Sunday, December 20, 2009

Special Cookie Update

I'm on break now for the next two weeks, so menu planning is taking a back seat to other merriment. And also, I'll have time to go day-by-day and go to the grocery store during daylight hours and stuff like that. But I have been working on some goodies. Thought I'd share.

The big plan this year:
Chocolate-covered peanut brittle
Homemade s'mores
Chocolate caramel cookies
Strawberry jam thumbprints

Here's my peanut brittle recipe. It's made in the microwave, and it uses corn syrup, and while both of those things normally make my spine shriek a little, it is the holidays... I need to let go.

1 c sugar
1/2 c light corn syrup
mix together in microwavable glass dish (I use a giant Pyrex measuring cup)
microwave for 4 min.
add 1c peanuts, stir, cook for 3 - 5 min. more (I do 3:30)
add 1 tsp butter, 1 tsp vanilla, cook for 1 - 2 min (I do 1:30)
add 1 tsp baking soda, stir, pour on greased cookie sheet, cool

Then, later, I melt chocolate and dip the pieces, spread on waxed paper and cool.

The s'mores idea came from the $26 box that is currently selling at Williams Sonoma. It was one of those "I can make that" moments. I haven't yet, but here's the plan:

Cut to graham cracker size.
I'll either dip the whole sandwich in chocolate, or dip just the graham crackers and then sandwich them around the marshmallow. I need to experiment a little.
I might sprinkle some crushed candy cane on top, just for more fun.

The chocolate caramel cookies are Phil's favorite.

The strawberry jam thumbprints are another new thing this year. I was looking for something not chocolate-based, and I have a ton of strawberry jam that I made this summer.

Not currently on the menu, but a good gift option is orange coconut bread. I made some batches of this last week and gave a few loaves away. And it's yummy for breakfast or a snack.

Happy holidays!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 13 and it's rainy and sleety

What yicky weather. Makes me want spicy food! (But then, I want spicy food in the summer too... so maybe I'm just looking for an excuse).

Jambalaya. I'm trying a new recipe.

Sole, probably roasted in the oven... a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, a few capers. Roast until it's done, then sprinkle lemon juice.
Roasted fingerling potatoes

Cheese toast (bread with cheese sprinkled on it, then toasted in the oven)

More soup. Or maybe more jambalaya. Or both?

Salmon with salad...
Probably pan-roasted (the salmon, not the salad)
and then just a basic salad with yummy balsamic vinegar dressing, and maybe sunflower seeds. They sound good right now.

And Christmas cookies for dessert!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

December 6 and so on...

A great thing about cold weather is cooking warm delicious things and having the house smell all yummy for days afterwards. Just makes me want to roast chickens all the time, you know?

We'll roast a chicken! A regular-sized one this time...
Mix up some chopped garlic, random herbs (maybe some pesto), olive oil, salt, pepper, a little bit of white wine... Loosen the chicken skin and start shoving the mixture in between the meat and skin. I've put quartered lemons and apples inside the chicken before, but today we have oranges, and so I'm wondering about doing that. Don't know for sure yet. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour covered with foil, then remove and roast the rest of the way (45 more minutes, about).

Roasted sweet potatoes, some kind of green veggie will accompany.

Most of the week...
Probably scrounging off extra chicken, eating random leftovers...

Beef (or maybe venison) stroganoff:
Brown meat, add onions, garlic, mushrooms, some extra beef stock, simmer w/ salt and pepper, stir in sour cream, serve over egg noodles.

And maybe, if we're lucky, candy canes for dessert this week! (If I remember to buy some)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

November 29 - December 3

December... yikes!

Using the turkey leftovers I brought home from my mom and dad's dinner -- tenderest turkey EVER! Mom, don't let anyone tease you for getting a good happy chemical-free turkey. It was fabulous! And now, it will be part of one of my favorite soups. The soy sauce makes the difference:

Good bread

Mongolian beef (but with venison -- we're trying to plan our meals based on what's already in the freezer, not just what our latest whim is)

Salmon -- probably oven-roasted, since I think it's supposed to be cold and maybe even snowy, so grilling might be less fun than usual
Sauteed swiss chard
Sweet potatoes -- probably diced, coated with oil, salt and pepper and roasted

Personal pizzas on naan. With whatever veggies are hanging out in the fridge.

Phil's making spaghetti!
No side dishes, he has decreed: the sauce will have everything we could possibly want.

Except maybe bread, for mopping up aforementioned sauce.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

November 22 - 25

Happy Thanksgiving! This will be a short week. Not complaining, just sayin'.

In an effort to use up the last of last year's venison (before our new stuff comes back from the processor), we're having venison chops. Quick, quick saute in a pan with a little bit of butter and garlic. Gorgeous. They're kinda small, so we'll have a bit of a smorgasbord:

Venison chops, sauteed with garlic and butter
Pan-seared scallops (just a couple)
Sauteed shiitake mushrooms
Sauteed cabbage (just olive oil, salt and pepper -- I do love it so)

Sausage-stuffed acorn squash (Cut a squash in half, turn face down in a baking dish with an inch of water, cook for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Meanwhile, saute some turkey sausage with casings removed to brown it. I'm thinking there might also be some onion involved here. When the squash is cooked, put brown sugar on the inside, then stuff with the sausage & onion. Bake for 15 minutes more.)
More sauteed cabbage (and the joy of cabbage is that when you buy one, it lasts for so darn long!)

I'm betting it'll be time for leftovers. The acorn squash I bought is pretty big.
Maybe we'll saute some cabbage!

Grilled salmon fillet
A side dish of some kind: perhaps cabbage? ( I know, it's not even funny anymore)

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm not cooking. I get to bring appetizers and a side dish. Here's the plan:

I'm going to drag out some of the stuff I pickled and canned this fall: Pickled cauliflower, pickled beets, and sun dried tomatoes soaked in white wine vinegar and olive oil. We'll also have some marinated mushrooms and kalamata olives. And cheese. Always cheese.

Side dish:
Brussels sprouts with bacon: Cook some bacon, drain, cool and crumble. Chop big sprouts in half, leave the little ones whole. Heat some olive oil in a pan, put the sprouts in, let the parts touching the pan brown up a bit. Add some garlic, stir around a little, add some stock (veggie or chicken) or wine (white semi dry is good) and let it all steam up a bit and make a little sauce. Add the bacon, some salt and pepper. Drool.

You thought I'd say turkey, huh? But I'm thinking it will probably be pizza. :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

November 15 - 19

I feel like we're in a bit of a food rut lately. We've been sticking with the tried-and-true super quick stuff during the week because of the massive number of meetings in our lives (have you noticed that, be they monthly meetings, quarterly meetings, or whatever, they almost all seem to fall about two or three weeks before Thanksgiving? Gotta get 'em in before the holidays! -- but I digress) and that means the same old stuff. I don't know that I've done any better this week, but my eyes are open for some inspiration to smack me upside the head. Yoo hoo, inspiration, I'm ready...

Beer and cabbage soup... with different sausage. Last time I made this, I used some sausage I bought at the farmer's market, and I know everyone has their own sausage preferences, but the stuff I used just did not go with the soup. And I so love this soup. So, I gave it a few weeks, and I'm trying it again. With different sausage.
There will also be bread.

