What’s for Dinner…this week

It’s Monday morning and that means it’s time for a new weekly menu. Summer has finally arrived in Boring and so I’m bringing more of the grilled meat with fresh veggies or fruit. My sister who has been surviving the mid-west heat wave has been marveling at my soup-like, comfort food meals so here’s a week for her.

Last week I actually made every dinner I planned on every night I planned it. Not sure that’s ever happened before! Here are my thoughts on last week’s new recipes:

French Onion Panini: delicious! Super easy and totally tastes like the soup in a sandwich. This recipe is a keeper for sure.

Spicy Dr Pepper Shredded Pork: yummy and it makes a ton. I used Coke because I already had an open 2-liter that I would love to get out of my fridge. I think it would have been a bit sweeter with the Dr Pepper or Root Beer and will follow the recipe next time. Which means that, yes, there will be a next time. Absolutely worth it for the tiny bit of effort and delicious meal(s) you get out of it. As usual, PW does not disappoint.

Chili Colorado Burritos: very simple and my MIL loved it. Glenn and I thought it was pretty bland. You used canned enchilada sauce which makes it super easy but I may have chosen poorly when it came to my ready-made enchilada sauce. I’ve developed an irritating allergy to garlic so I bought the one can I could find that didn’t have garlic listed in the ingredients. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that it was bland? Bottom line…I like the idea a lot and may try it again with different (homemade?) sauce.

Salt & Vinegar Chips: not nearly as complicated as I expected. The recipe says to slice the potatoes 1/4 inch thick. This is too thick I think. They are yummy but not really different than regular roasted potatoes. Next time I’ll slice them thinner, with a mandolin, and see if they feel more “chip-like.”

And an added recipe I tried last week–Blackberry, Lemon and Thyme Muffins: This is what I did with those gems I found by the side of the road. They’re super yummy and I always love recipes that use the herbs I have growing in my yard. It makes me feel so Martha Stewart! Will keep this recipe too.

Now here’s the plan for this week:

Monday: Caprese Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Reduction

Tuesday: Taco Salad with leftover shredded pork (I told you, it makes a ton!) and cornbread

Wednesday: Brats with grilled onions and corn-on-the-cob

Thursday: PW’s Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta

Friday: Burgers and Baked Beans with fruit

Saturday: Lettuce Wraps and rice

Sunday: Veggie Chopped Salad with Chicken

At this point we don’t have plans for dinner guests this week so I don’t really have baking on my list either. I will probably bake some kind of muffin-y/bread/pastry kind of thing to share with the parentals. I’ll keep you posted!

Here’s the printable: menu.

Buon Appetito!

What’s for Dinner

Let me start with apologies for not posting a menu for last week. Somehow my schedule got crazy and it just didn’t happen. I did finally try the Skillet Chicken Parmesan from Cook’s Country. Can’t say I loved it. In it’s defense it was much more of a week-night meal than they usually do: one pan and fairly simple directions. The sauce was easy, quick and tasty but the overall experience just wasn’t “Chicken-Parm” enough for me. So we gave it a shot but I’m not saving the recipe.

We also tried a few new recipes the week before. Here’s my take: the ATK “Our Favorite Chili” is good. It’s a ton of work though and pretty similar to the ATK Chili Colorado I’ve tried before. Cathy has a delicious chili recipe that is pretty much stick-it-all-in-a-pot-and-walk-away so I’m thinking I’ll stick with that chili recipe and keep the Chili Colorado. I’ll be ditching “Our Favorite Chili.” The Barbacoa Beef was yummy. Just a note if you make it: the recipe calls for 2-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I used 3 and it had some serious heat. Not bad if you want to add cheese or sour cream or something but for my no-sour-cream-husband, it was pretty steamy. The Cook’s Country St. Louis Style Pizza was fantastic. It comes together really quickly and the cheese (which seems a little fussy ahead of time) is absolutely worth the effort. One thing to know: the recipe makes enough dough for two pizzas. We baked them both at the same time and had one whole pizza leftover. I wouldn’t do that again. It didn’t reheat very well. Next time we’ll bake one to eat and save the dough for another meal.

Here’s the plan for this week, you’ll see that I am wanting a little more low-maintenance meals this week:

Monday: Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs–we loved this a couple weeks ago and I’m bringing it back again.

Tuesday: Burgers with grilled onions and corn on the cob.

Wednesday: PW’s Spicy Dr Pepper Shredded Pork (Cath’ tried this and said it’s fantastic!) with a chopped veggie salad

Thursday: Sloppy Joes with carrot & celery sticks

Friday: Chili Colorado Burritos with fresh fruit

Saturday: BLT’s with homemade salt and vinegar chips

Sunday: Baked Potatoes with leftover shredded pork

So that’s three Pinterest recipes for this week. And just FYI, it’s also the season for pickle-making! Stay tuned!

