Monday, December 10, 2007

Menu Planning Monday

I feel like my kitchen has become the Cookie of the Day department around here. Between the recipes on Two Fat Als that I Just Had to Try, two cookie exchanges this week, the family "November Birthdays" party yesterday, and my resolution to Use What I Have, we are in full kitchen swing this week. While the boys would be ecstatic if we had cookies for dinner, that's not happening, so something else had better come along.

A few notes on last week: The chicken marbella was awesome. I made the "appetizer" version, with 4 boneless chicken breasts cut up in to bite-sized pieces instead, and used lots less brown sugar (due to a mistake in my own reading, not, alas, any wiser instinct.) We loved it. We will definitely make it again, but with fewer prunes and more apricots. Yum. For my vegan friends, try this with tofu. It was amazing, and I think it would totally work with tofu. Not that I am such a tofu expert. I don't know how long the tofu can marinate without falling apart, which is a downer, but really, it's worth experimenting. We served it over rice.

And another kitchen experiment triumph last week was the Rib-Eye Roast. An eye roast was what I always asked my mother to make me for my birthday dinner and this year I felt up to the emotional task of trying it myself. I got out my mother's battered 8-inch square pan, poked holes in the meat and tucked in garlic slices, then slathered the top with minced garlic from the jar. What to do next, though, escaped me completely, so I got out my Joy of Cooking and followed the slow-roast method. This was all on Sunday night, but it became obvious that the troops would need to be fed before the roast was ready. So I did a quick fake with something or another for dinner for us that night, and readjusted the alarm on the roast timer to the high end of rare--which I consider "not done" usually. But that night, I took it out, covered it in foil as suggested, and put it in the fridge. The next night, I got it out earlier (ahem) and did the high-heat roast method, also from Joy of Cooking. I was nervous about this, since the advantage of slow-roast is juicy, but doesn't look great on the outside, and the advantage of high-heat-roast is seared on the outside but can be dry. So I was a little worried that this dual method would leave me with an ugly, dry eye roast--but the opposite happened! I set the alarm for still a little under where I like my meat cooked, but it came out absolutely scumptious. Just pink in the middle, very juicy, lots of garlic and great pan drippings. The dog was going crazy, and I was very pleased too. Here's hoping for more good stuff this week...

Monday: My husband has his office holiday party and poetry class, so it's just boys & me. We will probably eat out. I have Ikea returns anyway and am jonesing for some Swedish meatballs so that may be in our future.

Tuesday: Leftover lasagne from the weekend, salad, good rolls from Cacia's

Wednesday: Defrostarama. There is either a beef stroganoff with our names on it or a Dinners By Design meal somewhere; that's about what I can pull off on a work day.

Thursday: Hot Chicken Salad (with chicken from the freezer), broccoli, salad

Friday: Pork tenderloins that we didn't get to last week (the chicken lasted several nights, as did the rib roast); sweet potatoes, salad

Oh, and don't miss this hot pizza dip recipe either; it was this year's runaway hit at the potluck.

Finally, on the Two Fat Als cookies: The cranberry blondies were excellent, though the Starbucks one is still yummier. (However, for the price, I'm happy to make my own, and it used up the rest of my cranberries.) I also found they needed to cook almost an hour, and next batch I'll use more white chocolate chips. The Toffee Almond Cookies, however, were amazing. I could only find the toffee chips that were an 8 ounce bag (instead of a 10 ounce) and were the smashed-up candy bar, so with chocolate, and I can see where more toffee, like more cowbell, would only improve things. But dang, skippy, this is one fine cookie.

Now I need to go make chocolate chip cookies, which my sons inform me, are the only REAL cookie in the world. But they'll eat the cranberry blondies to be nice.


Anjali said...

Hats off to you, my friend. You've done more cooking in the past few days than I've probably done all year.

Must ask Chef Kelly whether tofu would hold up to the marination. But if not, I know tempeh would. But still, I'd love to try that dish with tofu.

You've made me hungry to make more cookies tomorrow.

Mommychicky said...

Happy Ikea-ing. Have some lingonberry for me and have a great week.

RuthWells said...

I am so very grateful that my hubby does all the cooking in our house -- I would never be able to do what you do.

Also, poetry class?! We should totally talk about this -- my mom's been writing and getting published for the last few years.

brandy101 said...

I am probably making cookies today, too!

I have to have some to take for a church council meeting Thursday, and then I have to have some for next week for my duaghter to give as gifts to her teacher, teacher's aide, bus driver, etc. I usually get those cellophane bags but this year, I snagged a few of those bigger plastic decorated containers (like a cookie tin but platsic) for 70 cents each. But then that means I need to bake more to fill 'em!