I made a menu on Sunday, but there is this small thing going on in baseball, perhaps you heard of it? My hometown team is in the World Series! Two tense and disappointing games the past two nights have made for very limited writing time, and now the Cards are behind in the series, but they are coming back to win it all at home. (Why yes, I may be engaging in a bit of magical thinking, sue me, ;).)
I am posting my menu starting on Sunday, even though half of it has already been made and eaten. While I definitely like the planning ahead aspect of menu planning, one of the big reasons I blog my menus rather than just writing them down on scraps of paper that are quickly lost is for inspiration on those days when I can’t think of anything to cook. “Man,” I say to myself, “I only ever make totally boring food.” So not true, but when I am in that kind of mood, I only remember the salmon noodles casseroles and frozen burgers and fries that I make when I am short on time and energy. I definitely don’t want to eliminate those kinds of meals, because they keep us out of expensive restaurants and allow me to save my energy for other, more interesting meals. I would not be happy, though, with a week full of meals like that.
One of my big goals for this week was to find a recipe to use some of the delicious lemongrass I have growing in my herb garden. I was so excited to get this planted, but I have never really used fresh lemon grass, so I knew I would have to find some new recipes. This one was totally a hit, even though I had to use powdered ginger because I forgot to buy fresh. I can only imagine it would be better with the fresh ginger, but it was still amazingly good. I was at a friend’s house, and when I took the first bite, I paused and said, “Excuse me, I am having a personal moment here.”
I also have to call out the beautiful purple martiniswe drank while the chicken marinated. I am so glad I bought some creme de violette! Delicious and pretty, but pretty potent. We were feeling a little silly by the time the food was done, but we had such a good time! I made these up before I started chopping and stuck them in the freezer, then took them out to enjoy when I was done using the sharp knife.
Monday: Pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, roasted butternut squash
I got a tub of pulled pork at Costco this weekend, so you would think this was a quick and easy meal, since they did the 10+ hours of smoking the meat and then shredding it, but I decided to get all fancy and make two kinds of BBQ sauce, plus my own cole slaw dressing and roast some butternut squash. It was still easy, actually, just time consuming. I cut the squash into small pieces and threw them in a bowl to toss with some olive oil and cinnamon, then roasted in a 425 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes. I used this slaw dressing recipe, and this mustard BBQ sauce recipe, which were both amazing. For the traditional BBQ sauce, I mixed 1 cup ketchup with four TBSP each brown sugar, white vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and simmered for about 10 minutes. I put everything out on the table and let people make their own sandwiches, because I knew they would all be different. My daughter did plain pork on a bun, my son used the tomato BBQ sauce, my mom used both sauces, one on each half of her sandwich, and I did mustard sauce with the slaw piled right on the sandwich. So good!
Tuesday: Chicken tamales, avocado, fresh salsa
I finally have some tomatoes coming out of my garden! Of course, since I lost most of my tomatoes earlier this year to squirrels, and I don’t buy fresh tomatoes from the store anymore, I am out of the habit of using them, so I don’t know what to do with them anymore! Fresh salsa is easy, though, and went perfectly with the pre-made tamales I got from Costco. I like to have something easy when the kids are at their dad’s. I just don’t usually have a lot of cooking motivation for just me.
Wednesday: Taco night
This was going to be salmon noodle casserole, which was on the menu last week, but did not get made. I have a friend whose son is one my son’s best friends, and we usually get together on Wednesday nights for dinner, but last week she had strep throat and the flu. I know how hard it is to be the mom when you are sick–who takes care of mommy?–so I scrapped the plan and made chicken noodle soup instead and brought some over to her. I was going to move last weeks plan to this week, but then my friend and my daughter independently suggested tacos for this week, so that is what we are doing. I even have leftover fresh salsa. I’ll make the taco meat and beans, and bring along my salsa and the half of an avocado I still have left from dinner tonight, and my friend will provide shells, shredded cabbage and other fixings.
Thursday: sausage and tomato risotto
Boy, was I running out of energy for menu planning at this point. My handwritten plan only says “some kind of risotto.” I know we had this risotto last week, but I have extra sausage in the fridge that needs to be used, and we all love this, so we are doing it again. I can even chop up a few more fresh tomatoes for this, so they won’t go to waste.
Friday: Pizza, baby carrots, leftovers
The kids love pizza night, especially when it is Friday, ;).