Saturday menu plans

March 24, 2012

This week I have decided to try recipes that I have clipped out of magazines but have never tried before. Unfortunately, I got the stomach flu last week so there were a few days I substituted canned chicken noodle soup and gatorade for the planned meals. Here’s to hoping everything on this list will get prepared this week!  Here’s what’s on the docket:

  • Monday: Potato vegetable medley with rotisserie chicken
  • Tuesday: Curried red lentil soup with dried cherries and cilantro
  • Wednesday: Baked shells and broccoli with ham and cheesy-creamy cauliflower sauce
  • Thursday: Barley salad with herbs
  • Friday: Homemade pizza (since I didn’t get to make it last week)

Potato vegetable medley with rotisserie chicken

(Taste of Home, Dec/Jan 2009)

Ingredients

  • 6 small red potatoes (I may use white potatoes because I already have them on hand)
  • 16 baby carrots, halved lengthwise
  • 1 small onion, cut into wedges
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 ¼ tsp seasoned salt, divided
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley

Directions

In a 2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray, combine the potatoes, carrots, onion, broth and 1 tsp seasoned salt. Cover and bake at 400° for 30 minutes. stir in zucchini and remaining seasoned salt. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with parsley.

Curried red lentil soup with dried cherries and cilantro

(Martha Stewart Living)

This recipe seems so yummy. I am just debating whether to use safflower oil or just use simple cooking oil. What are your thoughts? Is safflower oil worth the investment?

Baked shells and broccoli with ham and cheesy-creamy cauliflower sauce

(Martha Stewart Living)

I have recently started getting Martha Stewart Living magazine, so you can expect to see a lot of her recipes on here. Here’s the link to the recipe.

Barley salad with herbs 

(Martha Stewart Living)

I will probably add some fresh veggies and the leftover rotisserie chicken to this one. It sounds so yummy I can’t wait to give it a try! I have a feeling it might be a common summer recipe in this house.

Homemade pizza

(Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book)

You can find the recipe for homemade pizza dough here, or if there is a Trader Joe’s nearby, they also have excellent dough for under $2. I’m thinking I might make a veggie pizza, but am not sure about the toppings yet. What are some of your favorite pizza toppings? We’re always up for trying something new :)

March 17, 2012

This is another low key week. I’m not sure what’s gotten into me…maybe its the warm weather and I want to go on vacation. Either way, with all these St. Patty’s things all over the place I’ve had a hankering for shepherd’s pie. Even though that’s more of a British thing. But still, same general region of the world :)

  • Monday: Beef shepherd’s pie
  • Tuesday: Turkey, swiss, and avocado sandwiches
  • Wednesday: Cheese ravioli with vodka sauce
  • Thursday: Asian stir fry
  • Friday: Homemade pizza

Beef shepherd’s pie

I know this is traditionally lamb, but I have beef in my freezer, so I’ll give it a try. I’ll use this recipe as a starting point. Pretty much most of the recipes I found were very similar, so I may do a rough combination of all. I may add some red wine (reduction) to it for an added richness of flavor since I’m going the beef route instead of lamb. I’ll probably add rosemary as well.

Turkey, swiss, and avocado sandwiches

Pretty self explanatory, served on homemade bread with a side of potato chips or homemade potato wedges (cut potatoes into wedges, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and bake in the oven at 400° for about 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through).

Cheese ravioli with vodka sauce

I didn’t end up making it last week, so since I still have the ingredients (Trader Joe’s ravioli and vodka sauce), we’ll have it this week :)

Asian stir fry with soba noodles

For this recipe I simply buy a frozen Asian stir fry mix, and saute with sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Serve over noodles.

Homemade pizza

Sometimes I buy Trader Joe’s pizza dough (it’s under $2), but this time I think I’ll make it from scratch and freeze half of it. Here’s the recipe I usually use for the dough (from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book):

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ to 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp cooking or olive oil

Directions

1. In a large mixing bowl combine 1 ¼ cups of the flour, the yeast, and the salt; add warm water and oil. Beat with an electric mixer (I use my KitchenAid) on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much remaining flour as you can.

2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total [I use my KitchenAid for this part too…I use the dough hook, and can tell it’s done when the dough looks smooth and is clinging to the hook rather than the sides of the bowl]). Divide dough in half. Cover; let rest for 10 minutes.

