Sunday, September 27, 2009

Menu Plan 9/27-10/3

Sunday:  Chicken Parcels w/ Roasted Broccoli
This was a fun experiment.  I wrapped thin chicken breast pieces (from a larger breast cut in half horizontally)around a sauce of dijon mustard, mayo, and peach preserves.  Then wrapped that up in two pieces of fillo dough (brushed with olive oil).  Baked in the oven at 400F for 30 minutes.  The broccoli I roasted with a couple of cloves of garlic -- very popular with my son.

Monday:  Chili
I wished I'd had the ingredients to make this last week when we were having our seriously unseasonable cold and rainy spell.  It doesn't matter though I love chili no matter the time of year.  I'm contemplating using the top sirloin steak I have in the freer and doing this in the crockpot, but I may just default to using ground beef.  Also, I'm going to be fiddling with my recipe to see if I can reduce/eliminate the tomato since that seems to give DS more trouble when his hands are broken out (like now).  I'll post the recipe if it turns out to be worth remembering.

Tuesday:  Meatballs with gravy and biscuits and green beans
Meatballs are popular with the kids.  I'm thinking a brown gravy and then some homemade biscuits. 

Wednesday:  Pizza Night
This is my daughter's 5th birthday and she requested pizza for her birthday dinner. 

Thursday:  Pancakes & bacon & fruit salad
As a kid I always loved breakfast for dinner nights -- probably because breakfast (for reals) was usually just cereal.

Friday:  Out/FFYN
I've got a girl's night out and DH and the kids will be fending for themselves.

Saturday:  Crispy mustard chicken tenders w/ fries & green salad
This is always popular with both children.  The fries are the Alexia brand waffle fries which are quite good baked.

Want more?  Previous Food Stuffs Menu Plans or check out Menu Plan Monday @

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Beef Stroganof

It's probably more accurate to describe this dish as a homemade hamburger helper (maybe the stroganof variety).  It was a fun change of pace for us and came together pretty quickly.

Beef Stroganof/Homemade Hamburger Helper (serves 4)
~1 lb ground beef
1 lb egg noodles
1 8oz can mushroom stems & pieces
1 t Beef Better Than Bullion
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t garlic powder
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c sherry (opt, but I really love the nutty flavor sherry brings to food)
1/4 c plain cultured coconut milk yogurt (or regular yogurt if dairy's not an issue)
1 T tomato paste
  1.  Brown the ground beef over medium heat and cook the noodles according to the package directions.
  2. Break up the beef and drain off any excess fat.
  3. Add in remaining ingredients.  Cook to warm through. 
  4. Serve over noodles.
The Verdict:  A+
DH and I really enjoyed it and the kids liked it pretty well.  It was really fast and didn't require a lot of effort on my part, which I appreciated on a Monday night.  It's not as creamy as boxed HH would be, but you could add more yogurt/make more of a gravy for it if you prefer it that way. 

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Menu Plan 9/20-9/27

It's been a hard week for me.  I've been really lacking in motivation to stick with my plan or just to cook in general.  Looking back at last week's menus though it was actually all pretty good.  The peach/prosciutto/goat cheese pizza was really awsome (although not grilled).  The Monte Cristos were kind of fun and different. 

I'm not totally in love with this week's plan.  We've got a bunch of things going on this week and I'm sort of expecting an uphill slog on keeping on track.

This is a variation on the Indian "curry" we do about every other week.  It's become a regular around here since we stopped doing as many Asian stirfry-style dinners.  As a bonus DS usually really likes it and he's fond of cauliflower.  It's an easy vegetarian dish -- toss in whatever veggies you like.

Monday:  Beef Stroganof & Green Beans

Tuesday:  Dinner Out

Wednesday:  Chicken Soft Tacos
There was a sale on split chicken breasts at HEB this week, so I'm going to roast a batch of them and use the meat throughout the week.  Tortillaland uncooked tortillas, beans, sliced avocado, maybe some corn, and salsa to round out this meal. 

Thursday:  Chicken Potpie
We'll be making this up as we go along, but here's another appearance by the roast chicken, assorted veggies, and a homemade pie crust (possibly wrapped around individual hand-pies?).  DH will be doing an assist here since he likes to make pastry crust.

Friday:  Couscous Salad
We've got a church pot-luck that night, so this is going to be our contribution. 

Saturday:  Chicken & Sausage "Paella"

We've got a huge tub of rice w/ veggies that DH made over the weekend. I'm going to add chicken and some precooked sausage to it and probably some extra spices to jazz it up.

Saturday is also DD's birthday party (#5!), so maybe I'll post her party menu (once I have it planned!).

Sunday:  Grilled Chicken Breasts + Tater Tots + Baked Beans

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Menu Plan 9/13-9/19

Another week is upon me already!  This past week went ok -- FFYN end up being eat out but oh well. 
Extra:  Pineapple Punch
My favorite kind of punch.  It's a simple recipe that scales up or down well. 

