Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Meal Planning 3.19.12

We are one day away from the official start of spring, and I could not be happier about it. I expected today to be a pretty crappy day for myriad reasons, but that one fact alone (plus it's 70-some degrees and sunny out) have made up for a good chunk of those reasons, and my mood is fantastic!

On to the food!

Monday: Homemade Spaghetti-os, Large Chopped Salad (for the adults) and steamed broccoli (for the kiddos)
This weather has me craving a big, vegetable-filled salad for dinner, but that absolutely won't fly for the little ones. I've been wanting to see how Sophie takes to the homemade spaghetti-os (perhaps we'll have one more meal to add to her limited repertoire of acceptable meals), so it fits perfectly.

Tuesday: Taco Rice

If you haven't tried this yet, do it. It's so, so good. I'm actually making it with ground turkey instead of beef this week. My family hardly notices the difference, and we're starting a weight-loss/fitness competition at work, so our meals are about to get healthier (for the most part).

Wednesday: Chinese Style Slow Cooked Pork Chops, rice pilaf, broccoli

Wednesday afternoon I have a meeting that is notorious for running late, so I'm planning ahead for once this week and doing dinner in the crock pot. I've made these once before and the family loves them, plus pork chops were on sale this week. It's a win all around!

Thursday: Grilled chicken sandwiches, sweet potato fries, fruit

It's supposed to stay nice all week, so I'm going to declare that Grilling Season has officially begun.

Friday: Twice Baked Potatoes, Steak Bites, wedge salad

I made these potatoes a couple of weeks ago, trading out the green onions I didn't have on hand for diced onion fried in bacon fat. They. Were. Divine. I can't wait to make them again.
Saturday: Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos, Cilantro Lime Rice

These are a family favorite, and perfect for watching the big game (Go State!)
Sunday: Brunch TBD

I ordered the Pioneer Woman's newest cook book, so I'll probably make something out of there.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Scones

Before I was pregnant with Sophie, I could have cared less about cinnamon rolls. They have never been my favorite - I found them kind of dry and flavorless. I really don't know what the hell was wrong with me, honestly. That all changed with an intense craving for cinnamon rolls that persisted throughout my pregnancy with her, and has lasted ever since. I would eat them every day, no joke.

A few weeks ago I was in the mood for cinnamon rolls, but my family didn't feel like waiting the two hours it takes to whip up a batch. Aaron said something about scones, and I fired up the old search engine, because I knew somewhere out there, someone had combined these two things into one, fabulous recipe, and I was right!

In a guest post on Erin's blog, Cassie from Bake Your Day had posted this recipe for cinnamon roll scones that were a huge hit in our house, to say the least. Gabbie cried when they were gone, she liked them so much. Even she-who-doesn't-eat-anything ate an entire one by herself. Now that I'm bringing them up again, I may have to make them this weekend!

Cinnamon Roll Scones
Source: Cassie/Bake Your Day, on Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

For the scones:
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1/2 c. buttermilk (or sour milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the filling/topping:
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl and combine well with a whisk. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers, until the mixture is crumbly.

In a small liquid measure, combine the buttermilk and vanilla. Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture. Gently stir the dough with a fork until just combined; do not over-mix!

Combine the fililng ingredients in a small bowl and crumble most of it into the dough. Gently knead the mixture into the dough, leaving some visible streaks to resemble the swirl of a cinnamon roll.

Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet, forming a circle about 8 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Sprinkle the remaining topping over the dough and cut into 9 wedges, separating them slightly to leave space for baking.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Top with icing, made from powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla if desired. (As you can see from the picture, above, we definitely desired, but I have to say that they were nearly as good without the icing, and we didn't put any on those we saved for later.)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Meal Planning 3.12.12

Holy $*&% it's the middle of March already! This month is flying by! With lots of excitment and much warmer weather and everything! We even fired up the grill last night!

I'm excited, can you tell?

Here's what we're eating this week:

Monday: Mediterranean turkey paninis (grilled cheese for the kiddos) and zucchini fries

I subscribed to Taste of  Home recently, and this recipe from the January/February issue really stood out to me on my first look-through. The zucchini "fries" are my attempt to get the kids to eat zucchini. We'll see how it works.

Tuesday: Conga Lime Pork, corn tortillas

We have a parent-teacher conference tomorrow night, so I thought it would be the perfect night for a crock pot meal. I can't wait to try this one!

Wednesday: Sicilian-style Cauliflower with pasta, chopped salad

The kiddos will get plain noodles and cauliflower on the side, while I think that Aaron and I will enjoy the heck out of this vegetarian main dish. The only thing I'm doing differently is using regular pasta, as my family has boycotted whole wheat pasta.

Thursday: Macaroni and Cheese, chicken sausage, broccoli

I have a work event this night, so I planned something that Aaron could easily make, and the girls would be guaranteed to eat. I made macaroni and cheese last Friday and Sophie ate 1/2 the box. She never eats food, so look for mac and cheese to be on our list at least once a week for the forseable future so that I can ensure she will eat at least one full meal a week.