More soup, should the sausage perform as expected. Otherwise, maybe Easy Mac. :)

Gnocci with tomato sauce
sauteed green beans

Flatbread pizza: Piece of naan, top with sauce, veggies (maybe some marinated mushrooms), mozzarella, bake at 400 degrees for about 12 - 15 minutes.

Grilled salmon, roasted sweet potatoes, salad.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

November 8 - 12

We saw Anthony Bourdain last night at the Michigan Theatre. Love him, love him, love him. Even though we went to dinner beforehand, I was still hungry again by the time the show was over. And of all the great stuff he talked about (great food, the evilness of Ronald McDonald, why he's going to stop bashing Rachael Ray) the thing that kept popping up in my brain on the way home was noodles. Maybe with pork. And spicy. I don't know that he talked specifically about this, but a combination of topics led me to believe that it's the only thing we can cook tonight for dinner.

Some kind of noodle-y thing with some rice noodles, pork, bok choy, onions, chile paste, soy sauce. It will probably be a "what else should we add" kind of dinner, as opposed to a set-recipe kind of dinner.

Good bread

because I don't usually like eggs, but every now and then crave a fried one where I can cut it and the yolk gets all mixed in with the food underneath it and it's spicy and delicious. And when I crave that, I make huevos rancheros.

Gnocci with tomato sauce

Saturday, October 31, 2009

November 1 - 6

Happy November! Let's eat some trashy tailgating food!

The aforementioned tailgate feast:
Ribs (Phil's secret recipe -- I couldn't tell you how to make them if I tried. I think there's pineapple juice involved somewhere, but that's all I know)
Koegel's hot dogs
Other assorted chips, snacks, non-vegetable related items

And then, we try to atone for our gluttony with some fairly healthy stuff:

Lentil pilaf
sauteed broccoli, red pepper, onion, mushrooms to go on top

Salmon melt (like a tuna melt, but with, you know, salmon) with some lovely sharp cheddar and crunchy multigrain bread
I'm thinking carrot sticks and apple slices with this...

Acorn squash with turkey sausage stuffing (see October 11 2009 for recipe details)

And I know it goes without saying, but for dessert all week?
Leftover Halloween candy.
Like the bag of fun-sized Heath bars I hid in the closet so we wouldn't have to hand them out to kids...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

October 24 - 31

We've been defrosting this 11-pound chicken for a few days. It's almost thawed -- we plan to roast it tomorrow. My mom knows a chicken farmer who raises these big guys. The farmer says this breed just grows to be giant... so anyway, we'll try it and see. Needless to say, when I heard my mom was planning on buying some chickens from someone she knew, I never anticipated the one she'd get for me would be bigger than some turkeys.

Agricultural monstrosities aside, it looks to be a pretty regular week... nothin' fancy. It's cold and windy and rainy now, and I just want to stay home and cook things so the stove and oven will create warmth and good smells. And maybe if I cook good stuff, I'll be less tempted to break into all the Halloween candy I finally bought today...

And so...


Homemade pizza. I'm trying a new crust, since the two recipes I have require more machinery than I care to wash right now (one is for a bread machine, the other for the Cuisinart). Just basic pizza crust with a mix of white and whole wheat flour, then just regular stuff: sauce, mozzarella, ham, onion, mushroom, red pepper...

Salad to go with it


We're gonna roast a giant chicken! (We'll use the extra later this week, and I might try to freeze some of the meat -- I have no idea how cooked chicken freezes -- and I hope to make stock with the giant chicken's bones)
Roasted brussels sprouts


Chicken quesadillas (with leftover chicken, duh)


Pasta with chicken, veggies and pesto


Take out! Yummmmmmmm


Happy Halloween... I think we're making chili -- good for munching between trick-or-treaters.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

October 11 - 15

So, I bought a bunch of squash a few weeks ago. I get my squash varieties all mixed up, so I just let it sit there, thinking I'd suddenly remember what kind it was and then magically know what to do with it. Well, it didn't happen, but God bless Google, who gave me pictures, labels and recipes, so I could properly identify and cook my little nuggets of joy...

And, I know, acorn squash should be a pretty easy one to recognize, but, well, I'm challenged that way, I guess...

So for dinner tonight, acorn squash! We know what it is!

Acorn squash stuffed with sausage: Cut a squash in half, turn face down in a baking dish with an inch of water, cook for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Meanwhile, saute some turkey sausage with casings removed to brown it. I'm thinking there might also be some onion involved here. When the squash is cooked, put brown sugar on the inside, then stuff with the sausage & onion. Bake for 15 minutes more.
We'll have broccoli and lovely sourdough bread with this.

Pork tenderloin (olive oil, salt, pepper, sear in a pan, then cook in 400 degree oven until done)
Oven-roasted brussels sprouts
Sauteed apples

Tomato soup: I'm not really going to follow a recipe, but I'm thinking saute onion & garlic, add some veggie stock, simmer, add some tomatoes (I canned a bunch and haven't used any yet, so maybe a jar of those), cook, then blend with my handy-dandy stick blender that you can put right into the soup pot.

And either toast or grilled cheese, depending on how things go.

More soup.

Grilled halibut, maybe with capers. Sprinkle some lemon juice at the end.
Baby potatoes

Have a good week!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

October 4 - 9

Happy October!

I did well a few weeks ago, and then last week fell back into my old habits... random grazing from the fridge, take-out... it wasn't pretty. But I think I'm turning a corner and getting my ducks back into some kind of a row.
Here's the plan:


Sausage, beer and cabbage soup -- I love this stuff.

Good bread for dipping


Pasta with beans and endive: based on a recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home:

3 cloves garlic

1 onion

olive oil


salt and pepper

1 can tomatoes

1 can cannellini beans

lemon juice

penne pasta

Start cooking the pasta. Saute the onion in the olive oil, then add garlic. Add the endive, season, and cook until it wilts a bit. Add tomatoes and beans, simmer. Add some lemon juice right at the end.
Serve sauce over pasta with grated cheese on top.


Meatloaf, boiled baby potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts. This is the meatloaf I planned to make a few weeks ago -- it didn't happen, so I'll try it now.


Pizza on Naan flatbread: Pizza sauce, then whatever pizza-ish veggies are hanging around: mushrooms, red pepper, sundried tomatoes, some artichokes from the jar in the fridge, maybe some zucchini, and mozzarella on top. If it's nice, I'll cook it with indirect heat on the grill. If it's not nice out, I'll bake it for 10 minutes or so in the oven at about 425 degrees.


Fish tacos!

Season up some cod, saute in a pan.

Make tacos with whole wheat tortillas, fish, shredded cabbage (save a bit from the soup on Sunday), salsa, avocado, shredded cheese, etc.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Loving this fall thing...

Isn't it just so deliciously crisp and lovely right now? The beautiful blue sky and the cool nights and the leaves beginning to change and the Lions... well. Anyway. I'm even okay with waking up at night with camping hand -- when you leave the window open at night even though the temperature drops to 40 degrees, and that one hand that sneaks outside the covers slowly freezes until you wake up and have a near-frozen hand. That's camping hand, although it happens more at home than camping, at least for me.

