Monday, October 31, 2011

Menu Plan October 31 - November 4

I just looked at last week's menu, and I can't actually remember what we ate!  We did eat a few things off the menu, but not everything, and I'm at a loss as to what we ate on what days.  On to another week...

This week is great because I have to work from home on Wednesday, so I only have one day that I work till 6:00.  Wish that day wasn't Halloween, but we do what we have to, right? 

Here's the plan:

Monday:  Take out (not sure what yet, probably burgers.  It was supposed to be leftover pizza, but we totally burned the pizza last night, so that was a complete waste of two meals and $12.  I was so bummed!).

Tuesday:  Creamed tuna on biscuits

Wednesday:  Chicken and bows (why yes, I AM determined to make this recipe!)

Thursday:  Cheesesteak sandwiches

Friday:  Teriyaki chicken (I'll post a recipe for this as soon as I dig it out of my files.  Super easy and really good!)

Have a great week, everyone!  And please visit for tons of great menu ideas!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Menu Plan October 24 - 28

We did ok last week, but didn't entirely follow our menu.  I was sick all week and most days the last thing I wanted to do was cook!  We did end up at Taco Bell one night and we had leftovers another, but our other three meals were from the menu.

Here's what I have planned for this week:

Monday:  roast chicken and potatoes
Tuesday:  leftover pizza (from tonight)
Wednesday:  Turkey roast (precooked from Costco - just heat and eat)
Thursday:  Chicken and bows (from last week's menu - we didn't get to it)
Friday:  if I can get to the Asian food store this week, we'll have pad Thai.

Have a great week, everyone - and don't forget to visit Menu Plan Monday on for tons of great ideas!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

past menu plans

Since I'm consolidating my blogs, I don't want to lose the menus that I posted over on the other one.  So here's a quick list.  Fortunately, I wasn't very good about keeping up with menu planning, so there aren't all that many of them!

June 13 - 18

  • Last night, I made Pad Thai.  I overcooked the noodles somehow (never had that happen before!), but other than that, it was great!
  • Tonight, we're having taco salad.
  • Tomorrow, it'll be crock pot roast beef.
  • Wednesday, roasted Cornish game hens.
  • Thursday, should be leftover night but we'll see if we have any!
  • Friday, lemon pepper chicken.

June 21 - 25

June 28 - July 2
  • Monday, we had leftover pizza and salad.
  • Tonight, we had grilled chicken and creamed peas and potatoes.  I don't usually grill on weeknights, but there wasn't any room in my fridge for a pan of chicken to be put in the oven, so we improvised.  Oh, and the peas and potatoes were from our garden.  AWESOME.
  • Tomorrow night, we're having spaghetti.
  • Thursday night, we're having baked turkey cutlets.  I just need to figure out what I'm going to do to them to give them some flavor!
  • Friday doesn't need to be make-ahead, since we're both taking the day off, so it'll probably be jambalaya or tuna helper.  We'll see. 

July 5 - 9
  • Monday, we had grilled steak, corn, and chard.  Since it was a holiday I was able to cook at dinner time!
  • Tonight, we'll have burgers (leftover, just heat and eat) and potato salad
  • Tomorrow, we'll have fried ham and baked potatoes (not make ahead, but the ham slices I bought will fry up in about five minutes once the skillet is hot)
  • Thursday, we may finally eat that turkey I've had on the menu for several weeks!
  • Friday, we'll have taco salad. 

September 19 - 23, 2010
  • Tonight, I made buttermilk chicken, with mashed potatoes and sauteed summer squash.  One of my favorite meals ever, and yes, it can be made ahead (but I didn't).  I'll post instructions soon!
  • Tomorrow, we'll be having cranberry pork chops.  How have I never posted this recipe on either blog?  Must remedy that...
  • Wednesday, teriyaki chicken.
  • Thursday, something meatless.  Hubby has promised we can start having meatless meals once a week to save money.  I'm not sure what yet, I need to do some recipe hunting!
  • Friday, we're babysitting our nieces and nephews, so I think we'll just be picking up a pizza or making something super quick at their house.    

September 27 - October 1
  •  Monday, we ended up with leftovers because - get this - I FORGOT to make dinner!  Craziness, I tell you!
  • Tuesday, we had turkey tenderloin baked in creamy mushroom sauce. 
  • Wednesday, we had lemon chicken.
  • Tonight, it's baked chicken taquitoes (this is my new favorite recipe!).
  • Friday, it's meatless night, and I have no idea what that will be yet, but I'd better get on it!
October 10 - 16
  • Sunday:  Creamed tuna on biscuits
  • Monday:  Chorizo black bean soup 
  • Tuesday:  Cordon bleu casserole (this recipe, served with noodles) 
  • Wednesday: Jambalaya with kielbasa (from a box, though I'm thinking about trying to bake it instead of stove-top, so it'll be more make-ahead.  I'll let you know how it goes)
  • Thursday:  leftovers
  • Friday:  Chicken paprikash over baked potatoes
  • Saturday:  We'll be out of town for a birthday party that day, so we'll grab dinner on the road. 

