Sunday, May 31, 2009

Meal Plans

Another new week... and a new month, too! I'm kind of hoping time slows down a bit this summer... but I know it won't. :) Anyway, I've got some catching up to do with posts from last week, but I'll do that later on when I have more time.

This week, I'll be making up a batch of the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day dough. We'll use it throughout the week for some easy-fix meals. I'm also going to try to empty out some more stuff from the freezers since it really won't be too much longer till we get our half of the 1/2 side of beef we're getting from my BIL's uncle. Not to mention, I want to make sure we have plenty of room in the freezers come harvest time in the garden.

Sunday ~ We're getting together with our friends, Kati and Ben, to have a BBQ in the afternoon... cream cheese pesto spread, grilled hamburgers, I think Katie is bringing a potato salad, chips, dutch apple pie from the freezer (its homemade by my friend's daughter's high school band members as a fundraiser)
Meatless Monday ~ mushroom ravioli from the freezer, roasted veggies, spinach salad with spinach from the garden
Tuesday ~ I have to work a little later (stay for a meeting), but I'm hoping we'll have time for calzones using the ABin5 dough filled with turkey pepperoni, home-canned banana peppers, home-canned mushrooms, spinach from the garden, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses
Wednesday ~ another possibly late night with a later meeting for me, so again, something easy... whole grain pancakes with blueberry syrup
Thursday ~ definitely will be a little later than normal... I'll be in Windsor all day for some meetings, then I have to go back to Lansing for a late afternoon meeting, so definitely need something easy... crockpot rotisserie chicken, roasted red potatoes, green beans from the freezer
Friday ~ The only Friday I have to work all summer... I'll be making chicken stock in the crockpot all day today. We'll have chicken pesto pizza using the ABin5 dough and some of the leftover rotisserie chicken for dinner... and I think we'll try grilling it on the grill!
Saturday ~ I'll be canning the chicken stock in the morning and hopefully getting a lot accomplished outside, so I'd like something easy. I think we'll have crockpot parmesan chicken, with green beans from the freezer.

I didn't get as much accomplished outside with all the rain we had this week. So I still have a lot to do this week... and there's more rain in the forecast. So we'll see how much I get done this morning. I'm going to work on planting a few more things in the veggie garden (corn, cucumbers, okra, peppers). Next weekend, I'll work on getting in a second round of green and yellow beans and zucchini. Hopefully it'll be warm enough for the melons and basil then, too. I didn't get all of my flowers (annuals) planted this past week like I'd hoped, so I'm hoping to do that tonight after Carson goes to bed. I'm also hoping to do the walks in the evenings when the weather allows.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Key West Chicken and "Fried" Plantains

Three years ago, yesterday, Kevin and I were married on the beach in Key West, Florida. It was one of the best days of our lives... a day long-awaited after 8 years (to the weekend) of dating. :) It was a wonderful wedding weekend for which almost 40 of our relatives and friends joined us. With the exception of just a few people, everyone loved Key West and there are many talks of taking a group trip back again in a couple of years. Kevin and I look forward to taking Carson and any future children we may have to visit, too - we'd love to invest in a vacation home on the island someday and would love to spend our winters there in retirement. Its a typical island town with a laid-back, relaxing atmosphere with some unique aspects (like the chickens running wild and the Garden of Eden) and there are tons of things to do and see. Anyway, in celebration of our wedding anniversary, I decided to make a Key West themed meal. I found a recipe for Key West Chicken on AllRecipes that sounded great and I tried my hand at making "fried" plantains using a recipe I found on RecipeZaar. Both were very easy to make. The chicken was delicious!! I think this will be a marinade that I frequently use this summer. The plantains were ok... not quite as tasty as truly fried plantains. We had this with rice and green beans. I totally forgot to take a picture, though. Instead, I'll post some of my favorite pics from our wedding. :)

Key West Chicken

3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

In a shallow container, blend soy sauce, honey, vegetable oil, lime juice, and garlic. Place chicken breast halves into the mixture, and turn to coat. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes. (I put mine together in the morning before leaving for work, so it marinated for about 12 hours)

Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate. Discard marinade, and grill chicken 6 to 8 minutes on each side, until juices run clear.

