Monday, 24 June 2013

Monday Meal Planning

This week is going to be crazy busy. We are leaving for our summer holiday (back to the US for three weeks) on next Monday. I have to pack, which means going through everybody's clothes to see what we have and what is (still) needed, and making sure no one wears anything they want to bring after Thursday because Friday is the last laundry day before we go. I have to clean the house from top to bottom, not only because we are giving Larry's mum keys to the flat so she can keep an eye on it while we are gone and I don't want her thinking she needs to do anything, but also because we have a terrible damp/mould problem in our bathroom and the contractor is supposed to come sort it out while we are gone. We arranged it for then so it won't matter if they have to tear the bathroom apart and it is unusable for any amount of time. 

It's meal planning Monday and the meals this week are planned to use up what I have on hand as well as keeping leftovers to a minimum. So, tonight we are having grilled lamb chops that I marinated in some of my home made salad dressing. As a side, I am going to make a baked mashed potato casserole to use up some potatoes and bacon I have in the fridge. Basically it's twice baked potatoes, but in a dish. Just make some mashed potatoes, using your favourite recipe, add some cooked, crumbled bacon, sour cream, and some grated sharp cheddar cheese, spread into a greased baking dish and then top with some more grated cheese, bake until hot all the way through. You can add chopped green onion or anything else you want. We will have a green salad with this to use up the rest of the dressing. 

Tuesday is fish day and I have some tuna steaks in the freezer.  I am going make a spicy grilled tuna and serve it with spinach and fried potatoes, made using some boiled potatoes I have left over from making the baked potato salad last week. I have some strawberries (400 grams) I got on sale so I am going to slice them up and add some balsamic vinegar (@ 1/4 cup or 60 ml) mixed with honey (@  1.5 tablespoons) and a grinding of fresh black pepper. You can serve this with good vanilla ice cream or plain Greek yoghurt, it is delicious. I know it sounds weird but be brave and try it.

Wednesday I am making home made bagel dogs. I am going to make a few changes by skipping the seeds on the outside and putting a slice of smoked Bavarian cheese on top of the hot dog before I wrap it up in the bagel dough. We will have these with oven fries and sautéed green beans. 

Bagel dogs, recipe and photo courtesy of
Circle B Kitchen
Thursday we are having egg and chorizo wraps.  To make them I fry up some sliced chorizo sausage and diced onions add beaten eggs, 2 per person, and cook until the eggs are cooked through. Serve on tortillas/wraps with grated cheddar cheese and salsa. I am going to serve carrot sticks with these.

Friday will be whatever is left in the fridge/freezer.  Larry's mum is coming by to pick up keys and spend time with us before we go so I will try to make something nice but it will just be using up bits of this and that, most certainly involving eggs. I'll keep you posted on what it turns out to be.  

The weekend is going to be meals out because we won't be home at all. It is the nineteenth annual Dundee Blues Bonanza. It's three days of fabulous music with musicians coming from all over the world and not to be missed (by us anyway). Larry and I went last year and we had a great time. We hope to see some of the same acts as last year and maybe find some new ones to add to our list of favourites. Part of the fun is in seeing various friends every where we go. Last time there were people we knew at each of the venues and I would expect it to be the same this time. Last year we had to cut our Sunday fun short because Larry had to work on the Monday. This year we can dance into the wee hours because, while we do have to be up early for our ride to the airport, we can sleep all day on the plane if we need/want to. My plan is to have everything packed and ready to go except for the last minute things, like toiletries and meds, by Friday night so the weekend is free for fun. Wish me luck! 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Where's the baby?

Look at those eyes!

Sixteen years ago today I gave birth to my youngest child. I can't believe how fast the time has gone! Being the youngest of a large group of (mostly) doting siblings, Connor was very spoiled. Despite the dire warnings and predictions of many, he has grown out of this and become a caring, sensitive and thoughtful young man. I am so proud of him. He has the best sense of humour and really enjoys a dry wit.  He has made me laugh so much, the best part is when he is making a joke but trying not to laugh himself, he cracks us both up.  He gets such a goofy grin on his face when he does that.

The Cheeto King
Connor would do anything for a Cheeto or two.

The (American) Football picture was taken in 2010 and the final picture was taken last November.  Quite a change . . .

As mentioned in my last post, the birthday person gets to pick the menu for the day. Connor has chosen spicy chicken wings, baked potato salad and brownies. I am throwing in some salad (his choice) just to make the meal a bit healthier. As promised, here is the brownie recipe. These are thick and fudgey, not cakey, and are really yummy.

Fudge Brownies

Preheat oven to 350f or 175c
lightly butter an 8x8 or 9x9 tin

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup golden castor sugar (or regular white sugar is fine too)
1/4 cup (2 ounces) butter, melted, or oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose (plain) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl, stir together, cocoa powder, sugar and butter/oil. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla. In a small bowl sift together the remaining ingredients. Add to the bowl of liquids, stirring just until mixed in, do not over mix! Spread in prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted near the centre comes out with just a bit of crumb and not wet. You can add chocolate chips or whatever you want to the batter, and/or top these with frosting or powdered sugar after baking, but Connor prefers them unadulterated, with a side of ice cream, and since it is his birthday, he wins. Also, this recipe is easily doubled and baked in a 9x13 baking dish, adding a few minutes to the baking time. 

