Tag Archives: cooking

Meal Plan Monday – Paper Plate Weekends

Meal Plan Monday

I have a complaint: Fall will not happen! Last week Dallas Raines told us that on Sunday we would have a high of 79. This did not happen. It was in the 90’s! Now I’m looking at next week’s weather predictions and I’ll have to push soup off another week. It’s just too hot for soup!

  • Monday – Pink Spaghetti, – I will record the recipe this time. It was amazing last time I made it. Serve with Broccoli
  • Tuesday – Breakfast for Dinner
  • Wednesday – Pizza, Salad
  • Thursday – Honey Cashew Pork Stir-Fry (try something new day!)
  • Friday – Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken (grilling Friday!) going to go off of this version.

Paper Plate Weekends – This weekend we started Paper Plate Weekends. This is to cut down on the pile up of dirty dishes over the weekend. I even got some festive fall paper plates and as much as possible we used paper plates for the weekend. It worked pretty well. I think it’ll save water too.

Linking up at Menu Plan Monday.

Meal Plan Monday: Taco Like a Pirate

Meal Plan Monday

Apparently every fall I attempt to really get back down to both meal planning and blogging. I looked back at my past “Meal Plan Monday”s and found that I had restarted last year also on the week of Talk Like A Pirate Day. And the last one I did was the week of Halloween last year. Oops. I have Pinterest now, so maybe things will be better?

  • Monday – Macaroni & Cheese, Green Beans. I need to make double to bring dinner to a sick family.
  • Tuesday – Our first day of MOPS! We’ll have chicken & rice stir fry for dinner. I’m also bringing an egg dish and a bread for our first MOPS meeting.
  •  Wednesday – Taco Like a Pirate, it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day!
  • Thursday – Chicken Caesar Salad, Toast
  • Friday – Grilled Turkey Burgers with potatoes and corn on the cob.

Lunch Options

  • Pepperoni Sandwich (Jerrod’s favorite)
  • Leftovers
  • Almond Butter & Banana Sandwich
  • Quesadilla

Linking up at Menu Plan Monday

Meal Plan Monday

It can be so hard to plan consistently!

  • Monday: Butter Herb Italian Pasta with Ground Turkey, Broccoli
  • Tuesday: Tacos, Corn
  • Wednesday: Baked Chicken, Green Beans, Rice Pilaf
  • Thursday: Macaroni & Cheeseburger, Salad*
  • Friday: Pizza

This is an experimental dish where we put macaroni and cheese on a cheeseburger. I have several versions of this I want to try. I’ve done a skillet type “cheeseburger macaroni”. This time I plan to try the straightforward macaroni and cheese on burger method. Crazy? perhaps.

Mother’s Day 2010

For years, every Mother’s Day my mom would say “I’ll make lasagna.” I would say “No mom, you’re a mom. I’ll make the lasagna.” I’d start to make it, but then partway through I’d get sent to the store or something and she’d end up finishing it. I should mention that we were always at my grandmother’s house, so of course she wanted to do something for her mother too.

This year was probably the most successful ever. I made a big quiche, using the crust recipe from this quiche at smitten kitchen, and the quiche procedure from Alton Brown. I used ham, cheese, broccoli and spinach. The hardest part was how long to bake it! Since it was so big, I wasn’t sure how long it would take, and I debated a bit whether it was done or not.

Mother's Day Quiche

It turned out pretty well. Gramma said it was better than Polly’s and Marie Calendar’s. There’s just something wonderful about grandmothers, isn’t there?

My mom loves croutons, so I put together a salad bar for which I made my own croutons. I’d never made croutons before, but I read lots of crouton recipes and came up with my own version.

Crouton Making

I used the end of a loaf of European Peasant Bread that I made earlier in the week. I cut up my bread and melted some butter in the microwave. I seasoned the butter with garlic salt, pepper, dill, and parsley. I put all the bread cubes in a ziploc bag, poured in the butter mixture and tossed the bread cubes in the bag.

I lined a pan with parchment paper and dumped the bread cubes onto it, separating them so that none were on top of each other. I baked them in the oven at 350°F for about 16 minutes(poking at them every 8 minutes to see if they were crunchy), then turned it up to 375°F for about 10 more minutes. If I make them again I’ll probably try staying at 350°F for like 30 minutes or 375°F the whole time for like 25. I took them out of the oven and let them cool on the counter. They got alot harder as they cooled and became croutony.

