Monday, January 20, 2014

A Week's Menu... Jan 13th

This last week being a combination of my last few days of work and my first couple of days of maternity leave meant I just had a little more time to putz around the house...and well, I was working from home since transporting myself anywhere has gotten to be a bit complicated and uncomfortable.After a monster Costco trip the previous Friday, I proceeded to plan out what I could feed my family over the week with my "bulk bounty."

We are all so busy with work, school, family, life - that I am always looking for ways to streamline the meal process while still making things that I want to eat.I'm not a picky eater...I really enjoy food so I want it to be tasty without being too complicated or difficult to make because the reality of having 30-60 minutes to put dinner on the table when you have kids pulling on your pantleg is a real one.

Here is the output of this week's menu plan:

* MONDAY - Stuffed Peppers with Polenta and Green Beans

* TUESDAY - Fried Rice and Korean BBQ Chicken with Broccoli

* WEDNESDAY - dinner out :)

* THURSDAY - Meatball Sandwiches with Balsamic Green Bean Salad

* FRIDAY - Pesto Tilapia with Squashy Pasta

Pictures, recipes and directions to come for those meals in which I remembered to take pictures.You will notice that Wednesday features a "dinner out" and where I am a big believer in giving yourself a break.Our weekends mostly feature meals out or take out but we get one restaurant meal mid week to take the pressure off of cooking every night.

Little known fact - you can make a rice cooker full of rice and keep it around for a few days without putting it in the refrigerator.You just keep it on the "warm" setting and leave in the rice cooker.I'm not sure what kind of magic this is but it works!You can get about 3 days of rice use :)Once you've made a big batch of rice for something...the fried rice is a good way to repurpose the remaining rice into a new dish later in the week.For the chicken, I made a bunch of marinade for the New Year's Day Korean BBQ ribs....and just used the rest on some chicken thighs.Marinate overnight then freeze if you are not using right away.Sautee in a pan with lid and turn once and sprinkle the broccoli on top for the last few minutes of cooking.

I purchased a bulk package of fresh Italian sausage in the meat department and mixed it with ground beef to form the base of both the stuffed peppers and the meatballs over the weekend.Slight variations to each in how they were ultimately seasoned and prepped but the nice thing about using Italian sausage is that it is already seasoned so you don't have to spend the time futzing with lots of herbs and such.Pre-cook the meatballs then freeze for future use.

For meatball sandwiches, take the frozen meatballs and warm in your favorite tomato based tomato sauce.Slice in half and serve on your preferred sandwich roll (we used sweet baguettes) and sprinkle on Mozarella cheese. You can melt the cheese by popping the entire sandwich into the oven under a low broiler for a few minutes.For the side, I mixed steamed green beans cut in half lengthwise with halved cherry tomatoes in a dressing of 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and olive oil.You can also just use your favorite salad dressing.

The Pesto Tilapia is a fun one... The fish is sold pre-seasoned and frozen so all I need to do is bake it.The pasta is easy because just butter, olive oil, veggies (diced butternut squash, shredded zuccini, onions and halved cherry tomatoes) with just a little salt and pepper makes for a versatile side dish that cooks up super fast.Sautee the veg in stages while the pasta cooks.Then toss the pasta with the veg and serve with parmasean cheese.
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