Sunday, February 20, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week of February 21

Happy Monday from snowy Minnesota!  As I write this on Sunday evening, we are expected to receive a whole lot of snow overnight tonight - after a spring teaser last week, it is especially brutal.  From a food perspective, it motivates me to find recipes we can cozy up to until milder temperatures arrive again!

In terms of highlights from last week, the pasta I made Sunday evening (tonight) was especially yummy!  The sauce was so flavorful and I actually really liked the cauliflower in it!  The only thing I added was about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar which added some depth to the sauce but also took away the little bit of bitterness left from the quickly simmered crushed tomatoes.  The sauce made enough for 8 so we were able to freeze a bunch of it for future use!

I am excited to share that I have decided to take some time away from work to stay home with my little guy and focus on my family.  This will not change my menu plans, as I will be equally busy chasing after a toddler and will continue to have the need to plan ahead (no time to cook around the dinner hour with a clingy 1.5 year old at my side)!  I will be taking a hiatus from menu planning next week, though - we are finishing our kitchen so we will be hanging with the in-laws for a week while we are without counter tops!  So, menu plans will be in conjunction with my mother-in-law.

Below my menu plan is a before and after of phase 1 - tearing down the cabinets over our counter!  I will keep you posted as we continue the remodel! 

(Check out orgjunkie's post for more menu inspiration!)

Monday - Crock Pot Turkey Chili
tip: brown meat and combine all ingredients the night before

Tuesday - Hamburgers (with leftover shallot butter from Valentines Day!) and sweet potato fries

Wednesday - Leftovers

Thursday - Grilled Sandwiches (corn tortilla for the little guy!) with butternut squash soup (from Trader Joe's, planned from last week and we had leftovers instead!)

Friday  Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers and polenta; side salad

Saturday - dinner out with friends

Sunday - Crock Pot Pork Roast with Salad



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Savory Muffins

I am always on the search for blogs that compliment my little guy's allergy limitations.... looking for interesting, healthy recipes that my family can eat together and are allergy friendly.  I just ran across this site, called Penny Pinching Epicure, which offers up a ton of great gluten free recipes.  I love this site because it features budget-friendly ideas!

One that jumped out is this Savory Sweet Onion and Rosemary Pumpkin Muffins.  I am definitely whipping up a batch of these sometime this week!  I will be using quinoa flour and an egg substitute (check out this site for more information on your options).  The quinoa flour will add a rich, nutty flavor to these - almost biscuit-like.  YUM.  Using traditional baking ingredients and no substitutes would be great for this recipe, as well!  I'll keep you posted on the results!

Care of Penny Pinching Epicure

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Menu Plan - Week of February 14th

Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope everyone is looking forward to a little bit of time with loved ones tomorrow, hopefully with a special breakfast, lunch and/or dinner planned!  At my house, I have prepared the dry ingredients for pancakes tomorrow morning!  Just add the wet ingredients to the bowl, whisk in the milk, add some blueberries and my little guy (and my hubby!) get a special breakfast before sending them on their way to work and day care!  (Another example of how taking a few minutes to prepare can make a once impossible cooking task pretty simple!) 

Speaking of simple, I am digging the crock pot this week and have found two great recipes on my favorite slow cooking website.  The salsa chicken is a variation of the very basic two ingredient recipe I have used many times - dump a bunch of salsa in a crock pot with chicken, slow cook it all day and shred it for fajitas, quesadillas, etc.  (Awesome as leftovers, too).

Here's our plan for the week!  As always, check out Orgjunkie's MPM post for more menu inspiration and let me know if you have any questions or menu suggestions! 

Monday:  For the little guy - Burger, roasted potatoes and green beans
Valentines dinner for my husband and I - Grilled Beef tenderloin with shallot butter (butter inspired by this recipe), asparagus and roasted potatoes

Tuesday: Soup/Salad/Sandwich

Wednesday:  Salsa Chicken with Rice and roasted carrots

Thursday:  Slow Cooker Loose Meat Sandwiches (I will sub turkey for the beef) with roasted vegetables

Friday:  Leftover sandwiches with Trader Joe's butternut squash soup (one of our favorites!)