Almost Fried Plantains

1 ripe plantain, look for one with lots of brown spots
1/4-1/3 cup water
cooking spray

Peel plantain and slice 1/4 inch thick on a slight diagonal. This will give you oblong slices that are easy to handle while cooking.

Using medium-high heat, pre-heat a non stick skillet.

Place plantains in a single layer in the pan. Add water just until it covers the bottom half of the plantains. Reduce heat a small amount and cook 2 or 3 minutes until the water evaporates. Your plantains should begin to have a softer texture and more translucent quality. Lightly spray the tops of the plaintains with cooking spray and turn over. Cook an additional minute or so until you get a lovely, slightly crispy brown exterior on the plantains. Give the tops another quick spray of oil and turn over again. Cook the first side a minute or so until it too has browned a bit.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tomato Soup

Today ended up being a very busy, productive day. We made plans, last minute, to go over to Kevin's sister Julie's house for lunch and to visit Kevin's grandparents and aunt and uncle who decided to make the trip east. It was fun to see everyone and Carson had lots of fun playing with his cousins, Anna and Joel. This morning, I got up and went right outside to rip out some of the poison ivy I've found around the yard. I removed it from three of the spots - still have two spots to go, but they're much less trafficked areas, so they can wait a week or two. After that, I worked inside for a bit, doing some laundry and some cleaning. Then I headed back outside to get some time in the garden before we left for Julie's house. After we returned from Julie's, I headed right back out to the garden and got tons of veggies planted! I still have a few to go, but Kevin has to till me some more space first, so I'll finish up later this week. I also got all of my flower pots in front planted with my annuals, and got a third of the way down the front walk (I'm lining it with annuals like I did last year).

Some where in there, I also found time to try out a new recipe. I've been wanting to make a good tomato soup and when I found this recipe from Giada DeLaurentiis, I knew I had to try it. I was excited to see the cannellini beans in there. I figured they'd not only add some protein, but would act as a great thickening agent. They did, indeed. This was super easy to make, fairly quick, too. Definitely a keeper recipe! I added tortellini to this after getting the idea from my lunch in Grand Blanc a week or two ago... but I also figured it was the only way I'd get Kevin to eat tomato soup. He ate it with no complaints, though. We all really loved it. This made enough for dinner for the three of us tonight, plus lunches for all three of us tomorrow.

Hearty Tomato Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped (organic)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped (organic)
2 cloves garlic, chopped (organic)
1 15-ounce can cannellini (white) beans, drained and rinsed (organic)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (organic, fire-roasted)
3 cups chicken broth (water, plus organic BTB)
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, plus 1 teaspoon, minced (dried, organic)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup creme fraiche (left this out, its a topping for the soup)
Zest of one lemon (left this out, its for topping)

In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes. Add the beans, tomatoes, broth, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, covered.

Puree the soup in a blender in batches, being careful to remove and discard the bay leaf. (I just used my immersion blender) Return the soup to a soup pot and keep warm over low heat. Season with salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl fold in the lemon zest and the remaining teaspoon of rosemary to 2/3 cup creme fraiche. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and dollop each bowl with the lemon rosemary creme fraiche. Serve immediately.

Oatmeal Coconut Cake

I got this recipe from my friend, Lina, at work. We were randomly talking about my looking for sheet cake recipes (something other than Texas Sheet Cake) the other day and she happened to have a copy of this recipe with her. I wanted to make a sheet cake for my family's Memorial Day party at the lake and I wanted something different. This was totally perfect! It was super easy to throw together and it tastes AWESOME! Definitely a keeper recipe. Thanks, Lina!!

