Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Menu March 28 - April 2

Here's this week's menu:

Sunday: Pad Thai
Monday: Tamale Pie
Tuesday: Sausage and potato casserole (except I used turkey italian sausage instead of pork sausage. It was so good!).
Wednesday: Crockpot pork roast
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Buttermilk Chicken

enjoy your week!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Menu Plan March 21 - 26

Ugh. I hate those weeks when we're gone more than we're home. This is our third week in a row like that. I'm running out of quick and easy menu ideas! I'm afraid this is going to end up being a chicken-heavy week...

Tonight: we had grilled pork chops, zucchini, and onions, and boiled potatoes with butter and chives (love having a plethora of chives right in my front yard!)

Tomorrow: meatloaf

Tuesday: crockpot orange chicken (I haven't found a recipe hubby will eat, so I cheated and bought the sauce at Panda Express!)

Wednesday: apricot chicken

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: potstickers (from a bag)

Have a fantastic week, and get yourself over to for hundreds of menu planning ideas every Monday!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Menu Plan March 15 - 19

Another busy week! I much prefer the weeks where we are at home more mornings than we are out - it makes it much easier for me to keep up with things!

Here's my plan for this week:

Today: crock pot beef stroganoff
Tomorrow: pineapple chicken
Wednesday: chili
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: chicken enchiladas

Enjoy your week! And please remember to visit for a wealth of menu planning ideas!

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

I'm making this up as I go along today - hopefully it will turn out well!

1 pound stew beef, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 T. minced garlic
1 cup beef broth (I use Better than Bouillon)
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 cup sour cream
Cooked egg noodles

In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Meanwhile, mix the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and Cajun seasoning. Dredge the meat in the flour and saute in the oil until browned.

Layer the onions, mushrooms, and garlic in the crock pot. Put browned beef on top, then add the Worcestershire sauce over all. While the frying pan is still hot, add the beef broth and stir to loosen up the browned bits on the bottom. Pour into crock pot. Stir to combine all.

Cook on low for six hours. Just before serving, stir in sour cream and heat till warmed through. Serve over noodles.

Edit: I originally wrote this recipe to have two cups of liquid. It was way, way too much - it hadn't even finished reducing on the stove by the time the noodles cooked! So I'm cutting out the water and just using beef broth - and I may even reduce the amount of that next time. But there will definitely be a next time - this was full of beefy goodness!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Menu Plan March 7 - 12

I didn't do a menu plan last week. We did ok in spite of that. I didn't realize until Wednesday that all we had in the freezer were seven different kinds of sausage and some chicken, though, so I did some weekday shopping! We ended up with:

Monday: Chicken Cacciatore
Tuesday: Turkey tenderloin baked in cranberry sauce
Wednesday: Burger King (I discovered the meat issue too late to do anything about it)
Thursday: BBQ baked chicken (because I didn't think of it on Wednesday, LOL!)
Friday: Potstickers (from a bag - we like the Ling Ling brand)

I've done my shopping and we are now stocked up! This is going to be a VERY busy week - far busier than I like. If we stick to our schedule and do both of our regular extra-curricular activities (story time and swimming), we'll be out four mornings this week. Fortunately, one of those mornings is for my department meeting at work, which means I get to come home early that day, but still... So I've taken some time this evening to do a little prep work in anticipation of the busyness.

First, I took two pounds of ground beef out of the freezer and cooked it up with onions and garlic. One half I left like that for spaghetti this week and a casserole next week (half a pound each), and the other half I seasoned for tacos. At the moment, I'm waiting for water to boil for pasta for tomorrow night's casserole. I should have done that while the beef cooked, but I forgot!

Here's what's on tap for this week:

Today: pad Thai (recipe from Hungry Monkey)
Tomorrow: Tuna casserole
Tuesday: grilled chicken and potatoes
Wednesday: Tacos
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: spaghetti

Enjoy your week! And don't forget to visit for tons of great menu planning ideas!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Buying Local

Over the past couple of years, I have made a gradual effort to incorporate organic foods into our lives. We're not all organic, not by a long shot (and never would be, unless Frito Lay starts making organic Doritos, LOL!). But, when possible, I try to buy organic fruits and veggies, if they look like good quality and there isn't a ginormous price difference. I do find that the organic produce I find in my regular grocery store tends to go bad a lot quicker than the conventional stuff. I'm not sure why that is, but I have to be careful not to buy more than we'll use in a week.

I also will buy organic grain products - cereal, rice, oatmeal, etc. - when I find them. As for meat and dairy, a friend tipped me off a while back that, at our local Fred Meyer, when the organic stuff gets close to its sell by date, the price is slashed dramatically. So when I find those beloved "orange tags", I snag them. We end up getting organic milk about half the time (though I do pay full price every week for my daughter to drink organic whole milk), and the occasional pound of ground beef, that way.

I started buying the organic eggs about six months ago - I was buying the cage free ones, anyway, and the organic ones were only about 70 cents more a dozen, so I figured, what the heck? And now, apparently, I can't go back, because a few weeks ago I was at a different grocery store, and they didn't have organic eggs, and I bought regular ones and they were NASTY.

That said, I have never made much effort to buy local food. I've almost always had a vegetable garden of some sort, and I am the occasional farmer's market shopper (mostly during strawberry season). But I never really thought about it much, or made an effort to seek it out. Over the past year that, too, has changed. Last spring, a CSA opened up down the street from my office. I couldn't convince hubby to sign up, but I did take advantage of their farm store, and bought produce from them nearly every week over the summer. This fall, they also started carrying local honey from a farmer in the next town, and I coughed up the $20 to buy a jug of it. I am so glad I did - the difference between that and the Costco honey I've been buying all these years is like night and day!

For the past eight years, I've been driving by a local butcher/smokehouse about a mile from my house. I've seen them at the farmer's market in the past, but always thought they just did bacon and sausage. Then I did a little research and found out that they also sell beef, pork, and buffalo. On Friday, my daughter and I stopped in to check them out. Turns out all the meat is raised about 20 miles from us, and it's hormone-free, mostly antibiotic-free (they give the cows antibiotics when they are first born), and grass fed beef. I was afraid the price would be completely unreasonable, but it turned out that it is the same or less than the grocery store where I usually buy my meat (depending on the cut)! I was so excited. I bought a roast, some pork chops, and 10 pounds of ground beef to try, plus some pepper bacon (which was divine - we had it for breakfast this morning). They threw in some buffalo sausage for free, since I was a first time customer. Can't wait to try that!

So there I go, expanding my horizons again. Now, I would love to find a local source of dairy products and chicken. I can get local eggs, but they're $6 a dozen so I just keep buying the organic ones at the store...