I'm feeling good about menu planning lately, it probably helps that January is almost over, and my January calendar has every square filled out with something I actually cooked, hurray! I currently use a very vanilla (and nearly free, just the cost of paper, ink, Internet service, the computer, blah, blah, blah) calendar from here to plan my menus, and I just post it on the fridge for quick reference. BUT, I have big plans for a cuter (and freer, if you can believe it, and if that's a word...) menu planner. I'll let you know when that's more of a reality and less of an abstract project floating around my brain. Anyway, here's the plan for this week!
Today we had grilled cheese and chicken soup, I definitely keep it really easy on Sundays, because we go swimming at 6pm, and I'm not up to a whole lot of excitement other than that.
Monday; Spanish rice in the rice cooker, this will be a first attempt for me so we'll see how it goes!
Tuesday; Greek salad, Feta cheese muffins. Anyone make a Greek salad dressing that rocks?
Wednesday; my nephew's turning 11 (this totally blows my mind), so we'll be having pizza at his house. I am under instructions not to bring anything, which I'm sure I can handle.
Thursday; Steak Cesar salad, Parmesan crisps, maybe some homemade bread.
Friday; Soft pretzels and cheese soup. I have tried making these 2 items together before, because it just seems like a great, fun, meat free supper for a casual Friday night (by which I mean we all come to the table in our jammies). I struggled with timing in a big way, because I didn't fully anticipate what a pain in the butt it can be to boil the pretzels and then bake them. The two steps are necessary in order to get that nice chewy thing going on, but this time I am prepared, and I will master this meal, for sure!
Saturday; pizza night, probably a Calzone for a change.
Last week's menu had a few highlights I wanted to share. I already mentioned the awesomeness of the lineup change in the form of steak sandwiches, make them already! The TVP thing was okay, I think I messed up a bit in that we wouldn't normally have any meat in the rice and beans, so it was like I was substituting for something that shouldn't be there anyway. My next TVP project will be meatloaf I'm thinking. My pizza night was great, the chicken/broccoli/Alfredo sauce was a hit, and I threw on some crumbled, cooked bacon that I had leftover, which I think will be a must in the future. At some point in the week, I made some Momma crack, and my hubs ate all but the one serving that I inhaled, so I am renaming it Daddy crack.
The meal that we may have enjoyed more than I expected was the chili topped baked potatoes, and let me tell you, it had many things to recommend it for sure. I had a small portion of leftover chili in the freezer, not enough that I could serve it as the main again, but enough worth saving, so I view that as a freebie. I bake my potatoes in the most low maintenance way imaginable; I scrub them, and put them in a preheated 475 degree oven, directly on the rack, no oil, no foil. Yes that is blazin' hot baby, and you can believe we don't eat baked potatoes in the summer. The method produces some awesome baked potatoes, the skin kind of blisters away from the flesh (without actually coming off), and the inside is moist and fabulous. This coming from a woman who really had no use for baked potatoes, for many years. The other awesome thing is that it produces no waste and no dishes! How often can you say that about anything you make?! I threw shredded cheddar and sour cream on top of the chili, and they were so tasty, sometimes the easiest things are the best.