I am trying to stay away from a lot of processed carbs…very tough for me since I have not met a carb that I didn’t love!! But, I need to lose some weight and eat a little healthier. So, my menu plan reflect my new eating style. Yes, you will see there are some potatoes on the menu but my family loves them and I will try to not eat them!!! Wish me luck!!
I make my menu plans based on what I have on hand and what’s on sale…mostly at Market Basket…and what I may find at Friendly Fruit. So here it is. There are links to the recipes from the websites where I found the recipes.
Every month for the past 10 years or so, I have been teaching a cooking class at the Council on Aging in Rochester. I look forward to this class every month. It’s so much fun! And I cook for about 20-30 hungry people.
This month, I made one of my favorites, Oven Fried Chicken Cutlets! YUM!!! And it did come out yummy! I normally choose my menus like I choose my family’s menu plans…based on what’s on sale or what I have in my freezer. In the case of the cooking class…based on what the Council on Aging may have received in donations or what may have been left over from another function. One month, they called and said they had pork loin roasts, so I made the roast with potatoes and veggies or a Hot Brown with Pork instead of Turkey. Easy! It’s the same way many people plan their menus. Except, I need to be able to do most of the cooking in about 30 minutes AND feed about 20-30 people. No problem! Of course, I do some of the prep ahead of time. Who wants to see me dredge and coat 30 chicken cutlets? NOBODY!!! So I leave about 3-4 for on camera and the cooking class. Easy! Then I hope that I have enough to say to fill up the 25-30 minute time slot. Most of the time it works our perfectly but sometimes, not so much. I’ll let you be the judge of this time.
Mix crumbs with seasoning. Put in a shallow bowl. Put flour in another shallow bowl and eggs in a third shallow bowl. Dredge chicken in flour, then egg and finally in breadcrumbs. Place on a greased sheet pan. Bake for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
1 cup cooked ditalini pasta or other type of small pasta
1 package of torn romaine lettuce (8 cups)
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1 firm ripe avocado
3 sliced green onions
6 sliced of cooked bacon crumbled
1 cup blue or feta cheese
1/2 cup wine wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and Pepper to Taste along with Italian Seasoning
Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and rinse under cook water. Drain well. Set in large salad bowl.
Chop lettuce, avocado, tomato and slice green onions and set in salad bowl.
Cook bacon to crisp and crumble. Add to the bowl with the cheese.
Make dressing by combining vinegar, olive oil, chopped shallot, minced garlic and heavy cream. Add salt, pepper and Italian Seasoning. Whisk until thickened. Add to salad and toss.
To serve, add salad to plates and top with sliced oven fried chicken. Enjoy!
I made a very easy Menu Plan for this week. Delish had a great list of over 400 recipes that were quick and easy. I just looked through and found 4 that I think my family would like. Good for me because it was easy. Good for my family because I think they will really love them. Also good for my wallet because I had most of the meats in my freezer. I just needed to shop for some of the side dishes.
The way I make our menu plans is a very easy process.
Check out my pantry and freezer
View what’s on sale at my favorite store…Market Basket or Aldis
Take into account my family’s preferences (and allergies…One of my daughters is allergic to poultry…I know, it’s a tough one. I need to make sure to make any poultry on nights she is not eating home.)
Use seasonal produce, when possible…especially because they tend to be on sale and fresher.
Here’s my weekly installment of my menu plan. Yes, I am a little late but better late than never. So, Ham Croquettes are on the menu this week. You’re probably saying..”Ham Croquettes? What are those?” Well, they were popular probably in the 50’s to use up leftovers. They use mashed potatoes, leftover meat and cheese to make a nice fried pancake or cylinder type dumpling. Really good, when you make them right. I have been trying to perfect these for a while. I went to a great restaurant near me where they were on the menu. Of course, I ordered them and they were fantastic.
Since we had ham on the menu for Easter AND mashed potatoes, I figured I would try out this recipe for Ham and Oaxaca Cheese Croquettes. We will see!!!
I hope you enjoy the menu plan. If you have any questions, just let me know. All recipes and the grocery list can be found on my website in the new section. Menu Plan
Day 1: Ham & Oaxaca Cheese Croquettes & Salad
Day 2: Stuffed Boneless Turkey Breast with Roasted Potatoes & Brussels Sprouts
Day 3: Cod with Italian Crumb Topping with Steamed Broccoli and Rice Pilaf
Day 4: Pan-Roasted Chicken & Vegetables
Enjoy and let me know what you think! Again, for all the recipes, just go to Menu Plan under New Section for the recipes, links and grocery list.
