Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Menu Monday {20-Feb-12}

This last week was a disaster in the kitchen. First, Husband wasn't able to make it to the grocery until FRIDAY! So our meal plan flew out the window and I had to throw together meals from what we had on hand. Firefly was happy because he got to have mac 'n cheese the night daddy was on call, but the rest of the week... it was sad panda

I just love his frowny face

Here's what I did manage to scrape together:

Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings
Adapted from: Polish the Stars
I made this for lunch to serve during Firefly's first playdate with an adorable little 2 month old baby girl (ok maybe it was a mommy date...) and I literally threw it in the crockpot while we were rushing out the door to get to the gym on schedule because I forgot i needed to start it. I think it went over well, but my friend would be to nice to tell me otherwise. Modifications: I added 32oz of chicken broth instead of 14 because it didn't look like enough liquid. It seemed like it would be kind of bland to me, so I also added some pepper, ancho chille powder, marjoram and garlic powder. I had husband put the biscuits in while I answered to door and they all congealed together and when we went to eat some of them were not cooked through. Next time I think I might use crescent rolls or another store bought pastry.

Balsamic Vinegar Pork Chops with Roasted Carrots and Potatoes
Adapted from: la Petite Maison Verte
This was a meal that I just kind of threw together and I didn't feel well so I can't really attest to how it turned out. Modification: This is really a recipe for roasted vegetables that I applied to potatoes and carrots and carried over to the seared pork. I seared the pork and while still in a hot pan added balsamic vinegar. The vinegar cooked off leaving behind delicious caramelized, burned bits. I transfer the pork to a plate to keep warm while I made a pan sauce with garlic, chicken broth and vinegar. 

So there you have it. A week of hodge podge. Happy Eating!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Menu Monday {Week 13 February-12}

Well Monday turned into Tuesday this week with a crazy day at work yesterday. 

First I want to say happy birthday to Kate's little LJH some time today! I look forward to her introduction.

On to the meals from last week

Chicken with tomato herb pan sauce
adapted from: Cook Like a Champion
Our Valentine's Day meal. This was a meal for Husband to enjoy after he requested a form a chicken that was not shredded. I couldn't actually stomach eating the bites of chicken, but I did enjoy the veggies and couscous! Firefly actually loved the chicken and couscous. Modifications: I didn't flour the chicken, just seared it and put it in the oven while I made the pan sauce. Because I didn't flour the chicken, I used corn starch to thicken the sauce. I added zucchini and yellow squash (because no one in our house really like tomatoes...) for more substance. I think I may have forgotten the paprika and the oregano, but I added some fresh basil both during cooking and a handful on top for the fresh flavor. I served it with couscous, prepared in chicken stock with fresh basil, to soak up the sauce.

Crockpot Steak Fajitas

This is one of our favorite meals and it is super easy to make. The most prep required is cutting the steak and the bell peppers. Firefly usually loves the steak, but this time he couldn't get enough of the bell peppers. Modifications: We use 2lbs of steak in order to feed the three of use and still have some for lunch the next day. I use an entire jar of whatever salsa we have on hand because I don't like to measure and honestly, why the hell not. We use the yellow and orange bell peppers and try to avoid the red and green, as I don't like the flavor. 

Pork and Hashbrown Casserole
adapted from: The Country Cook
This one is simply the equivalent of cheesy hashbrowns with a seared pork chop on the top. Whatever we want to call it, Firefly devoured it and I will make it again. Modifications: I actually almost followed this recipe! I mean its hard to not follow it when it says to add a whole can of this or that. I usually don't like using cream of anything soup, but maybe we'll find a replacement next time. I eyeballed the amount of pre-shredded cheese and also added some herbs. It just needed more flavor. I think this time I used marjoram. 

