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!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy Holidays!

So I haven't posted anything this week...  with the holidays, we've been visiting, we've been lazy, we've been eating whatever's closest (when we're even home) and that usually means COOKIES!!!

So I'm brewing new menus for next week, but just wanted to say a few things:

1.  Yes, this is really real.  We really do eat this stuff.  And if any of it seems hard or complicated, trust me, it's not.  Precision is not a strong suit in this Allmen household.  

2.  I got a new cookbook!  It's The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, and it's gorgeous.  I sat on the couch this afternoon during the Michigan State game and read THE WHOLE THING...  and it's hard to decide what to make first.  Yay, new cookbooks!

3.  I also got MY VERY OWN BLOWTORCH (for kitchen use, not for welding) for Christmas.  It came with a demand, though:  an invite for creme brulee was necessary.  So now I need to learn to cook creme brulee.  I imagine lots and lots of practice batches to get it "just right."

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