Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week 105—Pumpkin time

Mon – Halloween mummy dogs (see previous post) if we aren't full on candy
Weds – Steak, potatoes, green beans
Thurs – Beef stir-fry
Fri – Tomato soup, salad, sandwiches
Alts – eat out; falafels
Hope you all have a fun Halloween, and happy cooking.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mummies on a Stick

Think I'll make these for Halloween. They look pretty cool!
Mummies on a Stick

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 104—A hint of bat's tongue

Mon – Thai chicken w/couscous, greens 
Tues – Fish w/chips, guacamole
Weds – Pumpkin and sausage pasta
Thurs – Goulash
Fri – Turkey sausage and veggie fry
Alts – pesto pasta w/squash; eat out
I wrapped meal-planning directly into my shopping trip today to save some time. Crazy innovation, I know.

One of the benefits of doing meal-planning over the past couple years is that I seem to slowly (very slowly) be acquiring a list of meal plans and recipe ideas in my head. I even–gasp–have begun to veer from recipes with substitutions that work out ok. This is a tremendous step for someone who was once involved in using Cheerios as a substitute for bread crumbs when making (inedible) crab cakes.

Thursday and Friday evening we have school Halloween parties. I'll make a dessert for a cake-walk one night. Have to find some time to sew up some bat wings for a costume. I ran into a friend at the fabric store today who was working on assembling shark and eagle costumes for her kids. I felt pretty good about the bat wings considering her challenge!

Happy cooking and costume-assembling.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thanks Mom, but we've got it covered

The kids have enjoyed making their own cocoa and lemonade for the past few months (note there is cocoa powder lightly dusted on the floor here too, to further the effect).

I love this interest in self-sufficiency. Now to refine the clean-up process!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Watch your step!

This just makes me happy. Downtown MPLS 10/11/11

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Week 103—Transition to Fall

Mon – Stir fry beef (I know this keeps showing up, but I haven't actually made it in 3 weeks)
Tues –  Spaghetti and meatballs (goulash if no time to make meatballs)
Weds – Best of Show Tomato Quiche
Thurs fish tacos w/spaghetti squash, chips, and guacamole
Fri – pizza
Alts – Cuban rice
The Bobby Flay fish taco recipe listed here says it takes 1hr 45min. I think it's more like 45 min. Not sure what corners I cut, but it doesn't take nearly that much time. Fish soaks in marinade while the grill heats up. Perfect. Also very forgiving recipe if you need to make substitutions. Lemon for lime, dried for fresh cilantro…all much better as written I'm sure, but it turns out well regardless.

With the "warmest October on record" thus far, we're still enjoying tomatoes as they ripen in our little garden. The quiche recipe is one I've been making since it was published 10 years ago. Takes a little planning w/a cornmeal crust to make, but love the 2nd stage where you just toss everything into the crust and bake. A last nod to the summer garden.

The Italian meatloaf from last week was a new recipe for me. I really liked it. It was like lasagna without the noodles. Made a good sandwich too because it was so moist. I used feta for half the mozzarella be/c of what I had on hand. Happy cooking.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Steamy Green

Typically, I toss frozen veggies in a bowl in the micro and have instant, if slightly unloved, instant side veggies.

Last night I made a steak-potato-broccoli salad for dinner and took the rare step of getting out my steamer insert. You know, steaming how you're supposed to. Starting with fresh broccoli. Removing while still crisp-tender. I felt I owed it to the salad, to make it really really good.

The shade of green that broccoli took on practically made me weep. I hung out in the kitchen with my toddler snacking on freshly steamed broccoli bits the way a kid might gobble Halloween candy in his room before dinner.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bittman Favorite emergency pasta go-to meal plan

Saved this page from Parent's magazine. I've made these pasta dishes several times and love how simple and fast they are. Nice variations. Photographed here for your use and my digital reference. Kinda hard to read, but less time than typing it in.

Lala Land

Learned today that in fact, we will be here all week. I got a week ahead of myself somehow. So, meals for Wed-Fri? Hmm....
- pizza
- rigatoni w/sausage and peas
- eat out

Lovely! Done.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Week 102—Managerial Complaints

Mon – Stir fry beef
Tues –  Italian meatloaf
Weds – Fri out of office
Alts – Cuban rice; eat out; pizza
Out of town a few days next week, so the menu plan is light.

I spent about 10 mins giving my stovetop a good scrub this morning, removing the knobs, SOS padding around the gas burner plates, etc. I cringed when I saw that my husband had cut the pizza on top of the stovetop tonight, dripping cheese, pepperoni grease, and crumbs all over the place. Which brings up the topic of pet peeves. My husband does a nice job in the kitchen, and does the lion's share of cleaning it each night. But I really wish he wouldn't cut the damn pizza on top of the stove. Maybe if we had a glass top. But we don't.

Which brings me to his pet peeve about me in the kitchen. He finally broke last week and told me he thinks I load the dishwasher "like an Egyptian tomb." I had to think about that colorful description, but I think you get the picture. Anyway, this week's menu plan is dedicated to spousal tweaks in the kitchen. Happy cooking.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Not edible, but sometimes a time and mood come together to make for some very tasty music. Tonight I'm enjoying a late evening snack of music from this site:

If you're in the mood, pick something from the buffet and enjoy.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Menu Plan = 10PM Binge

While we have enjoyed the meals we've made thus far from the "Parent's" menu plan, we've noticed a distinct lack of calories.

Monday's meal was followed by a 7PM Dairy Queen run. Tuesday's meal was followed by a 10PM sushi-apple-cheese run (since the local taco joint had already closed). Tonight was a chili party at our daughter's school, so we ate like the bottomless pits that we apparently are. Yum.

Can you really eat a dinner with incredibly low fat and calorie levels and NOT pig out later? I'm chalking up the menu plan they provided as "this week's appetizers." Tasty, but you better have some supplements on hand.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Week 101—Parents Mag menu plan

Taken directly from my last issue of Parents, here's this week's menu plan:

It's 5:45 and you've just walked in the door. The kids are starving and you've got 20 minutes to get a nutritious meal on the table before a serious toddler meltdown occurs. If this sounds like your typical weeknight, spending a little time on the weekend to prep some key ingredients will make tackling the weeknight dinner rush simple. We'll point out which components you should make-ahead to simplify your weekday mealtime.
The Menu
Monday: Honey-Hoisin Chicken With Rice
Tuesday: Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage
Wednesday: Veggie Fried Rice
Thursday: Panko-Topped Fish with Easy Greek Salad
Friday: Asian Burgers with Pineapple-Mango Salad
I made the panko fish and Greek salad tonight. It took me literally 20 mins, start to finish. I was stunned. I thought the meal was excellent, as did my husband. The kids were less excited, but I served the meal with some crusty bread w/olive oil and reheated some pasta from the weekend which helped get a few more calories in them before heading off to skating lessons.

Shocking realization today: my kids spend more time ice skating than swimming over the course of the year. You know you live in a cold icy hell when...

School chili-supper on Wednesday this week, so I'll swap out one of the recipes above for a nice cook-free evening mid-week. Happy cooking.