Oatmeal Coconut Cake

1 1/4 cups boiling water
1 cup instant oats
1/2 cup coconut oil (organic)
1 cup sugar (organic)
1 cup brown sugar (organic)
1 teaspoon vanilla (organic)
2 eggs (organic, free range, Omega-3)
1 1/3 cups flour (organic)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder (organic)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (organic)
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coconut oil (organic)
1 cup brown sugar (organic)
1 can coconut milk (organic)
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I left these off)

Take boiling water and pour over oats. Let stand for 20 minutes. Add coconut oil and sugars and mix. Add eggs and beat. Then Add dry ingredients and mix.

Use a sheet pan and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. (You can also use a 9x13 pan for a thicker cake. But be sure to cut the topping ingredients in half if you do it this way.)

While cake is baking, mix together the topping ingredients.

Let cake cool a little (like 10 minutes). Then spread on topping. Put under broiler until it bubbles. Let cool thoroughly.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Meal Plans

A new week already? This past week went by so fast! We got a lot accomplished, though. We hired a guy to cut down the crabapple tree in the front yard and then grind up the six stumps of the trees we've cut down over the last year. I worked on cleaning some of it up yesterday, but I still have quite a bit of work to do out there to finish taking care of it (hopefully tonight, otherwise tomorrow). This week, I'll have some guys come out to give us quotes for the excavation work. We'll see what the quotes come in at to determine when we'll do the work... but it shouldn't be too expensive, so we should be able swing it now.

I've also been busy in the veggie garden. The leeks, celery, parsnips, and beans are now planted. I'll work on getting the zucchini and squash seeds planted sometime today. The chard and shallots will be done tomorrow, as well as transplanting my perennial herbs (chives, oregano, and thyme) from the old garden to the new one. I'm going to wait another week for the corn, cucumbers, and peppers, and another two or three weeks on the basil, okra, and melons... hopefully the night-time temperatures are warm enough for them at that point. The garden should be fully planted after that.

Today we're headed to my Aunt Sharon's house on the lake for a Memorial Day party. We're hoping to take our first dip in the lake and I'm sure we'll cruise around the lake on the boat. Before we head over there, I'm going to make a trip up to the local farmer's market. It started at the beginning of May and I haven't had a chance to check it out yet. I'm hoping someone has ramps because I've seen them in recipes everywhere lately and would like to try them - probably in the quiche. I'd also like to pick up some local asparagus.

Sunday ~ Memorial Day party with my family at the lake... we're having grilled chicken breasts, some salads, and some desserts... not sure on the specifics. I'm bringing an oatmeal coconut cake.
Meatless Monday ~ tomato soup with tortellini, grilled cheese sandwiches
Tuesday ~ to celebrate the anniversary of our wedding in Key West, Florida three years ago, we'll have Key West Chicken, rice, roasted asparagus, and fried plantains
Wednesday ~ corn chowder in the crockpot, french baguette from the freezer
Thursday ~ leftover soup or chowder
Friday ~ I'm taking Carson to Swartz Creek's Hometown Days in the morning/afternoon, so I'll need something fairly easy. I figure since we didn't have it last week, we'll have shrimp and feta quiche
Saturday ~ We'll be going to the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing and having a picnic in the park... I'm still thinking about what we should have for the three of us... I'll update this post once I decide. Right now, I'm thinking we'll have some sort of sandwich, tortellini salad, some sort of jello (maybe something like an orange dreamsicle)... but I still need to think about it a little more before deciding for sure.

