Dinner Menu for the week of August 10th

Give me just a short minute to vent.  I had this very week’s menu in a new post, complete with pictures from a few items I made last week.  In a silly attempt to change to a different view to make the images smaller, the whole post vanished.  VANISHED.  Done venting, and getting on with it.

My three favorites from last week were the grass-fed steak/salad/AMAZING biscuits, the grilled cheese, and the potato hash.

The steak was so tender, and had hardly any gristle.  The biscuits were so good, they almost did not make it to the plate.  I made six, and four were eaten right off the baking sheet as soon as the oven door was opened.  Plan to make those again.  Soon.  (BTW, no clue why they look like blueberry scones in the picture.)

Steak

Winner number two was the grilled cheese.  I soaked a few heirloom tomato slices in balsamic vinegar for a few minutes while the grill pan heated.  I added shredded cheddar to each piece of bread, then layered on the avocado, fresh basil and tomatoes.  It became a gooey explosion of amazing.  I confess to inhaling my entire sandwich before making one for Dave.

GrilledCheese

I do not have a picture of the hash because it was eaten too quickly to photograph.  Why have I not made something like this before!?!?

On to the present week…

Sunday:  Honey lime grilled shrimp with grilled zucchini.  I used the same grill pan for both, so the zucchini had a really great flavor.

Monday:  Chili from the freezer with honey cornbread.  Originally made on this menu.

Tuesday:  Dijon-maple chicken with a side salad and Maple and Thyme roasted carrot ribbons.  Can it be Tuesday already?

Wednesday:  Quinoa with paprika chicken and asparagus.

Thursday:  Raw kale and garden veggie salad

Friday:  Simple Lemon Parmesan Spaghetti using whole wheat spaghetti

Saturday:  Asparagus with eggs and bacon

Enjoy your food this week everyone!

Dinner Menu for the week of August 4th

Took a quick trip down to visit my sister and her family with the boys.  I was planning to get the menu finalized while I was down there, but we chatted, hung out, and played games instead.  It was so nice to spend a few days away.

Here is what we are planning to eat this week for dinner:

Sunday:  I made quinoa (using home made chicken stock) with sauteed zucchini (from our garden!), carrots and peas.  I squeezed a bit of lemon over the top, and some freshly ground pepper.  So good.

Monday:  Long day at work planned for both of us, so we will dip into the freezer some defrosted chicken enchilada soup.

Tuesday:  Did not make the steak last week due to the impromptu trip, so we will give it another go.  Plan to marinade it with soy sauce, red wine vinegar, garlic, green onions and some dijon.  Also making cheesy garlic biscuits, and a small side salad.  (The lettuce is needing a harvest in our garden.  Bad)

Wednesday:  Grilled cheese with fresh basil, tomatoes, and a bit of balsamic vinegar.

Thursday:  Salad with eggs, avocado, almonds, crumbled feta and oil/vinegar.

Friday:  Beef carnitas tacos in the crock pot.  Hello home made tortillas!

Saturday:  I plan to dice some potatoes (both reg and sweet potatoes) and saute with onion, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes and cheese, then top with a slightly runny egg.  I missed brinner last night.

Hope everyone has a fabulous week!

~S

Dinner Menu for the week of July 14th

Getting right to the menu this week.  Sleep is calling.

Sunday: Grilled salmon salad with corn on the cob

Monday: Left over chili and cornbread from last week’s menu

Tuesday: Honey lemon pork tenderloin medallions with cheesy broccoli orzo.  Subbing in whole wheat orzo.

Wednesday: Grilled ham and cheese sandwich

Thursday:  Sweet potato gnocchi!!!

Friday: Stuffed zucchini boats with tomatoes, quinoa, green peppers and parm cheese

Saturday:  Strawberry waffles.  (I am really loving brinner on the weekends btw.)

Tomorrow is going to be another cookapalooza because Dave is traveling a few days next week.  I have to stock up on some snack items, and fill the freezer with a few meals.  Also, I rocked out some AMAZING muffins tonight.  I will post the recipe tomorrow.

Nighty night…

Dinner Menu for the week of July 7th

It has been so very nice to have a few days off, and to have Dave home.  We went to the Bay Area Discovery Museum, enjoyed a Fourth of July parade, and took turns sleeping in.  SLEEPING IN!  Despite the few relaxing days, I have neglected food shopping and bulk cooking.  Oy!

While I put together a menu for dinner each week, there is so much more planning and cooking that we do every week.  Breakfast, lunch, snacks and all of the prep that is needed for each nightly meal.  In addition, we are still working on Trevor’s limited palate.  He does eat real food, but we cycle through the same 10 or so items that he will gladly swallow.  So…cooking for him adds to the to do list.  Thank goodness Lucas will eat anything.  Then when he is done, he will eat what is left on Trevor’s plate.

So, taking a few days off from food duties, leads to Dave standing in front of an open fridge/cabinet in search of something to eat for lunch or snacks.  It is time to get cracking.  Tomorrow is going to be a cook/prep/freeze ahead day.

For this week’s menu, I am doing a week of repeats.  These are all getting made again because they were a hit in a past menu.  Some of my very faves will not be highlighted simply because I will not have ingredients.  The items I picked can either help me stock my freezer (chili), or will be easily made with much of what I have on hand.  I am excited!

