Monday Menu…and your weekly link round up!

This week’s menu is brought to you by my Number One Husband, who enjoys dreaming up menus in his spare time. As I come from a family that sits down to one meal and ends up discussing what to make for the next meal, you can see why I keep him around. He also did all the grocery shopping on Sunday with Little Four in tow, made dinner, and put a big pot of vegetable broth on to simmer. I will probably cook most of these meals, but it’s a relief not to be responsible for the plan. With so much of my usual Monday routine already complete, I might find the time to dig into a good project this week! (There’s always trim to paint…)

Sunday: Tuscan chicken with grilled fennel and onions, grilled potato wedges, brownies

Monday: Pad Thai

Tuesday: Picnic Supper–Big Sandwich, deviled eggs, watermelon

Wednesday: Quesadillas with leftover chicken, guacamole, salsa, refried beans and rice

Thursday: Grilled salmon, broccoli, rice

Friday: Homemade pizza (toppings: shaved asparagus, leftover roasted fennel/onion/tomato)

 

Last week on Home Baked

In case you missed them, here’s a round up of Home Baked posts from the last couple of weeks:

Recipes: 

Applesauce Bran Muffins

Stone Fruit Pie with Streusel

Projects:

Moving the dishes to kid-height

PVC Bike Rack

 

Which do like better, planning a meal or cooking it?

Microwaving from scratch

I love my microwave. I know, it’s not a necessity in the kitchen–most everything you can make in the microwave can also be made on the stove or in the oven, often with better results. And I promise, I’m not living on Lean Cuisine and microwave popcorn. But the microwave can be a great tool when you’re cooking from scratch. You don’t need those packets of instant oatmeal–you can cook a bowl of old fashioned oats in under two minutes in the microwave. Steamed veggies? Add couple tablespoons of water to the vegetables in a covered microwave- safe dish (your mom’s old Corningware is perfect!), cook, drain and serve with a drizzle of something (vinaigrette, soy sauce, a pat of butter) and a dash of salt and pepper. Our microwave even has settings for “fresh vegetables” and “frozen vegetables,” and they work perfectly 90% of the time. (The other 10% usually just need a couple more minutes of cooking.)

And have you seen those microwave cakes in a cup making the rounds on Pinterest? We tried the microwave brownies (after the kids were tucked in, naturally, or I would have baked an entire pan of brownies), and I keep eyeing this little microwave coffee cake. I’m curious about microwave potato chips, but I don’t crave potato chips often enough to justify the effort.

My favorite microwave tip? Use it to dry fresh herbs! I have not tried it myself, not having grown many fresh herbs lately, but when I saw these instructions, I passed them on to my best gardening friend. She tested it and shared the results with me in the form of a beautiful jar of bright green dried parsley. So if I successfully grow any herbs from all the starts she has given me this year, I’ll be preserving my harvest in the microwave!

Here are my top five reasons to love the microwave:

  1. Reheating leftovers (quickly and right on the plate–saves time and dishes!).
  2. Softening butter.
  3. Melting chocolate or butter (the secret to one-bowl brownies).
  4. Cooking fresh or frozen vegetables (right in the serving bowl).
  5. Defrosting.

 

How do you use your microwave?