In addition to the garden planting mentioned above, I'll also be working in the flower beds this week. Carson and I went to the local nursery and I bought several flats of annuals that I want to get planted in front. I'll also be working on ripping out the poison ivy that I've found in the backyard and digging up a couple more perennials for some friends at work. I'm also hoping we can take a walk each evening with Carson in the BOB and Jet on a leash.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Southwest Pasta Salad

Kevin's friend, Jeff, is over today to help Kevin work on cutting up the Bonneville for scrap... which still resides in our garage. Hopefully they'll get it all done today and we'll have our garage back! I'm just going to grill hot dogs for dinner later, but wanted to have some sides to go with them. I decided to try out this recipe from Eat Better America for southwest pasta salad. We'll also have some roasted asparagus, organic canned baked beans, organic canned pears, and Doritos (which, much to my dismay, Carson LOVES... I'll be glad when this bag is used up. The only reason we even have them is because I had bought them for Kevin's brother to eat while he was house/animal sitting. He ate some, but not all, so Kevin and Carson have been snacking on them here and there.). I snuck a taste of this salad just before sticking it in the refrigerator and it was really good!! I'm excited to have it later with dinner! It was super easy and fast to throw together, too.

Southwest Pasta Salad

2 cups uncooked rotini pasta (8 oz) (I used organic and tri-color)
1 cup frozen organic sweet corn
1 jar (16 oz) Muir Glen® organic medium garlic cilantro salsa (I couldn't find this one, so I used a roasted garlic salsa I found instead)
1/4 cup olive oil (organic)
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped (organic)
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained, rinsed (I used organic home-canned)
1 can (2.25 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained (I left these out b/c we don't like olives)

Cook pasta as directed on box, adding corn during last 2 minutes of cook time. Drain; rinse with cold water.

In large bowl, stir together salsa, olive oil, lime juice and salt. Stir in pasta and remaining ingredients.

Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shrimp & Mushroom Linguine

Tonight we tried a recipe from AllRecipes for Shrimp & Mushroom Linguine with Creamy Cheese Herb Sauce. I have a bunch of cream cheese (neuchatel, actually... the 1/3 less fat stuff) to use up (bought it on sale for something and can't remember what now). So I'd done a search on AllRecipes and this sounded pretty good. It was, indeed. We all loved it. This was Carson's first taste of shrimp and he loved it! I only gave him one shrimp total, just in case. We don't have any history of shellfish allergies, but you never know. But he handled it totally fine, no reactions. So now we can have shrimp more often - yay! This is a very quick and easy recipe to throw together - perfect for a work night for us!

Shrimp and Mushroom Linguine with Creamy Cheese Herb Sauce

1 (8 ounce) package linguine pasta (I used a spinach-chive linguine from Trader Joe's)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup butter (I only used 1/4 cup and even that seemed like a LOT)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese (I used the entire 8-oz package by recommendation of those that had rated it on allrecipes)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
2/3 cup boiling water
1/2 pound cooked shrimp
(I also added about a cup of frozen peas)

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguine, and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook and stir until tender. Transfer to a plate.

In the same pan, melt 1/2 cup butter with the minced garlic. Stir in the cream cheese, breaking it up with a spoon as it melts. Stir in the parsley and basil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in boiling water until sauce is smooth. Stir in cooked shrimp and mushrooms, and heat through.

Toss linguine with shrimp sauce, and serve.

Veggie Oven Pancake

I tried out another recipe from my Simply in Season cookbook for dinner last night for a veggie oven pancake. It was really good - we all enjoyed it. Although, next time I'll add some spices to it to give it a little more flavor, I think. Super easy to throw together and its a very versatile recipe... you can basically use whatever veggies you have on hand. They even have some suggestions for a fruit variation by adding a little vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon to the batter and sprinkling some cinnamon and sugar on top.

Veggie Oven Pancake

1 Tablespoon butter
2/3 cup veggies (You can use whatever you want. I used leeks and broccoli... and had more than 2/3 cup)
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup flour
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While oven heats, place butter in 9-inch pie pan and place in oven to melt. Swirl pan to grease bottom and sides. (I just used some organic olive oil cooking spray)

Lightly steam veggies on stovetop or in microwave. (You can pretty much cook the veggies however you want... roast them, saute them, etc. I sauteed mine.) Place veggies in the bottom of the pan.