Sunday: Chili and cornbread.  For the chili, I leave out the sugar, bacon bits, hotsauce, and corn chips.  I use one whole beer.  Cornbread recipe is modified to use whole corn meal (that I will grind in my Vitamix from organic popcorn!!!), whole wheat flour (ground in the Vitamix from whole wheat berries!), olive oil instead of veg, no sugar, and a bit more honey.  This meal usually does a really good job of stocking the freezer.

Monday: Left over potato soup (on last week’s menu) and a small salad.

Tuesday: Chicken pot pie I plan to make this interesting by not using any crust, and instead covering the top of the filling with whole wheat biscuit dough that will be dropped on top prior to cooking. I tried this the last time, and it was AMAZING!!! I will post pics of the process.

Wednesday: Lemon Butter Salmon, and steamed broccoli. Plan to add some garlic to the salmon prior to baking.

Thursday: Spring quinoa salad.  Just plain delish!  Naturally there would have to be a quinoa dish right?!?!

Friday: Chicken Parmesan cutlets over whole wheat spaghetti with corn on the cobb.

Saturday: Spinach quiche

Last week I promised pictures of my sweet little garden project.  Oh how it has grown!  Today I added four types of lettuce and two types of kale.  I had to move the peppers to the front too because the monster zucchini and cucumber plants were trying to swallow them.

garden1 kale

lettuce zandc

Before I wrap up, I have a request.  If anyone out there has a favorite real food recipe, please post a link to it in a comment.  Or, even if it is not made with real food ingredients, but it is a favorite, I might be able to modify it by swapping a few things out.  PLEASE send me some inspiration!

Have a great week!

Dinner Menu for the week of June 30th

The last few days have been HOT in the bay area.  The kind of hot that makes everything a chore.

Like most people in the area, we do not have AC at home.  HOT + no AC in the house = zero desire to cook.  Zero.  Like, I have not even turned on the oven since the middle of last week.

On Friday night, I attempted my first batch of home made ice cream.  I was inspired by this post, but did not have any strawberries, or heavy cream on hand.  I did have frozen blueberries and half and half though, and that was going to have to be close enough.  I mixed up the ingredients, and then pulled out the ice cream maker base out of the freezer.  Just an FYI…it is ill-advised to attempt ice cream when it is 92 degrees INSIDE your house.  So Friday night’s attempt failed because the frozen container did not stay cold enough, and we had to give it another go in the morning.  The subsequent attempt was a success.

YAY for ice cream on a HOT day!

icecream

It tastes amazing, though next time I will reduce the amount of both the vanilla and honey.  Next up later today, berry yogurt pops!

My menu this week will contain very little that requires the oven.  Here is what is in the plan.

Sunday:  Grilled lemon shrimp salad with corn on the cob.

Monday:  Left over chicken burritos made last week.

Tuesday:  Grilled pineapple and avocado burgers.

Wednesday: Potato and bacon soup in the crock pot.

Thursday:  Chef’s salad with bacon crumbles, broccoli, hard boiled eggs and avocado.  If we end up over at someone’s house for a BBQ, I will bring this to share.  Happy 4th of  July!

Friday: Simple Lemon Parmesan Spaghetti using whole wheat spaghetti.  Adding steamed broccoli and sauteed kale.

Saturday:  Filled pancakes.  I have fresh strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.  YUM!

Next week I will share some pics of the progress of my garden.  So exciting to see the veggies growing!

Dinner Menu for the week of June 23rd

Last week I was on a quinoa kick.  The big winner from last week’s menu was the spring quinoa salad.  It was so easy to make, and tasted amazing.   The recipe made more than we could eat for dinner, so we had it for lunch the next day.

I love it when a recipe is easy to make, the result tastes great, and it is a bonus when it is visually appealing!

quinoasalad

I was low on energy last night, so I moved the fajitas to tonight, and rocked some home made corn tortillas.  Honestly any recipe that calls for a tortilla will move to the top of my list now.  These things just plain rule.  Get a tortilla press and a bust some out people.  Or…toss the dough in between some parchment paper and roll them on out.  Either way…get on it.

Here is the dinner plan for the next week.

Sunday:  Skipping the seafood night because we have left over fajitas.  (!!!)

Monday:  Salsa Chicken burritos.  Should have LOTS of left overs for quick burritos to take to work.

Tuesday:  Quinoa with Paprika Chicken and Asparagus  (Still kind of obsessed with quinoa.  And I have a restaurant-sized bag from Costco)

Wednesday:  BLTA sandwiches

Thursday: Taco mountain.  This happens when you have taco fixins, but you layer them all on top of chips instead of putting it all in a taco shell.

Friday: Left over taco mountain, and corn on the cob.

Saturday:  I am heading down to see my sister with the boys over the weekend, so Dave is on his own for dinner.  🙂

Also planning to make these cute little zucchini tots.  In place of bread crumbs, I will be subbing in….wait for it….quinoa, and then popping them into the freezer for snacks.  Not sure what day I will get to them, but I do have some zucchini that needs to be used soon.

Hope everyone has a great week!

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!

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.