One of the very nicest things about life is the way
we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing
and devote our attention to eating.
So, inspired by my recent reading of Pretty Neat, I’m trying to get my life organized in all kinds of ways. I’m pretty good about matching up coupons & sales and forming a loose menu plan in my head, but then what often happens is, I’ll forget to do the early prepwork one day so I have to shift everything around and it all falls apart.
So here’s the plan for this week:
Monday: I have some burger rolls we need to use up, so North Jersey Onion Burgers made from free-range, grass fed beef. That link takes you to a video; I haven’t had the greatest success with burgers on the stovetop so I’m hoping this new technique will make a difference. Salad on the side.
Tuesday: Kids’ turn to cook; Jake will slather some country ribs in BBQ sauce and stick ’em in the oven when he gets home from school, and Mav and Cass will slice & season some oven-baked sweet potato fries. Organic tri-color peppers were on sale this week, so somebody will slice those up too (my kids will only eat raw peppers).
Wednesday: Turkey chili. This is my first time using dried rather than canned beans, wish me luck. Since the meal itself is effortlessly cooking in the crock-pot, I’ll be baking two loaves of bread for scooping purposes and for Thursday’s meal. Finish off salad.
Thursday: Roasted chicken stuffed with rosemary, garlic and lemon; cube leftover bread from night before to use for stuffing (I always use the Joy of Cooking recipe). Baked potatoes and corn (frozen, Green Giant veggies were $1 a box this week).
Friday: Leftovers; thinking that I can probably layer the chili, potatoes, corn (and throw in a package of peas) for a kickass Shepherd’s Pie.
Saturday: Kids’ turn again. We have some pepperoni sausage from Maiale and when we bought it at our farmer’s market, the dude suggested slicing it thin and adding it to grilled cheese sandwiches, dipping into red sauce, to make Super Awesome Grilled Pizza Sandwiches. So after a day of two soccer games and one flag football game, this should be easy and filling, along with a bowl of Wolfgang Puck’s Potato Soup (which is really good for a canned soup, way better than I’ve managed fresh). I’m thinking that maybe another loaf of homemade bread would probably serve well here, so I’ll make that Friday night. Look how nicely this menu planning is working out!
A little light on the green veggies this week, will have to think about some green-intensive recipes next week to compensate.
On a somewhat related note, some recipes I tried for the first time recently that were really well-received:
BBQ Cabbage & Sausage Stuffed Sandwiches. There was a lot of initial resistance to the very idea of cabbage, but the smell of the onions, sausage (wild boar sausage, also from Maiale), and cabbage simmering in Famous Dave’s Rich & Sassy sauce had everyone watching the timer for dinner to be done. The recipe calls for a no-knead bread that you can start in the morning and have ready to form at dinnertime, but I went with American Bread Rolls from our cookbook bible, the The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, since I’m pretty good with those and I figured, stick with what you know. [NOTE: that is an affiliate link which takes you to Amazon. I tried to find the actual recipe on the America’s Test Kitchen website but it wouldn’t load!] Anywho, these were delicious, reheated wonderfully, and got bonus points for their resemblance to Hot Pockets (which the kids often covet at the store and I won’t let them buy).
Potato Gratin with Rosemary Crust. I liked this because it used both regular & sweet potato. The kids and Jeff thought it was OK, so I’m happy to have an acceptable potato dish other than fries or smashed in my pocket. I liked it a LOT and ate it as a veg alternative on some nights when everybody else had steak (I’m not so big on the red meat these days). Prep seems really intensive but wasn’t such a big deal with a food processor; however, it seemed like it filled the dishwasher all by itself.
Broccoli with Cheetos. We had to try it once we saw the recipe. This is basically parbroiled broccoli in a gouda/parmesan sauce which is freaking DELICIOUS. I can’t say I thought the Cheetos added anything, other than a bit of crunch, but that small addition (and we’re talking about one Cheeto per serving) caused the kids to SCARF down their broccoli and ask for more. Well worth it, I think, every once in a while. Sorry, no picture of this one.
No-Bake Boston Cream Pie Strata. This was great, for about three bites. It’s SO sweet. I would make this again, but cut the sugar everywhere by half. The kids loved it, of course. Jeff and I each had a slice and then couldn’t eat any more of it, our sweet tooth (teeth) satisfied for a whole week.
What’s cooking for you this week? What was a recent success?
Whole lotta inspiration over at Org Junkie— over 200 bloggers linking up their Menu Plan Monday posts at the time of this writing.