Mix milk, flour, eggs, and salt until well blended and smooth. Pour over veggies. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top as soon as you remove from oven and serve immediately. (I put my cheese on after 15 minutes of cooking.)

Some things to accomplish...

I had planned to include all of this with my meal plans post on Sunday, but ended up being rushed for time and so cut that post very short. So here we go with the rest of the details I didn't include... :)

This is a very busy time for many people with all the spring chores to do outside. We have over five and a half acres, so we definitely have our work cut out for us, just in managing the three and a half acres that we try to keep maintained... picking up sticks, mowing, etc. Not to mention the huge veggie garden I've had planned for this season. Kevin has been tilling up the new garden area - its out back beyond the fence by the orchard rather than right up by the house this year. And I've been planting lots of veggies over the last month... peas, spinach, yukina savoy, lettuce, potatoes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, pac choi, dill, parsley... I think that's the list so far anyway... though I think I'm missing something. This week and weekend I'll be planting the majority of the rest of our seeds, so I've got my work cut out for me right there. I'm sure I'll still be planting next week and the following weekend, too, just because it is such a large area.

I'm also dedicating some areas for berry patches this year. We had raspberries in our yard when we moved in, but they're not in the ideal location, so I'm moving them into a patch back near the orchard. I also received some raspberry transplants from someone I work with, so those are there, too. I also have made a blackberry patch with two Darrow blackberry bushes we picked up at the local nursery. I'll be focusing on cleaning up the orchard this summer, too. I know its not the best time to prune, but I'm not counting on any edible fruits this year anyway, so I'm going to do some MAJOR pruning of the apple and pear trees... top them off and thin them way out. They're just way too big to be manageable right now. I want to maintain them organically and I just don't think I'll get them under control until I do some major pruning. This will be a summer-long project, though, since we have so many fruit trees already.

We're also considering having some major excavation work done in our front yard. We need to do it, just aren't sure yet on the timing. We have some standing water issues that need to be fixed, so we're going to hire someone to bring in dirt and re-grade our yard to address some of the drainage issues. We'll either do this in the next two weeks, or we'll wait till fall, we just haven't completely decided on that yet. I'd like to get it done now so that we can get the landscaping started in the front. We've finally figured out what we want to do in front and what we want to plant. If we're going to do this now, though, we will need to cut down the crabapple tree in the front yard and rent a stump grinder to get rid of the six stumps in the front. I'll be looking into that this week.

So anyway, that is just a short glimpse of some of the things happening at our place this spring. We'll see what we accomplish in the next couple of weeks... :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Looking for an awesome tomato soup recipe!

Hey everyone, so this past Friday, my friend Jaime and I had lunch at this little place in Grand Blanc called Sophie's Kitchen. Its the type of restaurant that I would have called "an old people restaurant" when I was growing up... sort of coney island-ish. Anyway, I had a cup of soup while I was there and loved it! It was just a tomato soup with tortellini in it, but the tomato soup part was just so good to me. I've only ever tried two other tomato soups in my life... the canned kind which I think is disgusting... and a tomato basil bisque at an awesome restaurant in Lansing called Vinaigrette's. So anyway, if anyone has a really good tomato soup recipe that is of a thicker consistency, please share!

Meal Plans

A very fast post this morning... I need to get outside to work in the garden...

