Monday, February 20, 2012

Menu Plan + Sausage+Mozzarella Pasta Recipe

I'm probably speaking to dead air, but I thought I'd start posting here again. I've got a few recipes I've begun making that I'd like to have handy here, so hopefully blogging once a year won't become a habit.

This week:
(In no particular order this time--scandalous!)

1) Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
Sesame Noodles with cilantro
Homemade egg rolls or potstickers (I have both in the freezer, so we'll decide which sounds better that night.)

2) Hot Chicken Salad
Steamed Green Beans

3) Ham
Mashed Potatoes
Salad

4) This dish: (I have some lightening-up modifications in mind, but here it is as it was served to us at a friend's house a few weeks ago. It is her parents' recipe, and she was kind enough to share!)
Sausage & Mozzarella Pasta
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tbs olive oil
3/4 lb spicy Italian sausage, casing split & removed
4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
2 1/2 tbs dried oregano
2 tbs sugar
1 1/2 tbs tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
1 lb mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 box Penne Pasta

In a large skillet, melt the butter with the oil over medium heat.
Crumble in the sausage, and the garlic and onions.
Saute until the sausage just begins to brown, 7 to 10 minutes.
Carefully, pour off the fat.
Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with your hands.
Stir in the cream, oregano, sugar, tomato paste, salt and bay leaves.
Gently boil until fairly thick, 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves and stir in the mozzarella cheese.
Simmer just until the cheese begins to melt, about 2 minutes.
Spoon over cooked pasta.

5) Scalloped Potatoes with Ham and Peas

We used to do leftovers on Saturdays. Well, not anymore. Sunday lunches were stressing me out--by the time we got home, our youngest two couldn't decide whether they were tired or hungry, or both, and were generally miserable. Now, I usually make something light on Saturday, or we rely on things like salads and sandwiches, and we save leftovers for Sunday afternoons. That way, we can come home, zap stuff in the microwave, and get the Littles in bed tout suite. Also, reserving leftovers for Sundays means we don't fall into the expensive "let's-just-grab-takeout" habit too often. I do enjoy having a nice family meal on Sundays, but I've come to realize that for our family, it's more about who we're eating with (ourselves! all at a table! together!) than what we're eating. The kids and Hubs don't care what they're eating, as long as it's tasty; I was the only one who wanted something traditional and fancy. But I also want sanity. So, at least for the foreseeable future, leftovers it is.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Menu Plan

Another week, another menu plan. I'm starting to get a bit busy at home--I'm almost 37 weeks along in my pregnancy, so in theory, this baby could come at any time. I'm feeling the need to prepare for this--cleaning and organizing, washing baby clothes, shopping for things like newborn diapers and such, and so on and so on. You might call it nesting. I call it clearing-the-clutter-to-make-room-for-the-chaos. In light of this, this week's menu is heavy on items that are easy for me to prepare. No apologies here! These are all yummy things that we love to eat. It should be a good--and hopefully productive--week.

Monday
Maple-Sesame Fried Rice
Pork Pot Stickers (from a box. I love homemade, but they definitely don't fit in with the easy-to-prepare theme this week)

Tuesday
Mockzagna
Salad

Wednesday
BLTs on Homemade Challah
Tomato Soup

Thursday
Honey Roasted Chicken
Roasted potatoes
Salad
Challah

Friday
Chicken Tetrazzini OR Chicken Enchiladas

Saturday
Vegetable Beef Soup

Sunday
Leftovers

What's on your menu this week? I'm always looking for new ideas!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Menu Plan

This week is a little bit funny. For the first time ever, and only for this week, Abe's work schedule won't permit him to be a home at dinner time. That means the rest of us are on our own. That's one less parent to watch kids while the other one (me) fixes dinner, one less parent to fight the almost-inevitable dinnertime battles, one less parent to clean up. In light of this arrangement, I've decided this week's meals are going to be easy and VERY kid-friendly. This week is about picking my battles, and I've decided dinner is one battle we can shelve for the time being. Here's this week's menu:

Monday
Steak Salad
Bread

Tuesday
Homemade Chicken Nuggets
Oven Fries
Cut-up veggies and dip

Wednesday
Sloppy Joes
Mac n Cheese
Peas

Thursday
Turkey Pot Pie

Friday
Pick-a-recipe-from-a-cookbook day

Saturday
Leftovers

Sunday
Takeout

Monday, January 31, 2011

Menu Plan

Okay. I've concocted a menu plan, but I'm not feeling so great today, so absolutely nothing on it sounds good to me. With that in mind, there's a good chance that when I am feeling better, I'll make some changes. Even though I feel like I prepare a large variety of meals, when I look at my menu plans, they all somehow seem the same to me, and this week's seems especially boring.

Starting next week, I think I'm going to try a new approach or two to meal planning to try to break us free from meal boredom. First, I'd like to look at the menus of the restaurants we love and try to duplicate some of the things we like to order there--we don't eat out super often, so this may be a good way to make us feel like we do. Second, I'd like to take a new look at some of the cookbooks and cooking magazines I have on my shelves--there must be many yummy-looking recipes in them that I haven't tried yet. We may even develop a few new family favorites! Also, I may start leaving a day meal-plan-free and trying to be more creative on that day; last Saturday, I cooked up some yellow rice and combined it with leftover cooked chicken, and made some flavorful black beans to go with. We topped it all with cheese and sour cream, and I couldn't BELIEVE what a hit it was with my family. I was just looking for an easy way out of preparing a big, time-consuming meal, and my creativity paid off.

Well, enough talk of creative meals. Here's this week's boring meal plan!

