I am feeling very tired and old. Not un-festive, just tired and old. It may have something to do with staying up (on a school night!) until 2:30 this morning watching “Say Anything,”but my hunch is that its a combination of Yuletide stress, cold weather and sleeping with a constantly undulating sea of dogs and cats. (Oh. And my husband).
But I digress. Its menu planning day once again, and this week brings my family both Christmas Eve and Christmas, as well as a need for somewhat simple meals to balance the parade of cookies, brunches with Steamship Round of Beef, and eggnogg. I have chicken breasts in the freezer from last week, and aside from that I will, as always, be looking for the seasonal (which is not much), the on sale and a reasonable balance of red meat and not-red-meat meals. Here’s what we’re eating on Forest Street this week:
Baked Potatoes with Broccoli Cheese Sauce and Bacon and Fresh Sliced Pineapple
All of the ingredients are on sale, its quick, warm, reasonably healthy (I’ll do cheese sauce with skim milk) except for the bacon.
Sweet and Spicy Cashew Chicken and Steamed Rice
This is a nice stir fry I haven’t made in ages. Its very flavorful and healthy. I used to serve it with frozen egg rolls in the Bad Old Days, but I think I may make sort of an Asian-esque slaw with cabbage, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and whatever else grabs me. I’ll let you know.
Pea Soup, Rolls, and a Fruit, Cheese and Nut Plate
Tis the night before Christmas, and I’m married to the head usher of a pretty big church (wait: if you are imagining me as Loretta Young in The Bishop’s Wife, stop right there. I’m not all that wholesome). That means that he has to “ush” both the early service for families and the late (but not really “midnight”) service. We attend the early service and come home with dinner guests, but Rob has to leave again fairly soon to get ready for the later service, which means he doesn’t have time for me to start a whole meal when we get home from 6:00 service. Nor would I have hungry guests sit around while I made dinner. Based on this overwrought scenario, I make split pea soup in the crockpot, and its ready to eat when we get home. I’ll have rolls rising and ready to cook for 10 minutes while folks get their coats off and place drink orders, and then we’ll be ready to eat. For dessert-ish, I’ll put out some Manchego, nuts and apples.
Christmas – I Contribute a Buche de Noel and Something Green
We’ll dine at my parents’ house, with a menu that includes a very excellent roast beef (my mom), twice baked potatoes (my sister in law), a green something (me), a dessert-to-be-named-later (my sister in law) and a Buche de Noel (me). I may take both a green salad and some green beans or broccoli for my “greens,” and I’ll post the Buche if I am not stark raving mad and covered in ganache and meringue by then.
Rigatoni with Red Pepper, Almonds and Bread Crumbs; Green Salad
A restrained, vegetarian pasta dish from Giada di Launrentiis that won’t take too much time away from playing with my toys.
Shepard’s Pie and Waldorf Salad
Simple, beloved, No brains. That’s the way ( uh-huh, uh-huh) I like it this week.
Wasabi-Crusted Chicken Breasts, Green Beans and Asian Pilaf
I found this in my recipe file, and it sounds intriguing. My only problem is that the suggested accompaniments are green beans (with which I am well familiar) and “Asian Pilaf.” If anyone knows what constitutes such a pilaf, and would like to share, I’m grateful. Maybe there was an accompanying recipe and I threw it out by mistake? Maybe all these years I’ve had Asia in the wrong part of the Eastern hemisphere?