Sunday ~ grilled chicken breasts marinated in italian dressing, mashed red potatoes, green beans
Meatless Monday ~ veggie oven pancake, peas and carrots
Tuesday ~ shrimp and mushroom linguine, garlic bread from the freezer
Wednesday ~ taco night!
Thursday ~ as long as Kevin is home in time, we'll grill sirloin steaks, grilled baked potatoes, and oven-roasted corn
Friday ~ meeting SIL and niece in East Lansing at the MSU Children's Gardens (or Impression 5 if it rains)... Carson and I are eating out in East Lansing... either at Noodles & Co. or at Cosi
Saturday ~ shrimp and feta quiche... unless we end up having my family's Memorial Day party on Saturday... still waiting to hear whether it's Saturday or Sunday no Memorial Day party (it's Sunday), but Kevin's friend, Jeff, is coming over to help Kevin finish up tearing apart the Bonneville so we can get it out of our garage finally. So, I'll just grill hot dogs, maybe try making a potato salad or macaroni salad or something, organic canned baked beans, organic canned pears, doritos.

Chicken Chili with Pesto

We had chicken chili with pesto for dinner last night. I found the recipe on Two Crowded Kitchens, which is my SIL Mary's friend's blog. This was soooo good! I didn't add the chilies because I didn't really want to make it spicy since I wanted Carson to be able to eat it. It'd probably be very tasty with the chilies added, but we loved it the way I made it, too. This was another super easy, very quick recipe to throw together. It'd be a great week-night meal to throw together since it doesn't really take too long to cook. This is something I'll definitely make again sometime!

Chicken Chili with Pesto

2 tsp. oil
3/4 c. chopped onion
2 c. boneless cooked chopped chicken breast
1 1/2 c chopped carrot
3/4 c. chopped red pepper
3/4 c. thinly sliced celery
1/4 c. chopped green chilies (left these out)
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 16oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 14 1/2 oz can chicken broth
3 Tab. jarred pesto (I used homemade, frozen)

Heat oil in a Dutch overn over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, red pepper, and celery and saute for 4-5 minutes. Add chicken and the next 6 ingredients (chiles through broth). Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir in pesto.

Crockpot Chicken Fried Rice

I'm playing catch-up here on some posts. Last week we had crockpot fried rice from A Year of Crockpotting. It was super easy and very, very good! Definitely a keeper! I cooked up a bunch of organic short-grain brown rice in my rice cooker the other morning - some to use for this recipe and the rest I froze in 2-cup portions. I've heard that you can freeze cooked rice and that it thaws very well. I've been wanting to try that for awhile now, so I finally did. We'll see how it is when I thaw some. Anyway, I made a double recipe of this fried rice so we have some for today's and Monday's lunch, but I'll post the original recipe with those proportions.

Crockpot Chicken Fried Rice

2 cups leftover rice/quinoa
3 T butter (I only used 2 T for a double recipe)
2 T soy sauce (I used low-sodium)
2 t worcestershire sauce
1/2 t black pepper (I didn't add this)
1/4 t kosher salt (I didn't add this, the soy sauce makes it plenty salty)
1/2 diced yellow onion
1 cup of whatever frozen or fresh vegetables you have on hand (I used some french-style green beans, corn, and peas)
cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
1 egg
sesame seeds for garnish, optional (I didn't use them)

Plop everything on in there together. Mix it around, and cook on high for 2-3 hours, or on low for 3-4. You are only heating everything up and cooking the egg. (I cooked mine on high for about an hour and a half, then on low for another 45 minutes)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Huevos Rancheros

Last night we had huevos rancheros for dinner. I got the recipe from a blog I read often - Two Peas and Their Pod. YUM! These were so good! And very easy and quick to make, too! Definitely something we'll keep on file to make again! These are very versatile, too. You could keep them meatless, or add some shredded chicken, beef, or pork and they'd be yummy, too. Carson didn't get a chance to try them since he was already asleep by the time I was able to make dinner, but Kevin and I loved them! I'm betting Carson would love them, too... next time...

