Sunday, April 25, 2010

MPM--Crazy Week Here

Hello friends and menu planners! I'm mostly checking in just to say I'm still here, though I have little inspiration to lend this week. The stomach bug that was circling the school district finally caught up to us so I have little to report from last week, and this week is starting off with lots of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. When the recovery is more complete, we'll be ramping up to whatever's in the freezer from Dinner A'Fare. I'll try to regain the cooking mojo next week!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

MPM--Prom Season Begins!

Happy prom season! I'm very excited: it's another year with a junior in the family, so we're having the traditional cookout to watch the dressy kids and take pictures. Yay! Spring was here and was glorious and now it's back to the 50s for us, so I'm still trying to get my last wintery meals in.

This week:

Monday: tacos. We're having the slow cooker carnitas, though I'm experimenting with pork loin this time, and the kids are having regular old ground turkey tacos.

Tuesday: I'm back at Dinner A'Fare in the morning so instead of freezing one of the meals, I'll make it tonight.

Wednesday: tacos again. Leftover turkey for the kids, black bean tacos with the awesome slaw for us.

Thursday: apricot chicken, rice, asparagus

Friday: Prom night! I'm bringing the berry/rhubarb crumble to the barbeque. Yum. I am also jonesing to try the quinoa salad here, so I will probably bring that as well. Whether anyone will eat it is anyone's guess, but it's worth a try.

Well, we had a huge success here last week: the Pioneer Woman's meatballs were the first meal in forever that my entire family ate. We told the oldest boy it was like a burger with ketchup. We told the younger one it was like meatloaf. And I told my husband that one of his friends really liked it so I got the recipe from his wife. Winner! Ok, the little one didn't eat the mashed potatoes. But that meant more for us, and he really doesn't need more carbs. The downside was that it was time consuming; my kids watched more tv than I would have liked them to while I mixed, shaped, froze, rolled, fried and poured. But if I can figure out an easier meatball than making my own, the sauce is super simple and oh, my--yum. (I did try the corresponding mashed potatoes--also a big yum.)

Hope you had a great week--if you are planning your menu, think about posting over with I'm an Organizing Junkie! See you next week!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

MPM--Beware the Ides of April

Here we are, back to reality. Baseball is back, weather is completely unpredictable, the sun is out for hours and hours...we are loving spring here!

Before the weather gets too hot to cook again (it was in the 90s last week!), I have a few more things I want to try, so this week will be a bit of a mix. Last week went well--check out my review of the "Phillies" meal below.

Monday: Pioneer Woman's bbq meatballs (c/o the Tipsy Baker); mashed potatoes; broccoli

Tuesday: Tuna noodle casserole, probably, because I suspect I will be taking the boys to see a cousin play lacrosse to get out of the house for the tax-finishing, kale chips (see below!)

Wednesday: Phillies game--woohoo!

Thursday: Dinner A'Fare meal--hopefully pork kebabs on the grill if the weather cooperates, or leftovers; rice; some green veggie that catches our fancy somewhere

Friday: oven-baked "fried" chicken, Dinner A'Fare stuffed potato skins, salad

So, last week, after much hanging around eating pre-prepared meals, I started the week celebrating the Phils' 11-1 opening day win with a recipe set from the Phillies' nutritionist, Cod with Roasted Tomatoes and Southwest Quinoa Salad. Both were huge hits, at least with the grownups. My husband had seconds on the cod--first time ever for him with a fish dish--I was really happy. And I used the frozen cod from Trader Joe's so it wasn't too pricey. The tomatoes were excellent too, and it was a simple meal to pull together. Then just for kicks I made Bossy's kale chips since I already had the oven going. These were a win all around. My older son loved that they were "chips" and had a nice sized serving and asked for more. My husband was thrilled and thought they must have been very hard to make. My youngest son, though, is right out of The Emperor's New Clothes. He tasted one, looked at me, and said, "These taste like burnt leaves!" Which is in essence what they are. But--even he, my picky eater extraordinaire, had a few more. Which is a modern-day miracle. Write it down: On April 5, 2010, my son tried a New Food. Miracle. Add that to the rediscovery of quinoa pesto and it was a nutritionally great day all around in our house.

The other new recipe of the week was the hummus with green goo (who can resist green goo?) from 101 Cookbooks. The hummus was the fluffiest I've ever made, whether due to the three minutes of processing or the baking soda in the water (YES, I cooked the beans from scratch, though I'm not sure I will again), it was really nice. I liked the touch of the garlic being in the goo rather than the hummus itself, and I'll bet it would be an awesome base for a kalamata olive hummus--my next frontier. And yes, except for the dried beans, I had all the ingredients at home already. It did a nice job on the continuing cleanout.

What's happening at your house? Check out more great ideas at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

MPM--Easter Recovery Edition

Welcome back! I'm on an emotional high after the family Easter celebration. After an intimate family dinner for 46, with 10 under age 10, and 10 more between 11 and 23, I'm feeling energized and truly blessed to be part of such an amazing family. Ours was even more enhanced by the long-awaited and wished-for return of The Best Babysitter Ever (who is so much more than that to us, but that way you know who I mean). It was so nice to spend time with her and watch my boys relax in the presence of another adult who loves them unconditionally. There can never be too many loving adults in kids' lives! I hope your holidays brought you some of the same happiness.

My menu planning hasn't been too inspirational lately because I'm mostly cooking from my freezer. However, it's had the unintended (though warmly welcomed) consequence of weight loss--I think it's the pre-measured portions. Whatever it is--it's working for me!

Still, this week we'll be eating some other things. And I have some reviews below--stay tuned. Whatever your weekend brought you, I hope you have a great week!

Monday: Opening Night for the Phillies--yeah!--so in their honor, we're eating like the Phils. The Philadelphia Inquirer had a great article on the new nutritionist who is working with the team and it included recipes for meals she recommends to them. Tonight, we'll have the cod with roasted tomatoes (hey, it's even red and white!) and Southwest quinoa salad in their honor. With backup hotdogs for the kids. Sigh.

Tuesday: out to dinner (fundraiser night-hooray!) (if anyone local wants to eat at Iron Hill for a good cause, email me!)

Wednesday: ham, mashed potatoes, asparagus and scallions

Thursday: ham for the boys, split pea soup made from the ham bone for me; carrots, potato salad

Friday: black bean tacos for us (recipe from Smitten Kitchen but I am link-less right now), regular turkey tacos for the boy who eats them.

In the last few weeks, with dinners mostly taken care of, I have had more time to try out some side dishes. I made The Bitten Word's version of the celery and fennel salad I loved from Mark Bittman, and since I adore pumpkin seeds, this version might actually be just a smidge better. Also, I didn't break out my mandoline for it and I think the Bitten Word version is more knife-friendly and not as reliant on the paper-thin-ness of the veggies. I also made the scallion-cilantro rice and while I didn't love it, it was yummy and there was none leftover. Also, it's not a recipe exactly (or, in fact, at all) but we've been enjoying Mochi, which is Japanese (or Japanese-inspired) ice cream discs, for lack of a better word, that are sold in Trader Joe's. There's some kind of very neutral substance that keeps the ice cream in a disc shape, so it's easy to pick up and eat. I'm enjoying it (and the built-in portion control and lack of mess, too.

I can't wait to get inspired by your menus--go to I'm an Organizing Junkie for the best menus on the web!