Sunday, May 13, 2012

What's for dinner? Week of May 14

As promised, here is the week's dinner menu! I don't know my husband's work schedule for the week so I'm only planning five dinners, but as I mentioned in last week's post about how I usually plan our our meals, I typically do six dinners at a time. It may take me a few tries to figure out the best format to make these meal planning posts user friendly, so please bear with me! Suggestions are welcome, by the way!

Before I share my plan for the week, let me begin by saying that I am not a nutritionist. My college degrees are in oboe performance, which is about as far away from biology as you can get. I do enjoy researching food and nutrition, and certainly enjoy cooking, but let me just state for the record that while this is how we eat, I am not doing this to say this is how YOU should eat. My family has simple tastes, and no dietary restrictions, so we eat what I would consider pretty standard food.

It is my hope that these weekly meal plans inspire you with some new recipes, and hopefully encourage you (if you are not already) to do weekly meal plans for your own families after seeing how easy they are to create. Dinner doesn't have to be complicated, and really when you are cooking for kids the simpler the better. Occasionally I do "go all out" and prepare something fancy, but this is usually just once or twice a month. We like to do date nights at home, and sometimes after we put Grant to bed we will cook something together and then watch a movie. The majority of what I make is not something I need a recipe to prepare. But for the sake of my posts, I will attempt to create a recipe for the things I normally just throw together.

Also before I dive in, let me share with you some of our Food Rules.

1. Eat produce that is in season
2. Eat as much organic, locally-grown food as possible for your budget
3. If eating something packaged, only eat what is made of whole, known ingredients

See? Nothing complicated. We like to eat REAL food, and I make almost everything from scratch. It's better for us, and certainly is cheaper.

Meals and recipes for the week of May 14, 2012

1. BLT sandwiches, sweet potato fries (I cheat and use Alexia brand frozen waffle fries), cantalope

The BLT sandwich is pretty self-explanatory. :) I like mine with mayo.

2. BBQ chicken, creamed corn, cucumber salad, cheddar biscuits

For the chicken, I cut apart a whole chicken (You can find videos online of how to cut them up. Whole birds are much cheaper than parts.) If you have a grill and the inclination, go for it. I'll probably do mine in the oven. I just brush it with our favorite sauce (by all means find one with NO high fructose corn syrup!!!), cover it with foil, and bake it for about 45 minutes.

Creamed corn - use FRESH corn, and stand it up on a cutting board. Slice the kernels off a few ears (usually one per person), and when all the kernels are off, use the BACK of the knife to scrape the cob to get all the sweet, creamy liquid out. Melt some bacon fat (or butter) in a skillet, and add the corn kernels and the liquid. Salt and pepper. Stir it around for a few minutes. Add about a half cup of water, stir it around some more, then turn it down to warm or low, and put a lid on. Let it sit until the rest of the food is ready.

Cucumber salad - thinly slice a few cucumbers and carrots, and onion too if you like it (we don't unless Vidalia onions are in season, and they almost are!). Put them in a bowl, and pour in some vinegar. Not to cover, but enough to toss around the vegetables. Add 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 tsp dill, and 1 tsp mustard seeds (if you have them. don't go buy them just for this). Make this early in the day so it has time to sit in the fridge.

Cheddar biscuits - Toss together 2 C self-rising flour and 1 C shredded cheddar cheese. Stir in 1/2 C mayo (yes, really), and 1 C milk. Dump out dough onto a floured surface and knead until no longer sticky. Cut with a floured drinking glass or cutter, and bake at 350 until golden brown. You'll want some butter for these. :)

3. Sesame peanut noodles, grilled chicken

You can marinate the chicken if you want, or just sprinkle it with some salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I have a Pampered Chef grill pan I use all the time that is great for quick indoor grilling.

The peanut noodles is my personal take on a recipe from my Nigella Express (by Nigella Lawson) cookbook, which is probably my all-time favorite. Whisk or use a blender to mix up 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoons chile sauce, 1/3 C smooth peanut butter, and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Pour this over a package of prepared rice noodles (or angel hair pasta), and toss in red pepper cut in strips, cucumbers cut into matchsticks, and snow peas. Top with cilantro and peanuts if you have them. This cold salad makes a great lunch the next day.

4. Macaroni and cheese, sauteed zucchini with garlic and onions, fried fish

Macaroni and cheese - Cook 1 pound of pasta shape of choice. Melt 3 T butter, then whisk in 3 T flour. Stir for a few minutes, then add salt and pepper. Whisk in 1 C milk and 1 C chicken or vegetable broth (if you don't have any use more milk and have extra creamy mac and cheese!). Keep whisking until it thickens. Stir in 1 1/2 C shredded cheddar. (if you have a picky kiddo, homemade mac and cheese is a great place to "hide" extra veggies. Steamed and mashed carrots and cauliflower both hide well here.) Stir the cheese sauce together with the noodles, then pour into a buttered baking dish. Top with another 1/2 C of cheese. Bake at 375 until nice and brown on top.

5. Sloppy Joes, roasted potatoes, peach crisp

Sloppy joes - brown ground turkey or beef with a chopped onion and chopped green pepper, and a crushed garlic clove. Drain off extra fat. Pour in a can or jar of tomato puree, a generous dash of Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, and a dash of hot sauce. Bring to boil, then turn down and simmer for 10 minutes with a crooked lid. Serve a scoop inside a whole wheat bun.

Roasted potatoes - Cut potatoes into chunks, toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast at 400 until browned, turning once.

Peach crisp - Put 4 C diced fresh peaches into an 8x8 baking dish. Work together until crumbly, 1 C sugar, 3/4 C flour, 1/3 C butter. Sprinkle over peaches. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

So there you go! That's what's for dinner this week at the Williamson household. I hope you enjoy! We sure will!

Happy eating...

Claire Williamson, representative for Ecological Babies
(850) 228-8322

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Claire- This is excellent. I can already tell that I am going to be going back into these posts to make these dishes. I love how they are simple yet are different than what we've been making here. Now I have some new recipes. Thanks! ~Jen