Archive for January, 2010

Menu Plan Monday – Week of 1/25/2010

January 25, 2010

I am going to post last week’s menu too, because we made so many modifications due to a schedule change (the advantage of planning your meals 2-3 weeks ahead with things you already have in the pantry is it’s really easy to switch things around).


Quinoa Porridge

January 25, 2010

This is a great way to use up leftover quinoa. If you have some leftover but don’t need breakfasts, you can freeze it and take it out the night before; if it’s not fully thawed, making the porridge will thaw it. It’s also a good way to use up apples that are starting to get soft.

Quinoa is rich in protein and contains no gluten, and it makes a good substitute for oatmeal if you cannot have it. It’s a good first grain for babies, so you could give this to an older baby or toddler.

2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup non-dairy milk of your choice
1 chopped apple
1/4 cup raisins
1-2 tsp cinnamon

Heat everything in a pot over medium-low heat until warm, apples are softened, and most of the milk is absorbed.

Tuesday Twister – French Dinner

January 19, 2010


Saturday we had a busy day and I said to my husband, “I really wish we could go out to eat at a fancy restaurant for dinner,” but we just don’t have the money. He did get a big paycheck this week because he’s been working a lot of hours, so we decided to splurge and make a fancy dinner. Actually, it wasn’t a big splurge, we got some steaks (natural but not grass-fed) on sale for $5, a lemon for 50 cents, shallots for 75 cents, and some organic swiss chard for $2. Everything else was already in the pantry.

I pulled out my copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (mine was from a tag sale or library sale, it’s a classic copy), and The French Market: More Recipes from a French Kitchen.

For the main dish, I settled on steaks cooked in butter and olive oil, with a bearnaise sauce. This was the first time I made bearnaise, but Julia Child’s directions were easy, and it was amazing. It is just butter, egg yolks, vinegar, wine, shallots, and herbs, and I have been OK with butter, so I am happy to have a sauce that I can eat. I also made Vineyard Swiss Chard from The French Market and finally found a way that I can get my husband to eat Swiss chard; it’s made with lemon juice, garlic, pine nuts, and raisins. For dessert, I made Îles Flottantes from The French Market, which is a custard with meringues and caramel on top. I burned the caramel because I got distracted at the last minute, so I left it off, but it was still amazing. Again, I just used goat’s milk, eggs, and sugar, so it’s inexpensive yet elegant. (You are supposed to top it with sliced almonds, but I didn’t have any and we just left them off). Julia’s recipe also looks good, but is more almond-y and complicated.

It was so much fun to have an elegant dinner for maybe $10. We decided that the same quality dinner out would have cost $60 at the very least, but more likely around $100. I think it was a good splurge.

Go visit GNOWFGLINS to see what’s twisting in every one else’s kitchen!

Menu Plan Monday – Week of 1/18/10

January 18, 2010

We made a few substitutions over the weekend last weekend, including a non-pantry splurge on Sunday, but we are mostly on-track and here is the current plan for this week (subject to swapping with items planned in a following week):

Monday – Mussels Gratin (from Nourished Kitchen’s Food Stamp Challenge), broccoli, salad

Tuesday – Moroccan Chicken Stew (crockpot)

Wednesday – Tuna Pasta

Thursday – Crockpot Honey Lentils, Winter Fruit Compote, broccoli, salad

Friday – Calzones

French Onion Soup

January 14, 2010

The key to this soup is homemade beef stock. Toasting the bread before broiling the soup also prevents from having soggy bread. This soup is very simple, very inexpensive, very quick to make, yet it tastes like something you would get in a good restaurant.


Menu Plan Monday – Week of 1/11/10

January 11, 2010

I haven’t officially joined LifeAsMom’s Eat From the Pantry Challenge, but I am not sure why not. I have similar goals to her; we want to try and defrost the big freezer soon (although it will be into February because I have a turkey in there to cook that we won’t have a chance to cook until then), and we are trying to save money on food bills. I have planned out most of this month from the pantry/freezer with a few fresh additions (mostly produce, some pasta since I never stock up on the brown rice pasta since it never goes on sale). So far, we haven’t saved a lot of money, because we bought some things on really good sale (big can of olive oil for $5, Celestial Seasonings Christmas tea for 90 cents a box), but I am hoping the savings will trickle to the rest of the month (I think I took care of most of the shopping other than milk for the next two weeks).