For pan pizzas: grease 2* 12-inch pizza pans or large baking sheets. If desired, sprinkle with cornmeal. On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough half into an 11-inch circle. Transfer dough circles to prepared pans. build up edges slightly. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double (30 to 45 minutes). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F. Prick dough with a fork. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until light brown (I’ll admit it…I sometimes skip this step). Spread pizza sauce onto hot crusts and top with desired meat, vegetables and cheese. Bake about 10 minutes longer or until bubbly. Cut each pizza into 8 wedges. Makes 8 servings (2 wedges).

*I usually prepare one pizza and freeze the other half of the dough for another time.

March 10, 2012

…A few days late. We had a very busy weekend, full of time with friends and running around Arlington, Alexandria, and DC. I can’t wait until we move closer to the city!

So, here’s the list. I have to admit it’s not very glamorous this week. It’ll just be easy.

  • Monday: Black bean and sausage soup
  • Tuesday: Chicken salad sandwiches with cilantro mayo and red cabbage
  • Wednesday:  Tomato soup with cheese quesadillas
  • Thursday: Quinoa salad
  • Friday: Pasta with vodka sauce and salad

Black bean and sausage soup

Ingredients

  • ½ lb black beans, cooked
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • dash paprika and chili powder
  • ¼ c fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 chicken sausages, sliced lengthwise and chopped
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • ½ jalapeno, sliced lengthwise and chopped
  • cooked rice, garnish
  • sour cream, garnish
  • tomato, chopped, garnish

Directions

Cook black beans in broth. Once soft, add garlic powder, cumin, and cilantro. Meanwhile, slice sausage and saute with red onion in a pan with olive oil. Once onions are soft, add sausage and onions to beans. Add 1/2 jalapeno, chopped. Serve over rice and garnished with sour cream and fresh tomatoes.

Chicken salad sandwiches

I’ll use this recipe, with cilantro substituted for dill. I’ll probably leave out the grapes, and top the chicken salad with sliced red cabbage for some crunch.

Tomato soup with cheese quesadillas

Canned tomato soup, doctored up with milk instead of water, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, fresh ground black pepper, a dash paprika, and maybe some fresh basil or cilantro.

Quinoa salad

I came across this recipe and thought it sounded fresh and fantastic. I have actually never made quinoa before and am looking forward to giving it a try. If you have any favorite quinoa recipes, please leave a comment so I can add it to my list!

Pasta with vodka sauce and caesar salad

No recipe here…I’ll just use pasta and Trader Joe’s vodka sauce. I may buy some fresh basil to top it off.

March 3, 2012

Well, it’s Saturday, and here’s my menu plan for this coming week! I must say I am pretty excited about it.

  • Monday: Chicken pot pie
  • Tuesday: Lentil and sausage soup
  • Wednesday: Stout cheddar meatloaf muffins
  • Thursday: BBQ chicken sandwiches
  • Friday: Ahi tuna tacos

Chicken pot pie

The Pioneer Woman’s Leftover Turkey Pot Pie recipe, with the following changes:

  • Chicken instead of turkey (given)
  • A mixed frozen veggie blend instead of just peas (corn, green beans, carrots and peas)
  • Sans wine (purely because I don’t have any on hand, and probably won’t by Monday)
  • Added garlic powder, to taste

P.S. Her Perfect Pie Crust really is a perfect pie crust! you should give it a shot sometime.

Lentil and sausage soup

Taken from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

Ingredients

  • 2 14-ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 cup sliced celery (2 stalks)
  • 1 cup sliced carrot (2 medium)
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ tsp dried thyme, crushed
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces cooked smoked sausage links, quartered lengthwise and sliced (I usually use Johnson’s chicken sausage or substitute bacon)
Directions
In a large saucepan combine broth, water, lentils, celery, carrot, onion, dried thyme,  cayenne pepper and garlic. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until vegetables and lentils are tender. Stir in sausage. Heat through.
Note: I normally saute the vegetables and sausage (or bacon) first, then add broth, water, lentils, thyme and garlic. I feel this makes it a little more flavorful.

Stout cheddar meatloaf muffins

I found this recipe on Pintrest, and it sounds amazing! I will probably leave out the mushrooms and use 2 lbs ground beef instead of beef and veal. Instead of shaping it into a meatloaf, I’ll make them into mini meatloaves in my muffin pan.

