Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday Meal Planning

Well, the move is done. We’re in our new house, and it’s wonderful. I’m still getting used to the stove (which is probably going to be replaced soon) because it’s old and heats up a lot slower than our last stove, but the kitchen is awesome; so spacious and there’s ton of counter space which will be great for cookies and bread-making. We made sure to unpack the kitchen first so it would be ready for use and we could stop eating out so darn much. Aaron says I’ve completely spoiled him food-wise, and he vastly prefers my home cooking to anything we eat out. The exception is his favorite Mediterranean restaurant, but I can only eat so much falafel and kibee.

If you have been playing along for the past week, you’ll see a lot of the recipes I posted are making it into this meal plan. They’re all delicious, I promise.

The only change I made to this recipe is to fry up some smoked sausage slices, and remove them from the pan before sautéing the onions and garlic. Then I add them back in with the last batch of ingredients and heat the whole thing through. So tasty, and pretty good for you too!

Tuesday: Pasta with Green Garlic Pesto and Grape Tomatoes, Salad, and French Bread
This is a great meal, but don’t eat the pesto if you have to sit close to someone the next day, because you’ll have stinky breath. It’s totally worth it though. Gabbie liked the pesto so much she sucked it off the noodles and then gave the noodles back to us. What kind of a weird kid do I have that doesn’t like noodles?

Wednesday: Sausage and Kale Soup, Salad, French Bread
We got so many salad greens that the new rule is everyone has to eat salad every day. It’s fresh and delicious though, so it’s not too difficult.

Thursday: Fruity Poppy Seed Salad, French Bread
Aaron and I are day-tripping to Ikea on Thursday. We also have a ton of strawberries from the CSA to use, and despite what you may think, there is such a thing as too much strawberry shortcake (just barely though – it’s delicious. I’ll share my shortcake recipe later this week). This is quick and uses the strawberries, so it’s the perfect meal for that day.

Friday: Tomato Sausage Risotto, (and surprise, surprise) Salad, French Bread
This is a great, simple, one-dish meal. It’s set to rain all week, and I love eating comfort foods on rainy days. It also uses up most of the spinach we got this week from the CSA. You can’t say we’re not getting in our greens!

Saturday: Some barbeque of some sort I’m sure. You can’t not barbeque on the 4th. Right?

Our edits to this (delicious!) recipe are as follows. Cut chicken breasts into cubes, salt and pepper them and sauté them until cooked through in a small amount of canola (or other flavorless) oil. We use green beans instead of sugar snap peas, ½ a red pepper, and less oil then the recipe calls for, because a cup sounds excessive. Toss the chicken with the finished noodle dish, and you’ve got your whole meal right there in a bowl.

In other delicious news, there’s likely to be a new Ice Cream Sunday this week (given that I can find my ice cream maker by then), and I have a new recipe I’m dying to try. I’ll let you know!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sautéed Collard Greens with Tomatoes

I have never eaten collard greens in my life, but I have heard all about them. One thing I heard was that they’re bitter and gross (from my friend who grew up in the South and hated collards). So, I was a bit nervous when I got a bunch in my CSA box last week. I scoured the internet looking for ways to cook them, but most of the recipes called for bacon or a ham hock. Since we’re trying to use up what we have in our fridge and pantry, I didn’t want to go buy these things. So, taking bits and pieces from different recipes, and adding in some tomatoes I needed to use, I came up with this recipe. They tasted AMAZING! Aaron and I were sad that there was only two servings, because we would have eaten much more. We get more collard greens this week, most likely, and I think this time I’m adding slices of sautéed smoked sausage into the mix to make a hearty one-dish meal.

Sautéed Collard Greens with Tomatoes

1 bunch collard greens, washed well, stems removed, and sliced cross-wise in 1-inch strips

2 to 3 Tbsp. olive oil

½ onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

2 tomatoes, halved and sliced into ¼ inch slices

1 Tbsp. cider vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add in the green and reduce the heat to simmer for 30 minutes.

When the greens are almost done boiling, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add in the onion and cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Drain the greens and add to the pan along with the tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium low, and cook until the tomatoes are falling apart, about 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday Meal Planning

No meal plan this week; sorry! Well, actually there is one, and it looks something like this:

Monday: Pizza
Tuesday: Chinese Takeout
Wednesday: Subs
Thursday: Thai Takeout
Friday: Out to celebrate
Saturday: Pizza again
Sunday: Probably out because we'll be tired of takeout.

