Sunday, April 22, 2012

I've been slacking big time. No menus for the last two or three weeks. And I haven't even been planning but just forgetting to blog. I've just slacked on planning overall. I did mean to write down what I made so that I could see the menu after the fact but unless I write it down that night I forget. I've been making the vegetarian sloppy Joe recipe quite a bit lately which I need to post sometime soon. I like it a lot more than Tempeh Sloppy Joes which I tried a few months back. My recipe is from Laurel's kitchen and uses oats, walnuts, and eggs. It tricks most meat eaters.

Sunday: dinner at friends
Monday: dinner at friends
Tuesday: Black pepper Tempeh w/ crunchy ramen coleslaw
Wednesday: stir-fry (with lemongrass & chicken perhaps?)
Thursday: Quiche?
Friday: seafood night (probably salmon)
Saturday: BBQ pork shoulder w/ baked beans

Also on the menu this week for lunch: I bought some sliced meat & cheese for sandwiches. I also like burritos. I didn't buy bread -- I'm going to make it instead, as a way of saving some money. I have yet to make whole wheat bread that slices as well as the bread from Sage Bakehouse in Santa Fe though.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Menu March 25-31

Man, I'm starting to slack. I didn't even post a menu for this week. I didn't even plan out dinner, although whenever I went to the store I tried to buy food for that night and the next. Let's see if I can remember what we ate last week:

Sunday: Oh yes. Sopes with mushrooms and something or other...Sopes are a cornmeal dough that you shape into flat discs, cook on a griddle, then fry. You mound a topping on that. They are pretty good. I think I made a black bean/monterey jack/sauteed mushroom topping for them.

Monday: Tamales  - I made some for Matt & Alicia & their new addition, Izel, and made some for my own freezer as well. I made mango chicken as well as vegetarian squash, corn & black beans. I am now adding coconut oil to all my tamales as I love the tropical flavor it adds.

Tuesday: Burritos (black beans, salsa, cheese, with pork, bell peppers & onion)

Wednesday: Tarragon Chicken Salad (from The Silver Palate). Although I think I prefer my Curry chicken salad more -- which is basically sour cream, mayo, curry powder, toasted cashews, dried cranberries (or golden raisins) and celery. Also I had pie dough so I made a rather runny strawberry pie. It tasted really good though despite the runniness. And the crust came out really really well! Yum. I ate some for breakfast the next day.

Thursday: Hot and spicy tofu with lemongrass (we still had lemon grass so I thought I would experiment a bit)

Ate at Joe's Diner Friday night.

Saturday (tonight): Maybe some sea food since we missed "Fish Friday" last night. I also want to make some sesame rice balls to go with it. And something nice & green on the side.

Next week: I *am* going to make a menu plan for this next week. I'm also toying with the idea of doing an all-vegetarian week. I also have a goal of cutting down on how much meat I serve at dinner. Instead of it being the centerpiece, I'd rather it just be a small part of dinner. Also, we spent way too much money on food in March. It was kind of ridiculous. And I was really good about not wasting produce this month. Sigh. So this week I'm going to try budgeting a certain amount per day and just taking cash to the store. I'll let you know how that goes.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Menu Mar 18-24

This week I forgot to post my menu in advance. Below is what we had. I usually bought groceries for that day and the next night as well. I also was really good this week about using all my produce. Sometimes I buy cilantro and it mostly goes bad, but this week I managed to use almost everything. I think I still have half a chayote and half a cauliflower left. But managed to cruise through the rest of the perishable produce.

Sunday: Split pea soup with Kale Coconut salad. Dessert: Raspberry Lemon cookies

Monday: Black Pepper tempeh with brown rice and cucumber salad.

Tuesday: Sauteed pork chops with mushroom red-wine sauce and spaghetti squash with brown butter, sage, and walnuts.

Wednesday: Spicy lemongrass chicken stir-fry with Thai mushroom/chayote/avocado salad. The mushroom salad recipe usually uses cucumber and tomato, which I didn't have. Raw chayote is quite similar to cucumber. Avocado is quite different from tomato but worked well.

Thursday: Quiche (kale, green onion, and mushrooms with dill havarti) and salad

Friday: Trout served up Thai-style with pearl couscous and Parmesan Kale chips. Those chips are awesome, it was hard to stop snacking on them.

Saturday: Roasted pork loin with chile-honey sauce. (This time I toasted about 2 oz of guajillo and ancho chiles, then soaked them in boiling water for a while. I pureed them in a blender jar with some water and the lime juice, then made the sauce. It reduces the bitterness of the chiles and was great.)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Last week's new recipes review

Last's weeks new recipes:

Farrotto (farro risotto):

The farrotto was not popular with John. I didn't mind it, and have had it for lunch a few times.

