Sunday, November 7, 2010

Menu Monday

Back on Wednesday, I cried out to you to save my self esteem from certain destruction by sharing your domestic prowess in meal planning.

And you did!
Thanks to those of you who left me planning tips and recipes, both in the comments and by e-mail.

I've never felt very confident in my kitchen skills.

Or laundry skills.
Or housekeeping skills.

Then I had kids, and started to have concern over my parenting skills.

Good thing I have my other skills as backup.
You know, like nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills...

Oh, wait.
That's not me.

It just so happens that all of those skills I lack confidence in are the only ones required for my current job.
So after 5 years of sulking about it, I've decided that I should consider working to improve them.

Right now, the only thing that keeps me in business here is that I'm the only person in the house who is capable of turning off the light as I leave a room.
I'm not sure how many more years of employment that will give me.

In case there are more of you like me out there, I'm going to share with you my dinner menu for this week. That way, if you need a new dinner to throw into your mix, you can try one out.

My end goal is to find 30 recipes that are fairly simple and that my family actually likes.

If you are so inclined, feel free to either e-mail me or leave a recipe in the comments section, and I'll try to post a week's worth of dinners on Mondays, until I've come up with 30 that pass the test.

And without further adieu, here's what's for dinner this week:

Day 1- Southern Baked Pork Chops & Rice 

1 can cream of mushroom soup (10 3/4 oz.)
3/4 soup can of water (using the Campbell's or other brand soup can)
1 cup regular long cook rice (not minute rice)
3 to 5 pork chops (bone in or boneless)
Salt, pepper, or other seasons (like Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning)
1 onion (optional)
1 green pepper (optional)

Spray a medium-sized baking dish 9 x 9 or similar (can vary depending on how
many pork chops are being baked) with Pam (butter-flavored is very good).
-Spoon the mushroom soup into the baking dish.
-Pour water over soup and stir until mixed fairly evenly.
-Stir rice in with soup mixture and use a spoon to spread out the mixture
 evenly in the baking dish.
-Slice onion in rings, and/or green pepper, on top of the soup mixture.
-Put 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and heat to medium high.
-Sprinkle pork chops with preferred seasonings.  Note that the canned soup
  has a good bit of salt, so salt is not needed unless the family really
 likes salt.
-Brown pork chops lightly.  They bake, so the meat does not need to be
 cooked through. Browning just gives a nicer color and also seals in the
-Place the browned pork chops on top of the rice in the casserole dish.
-Cover the baking dish with tin foil and crimp around edges or use a
 casserole dish with a lid.
-Bake the pork chops with rice for an hour at 350 degrees F.

I plan to serve this w/ steamed broccoli. Thanks Ashley's mom!

Day 2- 
Turkey Burgers

Ground turkey breast
Seasoning of choice
Sandwich thins as buns
Toppings of choice (Sometimes I top it w/ avocado & mango or pineapple slices, sometimes w/ lettuce and tomato, and when I'm lacking in the produce, just some bbq sauce)
Swiss cheese

Mix turkey w/ seasoning
Form into patties
Reunite with your George Foreman Mean Lean Fat Grilling Machine. Or however else you choose to cook your burgers. 
Just cook 'em. 
Put the cheese on them.
Then slap 'em on the sandwich thins & add toppings. 

Serve w/ a veggie of choice, french fries, & fresh fruit
Or don't, your choice.

Day 3- Seasoned Grilled Chicken served w/ sweet potatoes & saffron rice
Chicken breasts
Seasonings- Paprika, Cajun, salt & pepper
Sweet potatoes
Saffron rice

I usually cut the chicken breasts in half, or pound them thin so they grill quickly.
I season the kids' portion with paprika and salt & pepper, and add a little cajun seasoning to the grown-ups portion. 
Again, I like to use the George Foreman, because it makes grilling in the winter easy.
Grill (or bake) the chicken, and while it's cooking, throw some sweet potatoes in the microwave. 
(My microwave has a "potato" button, which then asks how many potatoes you are cooking. I have to tell it twice the amount, and sometimes have to cook them even longer than that. But it's still a lot faster than the oven.)
Cook rice according to package. My family enjoys the "yellow rice" as a change of pace, but use whatever kind you like.  (Have you ever tried Jasmine rice? So good!)

Day 4- This shall be my Thursday recipe, because you know how I feel about Thursdays. And so I need a crockpot meal for that particular day. Or I might cry at dinnertime.

