What’s for Dinner? Whatever is in the Freezer

I am officially trying to clean out my freezer and pantry. Fortunately it’s a pretty giant job so we are still eating pretty regular meals (before you know it we’ll be having bread crumbs with green olives and mandarin oranges. And who put all that tuna in there anyway?!?) {How often do you clean out your pantry/freezer anyway?} The advent of fall has me cooking some comfort food too. Here’s what it’s been so far this week:

Monday: Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce

Tuesday: Taco Salad with Chipotle Sloppy Joe meat

Wednesday: Beef Stew

Thursday: either leftovers or pizza…it looks like it will be a long day so I’m planning on something easy. Some friends are doing a major favor for us though so I’m making the infamous dutch oven bread for them. Lemon and rosemary, comin’ atcha.

Friday: I have no idea. I am just OCD enough that I am pretty uncomfortable with that. I’m not really sure how our day will fall out that day, when we’ll eat dinner, who we’ll eat with…so I’m taking a deep breath and trusting that it will be fine. McDonald’s is still serving, right? (That’s a joke. Please tell me you know that’s a joke.)

What are you making for this first week of fall?

What’s for Dinner {Back in Boring}

We’ve had a fun couple of weeks with company and then traveling. It’s been fantastic but we’re pretty happy to be home again and settle into a more regular routine. I’m always surprised to hear myself say this…but I’m kind of happy to be home and stop eating out. It’s been a couple weeks of fancy dining or deep-fried indulgence (can you say Red Robin french fries?). So we’re anticipating some simpler, made-at-home meals this week. Hope you enjoyed the Des Moines menu last week while we were dining out.

And I promise to post the photos from my week with Cath’…they seem to be centered around those meals anyway…and the couple pics I shot in Florida. More to come…

Meanwhile, here’s the meal plan for this week:

Monday: Chicken with Ginger and steamed rice
This is the recipe from Martha Stewart. We tried it a few weeks ago and loved it. Simple, light, and delicious. This time I’m planning to add a green veggie: spinach, green beans or broccoli, whatever is available at the grocery store.

Tuesday: Taco Stuffed Shells and Roasted Salsa Roja
I’ve never done stuffed shells and it seems kind of silly to start with this taco version but what can I say? It sounds yummy to me. For the salsa, I’m a sucker for roasted tomato flavors so I’m anxious to try this one. And I’m still searching for a recipe that’s yummy without the garlic. I fear that I am doomed to fail but this one looks promising because it has a lot of other flavors and spiciness going on. Fingers crossed, right? Speaking of spiciness though, I’m planning to use jalepenos instead of serrano peppers. Call me a chicken if you want but eight serranos sounds crazy to me!

Wednesday: Balsamic and Onion Pot Roast and Smashed Potatoes with Blackberry Custard for dessert
Our weather forecast has a cool day coming on Wednesday–they’re saying we won’t even break 70 degrees so it seems like a good day to try a new Pot Roast recipe. Plus mom and dad will be joining us for dinner so even better. It’s always fun to make those bigger recipes when there are four of us otherwise Glenn and I end up eating the same meal for days on end. This recipe combines a couple of our very favorite flavors, balsamic and onion, so seems like we can’t go wrong. Since there aren’t potatoes in the pot roast I’m planning to try these simple and yummy looking smashed potatoes. Yes, smashed. Literally. And I promise I didn’t mean to do another ATK recipe but look how easy this one is!

Blackberry season is coming to a close so I’m planning to try  individual Blackberry Custards before they’re gone. This is mostly for my dad…these are two of his favorite tastes together. (Glenn will just have to find some chocolate ice cream or something.)

Thursday: Pasta with Spicy Tomato and Olive Sauce (from Panera)
As usual I’ll be making this without the garlic but once again it looks to me like there are enough other strong flavors that we won’t miss it too much. If I’m feeling really ambitious I may try some homemade bread (since there are about 587 recipes on my taste (bread) pinterest board. We’ll see how my week goes but I love the idea of that delicious scent of baking bread in our home…hence the 587 recipes. A girl can dream, right?

Friday: Sweet Apricot Chicken
Simple and yummy and another crock pot recipe–yeah! Perfect since Glenn has guests coming in and dinner time will have to be a bit flexible. Haven’t decided yet if this will be with rice or bread or some other starch. And the veggie depends on what I can find at the Farmer’s Market on Thursday.

Happy Cooking and Bon Appetit!

What’s for Dinner…in Des Moines

The Tall One and I are headed to the opposite side of the country where I will be busy laying by the pool and dining out so no Boring menu this week. Instead I have my first “guest-blogger,” my sister! I suppose in order to be a regular guest blogger she should have her own blog {ahem} but I’m still thrilled that she took the time to jot down her plans for you here! It’s a big week in their Iowa home–back to school. Can’t wait for you to read all about it…

P.S. She didn’t send me the recipe for the Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake (Anyone else flashing on My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Let’s all say it together now, “the bundt cake.”) But I bet she’ll share if you clamor for it in the comments!

Okay, here’s what I think we’ll try for dinner this week:

Monday: Mexican Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and Black Beans, sauteed vegetables
This is one I’ve tried before and added to our favorite healthy recipes. If you don’t like peppers (which I don’t), this mixture is easily rolled up in a corn tortilla instead. I feel very, very organic saying that I make my enchiladas with quinoa. And even my kids love these! Oh, and I add ground chicken, so maybe I’m not as vegelicious as I may seem.

Tuesday: Out with Friends
Our tradition on the last day of summer is dinner on the patio with our treasured adopted-grandparents, Denny and Becky.

Wednesday: Mom’s Meaty Spaghetti, garlic bread, garden salad and First-Day-of-School Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
This is another traditional meal. If, when school was out on the first day, we didn’t return to a home smelling like heaven, my girls would be beyond disappointed. They are expecting and will receive one of the best recipes my mom ever handed down to me. People are impressed that I make my own sauce…please don’t mention how unbelievably easy it is.

Mom’s Meaty Spaghetti Sauce

1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground beef
2 cloves minced garlic
2 #1-cans (4 cups) diced tomatoes
{Can you tell this is an old recipe? When was the last time you referred to #1-cans?}
2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf

In a large skillet, cook onion in hot oil until almost render. Add meat and garlic; brown lightly. Add remaining ingredients.

Simmer uncovered two to two and a half hours until sauce is nice and thick. Stir occasionally. Remove bay leaf. Serve over spaghetti noodles.

Note #1: That’s the whole recipe. It’s fantastic but super thick and meaty.
Since we want the sauce to mix in with the noodles a bit more, I usually add a jar of
ready-made sauce (gasp!) at the end, with just enough time to get it hot.

Note #2: It’s totally double-able. In fact, I almost always double it
so there are plenty of leftovers.

Note #3: We’ve been known to skip the noodles entirely and just eat a bowl
of the leftover sauce for lunch the next day. It’s that good.

Thursday: Jalapeno Popper Chicken, rice and roasted carrots
Time to try something from my pinterest board. We are huge fans of poppers, so I’m looking forward to this one!

Friday: Backyard Dinner Party
This usually means grilled meats and potluck sides. If I’m asked to bring salad or a dessert, I’m considering these:

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.)

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!