Speaking of deliciously crisp, bought my first Honeycrisps of the year just now! Had one for an after-grocery-shopping snack. Yuuuh-uuummm!

This is what we're eating this week. Happy fall!

Breakfast for dinner!
Blueberry pancakes (or maybe banana-chocolate chip in homage to Alan & Rachel)
Canadian bacon
Orange slices


Black beans

Sandwiches, grilled-cheese style, but with mozzarella, tomato slices, and basil

Boiled baby redskin potatoes
Broccoli, sauteed with garlic

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Time to get back in gear

This new-job-get-home-and-stare-glassy-eyed-until-someone-orders-take-out phase has to end soon. There are too many styrofoam and cardboard containers in our lives right now. I miss vegetables. I have big plans to cook for real this week. But I'll try to go easy...

So here's our plan:

Sunday (the first football Sunday, even):
with good bread

And Phil's planning on making some decadent mid-afternoon snack for football watching, probably involving some sort of boxed cheese product, so we'll pretend dinner's healthy by calling it salad. With steak. And more cheese.


Grilled salmon
Lentils (I've been craving them lately) probably cooked then sauteed with a bit of onion, garlic, maybe red pepper?
Sauteed greens -- maybe chard, maybe spinach


Yummy bread


Leftovers, probably. Or take-out, if the withdrawal is too much to bear.


Gnocci with tomato sauce and sausage. I bought some gnocci at the Clarkston Farmers' Market a few weeks ago, and have been anxious to try it. It's spicy red pepper, so I thought it might be yummy with sausage. We have some spicy Italian chicken sausage in the freezer. We shall see.

That's the plan! Wish me luck...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

There hasn't been much of a connection

What we've been eating lately and what I've been cooking lately haven't been very connected. I've started working at school (not with kids, just with the before-school-starts dusting, organizing, furniture-moving) and come home dirty and exhausted. So there's been a lot of take-out. Yay for sushi and pad thai...

But I also have been channeling a bit of the ant or grasshopper (can't remember which one) who was trying hard to prepare for winter. Not that I'm wishing for cold -- noooooooo! But I am trying to preserve/stock up on all the gorgeous stuff that's ripe right now. I organized the freezer we keep in the garage yesterday, and it's quite full already. Of what?

In addition to the last few savory bits of venison, some chickens I bought at the farmers market last week, and random seafood that was on sale, I've been chopping, blanching and freezing, in preparation for a fall and winter of pasta and soup. I love soup.

We've got broccoli in the garden, so if it's ready, but we're not ready to eat it, I blanch and freeze. I've been buying cabbages (1 or 2 at a time -- any more than that and the farmers would be suspicious of me, I think) and slicing and blanching and freezing -- that'll make great soup. Same thing with corn... I'm a sucker for the 13 ears for $4 or whatever it is, so I'll buy 13, then we'll eat 2 and save the rest. Again, I blanch in boiling water for about 2 minutes, cool, cut off the kernels, and freeze, 2 cups to a bag. Also green beans, peas, and lots and lots of zucchini. I've experimented with the zucchini this year -- I never blanched before, just chopped and froze. This year I tried some of each, so we can be scientific about it.

The tomatoes are going nuts right now, but especially the little guys -- the grape, the yellow pear. I think I'm going to try some "sun" (a.k.a. food dehydrator) dried tomatoes. I'll dry them, dip them in vinegar, put them in a jar with some garlic and basil, and fill the jar with olive oil. If I have any extra tomatoes, I'll just put them in a bag in the freezer and add to the oil jar as room becomes available. Haven't tried this yet, but most things I've read said this would be a good way to go.

Oh -- and I ordered a new canning rack to fit inside one of my stock pots. Apparently, there are some issues with traditional canners and ceramic-topped stoves, so I'm having to improvise.

So, really, all this is just fair warning that there will be lots of talk about cabbage soup over the next few months. You're now duly warned.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More random food blatherings...

I went back into my classroom this week for the first time. New job, new school, new classroom, lots to do. But it's starting to get me back into the "get my act together and be an organized person" frame of mind. And I know that soon, we'll need to start planning meals again instead of just sauteeing whatever's looking good from the garden.

But that's not happening quite yet. We're still aimless summer eaters, but I wanted to share what we had for dinner last night:

Venison chops from Phil's deer, sauteed in a bit of butter for just a minute or so
Corn on the cob FROM OUR GARDEN! It lived! It actually grew ears of corn! (Last year we weren't so lucky. Our neighbor told us we need to plant more than one row so it can pollinate.)
Green beans, including some that were purple -- do you just call them purple beans? We got them at a farm stand up north last weekend.
And the cutest little baby carrots you've ever seen. We grew them, and they're just adorable. They're the size of my tiny stubby fingers and tasty as candy. This is them:

Aren't they cute?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

July 26... and the eatin' is good.

I seem to be spending a great deal of time lately thinking about, picking, washing and eating food. I'm a sucker for anything that's fresh, or just picked, or ripe and lovely. And so, last week I went off to the orchard (Spicer Orchards) to pick 4 quarts of the most giant raspberries I've ever seen...

I went back another day and got almost 11 pounds of blueberries. I froze most of them, but I'm experimenting with a few in the food dehydrator to see how they turn out. And I saw a recipe in the Detroit Free Press for a Blueberry Galette, so 3 cups went to that. I think I'll go back next week and get more, because the thought of it being mid-winter and me being out of blueberries in the freezer makes me nervous. I'm a blueberry hoarder. This is what the galette looked like out of the oven:

But we can't live on berries alone, right? The farmer's market had squash blossoms yesterday... I've seen so many recipes for them, but always hoard the ones on my own zucchini plants (I have enough trouble coaxing squash from them to begin with). So I bought some. And they'll be dinner tonight:

Toasted bread
Blueberry galette for dessert!

And we have a sort-of plan for the week... the goal is using all the veggies I keep buying (and the ones actually growing in our own garden! Whee!)


Fish (either salmon or sole -- both are in the freezer), probably grilled
Saute green beans and baby carrots and onions
Boiled baby potatoes, salted and chives sprinkled on.


Grilled zucchini, sliced tomato, mozzarella, basil on toasted bread. Maybe balsamic vinegar drizzled on top.


Corn on the cob
Broccoli salad


Grilled pizzas on flatbread... with all kinds of good stuff on them.

And of course, we have a crazy cucumber plant. So, sliced cucumbers for snacks and appetizers all week!

Monday, July 20, 2009

There's stuff in the garden now!

Just got back from 2 weeks up north, and the garden that was looking just lovely at the end of June has exploded. So now I'm trying to think about using it... while dealing with the fact that there are very few other groceries in the house...

Here's what I came up with for tonight:

Grilled turkey tenderloin (found one in the freezer -- bonus!)
Marinated zucchini (from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home):
Slice zucchini diagonally, saute in pan with a bit of olive oil, drain on paper towel. Add some garlic to the pan, saute. Put zucchini and garlic in a bowl, sprinkle chopped herb (I'll use basil) over the top, pour vinegar (I'll use balsamic) over everything, sprinkle with salt. Serve at room temperature.
Salad with raspberries (Did I mention I went to pick raspberries today? They're goooooorrrrrgeous!) and feta.