BBQ chicken sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce
  • Apple cider vinegar, splash
Additional sauce
If you like North Carolina style BBQ (vinegar based), I always make this sauce…it is fantastic! I make this a day ahead of time (to let the flavors meld) and serve it on the side. I originally go light on the traditional BBQ sauce in the crock pot in order to use this right before consuming.
Directions
Place chicken breasts in crock pot, sprinkle with garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste, pour BBQ sauce on top of chicken (I usually use about a cup’s worth, but use your eye), add a generous splash of apple cider vinegar. Cook 3 to 4 hours on high or 6 to 8 hours on low. Serve with slaw and your favorite sides.

Fresh tuna tacos

This recipe seems simple and yummy, perfect for a Friday! Maybe we’ll pair with margaritas and chips and mango salsa :)

February 25, 2012 Menu Plan

Every Saturday I am going to post my weekly menu (for the upcoming week) on my blog for a few reasons:

1. Accountability. I really want to stick to a weekly menu plan (weekly as in Monday-Friday), and what better way to stay accountable than to post it online for all to see?

2. Ease. I want to have an easily accessible archive of what I have made recently and not so recently…make it easy to add something to my weekly list I haven’t made in months.

3. To (hopefully) inspire you. I love seeing other people’s weekly menus. It inspires me, and I think it is interesting to see what each family tends to eat…the differences never cease to amaze me.  Maybe you enjoy seeing what other people eat, too!

So, posting two days late, but posting nonetheless:

  • Monday: Soup with hummus and pita chips
  • Tuesday: Vegetable lasagna
  • Wednesday: Curried couscous salad
  • Thursday: Italian chicken and rice
  • Friday: Lasagna soup
The recipes are below:

Soup with hummus and pita chips. Today is what I call a “coming-off-the-weekend-and-haven’t-made-it-to-the-grocery-store-yet day”. I think that is pretty self explanatory. To clarify, the soup is canned soup. Yum.

Pioneer Woman’s vegetable lasagna (recipe found here)

Curried couscous salad, a fabulous recipe I received from my friend Jackie (who is a great cook). When she first found out I was pregnant with Rafe she emailed me several recipes that are healthy, filling, and easy to make; pretty much recipes that are perfect for when you are tired, feel fat, and want something fresh.

Ingredients

  • 14oz. chicken broth
  • 10oz box of Far East couscous (plain), cooked as box directs with chicken broth instead of water
  • Pine nuts (expensive but delicious – optional)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • green onions (about 3), chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans – same thing)
  • Diced red pepper (I usually just use a green pepper since it’s cheaper)
  • currents (just small raisins – just use raisins if you already have ‘em)
Dressing
  •    6 Tablespoon lemon juice (you can buy the big bottle of it at the grocery store rather than buying tons of lemons)
  •    1/2 c. olive oil
  •    1/2 teaspoon cumin
  •    1/2 teaspoon curry
  •    pinch of garlic powder

Directions

Cook couscous as directed, chill if possible. Add all prepared ingredients, then add dressing when ready to serve. Enjoy!

Italian chicken and rice. I have seen many variations of this, but this is my favorite, slightly adapted from my friend Naomi.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts OR a beef roast
  • 1 packet of Italian dressing seasoning
  • 1 jar (8 oz) of sliced pepperoncini peppers

Directions

Place chicken or beef in crockpot, pour entire jar (juice too!) of pepperoncini peppers on top of the meat, sprinkle Italian dressing seasoning packet on top of meat and peppers. Cook on high for 6 hours. Serve on top of warm rice with a side of veggies.

I hope you all like this one as much as I do!

Lasagna soup or more accurately, leftover lasagna vegetable soup. I’m sure many of you have seen the Pintrest recipe for lasagna soup floating around recently. Basically, the inspiration for a lasagna soup got the wheels turning in my head. Here’s what I plan to do:

Ingredients

  • Leftover lasagna
  • Chicken or vegetable stock
  • Ricotta and parmesan cheese mixture (found here under “cheesy yum”)

Directions

Cut leftover lasagna in either 1 inch cubes or thin 1 inch strips (basically so that the noodles can fit onto a soup spoon), place in a pot with broth, stir, adding brother until you reach a desired consistency. Warm in pot until heated through. Top with cheese mixture, and serve with crusty bread.

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