January 2 - 7
  • Sunday:  We had taco salad
  • Today:  Chicken and Dumplings
  • Tuesday:  Stuffed peppers 
  • Wednesday:  Chicken Paprikash over baked potatoes
  • Thursday:  Baked pork chops and parmesan noodles, if I get to the meat market.  Otherwise, spaghetti.
  • Friday:  Tuna casserole 
January 9 - 14
  • Sunday:  Pad Thai 
  • Monday:  Pineapple Chicken
  • Tuesday:  Spaghetti
  • Wednesday:  Potato and ham soup - or maybe scalloped potatoes and ham.  We'll see what I feel like making...
  • Thursday:  Meatloaf
  • Friday:  Something involving kielbasa...I need to explore some recipes.  Anyone have a suggestion? 
January 16 - 21
  • Sunday:  chicken fried steak
  •  Monday:  chicken and dumplings (I use the Cook's Illustrated recipe - if you happen to be a member of their website, it's the February 2005 version)
  • Tuesday:  tacos
  • Wednesday: Buffalo chicken spaghetti (we haven't ever had this, but it sounds AMAZING!)
  • Thursday: Spanish rice casserole (I'm going to make this one meatless by adding extra beans in place of the turkey)
  • Friday: Jambalaya (made from the Zatarains mix) 
January 23 - 28
  • Sunday:  We went out to Chevy's (loving their cheap guacamole Sundays!)
  • Monday:  Buttermilk Chicken 
  • Tuesday:  hamburger casserole
  • Wednesday:  chicken enchiladas 
  • Thursday:  spaghetti
  • Friday:  bean/rice casserole (the one I didn't make last week!). 
 February 7 - 11
  • Monday:  Bulgogi and sesame rice 
  • Tuesday:  Tacos
  • Wednesday:  Pork chops (haven't figured out just how I'm fixing them yet)
  • Thursday:  Spaghetti
  • Friday:  Pineapple chicken 
May 9 - 12
  • Monday:  hamburger casserole
  • Tuesday: baked chicken
  • Wednesday:  ravioli alfredo
  • Thursday:  pulled pork sandwiches (going to cook the meat in the crock pot)
  • Friday we have plans, so I don't have to cook! 
July 18 - 21
  • Monday:  meatloaf and garlic mashed potatoes, green beans from our CSA box
  • Tuesday:  manicotti (I use this recipe from the back of the Ronzoni manicotti box and add some cooked ground beef), green salad, and cheesecake (happy 8th anniversary to us!)
  • Wednesday:  Baked chicken with roasted broccoli and cauliflower
  • Thursday:  Kielbasa and kidney beans
 October 3 - 7

Homemade Chicken Bake

Whenever I have the opportunity to eat a meal at Costco (which isn't often, since I'm a horribly compulsive grocery shopper and therefore forbidden to have my own card), I always go for the "Chicken Bake".  Basically a calzone, it's chickeny, bacony, cheesy good.  A month or two ago my mom took me shopping there, and I discovered Chicken Bake in the freezer section.  I immediately snatched up a box for eating at home.

Last week we ate the last of our Chicken Bakes, but, when asked what my daughter wanted to eat for dinners this week, that was her request.  "CHICKEN BAKE!!!"  Strange, because she didn't seem all that enamored of it when we had them for lunch, but of course I was happy to oblige and figure out a way to make them myself.

There are no measurements in the assembly because, in my typical pizza fashion, I just sprinkled things on till it looked right.

Homemade Chicken Bake
makes 4 large calzones

2 tubes pizza crust in a can (could also substitute homemade pizza dough - I was in a hurry so I used the prebought).
Caeser dressing, ranch dressing, or alfredo sauce
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
1/2 pound bacon, diced and fried
2 green onions, chopped
shredded parmesan cheese
shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Divide each pizza crust in half.  Roll out into a rectangle, about 6 inches by 8 inches.  You want to be looking at it the long way, not the tall way (i.e. "landscape", not "portrait", if we were talking about printing).

Spread dressing or sauce over crust, stopping about 1/2 inch from the edges.

Spread toppings in a 4-inch-wide strip down the middle of the crust, stopping about 1 inch from the top and bottom.  Keep a little extra parmesan cheese for the top. 

