Menu for the Week! June 1

 

 

 

 

Our discussion this morning with friends centered around finding some balance amongst the everyday things in life. One way that we’ve found some balance in our home is by doing some meal planning. It takes a little bit of time over the weekend, but the payoff during the week makes it well worth it. Here’s our menu for this week:

Monday:

  • Pan-Fried Porkchopsthis one from the Pioneer Woman. Can’t wait to try it!
  • Mashed Potatoes – Make your favorite recipe, or pick up the refrigerated kind (just nothing boxed).
  • Roasted Cauliflowerthis one from Food Network is so good and easy! Even if you think you don’t like cauliflower I think you’ll like this.
  • Sliced Tomatoes – They’re in season right now and add great color to your plate.

Tuesday:

  • Mexican Meatball Street Tacos – Don’t these just sound good? Looking forward to Tuesday. Here’s the recipe.
  • Mexican Three Bean Salad – This is great and you pretty much just dump some cans of beans and a few other things together, then mix. Here’s the recipe.
  • Corn – Take some frozen and saute it in some butter until lightly browned. If you really want to jazz it up add a little garlic and chopped red pepper.

Wednesday:

  • Take-out night or Leftovers

Thursday:

  • Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta – Another tasty dish from the Pioneer Woman.
  • Salad
  • Bread – Think you can’t make homemade bread? Thing again! Baguettes in 30 minutes. Trust me. These guys are easy and so tasty. You will love the smell in your house. Here’s the recipe with pictures and video.

Friday:

  •  Pizza Night – make it at home and you can control the ingredients. There are some really easy crust recipes like this one, or you can buy the dough ready made (not the canned stuff). The trick for pizza is to pre-bake the crust until just golden, add just enough sauce (but not covered in thick sauce), cover in cheese (but still leaving room that you can see through the cheese to the sauce), then the toppings. If you put a lot of veggies on it, consider baking them first to remove some moisture so you don’t get soggy pizza.
  • Veggie Sticks

Menu for the Week of Nov. 10

Enjoy!

naanSunday:

  • Naan bread pizzas – pepperoni on top for the boys and chicken / red onion / red pepper / mushroom / goat cheese / pesto for us! Do yourself a favor and make some homemade Naan bread. It was even easier than I thought. You only have to knead it for 3 minutes. It was the best I’ve ever had and made delicious flat-bread pizza. If you don’t have time, pick up a package at the store. The trick to homemade pizza is using just enough sauce and cheese. It takes less than you think it will. That will keep it from getting soggy. Back at 400 for 8 minutes or so.
  • Salad – bibb lettuce, roma tomato chopped, half an avocado chopped,  red onion, goat cheese, red wine vinegar and olive oil drizzled on top with any of your favorite seasonings.

Monday:

Tuesday:

  • Soup night! Oh my. This Provencal Vegetable Soup from Ina Garten is amazing. I made this on Friday and it was so good! Make it up Monday evening so it’s ready to eat Tuesday. The chopping takes the longest part. It doesn’t need much time to cook. If you don’t have the time to make the “Pistou” then you can sub it with some store bought pesto and then mix in a little tomato paste. It added a great complex flavor to it.
  • Serve with some fresh bread.

Wednesday:

  • Leftovers or Take-Out

Thursday:

  • Grilled Boneless Pork Loin Chops, Brined and Honey Glazed – Easy and juicy pork chops! Two things I always want in pork chops that I cook. Serve with some Chardonnay or Riesling.
  • Roasted broccoli – Chop broccoli, drizzle a little olive oil over it, sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until it reaches your desired doneness.
  • French fries – Chop up a fresh potato or buy some Alexia brand frozen ones. Those are my go-to for quick fries.

Friday:

  • Sweet and Sour Shrimp – Yes you can make this take-out staple at home. It’s that easy! Make sure you buy Florida or Caribbean shrimp and nothing from Thailand please. You will be glad you did for both the flavor and knowing you supported good business practices.
  • White or Brown steamed rice – If you don’t have a rice cooker yet, you want one. Even people that cannot make rice can make it in one of these. In Japan, everyone uses them. You don’t have to spend much to get the job done.