This one was from the Southern Living website. 

Chicken Thighs w/ Carrots & Potatoes (Crock Pot)
1  medium onion 
4  medium-size new potatoes (about 1 lb.)
 2  cups  baby carrots 
1/4  cup  chicken broth 
1/4  cup  dry white wine or chicken broth 
1  teaspoon  minced garlic 
1/2  teaspoon  dried thyme 
1 1/4  teaspoons  salt, divided 
1/2  teaspoon  pepper, divided 
1  teaspoon  paprika 
6  skinned, bone-in chicken thighs

Halve onion lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place onion in a lightly greased 6-qt. slow cooker; top with potatoes and carrots.
Combine broth, next 3 ingredients, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Pour over vegetables.
Combine paprika and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper; rub over chicken. Arrange chicken on top of vegetables.
Cover and cook on LOW 6 hours or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender.

Day 5-  Cajun Shrimp & Rice
This one is from Cooking Light on myrecipes.com. My friend Ashley sent me a bunch of links to recipes online. Thanks Ash! I'm excited to try this one. 

1  (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag long-grain rice 
2  tablespoons  olive oil, divided 
2  pounds  peeled and deveined large shrimp 
1  tablespoon  Cajun seasoning, salt-free 
1  tablespoon  bottled minced garlic 
1  cup  frozen bell pepper stir-fry, thawed (such as Bird's Eye) 
1/4  cup  chopped green onions 
1/4  teaspoon  dried thyme 
1/2  cup  canned Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained 
1/2  teaspoon  salt 
1/8  teaspoon  black pepper

Cook rice according to package directions.
While the rice cooks, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the shrimp with Cajun seasoning; toss to coat. Add shrimp to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until done. Remove from pan; keep warm.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add the pepper stir-fry, green onions, and thyme; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in cooked rice, shrimp, tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.

Day 6- Spinach Lasagna
Serve w/ garlic bread and salad

This is a no-frills lasagna, but the prep is quick, as you don't have to boil noodles or cook meat. My kind of dinner!

No-boil lasagna noodles
Large jar of spaghetti sauce
Ricotta cheese (med-sized container)
2 cups mozzarella cheese
Italian seasoning
Garlic powder, salt & pepper
frozen chopped spinach

Thaw frozen spinach under running water
Combine spinach, ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella, and all seasonings.
Pour enough sauce into a 9x13 baking pan to cover the bottom
Lay one layer of noodles
Spread 1/2 of the spinach mixture on top
Repeat layering- sauce, noodles, last half of spinach mixture
Cover with foil, bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees
Remove from oven, top with remaining mozzarella cheese, and bake until cheese melts.

Day 7- Everyone deserves a day off, right?
Have leftovers, or breakfast for dinner.

So there you have it. My grocery list is made and hopefully by planning ahead, I wont forget to thaw the necessary meat.

But I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.


Erin said...

Tonight we are having Pasta Bolognese and tomorrow is Chicken Scaloppini (both from that Cooking Light Fast & Fresh Cookbook). Justin goes grocery shopping Wednesday night so I haven't planned out anything past then. Another good subscription that I used for a year was Healthy Cooking. They have a lot of tasty stuff in there too.

Heather and Scott said...

Love it! Now if you would just make my grocery list for me too :) I found one site that does that and made some of their recipes...pretty good! Plus it was FREE. Is that speaking to your frugal bone, or what? Here's the site: http://eatathomecooks.com/weekly-menus. How is that Colorfuel going?

Heather and Scott said...

p.s. I've also discovered that it's not for a lack of good recipes that I fail to plan dinner. It's just plain old laziness. And wishing someone would cook for me. :)

Jamie said...

Miss you, Erin! Love keepin' up with your blog! Thanks for putting a smile on my face each time I check in! :)

Christina said...

Yay, Erin! You are Wonder Woman! :) Whenever I make a meal plan I always forget that so-and-so has soccer on this night and Mike has a meeting on that night, and the kids have Bible study on the other night. I even sit down with a calendar. I am meal-planning challenged. It's my lot in life.

Mish said...

I copied you and made a menu for the week too. I thought the Pork Chips and Rice were a bit bland...and I loved the crock pot chicken - turned out MUCH better than I anticipated. I changed up some of the other recipes, but I find the planning before hand is a HUGE help!