Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Menu 2013

This year we are having a quiet Thanksgiving at home, and I am so incredibly excited I can hardly stand it. Not having to drive through the snow that is forecast for tonight is particularly wonderful, as is the thought of staying in my pajamas all day if I want to. The reason we decided to stay home this year instead of making the trek to eat with family is this little guy:

We didn't want to drag him out in the cold, on a long drive, and to a huge houseful of people. He is the cutest excuse I've ever had, for sure!

Here's our planned menu for tomorrow:

Herb-roasted turkey breast  (Since it's just the five of us, plus my parents, so we don't need a whole turkey.)
Mashed potatoes (I bought a potato ricer, and I could not be more excited to use it tomorrow for super smooth mashed potatoes!)
Steamed broccoli (to ensure there's a vegetable my girls will eat)
Pumpkin pie
Cool whip and vanilla ice cream for topping pies

I'm also using half of the dough from the roll recipe to make cinnamon rolls for breakfast tomorrow morning. I can't wait to spend the day hanging out with the family, cooking, and eating.

P.S. My birthday is on Friday, and I've asked Aaron and the girls, who want to make me a cake, to make this Browned Butter Pound Cake. We're also going out for dinner, but I have yet to decide where I want to go. It's going to be a delicious long weekend!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Meal Planning 9.24.12

It would seem that fall has decided to be in full swing. Daytime temperatures are just about perfect (mid-sixties), and nighttime temperatures are perfect for pulling out the heavy blankets again. I absolutely love this time of year, because it's also the time of year where I can make things like soup without people thinking I'm nuts.

Also, my meal plans are about to get a lot less interesting, for a couple reasons. First, our family schedule is crazy-hectic since school started, so I need to be realistic about the meals I can cook on a weeknight and still maintain a modicum of sanity. Second, my children - they don't eat much. I want to make sure that there's at least two of the three items on the plate that they'll eat, which means I'll be sticking to similar recipes quite frequently. Their favorite meal of all times is planned for Tuesday, but I need more flavor, so the excitement will be happening on the weekends, when I have time to throw on a pot of Kraft dinner if they refuse to eat what I've made.

On to the food!

Monday: Pancakes, bacon, fruit

Who doesn't like pancakes and bacon? Sophie is our champion pancake eater, and will keep eating as long as we have pancakes to put on her plate. She's not big on bacon, but that's only because she can't chew it well. I have a feeling that when she gets more teeth, she'll like bacon more, too. Gabbie's the champion bacon eater. My girls may not eat much, but they are definitely carnivores.

Tuesday: Grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, baked sweet potatoes

This. This is their favorite meal. I suppose I can't complain too much because it's pretty darn healthy and not untasty.

Wednesday: Burritos/Quesadillas, some sort of vegetable, some sort of rice

Until yesterday, there were two vegetables that were allowed to cross Sophie's lips: broccoli and sweet potatoes. Then, last night at dinner, she ate her weight in green beans. I don't know if I'll push it and try them again with dinner tomorrow or not. I also have some lima beans in the freezer which I might use for some sort of succotash. What other vegetable goes well with Mexican food? (Now I want Mexican food for lunch.)

Thursday: Spaghetti with veggies (zucchini and mushrooms) and sauce, salad, garlic bread

My girls love "snake noodles." The sauce will likely only be eaten by Aaron and I. Sometimes the girls will eat salad, but not always.

Friday: Chorizo and potatoes, with red peppers and fried eggs

I'm guessing this night I'll also scramble a couple of eggs so they have something else to eat. They like potatoes and sausage in any form.

Saturday and Sunday: Undecided as of yet

I would love to make homemade pizza, but I used my pizza stone on the grill last week and it broke. I've been wanting to try to make beef bourginon for a while, and something Thai sounds good too. Maybe Tom Yum soup (my favorite) and spring rolls!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Meal Planning 9.10.12

September? Already? Really?

Anyway, here's what we're eating on this very busy week:

Monday: Slow Cooker Brisket BBQ Chili, steamed broccoli, corn chips

I cleaned out my spice cabinet to make this one! It calls for quite a bit of chili powder, so I have a box of macaroni and cheese ready for the girls in case it's too spicy.

Tuesday: Mar a Lago Turkey Burgers, sweet potato fries, cucumbers

Wednesday: Chicken and Leek Stroganoff, rice steamed green beans

Thursday: Pork Kabobs, Rice Salad

Friday: Baba Ghanoush, Falafel, cucumbers, tomato salad

Saturday & Sunday: Undecided. It's a crazy weekend and we'll have houseguests, so I'm not making decisions yet.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Meal Planning 8.6.12

Although we were out of town for the weekend, and that usually precludes me from assembling a meal plan for the coming week, I actually had a chance to put together a plan while stuck under a sleeping toddler yesterday afternoon. She was so exhausted from all the fun we had on Saturday that I couldn't keep her awake no matter how hard I tried. Then, when we got home, the September issue of Food Network Magazine was in our mail box, and so I edited a little as I looked through the magazine.

