Saturday, July 9, 2011

Time away, Time to get back into gear

I had the pleasure of spending several days with a dear friend in Missouri.  I also had the pleasure of traveling with my almost-2-year-old toddler.  Thank goodness grandma also came along and helped coral the boy!!!  My husband got to stay home and "do stuff" around the house.  The visit was good, but I was struck by how little vegetables (other than french fries) were served at the restaurants we went to in mid-Missouri.  We cooked together one night and made a healthier meal.  A basic spaghetti with basil and broil tomatoes with cheese.  Tasty, simple, and far healthier than the other options.

Now it's home and back to the grind, but perhaps better, it's back to some serious vegetable eating!

July 8th - Friday - Chicken and Tofu Kabobs with Jamaican Jerk seasoning. & Vegetable kabobs with a basil, cilantro & lime juice marinade.  Then I added a new grain to my repertoire - AMARANTH!  I used a bit too much water so it ended up a bit cereal like, but it tasted good.  I added a little basil and cilantro and then a touch of honey.  Yum!

July 9th - Saturday - Summer Squash Frittata - From the book "How to Pick a Peach" p. 165.  It's a very basic recipe with fresh parsley, onion and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

July 10th - Sunday - Stuffed Tomatoes from Alton Brown - one of my favorite recipes from my fav. food network chef.  If I can find the tomatoes and some fresh mushrooms at the market that is what I'll go with

July 11th - Monday - Chicken & Bean Tacos with fresh tomatoes, lime & cilantro yogurt dressing

July 12th - Tuesday - Cheese Ravoili & marinara sauce - if this is all from the freezer and jars, so be it.  We are dog sitting and I get to go get the doggy!

July 13th - Wednesday - Grilled or Broiled shrimp kabobs with broccoli/nut side dish

July 14th - Thursday - Steak and Spinach Salad - Yummy, and it pleases my husband too!

July 15th - Friday - Dylan's 2-year-old photo shoot!  So, probably something out

The plan is a bit vague right now but it will flush out as I go.

Happy. Healthy, Eating

Friday, June 24, 2011

Time for Campfire Cooking...

So this week, I get to do something really quite exciting - camping with a group of middle school kids!

Now, I know, you're thinking - who in their right mind??? But, they really are great kids and after camping with my son (a toddler) this is a breeze!

Anyway, we will be cooking most meals in a dutch oven, over an open fire and on sticks or in foil packets... I've done this before for a night and a morning, but never for 3 nights and 3 mornings. So, here is my plan. We have 4 adults and 4 kids in the group....

Sunday Night - hot dogs over the fire - easy, fast.
                  carrots & celery with peanut butter
                  Best Berry Cobbler (if we have time to pick berries on the way) or Tasty Campfire Apples

Tasty Campfire Apples in Tin Foil
• 3 - 4 apples
• 1 cup chopped walnuts
• 1 cube butter
• ½ cups maple syrup
Peel and cut apples into slices taking out the core. Combine the melted butter, maple
syrup, and nuts in a bowl. Place a small handful of apples into a piece of aluminum foil.
Top the apples with a large spoonful of the nut mixture. Fold the foil, leaving an opening
for ventilation. Place on the campfire and cook 30-40 minutes, or until the apples are soft
but not mushy.

The Best Berry Cobbler
This is an easy recipe to make, and it is just a delicious finish to your meal.
· 5 Tbsp. butter (roughly 2/3 of a stick)
· 1 tsp. baking powder
· 1 Cup all-purpose flour
· 1/2 tsp. salt
· 2/3 Cup sugar
· 3/4 Cup milk
· 1 tsp. vanilla extract
· 2 Cups blueberries (fresh or frozen) or other berries
· 1/3 Cup granola
· 1/3 Cup sugar
Use aluminum foil to cover the inside of a 12-inch Dutch Oven. Preheat the oven, and then melt the butter in it. To make the batter, mix the baking powder, flour, salt, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract very well. Pour the batter on top of the melted butter. Throw the blueberries on top of the batter. Bake at medium heat for 40 to 45 minutes. At about 30 minutes into the cooking sprinkle the granola and remaining sugar on top. The berry cobbler is done when a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Monday Morning - German Pancakes - double recipe - or make twice
                               - Fruit maybe some bacon?

German Pancakes
1 1/2 cups milk 6 Tbs. butter
9 eggs lemon juice
1 1/2 cups flour powdered sugar
3/4 tsp. salt

In a mixing bowl whisk together milk, eggs, flour, and salt to form a thin batter.

Heat a 14" Dutch oven using 14-16 briquettes bottom and 18-20 briquettes top until very hot. Add butter to Dutch oven and let melt. Pour batter into oven and cook for 25-30 minutes until pancake is fluffy and light brown.

Sprinkle pancake with lemon juice and dust with powdered sugar.

Serves: 6

Monday Lunch - PBJ & Cheese sandwiches made in the morning. Fruit, veggies & chips.

(grocery shopping on Monday)

Monday Evening - Creamy, Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole - not a diet food :)
& either the Berry Cobbler or Apples for dessert

Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice in the Dutch Oven - made this up from my memory...if you can think of something else we included, feel free to let me know :)
4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 T butter
1 med-large onion diced
8-12 oz of mushrooms (unless someone doesn’t like these)
4 med-large carrots diced
4-6 stalks of celery diced
1.5-2 cups Wild Rice (will puff up a lot -rice to liquid ratio 1:3 – 1 c. rice, 3 c of broth/water)
4.5-6 cups water (more as needed)
Chicken Bouillon – low sodium
Spike seasoning if available or any other seasoning blend
Shredded Cheese to sprinkle on top.

