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Category Archives: Meal Plan Menu

Next Week’s Dinners and a Picnic Of a Question

I did most of my shopping earlier today, although I do still need to go out and get a few things still for next week’s meals. We discussed what we want to eat, but we haven’t picked days for anything yet, so it will kind of be hit or miss to see what day gets which meal. I can tell you that I am planning to cook:

Greek Lamb Kebobs, Rice Pilaf and Tomatoes

Popcorn Shrimp

Pork Chops Agrodolce with Herbed Bean Salad

Sicilian Steak

I also have a whole chicken and some ribs but have not yet figured out what I want to do with any of it yet. If you didn’t see the recipe from last night, I can tell you that we loved it and we’ll be cooking it again if you want to check that one out.

On another note, since it is a long weekend for most people and the start of the summer season, a lot of people will be grilling and picnicking now. I have re-blogged a few articles over the fast few days referring to picnics and grilling of you want to check them out. On my other blog, The Office of Iguana Flats, I just posed a question to my readers today that fits well with this cooking blog as well, so I thought I would ask it here as well to give you a chance to answer. The question is:

Since the summer season is upon us, if you were going on a picnic and could go anywhere you wanted, where would you go and what would you bring?

Let’s assume you could go any place you want and bring anything you want. There are lots of places to choose from: beaches, parks, the mountains, a deserted island, your rooftop, the Eiffel Tower,  it could be any place. Somewhere that you can relax and enjoy your picnic with whomever you want, or by yourself if you choose. Think about what you would want to bring – it can be anything as decadent or as light as you like, a nice bottle of wine, some fine cheese, or just some sandwiches or hot dogs, whatever makes you happy. Think about it and let me know. You can answer on here, or on Facebook or Twitter. I’ll also ask some people on Twitter and see if they respond. I’ll post my answer tomorrow.

I know it’s a short blog post today, but we’re just having leftovers tonight from the past week and I’ll be cooking again tomorrow, so check back then and see what I can come up with to eat. I have some good stuff to choose from, so I’ll see which recipe is going to be good for tomorrow (I am leaning towards the Sicilian Steak). Until then, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Cooking, Meal Plan Menu, Picnic Fare

 

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That’s a Wrap… And Next Week’s Menu

I don’t know why I don’t make more wraps. I love sandwiches (even though I don’t eat cold cuts or cheese myself) and could eat one every day, no problem, and wraps a great alternative. They make a great lunch, or even a great dinner, and what’s even better is that you can put just about anything in a wrap. You can use any kind of fish, poultry, meat, vegetables or condiments, it’s really up to you. Today I made just a simple Tuna Wrap, so you can really vary this in so many ways.

Simple Tuna Wrap

1 5 ounce can solid albacore tuna packed in water, drained

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 rib celery, diced 

2 flour tortillas

1/2 cup mixed greens

2 slices red onion, chopped

2 slices tomato, seeded and chopped

4 slices English cucumber, sliced into sticks

1/2 yellow pepper, seeded and cored, sliced into sticks

Place the tuna in a bowl and crumble and mix until it is fine. Add the mayonnaise and celery and mix until well blended. Place one tortilla on a plate and lay some greens down the center of the tortilla. Scoop about half the tuna on top of the greens. Add a portion of the onion, tomato cucumber and pepper on top of the tuna, spreading evenly over the middle. Fold the tortilla, folding in both sides, then fold the top half of the wrap to the center and then fold the bottom half to the center. Repeat the process with the second tortilla. Slice the wraps in half and serve.

This easily made two large wraps, one for me and one for Michelle. You can add so many different things to this sandwich, like using sliced chicken, turkey or shrimp or a seafood salad instead of tuna, adding things in liked crumbled bacon, sliced olives, bean sprouts, avocado, toasted nuts, radishes, fresh herbs, or some crumbled hard boiled egg. The choices seem endless. You can also perk up the mayonnaise by adding some chopped garlic, paprika or some chili powder.

