced tomatoes, fennel, artichoke hearts, peas, pepperoni, bacon, you get the picture.  These are your "Something."   Notice that many "Somethings" are easy to keep sitting around in your freezer or pantry, so you never have to panic when company shows up unexpectedly at dinner time.  Whip up... say, Penne with Roasted Red Peppers and Olives (both from a jar) and you look like a professional.

Put on your water to boil, and when it does, cook some  pasta.  It should take you the same amount of time to make the sauce as it takes for your water to boil and your pasta to cook.  Plan on about 20 minutes, as long as you chop your onion pretty fast.

Chop up an onion and saute it in olive oil. That's like, medium high heat as long as you keep stirring pretty regularly.  If your "Something" is a raw meat, cook it first, set it aside, and use the rendered fat instead of olive oil to saute your onion.  If your "Something" is a raw vegetable, steam it while you saute.  If it's frozen, defrost it.
When the onion is starting to brown, throw in some minced garlic.  I'm ok if you use the bottled stuff.  Otherwise, you'd better be busy mincing while your onion cooks. 
In a minute or two when your garlic and onion are pretty well cooked, add a good glug-glug of half and half or cream, a bunch of grated Parmesan cheese, and your "Something."  Stir and get everything good and hot.
While you stir, taste.  You will probably want to add of salt and pepper.  If the sauce is too dry, add more glugs of half and half or cream until it's nice.  If it seems really boring, throw in a splash of lemon juice or wine vinegar to perk the flavor up.  A pinch of red pepper is often nice.  You might even want to chuck in some fresh or dried herbs, like say, basil or rosemary or oregano or marjoram or "Italian seasoning."  When it's hot and cooked and delicious, your pasta should be done.  Drain the pasta, throw a little sauce in with it to keep it from sticking together, and then dish.  Ta-da!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Week Plan Wednesday

I totally proselytized to the nurse at my midwife's office about my amazing broccoli salad.  No joke.  And I gave her my blog URL, too, in case she couldn't remember the recipe.  Yay!

Now that you've got that piece of information, I think it's safe to share here that I am totally craving everything made with mayonnaise.  Not like I'm eating mayo straight out of the jar with a spoon.  But every day around 3 pm, I start to *need* some potato salad.  And when we hit lunch time, I'm like "A BLT would be nice.  Or tuna salad sandwich.  Or what's that pasta thing with the cherry tomatoes and the mayonnaise dressing?"  Which leads directly into:

Wednesday- Warm potato salad with spinach and mustard dressing.  Reheated take-out chicken brought by my FIL.  Raw carrots and bell peppers.  It's a RECIPE!  Please see below. 

Thursday- Black bean and Bell Pepper soup.  Cornbread.

Friday- Crock pot roast beef with turnips, potatoes, and carrots.  Steamed asparagus.  Because it was 89 cents a pound.  I'll be you can guess the other two vegetables that were cheap this week.  I'll give you a hint, each occurs 3 times in the menu!

Saturday- Baked Zucchini, roasted cauliflower (it's got mayonnaise on it), steak, buns.

Sunday- Garlic spinach saute and poached eggs over toast, inspired by this recipe.  Raw bell peppers.

 Monday- Homemade pizzas, a big old salad.

Tuesday- Minestrone soup with spinach and parsley.  Bread.

Baby Needs Mustard Potato Salad
Cook cut up potatoes in salted water, and right after you drain the potatoes, stick them back in their pot and throw in a bunch of spinach (chopped if it's really big pieces).  Stir the spinach and potatoes together, then slap the lid back on and let it sit while you make your dressing.  You can use literally any potato salad recipe you have handy (omitting any weird things like pickles or relish), but I just sort of eyeballed and threw together 1 part mustard, 1 part apple cider vinegar, chopped green onion, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and (yes) 2 parts mayonnaise.  Since you always taste your dressing with a piece of what you're planning to dress with it, dunk a piece of potato in the dressing to see if it's good before you commit yourself.  Adjust with more salt or vinegar or mustard (or mayo) as needed.  Then pour, mix, and eat warm, because who can wait for something delicious to cool?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Week plan Wednesday

Why hello there!  Did you miss me last week?  I'll tell you why I was absent: Easter!  You see, my husband's side of the family has hit upon the most fantastic way of doing holidays.  One family cooks the main meat(s), one family cooks the mandatory Italian things with red sauce, and one family cooks only side dishes.  I get to be the only side dishes person, and I also host, because that way I don't have to wake the littles up from their naps early to get to someone else's house, and if they get crabby before dessert, I can just put them to bed and come back to join the grown-ups in 20 minutes.  Super, right!  We've done it the last three holidays in a row, and I'm happy to keep it up forever.

But, I dithered so long about side dishes for Easter that I never actually got a menu planned for the week until sometime Saturday night.  And by the time I got on the computer, it was Sunday night.  And then, well, clearly you can see what happened.  But since I love you (and I did not lose the piece of paper I scrawled it on), I will tell you what we ate last week.  So if you're religiously following my menu plans, you won't have to feel bad.  Or something.

(Please do notice that every sentence in the above paragraph begins with a conjunction.  Go public education!)

Wenesday- Chicken and rice casserole.  Frozen peas.  (I actually went out to a friend's place for dinner and had a 5 course meal including fillet, but that's what I cooked for my poor family.  Ha ha.)

Thursday- Beef stroganoff over egg noodles.  Frozen corn (because we had peas last night, and I didn't have a plan until 5 pm).

Friday- Potato curry (amazing!), cucumber yogurt salad (hooray!), fresh bread, rice. 

Saturday- Chicken and cabbage stirfry.  I forgot to make rice and  had none leftover from yesterday.  Whoops.

Sunday-  Easter!  I did homemade rolls, broccoli salad, mashed potatoes, roasted beets, and quick picked carrots.

Monday- Leftover lasagne from Easter.  The rest of the broccoli salad.  Bread.

Tuesday- Pasta with sauteed onions and peppers in an Italian sausage and balsamic vinegar sauce. 


Wednesday-  Egg salad sandwiches and more roasted beets (Spread a little olive oil on them, sprinkle on salt and pepper, put them in your oven at any temperature 350 or above and cook them until whenever.  They start out hard, then they get soft, and finally they turn chewy.  Don't burn them.  You'll be sad.)

Thursday- Split pea and ham soup.  Picked carrots (from Easter).  Raw bell peppers.  Bread.

Friday- Dinner with friends.  Another great plan: they're hosting, so they have to clean, but I'm cooking, so they don't have to cook.  I love division of labor!  Potato salad, baked ham, salad-salad with lettuce and radishes and other vegetableish things like that.

Saturday- Baked penne. Roasted cauliflower (I only bought one head, hopefully there isn't a riot.)

Sunday- Cabbage with feta and dill (maybe it's a quiche?  A crustless quiche?  Or a fritatta?).  And rice, or maybe baked potatoes.  I'm inspired by this recipe, but honestly that's crazy.  So I'm skipping blanching the cabbage, and I'm just adding it into the onions and garlic and giving it a little longer to sautee.  Then I'm completely omitting the crust part of the "pie."  I'm also putting it together Saturday night while I'm already in the kitchen but dinner is baking, so the only thing I have to do Sunday is get it in the oven.  Shortcuts make the world go around!

Monday- Roasted eggplant with middle eastern spices, cucumber yogurt salad, slow roasted and shredded beef, and couscous.  All stuffed into pita bread (which I bought at the store!  Scandal!)

Tuesday- Beef stew with turnips, potatoes, carrots, and the dregs of other wintery things.  More bread.  Prayers for warmer weather.  Bright sun and 30 degrees is just killing me these days.