Sunday, September 23, 2012

September 23 - 28

Happy fall!  Here's how I'm celebrating:  freezing inside my 63-degree house, yet not wanting to turn the furnace on for the first time.  Instead, I keep cooking things and burning candles.  WAY more efficient, right?

So we're settling into a kind of back-to-school, back-to-real-life routine.  And sitting down to plan a menu this time of year (when the freezer's full of summer veggies, and I've got stacks and stacks of canned goodies to choose from) is kind of like a free-for-all.  But planning a menu when you're hungry is sort of like grocery shopping when you're hungry, especially when the choices are limitless.  It's dangerous.  So I might find myself doing some editing as the week goes on, but here's the plan for now.

I was originally thinking chili, but we're only 2 days into fall, so there's LOTS of time for that, right?  Instead, I'm satisfying my urge for tomatoes and beans with Pasta Fagioli soup.  Quicker, a little more veggie-fied than chili, but still highly dippable with the yummy bread I got at Eastern Market yesterday.

Breakfast for dinner!
Pumpkin pancakes, sausage, and sliced apples.

For the pumpkin pancakes:
Mix together 1/2 c white flour, 1/2 c whole wheat flour
Add 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt
In another bowl, mix together 1 beaten egg, 1/2 c milk or water (we never have milk when it's pancake time), 2 tablespoons cooking oil, and 1/2 - 1 c pumpkin puree.  (I start with 1/2 c, then after I mix the wet and dry ingredients, I add more if the mixture is too dry).  Use about 1/4 c batter for each pancake.

Maple syrup is so extra yummy on pumpkin pancakes.

Clams with bread and salad:

Steam clams in a broth made with onion, garlic, and white wine.  After that, pull them out, add some tomatoes and cook it down a bit.  Pour sauce back over the clams and use the bread for dipping the sauce.

I'm thinking a plain old salad with balsamic vinegar to go with.

Turkey burgers with swiss cheese
Oven roasted cauliflower
Sauteed cabbage

Grilled salmon with roasted brussels sprouts and balsamic lentils (cook lentils and serve with balsamic vinegar drizzled over 'em.  Quite lovely, I think.)

Homemade pizza!  I canned some sauce for the very first time on Saturday, and I'm anxious to try it out.  I made 14 jars, so I hope I like it.  (If not, everyone's getting pizza sauce for Christmas!)  The crust recipe is posted in last week's post.

Have a great week.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September 16 - 20

If you know me at all, you know I tend to get ahead of myself during the edges of seasons.  I know it's technically still summer, but since it has been cooling off enough at night to sleep beautifully, I've been itching for fall.  Which is weird, because I'm a big big fan of summer.  But mentally I'm ready for lentils and soups and squashes.  (Which sounds fantastic when you wake up at 5:30 in the morning and it's 44 degrees outside, but not so much when you get home from work and it's sunny and almost 80.)

So I'm checking the weekly weather forecast before I make my food plan.  And just like my closet (which I worked on today, pulling out the MOST summery stuff, and beginning to add some of my cooler weather clothes), this week's menu is a mix and match of the seasons we're straddling.  See what you think.

Homemade pizza (I've posted my crust recipe here, with a mix of equal parts whole wheat and white flour.)
We'll top it with some basics:  onion, red pepper, chicken sausage, mushrooms, and maybe a bit of broccoli for fun.  Some hunks from a ball of mozzarella, and we'll be good to go!

Some delicious Fat Tire (now available in Michigan!) to go with.

Because the Lions are playing on Sunday night -- so we NEED football food for dinner.

My tomatoes have done exceedingly well this year, so I'm still finding ways to use them all up.  I'll make tomatoes stuffed with mushrooms, parmesan and spinach.  I can't wait.

The weather forecast is saying it will be cool on Tuesday, and maybe even rainy, so we're making meatloaf.  I don't crave it very often, and so I don't even have a go-to recipe...  so much time passes between each time I make it, I can't remember how I made it last time.  The fun thing is that I get to look for a new recipe each time I want it.  I'm trying Alton Brown's (from the Food Network) recipe this time.  It has cayenne and cumin in it, which are two of my favorite spices in the whole world.

We'll probably do some boiled baby potatoes and broccoli with it -- just a pretty basic dinner.

It's supposed to be nice out, so we'll grill -- chicken breasts, salmon fillets, or turkey burgers (they're all in our freezer right now, so we'll pick on Tuesday or Wednesday).  Salad and bread to go with.

One fall thing I love is stuffed acorn squash -- baking a squash, creating a filling, then putting the two together and baking some more.  There was a recipe in this month's Eating Well magazine for Curried Lentil Stuffed Squash that reminded me how much I liked this, and got me thinking about the stuffings I could make.  I think I'll steal the lentil idea, but I'll also add some turkey sausage, roasted and marinated red pepper, sauteed mushroom and onion, and some shredded parmesan cheese on top.  Or maybe feta.  Or goat cheese.  Thursday's still a long way off.  I have time to decide.

Have a great week!

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