Sunday:  Monte Cristos
I'm planning to make another batch of Artisan Bread and then make these with ham and jam. 

Monday:  Savory Bread Pudding w/ Applesauce or Fruit
More ways to use of fresh bread and eggs plus mushrooms and Italian sausage.  Fresh fruit as a side.

Tuesday:  Mediterranean Tuna Casserole (freezer)
Using the remaining half of this recipe that I made a few weeks ago. 

Wednesday:  Pasta Puttanesca w/ Salad
Another "traditional" Italian pasta treatment (recently read that the earliest versions of this sauce only date from the 1960s) with olives, capers, anchovy (paste in my case 'cause I don't do whole anchovy), garlic, and tomatoes. 

Thursday:  Dinner Out -- School Open House

When I saw this recipe, my mouth started watering.  It's right up my alley.  Plus, I've been seeing so many other grilled pizzas that I figured I had to try it out.  The rest of the family may do more traditional toppings for theirs. 

Saturday:  Chicken Tikka Masala w/ Roasted Broccoli and Basmati Rice
I'm going to attempt to de-dairy this recipe with coconut milk & coconut milk yogurt.  We'll see how it turns out. 

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Vegetarian Samosas

Vegetarian Samosas (12 samosas)
1/2 package fillo dough, thawed (I used Athens brand)
2 T oil
1 garlic clove, grated
1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t garam masala
1/2 t ground ginger
pinch turmeric
3 sm-med potatoes, diced
1-2 c other veggies (I used peas & carrots)

oil for frying
  1. Heat oil in a deep, heavy skillet.  Once hot, add in the garlic and spices.  Cook 1 minute. 
  2. Add potatoes and stir.  Cook til they're about 1/2 done (you want them to be pretty tender).
  3. Add in other veggies and cook the rest of the way.  You might want to try mashing some of the potatoes to help the mixture hold together a bit better.  I didn't do that this time and it was a little hard to handle.
  4. Start heating your frying oil.  You want it at 350F.
  5. Unroll your fillo dough on a clean piece of parchment paper/wax paper.  Lay out a sheet of dough and fold it over length-wise (you want a long narrow rectangle).  Place about 2 T of filling at one end of the dough and fold the side of the fillo dough over the filling to form a triangle.  Then fold your dough up in triangles up the rest of the length of fillo. 
  6. You'll need to seal the loose edge of the samosa with a little bit of water.  Be careful not to overdo it or you'll get the rest of the fillo soggy. 
  7. Fry at 350F for 1-2 minutes. Drain well.
Serve with plain yogurt, chutney, etc.  I used plain cultured coconut milk yogurt (from So Delicious) and apricot preserves. 

The Verdict:  A-
They were tasty and the spice mixture is just right.  I would likely do more of a mashed potato mixture next time.  The fillo was pretty easy to work with.  The frying was a pain though because we don't have a real deep-frying setup.  I'm wondering if you could bake them?  Not something I'd make very often unless I could figure out an easier way to cook/crisp them.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Weekly Roundup

Chicken Tikka Masala from Recipezaar -- sub coconut milk for the cream & use the new So Delicious coconut milk yogurt (plain)
Spicy Peanut Sauce w/ Crazy Veggie Slaw from Frugal Organic Girl
Peach, Prosciuto, and Goat Cheese Grilled Pizza from Jerry's Thoughts (this sounds so good to me!)

Also I've just recently discovered the meme - Presto Pasta Nights.  Here are a few recipes from there that look interesting:
Fusili w/ Eggplant & Pinenuts -- probably something I'll save for just DH & I
Homemade Rice-a-Roni -- fun idea that would probably go over well with my kids
Easy Peasy Chorizo Pasta -- maybe with another type of sausage for great kid appeal

Then there was quite the bonanza of recipes from MPM this week.
Ranch Chicken & Bacon Pasta Salad from The Finer Things
Drunken Jerk Chicken @ What's For Dinner?
Wheatberry Salad and Chicken with Apricots from Grand Central Kitchen
Savory Bread Pudding from My Frugal Adventures

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Menu Plan 9/6 - 9/12

We did a pretty good job with the menus this past week despite practically everyone being sick at some point or other.  I was proud of my excellent adaptation of the menu plan to use up leftovers as Pork Fried Rice became Spicy Peanut Noodles w/ Pork

One of the stand outs from last week was the Ranch Chicken Burgers.  I ended up cooking those over at my in-laws place b/c DH and his dad went dove hunting and wanted to eat their 5 dove fresh (that was an appetizer).  I put about a 1/2 t each of onion and garlic powder, 1-2 t of dried parsley, 4 large crumbled crackers, salt and pepper, and 2 sliced green onions in with the ground chicken.  Then cooked them in an electric skillet til they were done.  Served them on mini bagels with sliced avocado and mayo.  Those who were so inclined added a quarter slice of havarti on top.  They were great.   

Sunday:  Pizza w/ Caesar Salad
This is a hold over from last week.  We had a leftover night mid-week while DH & DD were sick. 