Here's what we're eating this week!

Monday: Chicken with Arugula Pesto

Gabbie wanted chicken for dinner, and this recipe looked fantastic, so it took the first place in our meal plan for the week.

Tuesday: Blackened Tilapia with Black-Eyed-Pea Salad, Baked Sweet Potatoes

Aaron and the girls really like fish, and I'm trying to like it, so we've decided to incorporate one fish dinner per week into our menu. Last week we had some fantastic salmon with lemon butter caper sauce (I actually went back for seconds, it was so good), and so I thought we'd try this recipe for our fish dinner this week.

Wednesday: Taco Rice

A family favorite, that we haven't had in a while. I'm looking forward to it this week!

Thursday: Grilled Brats, Broccoli, and French Fries

Simple, delicious grilled meal for Aaron to prepare while I'm out running.

Friday: Bacon Pizza Pasta, Salad

I've been eyeing this recipe for a couple of weeks now. It's actually supposed to be cooler this weekend, so it is the perfect chance to try it out!

I haven't decided on meals for Saturday or Sunday, yet, and chances are we'll actually be out and about so I won't have to cook (bonus!).

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Meal Planning 7.16.12

Despite being a little jet-lagged, catching up on household chores, and having kids on top of me all day yesterday, I did manage to put together a meal plan for this week  AND I cooked a delicious dinner last night (which both kids refused to eat - grrrr). I amaze even myself, sometimes!

Monday: Chicken Adobo, Broccoli, Fruit

This dish is typically served over rice, but I actually cooked the last of my rice last night (oops!) and I'm determined not to have to do another grocery store run this week, so we'll eat it alongside steamed broccoli and fruit (probably cherries).

Tuesday: Cobb Salad, bread

I'll mix up a dough tonight, and put it in the refrigerator, so it will be all set to bake as soon as I get home from work tomorrow night. My cobb salad will be mostly vegetarian, except for the bacon. You can't have cobb salad without bacon. The girls will probably eat a deconstructed version of the salad, including bacon bits, hard boiled egg, avocado chunks, lettuce, and bread.

Wednesday: Something I can't remember, although I do remember it involves iceberg lettuce. I hate when this happens!

Thursday: Taco Rice

So, about cooking all my rice last night. I made enough mexican rice to feed an absolute army, so we'll be using this as the base of our taco rice this week. Also, I will be eating rice every day for lunch, and possibly as an extra side for every dinner. I really did make that much rice!

Friday: Clean-out-the-refrigerator Grilled Pizza

I have a lot of food in there currently, as well as some things left over for this week, that we'll pile on top of grilled pizza dough and call it dinner.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Meal Planning 7.9.12

It would figure that the one week I'm on top of it and have five minutes to post my meal plan for the week would be the week that I'm going to be gone half the week. That doesn't mean that it's half a meal plan, though. It just means that I spent my weekend preparing to be away, which included coming up with super easy meals for the family to make/eat while I'm away. It only goes through Friday, though, because I get back mid-day on Saturday, after having to be to the airport by 3 AM (Pacific) to catch a 5:30 flight back. Then we're swinging by Aaron's grandma's house on the way home to pick up some bikes, and she has promised to make us dinner (she's an awesome lady). I plan to be recovering on Sunday.

On to the food!

(Also, I'm including last night's dinner, because it was awesome.)

Sunday: Glazed pork chops, corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese, watermelon

I froze the sauce from this recipe when I made it for father's day, and this time we used thick-cut (about an inch thick) boneless pork loin chops from the grocery store, and it was just as good. Everybody ate fairly well last night, which is a rare occurance, so that's yhow you know it was a delicious dinner.

Monday: Butter chicken, basmati rice, steamed broccoli, naan

I have been craving Indian food lately, and this recipe is nearly as delicious as anything I can get from my favorite Indian restaurant (and a heck of a lot cheaper). The last time I made this was a couple of weeks after Sophie was born, and at that time onions made her spit up. A lot. I kind of had PTSD regarding the recipe, but enough time has passed that I'm ready to eat it again. I can't wait!

Tuesday: Taco Rice

I have serious love for taco rice. Serious. It's so good!

Wednesday: Cheese ravioli, marinara (with mushrooms and zucchini), and roasted cauliflower

This is the day I'm heading out, so I planned a fairly easy dinner for Aaron. I'll have everything chopped so he just has to throw it all in the pan. The girls love pasta, so it should be a hit.

