Meal planning: August 27- Sept 2

Monday August 27 – Spaghetti and meatballs and Garlic Roasted Cauliflower (I don’t follow the meatball recipe exactly, no bread crumbs for us)

Tuesday August 28 – 20-40 clove garlic chicken, quinoa, veggie of some sort

Wednesday August 29 – pork chops with black beans and salsa (BHG 11th ed cookbook, here’s a link adapted by someone)

Thursday Aug 30 – just Dakota Boy and I for supper.  I think I’ll go lazy and have pb and j’s.

Friday August 31 – Pizza

Saturday September 1 – Best pulled pork ever, homemade buns, baked fries, corn on the cob

Sunday September 2 – Depends on who we have around – Brats, burgers or lentil burgers?

 

We might have company for dinner Friday through Sunday.  Dakota guy has some buddies camping in our yard and I’d like to be able to offer them a meal here and there if they are around.  So, I’m going with easy, no specific time meals so I can be flexible.

Meal Planning: August 20 – 26

Monday August 20 – Breakfast burritos with bountiful basket’s tortillas and homemade salsa

Tuesday August 21 – Applesauce chicken, quinoa and broccoli (homemade apple sauce)

Wednesday August 22 – Burgers, broccoli or cauliflower and homemade buns

Thursday August 23 – Fragrant Red lentils and rice

Friday August 24 – Pizza

Saturday August 25 – Turkey breast? or Salmon? or Mac n cheese

Sunday August 26 – Red Quinoa and black bean chili

Week in review
I’ve done a lot of canning the past week.  Dakota boy and I went to see my parents last Monday and picked some apples.  He had so much fun picking them.  Mostly he gathered them off the ground.  But those are great for applesauce and that was my plan.  I knew I had tomatoes coming the next weekend so I made and canned the applesauce that night.  I ended up staying up until about 1 am, way past my usual bedtime.  I made 19 pints.  For our family of three I prefer canning stuff in pints so it gets used up and doesn’t take up fridge space for too long.

The next Saturday was a Bountiful Basket day and I ordered an excessive number of   a few add-ons.  I got 40# of tomatoes ($24) and 7 dozen tortillas ($10.50) as well as a gallon of organic olive oil.  Preserving the tomatoes took the bulk of my weekend. I had a few left from the previous basket and there were about 7 in the current basket and we had a few ready in our porch garden.  I started Saturday night after Dakota boy was in bed and made spaghetti/pizza sauce with about 20# of it.  Again I underestimated the time it would take me and was up until 1 am or so.  7 pints of spaghetti sauce canned and 2 in the freezer because I was too lazy to stay up for another canner’s worth.  The next day I planned to finish the remainder of the tomatoes.

First, Zesty Salsa from the Ball Blue book of canning.  I did a lot of reading about salsa recipes.  I wanted to use jalapeno and habanero peppers from our garden but didn’t want the whole thing to be too spicy.  I know with canning you can’t alter recipes much or you can have food safety issues.  Tomatoes are acidic but fairly low acid so canned salsa recipes call for vinegar.  Onions and peppers are lower acid and therefore the quantity can be decreased some but NOT increased.  The salsa recipe used about 6 pounds of tomatoes.  It isn’t very spicy, but Dakota Guy loves it!

The remainder I just canned whole.  There was also juice that remained from making the spaghetti sauce and I canned that with the intention of using it as a stock.  A fair number of recipes (soups, crockpot meals) benefit from some tomato juice for flavor instead of water.  I was done with the project and cleanup before suppertime – totals 12 pints of salsa (one didn’t seal so we tested it tonight – great).

I intended to take today off from food prep other than meals.  But, I couldn’t do it.  The tortillas looked so good!  I made breakfast burritos and beef and bean burritos to freeze.  Made 8 breakfast and 11 bean and beef.


Meal Planning: August 12-18

Sunday August 12 – Grilled brats, hash browns, homemade hotdog buns, some veggie

Monday August 13 – Fried chicken and cream gravy, veggie

Tuesday August 14 – Ham, split pea and red lentil soup

Wednesday August 15 – Pulled pork and homemade buns

Thursday – panko salmon – barefoot contessa

Friday – Pizza?  The guys might be on their own, I have a conference

Saturday -Pork chops or some basket themed meal

Meal planning: Aug 5-11

My bountiful basket was amazing.  I’ve got lots planned to use it.  Will add pictures of basket later…

Sunday Aug 5 – Cabbage rolls.  Got a head of cabbage in the basket this week.  Want to try these.

Monday Aug 6 –  some sort of bok choy and chicken stir fry, maybe this one

Thursday Aug 9 – Zucchini and Corn Taco seasoned Quinoa salad

Wednesday Aug 8 – Butter chicken (again).  Can’t stop thinking about this yummy meal.  My crockpot isn’t fancy enough to turn itself down to warm.  Must remember to have Dakota Guy turn it down at some point.

