Well, I’ve been posting menu plans for 4 months now. I’m not sure its helping anyone but me, but I choose to maintain the illusion that there are people out there who are close to leaping from the bridge of family cooking, only to discover this blog, breathe a sigh of relief, perhaps say “I want to live again!” and plunge back into the fray with renewed vigor and creativity. I realize that I am all over the place – exotic and complicated recipes, homey comfort food, reduced calorie recipes from “Cooking Light,” re-purposed leftovers, but things move fast around here. Moods change, seasons change, schedules change, cookbooks arrive, waistbands tighten, requests for favorites are made…isn’t that kind of how everybody lives?
Anyway, this week I am cooking fairly “light”-ly, still working around three football practices a week, and preparing two meals that can be shared with my parents. As is ever the case, I have planned no more than two red meat meals, and at least one vegetarian meal, relying heavily on what is on sale at the grocery store. I live in a place where there is no Whole Foods, Wild Oats or Trader Joe’s, and this is the final weekend for our local Farmers’ Market, so I have learned to be grateful for the little advances, like the fact that Meijer’s Thrifty Acres has deigned to stock broccoli rabe for the first time ever this fall….
Here’s what we’re eating on Forest Street this week:
Chili-Cheese Sloppy Joes and Fruit Salad
The Sloppy Joe recipe actually comes from “Bon Appetit,” and seems to be gloopy and cheesy enough to satisfy the boys, while being interesting enough to please me. We’ll be at a college football game most of the day, so I need to make something quick and easy when we get home, and maybe’ something a little tailgate-y. Fruit Salad will probably be spinach with pears, toasted nuts and a some scallions. I’d love to add some cheese, but I really think we’ll be sufficiently arterially challenged by the main course.
Pork Chops, Baked Squash and Egg Noodles
This was actually a meal planned for last week, but we ended up eating out one night and ended up with an uneaten meal. The chops are in the freezer, and squash keeps for a while, so I’ll just defrost, marinate, and saute the chops and bake the squash cut in half with some butter and brown sugar.
Chicken Cutlets Breaded with Panko and Peanuts, Peanut Sauce,Rice Noodles and Broccoli Rabe
I’m playing with several ideas here, and this dinner could end up somewhat different depending on mood, weather, and fit of pants. The idea for breading cutlets of any poultry or pork with Panko and chopped nuts came from “Cooking Light,” and sounded good to me. It sounded like it might go nicely with my standard peanut sauce and noodles, but I may decide that the sauce is overkill and just serve the coated cutlets with noodles and broccoli. Or, I may jettison the breading, cut up the chicken, broccoli and some onions and make a stir fry with the peanut sauce and chopped peanuts sprinkled over the top…We’ll see.
Melissa’s Peanut Sauce
1. 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (smooth works too; its just a thinner sauce)
2. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
3. 1 teaspoon white sugar
4. 2 drops hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco or Frank’s)
5. 1 clove garlic, minced
6. 1 inch (app.) fresh ginger, peeled and minced
7. 1/2 cup water
Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Swiss Baked Potatoes and Chunky Applesauce
Tuesday is the first day that it might possible feel like fall – it is in the 80s here, and expected to reach near 90 on Saturday. This set of recipes from the most recent issue of “Cooking Light” seemed like a good fall-ish dinner, makes good use of sale-priced pork and abundant apples, and makes a quantity that will let me share with my folks.
Brunswick Stew in Bread Bowls
Sam is in love with bread bowls, his standard choice at Panera. My father adores Brunswick Stew, and probably hasn’t had it for years. When I saw both the bread bowl instructions and the Brunswick Stew recipe in “Cooking Light,” I saw a cosmic convergence that directed me to make this meal and please two of the three most important men in my life. (Rob may not love it because the stew has lima beans in it, but I’m hoping he’ll be so swept away by the novelty of the bread bowl that he won’t be too bothered about the beans). Because I am either a very bad or a very good mother, I will buy a can of broccoli cheddar soup and put that in Sam’s bread bowl, because I’m not sure what he’ll make of the stew, and because he loves broccoli cheddar soup.
Penne with Cauliflower and Leeks and Greens
This is our vegetarian meal, and it comes from the recent all-Italian issue of “Food & Wine.” While penne, cauliflower and leeks initially sounded very, well, white to me, I was reassured by the inclusion of a hot red pepper in the recipe. I am hoping the dish will be subtle, earthy and satisfying with enough of a kick to make it interesting.
Cook’s Night Out