It's moving week (we close Thursday, move on Saturday or Sunday), so we're not paying any attention to cooking this week. Plus, the pots and pans are already packed, so we couldn't even if we wanted too.

Hope you eat better than we do!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pasta with Green Garlic Pesto and Grape Tomatoes

Yet another CSA pick was green garlic. When searching for what to do with this stuff, I kept seeing recipes for green garlic pesto, and those who posted these recipes sang the praises of this stuff so effectively that I was nearly drooling at the very thought. So, that was it. But what to do with the pesto? I decided to eat it like I do normal pesto - with carbs and tomatoes. It turned out wonderfully, but I can't say the same for my breath. Totally worth it though.

Pasta with Green Garlic Pesto and Grape Tomatoes

6 stalks green garlic, root ends removed and sliced into 1-inch pieces
1/4 c. slivered almonds
1/2 c. shredded parmesan
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
zest from 1/2 lemon
1/3 c. water
1/4 c. olive oil

12 oz. whole wheat pasta
1 c. grape tomatoes, quartered
additional shredded parmesan (optional)

Prepare pasta as directed in well-salted water. Drain and reserve.

With food processor running, drop in green garlic and process until finely chopped. Add in almonds, parmesan, salt, pepper, and zest and process. With processor running slowly pour in water, followed by olive oil. Process until smooth.

Combine pasta, tomatoes, and pesto in a large serving dish. Toss to combine and top with additional shredded parmesan if desired.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sausage and Kale Soup

At the CSA pick-up yesterday we got to choose 6 items, and since I had already scoped out this recipe I chose kale as one of my items. I actually got a mix of greens, including kale, collard greens, and swiss chard, but I picked out the kale and used it for this soup. We absolutely loved it, and Aaron was pleased that the kale held up better than spinach does in soup. This recipe is a keeper, and I will definitely be making it again.

Sausage and Kale Soup
Adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food, January/February 2004

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
6 cups chicken broth
3 large kale leaves, stemmed and shredded
12 oz. chicken sausage, sliced into ¼ inch pieces (we used Trader Joes Mushroom Asiago Chicken Sausage)

In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute more. Add broth and potatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Using an immersion blender (or by transferring half the soup to a normal blender) puree for 15-20 seconds, making sure to leave about half the potato chunks whole. Add kale and sausage and simmer for 10 minutes more.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I am beyond excited about produce right now, and that’s because the CSA we joined for the summer starts today. In case you don’t know, a CSA is a farm where you can buy a share of a farm for a season and you get a share of the crop produced. (More information here.) We had to sign up for ours way back in February to make sure we had a spot (they fill up FAST in this area), and so I’ve been anxiously waiting ever since. We only got a half share because there’s about 2 1/3 vegetable eaters in our house (Gabbie still eats like a bird), and that will be more than enough. This means that we get 5 to 8 selections each week from now until mid-October.

Our share this week will be mostly greens and herbs; the list they sent includes kale, collard greens, arugula, spinach, thyme, oregano, garlic scallions, and dried popcorn from last year’s crop. From here on out, my Monday Meal Planning posts will be in-season vegetable heavy, which should be a lot of fun. I’m going to have to find ways to use these new vegetables that aren’t part of our normal rotation, and this sounds incredibly fun to me. Mostly because I’m a huge dork, I’m sure, but also because I like to try new things, and now I don’t have any excuse not to.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Meal Planning Monday

I realize I missed Ice Cream Sunday yesterday, but I was out of town all weekend and didn't get back until nine last night, at which point I dropped into bed and was asleep before my head hit the pillow, I swear. And then my daughter decided to wake up from her nap as soon as I fell asleep for mine this afternoon. It is all just as awesome as it sounds!

Also, we have under two weeks to pack and get ready to move into the new house, so you get quick and easy meals yet again this week!

Monday - Prosciutto Pasta , Salad

This is one of our favorite quick, easy meals, but it would be even more quick if we didn't have to travel to a grocery store across town to get the prosciutto. Still, it's worth it, and the leftovers are pretty good too!