For dessert, I'm trying to make cherry sorbet. I cut a quart of cherries in half to take out the pits and froze them. I boiled a cup of water and dissolved a half cup of sugar in it. I'll chop up the frozen cherries in the food processor, then blend in the sugar water and some lemon juice. Dump it all in the ice cream maker, and see what happens!

No plans yet for the rest of the week. Just taking things one day at a time right now. Can't wait for the tomatoes to ripen!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's not that we don't eat dinner in the summer...

It's just that we don't really plan it...

Right now, the veggies in the garden are growing quite well, which means the weeds are growing twice as well. To weed around all the lettuce, I had to pick a bunch of it. Just couldn't get at the weeds otherwise. And so, this week, we've been having salad. And it has been hot, so there hasn't been much other action, food-wise. Phil braved the melty temps yesterday to grill some salmon -- we put barbecue sauce on it -- and we had salad with strawberries and blue cheese. That was the big dinner accomplishment of the week.

I did make my first ever batch of strawberry freezer jam on Tuesday -- made 2 batches, actually. My mom makes it, and this year I consumed massive quantities of it while training for my race -- pbjs for breakfast stuck with me during the long runs -- and I was feeling bad about taking some out of her freezer every time I saw her. So I made my own supply!

It was fun! I bought 4 quarts of berries from the farmers market (the ones from my own garden get eaten before they get in the house) and used just over half to make the jam. The rest is left over for eating (hence the strawberry salad). I'm wondering now what else I can turn into jam, and I'm having to remind myself that a freezer full of jam won't do me any good if I don't eat it. So I should probably just stick with strawberry for this year, but all those little filled jars just looked so cute!

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Stove!

We haven't cooked with it yet -- it's grilling weather -- but isn't it pretty? I turned it on to make sure it works.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

What does a first grade teacher eat at the end of the school year? Lately, pretty much everything...

It's always a bit of a struggle at the end of the school year to try and consume some sort of produce and less than five cheese or chocolate products each day...  So I plan healthy, but sometimes a lovely family from school shows up with fabulous deluxe pizzas from their pizza shop, and you just have to say, "Well, okay."  So this was our menu last week and our plan for this week, peppered with lots of Dove chocolates and pizza and other lovely stuff...  Yum.

Last week:
Sunday we had a gorgeous dinner...  Lamb and veggie kebabs with tabouli.

Monday we didn't like quite so much...  we had shiitake mushrooms from the farmer's market, and so found this recipe for Bass with Shiitake Mushroom Sauce.  We weren't thrilled with the bass -- maybe a different fish wouldv'e been better.

Tuesday was my new go-to quick dinner:  Grilled pizza on Naan flatbread.  Just dress it up with whatever toppings you want (mushrooms, red pepper, basil, turkey, asparagus...) and put it on a hot grill.  I usually grill it indirectly (turn off the burner right underneath it) so it can cook without the bottom burning, though a crispy bottom isn't always a bad thing (don't take that out of context, please!).  Salad is lovely with this too.

Wednesday we grilled turkey burgers.  Topped them with sauteed mushrooms and swiss cheese and had cole slaw.

Thursday was that chicken and strawberry salad with blue cheese that I mentioned a few weeks back.  Balsamic vinegar + strawberries + blue cheese = love.

And for this week?  This is the plan.  But all bets are off if someone waves pizza in my face.

Chicken salad:  tear up a rotisserie chicken, add whole wheat pasta seashells, chopped celery, chopped red onion, some frozen peas, chopped red pepper, chopped mushroom, capers, chopped tomato, basil (I'll basically just empty out the veggie drawer), mix with some mayo and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  Carrot sticks on the side.  Great to bring as leftovers for lunch (so to perhaps avoid the temptation of the aforementioned pizza).

Grilled salmon salad:  the first row of lettuce in the garden is ready, so we'll grill salmon and mix it with the lettuce.  Again, whatever other veggies still exist after last night's chicken salad veggie fest will be added.  Dress with oil and vinegar, salt and pepper.  Maybe some bread.

Flatbread pizza again.  

The rest of the week???
Can't predict, really, so I'll just stick with this much for now.

Have a lovely week, everybody!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

We're Getting To That Time...

When Mike and Dave requested that I give them copies of my menus each week, I told them I was really good about making menus during the fall/winter/spring...  during school, when I had to be more organized.  But I can feel us slipping into summer eating mode:  What veggies are around?  What do you feel like grilling tonight?  Should we just have Dairy Queen for dinner instead?

And so, I think I'll present my summer version of my menu plan...  It's a little sketchier, less of a plan and more of a recap, but still tasty...

And by the way, happy Memorial Day, everybody.  Bust out the white shoes!  

Phil wasn't home, and I think my sore sore muscles were so craving protein after my big run last weekend, so I whipped up a huevos rancheros style pile of food on a plate:

Whole grain tortilla, sprinkled with cheese.  Bake in the oven until the cheese is melty.
In a pan, cook up some black beans and salsa.
Chop a tomato.
Fry an egg.

Layer it like this:
Tortilla on the bottom, then beans, then tomato, then egg.


We found a massive amount of morels up north last weekend, and brought some home with us.  We grilled salmon with that lovely barbecue sauce (like a few weeks ago), sauteed the morels in butter and garlic, and sauteed zucchini in a pan.


I have no idea what we'll eat tonight.  We finished the last veggie in the fridge with last night's zucchini...  Going up north for the whole weekend = no grocery shopping gets done.  Doing walk-throughs of Kroger after work is such a dangerous thing for me (I can spend $50 just picking up stuff for dinner).  I know we have turkey burger, so maybe that...  I can just dash into the store for buns, right?  No stopping anywhere else?

I think we need serious grocery shopping this weekend.  Everything's bare.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

May 17 - 21

We're working on expanding our garden and just got new patio furniture, so we're all about the deck right now.  But it's only supposed to be in the 50s today.  So we'll balance the need for grilling with the need to not freeze...

Venison fajitas

Grilled salmon
tabouli salad (with cucumber and feta -- yum!)
grilled zucchini

Grilled chicken (I'm thinking barbecue sauce, Phil's pushing for smothered -- cheese, bacon, stuff like that)
Grilled veggies (zucchini, onion, mushroom, red pepper)

Salad with leftover grilled chicken and some fruit (apple?  strawberry?  grapes?) and feta and onion and anything else still in the fridge

Pre-race meal:  Pizza and beer!  Yay!

Monday, May 11, 2009

May 9 - 14

It's another week of crazy nights.  So actual dinner is a lucky thing!

It's Mother's Day!  We cooked for Phil's family...

Grilled leg of lamb -- marinated in garlic, herbs, delicious spices
Oven roasted potatoes
Oven roasted veggies -- asparagus, red pepper, onion, mushroom

The theme is "foraging in the forest."

Morels (we found at Kensington) sauteed in butter and garlic
Asparagus (found on the side of the road during a run) steamed in water and olive oil, salt and pepper

Grilled salmon (we didn't find it in the forest, we found it at Costco) with Sansonetti's barbecue sauce (Sansonetti's is a Holly company -- they make bq sauce, salsa, stuff like that.  Yummy.)

