Thursday, July 30, 2009

Week 15 - Gone Fishin'

Monturkey meatloaf (leftover from last week)
Tuesfalafel w/pita
Wedschow mein with crunchy noodles (leftover from camping)
Thurs BLTs
Fri trout with mango & pineapple salsa (Bon Appetit, Sep '03)
Alts homemade pizza; breakfast (pancakes/french toast)
We're spending the next few days at my uncle's on the lake ("up north" to ye fellow Minnesotans). In honor of the event, trout will make the menu this week, as well as some cupboard-cleaning menu items since I/we won't have time to do a serious shop.

I'm excited about possibly fishing this weekend. I rarely do it, but know it's a cultural essential living in this state. I had a client actually say he "got out in the fishbowl" everyday during his recent vacation. Fabulous. For those of you NOT out in the fishbowl this week, happy cooking.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dinner guests, no entree

I invited my sister-in-law and her kids over for dinner last week. She was alone with the kids for the week and needed a change in scene. I wanted to keep it simple since we were just back from vacation and not in the mood to do any serious cooking.

Everyone came over at about 5:15, which was great. I had the mashed potatoes rolling, salad ready, and was going to run to the store a couple blocks away to grab a couple rotisserie chickens. I show up at the store, and the chicken guy is handing out little slips of paper. Seeing no chickens on the rack, I say as calmly as possible, "When's the next batch coming up?" He responds, "Friday or Saturday. Want a raincheck?" As luck would have it, the chicken truck didn't arrive this morning.

Now what?

I don't feel like running all over town, so quickly browse the store for inspiration and find a sale on salmon. Fast to cook, everyone likes it (I hope). I get to the check-out and the clerk asks me if I found everything I wanted. I quickly recant my tale, and he says, "Yeah, it's such a shame we've gotten to be so known for our chickens." I scan the multitude of swag he's wearing, covering everything from loving plants, trees, bugs and other living things, to veganism, and manage to suppress a sigh. My charming clerk, we are clearly leading very different lives at this stage.

Home. Broiler on. Dinner 15 min later. I find out my nephew hates salmon, but he politely eats it anyway. I give him extra dessert.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Week 14 - Little Italy

MonLinguini w/carrot ribbons (unmade alternate from last week)
Tuesfalafel w/pita
Wedsspaghetti and meatballs (compromise: I'm making the meatballs, buying the sauce this week)
Thurs T-bone steaks w/parmesan (Bon Appetit, Sep '03)
Fri Italian meatloaf (from Deceptively Delicious)
Alts homemade pizza; chip plate
Got groceries w/both my kids this morning which I rarely do, but my husband needed a way to clean the bathroom and floors to prep for a dinner party without small assistants. Amazing how a "rocket ship" grocery cart and a doughnut in their hands can get you through the aisles so peacefully. Stuffing kids with sugary treats that haven't been paid for yet...haven't I read about these nightmare parents somewhere? Trip: success. Happy cooking.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Corn on the Cob Over Open Flames

I made a fun and tasty discovery on our recent camping trip; something possibly familiar to ardent state fair attendees.

We were cooking a meal over the fire: brats, can of baked beans. I had some corn on the cob I wanted to cook as well. I decided to just lay the corn (still in the husk) directly on the grill which was being actively licked by flames that were 2-3 inches above the grate in spots.

I've grilled corn before and had it turn out very well, but this heat source was less even—I think hotter. The immediate singeing of the husks was a little scary. I'd rotate them every few minutes (not too diligently as my kids were tearing around the campsite and they needed as much tending as the corn). After maybe 8-10 minutes I pulled a piece off to try.

I couldn't believe how tasty it was! It was perfectly cooked from top to bottom. I'm still not sure how that happened since the heat was so uneven. Maybe the husk provides some insulation that helps steam the corn all around.

This is how I'll make corn when camping from now on. I think it would be hard to mess up based on how blackened and untended mine was.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Week 13 – The menu is in

MonBroccoli chicken over mashed potatoes (pulled from freezer)
TuesTake-out pizza w/cake & ice cream
WedsStir-fry with beef, snow peas, and carrots
Thurs Rotisserie chicken (Thurs special at local Whole Foods) w/mashed sweet potatoes
Fri Chicken fajitas (use leftovers from Thurs)
Alts Linguini w/carrot ribbons; Lamburgers (from Grampa Murray)
Made a menu plan while the kids finished lunch and Matt picked up groceries this evening. Bliss.

