Monday Menu and Recipe Review

Thankfully, yesterday’s storms passed over us without any damage to speak of–just some chairs and garbage bins toppled over. For a time, I worried that the heavy wind and rain would prevent some of the musicians and audience from making it to our concert, but things had settled down by show time and there was a good crowd in the church. Today I’m determined not to get sidelined by post-performance depression (it’s totally a thing, at least according to Google), so I’m catching up on the laundry and trying to get myself organized for the week. I even started my Christmas shopping (online, naturally)!

This week


Last week

  • Sausage, Potato and Apple Bake (a classic busy-night, no-mess meal)
  • Fish sticksAsian Winter Slaw (swap with Jen). The fish sticks were fabulous, but I’ve had better slaw. 
  • Spaghetti with cherry tomatoes (quick pan sauce), salad. A great way to use up cherry or grape tomatoes. While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil and several cloves of sliced garlic for a couple minutes, then add halved tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook gently until the tomatoes wrinkle and start to burst. Stir in some chopped fresh basil or parsley. Toss hot, drained pasta with the tomato mixture, adding more olive oil if necessary. Pass the Parmesan.
  • Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes. I didn’t really follow a single recipe. I used lean ground beef (break it up really well at some point during the cooking), onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, a chopped roasted red pepper, a little brown sugar, a few squirts of mustard and ketchup, a bit of cider vinegar, oregano, chili powder. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve on toasted buns with cheese.
  • Cincinnati Skyline Chili (from Jen). I’d never tried this version of chili before, but now I’m a fan! The kids loved it, too.

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!

Monday Menu: Thanksgiving Week

So sorry I’m late with the week’s menu. Instead of blogging, I was busy getting my Smitten Kitchen cookbook signed by Deb Perelman herself. There were even salted brown butter crispy treats to sample. It was a pleasure meeting Deb–however briefly–and I would have liked to invite her over for dinner. (Preferably one of those “let’s all cook together” dinners.) I’m just warning you now: you’ll be seeing a lot of recipes from this book. I suggest you go get one right away. It will just be easier for all of us.

But back to the menu. Though all our attention is on the big feast (we’re having two), we do have to eat the rest of the week. It’s not a week to try new recipes or shop for unusual ingredients. Pantry meals are where it’s at. The kids are home from school all week, and it’s time to put them to work making pies, peeling potatoes and cooking the cranberry sauce.

Monday: Hoisin burgers, Asian slaw, fruit salad

Tuesday: Spaghetti cacio e pepe, green salad

Wednesday: Homemade pizza

Thursday: Migas (brunch), Thanksgiving Dinner, Take 1

Friday: Turkey sandwiches, more pie

Saturday: Thanksgiving Dinner, Take 2

Monday Menu: the grilling edition

Summertime was made for grilling. Keep the heat out of the kitchen and outside where it belongs, right? I’ve been trying to grill as often as possible, so I decided to center this week’s menu around the grill. I like how quickly things cook and how few pots and pans there are left to wash!

It’s taken me a few years to gain confidence at the grill. I’m certainly no Grill Master yet, but I’ve learned a few tricks (if only where the hot spots are on our gas grill). I have two pieces of advice to anyone hesitant about their grilling skills. 1) Don’t walk away from the grill! It’s easy to get distracted by other kitchen tasks, and before you know it, your burgers are hockey pucks. 2) Get a grill basket! Now you can cook all sorts of things (especially vegetables) alongside your meat.

Monday: Southwest turkey burgers (add crushed tortilla chips, salsa, cumin, etc. to ground turkey–serve with cheese, avocado slices and more salsa), corn on the cob (grill that, too!), green salad

Tuesday: Grilled salmon, Asian cabbage salad, grilled pineapple slices

Wednesday: Yogurt-marinated grilled chicken, grilled veggies (asparagus, fennel, onions, zucchini…toss with olive oil, salt & pepper and toss them in a grill basket)

Thursday: Take a break! Leftover cabbage salad with strips of leftover grilled chicken. Grill up some toast! (Or just bask in the A/C.)

Friday: Pizza on the grill (leftover grilled veggies make a wonderful pizza topping)


Last week on Home Baked

Cleaning carseats

Kids’ travel neck pillows

TGIF (Or, Happy Hour at Home)


What’s your favorite grilling standby?