Friday, September 30, 2011

Weekly Menu.

Thanks for all your feedback and tips on my menu planning post. I love your ideas and hope to implement a few of them in our home, especially more crock pot meals and early day preparation.

Here's a run down of what we're eating this week:

individual chicken pot pies and homemade applesauce w/ a green salad - Sundays are a great day for me to make a big, nice meal. Some Sundays it doesn't happen, but this time of year, I definitely feel the urge to cook more. This recipe is one of the best in my recipe box. My children feel so special when they have their very own pot pie sitting in front of them. It's a bit of a process to make this meal, but it's one that I enjoy because it's such a great recipe. When I get to the part where I make the roux, and all of a sudden the mixture turns into a beautiful, creamy texture, I feel like a real chef. Silly, I know. I used Danyelle's adaptation of Ina's recipe and added a few cooked and chopped potatoes to make it heartier. Brandon likes heartier. I don't really have a recipe for my applesauce, I just core, peel, and slice apples [whatever we may have on the farm] and boil them for 10-15 minutes in about an inch of water, covered, then use my hand immersion blender to give them a rough chop. [I like it kind of chunky.] Then season to taste with sugar and cinnamon. It's a fast, easy side dish great for this time of year.

chili and cornbread w/ honey butter - Monday felt like Autumn and this meal was the perfect comfort food. Plus, we had a blood drive yesterday and we've been trying to eat high iron foods to prepare. Red meat and beans. Perfect. I tried the Pioneer Woman's chili recipe and it turned out excellent [we just ate it in bowls, not a frito bag :] and used this cornbread recipe because it was touted as being moist. It wasn't moist enough for me. I'm still on the search for a really moist cornbread recipe. If you know of one, please share :)

meatloaf and mashed potatoes w/ a tossed salad - Tuesday had even more of a chill in the air and more comfort food high in iron was on the menu. Meatloaf can sound like a gross idea, and even while cooking, it's not very appetizing, but I really like this recipe. I had made it once before, and tried it again, this time using real Panko breadcrumbs and it was delicious. I made sure to buy very lean ground beef so that there wasn't a lot of fat and grease to deal with. The mashed potatoes are the Big Martha recipe, which is rich and decadent, but once in a while, rich and decadent is nice, right? One thing I do differently than the recipe is leave the potato skins on. Our family likes it that way. We also had a green tossed salad loaded with veggies to balance out the meal.

cashew chicken and brown rice w/ steamed broccoli - Wednesdays are a bit of a busy day for us because I teach piano after school and then we all have meetings at the church in the evening. Add in sports practices and homework and it's just a crazy day. This Martha Stewart cashew chicken recipe is a quick and simple recipe that my family really likes and can be prepared in just 30 minutes. I found it via Stephmodo last year and it's become a regular in our meal rotation. The recipe uses hoisin sauce which is easy to find at any grocery store usually in the aisle with Asian ingredients like soy sauce. We prefer brown rice to white so that's what we serve the dish with. Our family has a love/hate relationship with broccoli. A few of us love it, a couple of us hate it. Yeah, the haters weren't thrilled with this side dish. I discovered a new phrase this week on a Facebook thread that is my new dinner time motto, "Come to the table, have a look, the first complainer is the next meal's cook!" LOVE it!

leftovers night - Last night I didn't get home from the blood drive until after 8:00pm, and had been there since midday. I decided it would be a leftover day. We still had gobs of chili, and some cashew chicken and rice leftover as well. Just keepin' it real. Sometimes we have to be flexible :)

honey lime enchiladas and spanish coleslaw w/ corn black bean salad - Tonight we are going to a Mexican potluck where some friends are gathering to say goodbye to a couple of favorite people who are moving away. Here's what I'm taking to the potluck: This enchilada recipe is another Caroline recipe from the Zupas blog and it looks delicious. Honey + lime + enchiladas = yummy. The spanish coleslaw is an old favorite of mine because the vinegar and lime juice pair so well with cabbage and cilantro. It's a really easy, and refreshing side dish with any Mexican entree. Another great side dish I'm making is this salad. I've made it once before, and it was awesome. Corn, black beans, avocado, tomatoes and lime go together very very well.

potato, corn and ham chowder w/ dinner rolls - Tomorrow night, we will have one of our favorite soups. I make this soup often this time of year because everyone likes it, it's creamy and comforting, + it's simple. Perfect for a Saturday evening where we are all going different directions. You can view the recipe here and even click on the image to save and print it for your own recipe box.

** This week I did a little retail therapy and purchased a few cute things from this shop, which is working to raise money for a mother named Sharlie. She is battling Cystic Fibrosis and is waiting for a lung AND heart transplant. The blogging community is coming together to help her with medical costs and you can help too. I picked up this and this and this printable of a cute menu planner to print each week and hang on my fridge. Awesome!