Dinner Menu for the week of June 17th

Right.  It is Tuesday.  Sickness has taken over my house, and consumed several boxes of tissue.  With illness comes a SLOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWW down of all activity.  Including the posting of this week’s menu.

Before I get to the menu, I have to share some excitement over our tiny little garden.  Saturday I loaded Trevor into my dad’s truck to go get the dirt from a local garden supply place.  He was SO excited, and was talking the whole way there and back about “Papa’s white truck.”  He eyes were full of wonder as the dirt was loaded into the truck by some huge yellow front-loader machine.  Really glad I took him along with me.

We got home with the soil, and Dave brought load after load back to the raised bed.  Trevor was right there with Dave the entire time.  Cutest thing ever.

Our first planting included watermelon, zucchini, cucumber, red bell pepper, jalapeno, parsley and basil!  Cannot wait to nurture these little guys!

garden

Of note, some of the plants will need to be moved.  I guess I underestimated the needed space for several of the items planted.  Joy.

Last quick update.  It is almost blackberry season!!!  My neighbor has a bush that is jumanji-ish, and reaches over the fence into our yard.   Plucking these gems will be the highlight of my summer fruit bounty!

blackberries

Onto what we are eating this week:

Monday:  This is our use it up day, so we scrounged for leftovers, and it worked out well. Dave actually tried to finish off the Mac and cheese from last week. I did not touch it though, because it was gross. Like, a waste of pasta gross. Cannot seem to get the ratio of pasta to sauce right, and it always turns out a sticky mess.

Tuesday:  Tonight we are eating shepherd’s pie.  Not normally something I like, but Dave is a huge fan.  It was a Father’s Day request, so I am going to give it a go. I am counting on being amazed.

Wednesday:  Spring Quinoa Salad.  YES please!

Thursday: Chopped Salad with Quinoa, Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Friday: Steak Fajitas. These were such a hit last time, that we are making them again! Planning to make fresh corn tortillas too. YUM!

Saturday: Brinner night, so it will either be whole wheat waffles, or pancakes. Whatever I feel I can manage.

Starting next week, my menus will go Sunday-Saturday. This will make it easier to shop on the weekends, and also my menu app on my iPhone uses Sunday-Saturday, so it was getting weird. Technology…rules my life I tell you.

Enjoy your week everyone!

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Dinner Menu for the week of June 10th

Let me begin by saying, tonight’s dinner was quite possibly the best thing I have ever eaten.  It was most certainly the best thing I have ever cooked!  Dave agrees with me btw.

The homemade corn tortillas were a smash.  So easy, and as a bonus, I got to put my tortilla press to use.  For real this time.  Combine homemade tortillas with amazing fish, and sauce that brought it all together, and you have tiny fireworks of amazing going off in your mouth.  Try them.  Soon.

The rest of the meals on the menu for last week were also good.  I would say my least favorite was the BLT salad.  Shame, because it was the thing I was most excited to make.  I think the issue was that it needed more bacon.  Dave would argue that everything needs more bacon.  I should also note that my son with the expressive speech delay, is able to say, “More bacon” consistently,  so I think we know where he stands.

I forgot to mention last week, but we are trying a new cash budgeting system for groceries.  It is pretty 1986, but something had to be done about our (my) grocery overspending.  Last week, I came in $10 over my weekly allowance.  This meant that I SHOULD be $10 under this week to make up for the overage.  I got the money out of the ATM on Saturday, and after hitting up Costco, Whole Foods and the farmer’s market, I would like to report that I now have $30 left for the rest of the week.  Shoot.  Due to the fact that I spend $11 every few days on just milk, I am pretty sure that I am screwed.  Sigh.

Last update before I get on with it.  Operation “Veggie Bed” is under way.  Dave’s parents designed a raised garden bed for us that is enclosed.  They came over on Wednesday, and put it together.   Here is what it looked like after the frame was built.

veggies

Here is what it looks like with the fencing on that is designed to keep out vermin.  (Featuring a curious one year old.)

veggies1

The dirt, and actual planning will be next weekend’s project.  Naturally, I will also be spending WAY too much time on Pinterest in the evenings this week trying to find the perfect planting blueprint.

HUGE thank you to Jo and Rich for all of the work you put into this for us.  I will feed you with fresh yumminess when this project bears fruit.  (And veggies…)

And the menu…

Monday:  Leftover night.  AKA…Fend for yourself night.  Could be an Amy’s burrito,  granola and yogurt, eggs over asparagus, Lara bars and water.  Like I said…fend for yourself.

Tuesday:  Our very very favorite chicken in the crock pot, wild rice and steamed parmesan broccoli.

Wednesday:  Cobb salad with chicken from Tuesday, eggs, avocado, shredded carrot and cucumber.

Thursday:  Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.

Friday:  Taking a night off from meat and giving Mac and Cheese another go.  It was dreadful the last time, but I found a new recipe that gives me hope.  I also plan to put a few bread crumbs on the top and bake it for a bit.