We do still follow our weekly meal plan even though things have been crazy around here with work lately. This week’s menu is:

Sunday: Roasted Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, Asparagus

Monday: Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Tuesday: Warm Chicken Salad

Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner

Thursday: Pub Style Burgers

Friday:Sizzling Shrimp With Garlic

Some of these things I have made before so I will try to do some variations along the way. If you want to follow along or make your own meal plan, here is the planner I use: family_meal_planner. As always, if you have any questions, comments or recipes of your own, please feel free to send along a comment.  Enjoy a nice relaxing Sunday and enjoy your meal!

 

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Lunch, Meal Plan Menu, Sandwiches

 

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This Week’s Meal Plan

So I am going to try to keep things pretty simple for the next 10 days or so by using mostly what we have in the freezer since we are leaving for a trip to Charlotte after that and will be gone for a week. I would rather not buy stuff that I know we’ll end up having some leftovers that will just get thrown away. I rummaged through the freezer this weekend, bought a few staples today, and this is what we’ve come up with for the week:

Monday: Baby Back Ribs in the slow cooker, Homemade Potato Salad, Corn

Tuesday – Homemade Chicken Fingers, Homemade Tater Tots and Broccoli

Wednesday: Meatloaf, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Baked Potatoes

Thursday: I have down for our meat-free day, but we haven’t been able to agree on a meal for the day, so this one is still open.

Friday: Our seafood meal for the week will be Shrimp and Grits

Saturday: We’ll be out for the day, so it looks like a leftovers day for us

Sunday: Pork Roast with Apple Stuffing, Rice, Cauliflower

That looks like a pretty good menu for the week. I’ve never made the tater tots before, so that one will be something different, but it doesn’t look like it’s too hard to do. I was finally able to start growing some of mine own herbs, although it hasn’t been quite warm enough to put them outside yet, but I am just starting to get some growth out of the basil, oregano and parsley, so we’ll see how it goes.

A few of my friends have approached me about things that would like to see me write about, so I’ll be taking on some of that while we are away from home and I won’t be cooking as much. If there’s anything you would like to see written here, recipes you’re looking for, new methods to try, or anything at all, just let me know. I’m open to writing about more than what we happen to be eating for the day. You can leave a comment here, send me an email at IguanaFlats@msn.com, visit my Facebook page (the link is on the right) or send me a message on Twitter (also listed at the right). I’ll get back to you as soon as I can and I love new ideas, so I am always looking for something new to try or write about.

Well, back to a lazy Sunday. Sean is under the weather today, so there’s nothing set in stone for a meal today; we’ll have to see how everything goes. Check back in tomorrow to see my recipe for the barbecued ribs in the slow cooker. It’s a good one. Until then, enjoy your day and your meal!

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Cooking, Meal Plan Menu

 

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St. Patrick’s Day Leftovers

What do I do with all these leftovers from the St. Patrick’s Day feast? It may seem like a daunting task, but an easy thing to do with some of the items is to make breakfast for dinner. my family loves Corned Beef Hash, and it’s very simple to make. I use my cast iron frying pan for this one. It helps put a great crust on the hash, which is the best part of the hash, if you ask me.

Corned Beef Hash

1/2 stick butter

2 cups small diced yellow onions

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 1/2 pounds corned beef, cooked and diced

1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled, blanched and diced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large oven-proof skillet or cast iron frying pan, over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until golden, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and corned beef. Continue to saute for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Using the back of a large spoon or spatula, pack the mixture firmly into the pan. Place the pan in the oven. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown and a crust forms on the bottom of the hash. Remove from the oven and serve.

You can use the leftover corned beef and any leftover boiled potatoes you may have to make this dish. It goes very nicely with eggs over easy or poached eggs. Another use for any leftover boiled potatoes would be to make some home fries, which would also go well with the corned beef hash. if you don’t have any leftover potatoes, I have included making the potatoes in the recipe itself.

