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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

Thursday and Friday’s meals from last week didn’t happen because on Thursday we went to Disneyland and on Friday I went shopping with my sister and just picked something up on the way home.

  • Monday – Scalloped Potatoes and Ham, Broccoli (I’m also bringing this dish to MOPS the next morning)
  • Tuesday – Spaghetti with Zucchini
  • Wednesday – Muffin Tin Cheeseburgers, Tater Tots, Salad
  • Thursday – Orange Chicken, Rice, Green Beans (but it’s also my sister’s birthday so I’m not sure if it’ll happen)
  • Friday – Homemade Pizza

 

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

Bread Baking

About a year ago while we were still in our apartment, I started making my own bread for our sandwiches. We were now both working at home all day and needed satisfying lunches every day, and we were trying to save money however we could. I stumbled upon Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day. I tried the free “master recipe” provided on the website, and it came out great. I continued to make the bread regularly, enough for sandwich lunches almost every weekday until we moved in with my grandparents. I made a couple batches of bread while there, but then I sort of stopped for a while.

Last week I made my first new batch of dough in a while. It was just as easy and good as I remembered. I wanted to try different bread, though. Last night I finally bought the whole book. I got the Kindle version mostly with my swagbucks-earned Amazon gift cards.

This evening, with the little end of my previous loaf not enough for sandwiches tomorrow, I started a batch of dough with a new recipe from the book. The bread is sitting out and cooling right now, and it is beautiful. It looks and smells amazing.

IMG_0177 IMG_0179

I used the Soft American-Style White Bread recipe, although I incorporated some wheat flour with the all-purpose. They’ve all tasted great, but this is one of those loaves that just looks like a “proper” sandwich bread. I can’t wait to cut into it tomorrow!

New Desk!

Since we have an office in the new apartment, we need some new desks. I finally figured out a configuration that would work for both of us, using Ikea table tops and legs. We got them on Friday and put together Jerrod’s desk. We did his first since I don’t live there yet and he really wanted a place to put his iMac.

New Desk!

They’re VIKA AMON tabletops with VIKA CURRY legs. Jerrod’s is two small tables together, but mine will be one long table.

New Desk!

The wooden cabinet and black shelving were already in the room, so we arranged them a bit.

New Desk! New Desk! New Desk! New Desk! New Desk!

a quickr pickr post

Our New Table!

We got our new dining room table! We picked it up at Pottery Barn on wednesday, put it together, AND had dinner on it.

Here it is;
New Table!

It’s the Metropolitan Dining Table in black from Pottery Barn. It sits six and has a leaf which can expand it to seating eight. The chairs are Ingolf chairs from Ikea in black, with Ritva cushions in white from Ikea. I think it looks and feels great!

New Table! New Table! New Table! New Table! New Table!