Saturday: Omelettes with avocado, spinach and cheddar.

Sunday we get to celebrate Dave and my sweet Daddy-O.  Leaving this day open to the possibility of hangout sessions, and good chats, and maybe even something on the grill.

Cannot wait to share more pics of the veggie bed progress next week!

Dinner Menu for the week of June 3rd

Last week, we took a “use it up” challenge.  We went WAY over the food budget in May, and had to put on the breaks.

I would love to report, that until Sat (when the month reset), the only food  item I purchased for home meals was milk. (I really SHOULD count the couple of i.forgot.my.DANG.lunch.at.home trips to whole foods for work lunches, but honestly…)  Dave and I even sacrificed half and half in our coffee.  I know…right?!?!  I did not think it would be possible, but it turns out that I am reminded often, that we can do hard things.  By Saturday, the fridge was SO empty, but it felt really good to have used up all of the fruit and veggies that I had on hand.

Speaking of hard things, it is in my nature to start little “projects”, then lose steam when they drag on and on and on.  I thought for sure that our real food adventure would need to be restarted several times before it really became a way of life.  Shockingly, I am mostly sticking to the menus, reading labels, and achieving 90% real food most weeks.  It feels great to commit to a life change and to see the results.  Knowing what I know about the damage done by processed foods, it is not likely that I will revert.

I digressed a bit, so here is what our dinner menu looks like for this week.

Monday:  We did not use the soup Sunday due to an impromptu BBQ at a friend’s house.  So…chicken soup it is!

Tuesday:  Grilled pork tenderloin with blueberry sauce and parm zucchini.  Blueberries were on MAJOR sale at Whole Foods, so this is the perfect way to use them up. Also, I will be grilling my pork tenderloin on a grill pan, and will not be using Mrs. Dash on anything.  Ever.  🙂

Wednesday:  BLT chopped salad.  Can.not.wait!

Thursday:  Broccoli cheddar soup

Friday:  Orange and ginger chicken thighs with roasted red potatoes and corn on the cob.  I will sub in olive oil for the processed veg oil in the recipe.

Saturday:  Take two on Poached eggs with asparagus and bacon.

Sunday:  Spicy fish tacos.  This is going to be a stretch for me, and I hope I am up for the challenge.  These look SO flippin’ good!

In related news…I am in the very early stages of building some raised veggie beds!  It will be so awesome to shop in my garden for dinner instead of the farmer’s market or grocery store.  Pics to come.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Dinner menu for the week of May 27th

This whole meal planning thing is starting to get a bit easier.  Having said that, it does seem like every week, something comes up that changes my plan.

Last week, we skipped the salad night on Thursday, because I went out to dinner with some of my sweet girlfriends.  It was SO nice to have a night out.  With a daily goal of 90% real food, and 10% everything else, I spent pretty much ALL of my 10% on an amazing dark chocolate brownie topped with ice cream and drizzled dark chocolate sauce.  It may have been closer to 20% though.   Shhhhhhh.

Saturday, I had every intention of making the poached eggs with bacon and asparagus, but the bacon jumped out of the package onto the kitchen floor earlier that morning.  It was a total loss.  I decided to combine the asparagus that was on the menu, with the salmon planned for tonight (Sunday).  It turned out amazing!

salmon

BTW, Dave said that I have to acknowledge that HE cooked this masterpiece.  He reminded me that I always have to credit the chef.

Even though the salmon ruled, both the chicken parmigiana, and the taquitos were the stars of last week’s menu.  Actually…the wild rice soup was awesome too.  It is really great when there are no whammies on a menu.  All the recipe links are here.

It is the last week in May, and I am WAY over my grocery budget already.  I was hoping to get back on track by making smoothies instead of juice, but it has been a harder transition than I had hoped.  I have a freezer full of frozen fruit for smoothies, but have been buying tons of fresh stuff to accommodate Trevor’s desire for “doooooooce”.  It is hard for me argue with a 2yo that begs for kale, spinach, beet, celery, carrot, orange and apple juice.  I mean honestly.

So, I am resolved this week to only use items that I have on hand in order to give the bank account a break.  Yikes!  This will mean smoothies (sorry Trevor) using the frozen fruit, and only trips to the store for milk.  This should work given that we plan to skip eating at home two of the seven nights.

Monday:  Happy Memorial Day!!!  We will be going somewhere to eat some BBQ most likely.

Tuesday:  Salsa chicken tacos.  We will use corn tortillas, and add avocados, cheese and tomatoes.

Wednesday:  Creamy chicken and wild rice soup.  Replay from last week.  It was so good, AND this is a “use it up” week for us.

Thursday:  Dave and I will be going out to dinner for our 4th wedding anniversary.  Yay for date night!

Friday: Cheesy pesto chicken bake.  I will be making my own pesto in the Vitamix.  Hope it turns out well!

Saturday:  French toast with carmalized bananas.  Inspired by this recipe, but I will be using whole grain bread and whole milk for the egg mixture.