Buon Appetito!

Here’s the printable menu.

What’s for Dinner?

Last week’s “Hawaiian Grilled Chicken” was a success. Loved it and will be using the leftover chicken into a yummy salad for lunch tomorrow. Didn’t get to the Barbacoa Beef yet. (Forgot to defrost the roast in time.) Here is this week’s schedule:

Monday: scrambled eggs and bacon (and probably pancakes…they sound so delicious to me! I’m thinking little silver dollar size.)

Tuesday: dinner out! We have plans to meet some friends at Stanford’s–one of Glenn’s favorite places! Yippee! (I am evidently feeling rather exclamatory about this. !)

Wednesday: barbacoa beef in the crockpot over lime rice with corn salsa (Chipotle copycat recipes) Follow the link from last week’s post for the recipe.

Thursday: Cook’s Country St. Louis style pizza and garden salad (We watched something like 5 episodes that were tivoed so now we’re all inspired. The recipes are available on their site. You have to log in with your email to get access but all of the recipes from this season are available.)

Friday: Cook’s Country Skillet Chicken Parmesan with salad (I didn’t pin these recipes because they are only available during the current season so I went old school and printed them out.)

Saturday: America’s Test Kitchen “Our Favorite Chili” (ATK works the same way as the Cook’s Country deal…you have to log in but then you have access to all of the season’s recipes.) In our family all ATK recipes are favorites but they take a little extra work usually and the recipes are crazy specific. You know, like, “Stir eight times in a clockwise direction.” So far all of them we’ve tried have been absolutely worth the effort.

Sunday: leftovers…there’s likely to be some left over barbacoa beef or pizza or chili so we’ll have that on Sunday night. Besides I hate when my fridge gets jammed with tiny dibs and dabs of meals. Problem solved!

Here’s the printable menu. This week’s pinterest recipes are Barbacoa Beef with Lime Rice and Corn Salsa and French Onion Panini (for lunch.)

Sandy Mountain Festival 2012

A remarkable perk of living on this side of the mountains is being close to family. It’s been amazing spending my Saturdays with my sister. This has never happened to me before. Time with family usually involved major restructuring of regular schedules, in depth planning and dropping everything so that we can be together non-stop for whatever time we have been alotted. None of that is necessary now that I live ten minutes from Delores. So we’ve fallen into a bit of a habit of hitting the Farmer’s Market or the craft store or (gasp) Red Robin come Saturday afternoon.

I love the time with her and the chance to get out and about but truthfully I’ve been sadly disappointed by the Farmer’s Markets we’ve attended. I expected them to be enormous over here surrounded by fields and produce. Instead it seems that every small community has their own Saturday morning Farmer’s Market forcing the local vendors to choose which one to attend and making it impossible for any single event to grow past about a dozen stalls. So I was excited to explore the Sandy Mountain Festival yesterday. It’s an annual event in Sandy, a small town just east of us, on the foothills of Mt. Hood, and it’s a big deal there. There’s bumper to bumper traffic and everything! They take over a beautiful park with live music, food and lots of booths.

My sister, Delores, and her daughter, Kelly, let me crash their party and we had a blast. We checked out the adorable homemade bird houses that Delores aspires to make.

And we ate some healthy-ish (by festival standards) food. Kelly and Delores had Yakisoba noodles but I had chicken on a stick from the Sandy Baptist booth ’cause you gotta have something on a stick, right?

Chicken-on-a-Stick booth on the right

Our visit wouldn’t have been complete though without an elephant ear. Do we get points for sharing instead of each having one of our own?

Yum!

(I love the look on Kelly’s face here…she didn’t know I got her in the photo.)

The highlight of the day was while we were eating. I noticed a couple teen guys next to me, one of whom had a super long sword. Yes, sword. I told Kelly I absolutely had to get his photo (particularly since he was also wearing a KISS shirt, for real.) So I took this shot on the QT:

But Kelly was confident that if we asked he would pose for a photo. She was fearless and asked him if she could take his picture. He not only agreed but fully posed and embraced it. Pretty sure he thought he’d been discovered. Check out Kelly’s nickname for him. She cracks.me.up.

“Frodo”

After the “photo-shoot,” he and his friend were going to have some kind of duel and we overheard his buddy giving this disclaimer, “I’ve only ever practiced with a sword and broad shield, never with one of these two handed deals.” Seriously? Killing. me.