As an aside, whoever responded that their kids eat their dinner without issue most nights has a formal invitation to take over menu-planning this blog. Happy cooking.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Week 13 – Menu, anyone?

We're back, but a menu plan? Please. Next window for a serious grocery trip might be Monday night. The fridge is an echoing chamber of milk and butter, and I think a stalk of celery. Project deadline Wednesday, husband starts a new job tomorrow, house full of unpacked camping gear. Ah, how much simpler life would be if we didn't have to eat.

Might be a lot of pancakes, grilled cheese and pizza this week. Oh! And ants on a log. I think we have peanut butter and 10 raisins left. Happy cooking.

Friday, July 10, 2009

On the road

We're on the road this week, but the Corral will be back in action with a fresh menu plan and news of how the camping meals went on or about July 20. Just picked up some shelf-stable milk tonight. Thanks for the tip, Sylvia!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Week 12–Camping Food

Breakfasts (3)Instant oatmeal; pancakes; fruit cups
Lunches (3)Goober sandwiches; chunk canned turkey, cheese, crackers; Nutella+ banana sandwiches; misc chips, pudding cups, granola, fruit chews, soy milk boxes (these don't have to be refrigerated)
Dinners (3)La Choy Beef dinner w/crunchy noodles; sausages over the fire w/beans; chicken a la king over instant mashed potatoes
Over-the Fire Treats – Jiffy popcorn; s'mores
We're spending the next week on the road. The first half is relatively civilized, spent in hotels with most dinners out. The latter half we'll be camping. We plan to cook most of our meals when we camp, and I want to have a large part of the meals planned and packed before we leave. We can buy some groceries on the road once we leave the hotel (e.g. buns, butter, fresh fruit). Nice opportunity to check out some farmer markets we might see on the way too (Wisconsin=fresh cheese curds). I made the plan last night, went to Target and fit everything into a box. Neat to see your "rations" quantified that way. Family of 4 + 4 days outdoors = one box of food.

Camping is one time I go easy in the extreme when it comes to meal-prep. Open can, heat! Or cook on a stick. This is fun (and fascinating) for all ages. Anyone have camping meals they enjoy? I've found some helpful family camping tips at Pete's Family Camping for other campers out there that are getting back in the swing of things. Happy cooking.

Monday, July 6, 2009

"More, please!"

I made chicken fingers for dinner tonight, served with honey for dipping, a side of blackberries, cubed cheese, and some edemame pods. I served it on little plastic lunch trays outside on the kiddie picnic table.

When my 3-year-old saw the meal, she looked up at me with big round eyes and said, "Thanks, Mom." Like it was the first decent meal I'd made her in weeks. At any rate, the thanks was appreciated.

My toddler had the innovative idea of dipping his blackberries in the honey. I tried it and was surprised at how good it was. Could see drizzling a dish of berries with honey or a good maple syrup for a brunch side or light dessert.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Week 11--Crocked

MonStir-fry with beef, snow peas, and carrots
TuesCream-cheese chicken with broccoli (Crock pot cookbook)
WedsPhilly cheese-steaks (Crock pot cookbook)
Thurs Pasta con aceto balsamico (Italian cookbook)
Fri Creamed spinach and tortellini (Italian cookbook, for crock pot)
Alts Steak and potatoes; blts w/avocado
Grabbed the crock-pot cookbook this week, so have a few recipes I'm trying from that. Otherwise, there's a strong slant toward red meat and the grill. Must be summer. I've been debating serving ALL our meals outside, from breakfast to dinner. Clean-up is so much easier with little kids when it's left to the ants. Happy cooking.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The annoyance of "eww"

We all know it's frustrating to have spent time fixing a meal only to have your kids not eat it. But what about when it's YOU? You make the meal, glad that you've once again managed to work a minor miracle and get a home-cooked meal on the table. Then you taste it. You don't want to eat it, let alone getting the kids to eat it. Then, the leftovers! Tuck them in the back of the fridge until they've been rendered inedible? Feed them to the dog? Head for the disposal right away and substitute cheetos and ice cream? Better luck tomorrow. I'm off to do some dishes.