Tuesday - Buffalo Chicken Joes , Cole Slaw , Potato Chips

I made these just as Cassie described, but minus the celery because I'm tired of buying a bunch for just one stalk and then forgetting to use the rest and having to throw almost the whole thing away. However, I would halve the sauce because ours were actually too sloppy. Still, these were delicious, and we enjoyed the leftovers too!

This cole slaw recipe is our favorite, and so, so much better than store bought. I cut everything nice and chunky, just the way Aaron likes it, and so I've ruined him for any other cole slaw.

Wednesday - Green Eggs and Ham

Brinner (breakfast for dinner) is always a winner of a quick weeknight meal. For green eggs and ham, I scramble eggs as usual, adding some pesto at the end of cooking. Then I shave over some parmesan cheese and serve with prosciutto and toasted, buttered sourdough on the side.

Thursday - Chicken Sausage, Cole Slaw, Grape Tomato Salad

We just bought some delicious, inexpensive chicken sausages at Trader Joe's and boy, are they tasty. This is also an easy way to use up the leftover cole slaw from Tuesday, and it's even better after it has set up for a couple of days.

Friday - Chips with Pico de Gallo and Guacamole , Margaritas

I'm going to need this come Friday, so we're having happy hour for dinner. There's not much better than that!

No weekend meals this week. I'm going to be up to my elbows in boxes, so we're having pizza and take out Chinese food.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday Meal Planning

Stressed-Out Comfort Food Edition

I'm going to get right to it tonight, because I need to take some time to unwind (I'm seriously tightly wound right now) before bed.

Monday - Macaroni and Cheese and Hot Dogs

We have really been digging the Kraft Thick 'n' Creamy macaroni and cheese dinner lately. Not the best, of course, but it does in a pinch. Then we top it off with a little sriracha for a kick. I eat my hot dogs with ketchup and onions, but Aaron prefers chili dogs with mustard and onions. This is our ultimate quick comfort meal, and I am craving it like mad today.

Tuesday - Chicken Cobb Salad and a baguette

Really? I could even eat this salad without the chicken, although the chicken is good. It's truly the bacon, feta and dressing that make it. 

Wednesday - Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Creamy Cole Slaw 

For the pulled pork, I cook some pork chops then shred them when they're cool enough to touch and heat the meat in a pan with whatever BBQ sauce I have on hand. I like to eat my slaw on the side, but Aaron prefers to put it on top of the pork in the sandwich. Both ways are absolutely delicious.

Thursday - Roast Chicken , Mom's Asparagus , and mashed potatoes

OK, so this dinner isn't exactly quick, but it couldn't be easier, most of the time is hands-off and it is definitely comfort food. Plus, we can't eat a whole chicken between the two of us in one sitting, so we use the leftovers for chicken salad.

Friday - Taco Salad 

This salad is fast, easy, delicious, and cheap. That's hard to beat!
No weekend meals this week. I figure all this stress is worth a couple take-out meals this weekend.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ice Cream Sunday!

Aaron's favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip. I wasn't a big fan before I made this recipe, but as is often the case I liked it more when I made it myself (this has also happened with pancakes, waffles, scrambled eggs, and meat loaf, to name a few). I went through several recipes before choosing my favorite recipes and techniques from each to develop my own recipe. It's so easy to put this together that it's the recipe I make most often. Cool and minty, it's perfect for a hot summer day.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

2 c. heavy cream
1 c. whole milk
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. peppermint extract
4 drops green food coloring (optional, but Aaron insists)
1 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine cream, milk and sugar. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved taking care not to let the milk scorch. Cool this mixture in the refrigerator until about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Add the mint and food coloring to the milk-sugar mixture and freeze the mixture using an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. Add the chocolate chips during the last five minutes of freezing. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for several hours before serving.

Taco Salad

Don't laugh, but one of my all-time favorite cook books is Kids Cook! Fabulous Food for the Whole Family. Many of our dinner standards come from this book, and this one has been a recipe I crave for many, many years. I made a few tweaks, and there's only one semi-downside of this recipe as I make it. That is, that you have to eat it all in one sitting. It's so good, we don't ever really mind, though.