For “cream”
2T butter
6T Flour
1/2 cup water
1 ½ c milk
salt and pepper to taste

Tuesday Breakfast - Camp Fire Breakfast & bananas

Tuesday Lunch - kids shopping challenge (we give them money, they figure out what they can afford for lunch and it must include something healthy)

(grocery shopping on Tuesday for dinner and Wed. Breakfast)

Tuesday Dinner - Pizza in the Dutch Oven

Dutch Oven Pizza
Who doesn’t love pizza while camping? This recipe is very easy to make!
You Will Need:
  • 1 can refrigerated pizza dough (some may prefer crescent rolls or biscuits, use whichever you like better – you can also always make your own dough)
  • Tomato sauce – a little goes a long way, in most cases 1 very small jar/can will do, but if you plan on making pie iron pizzas or another recipe that calls for tomato sauce, you can always save the leftovers for another meal!
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (mozzarella or provolone or a blend)
  • Pepporoni, Bacon or Sausage if desired
  • Mushrooms, Spinach, Green Peppers, Onions, and any other veggies you like
To make the pizza, first you will want to make sure you coat the pan with oil or butter to prevent sticking. and sprinkle with corn meal if available.
Next, spread the dough evenly across the bottom. Then add your sauce, seasonings, and toppings. Cover and bake in fire for about 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted. (Note: If you will be adding meats such as sausage or bacon, you will likely want to precook them first to ensure they will be cooked all the way, as the rest may cook faster before they are done!)

dessert - banana boats or S'mores

Wednesday Breakfast -  Cereal bars and fruit - let's get moving!

Wednesday Lunch - on the road

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Illness and recovery & Meals for the week of June 19th

I've been missing for several days.  My son was sick, then I was sick, then my husband was sick... UGH!  That leads to eating at weird times with whatever is handy and appealing.  Now, I feel like it is time to get back on the bandwagon and sort it all out.

Sunday - Veggie Curry - use up anything in the fridge
Monday - pita bread pizzas & green salad - I have a meeting so it's got to be fast and simple tonight
Tuesday - Mommy's Night Out - Tapas restaurant for me, left over curry for the boys.
Wednesday - Steak Salad - a good steak over spinach and mixed greens with veggies and blue cheese dressing.  It satisfies my husbands steak desire and keeps the calorie count down!
Thursday - Pasta Primavera This sounds good and is on a blog I follow.
Friday - Turkey Burgers A basic recipe... along with some sweet potato fries
Saturday - friends for a BBQ - they are vegetarian so I think I will take along this Edamame Salad because I have some great mint in my garden I've been wanting to include in some things :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

When it all falls down

Wow, tough week.  Monday starts of great and then bam - call from the daycare.  Sick kid.  Gets worse Tuesday, no better Wednesday so off to the pediatrician and then to the pharmacist for antibiotic.  Thursday a quieter day and I was able to go to an evening meeting when a friend brought her daughter over to babysit for me for a couple of hours.  Friday he's back at daycare... but now I'm sick.

So what happens to a meal plan when life happens.

  1. I've learned to not buy too far a head of myself.  If this means I go to the grocery store twice or even three times a week so be it - I've often forgot something even if I do buy for a full week. 
  2. The freezer can save a lot of stuff to later be made into something else or the same recipe I was going to make in the first place
  3. build in left over nights - and the missed night can fill in here.  
  4. Have flexibility in the meals so if you are running short on time you can quickly substitute something easier.
Here's how I applied all of this during the week...
  1. I did make a couple trips this week - shorter trips are always better with a kiddo anyway, but I really had many things in my pantry for the week.
  2. My left over gazpacho soup... it's going in the freezer & since we were home all week I needed more food around for lunches too.
  3. Gazpacho got moved to last night and bean burgers are moved to this night - I am not camping in my current condition - especially not in the rain.
  4. Last night I thought about getting those bean burgers done too, but really time wasn't going to work, so I filled in with other things and some leftover plantain omelet that I made for breakfast (sometimes having to stay home with a sick kid is kinda fun)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Lesson from the grocery store and Meals for 6/6-6/11

I like to shop for at least the "Dirty Dozen" organically and other things when I can swing it.  I also, now with a son who comes along with a daycare bill, have to watch the bottom line far more closely than when it was just my husband and me in the house....

Lesson from the grocery store... At least at my local food co-op, always check the marked down produce.  Sometimes the quality is so close to the full-price version you can't tell the difference!

Evening Meals for 6/6-6/11

Tonight: Quick quesadillas with a fruity twist

  • corn tortillas (Tortilla Factory Brand because they use a little wheat which makes the tortilla so much more flexible!)
  • Cheese
  • Veggies (I used green onion (from the garden), orange sweet pepper (good find at the store) & mushrooms)
  • Fruit (Apples and banana thinly sliced)
  • Yogurt dipping sauce (lowfat, plain yogurt with a dash of lemon juice, chives from my garden and fresh ground pepper!)
Tuesday: Omelets with fresh veggies, fruit and toast.  
  • My kid loves eggs!

Wednesday: Oven roasted asparagus, Gazpacho soup,  Grilled flatbread with rosemary  
  • make the soup Tuesday night and use up some of the whole frozen tomatoes in my freezer, more of the orange sweet pepper.  I'll need to pick up some corn for this and cilantro!
  • I love to crank up a hot cast iron frying pan with a little olive oil and grill the flatbread like a grilled cheese.  I usually sprinkle it with dried rosemary and a pinch of salt - so yummy!  Might make an alternative of this for the little dude with some cheese.
Thursday: Bean Burgers with frozen sweet potato fries.  
  • Prep burgers the night before
  • not the healthiest, but meat free - so I'm going to give myself some credit here :)

Friday: With friends!
Saturday: With friends! (what can I say, it's an easy week to start all this planning!)