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Menu Planning, Week 6

This week, I am fixated on two things: Tyler Florence’s new cookbook, and fresh produce from the Farmer’s Market. As is always the case, I am trying to plan six meals (we usually eat out one night) with no more than two involving red meat, at least one entirely vegetarian, and all appealing to both my meat-loving husband and my somewhat picky son. I also do this on a fairly fixed budget, and based on what’s on sale at our grocery store and (in season) available at the Farmer’s Market.


Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Chile-Coconut Sauce and Coconut-Tomato Salad

I am not always a fan of “Food Network” chefs, or their cookbooks, but I am totally in love with Tyler’s Ultimate, which combines stunning photos with really great-sounding recipes for dishes both exotic and familiar. I have the book from the library, and its already overdue, so I figured I’d better use it this week, return it, pay my late fees, and decide whether I want to buy a copy of my own. Pork tenderloins are on sale this week, and I should be able to get some decent tomatoes, so this recipe seemed like a good place to start. I’ll let you know.


Roasted Chicken, Green Bean Salad with Black Olive and Creme Fraiche Dressing, and Roasted Potatoes

Whole chickens are on sale this week, so I’ll buy two 3 or 4 pound chickens and roast them at the same time. That way, the dark meat eaters get double chances for wings, thighs and legs, and I have the white meat of the second chicken to use in a another recipe. The green bean salad is Tyler Florence’s.

Here’s how I roast chickens, based on Nigella Lawson’s directions in How to Eat. (Warning: I am not much of a baster. If you believe, and many folks do, that it is important to baste roasting poultry, then move quickly down to “Tuesday” so that you won’t be offended).

Roast Chicken and Potatoes Nigella

  1. 3-4 pound roasting chicken
  2. butter or olive oil
  3. 1 lemon
  4. 8 washed, unpeeled potatoes (I use Yukon Gold)
  5. Fresh herbs, such as Thyme or Rosemary (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If you are using a commercially packaged chicken, remove the plastic bag full of icky bits from inside the chicken, rinse the bird inside and out, and pat dry. (I fry up the unmentionables for the dogs and cats, because I am such an exceptionally devoted sucker pet owner). Place the chicken in a roasting pan or on a rack over a roasting pan, breast side up. (That means the flat part is on the bottom). Rub the top, legs, wings, etc. with oil or butter. Pierce lemon with a fork and insert into the cavity, along with any herbs you are using.

Halve the potatoes and cut into chunks. Place in baking pan (a 9×13 or a jelly roll pan will do), and drizzle with olive oil. If you used fresh herbs in the chicken, sprinkle a bit of them, along with some kosher salt, over the potatoes. Roast in the oven, with the chicken for 1 hour, turning at 30 minutes.

Roast the chicken for about 15 minutes per pound, plus 15 minutes extra.


Pot Roast, Velvet Potato Puree and Roasted Broccoli with Crispy Parmesan and Lemon

Not exactly a light summer dinner, but for every “chick-pleasing meal” I cook, (see Wednesday, Thursday and Friday’s meals) I feel that the boys are entitled to a big hunk of red meaty and some artery-clogging potatoes. These are all recipes from Tyler’s Ultimate; we’ll see if his pot roast and mashed potatoes are better than my usual….


Curried Mango Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Baked Potato Chips and Sliced Melon

After making a huge deal out of the fact that there was only one way to make chicken salad, I have to confess that I am bored with my self-imposed orthodoxy, and ready for a revolution. I saw this chicken salad recipe over at “Daily Unadventures in Cooking,” and knew that it was all over between me and my “perfect” recipe. I’ll have leftover roast chicken, I already have curry powder and mayonnaise, and mangoes are on sale this week. I’ll just need to pick up some beautiful sandwich rolls, a bag of baked chips and a fresh canteloupe. Change is good.


Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce

Here is the closest we get to a veggie meal this week. Sam doesn’t like shrimp, and he doesn’t really like peanut sauce much, either, so I’ll probably feed him plain pasta with butter and Parmesan. Now that I think about it, I’ll also chop up a little extra cucumber and green onion and make him a cucumber salad with vinegar, sugar and water dressing.

Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce

(This is from an old clipping, but I think its a “Cooking Light” recipe because it indicates portion size and provides nutrition information. If you know where it comes from, tell me and I’ll give credit where its due).

