Sunday, June 21, 2009

MPM--Eating Down the Fridge, Summer Edition (for real)

Hello Menu Planners!

This week is the real EDF Challenge, and we're ready to go. Last week was a big help in prepping for it, so now I'm on a roll. I cleared out a bunch of stuff from the big freezer already (beef stroganoff from 2007...rolls that were entirely ice-crusted...too bad the town picnic was postponed by rain or I'd have a bag of meatballs on the list and out of the fridge too) and this week should help that along even more. Other than milk and maybe more fruit (the peaches and cherries have been amazing) I don't think we'll need to go to a store at all!

Last week we had some awesome results with sure to read below for reviews and links!

This week's menus:

Monday: grilled filets mignon, mashed potatoes, something from the CSA box. (Last week was the excellent sale on grass-fed beef at one of my markets...I want to use these rather than freeze them and add to the freezer that I'm trying to empty!)

Tuesday: Chicken feta sausage something...probably grilled, but there is this sausage quinoa bake that I could do with frozen spinach, so we'll see how the weather is.

Wednesday: We're cheating, because it's our anniversary and we always go out.

Thursday: from the freezer: gnocchi, crab sauce, Trader Joe's eggplant parmesan.

Friday: Waffles and bacon with my mother's club soda waffle recipe. We made these for Mother's Day brunch a few weeks ago and still have the club soda and a biiig box of Bisquick hanging around. The boys both love the waffles, so breakfast for dinner it is.

Mom's Favorite Club Soda Waffle Recipe
2 C Bisquick
1 large egg, slightly beaten
3 Tbs vegetable oil
1 1/3 C club soda

Place baking mix in bowl or wide pitcher.
With fork, beat egg with oil. Stir in to baking mix.
Gradually add soda, mixing until batter is moist and thick.
For best results, let batter rest five minutes before starting.
Pour on waffle iron; close. Bake to done, whatever that means for your iron (2 minutes? no steam?). Waffle should be brown and separate easily from iron.
Best eaten immediately though they can be reheated later.

Last week, Monday set a hard standard to beat. I made the Rachael Ray Chicken Cordon Bleu burgers, which both kids have eaten before, and both rejected flat-out this time. Sigh. Too long between servings, I suppose, but due to the melting-the-cheese-on-the-ham part, I really tend to think these are best on the grill. Again, I used 1 lb of chicken, halved the seasonings (though I did keep a whole shallot in there for moisture), and still got 5 burgers out of it so I don't know at all how they think 2 lbs should make 4 burgers. But my husband loved them and so did I. I also made the 101 Cookbooks Simple Cauliflower recipe, billed as "the cauliflower recipe for people who don't like cauliflower." And it was that; my husband took some to be polite and went back for more, which he has never done with cauliflower (except the multicolored cauliflower gratin from last Thanksgiving). The prepwork is a huge pain (nothing larger than a grape? that's a lot of knife work) but that's the hardest part. And if you skip the cheese (which we did by mistake at first, before I remembered--it does improve it but the dish stands even without it), it's something else I can add to my vegan repertoire. I'm especially happy because I have not traditionally had luck with the 101 Cookbook recipes, despite how incredible they look on the web.

And the final thing from Monday was maybe the biggest hit of all: inspired by the Tipsy Baker, I used the CSA box beets to make Mark Bittman's raw beet salad, recipe below. She found it in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and I had it in my updated How to Cook Everything. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. I have been putting it off because I can't find my shredder blade for my food processor and I just loathe shredding without it. And I couldn't envision this working with the regular blades and pulsing, but I should have gone back to the TIpsy Baker post, who shows how lovely it is. But this was worth it even with the hated grater! I had no idea raw beets could be so delicious.

Raw Beet Salad from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

Makes: 4 servings
Time: 20 minutes
Beets, like carrots, can be eaten raw. And they're delicious that way, crunchy and sweet. So sweet, in fact, that they need a strongly acidic dressing like this one for balance.

1 to 1 1/2 lgs beets, preferably small
2 large shallots
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp Dijon mustard, or to taste
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs sherry vinegar or other good strong vinegar
1 sprig fresh tarragon, minced (optional) (I skipped but will try next time)
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley leaves (I also skipped since I didn't have any parsley, but I do think one or both green herbs would add to the dish)

1. Peel the beets (note: surprisingly easy) and the shallot. Combine them in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse carefully until the beets are shredded; do not puree. (Or grate the beets by hand and mince the shallots; combine.) Scrape into a bowl.

2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add the mustard, oil, and vinegar and toss. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Toss in the herbs and serve.

(And...he gives several other options, including with cabbage and orange, with fennel, with carrot and ginger, or celery remoulade.)

The only thing I might change (besides adding the greens) is that I would consider mixing the vinegar and mustard first. And WEAR AN APRON and gloves if you are picky. My hands still look like Lady MacBeth's. But the color of the beets is mesmerizingly lovely.

The rest of the week was pretty good...I made the slow-cooker baked potato soup, which was ok but much better thinned out with some milk or cream, and it definitely needed the garnish for interest. Also, I think it was the garlic that ruined the last slow-cooker thing; I used another clove from the same head and this smelled awful too but tasted better than the smell. Overall, though, still not sure I'd make it again. And I didn't get to the chili because I was obsessed with the on-sale tenderloin I had and just splurged and made my favorite roasted beef tenderloin recipe and we lived happily on that for a few days.

Have a great week! And don't forget to check with I'm an Organizing Junkie for the best menus on the web!


brandy101 said...

I used to eat beets CONSTANTLY - mostly using them in my juicer. But then I realized what a high carb content they have for a *vegetable* and scaled back - but then last week my priest told a story about his grandmom*s Polish beet soup...and as he described it, my beet cravings came flooding back!

No one else in my house will eat them, though, so its a huge bummer for me. I want to learn how to make pickled beets most of all b/c I love to snack on them or have them in a salad at lunchtime.

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

Sounds like a yummy week you've got planned there! Especially the beet salad!