Monday Menu and Recipe Review

Despite the cloudy skies, today felt like the first real day of summer vacation. The younger kids suited up and had swim lessons in the morning, and we’re going to turn off the tv and head back to the pool for a couple more hours this afternoon.

If this week’s menu seems a little fancy, that’s just because it’s mostly based on ingredients left over from the fabulous spread the Hub put on for my birthday this weekend. I should have taken some pictures, but I was too busy trying new cocktails and tasting every appetizer multiple times–just for quality control, you understand. He even made an incredible Swedish Meringue Cake with Strawberries and Orange Filling that was possibly the best birthday cake I’ve ever had. Fruity, tender, creamy, not too sweet. I’d better start planning his birthday cake right now.

This week

Monday: Shrimp salad wraps, cabbage salad with ramen noodles and almonds

Tuesday: Belgian endive and ham gratin, rice, salad

Wednesday: Chicken Milanese, salad, carrots

Thursday: Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onion and Bacon Galette, salad (swap with Jen)

Friday: Turkey Kielbasa with Peppers and Onions, blue cheese coleslaw (from Jen), roasted Yukon Gold potatoes

Last week

Monday: Salad Nicoise, bread, fresh fruit

Otherwise known as Salad the Kids Will Eat. Fresh greens, green beans, boiled potatoes, sliced tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, olives, Italian canned tuna, all piled artfully on a platter, with dressing in a pitcher on the side. 

Tuesday: Thai-style ground pork, coconut rice, edamame

A quick weeknight meal that has become a favorite (I’ve used turkey, pork or beef). I double the sauce and skip the chilies in favor of a squirt of Sriracha. Coconut rice is just basmati rice cooked with a can of lite coconut milk in place of some of the water.

Wednesday: Waldorf Chicken wraps, fruit salad

We eat a lot of soft tacos, and I often use tortillas instead of bread in the kids’ lunches, but this time I used whole wheat flour tortillas, which were flavorful and sturdy enough for a filling of chicken salad and veggies (greens, beans and tomatoes left from Monday). Also a kid winner.

Thursday: Creamy Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Pasta (swap with Jen)

I made this sauce up as I went along–it’s an easy sauce packed with veggies. The kids ate theirs on cheese tortellini, and the adults had rigatoni. I’ll share the recipe later this week!

Friday: Italian Turkey Meatball Soup, cabbage salad (from Jen)

Delicious with a little grated Parmesan on top.

Monday Menu

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s Tuesday. But yesterday was a holiday and we treated it as one, puttering around the house. (Mostly, I tried not to leave the house so I could ignore the oppressive heat and humidity. Fall, I am ready for you.)

Though the big kids have been in school for more than a week, this week marks the beginning of most of their extracurricular activities. Three nights a week we have two activities, with dinner sandwiched in between. On those three nights I will have to make dinner ahead of time, because there’s just enough time to eat and run, but no time for prep. I won’t lie–I’m a little anxious. We’re a family that needs our down time. And we still need to squeeze homework into the equation.

Monday: We received a bounty of garden veggies from Aunt Karen, so we had BLTs for lunch, and Moosewood Country Style Moussaka for dinner (2 out of 3 kids were not thrilled, but we made them eat it anyway).

Tuesday: Chili and cornbread (make ahead and reheat between piano and karate)

Wednesday: Asian Cabbage Salad (more garden veggies to use), grilled chicken and potstickers

Thursday: Pan-fried pollack and fried green tomatoes with avocado mayonnaise, Cumin seed roasted cauliflower

Friday: Pasta pesto

I’m also hoping to make a streamlined version of this Pasta and Chicken Gratin (using extra grilled chicken) and freeze it for next week. And if we have any leftover chili, I plan to freeze it immediately and use it later (maybe there will be enough for chili dogs).

How do you manage dinner when there are multiple evening activities to juggle?

 

Monday Menu: Vacation at the cottage

We don’t have a cozy little lake cottage, but maybe you do? We have a couple weeks free in August if you need someone to make it look lived in…

But seriously, sometimes the most frugal (and relaxing) family summer vacation option is renting or borrowing a cottage, cabin or condo for a week. It’s not an all-inclusive resort, but it does have a kitchen. With a little planning ahead, you can have easy, budget-friendly meals and not break the bank by eating out every night. Here are my top five tips for an easy week of home cooked meals on vacation:

1. Make a menu. Keep it simple. What are your family’s favorite–but easy–meals? Make ingredients work double duty whenever possible.

2. Make a couple of freezer meals ahead of time and bring them your cooler. If you have the space, bring your slow cooker.

3. Find out whether there’s a grill at your destination. Burgers, hotdogs, brats…and s’mores for dessert!

4. Don’t forget to stock supplies for easy breakfasts and lunches: cereal, muffins, sandwiches, yogurt, fruit.

5. Do plan a meal out if you can!

Monday: Arrival day…something quick for dinner! Pasta with cheese and pepper, salad.

Tuesday: Marinate some chicken in the morning…grill it in the evening. Make sure there are leftovers. Asian Cabbage Salad (make the dressing at home and bring it in a jar), maybe some oven fries.

Wednesday: Crockpot pulled pork sandwiches (make ahead, freeze, and reheat in the crockpot while you’re at the beach).

Thursday: No work: Leftover Asian Cabbage Salad with grilled chicken strips. If that’s too healthy, open a bag of chips. Maybe take 10 minutes and make some Fruit Crumble.

Friday: Grill again! Steak, hotdogs, maybe some fish? Potato salad would be nice (bring small new potatoes that don’t need peeling, add a mustardy vinaigrette). S’mores!

Last week on Home Baked

Empty the basket!

Hummus

Monday Menu: The Grilling Edition

 

Do you like to cook when you’re on vacation?