June 13, 2011

Menu: June 14-20

Tuesday: Lettuce Wraps and sautéed zucchini
Wednesday: grilled turkey, cheese, and tomato sandwiches and garlic fries
Thursday: Jalapeno Tilapia Pasta
Friday: Calzones
Saturday: Chili rubbed steak and pan salsa, green beans, baked potatoes
Monday: Scrambled cheese eggs and waffles topped with strawberries

No menus for the next 3-4 weeks. Squish and I are headed out of town and poor DH will have to cook for himself.

June 12, 2011

How I Menu Plan

There are many, many ways to menu plan. This is just how I do it.

1. I look to see what's in my freezer and pantry that I can use to create a meal. I can usually create at least one complete meal out of what's already available. Do I have a lot of brown rice hanging around? Is there chicken or sausage in the freezer from a previous week's good deal? Is there a half bag of vegetables hiding in the back of the freezer that needs to be used before I completely forget about it? I want to make sure that nothing is going to waste that I've already bought. Often I'll think of another meal that I can make and I'm only missing an item or two.

2. I pull out coupons. I go through the coupons I already have. I search online and see if there is anything useful to print off. Some weeks I find coupons for cheese, lunch meat, cereal that isn't full of sugar, brown rice, fish, and more! Other weeks I find nothing other than junk, which is not entering my house. Another place to find coupons? The store shelves. The best coupons usually come from the stores themselves, and yes, I'm THAT person who takes about 10 for future use.

3. I look at store ads. Even the commissary has an ad online. When I lived in a real city, I looked at the ads of the two closest stores to me that did not require me driving out of my way. I note any great deal that I am interested in.

4. Considering the ads and coupons, I piece together a few more meals for the week. Sometimes this means searching through my recipe binders to remember what they are, but I am able to find them!

5. If I still have empty spaces in my menu, I input a meal that I've been craving, that my husband has requested, or I go searching for something new to try.

I'm working on another blog post about how I approach a grocery store trip to save money. I've even saved a few recipes to prove that I really do only spend $50 a week.

June 11, 2011

Glazed Smoke Sausage and Fruit Kabobs

Original recipe from Hillshire Farm.

1 package smoked sausage (lite or turkey versions work well too)
1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 can sliced peaches drained OR 1 1/2 cups fresh peach slices
1/4 cup apricot preserves (strawberry preserves works well too)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Cut sausage into 18 slices. Thread sausage, pepper, pineapple, and peaches onto 6 skewers. Combine preserves and mustard in a small bowl; set aside.
Grill kabobs over medium heat for 10 minutes. Brush kabobs with glaze and grill for 2 more minutes.

(Please excuse the bad iPhone photo.)

Spinach Feta Burgers

1 lb ground turkey or ground beef
1 egg
5 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Heat spinach for 1-2 minutes in a microwave in a covered bowl.

Combine in a large bowl the ground meat, egg, spinach, pepper, and feta cheese. Mix well. Form into 4 large hamburger patties. Grill or cook in a skillet for 6 minute on each side.

Brownies

Original recipe can be found here.

1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chocolate syrup

Preheat over to 325º. Grease an 8x8 pan.
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, butter, and water. Cook over medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips till melted and smooth. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into chocolate mixture. Mix the chocolate syrup in to the batter. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
Baked for 25-30 minutes.

June 08, 2011

Almost Whole Wheat English Muffins

Almost whole wheat since half the flour used is all purpose. I didn't want the muffins to turn into hockey pucks. :)

Orginal recipe by Sarah Fowler.

1 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 packet)
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Combine milk, butter, and honey in a saucepan over medium heat. Warm until butter starts to melt, then whisk. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool. Meanwhile pour water into the mixing bowl of stand mixer and sprinkle with yeast. Set aside for 10 minutes. While waiting, line baking sheets with waxed paper and sprinkle with the corn meal (you'll probably need two baking sheets).
Pour cooled milk mixture into yeast mixture. Stir. Add the whole wheat flour. Using the dough attachment, mix very well for 2 minutes. Add in the all purpose flour and salt. Continue to use the dough hook until the dough is no longer sticky. You may need to add a little bit more flour. When done, let rest for 5 minutes.
After resting, roll dough out to 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into circles. (I used a plastic cup.) Transfer muffins to baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm area. I turned my oven on and once it was a little warm, turned it off and placed the baking sheets in there. The muffins need to rise until doubled in height, anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours (the oven helps!).
After muffins have doubled in size, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook each muffins in the ungreased pan over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Flip and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
That's it! We found them to be very delicious. These do freeze great! I got about 15 muffins out of the dough.

June 06, 2011

Menu: June 7-13

Lots of new recipes! Last week I decided to be mostly boring. This week I want new stuff! I'll link and post recipes as I can get to them. :)

Tuesday: Tuna Melts on Whole Wheat English Muffins and sautéed zucchini
Wednesday: whole chicken in a crockpot, fried squash, and butter dips
Thursday: pork chops with honey mustard sauce, green beans, and crash potatoes
Friday: Spinach and chicken tortellini soup (using leftover chicken)
Saturday: Oat waffles; Strawberry glazed smoked sausage and fruit kabobs with brown rice
Sunday: Spinach Feta Burgers and garlic fries
Monday: Sweet potato ravoli

June 01, 2011