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.

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Monday Menu and Recipe Review

June is the new Rainy Season, it seems. Our backyard is so marshy that we can’t mow it, which of course only makes it marshier. A pair of ducks visits regularly. We ate all of our radishes and I’m going to have to pull on my wellies to wade out and plant some more, along with the mint and lemon balm I bought at the local garden club plant sale on Saturday.

Although it’s too cold for the pool, I did blend up a batch of strawberry watermelon ice pops this morning. The watermelon was so sweet, I skipped the sugar. Tomorrow I have big plans to take the kids for free lunch at Ikea, where I might pick up another popsicle mold. Miss Seven and Little Five have tired of smoothies, but are happy to slurp them down in ice pop form. It’s a good start to the day if I can say, “Popsicles for breakfast!”

This week I also tried my hand at homemade yogurt. I always thought making yogurt would be a little fussy, but boy, was I wrong. Last night I heated the milk while making dinner, and then left the jar–swaddled in a dish towel and stuffed into a tea cozy–to ferment overnight in the oven, which held some residual warmth from when I had roasted some beets. I’m going to get Mr. Ten to make the next batch–he ought to enjoy monitoring the candy thermometer. I used organic whole milk, and the resulting yogurt is creamy and gorgeous. I want to drizzle it on everything. Even Miss Seven liked it with her granola, and she usually turns up her nose at plain yogurt.

This week

Monday: Salad Nicoise

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

Wednesday: Waldorf Chicken wraps, fruit salad

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

Friday: Italian Turkey Meatball Soup (from Jen)

Last week

Tuesday: Ceylonese Cashew Coconut Chicken, basmati rice (doubled to swap with Jen)

This chicken was delicious, but needed to be spicier (though the kids liked it as is). I’m looking forward to making it again and adjusting the heat.

Wednesday: Tomato Soup, grilled cheese (with roasted garlic Amish cheese from Shipshewana, Indiana), green salad (from the garden)

Miles better than canned soup and American cheese on white bread, and it doesn’t take much longer too make. I used a loaf of crusty whole wheat bread for the sandwiches.

Thursday: Spontaneous night out at Wok’n Fire to celebrate some excellent report cards. Sushi, pad thai, basil beef, wrinkled green beans. Happy eaters all around.

Friday: Chicken Basil Sausage, Kale and Caramelized Onion Lasagna (from Jen)

I especially liked the caramelized onions in this lasagna, and Jen substituted a white sauce for the ricotta, which made it lush and creamy. The kids picked out most of the kale, but were otherwise much more polite because they knew Jen made dinner!

Saturday: Ramp Pizza and Meatball Pizza

For the first time, I tried some ready-made pizza dough because I got so busy I forgot to make the dough ahead of time. It was fine, but I missed the flavor of homemade dough that has aged a few days in the refrigerator. The ramps were excellent, though next time I’d add even more to the pizza. I found a small container of two meatballs plus their sauce in the freezer–just enough for topping a single pizza for the kids.

Sunday:  Wheat berry salad with roasted beets and feta, grilled Italian sausages, broccoli

I dressed the cooked wheat berries with red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, and stirred in a big pile of chopped scallions–it’s my new favorite way to eat grains, warm or cold.