Flat bread pizza with artichoke and kalamata olives and whatever else is in the fridge

Pasta with stuff in it

Saturday, May 2, 2009

May 3 - 7

I'm officially starting to taper down my training for the race...  less running, more resting.  This is the time I usually get my pre-race fat, and I always swear to eat more mindfully during the next taper.  But not this week.  Maybe it's because I write my menus when I'm STARVING!!!


Flank steak -- rub with good spices (ancho chile powder, other orange things, salt, pepper), grill, slice thin
Roasted potatoes

Salad with chicken, strawberries, blue cheese, and cashews.  It's a variation on a recipe I saw in this month's Cooking Light.  I'll probably just do a balsamic dressing -- the combination of balsamic vinegar and strawberries makes me salivate an embarrassing amount.

Pasta with whatever we got...  saute veggies, maybe some scallops, perhaps some tomato sauce or pesto (or both!), mix with pasta.  Lots of yummy cheese on top.

That's it for this week.  It's one of those kind of weeks...  a lot of peanut butter will be consumed in the place of actual meals.  Next week might be calmer!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April 26 - 30, Better late than never...

So it's Tuesday night, I'm finally home, dinner is simmering, there's wine in my glass and time on my hands (and cheese in my mouth, but that might be more than I should share) and so I thought I'd get around to finally posting...

I'm ready to just eat tomatoes, but I think that actually can't happen until July or August...

We stuffed 2 rainbow trout with a fennel/garlic stuffing -- just fennel and garlic chopped, then sauteed in a pan with olive oil, salt and pepper.  We stuffed it in the trout, put them on foil, and grilled indirectly for about 20 minutes.  We brushed (lots) with a mixture of butter, lemon juice and parsley.

Phil made super-duper mashed potatoes to go with it.

And we grilled tomatoes, too.

Little pizzas on Naan flatbread -- just sauce, then bell pepper, onion, mushroom, prosciutto, arugula, and cheese, and baked for about 20 minutes on 400.  We had planned to grill them, but it was rainy.

I'm making Spring Chicken and Barley Soup again -- see last week's post.  Loved it!

Phil's first non-bowling Wednesday since last summer...  thought we'd celebrate by cooking real dinner, instead of my usual leftovers/beans straight from the can.

Venison/beef mixture burgers
Sauteed mushrooms and onions
Various grilled veggies

Quesadillas with mushrooms

Lots of carbs...  probably pizza or chinese take-out with extra rice...  I'm running my LAST 20-mile tomorrow!  Yahoo!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 19 - 23

We got back from Mexico a week ago, and while I so so enjoyed the gorgeous guacamole and pico de gallo (three meals a day, baby) I was ready for some different food...  but also had that post-vacation lack of motivation, hence the delayed post.  I just finished unpacking today, too.  So, this is what we ate last week and what we plan to eat this week.  Enjoy!

Last week's highlights:

Grilled salmon
Pan-roasted asparagus

Our plan for this week:

Embers-style pork tenderloin (The Embers was a restaurant in Mt. Pleasant that was just lovely.  They made a one-pound pork chop that was sooooo yummy.  We've adapted the recipe to pork tenderloin)
Green beans
Roasted potatoes

The recipe we use is for 6 one-pound chops, so just adjust amounts according to the amount of meat you'll be making.
2c soy sauce
1c water
1/2 c brown sugar
1 tbsp dark molasses
1 tsp salt
Bring to a boil, let cool, pour over pork, let stand overnight.

Cook pork however you'd like -- at 375 degrees in the oven, or on the grill (like we do).

Red sauce that goes with the pork:
1/3 c water
14 oz catsup
12 oz Heinz chili sauce
1/2 c brown sugar
1 tbsp dry mustard
Mix together, bring to a slight boil.  Dip pork in red sauce during cooking, use as glaze/sauce at end.

Marinade and red sauce can both be reused if brought to a boil then frozen.


Salad of chopped tomatoes, chickpeas (or cannellini beans), onion, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper

Random leftovers

Pizza -- make a half-whole wheat, half-white crust in the food processor, top with onion, mushroom, red pepper, prosciutto (and of course, sauce and yummy cheese) and bake at 425 for about 20 - 25 minutes

Saturday, March 28, 2009

March 29 - April 2

Happy happy spring!  The tulips and daylily leaves are poking through the ground.  Makes me want to eat light lovely things.  The weather forecast says snow.  Makes me want to lay in bed and eat soup.  So this week, we'll compromise...

Another note:  I'm aware of the amount of pasta and potatoes that show up in this menu...  My miles are really starting to increase in my training, and I'm compensating by eating lots of yummy noodles.  So, no pasta-abuse intervention is necessary.  I don't have a problem and I can quit whenever I want.  Honest.

We're gonna roast a giant chicken!  We bought it a while ago at the farmer's market -- it's almost 8 pounds.  EIGHT.  It's been in the freezer waiting for a time when we'd:  1.  have time to roast the sucker, and then, 2.  have time later in the week to make lots of chicken-using dishes.  And apparently, that time is now.

Giant roast chicken -- no idea how long that'll take to cook
Oven-roasted brussels sprouts and potatoes

Pasta with chicken, pesto, mushrooms, artichokes, garlic, etc.


but without the salami...  

roasted sweet potato

Sunday, March 22, 2009

March 22 - 25

We finally went to the grocery store!  We have actual food again...  on Friday I had to count the fruit snacks (that I usually just eat when I run) as, um, produce.  But no more!  

So, in celebration, we'll cook yummy stuff this week.  And I'll also post that German potato salad recipe that makes my mouth just water and water.

homemade bread:  I'm trying a recipe for crusty white peasant-style pot bread from my new favorite cookbook, Kneadlessly Simple.  You let the dough do a long slow rise (like, 24 hours...) and the slow time compensates for the lack of kneading.  There's science involved.  Then you heat up a dutch oven (love my bright green cast-iron enamel one!!!) and put the dough in.  It makes a big round ball inside the oven, and you cook with the lid on for most of the time, so the steam keeps the inside moist, then you take the lid off for the last 10 - 15, so it gets crusty and lovely too.  I'm excited to taste this version!

Venison fajitas:  saute onion, garlic, strips of venison steak, red pepper, mushroom, other veggies, etc.  Add fajita-like seasoning ( I think I've shared previously that my standard for fajita-like seasonings is anything red or orange that isn't paprika).  Add some liquid, simmer.  Steam tortillas, fill with stuff, top with avocado, tomato, cheese, sour cream, salsa, whatever.
(This is kind of a "whatever looks good when I open the fridge/spice rack) kind of meal.)

Roasted corn and goat cheese quesadillas.
Had these a few weeks ago, and the goat cheese flavor in there is really kind of wonderful.  They might be my new favorites.  

You saute an onion ("Really?"  you might ask.  "Really," I answer.).  Add some corn and cook for a while.  I don't know how long.  I don't think it really matters -- until it looks done to you.  Dump the onion and corn into a bowl, add a little log of goat cheese and mix it all together.  Spread on a tortilla, put some salsa in.  Top with another tortilla.  Cook in nonstick skillet, flipping when one side is toasty brown.  The joy of the goat cheese, besides the great flavor, is that it keeps all the other ingredients in place so there's no flying ingredients when you flip the quesadilla.