Finished Menu Plan for this week!!!! I love it when it is done. I just feel so empowered because I have a plan!! As you can tell I only do 4 days of meals. Why? I like to leave flexibility in my menu for leftover night and nights when we may want to go out to eat. Flexibility and a Plan…it’s the best of both worlds! At the end is the grocery list. I hope you try the menus. I know they are helping me with that rush of what’s for dinner tonight!
Preheat the Double Burner Grill Pan for 5 minutes on medium-high heat.
For the marinade, juice the lime to measure 2 tbsp (30 mL). Add the juice, rub, and oil to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Repeat in a separate bowl.
Add the steak to one bowl and shrimp to another bowl, stir to coat with the marinade, and let sit, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 5 minutes, or up to 30 minutes.
Slice onions and pepper and put on one side of the grill to cook.
Grill the steak first for 7 minutes per side depending upon desired doneness rotating and moving around the grill occasionally to ensure even cooking. Put on cutting board to rest. Then grill shrimp 4 minutes per side or until opaque. Slice the beef against the grain before serving..
In the Rockcrok over medium-high heat, heat oil. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and sear until golden, 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken thighs to slow cooker.
Whisk together soy sauce, ketchup, honey, garlic, ginger, Sriracha, and lime juice. Pour sauce over chicken and toss to combine.
Cover and cook until no longer pink, on low for 6 hours or high for 2 hours. Serve with rice and garnish with cilantro.
Sauteed Green Beans with Bacon
SAUTÉED GREEN BEANS WITH BACON
8 oz (250 g) fresh green beans
3 slices uncooked bacon
2 tbsp (30 mL) water
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground black pepper
Trim ends and cut longer beans in half. Thinly slice bacon crosswise into thin strips. Cook bacon in (10-in./24-cm) Skillet over medium-high heat 7-9 minutes or until crisp.
Finely chop shallot. Add shallot to Skillet and cook 20-30 seconds or until fragrant. Add green beans, water, salt and pepper. Cover; cook 6-8 minutes or until green beans are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.
5 cups (1.25 L) mixed salad greens
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 2-in. (5 cm) strips
1 cup (250 mL) snow peas
1/2 red onion, sliced into thin wedges
1/3 cup (75 mL) snipped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp (30 mL) Asian Seasoning Mix
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 lb (500 g)
1/4 cup (50 mL) dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
For dressing, combine vinegar, soy sauce, seasoning mix and sugar in Small Batter Bowl. Slowly add oil, whisking until well blended. Cover; refrigerate until ready to use.
For salad, arrange greens on large serving platter. Top with bell pepper, snow peas, onion and cilantro. Cover; refrigerate until ready to serve.
Heat Grill Pan over medium heat 5 minutes. For pork, combine seasoning mix and oil in (1-cup) Prep Bowl; rub over entire surface of pork. Grill pork 15-18 minutes or until Digital Pocket Thermometer registers 155°F (68°C) for medium doneness or 165°F (75°C) for well done, turning every 5 minutes. Remove pork to Cutting Board and tent with aluminum foil; let stand 5-10 minutes.
To serve, carve pork into thin slices and arrange around edge of salad on serving platter. Sprinkle with peanuts, if desired. Drizzle with dressing.
2 cups (500 mL) diced cooked chicken
1/2 cup (125 mL) ranch dressing
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and coarsely ground black pepper
Cornmeal for dusting
16 oz (450 g) frozen prepared pizza dough, thawed (see Cook’s Tip)
2 small vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup (250 mL) shredded Colby & Monterey Jack cheese
5 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
2 thinly sliced green onions
Prepare grill for indirect cooking over medium-high heat. Combine chicken, dressing, pressed garlic, salt and black pepper in medium bowl; toss to coat.
Generously sprinkle Pastry Matwith cornmeal; place dough onto center of mat. Roll dough to an 12-in. (30-cm) circle. Place dough onto BBQ Pizza Pan; gently stretching to cover bottom. Top crust with chicken mixture and tomatoes; sprinkle evenly with cheese and bacon.