Home Fries

2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons butter

1 onion, chopped fine

Salt and pepper

In a large microwave-safe bowl, toss the potatoes with oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart, 5 to 10 minutes, shaking the bowl (without removing the plastic wrap) to re-distribute the potatoes every 3 minutes. Carefully remove the plastic wrap, transfer the potatoes to a colander, and drain thoroughly.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes to the skillet and using a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, distribute them evenly over the pan. Cook undisturbed until the potatoes are golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Carefully turn the potatoes to ensure even browning and add the onion to the skillet. Continue cooking, turning the potato and onion and mixture every few minutes, until the potatoes are well browned and the onion is softened, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

If you want to make the home fries a little spicy, you can add some red pepper and jalapeno to the pan with the onion, and then toss in some chili powder, cumin and cayenne for a little kick. You could also add some paprika to the dish instead for some flavor and color.

I am using the leftover Colcannon and simply making some Colcannon Cakes. I form the leftover Colcannon into cakes, much like you would make potato cakes with leftover mashed potatoes, and saute them in some butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Turn after about 5 minutes to make both sides a golden brown, and they are all done.

You could also saute the leftover cabbage with some onion, salt and pepper and have it that way, or you can make another dinner out of it on its own and follow a recipe I previously posted for cabbage and noodles.

Finally today, I have next week’s meal plan all set and I think it’s a good one. If you want to follow along and use your own meal plan for laying out your cooking and shopping plans, you can print out a meal plan right here:family_meal_planner.

Monday – Chicken and Dumplings in the slow cooker. This is our slow cooker meal this week.

Tuesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs. Since we didn’t get to it last week, we’ll try again this week.

Wednesday: We have two recipes for our meat-free day of the week, Cheese Ravioli and Macaroni and Cheese.

Thursday: Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Friday: Baked Tilapia, Brown Rice, and Corn

Saturday: We won’t be home Saturday, so I have that down as a free day right now.

It should be a good week of dinners; none are too labor intensive and all should be tasty. If you have any questions or comments or there is a recipe you would like to see or one you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment, visit my Facebook page or send me a message on Twitter. Until tomorrow, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2012 in Breakfast, Cooking, Dinner, Meal Plan Menu, Potatoes

 

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Setting the Plan for Next Week

Well it took a little bit, but we finally have a meal plan for this coming week. I think we picked out some good stuff. There’s a few new meals, a few things we have made before, and, of course, a St. Patrick’s Day feast. here’s what we have to look forward to this coming week:

Monday: Braised Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes (this is a slow cooker meal, and promises to be delicious)

Tuesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs (which I have made before on the meal plan)

Wednesday: Chicken Stir Fry with White Rice (which I have also before on the plan, but I may mix this one up a bit with ingredients)

Thursday: Cream of Broccoli Soup (this is our meat-free meal of the week this week)

Friday:Artichokes with Potatoes, Garlic, Olives and Shrimp (this is our seafood meal of the week)

Saturday: It’s St. Patrick’s Day, so of course we’ll be having Corned Beef, Cabbage, Boiled Potatoes, Irish Soda Bread, and I’ll also be making a Grasshopper Pie, Irish Coffee and some Black and Tans. It should be quite a feast!

Sunday: We are planning Breakfast for Dinner, using leftover corned beef to make Corned Beef Hash, along with Eggs and Pancakes.

It promises to be quite a good week for meals. I didn’t have to do too much shopping this week for food since we already have all the makings for the stir fry, the spaghetti and meatballs and the broccoli soup. I did have to buy the short ribs, the artichokes and the shrimp, and of course the corned beef and cabbage, but that was pretty much it. We are trying to be better about using what we have on hand in the pantry, cabinets,freezer and refrigerator to cut back on the food bill each week. It has worked well so far, and sticking to the meal plan menu makes that easier because we tend to buy only what we need and nothing more. If you want to start your own meal plan, you can use the same planner I use, which is right here:family_meal_planner

Tomorrow will be the Braised Short Ribs meal in the slow cooker. It tastes and smells delicious and it’s not a tough meal to make, so check back in tomorrow to see what’s in it and what it’s all about. If you have any questions, comments or recipes you might like to see, please let me know.  Hopefully everyone had a great weekend and enjoy your meal this evening!