Saturday: Date Night!

Sunday:  Prosciutto and mozzarella stuffed chicken breasts, Pasta with Cauliflower and Spinach (sub in brown rice pasta)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week of February 7th

I am writing this post prior to the big Super Bowl tonight - GO PACK!  :)  This will be a fun week for us - we are headed to Des Moines to visit my sister and her husband and meet the rest of my fam from Milwaukee there for a weekend "reunion"!  So, a lighter grocery shopping week and dinner planning week, too!  I have a couple of great recipes to share with you despite this!  For more menu planning inspiration, check out Orgjunkie's blog.

In honor of Super Bowl Sunday, I found this great appetizer recipe that I want to share with you!  I am not making it for the game today, but these Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls will definitely be on my menu next time we have company!  It is a sophisticated version of spinach dip that would be great for entertaining!

Finally, with Valentines Day approaching, check out this link to one of my favorite recipe sites for more sophisticated cooking!  Start here for some inspiration if you are cooking at home this year!

Please feel free to share your comments and suggestions below this post or email me anytime!

Monday:  Pasta with spinach and red sauce; easy turkey meatballs ( add the following ingredients to 1 lb ground turkey:  1/3 cup gluten free bread crumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp Italian seasoning, salt and pepper)
tip:  prepare meatballs the night before, cover with plastic wrap on the baking sheet, bake in oven at 375 for 20 minutes or until cooked through

Tuesday:  Crock Pot Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin with roasted fingerling potatoes and green beans
tip: clean/trim beans and clean potatoes the night before; prepare crock pot the night before (I have used this recipe before and by marinating overnight it turns out even better!)  I also add a little extra chicken or vegetable stock to the crock when I plug it in because I cook it from 7 am until I get home at 5:30 or so)

Wednesday:  Chicken with White Beans and Tomatoes*, salad
*I sub in skin-on chicken breasts; organic grape tomatoes on sale at Rainbow this week!
tip:  this is a great weeknight meal - you can throw it together in 10 minutes while the over pre-heats!

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday/Saturday:  Out of town

Sunday:  Pizza

Thursday, February 03, 2011

52 Weeks of Organizing - Kitchen Towel Drawer

This last couple of weeks have been crazy, so I scrapped my bigger project for this week but dedicated myself to organizing something in my house.  I was motivated by this post on The Happy Housewife's blog this morning.  See my before and after pictures below! (The first pic turned out blurry for some reason - still getting used to my new camera...)  I am amazed by how much room was freed up in my kitchen towel drawer after I rolled all of the towels!  Now I can actually fit my hot pads and mitt in the drawer without stuffing them in AND I can find my wash cloths (hey, it's the little things...)!  Similar to what is mentioned in the Happy Housewife's post, by keeping plenty of towels around, you can cut down on paper towel use!  I intend to work on this but for now, I will smile every time I open up my towel drawer!  (Yes, I am a total organizing geek!)  Check out more organizing motivation on Orgjunkie's blog!



Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Interesting Links This Week!

Happy Hump Day!  Some fun and interesting links for you to peruse mid-week!  Happy surfing!

Say Mmm is an AWESOME menu planning tool that I intend to implement immediately.  You can save your recipes in your account, drop them into your menu plan and create shopping lists.  For the planning and organizing type (like me!) this is fantastic!  Check out @Saymmm on Twitter, too!

Sadly, I will not be able to watch the web cast of this event because I will be out of town, but Tedx Manhattan: Changing the Way We Eat is going to be an incredible event.  I am passionate about this movement and am hoping that the web cast will be available following the event.  You can even set up a viewing party for the event in your home!  Very cool!

I have mentioned this blog many times on my menu plan, but I have to say it again - I LOVE A Year of Slow Cooking!  Stephanie O'Dea adds new crock pot recipes on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis!

If you are a foodie and don't know Mark Bittman (author of "Food Matters" and New York Times columnist), you should!  He has a really sensible, family-style approach to cooking that I love.  He has a new blog - check it out!  I follow him on Twitter, too - @bittman.

Please let me know if there are any great blogs, articles, or websites that are on the top of your list right now, I'd love to check them out!

Happy reading!