August 13, 2010

Week in Food

I wish I had a more exciting week of activities to tell you about, but really it's been filled with a lot of housework.  chores, if you will.  However, I have been trying some new recipes lately, so I thought I'd do a food review of the week.

Andrew's acid reflux has been rearing its ugly head lately, so we've been trying to cut out any acidic/spicy foods, which are his favorites but also cause problems.  So it's back to the "drawing board" for me, which means whipping out the cookbooks and finding some new stuff to try. 

Monday - Tilapia with veggies and a cucumber/tomato salad.  I cook my tilapia the way my dad always does it - quick, simple, easy, and delicious.  Spread the fillets out and drizzle 'em with olive oil and then sprinkle with Tony's seasoning.  Broil for about 7-ish minutes on each side.  So good!

Tuesday - Apricot Chicken with rice and a spinach salad.  The apricot chicken was a new crock pot recipe from Anybody Can Cook In A Crockpot! that I've mentioned before.  This is the best recipe so far that I've tried from this book - and they've all been good! This one is ridiculously easy with zero prep.  The sauce creates kind of a glaze and it was sooo good, especially served over rice.  The recipe is down below...

Wednesday - Fettuccine alla Carbonara with garlic bread and spinach salad with Ross tomatoes and fresh-cut watermelon.  We had my parents over for dinner this night and so I branched out and tried something a little "fancier" haha.  For some reason I have always been a little intimidated by making my own sauces, like a cream sauce or something, from scratch.  I can always find a way to mess it up!  This recipe was REALLY easy and it turned out so good and felt a little "gourmet" for us - haha.  The recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens' New Cookbook: Bridal Edition (got it as a wedding gift).  The recipe is down below...

Thursday - Chicken Crescent Roll-Ups with mashed potatoes and asparagus.  Always good - a tried-and-true favorite!!  Have you tried this one yet? I posted about it waaay back, but you really do need to try this one. seriously.

Friday - I'll be honest...haven't gotten this far!

  • Ingredients:
    • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (i only used 4)
    • 2 cups of apricot preserves (i just emptied the jar, who wants to measure?)
    • 2 tablespoons of mustard
    • 3 teaspoons of worcestershire sauce (reading the recipe as i'm typing this i just realized i made it with 3 tablespoons instead and it was delish)
    • salt and pepper to taste
  • Directions:
    • spray the crockpot with cooking spray and place the chicken in
    • combine the other ingredients in a bowl and mix together
    • spoon the mixture over the chicken and then cover
    • cook for 8 hrs on LOW or 4 hours on HIGH
  • Ingredients:
    • 6 slices of bacon cut into 1-inch pieces (i used 8, more is better!)
    • 6 ounces of fettuccine
    • 1 beaten egg
    • 1 cup of half-and-half, light cream, or milk (half-and half - do it!)
    • 1 tablespoons of butter or margarine
    • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
    • 1/4 cup of snipped fresh parsley (just realized i omitted this)
    • [not included in the recipe, but I added cut asparagus spears to my recipe]
  • Directions: 
    • cook the bacon until crisp, drain
    • cook pasta according to the package, drain, keep warm
    • meanwhile, for the sauce:  in a saucepan combine the egg, half-and-half, and butter.  Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture just coats a metal spoon (about 6 min); do not boil.  [this is where i threw my cut-up asparagus spears in and warmed 'em up] Immediately pour sauce over pasta; stir gently to coat.
    • add cooked bacon, parmesan cheese, and parsely; stir gently to combine.  Serve immediately.
This was sooo easy - don't be intimidated by it at all.  it was also quick - less than 30 min start to finish!

So we've been trying to do better about planning our meals out before we go to the grocery store, so we don't just buy a bunch of crap to fill our pantry and fridge and then still have "nothing" to eat.  I've been trying two different methods out. 

One is where I plan about 2-3 weeks of meals out, still including a night out with my parents, or a pizza night, not every night is a cook-a-full-meal night.  I just fill out a "schedule" I guess you can call it on a calendar.  This way I can thaw out meat ahead of time, or even cook stuff ahead of time, etc.  I don't come home, open the fridge, and just stare, hoping to create something.  This  worked okay but we got off-schedule pretty easily so some ingredients weren't used in-time and spoiled or we just weren't "in the mood" for something that night, etc. 

The other way we've been trying is where I still plan about 2-3 weeks of meals out, but I just write a list called "what's for dinner?" and stick it to the fridge.  It lists all the recipes/meals we can make that we have the ingredients for.  No worries, this is not all fancy.  It still includes fish sticks and mac-n-cheese as a viable option!  This option gives us a little more flexibility in case our mood changes or we have a last minute dinner out with friends, etc.  But sometimes, the meat's not thawed out or something's not ready.

Anyway, we're still trying to find a good "method."  I know it probably sounds crazy to plan it out like this or that it takes too much time, but in reality, it SAVES me time.  I make one big trip to the grocery store, I don't buy useless stuff, I don't waste as much money, I cook (i.e. not heating up a pizza) more often, and it generally doesn't take nearly as long to make dinner, because I don't have to "think" something up. 

PLEASE tell me what works for you!  Do you plan your meals out and how?  Thanks!


Mrs. Magnolia said...

This post made me so so hungry! We are definitely meal planners. We only plan for a week at a time and I usually only plan 5 meals since there is always a night or 2 for eating out, dinner at someone else's house, or just a night of leftovers. I try to plan around what's on sale a Publix but I'm not always successful.

When planning for just a week at a time, there is a lot less "not in the mood" for something. I also plan to cook meals that make lots of leftovers on nights I know I need a lunch to take to work the next day. We throw away a lot less food & we save money on buying "lunch" items or eating lunch out.

Hope this helps a little :)

Alison said...

YOUR post made me hungry!! ha! thanks for the tips...maybe next time I will try one week at a time. Being in school, I feel like I never have time to go to the grocery store, but maybe quick little weekly trips will be better...