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2012 in Meal Plan Menu

 

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Oven Barbecued Ribs, Broccoli Slaw, Slow Cooker Pork Chops and a Meal Plan Menu

I took the weekend off to spend some time with the family, but now it’s back to the blog. Yesterday, we had a nice meal of Oven Barbecued Baby Back Ribs and Broccoli Slaw. It made us all think about summer coming fast since the weather has been so mild this winter. Oven Barbecue Ribs are great to make any time of the year. You can use any store-bought sauce that you like, or a dry rub, or make your own sauce. I often use a dry rub or make me own sauce, and I’ll post those recipes as we get into the warmer weather. Yesterday I just used Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce, which is our sauce of choice. There’s not much to oven barbecuing ribs, so the recipe is quite quick.

Oven Barbecued Baby Back Ribs

1-2 racks pork loin baby back ribs (about 2-3 pounds each rack)

1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce, homemade or store-bought

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Lay the ribs, meaty side up, on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Wrap the pan tightly with foil. Roast for 2 hours. Remove the foil and brush the meaty side of the ribs with barbecue sauce. Continue to roast, uncovered, until the bones have separated from the meat, about 1 hour longer.

That’s all there is to it. You can do the same with spareribs if you prefer them; I like the taste of the baby back ribs better myself. I served this with a nice broccoli slaw. This slaw has a little kick to it, but you can eliminate the red pepper flakes from the recipe if you prefer something milder.

Broccoli Slaw

1 cup shredded carrots

2 cups shredded broccoli slaw

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 lime, zested and juiced

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, broccoli slaw and red onion. Set aside. In a small saucepan, add the vinegar, lime zest, lime juice, salt, sugar, red pepper flakes and the black pepper. Bring to a light boil over low heat. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Add the olive oil to the vinegar mixture, pour over the vegetables and toss together to combine. Refrigerate until serving.

It made for a nice, refreshing dinner. Tonight’s dinner, following along with my schedule, is a slow cooker meal. Tonight I am making Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops. This is a recipe I got from Alton Brown of the Food Network. It takes a little prep work as the pork chops need to be brined overnight, but it’s definitely worth it.

Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops

2 cups vegetable broth or water

1/2 cup salt

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons black peppercorns, slightly crushed

1 pound ice

4 (1 to 1 1/2 inch thick) bone-in pork chops

2 teaspoons salt

3 apples, cored and sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, julienned

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Combine the vegetable broth or water, 1/2 cup salt, brown sugar and peppercorns in a medium saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Cook just until the salt and sugar dissolve, then remove from the heat and add the ice. Place the pork chops into a gallon zip-top bag along with the mixture and seal. Place in a plastic container and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the chops from the brine, rinse, and pat dry. Season on both sides with salt and set aside. Place the apples in the slow cooker. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the pork chops on both sides until golden brown, approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side. Once browned, place the pork chops into the slow cooker atop the apples.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan followed by the onions and saute until they begin to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth to the pan to deglaze. Add the black pepper and the thyme and stir to combine. Transfer this to the slow cooker, set to high, and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Decrease the heat to low and continue cooking for another 4 1/2 hours, or until the pork is tender and falling away from the bone.

If you want to leave the slow cooker in the morning and not have to turn anything down, you can leave the pork chops on low the whole time and cook for 8 hours. I am serving this meal simply, with some white rice and steamed  vegetables (cauliflower and broccoli).

As for the meal plan for this week, here is what I am making:

Monday: Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops, White Rice, Steamed Vegetables

Tuesday: Trinidadian Chicken Stew

Wednesday: Hamburgers, Oven Fries, Oven-Fried Onion Rings

Thursday: Fettuccine Alfredo

Friday: Monkfish ( I haven’t decided how I am cooking it, but I did buy it and freeze it).

They are all simple, tasty meals. By the way, I won’t be eating the fettuccine, I’ll be having crab-stuffed trout that day, so I’ll post both recipes, but they will both be delicious :). I think that covers everything for tonight. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave a note and say hi. Until tomorrow, enjoy your meal!