Place pizza pan on grid of grill. Grill, covered, 18-22 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown, rotating pan occasionally for even grilling. Remove pan from grill. Sprinkle evenly with green onion. Cut pizza into 12 slices.
6 servings of 2 slices
Nutrients per serving:
Calories 470, Total Fat 26 g, Saturated Fat 8 g, Cholesterol 75 mg, Sodium 880 mg, Carbohydrate 35 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 26 g
For best results, let pizza dough stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before rolling it out.
Being a woman of a certain size, I always want to lose weight for the new year. Each year I make my goal and then promptly forget about my goal and eat the way I always have…much too much. And much to much of processed carbs and not the “good” kind. Sometimes I return to my “normal” eating within a week, sometimes within a few months. But each year, I break the plan.
So this year, I am going to do something a little different. I am not going on a diet! I am just going to eat as close to non processed food as possible. Will a thrifty person like me throw out all my processed food? No, I will just eat it until it’s gone and then not replace the processed food. I will just shop for non processed food and make my own “convenience” food from scratch. I like to cook, most of the time, so I don’t think this will be too hard for me (she says in smug voice). It will just take some planning. I can plan, right?
Since I’ve never been good at keeping this blog up to date, I will start to post what I am eat and cooking on a daily…I mean probably, weekly basis. We’ll see what happens!!!! Stay tuned…
I forgot to post this. I don’t want to waste it even though it is now Winter. So here’s the post I did for fall:
I love fall! The crisp, clean air is always something I look forward to every year. Pumpkins, apples, peaches, squashes, soups, stews, roasts, etc. are all things I love about this time of year. As some of you know from previous posts, I volunteer at our local Council on Aging doing a cooking class and cooking lunch for about 30 people once a month. Each month, I ask what they would like to see me cook the next month. This past month the suggestion was soup because the weather is turning cooler and a nice steamy bowl of soup (with a steamy slice of bread) hits the spot most nights. Plus, soup is so economical. Bonus!!!!!
I have been an Independent Pampered Chef Director for the past 20 years and this year we are focusing our shows on One Pot Meals. JUST WHAT I LOVE!!!!! One of my favorites is a Chicken Pot Pie Chowder (or Chowdaa). Can we have a double YUM! I made this for my family and it was an instant hit. I think you’ll love it too!!!
As some of you know, I love a bargain. Especially when that bargain is food. Why? Because I love to cook AND food is one of the best ways to save money. Everyone has to buy food! Everyone! If we have a $200/week (sorry, I’m choking) food bill, cutting back is one of the best ways to save money. I’m sure I could have a $200 food bill but I am too cheap thrifty to spend that much. Instead my food bill is about $40-$60 per week depending upon how many I am feeding…and who is living in the house or living at school. One of my daughters likes organic food, so our food bill may go up when she is home.
So, last week, I was shopping at my favorite produce market…Friendly Fruit, aka leftovers from Sid Weiner’s Gourmet Outlet. They had a huge, I mean huge bag of chopped kale for $2 or $3. All chopped and washed, ready to go. I could not, would not pass that up! I thought I would just make some Kale Soup and some smoothies. Well, it was A LOT of kale. And, I did not feel like Kale Soup. While I did make many smoothies, I happened along to a recipe for Potato Kielbasa Skillet at the Taste of Home website. I had to change up a few things, like add kale instead of spinach, remove the bacon and thyme from the recipe and change the cooking instructions. Basically, I made another recipe with what I had on hand and what I like. The result was an amazing dish that I know I will be making again. Plus, it was all done in one pan and in less than 30 minutes. I hope you enjoy it, too!
Kielbasa, Potatoes and Kale Skillet
1 pound potatoes, cubed
3 tablespoons water
12 ounces smoked kielbasa
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 dashes of pepper
4 cups chopped kale
Place potatoes and water in the Rockcrok or other microwavable and stovetop safe pan. Cover and microwave on high for 4 minutes or until tender; drain.
Add oil, kielbasa and onion to the potatoes. Saute for 15 minutes or until kielbasa and potatoes are lightly browned. Stir occasionally so the potatoes do not burn.
Combine the brown sugar, vinegar, mustard and pepper; stir into potato/kielbasa mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; add kale simmer, uncovered, until kale is wilted.