Friday: Cheeseburger pizza, chopped salad

For less than a year, there was a pizza place down the street that made the BEST bacon cheeseburger pizza I've ever had. It was one of my favorite pizzas ever, so of course the store didn't stick around for long. (There's a local pizza store in town that pretty much dominates the pizza business here, so other places don't tend to last long as a rule.) This is my attempt to recreate that pizza. (Think: a thin layer of sauce, hamburger, bacon, onions (fried in bacon grease), and cheddar/jack cheese. So good!)

Saturday: Lamb stew, Irish soda bread

I'm still reviewing recipes and haven't decided on one yet, but I'm looking forward to this St. Patty's Day dinner.

Sunday: (Brunch) Cinnamon Rolls, scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit salad

I would eat this meal every day if it weren't so horrible for me. I absolutely adore breakfast food!

Toddler/Preschooler Lunch Ideas

I thought I'd revive this part of my meal plan, because I found I need to put more thought into lunches for my girls to not eat.

Monday: Silver dollar pancakes, strawberry jam, yogurt, banana
Tuesday: Cheese, sliced turkey, crackers, apple sauce
Wednesday: English muffin pizzas, steamed broccoli, peaches
Thursday: Quesadillas with cheddar, turkey, and mashed sweet potatoes
Friday: Leftover mac & cheese, broccoli, banana

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pork and Black Bean Chili

I am sure I'm not the only one who does something like this: I get the inspiration to cook, but everything I want to cook uses less than a whole of everything. One pound of pork tenderloin, when two pounds come in the package. Half a bag of black beans. Half a bag of frozen corn. Half an onion. I found myself in this situation (and with those ingredients) a few weeks back, and this recipe is what resulted. Aaron thought it was one of the best batches of chili I've ever made, and even Gabbie, (aka She Who Will Not Eat Anything, Especially If It's All Mixed Together) ate it AND asked to take it for lunch one day. I'm sure the cheese and sour cream I put on top didn't hurt, but I was pretty thrilled nonetheless.

I love it when I can pull knowledge of other recipes I've made and know what flavors will work together, and put that all into one dish that turns out awesomely, which is exactly what happened here. Some snippets from Aaron's great-grandpa's chili recipe, and a soup recipe I make regularly helped inform this recipe. Try it today before spring gets a good hold on us and it's still cool enough to enjoy chili!

Pork and Black Bean Chili

1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut in small chunks
2 small onions (or 1/2 a large onion), diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1/2 lb. dried black beans
1 1/2 c. frozen corn
2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 can beef broth (I used 1 container of knorr beef broth concentrate and a cup of water)
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Chipotle or other hot sauce to add heat to your own bowl (optional)
Shredded Cheddar chesse
Sour Cream
Green Onions

Put all ingredients into a crockpot, except the toppings. Stir well, cover, and cook for 10 hours (or more as needed to soften the beans) on low. Add toppings as desired, and enjoy!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Meal Planning 3.5.12

Yeah, March! I'm so excited March is here that I can hardly stand it. Even if it is only twenty-some degrees outside. Spring is so near I can feel it (in my sinuses, but still)!

So, today's meal planning post is going to be a memory test for me, which I really need, seeing as I actually forgot to put on makeup today (this is when having my own office I can hide in comes in extra handy), and I left Sophie's lunch in Gabbie's locker, causing the daycare staff to have to call me and then track it down (I felt like I was forgetting something). I also forgot to bring my paper with my meal plan on it with me today, so I'm doing this all from memory. In other words, so far today I'm doing totally awesome, thanks for asking.

On to the plan!

Monday: Tacos/taco salad

No one was feeling pizza last Friday so we decided on quesadillas instead. I still have about 3/4 of the taco meat I made for the quesadillas leftover, plus an avocado, so tacos were the natural choice for dinner tonight. I'm trying to up my vegetable intake, so I'll be the one indulging in a yummy taco salad.

Tuesday:  Mini bow-tie pasta with chicken sausage, broccoli, onions, carrots, and green pepper

Basically an Italian-style twist on a stir-fry. I'll probably toss in some butter and parmesan as well.

Wednesday: I can't remember! I tried, really I did. I'll edit this later, maybe.

Thursday: Pasta bolognese, salad, bread

I still have enough bolognese sauce in the freezer for one more meal, so we're digging in this week. Mmmm....

Friday: Pizza, carrots

This meal, as listed above, is exactly what Gabbie asked for when given the chance to pick a meal. So we're going with it, even if she is mad at me that this is not what we're having tonight. In fact, this morning our conversation went thusly:

Gabbie: What are we having for dinner tonight?
Me: Tacos
Gabbie: Um, how about pizza. Pizza and carrots
Me: Sorry, Babe. That's what we're having on Friday.
Gabbie: How about we have it tonight.
Me: (trying not to laugh) It takes a while to make the pizza, so that's why we're having it on Friday. We have to have a quick dinner tonight because of dance class.
Gabbie: *pouts*

Saturday: Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes

I'll share this recipe next week. It's amazing!

Sunday: (brunch) Bacon and mushroom omelet, sourdough toast, fruit salad

This is what I want most of all this week. It may end up as a dinner instead of brunch if I find I can't wait.


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