 

 
 

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It’s Guys’ Night In, Next Week’s Meal Plan, and a Chicken

Michelle is away on a business for a couple of days, so that kind of puts the meal plan on hold for a few days until we get settled again. Sean and I are having guys’ night in tonight, which means ordering pizza, playing video games and starting a puzzle we bought. It should be a lot of fun to just hang out for the night and have a good time and not worry about cooking for the evening. It’s nice to do that once in a while. We did go over next week’s meal plan, so here it is:

Sunday – Fish Tacos, Pineapple Salsa, and Vegetable Slaw

Monday – Beef Stew (this will be our slow cooker meal for the week)

Tuesday – Bacon and Chicken Ranch Quesadillas, Rice and Guacamole

Wednesday – Lentils with Rice and Sautéed Onions (this is our meat-free meal of the week)

Thursday  – Sesame Chicken Stir Fry with Fried Rice

Friday – Fish – seeing as how it is Lent, we thought we would try to do fish on Fridays for the next several weeks. I won’t know what I am making until I go to the fish market to check out what looks good and is on sale.

Saturday – Roasted Chicken, Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli

I try to make a roasted chicken every couple of weeks so we can both use the carcass to make stock and use the leftovers for lunches. It works out really well for as far as both go, although I also keep some chicken drumsticks in the freezer to use to make stock as well if I need to in a pinch. if you’d like the recipe for making the stock I make, I had posted it in an earlier blog, but you can get it right here.

Since I am not cooking anything tonight, I thought I would still post a recipe that might be good for everyone, and since I have been talking about chicken, I got this recipe in my email today from Mark Bittman, the author of “How to Cook Everything.” It’s a nice roasted chicken recipe, and to top off our week of one pot meals, it is a one pot meal, roasting vegetables and lentils with the chicken.

Chicken and Lentils

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 whole chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 8 pieces, or any combination of parts

1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon chopped or grated fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup chopped tomato (canned is fine; include the juices)

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large bunch fresh cilantro or parsley sprigs, tied together with kitchen string

Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks

1 cup dried brown or green lentils, washed and picked over

Put the oil in a deep skillet with a lid or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chicken, skin side down, and brown it well, rotating and turning the pieces as necessary; the process will take 10 to 15 minutes. (You can skip this step if you like; heat a tablespoon of oil and go directly to cooking the onions.)

When the chicken is nicely browned, remove it from the skillet and turn the heat down to medium. Pour or spoon off all but a tablespoon of the oil. Stir in the onions, garlic, ginger, tomato, coriander, and some salt and pepper. Add 4 cups water, along with the cilantro or parsley bundle, cinnamon sticks, and lentils. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently but steadily, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are almost tender.

Discard the herb bundle and cinnamon sticks and return the return the chicken to the pan, skin side up. Cover and continue to let the mixture bubble gently until the chicken is cooked through, another 10 to 20 minutes; the chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 155-165°F. Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve. (At this point, you may let the dish sit for a few hours or cover and refrigerate for up to a day before re-heating and serving; you may have to add a little water to thin the sauce a bit.)

This dish goes nicely if you serve this with rice, warmed pitas, or any crusty loaf of bread. If you want to follow Mark Bittman on Facebook, you can check him out here, or try his website here to sign up to get recipes every week.

As a final note, the latest issue of Bon Appetit has some great recipes in it and some St. Patrick’s Day ideas as well (it’s never too early to start thinking ahead. You can check them out at the link to their page that I have listed on the right, or you can just click here to go and see what’s new or even subscribe to the magazine (it’s one of my favorites). That’s all I have for today. Time to get on with Guys Night. Sean has already starting playing one game, and the pizza guy is here, so I will be back tomorrow. I’m not cooking tomorrow either, but I will be back with some “guy” recipes that Sean and I like. Have a great night!

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Cooking, Cooking Websites, Meal Plan Menu, Poultry

 

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Jennifer Probst

a little bit naughty a little bit nice

Laissez Faire

Letting Life Lead

simple cooking recipes

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