Brussels Sprout Slaw with Mustard Vinaigrette 
adapted from: Kate
So I wasn't so sure how this would go over with the boys and lets just say that Firefly nearly vomiting was a clear indication that he didn't like it, but he's a 1 year old and us adults liked it just fine. Modifications: I left the Brussels quartered and roasted them in the oven because Firefly cannot eat raw veggies yet. We also left out the avocado, grapes and vanilla bean (those suckers are expensive), but it turned out just fine in the end.

Well that's the week. This week we're off to a shaky start, eating mostly leftovers after our trip last weekend to visit grandparents, but things should get more exciting towards the end of the week!

Hopefully there will be a picture post soon too, as I have procured a copy of Photoshop CS5 to finally be able to process pictures! I am so ecstatic about being able to finish the hundreds of pictures I have backing up and the possibility of starting to take pictures for others again.

Until then, Happy eating!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Menu Monday {Week 6-February-12}

I'm coming back. I'm starting slow. With our weekly menu. I love to cook, but am just getting back into cooking regular meals.

I had a lot of problems with food while I was pregnant and breastfeeding. I couldn't stomach most foods cooked, let alone raw. Poor Husband survived mostly on what he could make for himself and protein shakes.

Now Husband is in this kick of trying to eat protein and a lot of it because of his weight lifting 'hobby'. Only he doesn't want ground beef, he'd prefer to avoid pork and I still have issues with chicken. Were trying to make compromises. At least I don't feeling like vomiting every time I cook ground turkey any more! {damn hormones}

Husband is also trying to avoid to many carbs because they're just filler and won't help him build muscle.

Plus i'm trying to make a 1 year old happy. Luckily he'll eat almost anything right now! {and can tolerate more spicy foods then his momma}

So here's what I served up this week...

I will warn you, I suck at following a recipe. Its a hazard of my profession, but that's a topic for another post.

Beef and Barely Stew

This is a throw together meal that I actually have no recipe for. I put stew beef {cubed by the butcher} in the bottom of the crockpot, then throw some carrots, onion and potatoes on top of it until the crockpot is full. Add 1 container of beef stock and fill with water until all the veggies are mostly under water. I add salt, pepper and a few spices {whatever i feel like that day} to taste and add a bay leaf. Cook on low until i get home in the evening. I add 1 cup of barley about an hour before dinner and that's that!

Parmesan Garlic Chicken with Orzo
adapted from How Sweet It Is

This one seemed like a good compromise for the entire household, but there was to much chicken in it for me. Modifications: I will admit it. I use canned chicken. A lot. When you can go through an entire 10 lbs of chicken in just a few days you start to think of cheaper alternatives. Husband just eats A LOT! So instead of marinating and cooking the chicken in a crockpot, I used 2 cans of chicken and cooked/heated them in garlic and white wine vinegar plus some sugar to balance the acidity of the vinegar {because we don't drink alcohol in our house}. 

Enchiladas with Ground Turkey or Zucchini 
Adapted from  Simply Recipes and Skinny Taste

I kind of mashed these two recipes together because I really didn't feel like eating ground turkey and I had made the zucchini recipe for a vegetarian before. And of course I can't follow a recipe to save my life. Modifications: I mostly followed the concept for the Simply Recipes meat enchiladas and did the same prep to the zucchinis instead of meat. I substituted the ground beef for turkey. I also used vegetable oil because that's what I had on hand.

With the enchiladas I added...

A Quinoa and Corn Hash {of sorts}
A recipe that I just made up on the fly 

I had family ask me if I had any good recipes for quinoa, which I didn't so I made this one up on the spot. I have no idea the amounts of any ingredients I added, save the quinoa, because I added them until it tasted right. I cooked 1 cup of quinoa in chicken stock according to the package. Saute together 1/2 of an onion with garlic and corn kernels and add to the cooked quinoa. Add lime juice, cumin, salt, pepper and fresh cilantro. It is delish. Perhaps next time I'll try to measure what I added...

I also made an asian crockpot stirfry concoction, but alas accidentally set the crockpot to cook on high. Needless to say, NOT so yummy!  

Happy Eating!