Another random dinner:  pasta with stuff in it.
Saute an onion, other good looking veggies.  Maybe some Italian turkey sausage.  Or scallops?
Cook some pasta.  When it's almost done, use a slotted spoon to put it right in with the veggies/sausage mix.  The starchy water makes a nice sauce and keeps the stuff sticking to the pasta.  Add pesto.  Season with salt and pepper.   Cook up for a few minutes until it's all rightly mixed.  Top with some lovely cheese.

I'm thinking leftovers or maybe take out.  It's shaping up to be an exhausting Thursday.

And now...  German potato salad!
This comes from Grill it Right, a cookbook Phil has had since college and the days of his indoor plug-in grill.

3 med. potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
4 slices bacon
1 med. onion, chopped
1/2 c finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp pepper
1/3 c water
1/4 c cider vinegar

1.  Cook potatoes in boiling water for 10 minutes.  Drain, cool slightly.
2.  In large skillet, cook bacon till crisp.  Crumble.  Drain, reserve 2 tbsp drippings.  Cook onion and celery in reserved drippings until tender (I know, it makes me cringe to write that, but we don't eat it very often, so it can't be that bad, right?)  Stir in flour, sugar, salt, celery seed, mustard, pepper.  Add water and vinegar.  Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.  Remove from heat, stir in bacon.
3.  Use a 36 X 18 pc of aluminum foil.  Fold in half so you have a double thickness 18 x 18 square.  Put potatoes in center.  Pour dressing over.  Bring 2 opposite edges of foil together and seal with a double fold.  Fold remaining ends to completely enclose potato mixure, leaving space for steam to build.
4.  Grill foil packet on the grill rack of a grill directly over medium to medium high heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.

Monday, March 16, 2009

No plan yet, sorry

I just got home from a reading conference -- been out of town since Friday.  It hit me driving home that I'd have to re-enter the real world a little bit -- think about something besides reading and thinking and lofty stuff like that.  I'd have to remember about laundry and, oh yeah, what the heck will we eat this week?  Do we even have any groceries?

When I got home at 5, Phil was chopping and cooking.  He made a lovely dinner tonight -- German potato salad and shish kebab...  just an excuse to grill.

I'll post the potato salad recipe when I'm not so sleepy.

And this might be another quesadilla week.  We'll see what my motivation is like tomorrow!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

March 8 - 12

Did you ever have a week where you didn't think you had an extra 30 minutes to cook dinner?  That was last week.  I didn't post, and I'm a bit embarrassed to recap now...  just not a good dinner week.  We did have quesadillas one night with goat cheese...  that was good.  I'm so glad Mike made quesadillas all the time when we lived together in Alma -- I learned it from her, and it's my super-fast-fallback-food now.

Anyway, we plan to do better this week:

We're roasting a chicken!  Mix up a bunch of chopped garlic, some lovely herbs, salt and pepper, olive oil, white wine, then loosen the skin so you can shove the mixture between the skin and the meat.  I even read a recipe for Psycho Chicken once...  basically the same ingredients, but you stab the chicken repeatedly with a big knife (hence the "Psycho") so the good stuff gets down into the meat even more.  A bit more salt and pepper on the skin, then tent with foil and into the oven at about 400 (maybe a bit less).  After about an hour, take the foil off and keep cooking until it's done.  I use a meat thermometer -- I can't remember now what the internal temperature should be.

We'll roast sweet potatoes too -- cut in chunks, dress with olive oil, salt and pepper, spread on a pan for about 30 minutes.

Baby broccoli -- steam/saute for a few minutes.

Quesadillas again -- use the leftover chicken!
Saute an onion, some garlic, the chicken, maybe a few black beans.
Put a tortilla on a warm skillet (you can spray with cooking spray first), spread mixture out on the tortilla, sprinkle cheese, add another tortilla, cook until 1st side's toasted, then flip.  That's the messy part, but you get to snack on anything that flies out of the quesadilla.  It's the rule.

Salsa, sour cream, chopped avocado on the side.


Random pasta night:
Saute an onion (confession:  95% of the things I cook start this way)
add some mushrooms, whatever other veggies are left over/laying around -- a bit of zucchini?  a tomato?
Cook up pasta.  When it's almost done, add to the veggie saute, add some pesto, a bit of the pasta water, simmer a bit until the starchy water and the pesto make a sauce, add some salt and pepper, sprinkle with cheese.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

February 22 - 26

We made massive quantities of spaghetti sauce yesterday (had to move things from the regular-sized stock pot to the "I Mean Business" -sized stockpot) and so are trying to figure out how to incorporate leftovers into our week without turning tomato-sauce colored.


I'm thinking just straightforward spaghetti again tonight.  There's leftover garlic bread too.  Shall I breathe my garlicky breath on you?


Pork tenderloin, sweet potato

We found this bottle of white zinfandel in our wine rack that we received as a gift.  Thought it would be lovely with some pork, so we'll try this:

Sear a whole tenderloin in a pan.  Pull it out.  Add some chopped onion, garlic, apples.  Saute.  Pour in some of the sweet wine, deglaze the pan, put the pork back in, simmer it up.

Also, roast some sweet potatoes in the oven.  Chop, olive oil, salt, pepper, spread on a sheet and bake at 400 for 20 - 30 or so minutes.


An actual recipe...  this one's from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home book:

Black Bean Soup (I'll cut the recipe in half, but I'm typing the whole thing here so I don't have to do any division this morning)

10 sun dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1 cup boiling water

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced, or 1/4 tsp cayenne
2 tablespoons veg. oil
1 tsp ground cumin (I will not cut this in half, for I am a lover of cumin)
1/3 c water
3 c undrained canned tomatoes (28 oz can)
4 c undrained cooked black beans (2 16 oz cans)
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro (but let's be real...  I'll be using the dried stuff, since it's February and I really hate to buy herbs at the grocery store unless ABSOLUTELY necessary...  several dollars for a few leaves seems silly to me)
additional water or tomato juice

yogurt or sour cream

1.  In a small bowl, cover the sun-dried tomatoes with boiling water, set aside.
2.  In a soup pot, saute onions, garlic, chile/cayenne.
3.  Add cumin, 1/3 c water, juice of tomatoes.
4.  Chop up tomatoes, add them.  Cover and bring to a boil.
5.  Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
6.  Add black beans and their liquid (although, you know, I'll probably rinse them and just compensate with some extra water... there's soooo much salt in the liquid in bean cans)
7.  Simmer and stir.
8.  Drain and chop the sun-dried tomatoes.  Add to the soup and cook for 5 or 10 minutes more.
9.  Puree half the soup and return it to the pot (I love my stick blender -- I can just put it right in the pot so I don't have to mess with pouring some of the hot soup into a blender and burning myself and making a huge mess).  If it's too thick, add water or tomato juice.
10.  Serve with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.



Um, leftovers?


wheat pilaf (you know, from the box?)

Monday, February 16, 2009

February 16 - 19

Happy Presidents' Day!  

