I've been wanting to post our weekly meals on here for awhile, mostly as a way for me to keep track of what we're making, what recipes I've tried, and any changes I make to the recipe. But maybe some of you might find this useful, too, for ideas on what to make. And if you have any favorite recipes or easy weeknight dinners, feel free to post links in the comments! I'm always looking for new things to try.
Last fall I started planning out our meals by the week. Plan, make a grocery list, and shop all in one day. I don't manage to do that every week, but it sure makes dinner time easier when I do. Then I write our meals up on the chalkboard in the kitchen. Of course, sometimes things change during the week, but for the most part we are able to follow our dinner plans.
Here's what we ate the first week of 2012.
Homemade hamburgers, salad, chips, salsa (I canned it early fall, but never wrote a post on it!), and homemade dill pickles (a Christmas gift from friends).
Oh, this was really good! It's farfalle with carbonara and peas. We both went back for more even though we were stuffed; we just wanted more of that taste! Usually we plan our meals so that we have enough left to take in for lunch at work the next day. This was not as good reheated the next day (though still delicious!). It's from this book by Jamie Oliver (the book was one of my birthday gifts from my guy).
Crockpot risotto and a salad. The recipe is from here. I have made so many of the recipes from Stephanie's website - it is such a great resource for crockpot cooking. I'm a little disappointed that this is the first recipe I'm posting from her site, because it wasn't my favorite. I thought it was a little bland. My guy, however, did not agree with that - he loved it! I'm thinking when I make it again it would be better as a side than as the main feature.
Mustard pork chops from Nigella, with boiled potatoes and a salad. My mom was out of town, so we had my dad over for dinner. I doubled the recipe, and it worked well.
When we make a salad, it is almost always the same thing. Mixed greens with olives, pepperoncini, feta, and my homemade vinaigrette (my mom's recipe). I grew up on this salad dressing and love it, and luckily my guy does, too. I don't think we could ever get sick of this salad, and we eat it a lot. But every once in awhile I shake things up and put different things in the salad.
Baked ziti with sausage and peppers (with olive bread). From SlowCooker Revolution (another birthday gift). I think this is only the second crockpot recipe I've ever made that wasn't from Stephanie's website! This was so good. I loved it in the crockpot, but I also thought as I was cooking up all the ingredients, that it would make an incredible pasta sauce just straight out of the pot without going in the crockpot. This recipe has a bit of prep, since you cook almost everything first, but it's easy and cooks quickly in the crockpot. The night I made this, I got it going and then we went to see this lovely lady talk at the Red Balloon. We walked back into the house to the most amazing smell (have I mentioned how much I love my crockpot?!).
Cabbage soup and a baguette. Another recipe from Stephanie! She says this soup is bland, but I just love it! I have made it a ton of times. It doesn't have any salt in the ingredients list, and it definitely needs some. I just add it right before eating. But it is so good, and has a spicy kick to it! She says the red pepper flakes are optional, but I think they make the whole thing. This recipe makes a lot! There's always plenty for lunch, plus I usually end up freezing some, too. This week we had the soup for dinner Sunday, as well, and I was still able to freeze some individual portions.
Monday night we both worked late, and just had leftovers (baked ziti).
Beef and mushroom stew with a baguette. I have made this recipe a lot. It was the first slow cooker recipe I ever made that wasn't from Stephanie's blog. The only change I make is that I use fresh onions instead of frozen ones. I know those little guys are a pain to peel, but I prefer that to frozen veggies. This is really good. This week I made it on a work day, but usually I prefer to get it going on the weekend and have it cook all day while we do stuff around the house. I originally planned on making this Sunday, but we did leftovers instead.
Creamy pecorino pasta and a salad. I found this recipe in a Real Simple magazine. They had an article filled with recipes with only three ingredients each. Super easy, and so delicious! When I make this in the summer I put parsley or chives from the garden on the pasta, but I can't pick anything from the garden at this time of year.
Lemon chicken, rice pilaf, and green beans. My mom taught me to make the chicken this way. Take one egg, mix it up, coat the chicken in it, then coat the chicken in a mix of flour and pepper. Cook on the stovetop. When done, add the juice and zest of one lemon. I boiled the green beans and added butter, salt, and pepper.
Pho 79 (vegetarian egg rolls, vegetarian fried rice, and vegetarian soup. We both eat meat - obviously - but we're pretty picky about where it comes from. In general when we eat out we go with the vegetarian options, unless we know where the meat is from).
Both my parents were out of town, so we grabbed some takeout and went over to their house to watch a movie and keep their kitty company (she gets lonely!). My grandpa was an actor, and we watched one of the old serials he was in - The Black Widow. This is one of my favorites, and it was the first time my guy watched it. It was a fun evening!
Photo courtesy IMDB.
Fennel, olive, and feta tart from Real Simple, and a salad. This was really good! We found it quite difficult to take off the baking sheet at first; it all wanted to fall apart. But when we went to put the leftovers away, it came off really easily. So something to remember for next time - I know it's hard to wait, but let it sit a little!
Twice baked potatoes from Food Coma and a salad. We used milk instead of cream, and in addition to the broccoli and cheddar cheese, we put cauliflower and green onions in, as well. This was really good and filling! We frequently have what we call a 'baked potato bar' where we bake potatoes and then set out all the toppings and add whatever we want. This is basically the same thing, but we do all the "work" of adding the toppings ahead of time, and then bake it a little longer.
Stay tuned for more menus in the coming weeks!
(And happy Martin Luther King day!)