Sunday, May 20, 2012

What's for dinner - week of May 21, 2012

Howdy, folks! Here we are! Another week, another meal plan. I enjoyed sharing last week's plan with you, and I'm glad this is going to be a regular series. Please feel free to share your own plan in the comments, or send me links with your favorite versions of what we're having.

Once again the disclaimer that I am not a nutritional expert, so I'm not advocating this as how I think you need to eat. My family likes simple food and we have no dietary restrictions.

Summer produce is in full swing here in sunny Florida, and I love utilizing so many fresh, local ingredients in my cooking. Since farmers markets are getting really cranked up now, we are considering suspending our buying club share for the summer and then resuming in the fall. We love going to the big Wednesday market downtown at Lake Ella. It's great to actually meet the farmers, and also this way we can have easy access to local grass-fed beef, honey, eggs, and goat cheese and milk without making multiple stops.

So here we go! This is what we're having this week. By the way, school is almost out, and this teacher's wife is not sure who is more excited - me, or my husband. So ready for some family time.

The Meals

1. My favorite easy homemade macaroni and cheese (we had TONS left over from last week, so we're having it yet again. I know. It's sad.), sliced tomatoes with chopped basil from my garden, leftover cucumber salad (which at this point is probably more aptly named "pickles")

2. Chicken enchiladas, rice, black bean and corn salad

Chicken enchiladas - I'm really sad to say that I am back to square one with enchiladas. They are one of my FAVORITE dishes to make. I had a really bad break up with Old El Paso brand enchilada sauce, since I have decided to vanquish all canned products from my pantry. Especially acidic tomato products, which are even worse about leeching nasty BPA into your food. A few months ago, I found a powdered sauce mix that actually was made of pretty decent ingredients, but now I can't find it again. Plus "powdered sauce mix" just sounds really nasty, doesn't it? So PLEASE! Help a mama out. Send me your favorite enchilada recipes. I lived in Texas for 13 years and still can't make a decent homemade sauce.

Black bean and corn salad - Now this I do know how to make. :) I don't have a real recipe, since I kind of made it up. The only hard part is remembering to cook your beans in advance, since as I mentioned earlier I'm on a quest to get rid of cans. Use about 1 1/2 C of cooked black beans, and combine with a chopped tomato, and an ear's worth of fresh corn. Add chopped onion and garlic if you like it. Add salt and pepper, a dash of cumin, some chili pepper, the juice of one lime, and a glug or two of olive oil. Toss and chill before serving. You can eat this by itself, with tortilla chips like a dip, or on top of lettuce leaves. We'll probably take both of those options!

3. Pork tenderloin, glazed steamed carrots, green salad

Pork tenderloin - I haven't decided how I'll prepare this yet. It's on sale at the grocery store this week, that's why I chose it. Plus we haven't had it in a while, and we all really like pork. I'll probably make some kind of glaze. It's good brushed with a glaze of apricot jam and dijon mustard, as weird as that sounds. I just bake it.

Glazed steamed carrots - Cut into small rounds, then steam. Drain, then toss with butter, salt, and a little bit of honey.

We get watercress in our buying club box this week, so we'll have that as a salad with a simple vinaigrette.

4. Stuffed portobello mushrooms, sugar snap peas, bread

We get mushrooms in our box this week, and I found this recipe online that sounds pretty tasty. I'm just going to broil them in the oven, though, since I don't really want to fire up the grill just for this quick dish.

I'm just going to sautee the snap peas with some garlic and grapeseed oil. Nothing fancy. Maybe a pinch of sugar.

I really like making homemade bread, but I might splurge and get something from the bakery. I am a pretty good baker, but I like a really crusty baguette sometimes, and I haven't quite mastered that yet.

5. Pasta with sausage, peppers, and onions; steamed broccoli

The pasta is pretty much what it sounds like. This is one of our favorite ways to cook peppers, which is another item in our box this week. We like to get smoked sausage from a local place called Bradley's Country Store. It's a fun trip up there, and my son loves to go. We usually get a drink and a sausage dog, run around in the fields a bit, and make a little trip out of it. They've been making sausage and cured hams the old fashioned way for almost a hundred years.

Slice and brown your favorite sausage, then take it out of the pan to drain a little. Drain out some of the fat and add a little olive oil. Sautee sliced onions and peppers, and add some salt and pepper. Toss the sausage, onions, and peppers with hot cooked penne pasta, and cover with a good shaving of parmesan cheese. SO GOOD, and takes about 15 minutes to make.

I'm having broccoli just so we have a different color item on the table, and because sometimes my 3yo will eat peppers, and sometimes he will not. But he will always eat broccoli. Well, almost always.

6. Eggplant parmesan, green salad

This is not a very inspired meal. I found some fried eggplant slices in the bottom of my deep freezer this weekend when we cleaned it out to defrost, so we're eating it. I just bread the sliced eggplant in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese which I've seasoned with salt, pepper, and dried Italian herbs. Fry in oil for just a couple minutes per side. I serve it over spaghetti noodles with marinara sauce and mozzarella, then put each plate under the broiler for just a minute to melt and brown the cheese. If you're limiting your carbs you can omit the pasta and just have extra slices of eggplant. Surprisingly, my son actually likes this. Probably because he doesn't ask what is the fried and cheesed item on his plate, and I haven't offered to tell him.

So there you have it! That's what's for dinner this week at the Williamsons.

What are you having? And won't you please share your favorite enchilada recipe with me?

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

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