Thursday Aug 9 – Grilled turkey burgers, homemade buns, grilled romaine salad.  Most excited about the romaine salad from the Inspired RD blog.

Friday Aug 10 – Pizza – seems by Friday we just want pizza or take out Mexican.  Might as well just plan for pizza.

Saturday Aug 11 – Maple pork chops?  Keep carrying over this recipe.  Is that a sign we don’t actually want to eat it?

Salad/dressing to make a bit ahead for lunches
Mango and Napa Cabbage – make today (also strip romaine down to hearts and cut up rest for lunches, grilling recipe only uses hearts)
Buttermilk Dressing to put on random mixed greens not used up from other cooking

Soups

When the weather turns chilly, my mind turns to soup.  During football season I make a big pot of soup every Sunday and we eat it for lunch most days the following week.  We’ve been having 90 degree weather most days and yesterday had a rainy day with a high not much more than 66.
I’d rearranged our meals for the week a couple times and was planning on grilling burgers.  We are mostly fair weather grillers, so I spent some time on a rare slow afternoon at work thinking about soup.  At Christmas last year my nurse gave me a ND gift pack that included a mix for Stuffed Pepper Soup.  We really enjoyed it so I decided that would be our evening meal.  I googled recipes but didn’t bother to bookmark or print any of the 20 or so I reviewed.  We had a few peppers ready on the back deck that I harvested.  We ended up with something like this

Stuffed Pepper Soup
1 pound ground beef
2 tbsp EVVO
2-3 chopped bell peppers
1 cup chopped onion
1 quart beef broth (I use better than bouillon)
1 can rotelle
1 chopped tomato (because it was on my counter and I didn’t have another use in mind)
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 cup uncooked brown rice
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan

Start brown rice cooking according to whatever method you usually do.  (I suspect you could add the dry rice once the liquid is all in the soup, because they cooked the same length of time, but I didn’t try this)  In a medium or large dutch oven brown ground beef in EVVO for about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add onion, garlic, peppers and bay leaf.  Cook for about 8 minutes.

Stir in stock, tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to very low.  Simmer for about 30-40 minutes (depending on how long your rice has left to cook).  Go outside and play with your family with a timer set on your phone.

Add cooked rice to soup.  Serve with Parmesan cheese.  We had it with corn bread.  (I cheated and used a just add water corn bread mix.  My two year old poured the ingredients in and made a mess stirring it.)

Carrot Soup

Today was a Bountiful Basket Saturday.  More on that tomorrow.  When I was putting away the abundance of fruits and veggies I found a few veggies that needed to be cleaned out of the fridge.  Still good, but if they haven’t been eaten yet I suspected they wouldn’t.  A big bunch of carrots from last time’s bountiful basket was among them.  So, carrot soup!!!

A few years ago I made a sweater.  It required a zipper, and at the time I didn’t have a sewing machine or the skills to put it in.  A wonderful woman I met at a knitting group in Arizona (who in a crazy turn of events was actually my aunt’s cousin) offered to help me put it in.  I went to her home one late afternoon before our knitting group as she had invited me for dinner.  She said when she and her husband retired he requested that their bigger meal of the day be lunch.  She agreed if supper could then be a light meal, specifically soup.  She makes big batches of soup and freezes them in individual portions so they can have their choice of soup at dinner.  I was fortunate to join them for this meal and chose carrot soup.

Some time later I requested the recipe and she sent me this recipe

1 pound of carrots, ( I used the bags of baby carrots so I don’t have to scrape them)
2 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 pounds of potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 cups reduced sodium fat free chicken broth.
1 can Evaporated Skim Milk
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion and crushed garlic in olive oil.  Add broth, carrots, potatoes and herbs.  Simmer until tender enough to mash.  Puree in blender and return to kettle.  Gradually stir in evaporated milk.  Season to taste.  If the soup seems too thin thicken with a tablespoon of cornstarch in a little water whipped into the soup until smooth.

I made this today nearly exactly like this.  Except I made a bit more, used better than bouillon chicken broth, a bit of celery, and fresh thyme, leaf parsley and ginger and whole carrots.  I used my food processor to chop the carrots and potatoes into small pieces rather than cubing them by hand.  I also used my new immersion blender which I LOVE.  It made the whole process a bit easier.   I as careful not to touch it to the bottom of the dutch oven, but it worked so well.

She also recommended the book The Complete Book of Soups and Stews, which is a much loved book in this kitchen now.

I also made a big batch of pesto to freeze in my oxo ice cube trays that I bought to freeze homemade baby food in before I discovered Dakota Boy would have nothing to do with anything pureed and I adopted a “baby led weaning” philosophy on feeding him simply because he wouldn’t eat anything but small bits of what we were eating.  It worked well and saved us a ton of money on jarred commercial baby food or time pureeing food just for him.  We generally had something we were eating that was acceptable for and to him.  If not he loved little bits of deli meat or cheese or toast or fruit.