As you know if you are a regular reader (are there any regular readers?), every Thursday I create and post dinner menus for the following week. My general guidelines are as follows: build menus around what’s in season (produce) and what’s on sale (meat, dairy and other groceries), and try to have one vegetarian meal and no more than two red meat-based meals a week. I have been trying to work in a seafood meal with varying degrees of success. (By which I mean that when I battered and fried the seafood it was very successful, and when I sauteed it it was regarded by my “customers” as being one thin step up from raw sewage).
I have been trying to figure out a way to let you know what happened with the previous week’s menu, not because I believe that kitchens across the globe are on “pause” until they know what was consumed in my house during a given week, but because there is often quite a difference between what is planned and what actually happens. I think its important, particularly for beginning and hesitant cooks to know that even experienced planners and cookers make mistakes, pick bad recipes, and forget to buy ingredients. Here’s a quick rundown of what happened last week in Forest Street Kitchen:
We were supposed to have Chicken Salad, Cheddar Blops (biscuits) and Mixed Fruit Salad. Instead, because I had neglected to poach the chicken for chicken salad, we ate the Thai Red Beef Curry, Sticky Rice and Melon that was supposed to be Wednesday night’s dinner. It was delicious.
Was supposed to be a Labor Day dinner at a family picnic, which it was, and I was going to take a Caprese Salad, which I did. We also had brats, and I snagged and froze a bunch of leftovers to use in pea soup.
We were scheduled to have Grilled Chicken, Baked Garden Tomatoes with Cheese and Cornbread, but my parents needed me to take dinner over for the, and I figured chicken salad would travel much better than grilled chicken and a baked vegetable dish. So, I made Sunday’s chicken salad, and served it with the muffins leftover from the day’s Parent Coffee at Sam’s school.
We were supposed to have Thai Red Beef Curry, Sticky Rice and Melon, but since we’d already eaten it, it was necessary to make another plan. Since the tomatoes I’d bought on Saturday were growing soft spots and attracting fruitflies, I baked bread and we ate Friday’s BLTs on homemade bread, which were delicious. Rob made a sandwich using leftover chicken salad, bacon, lettuce and tomato, and that looked pretty good, too.
We’re supposed be eating Pasta with Grilled Vegetables & Feta and Grilled Peaches. Two problems: the first is that when I went to buy peaches at the Farmer’s Market yesterday, they had none that were grown in this state. The more serious issue is that the Pasta recipe called for jarred Feta marinated in oil with herbs, and every store in the area has stopped carrying that product since I made this dish earlier in the summer. That leaves me with all of the veggies that were supposed to go into the dish, as well as the chicken breasts that we didn’t eat on Tuesday, but which need to be eaten soon. I am marinating them for the grill, and I will make rice and a vegetable curry using the unused vegetation and the same kind of curry sauce that I make for the Thai Beef Curry.
We will not be eating the planned BLTs, Baked Chips and Fruit because we ate them on Wednesday. Since Sam has been invited to have dinner and sleep at a friend’s house, I’m declaring this Cook’s Night Out, and Rob and I will eat out or get take-out.
This was originally Cook’s Night Off, but instead I will make split pea soup using the leftover brats from Monday’s picnic, and we’ll eat up the rest of the bread I made for Wednesday’s BLTs. This is a dish that really tastes just as good made in the crockpot, and that means dinner will be cooking all day while we run around and do our Saturday activities.
So you see, we ate only one dinner as planned, and that was only because it was at someone else’s house. Two meals were scratched completely, and two were invented of necessity.
Now for the week ahead: its a busy week, including two or three football practices (from 5:30-7:30), two Ice Cream Socials, and two dinners that must be fairly portable to be shared with my parents. Here’s what we’re eating on Forest Street this week:
Grilled Burgers in Buns, Grilled Corn on the Cob and Canteloupe
Pretty self-explanatory; we want to eat like this while its still warm enough to grill and the corn and melon are at their respective best.
Tortas, Fruit Salad with Lime Dressing
The Tortas are big, soft Mexica sandwiches with all kinds of interesting ingredients including shredded roast chicken, pickled jalapenos, homemade refried beans, cheese and avocado. How could this be bad?! I’m using a recipe from the September issue of “Gourmet,” which is all about Latin cuisine and has lots of really intriguing recipes.
Marinated, Grilled Pork Chops with Rosemary; Risotto and Fresh Tomato Slices with salt, olive oil and vinegar
Pork chops are on sale, tomatoes are fresh and plentiful, and I always have the makings of a risotto in the house.
Cheese Tortellini with Sauce, Homemade Ciabatta and Green Salad
The bread will be made ahead and the salad pre-assembled so that we can run home after the 6-7 Ice Cream Social and get dinner on the table fast.
Pork and Peanut Kabobs, Basmati or Jasmine Rice
Boneless pork chops are also on sale, and this is another dinner that can be assembled earlier in the day, then I can make the rice while the kabobs grill.
Herb-Rubbed Top Sirloin Steak with Pepperonata, Penne with Butter and Cheese
Top Sirloin is incredibly cheap this week, and I’m anxious to try this Italian preparation including Pepperonata, a cooked mixture of veggies including peppers, onions and capers. Sam will probably skip the Pepperonata and eat steak and pasta, but that’s really fine with me.
Cook’s Night Out