Friday, June 26, 2009

Week 10 -- Hot Weather Eats

MonMojito chicken with corn salad (Not instant recipes, but flavorful and easy. Salad will feed 8-10, or cut recipe as desired.)
TuesGrilled pizza (per Mark Bittman's recipe, cooked on the grill. 3 burners on high, approx 8 min).
WedsChilaquiles (Surprisingly good recipe from the back of a chip bag. Here it is: 1 c cooked shredded chicken -- left overs from Monday -- 1 c chicken broth, 1+ cups salsa verde. Put all in frying pan, bring to near boil. Layer tortilla chips on top, stir gently until softened. Serve w/sour cream and cilantro.)
ThursFish Tacos (Recipe in yesterday's post)
FriBBQ Pulled Pork with coleslaw (This is the best thing I know how to make in a crock pot. Pork recipe follows, from "Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes.")
1 boneless pork shoulder or butt roast (3-4 lbs)
1 t salt
1 t ground cumin
1 t paprika
1 t black pepper
1/2 t ground red pepper
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, cut in strips
18 oz bbq sauce
1/2 c light brown sugar
Serve on hot cooked rice or sandwich rolls
Trim excess fat from pork. Combine salt, cumin, paprika, and peppers in small bowl. Rub over roast.
Place onion and bell pepper in crock pot. Add pork. Combine bbq sauce and brown sugar, pour on top.
Cook on low 8-10 hours. Trim off remaining fat, shred pork with 2 forks. Looks dry going in, but will be incredibly juicy when done. This will make left-overs that freeze well, or snack from the fridge well, and you'll look forward to!)
Lots of recipes included this week as they're either really easy, or typically turn out well for me. Happy cooking.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fish Tacos

We love Mexican food this time of year. Fresh limes, spices, and simplicity are great when the weather is hot and you want to spend less time in the kitchen.

Made a nice batch of fish tacos tonight from the cookbook Simply Mexican. It's going on my wish list based on reader reviews (e.g. authentic, not ingredient-intensive, easy family meals) and how well the recipe came together. Certainly not based on the cover photo. I'll include this as a menu item in next weeks' list.

Margarita, anyone?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Finding Efficiencies

The book above, Lian xi bu, was a gift from a friend, brought back from Japan. I think it's a school notebook for a child. I tried translating the title online, and got "lian xi bu" as an answer. So as far as I know, it means "the chickens are hungry," or maybe even "menus." Which is what I use it for.

From the conversations I've had, a lot of us like to vary the weekly menu, but sometimes you just don't have the resources to constantly reinvent the wheel. It occurs to me that if I'm going to be dedicated to the task of weekly menu planning, I should try to gain as much from it as possible from a time-saving standpoint. Hence, the menu log.

On weeks when it seems like the meals all came together well, there was nice variety, and most everything was liked, I enter the menus into this slim notebook that I keep by my recipe books. It's a good resource on weeks when I don't feel like searching for new recipes. When I'm feeling a little, you know, Lian xi bu.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Week 9 - White & Yellow & Brown all over

MonEgg and cheese toasted sandwiches
WedsChicken alfredo
FriCurry chicken (using a jar of pre-made curry sauce to keep it fast)
Altsout for pizza; Cuban rice (rice/tom sauce from jar/fried egg on side)
It's starting to get warm out, and I notice we're craving lighter evening meals (and lots of ice cream or freezer pops). We haven't hit any farmers markets yet, but I'm already looking forward to good fresh tomatoes, beans, and the like. Happy cooking.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cursed Cake, Trip to the ER

A few weeks ago and several posts back, I showed a picture of what cheesecake looked like after 4 hours in the oven. I fell asleep and didn't wake in time to turn the oven off when making my husband's birthday cake. Well, here we were 3 weeks later and my husband tried his hand at the cake. He was pulling it out of the oven when our 21-month-old came in from behind him and laid his hand on the hot oven rack.

Screaming child. White charred skin from fingertip to palm. Cold water. Call to the doc for advice. The next 2 hours in the ER. Poor guy ended up with his hand wrapped like a mitten to protect it. Fortunately the burn was 2nd degree (not 3rd as initially suspected), and he will be fine within just a couple days. Kids finished up the evening laughing and playing with improvised glove-balloons in the treatment room, so obviously he was recovering quickly.

As for the menu that night? The accident happened just before we were going to eat, so they were stuck with what was available in the diaper bag as we waited to be seen. They annihilated a bag of Goldfish and a handful of raisins. It was probably the most they'd eaten for dinner in weeks.

Just a reminder from my little one to all of you using your ovens tonight: "Oven HOT! Stay back."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Week 8 - The Man's Plan

MonGrilled brats with oven fries
TuesLinguine with carrot ribbons (Like a bowl of fruit loops. Stick to their ingredient list, pair with crusty bread and it's a fresh, sweet summer meal.)
WedsBeef stir-fry with soba noodles (great source of iron)
FriFreezer follies: leftover dolmates from a couple weeks ago
AltsPancakes; pizza
Matt planned this menu list and got groceries as I was busy with freelance this week. Delightful to go to the fridge and see that, yes, in fact we DO have fresh ginger. It's a little disorienting to have someone else do the planning since we haven't swapped for awhile. Not all bad. Happy cooking.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Food Project

My daughter made lunch for us today, which was an exciting endeavor since she's 3. She made mini-pizzas on english muffins. She split the muffins, scooped the sauce...the works. I was relegated to "prep chef," grating cheese and wiping up crumbs.

Some say that getting your kids involved in cooking makes them more likely to eat the resulting meal. In my experience, there is so much ingredient-sampling that takes place during preparation that no one is hungry enough to eat the finished product. The exception to that might be when cookies are the end result. All good fun.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Week 7 - Short week

TuesMeatloaf (from the freezer)
WedsOven-baked chicken fingers (usual Epicurious recipe)
ThursGrandma Barb's Spaghetti (freeze half of sauce)
FriChicken burgers with corn soup
We're off on vacation for a few days, so less menu planning for the coming week. Happy cooking.