Sunday, January 9, 2011

Menu Sunday

The first full week of the New Year went swimmingly as far as meal planning was concerned (see favorites and not-so-favorites below)... Pumped for this week!  And away we go...

{still rolling with all Cooking Light recipes for the moment!}

Tonight: Guinness-Braised Chuck Steak
- axed the mushrooms and mashed potatoes, added red potatoes with the roast
- haven't tasted it yet, but it smells ridic-delish-ulous!

Monday: Chicken Fried Rice
- obviously doing chicken instead of tofu
- with broccoli

Tuesday: Asiago, Potato & Bacon Gratin
- served with green salad

Wednesday: Tarragon Chicken-in-a-Pot Pie

Thursday: Cilantro-Serrano Pesto with Chicken Penne
- served with green salad

Hits & Misses from Last Week's Menu...

Last week we had two outstanding meals, one decent meal, and one utter dud (well, partially).

Steak Diane and Southern Falafel were both huge hits! My aunt's manfriend sent us Omaha steaks for Christmas and I was a bit hesitant to sacrifice 2 filets to a new recipe, but I'm quite glad I did!  The sauce was the perfect accompaniment, and I'm glad to have a sure-fire go-to when the weather is too icky for outdoor grilling! 

The Southern Falafel was fun to make and super easy (made even simpler by the fact that I forwent the avocado spread in favor of Whole Foods' spicy guacamole).  I also skipped the pita as I had whole wheat tortillas leftover from our NYE shindig.  My meat-eating husband gave these the thumbs-up without blinking an eye at its Vegetarian-ness.  

Spicy Chicken Pasta was pretty okay.  I actually liked it... it just wasn't spicy.  I also can't find it online... and I'm too lazy to type it out since it wasn't phenomenal.  :) 

Bourbon-Glazed Pork Chops (didn't do the peaches since they aren't in season) was a waste of Wild Turkey as far as I'm concerned.  Perhaps if they'd been marinated overnight and grilled outdoors things would have turned out for the better.  The sauce made from the marinade was vomit-inducing. {think: spoon-fulls of PW's Tequila Lime marinade}  Dinner was saved by scrapping off the sauce and topping the pork with the onions from the delish Green Beans with Roasted Onion Vinaigrette

Last week, I had a reader question I wanted to answer: 

Do you not end up with a ton of food? If I tried to cook something something different every night, we'd have so much food in the fridge... Do you just make less?  Maybe I overbuy? 

Good question!  I usually cut recipes down to 4 servings - 2 for dinner and 2 for us to take as lunch the next day.  We each take our lunch about 4 times per week and the majority of those lunches is leftovers.  Sometimes, I'll cut the recipes down farther to 2 servings. {This is usually the case with steaks, fish, or pork chops.}  With casseroles, I either cut the recipe in half {bake in a 8x8 in Pyrex instead of the big rectangle} or I make the entire recipe, bake half, and freeze half.  Same thing with soups.  Sundays or Fridays are often "freezer days"! 

Before I go to the grocery store, I figure out exactly how much of the recipe {quarter, half, whole shebang} I want to cook and I buy my ingredients with those parameters in mind.  If a recipe calls for something like sour cream, and I don't use the entire container because I've parred the serving size down, I make sure to note that for the next week or two so that I can select another recipe that incorporates that particular ingredient.  I hate wasting food - that was actually a big reason I started meal planning in the first place!  If there is an ingredient {stock or chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, for example} that I only need half of but can't be resealed, I'll freeze the rest in mini tupperwares to defrost for the next time I make a recipe requiring that ingredient.  

I hope that sheds some light on my "master plan"! 

Also... I'm looking for a fabulous King Cake recipe... if anyone has one, I'd be ever so grateful if you passed it on! 


  1. You had me at Guinness :) Can't wait to hear how that dish turns out. Also ... good tips for those of us cooking for two. I do the same -- which is why we currently have the following in our freezer: half of a lasagna, several varieties of meat, peppers from our summer garden, and PW's pizza dough.

    Slowly getting onto the meal planning train, as well. Hoping for positive results during week one!

  2. cracking up at "manfriend"...makes total sense but is hilarious nonetheless.


    This is the recipe my grandmother uses. It's tough to make a king cake! Good luck.

  4. That reader question was actually very helpful! I'm pretty new to cooking in general, so cooking for two has been a little difficult since most recipes are meant for much larger groups. I will definitely keep some of those tips in mind - especially the lunch thing for when classes start in a week!

    Back-to-School Giveaway!

  5. Yum! A great line up. So glad you share these with us.

  6. That pot roast sounds delish. Style Lush had a recipe for King Cake last year, I think.

  7. If you don't want to freeze your chipotle peppers in adobo, try dumping what you don't need in a food processor or blender. It makes amazing table salsa, and I use it on everything from eggs to tacos. It keeps a while, too.

  8. Thursdays upcoming meal sounds delish.. they all do!

  9. i love your picks. i tried the cider glazed chicken tonight (except i substituted the cutlets for cornish game hens as there was NO CHICKEN at the grocery due to the impending "snowmegeddon" that they're forecasting) and it was YUMMY!

  10. I love reading your Menu Sunday posts...even if I'm a few days late. I feel like you do all the work for me, haha.

    I saw your note at the bottom about Chipotle peppers in Adobo. I have a couple things I LOVE to make that call for them and one time I tried using Chipotle tobasco sauce...awesome. I can keep the bottle in my fridge FOREVER and my husband likes things spicier than I do so he is free to doctor his food up after the fact. I thought you might like to give it a go since you share my irritation with throwing away food.

  11. How did your asiago, potato and bacon gratin turn out?? Hubs and I cooked it this week and ours turned out to be way to bland. Dunno if we used too many potatoes or not enough salt or both.

  12. I was making the marinade for the bourbon pork chops as I read your review. I marinated them all day and let me tell you, it didn't help. You were!

  13. @Gretchen - BOO! Looks like I'll be ditching this entire recipe! Oh well, you can't win 'em all, right?


happy little comments!