Croutons for My Mother

They came out really well. My mom was eating them by themselves, she was like “This is part of my present, right? I get to take the leftovers home in a baggie?”

Fairy Bread

I just learned about fairy bread. Apparently it’s an Australian favorite for kids’ parties.

Fairy Bread

Fairy bread is just buttered bread with sprinkles on top. Ever since I found out about it and started looking at pictures of it on flickr and whatnot, I’ve been thinking about how I would make it. My cousin is turning two next month, and it sounded like a great thing to bring for her party, especially with my fresh baked bread. Yesterday I had to see how it actually tasted, so I cut half a slice of bread, buttered it and put on some pink sugar and valentine colored non-pareils. It was actually pretty good, but I think it would be better with a little different bread. My loaf was the second of a batch of dough, so it had gotten a little sourdough flavor. Now I’m thinking about coloring my bread dough. Is that crazy?

Bread Log: April 18, 2010

Friday, April 16 – I made two batches of dough! First I made a batch of Light Whole Wheat bread with 2 cups of white whole wheat flour instead of 1 cup of whole wheat flour. Then I made a batch of olive oil dough.

Saturday, April 17 – We made calzones for lunch with olive oil dough. I brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled on garlic salt and parmesan before baking. They turned out huge so we cut them in half. They were really good though.

Sunday, April 18 – Today we had a second late Easter party since so many people couldn’t make it on Easter. I made a batch of rolls, half with light whole wheat dough, half with olive oil dough. I brushed them with butter and baked in muffin tins.

Fresh Rolls

Also, I learned about fairy bread today. Apparently it’s an Australian staple at kids’ parties and it’s just buttered bread with sprinkles on top! It looks so cute and simple. My little cousin is turning two next month and I’m already scheming about making it to bring for her birthday. I was trying to think of different things I could do to make it cool, and then I thought… colored bread! I could tint my bread dough pink or purple. Now I just want to make my next batch of dough pink. Is that crazy?

The book: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

Potatoes and Broccoli Au Gratin

I’ve been browsing lots of recipes and food blogs lately, so it only made sense that I document our meal last night. I have to make dinner anyway, right?

A while ago there was a food item on a plate of leftovers from my church MOPS group which I volunteer at that I loved. It was a sort of a hard boiled egg casserole or salad with this cheesy stuff on top and it was just so amazing. I ate it cold, but I couldn’t tell if it was intended to be served hot. Weeks later, there was a day when I couldn’t stop  thinking about it and really wanted it for dinner. Finally, I googled it and found what looked like my dish, Hard-Boiled Egg Casserole. I had to make it right away. I even went to the store and got Half and Half and Gruyere cheese instead of substituting milk and parmesan or something. It was not only wonderful, but exactly what I’d had!

What I found, though, was that I liked the sauce even better on my broccoli than I did on the eggs. So the dinner that I made last night was based on that. I halved the sauce recipe and used that for this dish.

Potatoes and Broccoli Au Gratin

based on Hard-Boiled Egg Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 TB butter
  • 2 TB flour
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
  • grated parmesan cheese (I actually used a cheese blend)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • dill (I use dried)
  • Trader Joe’s Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce (or mustard and garlic powder)
  • small-medium red potatoes (or any potatoes, really)
  • broccoli (fresh or frozen should be fine, I used frozen)
  • deli sliced ham or leftover ham (0ptional)

Wash your potatoes and poke holes in them with a fork. I put them in my casserole dish and then microwaved them. I used the “baked potato” button, but if you don’t have one, just microwave them for a few minutes.

Potatoes and Broccoli

Seriously, it seems like my potatoes are always undercooked if I don’t precook them except in a few situations. When I saw that my grandmother microwaves her potatoes before making scalloped potatoes and ham, doors opened in my mind. I guess you could also boil them first.

Meanwhile, start making the sauce. It’s basically a sort of a roux, so if you’ve made macaroni and cheese from scratch you’re ahead. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add in the flour. Cook and stir until it makes a sort of paste. Add a little more flour if you need it.