Peaches, peaches, peaches everywhere! A few weeks ago, I looked at my peach tree and noticed, there were a lot of small peaches on the tree. A lot of peaches!!! I was surprised because each year, against my wishes, my father-in-law would come and spray my peach tree with some type of pesticide. I would tell him, we should do organic. His response, “Then you’ll have no peaches!” This year, due to some health issues, he did not spray the peaches. I assumed (never do that), I would have no peaches. Wrong.
Plus, my woodchuck is no where to be seen. I think he may have been done in by my busy road (or old age, cayotes, etc). The woodchuck would routinly climb into the tree and eat the peaches. I never realized woodchuck’s climbed trees but I saw it myself! Lastly, the deer have kindly left a lot for me this year. Maybe their busy eating my neighbor’s garden and peaches! I’ll have to ask the neighbors. Or maybe the abundance of rain in the Northeast has made it a perfect year for my peach tree.
Whatever the reason, I am so happy to have an abundance of peaches. But, I do not want them to go bad. Different from the peaches bought at the store, these peaches only last a day or two after they ripen. So, what can I do, with all these peaches? Well, I can eat them…which I have been. Give them away (my inlaws have already been by to pick some). Or cook with them. I have been doing a lot of the latter.
What have I made with these peaches?
I made a total of 4 1/2 little jars of peach jam. This took me a total of 3 hours from peeling, cutting, cooking and processing. They are like gold to me. My daughter opened the smallest jar, and proclaimed them “Good”. That’s about her enthusiasm for my cooking. She is taking one of the jars with her to college. That’s how I know the “Good” means, really great.
Simple to make…just pie crust and cooked down peaches with sugar then baked to flaky delicioiusness. They were yummy and were gone in about 1 day.
Just like a oatmeal type cereal bar. These are baked with oatmeal, brown sugar and the cooked down peaches with sugar. Again, yum! I just made those last night, so they are still around and should last a few days (hopefully).
Over the next few days, I will post the recipes for these delecible edibles for you to try with your peaches (grown or bought at the local farmers market).
What I would love to know, how do you use up peaches? What recipes should I try in the future (or this week) for the rest of the peaches? Let me know, I could use the help using up these peaches before they fall to the ground and rot (or the woodchuck magically appears or the deer are sick of the neighbors’ gardens or…).
I try to anticipate how much my family will eat for dinner but sometimes, I am just plan wrong. Someone can’t come home for dinner, doesn’t like dinner, ate lunch late so they are not hungry, etc. Sometimes we have leftovers. Not planned overs, where I know I will use the leftovers to make an entire meal…but real leftovers.
I volunteer for a free breakfast program once a week for people who just won’t get a breakfast any other way except by going to this free breakfast. I think this is why I hate wasting food. Or it might come from my mother’s “There are starving people, you should not waste your food.” Whatever it is, I try not to waste food. Even, though, I do throw out my fair share of food.
Normally, my husband and I keep leftovers in check by eating them for lunch. My husband has no problem taking any leftovers for lunch except fish. We all know it smells too much when it’s heated in the microwave. There could be a mutiny at work. So, fish stays home.
Sometimes I have just a lonely piece of chicken or steak or pork and I try to make it into something else for lunch. Today was one of those days. I had this lonely piece of roasted chicken in my refridgerator and decided it would be lunch.
There is an old Pampered Chef recipe for a Chicken Broccoli Braid. I, like so many others love this recipe. But the main filling can be used in making a sandwich or panini. I opted for the panini and it came out fabulous! (the fabulous is for my niece Erin…she says its my word).
Here is how I adapted the recipe. It’s really a rough recipe because I don’t really measure when I cook:
Chicken Broccoli Panini
1 piece of cooked boneless skinless chicken
a few broccoli florets
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1/4 small onion
2 tbs or more of mayonaise
1/4 tsp of dried dill
4 slices of bread of your choice (sturdy bread is best)
a little butter for the bread
Put chicken, broccoli, cheese, garlic, and onion in your food processor. Pulse until it is incorporated into smallish pieces. Only about 4 – 5 pulses.
Add mayo and dill and pulse a few times until all mixed.
Heat your panini or grill pan with press.
Assemble sandwiches and butter both sides of the sandwiches. Put sandwich on heated pan and top with press. After 2 minutes or less, flip and press again for another minute or two. You are done! Enjoy!
If you do not want a hot sandwich, you can always use the mixture as a chicken salad and serve it cold.
Let me know what you think of this recipe and what you do with small leftovers.