Since we have almost a month of meals planned, and many are from items in the freezer or pantry, this meal plan is subject to change (I may swap out a planned meal from next week with one from this week) but so far:

Monday – Black beans (another recipe from an old Cooking Traditional Foods Menu Mailer; this one is super-popular in my house and cheap and basic), brown rice, some sort of veggie (likely salad)

Tuesday – Shrimp Yakisoba (we got a deal on shrimp for entertaining over the holidays and have leftover)

Wednesday – Leek and Goat Cheese Tart (recipe from The French Market: More Recipes from a French Kitchen with some kind of gluten-free crust)

Thursday – Sausage and Peppers

Friday – Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce

Saturday – Spinach & Feta Quiche with Rice Crust

Sunday – Eggs and Bacon

Menu Plan Monday – Week of 1/4/2010

January 4, 2010

The first week of the new year, and we have a few weeks’ meals planned roughly out. My husband is working overnight Friday, so we have planned meals that will have good leftovers for him to take to work.

Monday – Maple Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes (from an old Cooking Traditional Foods menu mailer)

Tuesday – Eggplant Parmesan

Wednesday – Puerto-Rican Style Stewed Rice

Thursday – Stuffed Acorn Squash (also from an old Cooking Traditional Foods menu mailer)

Friday – Lentil Soup

Saturday – Roast Pork Loin

Menu Plan – Week of 12/28/2009

January 1, 2010

We have been so busy, with holiday entertaining and visiting and family time, so I haven’t done much posting. Our meal plan was a little up in the air this week, since we had several options to pick from in the freezer, and then I had a fiasco with the chicken stock from Christmas where the pot hit the temperature button in the refrigerator and we went through the day Monday thinking that our refrigerator was broken, so I am just getting around to posting this now, but I wanted to share it because we had a few gems this week.

Monday – Codfish with Walnut Cilantro Sauce (from Fast Food My Way; this was just amazing!), rice, and sauteed spinach

Tuesday – Chicken, Ham, and Rice Casserole

Wednesday – Takeout pizza!! I discovered that my all-time favorite pizza place offers gluten-free pizza now, so we splurged. I like my gluten-free crust better, but it was sure nice to be able to get takeout pizza for a change.

Thursday – Dinner party for family: Boneless Pork Roast with Apple-Thyme Cream Sauce, Baked Sweet Potatoes and Apples, Salad, Chocolate Souffle

Friday – Something out of the freezer or pantry to be determined later

Boneless Pork Roast with Tarragon Mustard Coating

January 1, 2010

I had a recipe I was originally going to make, but then I modified it so much that really I only used the sauce recipe from The Irish Heritage Cookbook. The sauce isn’t dairy-free, but I made it for company, and you don’t need the sauce to enjoy the pork. The spicing keeps it from drying out.

2 Tbsp melted butter or olive oil
2 Tbsp apple jelly or apple butter, I used 100 % apple cider jelly
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp lemon juice (juice from 1/2 lemon)
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 Tbsp whole-grain Dijon mustard
Fresh thyme and tarragon, minced (about 3 Tbsp)
Boneless pork loin

Mix all of the spicing ingredients together except the fresh herbs. Brush on the pork loin. Pat the herbs on top of the spice paste. Heat the oven to 300 F. Brown the roast in a little olive oil in a pan, and then put in the oven, directly on the rack with a foil covered pan underneath to catch the drippings (or in a roasting pan). Cook the roast for about 30 minutes per pound, or until internal temperature is 160 F.

Apple-Thyme Cream Sauce
From The Irish Heritage Cookbook

2-3 tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (I used Fameuse apples from the local apple orchard)
1/2 chopped Vidalia (or other sweet) onion
2 crushed cloves of garlic
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2/3 cup dry white wine (I used Sharpe Hill chardonnay, a local wine)
2/3 cup chicken stock
1 1/4 cup cream

Combine all sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer about 15 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken. Remove the thyme. Process in a blender until smooth.