Monday
Homemade pizza
Salad

Tuesday
Brats with onions and peppers
Oven Fries w/ parmesan and rosemary

Wednesday
Ham
Scalloped Au Gratin Potatoes
Peas

Thursday
Lemon Sage Butter Roasted Chicken
Herbed spaetzle
Broccoli

Friday
Chicken Noodle Soup
Homemade bread

Saturday
Leftovers

Sunday
TBS lunch; then Super Bowl food later. I haven't totally decided what, though...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu Plan

This week, I need quite a few quick, get-out-the-door meals. So that's what's on the menu!

Monday
BBQ Chicken Sandwiches w/ caramelized onions, cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce
Go-to Mac and Cheese

Tuesday
Ravioli "Lasagna" (layer cheese ravioli with sauce and mozzarella and bake for a shortcut lasagna)
Salad

Wednesday
Shepherd's Pie (I'll brown the ground beef the night before, when I make the "lasagna")

Thursday
Schultzie's Mess (big breakfast-for-dinner scramble with potatoes, ham, peppers, onions, cheese, and eggs)
Buttermilk biscuits with jam

Friday
Soup TBA

Saturday
leftovers

Sunday
takeout

Monday, January 17, 2011

What's a Meal Plan?

Just kidding. I almost always have one, I've just become such a horrible blogger that no one ever gets to see it except me. Which I guess is better than nothing. Here's this week's plan:

Monday
Cuban Sandwiches (sliced roasted pork, ham, pickles, provolone, mayo and mustard on a homemade soft, slightly-sweet mini baguette, grilled panini-style) (an dI will likely add sliced tomato and some greens to mine, 'cause I can)
Salad

Tuesday
Roasted chicken
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Glazed Carrots

Wednesday
Tortellini with chicken and pesto cream sauce
More Salad (I've got some nice greens I don't want to go to waste!)

Thursday
Roast Beef
Homemade noodles
Steamed Peas

Friday
Hawaiian Ham Steaks
Pineapple-almond Rice Pilaf
Veggie TBA

Saturday
Leftovers

Sunday
Chinese?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Menu Plan

This week:

Monday
Roast Beef
Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic
Glazed Carrots
Buttered Peas
Cole slaw
Rolls

Tuesday
French Chicken in a Pot
Rice pilaf
Broccoli with cheese sauce

Wednesday
French Dip Stromboli
JoJo Potatoes
Salad

Thursday
Homemade Pizza
Veggie Sticks and Dip

Friday
Sausage and Egg Casserole
Maple Streusel Muffins

Saturday
Leftovers for lunch, dinner with friends?

Sunday
Pasta with Pesto Alfredo Sauce and Chicken

Basic Sweet Dough

This one is a no-brainer: it's a recipe from America's Test Kitchen (foolproof), it's easy (thankyouverymuch), and it is perfect for any sweet dough application, like sticky buns, cinnamon rolls, hot cross buns, or Entenmann's-like danish. Oh, the deliciousness.

This basic recipe makes enough dough for three Entenmann's-sized danishes. My favorites are cream cheese and cinnamon (additional recipes to follow).

But here's where it all begins...

Basic Sweet Dough

3/4 c. buttermilk (or clabbered milk), warm
6 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled until just warm
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp.) yeast
1 tsp. salt

Whisk together the buttermilk, butter, and eggs.

In a large bowl, whisk together 4 cups of flour, the sugar, yeast, and salt. Add the buttermilk mixture and mix until the dough comes together. (I use a stand mixer for this, but if you don't have one, you can always do it by hand--it'll just mean more kneading)

Let your stand mixer mix the dough on medium-low for 10 minutes, or knead by hand for 10-15 minutes, adding flour as needed.

Knead the dough by hand on a floured counter top until it's smooth and elastic--about 1 minute. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

How you proceed depends on what you're making next; I divide it into three even portions when I'm making danishes/coffee cakes, but use the whole recipe of dough to make a 9x13 pan of sticky buns or cinnamon rolls.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Menu Plan

Coming soon: Recipe for homemade danish (my new obsession)

This week's menu plan:

Monday
Breaded Pan-fried Pork Chops
Green Bean Casserole

Tuesday
Chicken and Spinach Three-Cheese Stuffed Shells

Wednesday
French Dip Sandwiches
Potato Wedges
Salad

Thursday
Egg Rolls (holdover from last week)
Fried Rice
OR
Beef/Veggie Stir-fry

Friday
Kielbasa
Mashed Potatoes
Broccoli

Saturday
Leftovers

Sunday
Crock Pot Chicken-In-A-Pot
Glazed Carrots
Herbed Noodles

Monday, November 1, 2010

Menu Plan

I'm actually excited about this week's menu plan, which is a nice change! The kids and I went to the grocery store to pick up a prescription today and spent some time meandering the aisles, during which time I was reminded of a whole bunch of stuff I love, but haven't made in a while.

Here's this week's plan. But since there are a few TBA events this week, I've elected not to assign days to the meals; they'll just have to work themselves out according to how much time we have at home!

Taco Night
Spicy Shredded Beef
Mexican Rice
Refried Beans
Tortillas and fixins

Greeky Night
Greek chicken pita sandwiches (on Naan)
Greeky Greek Roasted Potatoes
Zataar and olive oil for dipping (not Greek, I know. but still good)

Italian Night (kinda)
Roasted Chicken w/ pesto vinaigrette
Spicy Orzo
Grilled Romaine Salad

Asian Night
Homemade Egg Rolls
Asian Chicken Wings
Sesame noodles, Lo mein-style

Tex-Mex Aberration Night
3-Bean Chili with cheese and sour cream
Elbow Mac or Rice (depends on my mood)