Fold left and right edges over; pinch the ends together and tuck under.  Place seam side down on your baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining three pieces of crust.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Spread a little bit of additional dressing or sauce on top, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Bake an additional 5 - 8 minutes until cheese is melted and brown.

Excellent served with salad on the side.

If you want to make this in the morning, just assemble it and put it in the fridge until time to make dinner.  Add an additional 5 minutes to your initial baking time.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Meatball Casserole

I haven't actually made this - I saw it on an old episode of "Oliver's Twist" and I loved the idea. Don't want to forget it, so I thought I'd post it!

Quick tomato sauce:

olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans crushed tomatoes (I'm guessing he used the smaller cans, not the 28 ounce).
1 handful fresh basil

Saute the onion in some olive oil until soft.  Add garlic and cook until you can smell it (careful not to burn it!).  Add tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir in fresh basil and let it wilt.

For the casserole:

1 batch Italian-style meatballs (use your favorite recipe)
sliced fresh mozzarella
shredded parmesan cheese

Spoon the tomato sauce into the bottom of a medium-size casserole dish.  Cover the sauce with meatballs, then top with sliced fresh mozzarella and sprinkle with parmesan.

Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly and meatballs are cooked through.  Serve with pasta on the side.

Cranberry Pork Chops

It appears that I have somehow missed posting this, one of my favorite pork recipes of all time, on either of my blogs.  Time to remedy that situation!

This recipe can be made ahead or done at the last minute.  If you don't want to deal with cooking the cranberry sauce, feel free to substitute a can of whole berry cranberry sauce for the cranberries, juice, and sugar.

Cranberry Pork Chops
serves 4

4 thick-cut pork chops, either bone in or boneless
1 T olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries, picked over for bad berries and rinsed
1/2 cup orange or apple juice
3/4 cup sugar
Salt and pepper

Place the pork chops in a 9x13 baking dish (or an 8x8 if they'll fit).  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large skillet, over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and saute until soft, about five minutes.  Add berries, juice, and sugar, stirring until combined.  Lower the heat to medium and, stirring frequently, simmer until the berries have burst and sauce is thickened, about 10 - 15 minutes.

Pour sauce over the pork chops.  At this point, if you're making it in the morning, you can stick it in the fridge until it's time to bake it.  Start it out in a cold oven and add five or so minutes to your cooking time.

Bake at 350 degrees until cooked through - 30-35 minutes for boneless chops, 40 - 45 for bone in.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Menu October 17 - 21

First of all, an announcement.  Some of you know I started a second blog a while back, My Make-Ahead Meals.  Focusing a blog on one single facet of my cooking was an interesting experiment for a while, but I'm not posting enough in either place to make it worth keeping two blogs up, so I'm shutting that blog down.  I'll gradually post the recipes and tips from there over here, and then I'll pull it entirely.

That said, on to menu planning!

The last two weeks I've tried something new with our menu plan.  I have a small dry erase board on our fridge that I have used in the past to keep lists, notes, etc. on (we also have a large board on the fridge that we use for the grocery list, instructions for my husband when he's cooking dinner, and other important items).  The small board has now officially become our menu board.  This morning at breakfast, I pulled the board off the fridge and asked my husband and daughter what they want to eat this week.  Here's what we came up with:

Monday:  The board says spaghetti, but we didn't eat the pork chops I thawed for tonight's dinner, so we're having that instead.  We'll have spaghetti next week.  Not sure how I'm going to prepare them yet, but I'm looking at this recipe.  It's pretty similar to what we're having Tuesday, though, so I may go a different route. 

Tuesday:  cube steak and potatoes. That was my husband's contribution, and one of his favorite meals.  I dip it in milk and seasoned flour, then pan fry it, and serve it with garlic mashed potatoes and salad.

Wednesday:  chicken bake.  This will be a riff on the chicken bakes they sell at Costco - we just finished a box of them and apparently they were memorable to my two-year-old because she definitely wants them!  I'll make them like calzones, with alfredo sauce (though I think the official Chicken Bake might use caesar dressing), grilled chicken, bacon, green onions, and Italian blend cheese.  We'll probably have them with salad. 

Thursday:  creamed tuna.  Just because I'm still relishing the fact that, now that I get home an hour earlier three nights a week, biscuits can be a weeknight meal item once again.  I even bought buttermilk, so we'll be having the good ones!

Friday:  chicken and bows.  This is a new one for us, but it sounds delicious and I'm looking forward to trying it!  I'll be making it with a quick white sauce flavored with chicken broth instead of the cream of chicken soup, as I'm trying to steer away from those at the moment.

Feeling stuck with the same old boring meals?  Head on over to Meal Plan Monday at www.orgjunkie.com and browse through thousands of menu suggestions from bloggers all over the internet!

Have a great week!