Taco Salad
adapted from Kids Cook! Fabulous Food for the Whole Family

1/2 lb. ground chuck
1/2 pkg. taco seasoning
1 small head ice burg lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, diced
4 roma tomatoes, diced
1 c. crushed nacho cheese Doritos
French Dressing

In a pan, carefully brown the hamburger meat. Add seasoning and half the amount of water the package indicates. Cook until the sauce is thickened.

In a large bowl toss all ingredients, including cooked beef, together, adding dressing according to the amount you prefer. 

Mom's Asparagus

As I was growing up, if you wanted to gross me out you could have simply put asparagus in front of me. I hated that grassy-flavored stuff that makes your pee smell. Then, somewhere along the line, I started to like it, and this recipe was a big part of that. Now I could eat it plain, steamed, but I still go back to this recipe from time to time, because there's no denying the deliciousness.

Mom's Asparagus

3 T. butter
2 T. brown sugar
a large bunch of asparagus, chopped into 2-inch pieces
1 c. chicken broth

In a large sautee pan, melt butter and add the brown sugar. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Add the asparagus and sautee 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 2 to 4 minutes. Remove asparagus to a serving dish and cook sauce until reduced to half the original volume. Pour over asparagus and serve.

Weekend Special Oatmeal

We really love oatmeal around here, and eat it a couple times a week at least. While good, old-fashioned oats are delicious, on the weekends we've been kicking it up a notch with steel cut oats and make what we call Weekend Special Oatmeal. It's delicious, and really good for you too.

Weekend Special Oatmeal

4 c. water
1 c. steel cut oats
pinch salt
1 tsp. vanilla
4 dried apricots, cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 c. dried cranberries
2 T. coconut
1/4 c. pecan halves
brown sugar (optional)
milk or cream (optional)

Bring the water to the boil, and add oats. Stir until it begins to thicken. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 25 minutes. Add salt, vanilla, apricots, and cranberries and simmer for five more minutes.

While everything is simmering, toast the coconut and pecan halves in the oven (we usually put the broiler on, put these on a cookie sheet, and broil for about 2 minutes, or until the coconut browns around the edges.)

Put desired amount of oatmeal in a bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 of toasted coconut and pecans. Sprinkle with brown sugar and top with milk if using. 

Friday, June 5, 2009

Burger and Fries Friday

This week for Burger and Fries Friday, I'm sharing our house standard cheeseburger recipe. It's always delicious, and I'll share my favorite variation too, which kicks the spice up a notch.

Aaron's Cheese Burger
Makes 4 Burgers

1 lb. ground chuck (fatty meat is the key to an excellent burger, so totally worth it)
1/4 c. minced onion
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. steak sauce (like A1)
1 tsp. seasoning salt (like Lawry's)
Cheese - usually American or cheddar
Buns (sesame seed buns are our preference)

Mix together first five ingredients. Divide into quarters and form into patties with an indent in the center. Grill to desired doneness. When almost done, top with cheese.

We like to serve the burgers with ketchup, mustard, lettuce, onion, and tomato. Alternately, I like to make a "Rodeo Burger" which means I pile it with pepperocini pepper slices and cover with cheddar and cook till the cheese is melted. So good!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I’ve been missing from both of my blogs this week, due to house-buying related stress that has me sleeping every moment I’m not working or parenting. That’s pretty much how I deal with great stress: by going to bed. However, I’ve been cooking some wonderful things lately, so I thought I’d tell you what is coming up in the next couple of weeks (although, depending on when we move, some things might not happen because cooking will be scarce that week!).


Coming up on Mrs. Ca Cooks:


  • I’m joining Cassie for her Burger and Fries Friday tomorrow with Aaron’s cheeseburger recipe.
  • I can’t believe I haven’t shared this before, but I will now: Guinness, Cheese, and Steak Pie. It’s to die for!
  • Continuing on the Guinness theme, I’ll be sharing one of our favorite appetizer recipes: Guinness Potted Cheese. Yum!
  • Ice Cream Sunday will be happening again – this time with our house favorite Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
  • I used to work at a great local steakhouse, but one of my favorite recipes from there had nothing to do with steak: Cajun Chicken Pasta.
  • Covering Gabbie’s 1st birthday a few weeks late, I’ll be posting about our favorite carrot cake recipe.


All this and much, much more. Just as soon as I can concentrate on anything besides THE HOUSE. Inspection is tomorrow, so that should help (or make things worse, either way).




Related Posts with Thumbnails