Thursday, April 30, 2009

Week 2-Turkey, Beef, Pork, & Meatless

MonItalian Meatloaf (Deceptively Delicious-uses ground turkey) w/mashed potatoes
TuesBLTs w/avocado slices (use remaining pack of bacon from top of meatloaf)
WedsPasta with Vodka (Viva Italia) and edemame. This is crazy delicious. Obscene amounts of fat.
ThursBabyback pork ribs (Crockpot) w/collard greens
FriCabbage Dolmates (Opaa!) with salad and crusty bread for dipping in the sauce
Altshomemade pizza; sausages on the grill
Welcome back to the Corral. I'm not typically including specific recipes thinking that you have your own takes on my weekly list, but if there's one you're curious about just ask. I will double the dolmates recipe per one reader's comment (now trying to do this with one recipe each week), freezing half for another day. Happy cooking.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cookie Monsters

Tuesday I ended up making dirty rice from a box on a day I was going to legitimately cook. At 4:30 as I headed to the kitchen, my kids and I were suddenly all in the mood to make chocolate chip cookies. What are you going to do? Make the cookies, of course. So, I switched gears and my husband came home to the smell of fresh cookies. Everyone was happy. Very happy.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

How I menu plan

Menu planning happens on the weekend. The goal is to assemble at least 5 recipes plus an easy alternative or two and write out the week's shopping list.

Shopping (1 hour) happens later that weekend, or sometimes my much-adored husband gets the groceries during his lunch hour at work on Monday. This is Minnesota after all, and it's below 50 degrees much of the year in your car trunk. He puts things in the fridge at work as needed.

Depending on how much time I am willing to spend, planning the week takes anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes. If my kids are around, I ask them what they'd like. Here's what I grab:
  • a few cookbooks/magazines
  • recipe box
  • pen and paper for the grocery list
Since I can't cook anything other than mac and cheese without directions, I need cookbooks. If you're a more inventive cook, then your process is probably much faster and less analog. Teach me your ways!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's all about the plan

My habit of weekly menu-planning was inspired by
1) time-management concerns related to the imminent arrival of my second child (can't serve cereal every night now, can I?) and
2) an article in the NYTimes about menu planning that helped me understand that the key isn't finding recipes, it's taking the time to plan.

For weeknight cooking, things are pretty practical. I try to appeal to the tastes and needs of very young children, as well as a spouse who longs for the days when we could cook for a few hours together each night, experimenting with a wide range of tastes and techniques. Parenthood has changed things a bit, for now at least.

Week 1-Goulash, Grillsteaks, and Greens

MonGrandma's Goulash with Bisquick Baking Powder Biscuits
1lb browned ground beef with 1 onion cooked in, 28oz can of whole toms chopped, 1/2 bag of egg noodles boiled and partially drained, salt and optional paprika to taste. 20-25 min, serves at least 6.

Chicken Enchiladas (Better Homes)
Rigatoni Isabella
Boil 3/4 box farfalla pasta. In butter or oil cook 6 green onions, 28oz can whole toms drained & chopped (or 3-4 fresh), small amount of jalapeƱo pepper as desired (1T for our family). Add mix of 3oz swiss and 3oz mozzarella cheeses, grated, to the cooked pasta. Mix all together, season with salt to taste. 30-40 min, serves 5-6. Good with any kind of greens.

Grill Steaks (Von Hansons seasoned - mmm), Asparagus
Dirty Rice (box mix) with Spinach Salad and Cottage Cheese
I've had some luck getting my non-salad eating kids to enjoy dipping baby spinach leaves in small dishes of ranch or oil/vinegar. My youngest will probably only eat the cottage cheese and some bread from this meal.
AltsFalafels; Picnic w/Subway sandwiches
Happy cooking!