Thousand Layer Lasagna
The thousand layer lasagna was pretty popular, everyone ate quite a bit of that and it disappeared by lunchtime the next day. It was a lot of work to make all that lasagna -- mainly the having to roll out all of it to the very thinnest setting. But actually the hardest part was unsticking the noodles after I cooked them. I didn't read the instructions about dunking them in cold water afterwards which probably would have helped. I had oiled the boiling water though and they still stuck. Also I found I needed twice as much sauce as the recipe called for, and I also used all the mozzarella I had on hand which was probably 4 oz more or so.

The other new recipe was Sloppeh Joes -- sloppy joes with tempeh. I followed my tried-and-true Gourmet magaazine sloppy joes recipe but the tempeh was kind of boring. It has a good texture but didn't absorb the sauce flavors as well as meat, I guess. Our favorite vegetarian Sloppy Joes remains the Laurel's Kitchen Walnut-Oat burgers served up sloppy-joe style (they don't have the sloppy joe recipe in there, that was my idea). I'll have to post that one sometime.

Menu for week of Mar 11 to 17th

Last week went pretty well. I probably went to the grocery store more times than I should have but I stuck to the menu plan.

This weeks menu:
Sunday: Sloppy Joes (with meat, not tempeh, like last week) using this recipe: Sophisto Joes and salad.

Monday: Stir-fry night (with chicken, mushrooms, bell pepper, and whatever else is in the fridge.)

Tuesday: Something vegetarian that uses stuff I have on hand which includes kale, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and onions. And lots of grains & beans. I'm sure I'll come up with something.

Wednesday: ?? Leaving this one open for now as well. I was thinking about beef stew but i don't like eating beef more than once a week in general (it's in Sundays' dinner).

Thursday: Squash & cranberry stuffed chicken breasts. This is becoming a regular part of the menu.

Friday: Seafood night -- I'm thinking this week of having white fish (tilapia?) with green olives & lemons.

Saturday: St. Patrick's Day, which means we'll be at the Central Avenue Grill in Los Alamos listening and dancing to the Irish music band Roaring Jelly. No green beer, but maybe a black & tan.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Farrotto (Risotto with farro)

Well John took one bite of the farrotto last night and promptly put down his fork and said, "I don't like it." Which is something he almost never does. Usually if he doesn't like something he just doesn't eat a lot of it, but usually he eats whatever I give him.

I don't know if it was the fennel seed or the saffron he disliked. I thought it was OK -- it kind of tasted a bit like paella to me with the red pepper and saffron. But it wasn't really enough to be a main course on its own. Fortunately, I had prepared some sausage to go along with it. I think that some shrimp or scallops would go well with it. I decided to freeze most of it and save some for my lunch today.

I think what I would like to try is perhaps a version with fresh fennel bulb instead of fennel seed. Or try making paella with farro -- I think that could be good. If I make farrotto again I will use a more classic ingredient combo and just have it as a side dish.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Chicken cashew stir-fry

Dinner tonight was chicken stir-fry with toasted Kale Coconut salad and brown basmati rice.

Chicken Cashew stir-fry.

This recipe is based off of Heidi Swanson's Black Pepper Tempeh recipe in Super Natural Every Day. What is different? Well, I use chicken instead of tempeh, I add in some Thai curry paste, and I mix up the vegetables and toss in some cashews at the end.


3 TB coconut oil (you could substitute peanut oil)
7 large cloves of garlic smashed well and roughly chopped.
1 small onion chopped (shallots are also good -- use 4 or so)
1/2 TB red pepper flakes
1 TB peeled grated ginger
1 TB thai curry paste (I used Chu Chee but red or yellow would work well, you can also skip it)

1 lb chicken thighs (you can also use tempeh, beef, pork, tofu, etc.)
1/2 cup cashews
 4 cups mixed chopped vegetables (I used red cabbage, red bell pepper, and chayote tonight). You could use a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies.

Mix in a small bowl:
3 TB tamari or soy sauce
1/4 cup (1 oz) cane sugar
2 TB water
1 tsp fish sauce (optional)

Cilantro and/or thai basil for garnish

Heat coconut oil in large skillet over low heat. Slowly cook garlic, onions, red pepper flakes, ginger, and curry paste over low heat for 10-15 minutes.

Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the chicken, vegetables, and soy sauce/sugar/water mixture. Stir and cover and cook until chicken & vegetables are cooked through (about 10 minutes). Add cashews about a minute before you are ready to serve. Garnish with cilantro or Thai basil.