Huevos Rancheros

Flour tortillas
Eggs (or scrambled egg whites)
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 small onion, diced
Cumin, to taste
Diced tomatoes
Shredded cheese
Avocado, diced
Fresh cilantro, chopped (left this off)
Fresh lime juice (left this off)

Heat up your tortillas. In a small sauce pan, warm up your black beans with the onion and cumin. Fry up your eggs or scramble your egg whites. Place the eggs on the flour tortilla. Top with the beans. Next, add all of your toppings-tomatoes, cheese, avocados, cilantro, and lime juice.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Menu Plan

The wedding this weekend was fabulous! Everything was gorgeous and everything went almost perfectly (we all forgot the groom's ring... but it worked out :)! It was so good to see Sara, Adam, their families, and some old friends from MSU. Sara and Adam will soon be heading back to Colorado, which we hope to visit them there this fall if everything works out ok (though if we're going to do it, we might have to move it up to late summer because we may also be going to Vermont in October... more on that later as details develop...). So anyway, we're back to the grind again. No more traveling for a little while at least. Our next planned overnight trip isn't until August when we spend some time at Kevin's grandparents trailer on the lake. So anyway, here's what I'm thinking for meals this week...

Sunday ~ Happy Mother's Day!! We're driving back from Grand Rapids in the morning/early afternoon. We'll probably head over to my Aunt Jeri's house for a family party... having hamburgers and hot dogs, not sure on the sides...
Meatless Monday ~ huevos rancheros
Tuesday ~ pork chops with raspberry sauce
Wednesday ~ I might try a lebanese meatloaf, roasted potatoes, green beans from the freezer
Thursday ~ leftovers
Friday ~ its my flex day and I'm hoping the weather is nice so Carson and I can play outside and I'm also hoping to do some work in the flower beds outside and transplant some raspberry bushes... I think we'll have chicken fried rice in the crockpot
Saturday ~ our first weekend in what seems like ages that we don't have any plans! Hopefully we'll have great weather and can get a lot accomplished outside... mowing the grass, pruning the orchard, cutting down the crabapple tree in front? I think I'll try chicken chili with pesto

Probably no extras this week since we're hoping to get a LOT done outside in the yard and on the property this week. We've been neglecting many of our spring chores because we just haven't had the time for them with all of our traveling lately. So that will be our focus this week.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fish Tacos

On Tuesday, we tried an Ellie Krieger recipe for fish tacos. Finally, an Ellie Krieger recipe that we thought was half-way decent. These were very good. The chipotle sauce was super spicy, so I'd definitely cut back on the chipotle unless you like simmering sinuses. :) These were very quick to make, too. I chose the recipe because I didn't want to batter and fry the fish - I liked that Ellie grilled hers. I was hesitant to try it because we haven't been crazy about her recipes, but I'm glad I gave her another try.

Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound white flaky fish fillet, like tilapia or halibut (I used cod)

Chipotle cream:
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons chipotle pepper, in adobo sauce
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas (I used flour tortillas b/c Kevin doesn't like corn tortillas unless they're baked or cooked)
1 1/2 cups shredded green cabbage or lettuce
1/2 cup corn kernels (thawed if frozen)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Pour over the fish fillets and let marinate for 20 minutes. Put the yogurt into a strainer lined with a paper towel and place over a bowl to drain and thicken for 20 minutes. (I just used greek yogurt and skipped this step)

Remove the fish from the marinade and grill on a preheated grill or nonstick grill pan over a medium-high heat until cooked thorough, about 3 minutes per side. Set the fish aside on a plate for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl combine the thickened yogurt, mayonnaise, and chipotle pepper.

Heat the tortillas on the grill or grill pan for 30 seconds on each side.

Flake the fish with a fork. Top each tortilla with 1 tablespoon of the chipotle cream. Top with fish, cabbage, corn and cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spinach and Mushroom Frittata

Tonight I made a spinach and mushroom frittata. I used this recipe as my base, but if you read through the instructions in the recipe, it bakes like a quiche, not like a frittata. So I cooked mine like a normal frittata is done - on the stovetop and under the broiler. It turned out very tasty! I just love spinach and mushrooms together, though. Anyway, this was super easy and cooks faster than a quiche does, so I think I'll probably be doing more frittatas from now on, too. I posted the original recipe below with my changes in parentheses.

