Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Menu Planning

This week I am winging it.  I try to make meal plan for the week, but I hate doing it.  When I make a plan pulling dinner together every night is a snap.  When I do not make a plan, every night making dinner feels like a chore.

Why don't I just do a plan then?  I think it is due procrastination and laziness.  It usually takes me a couple of hours to come up with a plan and put together a shopping list.  Because it takes so long I put it off until next week.  I need to come up with a faster way to menu plan.  Or maybe I need to plan for a couple of weeks at a time.   Maybe DaGoof could come up with a few suggestions for things he would like to eat.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sloppy Joes & Moomies Beautiful Burger Buns

Tonight we had sloppy joes and salad for dinner.  I started with an old Cooking Light recipe, and made a couple of minor modifications.  I added some diced mushrooms since I had them on hand, switched an orange bell pepper for the green, and used turkey instead of beef.  DaGoof and I really liked these but the kids were indifferent, they picked at the meat a little but just devoured the bread.

I mostly followed Moomie's Beautiful Burger Buns recipe.  The only change I made was to use 5 ounces of whole wheat flour and 8.75 ounces of all purpose flour.  The rolls were a major hit!  The kids loved helping to shape the rolls, and they even enjoyed eating them more.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rotini and Meat Sauce

Tuesday night I had a pound of hamburg I wanted to use up, and DaGirl requested spaghetti.  Here is an easy solution to that made us both happy.

Quick Meat Sauce

olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, grated
red wine
2 cans diced tomatoes (undrained)
Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add olive oil, onion carrot and garlic, saute until veggies start to soften.  Add hamburg and break up spoon.  Once the meat is cooked add about a cup of red wine.  When most of the liquid has evaporated add tomatoes, Italian seasoning and tomato paste.  Simmer 10 - 20 minutes.  Toss with pasta, serve with a generous sprinkling of cheese, and a simple salad.

I found the sauce to be a little bland.  Next time I need to add a little bit of red pepper flakes, and use sausage instead of the ground beef.  I made four cups of rotini which gave us enough for dinner and about 2 more lunches.

Chicken Soup

Monday there seemed to be a few upset tummies in the house so for dinner I made a simple chicken soup.  It is one of my favorite things to make.  I clean out the veggie drawer, add a little chicken, throw in some egg noodles and dinner is done.  Being inspired by several cooking shows I typically put a large pan on the back burner and chop up my veggies and toss them in as I go.  I usually use homemade broth from the freezer but since I was out of it I used some boxed broth.  The following is about what I did on Monday but since it is a soup the recipe is very flexible.  Use whatever is on hand, every pot of soup should be a little different than the last!

Chicken Soup

1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 small onions, diced
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium stalks of celery, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 quart chicken broth
1 large chicken breast, diced
1 1/2 c egg noodles
2 sprigs of thyme
black pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas

Put a large pot on medium heat drizzle in olive oil and start chopping.  Add the veggies to the pan and stir frequently.  Once the veggies start to soften add the chicken broth.  Bring broth to a boil add chicken and simmer a few minutes.  Once chicken is almost cooked through add in egg noodles, thyme and pepper.  A few minutes before the egg noodles are done add the corn and peas, continue cooking until everything is heated through.

For the little people I serve the soup with a handful of frozen peas.  The peas cool off the soup and the kids get a little bit of extra veggies.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ham Ham Ham... and more Ham

I think I have had my fill of ham.  The rest of the leftovers are destined for the freezer, until I am ready to eat ham again.  We have had ham & pineapple pizza, mac & cheese with ham and broccoli, ham sandwiches and of course the week started with ham and mashed potatoes.  I have run out of hammy ideas, but what should we have for dinner tonight?

Monday, April 5, 2010


Friday night I picked up the smallest spiral ham I could find at the grocery store.  Tonight I heated it up and whipped up a pile of mashed potatoes for dinner.  I rounded out the meal with some mixed vegetables. 

Now I have about 8.5 pounds of leftover ham.  I think we will be eating ham all week.  I have had one request for mac and cheese with ham tomorrow night.  Maybe ham and pineapple pizza Wednesday... Ham sandwiches...  What else can I make with the leftover ham??

Easter Baking

This weekend was Easter and we had dinner at my parent's house.  Which means that I just had to bring something to share.  When I asked what I could bring my mom requested a desert and bread.

For desert I made bunny and butterfly shaped sugar cookies with the little man.  I followed the recipe, I found at the King Arthur website, exactly for turning the dough into the perfect dough for rollout cookies except that I added cinnamon to the flour mixture.  I also made a simple icing with water, powdered sugar and a bit of vanilla to decorate the cookies.

For the bread I pulled a recipe for challah bread out of the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  The two loaves I brought to share were wolfed down.  Everybody said they loved the bread.  My favorite part, there is enough dough to make two more loaves in the refrigerator.  French toast this weekend??  I sure hope so!