Monday, February 16

Tuesday, February 17

Vegetable Barley soup
1/c barley
olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 parsnips, diced
salt and pepper
2 cans of tomatoes
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained

Cook barley according to package directions.
Heat oil in large pot.  Add carrots, celery, onion, parsnip, salt, pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies begin to soften.
Add tomatoes & juices and 3 cups water.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until soup is slightly thickened and veggies are tender.
Add kale and simmer until tender.   Stir in chickpeas and cooked barley and heat.

Wednesday, February 18

Leftover soup is SUPER!!!

Thursday, February 19

Pasta with shrimp and pesto and veggies.
Is a recipe really necessary?
Cook the pasta,
cook up veggies (onion, garlic, maybe some broccoli from the freezer, red bell pepper)
Add the shrimp, cook some more
Add pesto
Add pasta with some of the pasta water (all the starch in the water makes the veggies and pesto stick to the noodles)
Top with cheesy cheese.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

February 8 -12

It's sunny and melty out today, and so, even though I know winter will be back, I'm pretending it's early spring.  I want to make salads and light things, but I'll try to ease in...

Homemade pizza -- we make the dough (1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 white) in the food processor, then top with all sorts of good stuff.  Probably some sweet Italian chicken sausage, mushrooms, artichokes, onion, red pepper...  I have to learn to scale back on toppings.  Top it off with some mozzarella and parmesan cheese, bake for about 25 minutes at 425.

We'll have salad too.

Colcannon (and we'll add some bacon -- Irish food always needs bacon)

Pasta night!  Probably penne, but who knows?
Saute some mushrooms, tomato, pesto, cannellini beans, add in the pasta, mix it up, sprinkle with parmesan.  Yummy!

Oh you know it...  leftovers.

I'm thinking sandwiches...  What about grilled ham and cheese?  I'm thinking about the panini that Mike and Dave had yesterday afternoon at the Book Cadillac lobby bar (while Phil and I munched the homemade potato chips)...  I wasn't hungry then, but it looked sooooo good.  Is it worth it to buy a panini maker?  Probably not, but I'll be thinking about those sandwiches for a while.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

February 1 - 5

And now, on to dinner...

Sunday, February 1
Even though we're too lazy to go out for Super Bowl (and I'm always in my pajamas by halftime -- why oh why do they have it on Sunday nights?) we make appetizers and graze the day away instead of making actual meals.

Here's what we're having today:

Panko-crusted Pepper Parmesan Chicken Strips (It's a wing recipe, but we're using strips of chicken breast instead) with celery, carrots and ranch for dipping

Stuffed mushrooms:  saute some spicy jalapeno chicken sausage (or whatever...  it's what we had in the freezer), add a bit of chopped onion, maybe some shredded zucchini, salt and pepper, stuff into mushroom caps, bake for 15 - 20 minutes.

Monday, February 2

Meatball & Broccoli Spaghetti

This is a recipe I had growing up that my mom ripped out of a magazine.  I get a craving for it every few years.  I've adjusted it a bit from the original...  And this is one of those recipes where measuring is optional.  My favorite!

chopped mushrooms  (8 oz or so)
olive oil
beef or vegetable broth or stock (2c)
1 lb. ground beef  (we'll use venison, I bet turkey would be good too)
1 c broken spaghetti
3 c chopped broccoli
parmesan cheese

Saute mushrooms in olive oil until tender.  Add broth, bring to a boil.  Combine beef, salt and pepper.  Shape into walnut-sized meatballs.  Drop in broth, simmer 10 minutes.  Stir in spaghetti, cook 10 minutes (or a bit less), stir in broccoli, cook 10 minutes or until broccoli is done.  Top with parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, February 3

Wednesday, February 4

We're finding that Wed. tends to be a good leftover day.  So, leftovers.

Thursday, February 5

This meal is based on barbecue sauce.  We have a local company, Sansonetti foods, that makes BQ sauce, salsa, etc.  Bought some of the barbecue sauce last summer at the farmers' market and haven't used it yet.  But tonight we will!  And we'll pretend summer is coming soon.

Grilled salmon with barbecue sauce
Roasted baby redskin potatoes
Grilled green beans (wrap 'em in foil with olive oil, salt, pepper, put on the top rack and let 'em cook along with the salmon).

If only there was corn on the cob...

It's February Now! Let's have breakfast.

One of the best parts about training for a marathon is that sometimes I wake up just starving, and once in a while I feel like I can indulge and make a lovely breakfast.  So no, it wasn't dinner, but I made coffee cake this morning and wanted to share the recipe.  It's from a wedding shower my co-workers threw for me back in '97 -- everyone gave a recipe.  I've changed schools 3 times since, but I'm once again teaching with the person who gave me this recipe -- thanks, Pat!

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
1/4 lb butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt (I added that -- I just think baked goods need salt -- K)

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add sour cream, vanilla, mix.  Add flour, baking powder and soda (and salt).  Beat for 5 minutes.  

Mix together some brown sugar and cinnamon.

Put half the batter in a greased tube pan.  Put the sugar & cinnamon mixture in.  Add the rest of the batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 - 40 min.

Peeled grapefruit (yum) goes well with this!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

January 25 - 30

Last week was just an awful week, the kind of week where, when you get home, you just want to sit and stare at a wall.  And so, a lot of things we planned didn't quite get done.  Meals?  eh -- not really.  I made that soup on Tuesday and let it carry me through the week, though I did bring bad grocery store sushi for lunch one day.   Ugh.

And so, this week, we'll try again to make the things we thought we'd make in the last few weeks, but life sort of smacked us upside the head and said, "I don't think so."  So this week, we're saying to life, "Nanner nanner boo boo, I'm making pad thai and you can't stop me."

Sunday, January 25

We're trying again on the Turkey Meatloaf from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook -- I listed the recipe a few weeks back.  It's one of those meals that we just couldn't quite get our act together for...  We'll have it with some roasted carrots and potatoes, salad, and homemade bread.  (I've decided to try making my own bread, so this week I'm trying a recipe from Alton Brown:  Knead Not Sourdough.)

Monday, January 26

Tuesday, January 27

Wednesday, January 28

I'm betting it'll be leftovers

Thursday, January 29

We're trying the pad thai with tofu and shrimp that I talked about having last Thursday.  This time I mean it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

January 18 - 23

The candy from the holidays is finally all gone, except for the 2 big fair trade fancy chocolate bars my mom got us, and you can't really nibble on those -- you have to commit.  So maybe the endless grazing will settle down.  But probably not so much.

And after that fun update on my chocolate supply, this is what we'll eat before we wish for chocolate every night!


Salmon (probably pan-roasted in our beautiful new Christmas-gift skillet -- salt and pepper, heat a bit of olive oil, cook until it has a gorgeous crust)
Oven-roasted potatoes and carrots (chop 'em, dress in oil, salt, pepper -- the universal seasonings, you know -- and put on a pan in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes)

Maybe today is when we try the creme brulee!

And also...  homemade bread.  The breadmaker from our wedding finally died.  So I'm trying to make bread by hand.  The kind I made this week comes from a recipe in the New York Times.


Venison fajitas:  Saute onion, garlic, mushroom, red bell pepper in olive oil until tender.  Add thinly sliced venison steak, cook for a few minutes.  Add some fajita-like spices (ancho chili powder?  garlic powder?  anything red that isn't paprika?) and a bit of water, simmer.