Monday:  Grilled Sausages w/ Corn on the Cobb and Arugula Potato Salad
The potato salad is a recipe I found on Stetted's blog.  The kids may not like it, but they'll have corn that they do like.  Also this is apparently the week for specials on corn around here -- both grocery flyers were advertising 5 ears/$1, which is the cheapest it's been all summer (this isn't corn country - esp. not with the drought).  If I'm lucky I'll get some extra ears to cut the corn from for other dishes. 

Tuesday:  Penne Tricolore
Trying a new vegetarian pasta dish.  Looks pretty quick and easy.

Wednesday: Taco Salads w/ Fresh Corn and Avocado Salsa
I've got a ton of ground beef in the freezer along with some fresh pinto beans I made last week.  Serve w/ tortilla chips, some shreded iceberg lettuce and corn & avocado salsa.

Thursday:  Veggie Samosas (New!) w/ Basmati Rice
This recipe is from a vegetarian cookbook and uses phyllo pastry wrapped around a mixture of spiced potato, onion, and peas.  I'm planning to make a large batch and freezing the extras.

Friday:  Homemade Rice-a-Roni w/ Meatballs and Green Beans
This will hopefully be another kid friendly menu.

Saturday:  FFYN
I saw someone else use this acronym on their blog and love it -- fend for yourself night!  This also give us some flexibility in case we have to bump the schedule if something comes up over the holiday weekend.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Spicy Peanut Noodles w/ Pork

Well, the planned remix of Indonesian Fried Rice as Pork Fried Rice morphed into a pretty darn impressive repurposing of my leftovers from Porkchops w/ Pineapple.  I got the general idea for this from an Indonesian Hot Rice salad recipe in a vegetarian cookbook.  Then I rummaged around in the fridge and started throwing flavor combos together.

Spicy Peanut Noodles w/ Pork (serves 2-3)
1 porkchop ~ 8 oz cooked pork, sliced thinly
4 green onions, sliced (both white & green parts)
1/2 lg red bell pepper sliced thin and then cut into 2-3" pieces
1/2 c chopped fresh pineapple
2 small carorts, finely grated
1 c cooked noodles (I was using leftover capellini)
Spicy Peanut Sauce
1/4 c chopped cilantro
1-2 T oil

Spicy Peanut Sauce
3-4 T peanut butter
1 T lime juice
1/3 c sherry
2 T Worcestershire (or soy sauce)
2-3 T Sriracha or other chili sauce (less if you prefer less spicy)
  1. Heat oil in a wok or large heavy skillet on high heat.  Add in green onion, bell peppers, and carrots.  Cook for a few minutes. 
  2. Add in the pork to heat through. 
  3. Stir in Spicy Peanut Sauce and stir to melt the peanut butter and coat the meat and veggies.
  4. Add in the pineapple and noodles.  Use tongs to toss the pasta with the sauce.  Add an extra splash or two of liquid (your choice) if your sauce seems too thick.
  5. Once everything is hot.  Remove from heat and sprinkle with cilantro.
Next time I'll take the time to add some fresh garlic and ginger in at the beginning. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara (serves 4)
8 oz cooked long thin pasta of your choice (I'm using whole wheat capellini)
2-3 slices of bacon/pancetta, diced*
1/2 medium yellow/sweet onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
red pepper flakes (opt)
1 bay leaf/ fresh or ground thyme
1/2 c white wine or broth
2 eggs, lightly beaten
salt & pepper

*Pancetta really brings an amazing flavor to this dish -- I think it's from the juniper berries they use in curing it.  I encourage you to try it sometime.  That said, this week I'm using bacon because I already had bought it for another dish, and I'm trying to be more mindful of my grocery expenditures. 
  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions.  Drain.
  2. In a heavy pan, start cooking the pancetta/bacon over medium heat to render the fat.  You're not going for crispy bacon here. 
  3. Add in the onion and garlic and red pepper (if using) and cook til translucent/fragrant
  4. Add in bay leaf/thyme and deglaze the pan with the white wine.  Allow to simmer until the liquid is reduced.
  5. Add drained pasta directly to the pan.  Pour beaten eggs over the top and toss to coat all the pasta.  You're supposed to not really even cook the egg, but if you don't do un-/undercooked eggs then just let it stay on the heat for a couple minutes while stirring.  Remove to serving bowl.  Season with salt & pepper. 
  6. If you eat cheese, you can add some grated Parmesan at this point.  Or fresh parsley, etc. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Weekly Round-Up

Cocoa Spice Rub for Meat from Dark Side of the Fridge
Baked Italian Chicken from the Krazy Kitchen (Simple Supper Saturday)
Mini BBQ Beef Pies (scroll down) from Living Locurto
Red Lantern Grilled Sirloin from Steamy Kitchen
Spicy Peanut Sauce w/ Crazy Veggie Slaw from Frugal Organic Girl
Sausage & Fennel Risotto from Food & Wine by way of Dark Side of the Fridge

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