  1. 8 ounces uncooked rice noodles
  2. 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  3. 1 cup vegetable broth
  4. 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  5. 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  6. 1 teaspoon red curry paste
  7. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  8. 1 garlic clove, minced
  9. 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  10. 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (Ready-cook shrimp are on sale this week, so I’ll just use those)
  11. 1 large red bell pepper cut into thin strips
  12. 3/4 cups finely chopped seeded peeled cucumbers
  13. 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  14. 1/4 cup chopped basil
  15. 2 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts
  16. 1 lime cut into six wedges

Cook noodles in boiling water 6 minutes, Rinse and drain. Keep warm.

Place 1/2 cup peanuts in food processor, process until smooth (about 2 minutes) scraping side of bowl once.

Combine peanut butter, broth, and next five ingredients in a large skillet; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 1 minute. Pour broth mixture into blender or food processor; let stand five minutes. Process until smooth. Stir in vinegar.

Cook shrimp in boiling water 2 minutes or until done; drain. (I’ll be using frozen, fully cooked shrimp which I will have thawed).

Combine noodles, shrimp, bell pepper, cucumber, onions, and basil in a large bowl. Add peanut sauce, toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with chopped nuts; serve with lime wedges. Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups noodle mixture, 1 Teaspoon chopped nuts and 1 lime wedge).


Pasta with Grilled Vegetables and Feta, and Grilled Chicken Breasts

For me this will be a vegetarian meal, but for Rob is will have chicken. This is another random clipping; I think its probably from “Bon Appetit.”

Pasta with Grilled Vegetables and Feta

  1. 10 1/2 ounce jar feta cheese cubes in oil with herbs and spices
  2. 3 bell peppers (1 yellow, 1 red and 1 orange) seeded and cut into 3/4 inch-thick strips.
  3. 1 large red onion, halved through root end, cut into 3.4-inch-thick wedges with some root left intact
  4. 1 12-ounce package cherry tomatoes
  5. (I will be including two boneless, skinless chicken breasts marinated in Italian or Greek dressing)
  6. 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh oregano,divided
  7. 1 pound castellane (long oval shells) or penne pasta

Prepare barbecue (medium high heat). Drain all marinade from feta cheese into large bowl. Add bell pepper strips, onion wedges, and cherry tomatoes to marinade in bowl,; sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Thread cherry tomatoes on skewers. Grill all vegetables (and chicken, if using) until tender and slightly charred, about 15 minutes for onion wedges and chicken, 10 minutes for bell pepper strips and 5 minutes for tomatoes. Return vegetables to same bowl. Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons oregano; toss to blend.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally; drain.

Add pasta and feta cheese to bowl with grilled vegetables; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon oregano and serve. (Before serving, I will give myself a big helping, then slice the grilled chicken into strips and toss it with the pasta mixture for Rob).


Out to Dinner

Sam’s going to be at a sleepover, its two nights before Rob’s birthday, and we will be, as my grandmother used to say, “out kicking the gong around.”


About imagineannie

I feel like I'm fifteen - does that count? I'm lots of things, I get paid to be the Managing Editor for a local news publication, and I love my job. I am also inordinately fond of reading, animals (I have four), elephants, owls, hedgehogs writing, tramping in the woods, cooking India, Ireland, England, avocado toast, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Little Women, Fun Home, Lumber Janes, Fangirl, magic, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, YA books, not YA books, classical music, Salinger (OMG SALINGER), Brahms, key lime pie, indie music, podcasts, sleeping in, road trips, marmalade, museums, bookstores, the Oxford comma, BBC, The Miss Fisher Mysteries, birdwatching, seashells, kombucha, and stickers. Not a huge fan of chewing gum, jazz, trucker hats or dystopian and/or post-apolcalyptic fiction (but I'll try anything).

4 responses »

  1. glad you liked the idea of the curried mango chicken salad – always good to try something new. let me know if it works out for you 🙂
    I am highly impressed with your meal planning, I wish I could get it this together.

  2. Ah, Katerina, the pitfalls of menu planning – after I wrote that entry I couldn’t find a single decent mango. Not one. I plan to keep a stash of cooked chicken in my freezer so that I can seize the first good mango I find, run home, and make your chicken salad. In the meantime, we’ll have to have the regular old chicken salad one more time….

  3. Pingback: Pasta with Grilled Vegetables and Feta « Forest Street Kitchen

  4. Pingback: What’s For Dinner? « Forest Street Kitchen

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