There were a ton of people, lots of great booths, and some pretty cool artisans too, like this guy who was working a potter’s wheel on a wagon wheel along with his story-telling compadre sitting next to him.

Sandy is a cute little town along the old Oregon trail so the mountain man look is pitch perfect.

Loved spending the day with my girls! Aren’t they cute?

Grand company for the Sandy Mountain Festival.
(Kelly hates having her photo taken. Can you tell?!?)

10 Minute Projects

After weeks of gray and gloomy we have had almost a whole week of sunshine and blue skies and I am a whole new woman. So today I am the queen of 10-minute projects. In an ideal world I’d be working on these from time to time whenever I have about, you know, ten minutes. But since our address is Boring, not “ideal,” I am going from project to project instead. And it feels great! It’s amazing how many things I put off, thinking the task is too daunting when really it’s only about a ten minute investment. Even I can sustain that!

So here are my 10-minute projects so far today:

  • grocery list
  • tidy the refrigerator (Is it really vital to keep those four bites of overripe strawberries in a jumbo dish? And is it really so overwhelming to get rid of it?)
  • unload the dishwasher
  • load the dishwasher (yes, those jobs are usually back to back at my house)
  • vacuum
  • fold the laundry instead of restarting the dryer
  • change the bed
  • file my nails
  • make croutons (You won’t believe how easy it is or how much yummier they are than the store bought ones. Here’s the recipe I use. Of course, it’s a pinterest project. But seriously–no guilt about that wasted stale bread.)
  • change the saying on my chalkboard door
  • put fresh towels in the powder bath
  • empty the super-irritating-fall-out-and-get-tracked-everywhere-hole-punches out of the hole-puncher-deal.
  • hole-punch and file recipes.

Back in January I had a conversation with my sister about this and we had great plans to create a jar of 10-minute jobs that you could just pull whenever you had ten minutes. Of course I want it to be cute–not just an empty jar with scribbled papers. Maybe that will be my next task…stay tuned.

What about you–what’s on your 10-minute task list?

What’s for Dinner {this week}

I’m thinking this may be a weekly thing. At my best I try to plan my menus for the week and do one biggish grocery store trip instead of every day trying to figure things out and now that we live in the middle of nowhere it just makes more sense. Right now I have a bit of a grilled burger thing going so I’m afraid without a plan Glenn would be eating burgers every night. And grilled onions. I cannot get enough of them.

Disclaimer: The problem with doing this weekly is that at its very first repetition you’re already going to see behind the curtain. Despite my plans our meals last week didn’t go accordingly. My sweet friend Michelle brought me some of her famous salsa so we had fajitas instead of Chicken Cacciatore because her salsa is that good. My family was finally able to reschedule our Father’s Day Shin Dig so tonight we’re having Rex’s awesome smoked/grilled ribs instead of lettuce wraps at home. So you’ll see a few items have reappeared on this week’s menu. I have all the ingredients so there they are–back again.

Review: One quick review from last week: the chicken with ginger from Martha Stewart’s site was fantastic! Super yummy and very quick. You cut the ginger into matchsticks and then soak them in water before you saute them with onions. I’ve never done that before and I love how it allows the ginger to cook without burning. The ginger brings such a lovely freshness and lightness to the flavors. Truly lovely. The recipe calls for fresh ginger but I usually keep a finger (pretty sure that’s what it’s called?) in my freezer and just grate some off, or in this case chop it, as required. Next time I’ll try it with a little less sugar and mix in more veggies. I think it will be delicious with some broccoli or spinach or even green beans. With the exception of the added vegetables, I loved that all of the ingredients are almost always in my pantry.

The Menu for the Boring house this week:

Monday: Chicken Cacciatore (Check last week’s entry for Juri Sbandati’s recipe for Pollo alla Cacciatoria.)

Tuesday: Lettuce Wraps (Again, check last week’s entry for this one from Allrecipes.)

Wednesday: Since this is the first day of camp, this will be a long day for Glenn with unpredictable hours so I’m planning baked potatoes with “fixin’s” (Shout out to Frasier and Niles) because we’ll have some flexibility on dinner time that way.

Thursday: Taco Salad

Friday: Hawaiian Grilled Chicken with Pineapple Rice (The chicken is a new recipe so I’ll let you know but the Pineapple Rice is tried and true and one of my favorites.)

Saturday: Slow-Cooker Barbacoa Beef with Lime Rice and Corn Salsa (Another new recipe, stay tuned.)

Sunday: steak with veggies and good bread

Here’s the printable: menu. One of my goals is to actually try the recipes I pin so you’ll see the pinterest logo next to this week’s experiments.

Buon Appetito!