Sunday:  We do not have any seafood on hand except some frozen pub battered halibut that has been in the freezer for longer than I care to admit.  Not a real food option sadly.  We will be having soup again (ya know…to use it up) that I will pull from the freezer.  Can I tell you how much I appreciate having cooked ahead?!?

In closing, I am reflecting on Memorial Day, and how its significance reaches far beyond the BBQs, and the day we get off work.  I am humbled by the service and sacrifice of those that have made the US safer.  May we never forget what you have done for us, and may we live lives worthy of your gift.

Dinner Menu for the week of May 20th

Before I get into the menu for this week, I have a request for you…  Please make these fajitas, and then make them again.  They were on last week’s menu, and they turned out so amazing.

It is shaping up to be a busy week for me, so many of the items on this week’s menu will be easy ones.

Here we gooooooo……

Monday:  Fajita chicken burritos from the freezer and a fresh green salad.

Tuesday:  Chicken Parmigiana cutlets over whole wheat spaghetti.  YUM!

Wednesday: Creamy chicken and wild rice soup.  Leftovers will go into the freezer for another night.

Thursday:  Mexican-Style quinoa salad.  Leaving out the onions/shallots, and using diced roma tomatoes since that is what I will have on hand.

Friday:  Beef taquitos.  Did not have a chance to rock some fresh corn tortillas last week, so maybe this will be my chance?

Saturday:  Poached eggs with Asparagus.  I am planning to use bacon instead.

Sunday:  Blackened Salmon with mango avocado salsa and steamed broccoli

BTW, still warming up to my Vitamix.  Cannot get used to the smoothie consistency, so  Juicy will not be retired just yet.  :/  “Vita” (her new name) may be redeemed when the dry container is delivered this week.  Hoping to begin grinding my own wheat and corn.

Happy cooking friends!

Dinner menu for the week of May 13th

Another week of meal planning is here. Already.

On Friday, my little sis and her family came up to visit.  It was a great weekend of fun and relaxing with a teeny tiny break from real food, though I did still try to make good choices when available.

In other news, Juicy may be on her way out in favor of my new VITAMIX!!!  It is so very different, in both good and bad ways.  I really do prefer actual juice over smoothies, but there is so much less waste with my new tool.  It should reduce our fresh produce spending drastically.  It is not only me that misses the pure Juicy kind of juice.  Trevor has left several full glasses of green smoothie juice around the house.  Hope I can get the consistency and taste right in the coming week.

These are the items on our dinner menu:

Monday:  Left over chicken.

Tuesday:  Chicken pot pie.   Like most things, I modify this recipe.  I make my own whole wheat crust, I use whole wheat flour in the filling, and I will be using chicken that cooked most of the day in the crock pot.  Hands down, the very best whole chicken I have ever made!  I will use the carcass to make stock overnight.

Wednesday:  Salad with black beans, quinoa, apples and almonds.  I  will try to find a suitable dressing to make, or it may end up being oil and balsamic vinegar.

Thursday:  Potato soup made in the Vitamix on Sunday with BLTA sandwiches.

Friday:  Grilled steak and veggie fajitas.  I might try to make some corn tortillas from scratch.  Emphasis on might given how the flour ones turned out.  :/

Saturday:  We did not have dinner at home on Saturday last week, so I will be giving the quiches another go.

Sunday: Lemon garlic salmon steamed in foil on the BBQ with brown rice and zucchini.

Every week there seems to be something that makes it on menu that I cannot wait to cook up.  This week it is the fajitas.  Last week it was the shrimp and quinoa with avocado and orange salsa.  It was SO amazing.  Lived up to the dreams that I had been dreaming about the dish.   Both visually appealing, and terrific flavor!

ShrimpQuinoa

 

For those that are mothers, I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day, and that you were celebrated today!  Enjoy your week!

Menu for May 6th – 12th

I am SO aware that this post is a day late.  Being gone for several days requires some rest before jumping right back into the swing of things.

Here is what is in the dinner plan for this week.  Several of these things are new to my recipe box, so I am excited to experiment.

Monday – We had defrosted and re-heated chicken burritos.

Tuesday – Honey lime pork tenderloin with wild rice and either asparagus or broccoli.  Leaving out the sesame oil, and subbing olive oil for the processed canola.

Wednesday – Chef salad with diced ham, egg, avocado, cheese and avocado dressing.  Dressing will be made with organic greek yogurt instead of mayo, and a bit less oil.

Thursday – Potato soup with whole wheat biscuits

Friday – Chicken with beans, tomatoes and corn grilled in foil.  I will be changing this up a bit.  I plan to use fresh tomatoes instead of canned, whole fat jersey cheddar, and olive oil instead of pam.

Saturday – Quiche with cheese and bacon

Sunday –  Sauteed shrimp over orange/avocado quinoa.  Cannot wait to see how this turns out!

Here’s to a great week with no whammies!