Thursday: Pizza, carrots and cucumbers, fruit

I'm not going to make him cook every day I'm gone. They usually grab take-out one night, so I'm making it super easy for him, and planning for that.

Friday: Ham and cheese empanadas, baked sweet potatoes

I'll put these together tomorrow night, and then they'll just have to pop everything in the oven and dinner will be ready a short time later!

Now all I have to do is come up with lunches for Wednesday through Friday for the girls and they won't have to worry about food all week!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Do Try This At Home!

Although I haven't been posting regularly, that doesn't mean I haven't been cooking. In fact I have (except for during this past week, when I have been felled by an ankle injury), and some of the things I've cooked in the past month have been pretty darn amazing!

These Spicy Avocado Chicken Enchiladas were more than pretty amazing. They were extremely amazing! When I told Aaron that chicken enchiladas were on the menu, he was picturing enchiladas with some sort of red sauce. He's not one for creamy sauces, so when he saw this green-ish, vaugely creamy-looking (it's better than it sounds, promise!) sauce, he was not thrilled. He took his first bite with trepidation, but then finished the whole enchilada without comment, and then sighed contentedly before digging into a second. These were not small enchiladas, so that was impressive. I toyed with the idea of halving the recipe, but I'm glad I didn't. We froze half and can't wait to eat them sometime soon. I made two small adjustments to the recipe, purely based on what ingredients I had on hand: I only used two avocados, and I substituted a teaspoon of ground coriander because the grocery store was out of cilantro when I went.

For father's day dinner, I kind of went all-out with the man food. We had Glazed Double-Cut Pork Chops (and here, as a brief aside, is the story of confusing the butcher when asking for double cut pork chops: "Butterflied?" he asked, "No, double thick. Two inches thick. Two bones thick," said I. "Hmmm....." he pondered. "See those bone-in pork loin chops right there? I want the equivalent of four of those, but in only two chops." "Are you sure?" "Quite." And then he asked me to share the recipe because he was intrigued), which were FANTASTIC, including the glaze/BBQ sauce which we saved/froze and which Gabbie has been using on her chicken ever since.

We also had "Mom's Famous Southern-Style Baked Beans" which I made pretty much exactly as written, except I made 2/3 of the recipe based on the sizes of cans of beans I could find. These were so good I almost ate them for breakfast the next day, and happily ate them with every meal until they were gone. I'm not huge on leftovers, so the fact that I ate the leftovers of these is pretty much a testament to how incredible the were. I will definitely be making these again.

I also made up some breakfast burritos that I think are pretty much perfect:

Breakfast burritos are one of my very favorite foods, and I'm a more than a little embarrassed to admit that I eat a fast food breakfast burrito or two a couple of times a week. I have been looking for a made-at-home substitute for a while to alleviate the shame, and I think this may be it. The best part? You can assemble them ahead of time (except for the salsa) and they reheat beautifully, so they make a super-fast weekday breakfast. Here's the recipe:

Jessie's Breakfast Burritos


1 lb. frozen hash brown potato cubes
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb. bulk maple breakfast sausage
1 small onion, diced
1 jalepeno, diced (seeds and ribs removed if you want it less spicy) 
4 eggs, well beaten
6 slices american cheese
6 burrito size flour tortillas
your favorite salsa

To make:

Cook hash browns according to package directions, adding the chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper as they cook. Remove from pan and set aside.

Return pan to heat. Crumble sausage and add to pan. About halfway through cooking the sausage, add the onion and jalepeno. When sausage is cooked through, and onion and jalepeno are soft and slightly browned, remove the mixture from the pan and set aside.

Let the pan cool for a couple of minutes, and then add some oil or butter, coat the pan, and add the eggs. Return to heat, slowly stirring the eggs to scramble them. When the eggs almost fully cooked, remove the pan from the heat, add the potatoes and sausage mixture back to the pan, and stir to combine.

If you'd like, you can stop here, sprinkle on some shredded cheddar cheese, and eat as a scramble for breakfast.

To assemble the burritos, place a tortilla on a plate, tear the slice of american cheese in half and place end to end on the tortilla. Top with a generous spoonful of the filling, and roll into a burrito (fold in sides, then roll from side closest to you to close). If you're going to eat them right away, add the salsa before you roll the burrito. Otherwise, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze. When you're ready to eat them, remove the burrito from the plastic wrap and microwave for 60-90 seconds, add salsa, and enjoy! (If you froze them, put a burrito in the refrigerator before bed to thaw, then proceed as directed for refrigerated burritos.)


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