Spinach and Mushroom Frittata

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed thoroughly to remove liquid
4 eggs or equivalent egg substitute
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I used about 1/4 cup Parm and 1/2 cup shredded Swiss)
3/4 cup chopped portobello mushrooms (I used more than this... I just used an entire 8oz package of mushrooms and chopped them up)
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions with some green tops
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasonings
1 pinch Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. (I preheated my broiler instead).

In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients until well mixed. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray and fill with the spinach mixture. Bake for 30 minutes, or until browned and set. Let cool for 20 minutes, cut in wedges and serve.

(I started by sauteing the mushrooms in a bit of olive oil cooking spray in an oven-proof skillet. After they were cooked down and soft, I added the spinach still frozen and sauteed a little longer. I then added the green onions and removed the skillet from the heat. I whisked the eggs, ricotta, parm, swiss, and seasonings together in a bowl. I added the veggies to this and mixed till combined. Then poured it all back into the skillet. I cooked it on about medium heat for probably 15 minutes or so... till the middle was just starting to set. Then I popped it under the broiler for 5-10 minutes till it was set and browned.)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Meal Plans

So we're back to the grind... at least for a few days anyway. Chicago last week was so much fun, all three of us just loved it! I've been to Chicago several times, but never had as much fun as we did on this trip... its crazy how much your travels change once you have a little one in tow. We got to do so much more fun stuff than we'd done before in the city.

This week will be another hectic week. One of my best buds is getting married on Saturday, so we'll be staying out in Grand Rapids Thursday-Sunday. On Thursday, we're hoping to meet up with my SIL and niece (and maybe BIL) at the Tulip Time festival, but that will depend on the weather. Kevin's a little hesitant to go at all with the swine flu outbreak they had on the Hope College campus, but I think it'll be just fine. If the weather is bad and we don't go to Tulip Time, then I think we'll probably just meet them at Kevin's grandparents' house for a visit. We'll be helping out with lots of preparation for the wedding, too. It could be a little tricky with some of it, but I think it'll all end up going over well (I hope). Mostly, I'm just worried about Carson during the rehearsal dinner, which falls right during his normal bedtime, and then at the reception. But I think it'll be fun.

You probably won't think Kevin and I are focusing on eating gluten free still, based on the pasta meals we're having this week, but we are. Or I am anyway... just not so much this week. I don't think I have a gluten sensitivity, but I have noticed that when I'm eating gluten free, I just feel a lot better in general. Like I have more energy and am more alert and just feel good overall, if that makes sense. So I'm going to continue to try to do the majority of our meals gluten free, but its definitely not something we have to be strict with at this point. So anyway, here's what I'm thinking...

Sunday - going to my parents' house to celebrate my Grandma Moore's birthday, I believe we're having lasagna
Meatless Monday - spinach and mushroom frittata
Tuesday - its Cinco de Mayo, so we'll have a mexican meal to commemorate... if I can find good fish on Monday, I want to have fish tacos... otherwise we'll end up with normal tacos made with ground lamb probably
Wednesday - I'll be in Windsor, Ontario (Canada) all day for a conference, so I'll be home late and will have packing to do... so we'll either have leftovers if there are any, or else greek chicken pasta from the freezer
Thursday - we'll be leaving for Grand Rapids for the weekend and will be meeting SIL, BIL, and niece at Tulip Time in Holland, MI if the weather is good and then getting take out and eating dinner together
Friday - we'll be visiting Kevin's grandparents in GR (unless we went on Thursday), helping to decorate the church and reception venue for my friend Sara's wedding, getting manis and pedis... Then the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner at the Flat River Grill in Lowell, MI (highly recommend this place to anyone, their food is awesome and they buy organically and locally!)
Saturday - my friend Sara's wedding in Lowell... I'm her matron of honor :)