Planning Life- One Week at a Time

Archive for October, 2011

Get it done!

As hard as I try to create a yummy interesting meal for my family. Some weeks I just have to go with the flow and stay simple. And this week is just that. Nothing new, nothing crazy, just old stand bys and easy to prepare stuff. I was a bit ambitious on the weekend but back to work and back to the let get something on the table mode. We can’t win them all!!

Saturday- Spinach three ways, Chicken Fingers with spinach puree in the coating, stove top homemade Mac and Cheese with spinach puree, (it was green but tasted like cheddar), and sauteed spinach with garlic.

Sunday- Oven BBQ chicken legs, Oven baked sweet potato fries (yummmmm!) and salad. My son eats the lettuce and leaves the stuff. My daughter eats the stuff and leaves the lettuce.

Monday- Spaghetti and Meatballs, garlic beard from the freezer, and salad. Normally I like to make a batch of meatballs on the weekend and heat them when we are ready to have them a day or two later but this time I made them around 3pm, browned them in a pan and simmered them for about 2 hours in the sauce. Oops I didn’t have a a box of spaghetti. Capellini will do. Cooked a lot faster.

Tuesday- Slow Cooker Beef Stew, sweet there is leftover garlic bread!

Wednesday- Homemade Pizza, the kids will help with this one. I stretch the dough and they put on the sauce and cheese. We have meatballs left from Monday and I’ll slice them up along with peppers, onions, garlic, whatever is around for toppings. DH will be home and we will do this as a family.

Thursday- Take Out Chinese/Sushi, the twins love to taste things like California rolls, but they go nuts for Lo Mein. DH is home and Modern Family is new, nice relaxing evening

Friday- ??? eek, I’m out of ideas, something from the freezer, there is some broccoli that needs to be eaten. No on will go hungry 😉

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Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup

I’ve been trying to incorporate my new slow cooker into my meal planning at least two days a week. I find it so wonderful to come home to dinner ready but I also find it takes some planning. I don’t always have time in the morning to brown something or chop something. So far some prep the night before seems to be good. From chopping some veggies to putting the whole thing together in the stoneware and refrigerating it over night.

For this soup I did some prep the night before and some in the morning.

Ingredients:

3 oz of Pancetta or bacon, rendered and crumbled (leave it out for a vegetarian)

1 white onion chopped fine

1 big handful of baby carrots chopped

1 celery rib chopped

1 bunch of greens cleaned and chopped (Swiss Chard, Spinach, Kale)

3 Cloves of garlic crushed and chopped fine

1 russet potato peeled and chopped

1 14oz can of diced tomatoes with juice

1 14oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

28 oz of stock your choice (I used beef)

1 pack of flavor boost (I used a beef one)

A shake of Italian Herb Mix

black pepper

salt to taste at the end the stock and pancetta may be salty enough

Gear

Cutting board

knife

strainer

frying pan

Slow Cooker

Night before:

-Brown pancetta, chop onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and greens. Remove the pancetta and saute the onion briefly in the fat. Put everything in a container in the refrigerator. About 15 minutes of work.

In the morning:

-Dump everything you prepped into the stoneware of the slow cooker. Wash peel and chop the potato. Pour in the stock, tomatoes, beans, flavor pack, herbs, and pepper. Stir. Push any pieces of potatoes under the liquid. Set the slow cooker on low for 7 hours. Took about 10 minutes.

– When you get home take a quarter of the soup out and puree it in a blender or with a stick blender. Pour it back in and stir well.

-Serve with crusty bread. I froze about half of the leftovers for lunches or another meal.

What to cook when you haven’t been shopping

This week a had to wait until Wednesday to food shop. Leaving two nights getting by with what’s around. I always say I could live for a few weeks on the food in my pantry and freezer. It just might not be what I want to eat. Well this week it was a requirement. So Tuesday I made a frittata. They are like a crustless quiche. I told the kids it was egg pizza. The great thing about them is like quiche you can change up the flavors to your liking or what is around. No bacon? Try ham. No onions? Try garlic. The one thing you do need is eggs. I made a big one and froze 3 slices to eat for breakfast another day. This would also be a great brunch item if you are playing hostess to a crowd.

Monday- Lasagna from the freezer I made a month ago
Tuesday- Frittata with Soup
Wednesday- Swai fillets for the kids and I, stack for DH, rice, and a veg
Thursday- Take Out (DH requested chinese)
Friday- Sante Fe Cheesy Beef (test driving a slow cooker recipe)
Saturday-Penne ala Vodka with bread and salad
Sunday- Minestrone Soup in the Slow Cooker (I’ll most likely make it Saturday and reheat it)

Super Frittata
about 40 minutes start to finsih

Ingredients:

5 Slices of Bacon
1/2 White Onion, diced
3/4 of a large Red Pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
2 medium white potatoes
6-8 eggs depending on their size
1/2 cup milk
Dijon Mustard
Lea and Perrin’s Chicken Marinade
Poultry Herds
Dill
Nutmeg
Shredded cheese
Salt and Pepper

Gear:
large oven safe non-stick frying pan
cutting board
chef knife
food processor with grating blade or box grater
large bowl
salad spinner or lots of paper towels

Steps:

1. Pre heat the oven to broil

2. Place your largest non-stick pan on a burner and ad your bacon to the cold pan. Turn it on to the lowest heat setting. Low and slow will give you great crisp bacon that doesn’t spit at you.

3. Dice the onion and peppers (that was all I had, squash, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, all would be great) while the bacon is cooking. Check the bacon and flip it once. Chop the garlic.

4. Wash and trim any funky spots off the potatoes. Shredded them in the food processor or box grater. Place the shreds in a bowl and fill with cold water to wash the extra starch off.

5. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain it on paper towels.

6. Add all veggies to the hot bacon fat and sauté over medium heat. Don’t add the garlic right away or it will burn. It may seem like there is a lot of fat but the potatoes will be joining the pool. Allow the veggies to cook about 6-7 minutes until they start to get soft.

7. While the veggies are cooking. Drain and rinse the potatoes. Dry them well in a salad spinner or with lots of paper towels.

8. Add the garlic and stir. Add the potatoes and stir. They will need to cook about 10 minutes to soft up, under cooked potatoes are gross. Stir them often. I added a splash of water half way to help steam them.

9. While the potatoes are cooking beat the egg with the milk, mustard and herbs. Here is where you can get creative and add flavors you like. Don’t forget a good pinch of kosher salt and black pepper.

10. Taste the potatoes for doneness. Pour the whole egg mixture over and gently shake the pan to evenly distribute. Allow the frittata to cook over medium heat until you see the edges turn solid. About 2 minutes.

11. Top with some shredded cheese and move to the broiler. Set a timer for 3 minutes. Check it. If you shake the pan and it looks tight and springy you are done. If it is liquid and jello like give it another minute. There is a fine line between, raw, done, and burned.

12. Remove from the oven and run a spatula around the edge to free the whole thing. Slide it out onto a cutting board and serve it up!

Potatoes Cooking

Yum, Bacon

Before a 2 Year Old

After