Monday, July 27

Menu Week of July 27

I'm back to meal planning this week. My hubby has been super busy with work, so I've just been feeding myself most evenings with whatever I can find in the fridge. However, this week looks like we'll both be home in the evenings so here is my plan.

Monday: soy-marinated flank steak & grilled zucchini

Tuesday: oven-fried chicken breasts & steak fries

Wednesday: stir-fry using leftover steak & brown rice

Thursday: mac & cheese or leftovers

Friday: leftovers or pizza

I also discovered a great resource for meal planning ideas today. I'm sure we'll be trying some of the meals - or variations of them - soon!

Wednesday, July 15

Stocking Up

Tuesday I spent a good part of the morning in the kitchen stocking up on some essentials around here - chicken stock, cooked chicken breast, black beans and cupcakes. None of this really took much of my time - the beans were in the crock pot, while the chicken simmered on the stove over low heat and the cupcakes came from a box (cake mixes are so easy and taste so delicious!)

Split chicken breasts were on sale this week for $.77/lb. I probably should have stocked up, but I decided to just spend a couple dollars. However, with the addition of a couple carrots, celery & some onion, I ended up with two cups of cooked chicken and 12 cups of stock/broth.

I use this recipe from Everyday Food as a guide:

  • 4 1/2 to 5 pounds (about 6) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on (I only had 2.5lbs, so that's what I used)
  • 1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 carrots, quartered crosswise
  • 2 celery, quartered crosswise
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 6 sprigs parsley (I forgot to get fresh parsley, so I used dried)
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1. Combine all ingredients in a 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cover with water by 2 inches.
Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook chicken until no longer pink in center and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat (avoiding bone) registers 160 degrees. about 15 minutes.

2. Transfer chicken to a rimmed baking sheet; arrange in a single layer, and let cool. (I wanted my broth/stock to be a little more flavorful and I had the time so I left the veggies in and added some leftover chicken bones I had in the freezer as well as the bones from the breasts and allowed to simmer for a few hours.) With a slotted spoon, remove and discard vegetables.

3.Strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve lined with a damp paper towel. If broth is more than 8 cups (2 quarts), return to pan; reduce over medium-high heat until you have just 8 cups. (I would recommend letting it reduce a little, but as you can see, I ended up with 12 cups rather than 8.) Once cooled, refrigerate for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

4. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin and bones. Shred with forks (see above) or chop chicken, as desired. Makes 8 cups (2 pounds) poached chicken and 8 cups broth.

We're cooking more with beans these days and I've found it's so much cheaper to buy dried beans and cook them myself. I started with cooking them on the stove, but then discovered they can be cooked in a slow cooker.

Here is how I cook beans:

  • Rinse beans and pick over
  • Put in slow cooker and cover with about 2 inches of water
  • Turn on high for 4-6 hours. (If you will be gone all day you could set it to low for 8-10 hours.)
  • Check after about 4 hours, if beans are starting to get tender, season with salt & allow to cook until desired tenderness. If not yet tender, allow to cook longer before seasoning.
  • Transfer to freezer containers or bags and allow to cool before putting in the freezer.

Monday, July 6

Menu Week of July 6

I apologize for not posting lately. My only excuse is that I've been enjoying summer and trying not to bother too much with household chores.

Here is my menu plan for the week. I wasn't feeling inspired by the grocery ads, so I wasn't sure what we were going to eat. Then I looked to the freezer for some inspiration and found some smoked sausage. I think, with a couple items from the grocery store, I was able to build a menu off what I already have in the fridge and pantry.

Monday: Leftover pizza or sandwiches on fresh bread

Tuesday: Smoked sausage with Spanish rice

Wednesday: Pasta with peppers & sausage (in marinara sauce)

Thursday: Leftovers?

Friday: Calzones

What are you making this week for dinner? For more inspiration visit This Week for Dinner.