Steam fajita wrappers over the simmering mixture.

Fill your wrapper, top with sour cream, shredded cabbage, avocado, cheese, salsa, whatever.


Happy inauguration day!

Ham and bean soup:
In addition to the fair-trade chocolate, my mom also gave us some Six Bean Organic Soup Mix from the Women's Bean Project, a non-profit that employs women who have experienced chronic unemployment, poverty or difficult life situations.  It's in Colorado.  She finds this stuff at, a site that supports farmers and artists around the world.  It's pretty cool.

So, we're going to use the beans, soak them overnight, rinse, and put in the slow cooker.  We'll add the spice packet that came along, along with a chopped onion, a big can of diced tomatoes, more water, chopped garlic, and an anniversary ham bone (it's from the ham we had for Phil's parents' anniversary party -- we wrapped them and saved them in the freezer for winter soup!).

We'll slow cooker it all day and see what we get.


I'm guessing it'll be leftovers.


Crispy Tofu Pad Thai (but we're putting some shrimp in, too)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

January 10 - 15

Are you totally feeling the need to sit on the couch and eat warm things?  Salad totally does not appeal right now.  Ugh.  I've also started my "official" (i.e.  I made a plan and put it on the fridge) marathon training, so I'm needing to think about what I'm eating as my miles increase.  All signs point to soup.


Saturday, January 10
We contemplated going out tonight, but it's been snowing all day...  enough of an excuse to stay in.  But we'll eat well:

Oven-roasted potatoes
Oven-roasted brussels sprouts (with big chunks of garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper...  sprinkle parmesan 5 minutes before done)

Also, Phil found a recipe for peanut butter and banana ice cream.  So we'll drag out the ice cream maker sometime this weekend too.

Sunday, January 11
We've both been craving french onion soup, but I've been cranky about all the butter.  So Phil found an alternate recipe that we'll try -- you roast onions, shallots and garlic in the oven first.  Yummy!

Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches

Monday, January 12
Chicken Pizza Italiano
This is another Phil recipe.  He has this cookbook from college, Best Recipes from the Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars.  Oh dear.  He loves this recipe:
2 whole chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. each garlic salt, onion powder and sugar
shredded Mozzarella cheese

Place chicken in baking dish.  Combine sauce and spices, pour over chicken, cover and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Top with cheese and continue to bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

We'll have broccoli and bread, too.

Tuesday, January 13

Garden minestrone:

Chop about a cup each of eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash.  
Chop half a cup each of red bell pepper and onion.
Mince a few garlic cloves.

Put it all in a big soup pot and saute until onion is tender.

Add about 28 oz. vegetable broth, 1 28 oz can of tomatoes, a bay leaf, and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer 15 min.  Remove bay leaf.

Add some chopped parsley, 1 tbsp (or more) pesto, some oregano, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 2 cans drained and rinsed chickpeas.  Cook 5 minutes or so.  

Stir in about 2 c chopped spinach, serve.

You can sprinkle parmesan on top.

This will be leftovers for Wednesday, too.

Thursday, January 15

Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia (or whatever fish looks good when I get to the store)
Roasted potatoes and carrots
Maybe some peas

Saturday, January 3, 2009

January 4 - 9

We've realized that eating this many cookies is probably not good.  So I'm thinking less sugar, more veggies this week...   Ah, January.

Sunday, January 4

Yummy bread

Monday, January 5

Szechuan noodles (from Ina's Barefoot Contessa cookbook)
This recipe serves 6 - 8, so I'll cut it in half.  And, as always, I'll see the measurements as mere suggestions...  This is the recipe as it's listed in the book (not the cut in half version)

6 garlic cloves, chopped 1/4 c fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 c vegetable oil 1/2 cup tahini
1/2 c smooth peanut butter 1/2 cup good soy sauce (can there be bad soy sauce?)
1/4 c dry sherry 1/4 c sherry vinegar
1/4 c honey 1/2 tsp hot chili oil
2 T dark sesame oil 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne 1 lb spaghetti
1 red bell pepper, julienned 1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
4 scallions, sliced diagonally

In a food processor, add garlic and ginger, veg. oil, tahini, p. butter, soy sauce, sherry, vinegar, honey, chili oil, sesame oil and pepper (black and cayenne).  Puree sauce.

Cook spaghetti al dente.  Drain and put in bowl.  Add sauce, bell peppers and scallions to bowl, toss to coat.  Serve warm or room temperature.

Tuesday, January 6

(Not Your Average) Mushroom Barley Medley (from Quick and Healthy Recipes for Vibrant Living)

Again, this recipe makes 8 - 10 servings, so I'll pretty much cut it in half, and still have leftovers for tomorrow.  The recipe I'm listing is the whole thing.

16 oz. chopped mixed mushrooms (all kinds)
2 portobello mushrooms
olive oil
2 chopped large onions
2 minced cloves garlic
2 c turnip cubes, 1/2 inch dice
1 tsp dried or 1 tbsp fresh thyme
1/4 tsp salt
4 c nonfat or lowfat cream of mushroom soup
4 c low sodium french onion soup (though I think I might just use vegetable stock instead)
1/3 c pearl barley

Chop mushrooms.  Heat oil, add onions, garlic, turnip, thyme, saute until onions are golden.  Add mushrooms and salt and turn heat to low.  Stir 20 - 30 min until almost all liquid is evaporated.   Add both soups (or stock) and barley, heat to a boil, reduce heat, cover, simmer.  The soup is ready when the barley is soft (40 minutes is usually adequate).  Add stock to control thickness of soup.

Karen's note:  I might begin cooking barley in the stock in another pan while the mushroom mixture is cooking, to save on time.  We'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, January 7

Leftover day...

Thursday, January 8

More Barefoot Contessa!
This time, it's Turkey Meat Loaf and Roasted Carrots:

For the meatloaf (which, again serves 8 - 10, so I'll AT LEAST cut it in half, if not more)

3 c chopped yellow onion 2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt 1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp fresh thyme (1/2 tsp dried) 1/3 c Worcestershire sauce
3/4 c chicken stock 5 lb (or way less, for us) ground turkey breast
1 1/2 tsp tomato paste (have you seen it in the tube, like toothpaste?  so much easier!)
1 1/2 c plain dry bread crumbs 3 extra-large eggs, beaten
3/4 c ketchup

Preheat oven to 325.  Saute in olive oil the onions, salt, pepper and thyme until onions are translucent.  Add Worc. sauce, chicken stock, tomato paste, mix well.  Cook to room temp.

Combine turkey, crumbs, egg and onion mixture in a large bowl.  Mix well and shape into rectangular loaf on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Spread ketchup evenly on top.  Bake 1 1/2 hours (I'm assuming I'll adjust the time for the smaller loaf) until internal temp is 160.  A pan of hot water in the oven, under the meat loaf, will keep the top from cracking.

Roasted carrots (adapted from Barefoot Contessa)
Slice carrots into big slices.  Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Put on baking sheet and roast in oven until roasty and goldeny.  You can toss with minced dill or parsley if you want, season, and eat!

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