I’m not always organized enough to have a week’s worth of menus planned out in advance, but after going through my recipes yesterday, I came across so many that I wanted to try (or try AGAIN), that I’ve had to put them down on a schedule. If you want to play along at home, here’s what we’ll be up to this week (I’m not cooking tonight or tomorrow, because we have plans with other folks to eat out):
(the first night that Boy and Girl will be home from camp, so I wanted something fun and kid-friendly):
I will be trying out 2 different homemade taco seasoning versions and will let the family taste test to see which one is best. The winner will be blogged at a later date. We’ll have all the accompanying “fixins”: cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, cilantro, beans, etc. Maybe even guacamole, if I get inspired. We prefer soft tacos around here, but sometimes I’ll fry up some corn tortillas for make-your-own tostadas. Since I’ll be preparing 2 pounds of ground beef, I’ll freeze the leftovers for a silly taco “ring” that the kids saw in one of my old cookbooks recently and asked me to make. Refrigerated crescent roll dough? ….(shudder)… I was the one that had to ask them to help plan the menus, right?
Sausage and Peppers with Crispy Polenta
I’ll start out with this recipe from February’s Real Simple magazine, but I already know that I’m going to adapt it significantly, using some chicken sausage that I have in the freezer and probably making homemade polenta.
We’re even going to make our own dough, using a hybrid of this recipe from Family Fun magazine from a million years ago and a version from the April/May Fine Cooking magazine that I can’t link to for you, because Fine Cooking makes you pay for their website. Grrrr…. Actually, if anyone is pondering subscribing, I will begrudgingly admit that it’s worth it. If you subscribe to the magazine, the website only costs an additional $10 per year and has much more, additional content that is not in the magazine. The Grilled Tandoori-style Chicken thighs and Corn Saute with Ginger, Garlic and & Fresh Cilantro recipes ALONE are worth 10 bucks! Anyway, the dough can be made ahead of time and chilled until ready to use and I’ll have lots of different topping options so that everyone can make their own dough into whatever configuration they choose.
Creamy Chicken Curry in a Hurry, also from Family Fun magazine. Speaking of Family Fun – look at these cute cookies that they have on their main page – too cute and perfect for the 4th. Of course, they might stain your tongue blue…
Marinated London Broil from Cooking Light magazine. Not sure what I’ll serve with this, but I’ll try to keep it on the “light” side, because we’re already having more beef this week than we usually do. Also, my in-laws’ farm is open on Wednesdays, so I may truck on over there to pick up some fresh veggies to accompany this (and round out the rest of this week’s meals).
Pork Loin Roast.
Not sure which recipe I’m going to use, either Garlic-and-Spice-Rubbed Pork Loin Roast from January 2008 Food & Wine or Roasted Pork Loin with Maple-Mustard Crust from January 2008 Fine Cooking (which I can’t show you, of course….grrrr), but I know, for sure, that I will freeze the leftovers to use to make Cubano sandwiches at another time. There is a great recipe for them in the May 2008 Food & Wine (can’t find the link – may not be on their website yet), but there’s also another great one over at, you guessed it, Fine Cooking. I SWEAR they’re not paying me…it is a great site, though.
Not sure exactly what Friday will hold for us – our families tend to announce get-togethers at the last moment, so we don’t have extended family plans yet. If the day finds us at home, just with our immediate family, we will certainly be grilling burgers and/or dogs. We used to have a MAMMOTH (seriously – with rented tents, tables and commercial grills and 150 – 200 people) party every year on the 4th when we lived in the Washington D.C. area (you could see our city’s fireworks display from our back yard), but have adjusted nicely to a more toned-down, quiet patriotic celebration. I do have an easy and phenomenal potato salad recipe, though – start with deli potato salad (when we lived in Virginia, I would buy it at Red, Hot and Blue) and add prepared pesto, toasted pine nuts and chopped fresh red bell pepper. Too delicious for words. It was an absolute MUST at our party. Anyway, Friday is relatively unscripted – maybe some star-shaped cookies?
Now for the disclaimers…plans subject to change. I am frequently guilty of planning a week’s worth of menus and then finding that we’re inundated with leftovers and I’ll decide not to cook on one or two nights. Or something, like maybe a car wreck, will get in my way and we’ll end up getting take out on a night when I had planned to cook. So, if I don’t end up blogging every single one of these meals next week – don’t hold it against me!
So, have fun with “Feed Your Kids”, the home game…