Monday Menu & Recipe Review

Thanks to all your helpful comments, I’m going to try reviewing last week’s menu in addition to planning this week’s. If you haven’t already noticed it, you can often click on the recipe title and it will take you to the recipe if it’s available somewhere online.

Last week…

Monday: Polenta with Fried Eggs and Swiss Chard

I love this recipe and will be making it again–for breakfast or dinner! I ran out of cornmeal (polenta), so I used quick grits instead, which worked out just fine. The kids weren’t huge fans of the chard, but they each tried some. You can use any greens you have–I think they really make the meal.

Tuesday: Pasta pesto

This pesto was a “use up the odds and ends” version, so it had artichoke hearts, arugula, garlic, olive oil and lemon. Whenever you have pesto, make sure you reserve some of the pasta cooking water to mix in at the end. This is a staple in our meal rotation–we all love it and it’s incredibly fast.

Wednesday: Turkey burgers, homemade macaroni & cheese

There’s a really great but complicated Cooks’ Illustrated recipe for turkey burgers. These weren’t it, but they were fine. I always mix the ground turkey with a beaten egg, some bread crumbs, and random seasoning–garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire or soy sauce. I made a big pot of mac and cheese over the weekend and this was its second appearance.

Thursday: Pizza Margherita

I followed the recipe in the link for the pizza toppings, and I was underwhelmed. While I love the idea of an uncooked pizza sauce (just puree a can of tomatoes, add olive oil and salt), I found it pretty bland on the pizza and a little watery (I could have drained the tomatoes more). I used Jim Lahey’s pizza crust recipe, but forgot to heat the pizza stone, so I didn’t get a good crispy bottom crust. I still love this pizza dough, and I have two more balls of dough in the freezer for next time.

Friday: Crab & Shrimp Cakes, remoulade sauce, salad

We love these crab cakes, but I’ll admit that they’re a little fussy for a weeknight if you don’t prep them ahead of time. I made the sauce early in the day–10 minutes–and could have assembled and breaded the crab cakes, too, but didn’t. They don’t take long to fry. I’m going to share the recipe later in the week, despite the fact that I forgot to take any pictures. I just used canned crab (not the fancy kind) and frozen, precooked shrimp, but they were still wonderful. It’s a great recipe to get kids to start eating seafood.

Saturday: Korean short ribs, rice, Asian-style slaw

This is the second time I’ve made these ribs, but they weren’t quite as juicy as the first time. Maybe the boneless ribs were too lean? Maybe I had too many in the pot (I doubled the recipe)? Still, they were quite good and the sauce is delicious. The slaw was great, and I’m becoming a big fan of cabbage!


This week…

When I plan meals for the week, I look at the calendar first. Days with busy afternoons and evenings get assigned the easiest, quickest meals. Then I usually look at what’s already in the fridge or freezer that needs to be used up. We like to rotate things pretty quickly. This week, I already have a chicken and some shrimp in the freezer, so I won’t have to buy any meat. After that, I usually try at least one new recipe (sometimes more, especially if the Hub is planning the menu). Today the creamy turnip soup caught my eye. The kids are pretty good soup eaters, and this looks like a good candidate for trying a new vegetable. There’s bacon in the soup, and there’s a special drink on the menu to further excite them. And extra soup makes good lunches!

Monday: School Fundraiser

Tuesday: Leftover Korean short ribs–maybe shredded, mixed with sauce, and served in tacos

Wednesday: Creamy Spring Turnip Soup, mint limeade, bread

Thursday: Roast chicken, roasted vegetables

Friday: Shrimp Scampi with angel hair pasta


I’d love it if you shared one successful meal you made last week!


Corned beef and cabbage

Until a couple of years ago, I had never tried corned beef, and sort of assumed I wouldn’t like it. But one St. Patrick’s Day, my husband requested it, so I gave it a try. Turns out, I do like it, and it’s not difficult to make. The kids aren’t really fans (they’ll eat three bites and then fill up on soda bread), so this year I bought a very small piece of corned beef. There should still be enough leftovers for a couple sandwiches or maybe some corned beef hash for Sunday brunch.

I didn’t reinvent anything here, but this is the recipe I’ve used and and enjoyed. I always use the slow cooker, though, for eight hours on low. And this year we’re going to roast the cabbage to go alongside. We like roasted anything better than the steamed version.

What to do with all that extra cabbage? If I cooked the whole head, we’d run out of corned beef long before we finish the cabbage. Melissa Clark gave three great recipe suggestions in her latest New York Times column. I may try all three (I bet the kids will even eat the pasta), and save a little cabbage to go with fish tacos next week. We love our fish tacos!

By the way, I thought I’d share my favorite cookbook of the moment: Melissa Clark’s Cook This Now:120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can’t Wait to MakeAlmost every recipe is simple enough for a busy weeknight, but both comforting and full of interesting flavors at the same time. Between our collection of 20-some years’ worth of cooking magazines, several shelves groaning under the weight of cookbooks, and millions of recipes on the Internet, I’m now very selective before buying a new cookbook. I like to try before I buy, so I checked this one out of the library. After making half a dozen dishes (carefully avoiding splatters on the library book), and many more I wanted to try, I plunked down the Amazon gift card I’d been hoarding and bought my own copy. This book would also make a wonderful wedding or housewarming gift for any cook, novice or experienced.

Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Green beer, anyone?