Menu for the Week of Nov. 3

Every week it’s my goal to have our family’s dinner menu prepared on Sunday afternoon. Sometimes it happens as planned and sometimes it’s a work in progress. Here’s our menu for this week. You definitely need to try out the easy to make spaghetti sauce from Sunday another day this week.

Sunday:

  • Spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce from Giada De Laurentiis. This was great. My only recommendation to tweak the recipe is once you’ve sautéed the veggies, puree them with a stick blender if you have one or mash by hand (if you don’t have one, put this on your wish list. They come in super handy).
  • Roasted turkey breast. Make this or any other meat to have with your pasta or make it a vegetarian night and omit it.
  • Green beans. I used 16 oz. frozen cut green beans. Sautee them in a pan for a few minutes until thawed and warm. Add a tablespoon of butter and lightly brown. Dump in 1/4 cup or less of white wine, 1 small tomato chopped, dash of garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Let cook on low until desired tenderness.
  • Olive oil, rosemary bread. Just like the bread from Macaroni Grill but better! Plus it has mostly whole wheat flour. I did the dough in my bread machine on the dough cycle, then let it rise on the counter before baking.

Monday:

  • Quick chicken tacos. Stop by the store and pick up a rotisserie chicken, a package of small tortillas (flour or corn), lettuce, salsa, greek yogurt (did you know you can replace this for sour cream and get 23 g of protein per serving?) and maybe some black beans. Pull the chicken off the bones and heat if needed. Fill up your tacos and enjoy!
  • Fresh Raspberries. While you’re at the grocery store, stop by the produce section. If your family doesn’t like berries, serve some sliced apples or some other fruit.

Tuesday:

  • Steak. You can go all out with your cut of beef and get a Ribeye or NY Strip, but some top sirloin will do just fine. Here’s the trick. Put your steak on a plate and season well with Montreal Steak Seasoning (or any other of your favorite blends). Rub it into both sides. Let sit in the fridge on the plate for at least an hour up to overnight. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to grill, let sit on the counter. Preheat your grill at Medium / Medium-High depending on your grill. If the steak is about 1.5 inches thick grill it for about 5 minutes per side max. Use the poke test (shown in this short video) to see if it’s done. Put onto a clean plate or cutting board and cover with foil. Let rest before slicing at least 5 minutes, but 8-10 is good. Slice against the grain and serve.
  • Braised Fennel with White Beans. My son picked out fennel one day while shopping at Whole Foods with me, so we found this recipe to try. If you’ve never had fennel before, you have to try this. If you don’t eat meat, this is perfect too.
  • Eggplant Chips with Basil Yogurt Dip. Who knew eggplant could be this good?! If you don’t have yogurt, use a little sour cream instead.

Wednesday:

  • Leftovers or Take-out

Thursday:

  • Shrimp and Grits. There are a lot of good recipes for this out there. You can find at least 10 on Food Network alone. My biggest recommendation is to use good quality grits. Never use instant (repeat to yourself) and look for whole grain grits that have at least a couple of grams of fiber. My favorite are from Bob’s Red Mill. Publix sells them. Variations on all of the recipes include using milk and / or chicken stock in place of some or all of the water, using peppers or tomatoes in with the shrimp, etc. Find a recipe you like and play around. Here’s one from Bobby Flay.
  • Roasted Okra. Slice them, drizzle, sprinkle and put in the oven – no more sliminess! Voila.

Friday

  • Roast Beef. I always wanted to make roast beef so that it sliced thin for sandwiches at home and was juicy. One day I found this recipe from a newspaper in Oregon. It works! Only ingredients are beef and salt. You need a couple of hours at home to cook it and plan to start it the night before by letting it rest in the fridge. Check out the recipe.
  • Salad. Bored with the same old thing. Try this. Chop up some romaine lettuce, onion, semi-ripe pear, goat cheese crumbled, tomatoes, cucumber and this balsamic vinaigrette that is my family’s go-to dressing.
  • Bread / French fries / Potato Chips. Enjoy something fun here. It’s Friday!

Menu for the Week of Oct. 27

Hi all – So this is a day late. Mix and match the days to fit your schedule.

