Friday, August 28, 2009

Week 19 – Tomatoes!

MonBarb's spaghetti (Happy Birthday Oscar!)
TuesBLTs w/avocado
Wedstomato quiche
Thurs pasta puttanesca (Viva Italia)
Fri burgers and sweet corn on the grill
Alts chip plate; pizza
Our garden is giving us a handful of fresh tomatoes daily now. Friends and family have recently brought more to our door. Hence, the theme of this week's menu. My mom also brought some fresh sweet corn from Iowa. Mmm. Will be enjoying that a few days this week as well. Happy cooking.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Green Lizard Things

We're deep in birthday-planning mode as our two kids' birthday weekend is coming up. One wants a tyrannosaurus cake, the other wants crocodile cupcakes. Not sure how it happened, but edible green lizard-like creatures are all the rage.

Looking for ideas to make cool croc cakes led me to the images shown at this Coolest Cakes site. Inspiring to see what people have come up with! I think green food coloring is in my near future.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Week 18 - Buns and Birds

Monturkey cutlets w/sweet corn (Viva Italia cookbook)
Tuesveggie burgers and carrots
Wedsbrats and beans
Thurs rotisserie chicken with mashed potatoes and veggies
Fri lasagna (Parent's Mag recipe from Aug '09)
Alts steak; pizza
I'm still looking for turkey cutlets, so will shop tomorrow and substitute chicken if I strike out. We got a Sam's Club membership over the weekend and I just came across some bulk shopping recipes. I'll have to see if I can put together some ideas and do a bit of cooking ahead for once (2 lasagnas for the freezer? a couple batches of Grandma Barb's spaghetti?). Happy cooking.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fancy Fast Food

Nevermind how I came across this site. It's hilarious. Probably won't get any usable cooking ideas, but it is undeniably brilliant.
Fancy Fast Food

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Week 17–Gen X Menu

Monturkey cutlets w/sweet corn (Viva Italia cookbook)
Wedsbeef tacos
Thurs rigatoni w/sausage and peas (Viva Italia cookbook)
Fri pizza
Alts salmon and greens; breakfast
Tacos, pizza, pasta. Things I didn't have often as a child, but consider essentials in my kitchen. I wonder what our kids will make as adults? Happy cooking.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Lazy Weekend

Time to pack for a trip to Grandma's. Will do some planning for next week's menu when we're back. The only thing jotted on my kitchen chalkboard for now is for a Friday pizza night since we have a coupon for $5 pizza that day. Can't go wrong!

The picture is here to show what our garden is currently producing. Should have more carrots to harvest by the time we're back. The grassy pieces are actually leeks that I think will never mature before fall. The greens are tasty though.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Watching Dough Grow

The kids had fun measuring how bread dough grows while making a pizza with Dad this weekend. They recorded the start time, then drew circles for the 2 subsequent raisings. Cool!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Week 16 - Easy Summer Cooking

MonBLTs (never had them last week)
Tuesburgers and sweet potato fries
Wedswild mushroom and beef stew (Crock Pot cookbook)
Thurs stir-fry chicken with coconut milk and garden veggies
Fri steak with squash kabobs on the grill, beans
Alts homemade pizza; alfredo chicken w/broccoli
We're technically only half-way through, but lately I've felt like summer will be wrapping up soon. To combat this nonsense (it's only August 8 after all) this week's menu will celebrate simple summer food. Ok, there's one crock-pot stew recipe. Call it the Freudian slip of the week. Happy cooking.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fish Heads

Here's a portrait of the tasty trout we made this week. We caught fish during our vacation, but were in catch-and-release mode. I think there were only two that approached pan-size anyway. The trout you see here are from the fish market down the street. Aren't they lovely?

I had never cooked fish with heads still attached before, so that was a fun experience. Very easy, although they came off when I flipped the fish. Apparently they need to be fairly supported.

I wasn't sure how the kids would react, but we decided to dive in and present it as a cool, fun thing. Fortunately, it went over well. Our 3-year-old was thrilled to cook fish this way, and ate an entire one for herself. She kept saying, "I love it!" Our 1-year-old didn't touch any of it. He's likely more interested in seeing them swim than fry at this stage.

I used a recipe from an old Bon Appetit and mistakenly added all of the Cajun seasoning to the vinagrette, not dividing it as the recipe indicates. Fortunately I tasted it before using the sauce and realized my mistake. Had enough ingredients left to remake the sauce and it came out nicely. I backed way off on the seasoning for the fish to make it less spicy for the kids.

Here's the menu if you're curious: Trout w/Tropical Fruit Salsa and Mixed Greens

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Menu-plannning = Cheaper groceries (for me)

I have a theory based on the cooks I know that the less reliant you are on following recipes, the better you are at making good use of your pantry ingredients.

I'm a recipe-follower to a fault. This may be why when I started making weekly menu plans, my grocery expenses went down noticeably. I have less stocked in my cupboards at any given time than I used to. In fact, by the end of the week sometimes they echo. It also means if unexpected company arrives, it might be great (there's a plan), or an excuse to order a pizza (i.e. "Old Mother Hubbard").

Tracking our grocery expenses for nearly 10 years now, there's been an unscientific drop of at least 20% in our grocery bill for the average month since I started shopping from a menu-oriented list. Sometimes more. It's contrary to what I've read about stocking up on bulk items or sale items to save money.

That brings me around to my conclusion that if you can look at the cupboard and invent, no doubt you'll save money shopping in bulk. It doesn't work that way for me. Now where's my list?