Add the half-and-half gradually as you stir until it starts thickening. Add in salt, pepper, and dill to taste. I didn’t measure these, I probably used 2-3 shakes of sea salt, 4-5 grinds of pepper, 2-3 shakes of dill. If you don’t have/like dill you can safely leave it out or replace it with something you have/like. Parsley, maybe?

Add the garlic mustard sauce (or garlic powder and mustard). I didn’t measure this either, I just put in a dab so maybe 1/4-1/2 teaspoon. Add in the gruyere cheese and stir until melty and wonderful.

Take your potatoes out of the dish and cut them up to your desired size. Most of mine were sort of rounds, but you could cut them up more and make cubes. Butter your dish and lay about half of the potato pieces out on the dish. Scatter your broccoli amongst the potatoes(I used frozen broccoli and just put it in frozen). If you want ham, cut it up into small pieces and scatter about half on top of the potatoes and broccoli. Pour/spread about half of the sauce on top. Scatter the rest of your potatoes, broccoli, and ham on top and pour on the rest of the sauce. Top with parmesan cheese and a few more grinds of pepper if you like.

Bake at 375°F for about 20 minutes.

Potatoes and Broccoli

I neglected to take a picture of it after it came out of the oven before it was attacked, but here’s a portion of it. When I was putting the casserole together I thought it didn’t look like enough sauce but it tasted great and I didn’t feel like it was lacking in sauce. You could double the sauce and coat the potatoes more if you want it really saucy, but I don’t think it needed it.

Bread Log: April 16, 2010

Yesterday, I baked the rest of my Soft American-Style White Bread dough.

I really wanted to try some cinnamon bread with this dough, so I made a mini loaf. Here’s some advice: wax paper is not at all parchment paper and if you are out of parchment paper, do not try to substitute wax paper.

The rolling out and rolling up the cinnamon in the dough didn’t work quite as neatly as I’d hoped, I probably should have rolled it out with more flour.

BreadBread

It looked a bit funny when I put it in the pan, but it came out looking nice, and it sure tasted good! I brushed it with butter instead of an egg wash. The instructions said to brush the top with sugar, but I used some of my leftover cinnamon and sugar.

For the rest of the dough, I put it in my usual loaf pan that I use for sandwich bread. I had a revelation the other day about the last loaf and the end of my batch of dough.

There usually isn’t as much dough for the last loaf of bread as for the first. As a result, I often end up with really short loaf of bread or I use the smaller loaf pan and the sandwiches are really tiny.

Finally I thought, “What if I put a ball of aluminum foil in the end of the loaf pan?” Why didn’t I think of that before? It worked pretty well and I ended up with sort of a partial loaf which, when sliced, should be the normal shape and size for sandwich bread.

BreadBread

One end looks a little lumpy, but I think it came out pretty nicely. A great bread hack!

BreadBread

Also this morning Papa was at Henry’s Market and called to see what kind of flour I needed. I suggested looking for King Arthur’s wheat flour. They came back with King Arthur 100% Organic White Whole Wheat Flour. It’s an interesting flour, but I’m not sure if it will taste more like white flour or more like wheat flour, so I’m not sure how I’ll use it yet.

Bread Log April 12, 2010

April 8 – Made The Master Recipe/Boule dough with one cup wheat flour. Turns out this is also the Light Whole Wheat bread in the book!

This was my first homemade bread in a while and it was super tasty, although it didn’t get as tall as I wanted in the loaf pan. I think this was because I slashed it after its 40 minute rest right before putting it in the oven which made it unrise. From now on I’m going to slash before it rests.

This bread was amazing for toast and good for sandwiches, but the second loaf’s crust was a little hard.

April 11 – Made Soft American-Style White Bread, substituting one cup of wheat flour for one of the cups of all-purpose. I probably would have tried it with a little more wheat flour, but that was the end of my wheat flour.

This bread smelled amazing, though I think that had something to do with the fact that it was brushed with butter! My loaf came out looking really nice and sliced up beautifully for sandwiches. It was softer than the Master Recipe, which is why I wanted to try it. A great sandwich bread, especially the texture, but it was a little plain tasting.

I think I’d like to try making a mini cinnamon loaf with this dough, and I think it would make nice rolls.

Bread I want to try next…

  • Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread inspired by Chris Kimball
  • Bagel/Pretzel dough (pretzel bread sandwich rolls!)
  • European Peasant Bread

The book: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day