Monday, 17 June 2013

This week's menu.

It's meal planning Monday so here is this week's menu. We are getting ready to go away for three weeks in July so I am trying to use up what we have in the house so the fridge will be as empty as possible.  I'm also giving up on most desserts between now and then.  I have lost enough weight (finally all the holiday weight has come off) that my dress for the wedding fits and I don't want to sabotage that with extra baking.  

Monday we are having chicken enchiladas made using leftover chicken from our roast chicken last Thursday. I will slice up some bananas and mix them with cinnamon for a side dish.  

Tuesday, Cameron is bringing his girlfriend, Magda, over for tea. We always have fish on a Tuesday so I am making Basa Fish Cakes to serve with salad and boiled red potatoes. The original recipe for this came from Curtis Stone and Cole's.

Wednesday is Connor's 16th birthday. The birthday person always gets to pick the menu on their day so we are having spicy chicken wings, Rachel Ray's Loaded Baked Potato Salad and green beans. This is the only potato salad that Connor will eat and we owe our love for this recipe to my Mom. I cut the recipe in half because the original makes enough for a small crowd.  This is not a low calorie recipe but it certainly is a treat!  We will be having brownies, per Connor's request, for dessert. I'll give you the recipe for them on Wednesday.

Thursday the boys are eating at their Dad's so Larry and I will just have a nice big Greek salad. I make my own dressing and you can find the recipe here. I use a combination of whatever vinegars I have on hand so don't be worried if you don't have exactly what I used in the original recipe. This most recent batch has apple cider vinegar and balsamic.  I also used some oil, and added some cheese, from a jar of seasoned feta cheese cubes instead of the usual olive oil. To make the salad I just put a big serving of mixed greens in a bowl and top with whatever vegetables/pickled vegetables I have on hand.  This time it will be tomato, red onion, green and black olives, pickled hot peppers, shredded cheddar and parmesan cheeses and croutons. Simple but delicious.

Friday will be the usual baked beans on toast. I know, we eat it every week but we never tire of it. 
I've not planned anything for the weekend yet because it depends on what we have for leftovers.  

Monday, 10 June 2013

Menu Monday

It's Menu Planning Monday again. Seems like we just did this last week . . . oh wait . . . we did . . .

We are having a pretty easy week, meal wise. Today we had croissants with ham and cheese omelettes on them. We had sliced apples and grapes as a side. Tuesday is fish night and we will be having fish cakes with mushy peas and chips. Wednesday we are having spaghetti and Italian meatballs that I had in the freezer with some garlic toast and salad. Thursday will be roast chicken with roasted balsamic sweet potatoes and a green salad. I plan to add some chunks of onion and carrot to the sweet potato recipe. Friday will be beans on toast. Sunday is Father's Day so my boys will be having dinner with their Dad which means Larry and I will just have leftovers.

Roasted Balsamic Sweet Potatoes
photo and recipe courtesy of
Rufus' Food and Spirit Guide

Monday, 3 June 2013

Menu Planning Monday

It's menu planning Monday again. I love to try new recipes and this week has two new recipes and three tried and true favourites.

Toad in the Hole (recipe found here, at the bottom of this previous post). Requested by Larry, who rarely asks for anything specific, so it is my great pleasure when he does mention a favourite meal. Today I will be using Cumberland sausages and serving it with a green salad on the side.  

Toad in the Hole
Scottish Smoked Haddock Supper- The first of our new recipes, made with smoked haddock poached in milk, served on whole grain toast with a rarebit sauce. We'll have some spinach on the side.

Guinness Burgers- I have made these once before and they were a huge hit. I use  lean steak mince and will be using smoked Gouda for the cheese this time. We will have chips (oven fries) and a green salad with these.

Spanish Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes- another new recipe for us.  I plan to make half this recipe because it makes two pans. Since my chorizo is cured I will add it half way through the cooking time and I am going to put in some cherry tomatoes and green beans as well. I will be using lemon zest instead of orange because no one, except me, really eats oranges here but I always have lemons on hand. (Connor's idea of eating oranges is to suck the juice out and leave the rest.) This is a whole meal in one pan so I will just serve it with some nice French bread to soak up all the juices.

"Gourmet" Baked Beans on Toast (recipe found here) An oldie but a goodie and one of mine and Larry's favourite quick meals.

Date night

We will be having a takeaway tonight because Larry and I are going to the Perth Races with a crowd of people from our local. We went last year and had a great time and expect it to be even more fun this year. Last year it was rainy and cold and this year it looks like it will be a beautiful sunny day. All of the girls get together and we each bring something(s) to share and we end up with a very nice picnic lunch. I am bringing dessert. I haven't decided all what I am making but I know peanut butter cookies will be one of the things.

photo and recipe courtesy of