Sunday:

  • Homemade tomato soup (vegetarian) – You can go all out and roast the tomatoes yourself (like in his recipe) or take my short cut and buy fire roasted tomatoes. Get the whole peeled ones in the can (28 oz.). If you like it with more tomato flavor, feel free to add another small can too (14 oz.). The only two things I do to my soup differently is add a pinch of sugar to cut the acidity and if you don’t roast the tomatoes, then cut the olive oil in half.
  • Fresh baked bread – If you have a bread machine, you have to try this bread recipe. It’s super easy and you’ll have homemade soft bread in 1 hour. Sub 1 cup whole wheat flour for 1 of the cups bread flour called for.

Monday:

  • Arroz Con Pollo (Chicken and Yellow Rice) – This is a staple if you live in Tampa. I’ve tried other recipes and this one is good and easy! Serve some black beans and a salad on the side and you’ve got a great meal. Some red sangria would go nicely too.

Tuesday:

  • Flounder picatta – If you like fish like my family does you will want to keep finding new ways to serve it. This one looks great! Can’t wait to try it out.
  • Green beans – Start with fresh or frozen green beans. If fresh, snap them. Heat a large pan with a lid over medium heat. Drizzle some olive oil once around the pan. Toss the green beans in and saute for a few minutes until lightly browned. Season with some salt and pepper. Add 1 clove fresh minced garlic (or a few shakes of garlic powder). Pour 1/4 cup of water in the pan and cover for 8-10 minutes until the tenderness you like.
  • Have some bread left over from Sunday if you still have some around.

Wednesday:

  • Crockpot Pulled Pork – You can find all kinds of recipes to help you out here. The basic ingredients are one 2 lb. pork roast (tenderloin is usable, but not as good as top loin or boston butt for flavor), 1 onion, 1 bottle of your favorite bbq sauce, 1/2 cup of other liquid: chicken stock, pineapple juice, root beer, beer, etc. Season the meat with salt and pepper, slice the onion and layer it on the bottom of your crock pot, put the meat in, then pour the liquid and at least 1 cup of the bbq sauce in. Save the rest of the sauce for your sandwiches. Cook on low for 8 hours. Here’s a good example.
  • Buns. I like making own from this recipe, but if you get them at the store, I definitely recommend them from the bakery and not from the bread aisle.
  • Pickles
  • French fries (cut up a potato and roast in the oven, or pick up some frozen ones: Alexia or the “Simply” Ore Ida. The old school fries have much more than potatoes, oil and salt in them.)

Thursday:

  • It’s Halloween! Have some left overs, take-out or eat at a neighbor’s house.

Friday:

  • Herbed Turkey Breast – Who needs Thanksgiving to make some turkey? Whole Foods has it on sale this week.
  • Polenta – Lots of recipes out there. For those of us down South, it’s basically a slight variation on grits. Here’s the trick for polenta or grits, you must buy quality corn grits / polenta. Plus quality grits will have a few grams of fiber, so please stay away from the Quaker stuff. Bob’s Red Mill is available in many stores and is a favorite of mine. They even come in a gluten-free or organic variety.
  • Salad
  • Veggie sticks for the kids
  • Homemade balsamic dressing. Once you make your own dressing, you will not want to buy it from the store again. This is all you need (adapted from Emeril): 1/2 cup of good balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil (the light stuff is only for cooking fish and even then you don’t really need it), 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 3 cloves of garlic pressed, 1 tsp. dijon mustard. You can add another dried herb if you’d like. Sometimes I do a couple dashes of basil. Put all ingredients in a shaker / cruet and shake until well blended.

Menu for the week of Oct. 20

Sunday:

  • Baked cod with parmesan crumbs (recipe is for flounder, but I substituted cod tonight)
  • Mashed sweet potatoes (roast and peel, then mix in 1.5 TB real butter, 1 TB maple syrup, a few dashes of cinnamon, a dash of salt and serve). My boys liked them with a few mini marshmallows on top.
  • Green beans with garlic and sun-dried tomatoes (sautee beans in pan with 1 clove of fresh garlic pressed, handful of sun-dried tomatoes chopped and some water to steam, then drizzle a TB of olive oil under the doneness you like)
  • Corn on the cob

Monday:

  • Baked ziti (use any recipe you want, but this Pioneer Woman one is great)
  • Salad

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

  • Leftovers or take-out

Thursday:

Friday:

  • Steak Florentine by Giada
  • Grilled Eggplant salad – if my four-year old will try this and like it, you can too. This one’s also from Giada.
  • Something else the kids will eat