Essential Gadgets and Meal planning (July 9-15)

With the luxury of more space in our new house I’ve made two major kitchen purchases in the past 2 months that I now see as kitchen essentials.

First, a bread machine.  A coworker convinced me that this wasn’t a want but rather a need so I took the plunge.  Between the machine and The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook we haven’t purchased bread since I bought the bread machine.  Both my math and the math in the cookbook say an average bread machine loaf costs between 75 cents a dollar.  And we like it so much better.  This morning I made a maple buttermilk loaf.  Dakota guy was a bit skeptical of the maple part until I explained most bread has some sugar, this just replaces it with maple syrup.  We all three loved it and it will make a great sandwich loaf this week.

The other purchase was a food processor.  My parent’s have hash browns often when the grill steaks.  After I discovered that as long as I was careful I wasn’t breaking any great rules using cast iron on my glass cook top Dakota Guy requested hash browns.  I told him I’d make them if he grated the potatoes.  He wasn’t any more excited to do that than I was.  But, he asked the genius question, “Couldn’t a food processor do that?”  Oh, I love that man!  He was correct.  I did my typical three days of research and bought a food processor.  I’m in LOVE!  We had hash browns for breakfast with Dakota Guy’s buddy and are having them again with steak tonight.

I was finally quick enough to get a bountiful basket this week.  I got a regular basket and an Italian pack.  Way more produce than I anticipated.  A great value and hopefully using it up will help us eat more veggies.  This week’s basket and Italian pack:  mushrooms, romaine lettuce, cauliflower, green beans, 3 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, 5 tomatoes, 1 egg plant, 1 red pepper, 1 red onion, 1 yellow onion, leaf parsley, thyme, basil, green grapes, 6 nectarines, 8 plums, 3 mango, 1 pound of strawberries, 5 limes, 6 bananas.

I’m meal planning accordingly and think a good portion of the veggies will be used the first week. 

Monday – Eggplant parmesan roughly based on this recipe.  This may end up taken as a gift to a friend who just had a baby if they like eggplant.  Dakota Guy is skeptical about eggplant and I can come up with a substitute for us.

Tuesday – Mac n Cheese with steamed or pressure cooked cauliflower in place of pasta, cheese grated today with my fabulous cuisinart. 

Wednesday – Pulled Pork sandwiches with homemade buns.  Green beans.  I bought a pork tenderloin today.  I’m going to put it in the slow cooker with salt and pepper and a can of root beer.  Yum!  Might add some bbq sauce at noon if it needs it.  Green beans.

Thursday – Grilled pork chops.  Romaine salad or other veggie (if we don’t eat the romaine Monday as a steak salad with leftover steak from the day before)

Friday – Tacos.  Use tomatoes. 

Saturday – grilled pizza.  I’m super excited for this and planning to try a whole post about it.  I ordered a metal pizza peel to help get the pie off the grill.  I think I’ll make a basic pizza dough for grilling and make one margarita type pizza with fresh mozzarella and basil and one with pepperoni or something.  Martha also has some great veggie pizza ideas.  This is a nice step by step to grilling pizza.  Dakota Guy’s brother recommended a beer pizza dough.  Most searches for this led back to the trusted King Arthur flour site for a recipe

Sunday – Panko Salmon again from Barefoot Contessa’s How easy is That cookbook.  With veggies of some sort depending on what we have left.

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