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Sunday, 20 November 2011

What's for dinner moommm?

On Friday when the flyers come in I always like to make a full week's meal plan. I find this helps me best utilize what I have in the house, what's on sale, and saves me time and money. If I don't have regular meals planned I'm more prone to eating cheap, processed, canned meals or even food. If anything adds up the budget fastest, it's eating out. I also find that if I'm not looking for specific items for meals I spend way more in the grocery store and indulge more on things like junk food, ice cream, appetizers etc.

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My meal plans are made from Monday to Friday and they include both lunch and dinner, aside from Friday's dinner. I don't normally include that meal or the weekends because my boyfriend, Charles, either comes over or I go to his place and so we come up with meals, and shop for them, together. I also like to include leftovers sometimes, since I sometimes manage to make way more than I could eat in one sitting, and it's a more sure way of using them up and not wasting them. Monday lunches are usually just consistent of leftovers from the weekend.

So I figure, since I'm creating these meal plans each week that I'll share them each Sunday morning so you guys can steal some of the recipes if you like. Some of the recipes are ones I've been making for a while, some are extremely basic (chicken or salmon salad anyone?), and some are new recipes. If I ever try a new recipe I'll let you know how it went the next week!

This week I'm wanting some really eezy-peezy meals since I have huge exams all week, but I promise there will be more interesting recipes as we go along! I'm dying to experiment making my own shrimp rolls and wonton soup!

Lunch: Leftovers from the weekend.
Dinner: Dutch babies.

Lunch: Store-bought roast chicken and store-bought macaroni salad.
Dinner: Rice salad with beans, brocolli, peppers and onion.

Lunch: Roast chicken sandwich melts
Dinner: Baked salmon and salad with a balsamic fig vinegar dressing.

Lunch: Leftover rice salad
Dinner: Chicken noodle soup

Lunch: Squash ravioli with garlic butter sauce.

Now for the recipes!

Dutch Babies: If you have never had a dutch baby you need to try them! They are like a pancake mixed with crepe mixed with awesomeness; so light and fluffy yet shockingly filling and sooo delicious!
Image found here.
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place the butter in a 10 inch glass pie plate and place in the oven so the butter can melt and the plate can warm up.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat eggs with a whisk until light. Add milk and stir. Gradually whisk in flour, nutmeg and salt. 
  3. Make sure the butter in the plate is melted and covering the bottom of the pie plate.  Pour the batter into the pie plate and place straight into the oven. Do not mix.
  4. Bake until puffed and lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Remove promptly and sprinkle with powdered sugar. 
     Recipe adapted from here

    Rice Salad: This is just my own recipe I have created and like to throw together! There are a million different variations you can try depending on what is in your fridge.
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    • Cooked rice (Basmati is my personal favorite but you can use brown or white rice.)
    • Can of beans (You can use black, kidney, or mixed beans)
    • Chopped peppers
    • Chopped broccoli
    • Diced onion
    • Olive oil
    • Splash of lemon
    • Fresh basil
    • Pinch of salt and pepper

    Cook your rice according to its directions and allow to cool while you chop up whatever vegetables you have in your fridge. You can use steamed carrots, peas, corn, raw broccoli, peppers, onions, etc. For this week I'll be using broccoli, red peppers, and onions. Toss together with the rice. I then like to add a can of beans in order to add a little protein to the recipe, I'll be using canned kidney beans. Then I tear up some fresh basil (although you can use dry herbs if you like)  and add some olive oil, a splash of lemon, and just a pinch of salt and pepper. Indulge! This recipe especially tastes great the next day as the flavours are allowed to infuse. If you find the salad too dry just add more olive oil or lemon juice to your liking. This recipe could also be really great with quinoa instead of rice.

    Roast Chicken Sandwich Melts: Again, another recipe I just throw together using leftover chicken. No recipe is even necessary. Just make an open faced sandwich with Miracle Whip or the condiments of your choice, place a generous portion of chicken, add a few slices of cheese on top, and cook in the oven at 350 degrees till the bread is toasted, then broil for 2 or 3 minutes so the cheese can fully melt and brown. Or, if preferred, you could even pre-toast your bread then just use the broiler to melt the cheese.
    You could also add veggies like fried onions and mushroom or tomatoes, fresh basil could be delicious too! (I have fresh basil in my fridge so I'm trying to use it up ahahaha). Oooh a homemade basil pesto with the sandwich could also be delicious!
    (Sorry I couldn't find a pretty picture for this, but trust me! It's delicious!)

    Baked Salmon and Salad: Real simple, bake up a salmon fillet in the oven (I like to season with salt, pepper, rosemary, and oregano) and top onto a simple salad with romaine lettuce and other raw veggies of your choosing. I like to use balsamic vinegar with fig for a dressing.
    Image found here
    Chicken Noodle Soup: This is another recipe from my mom that I just kind of throw together and have no specific measurements.
    Image found here
    •  Whole chicken carcass with some meat left on the bones.
    • Chopped whole onion
    • Chopped carrots 
    • Chopped celery and whole celery heart with leaves attaches
    • Large pinch of sage
    • Large pinch of thyme
    • Several star anise seeds (this chicken soup is not the same without these!)
    • 3 or 4 bay leaves
    • A pinch of poultry seasoning (optional)
    • A small pinch of tumeric (mostly for colour and some flavour)
    1.  Sautee onions in a large soup pot with a little bit of oil.
    2. Add carcass to soup pot and allow to brown for a few minutes just before adding the water. You can add as much water to make as much soup as you'd like, but the more water added the longer your soup will have to cook. I'd recommend around 8 cups.
    3. Add the whole celery heart, leaves and all. This imparts excellent flavour. Add several large chunks of carrot. These items can be removed just before the soup is done then separately chopped carrots and celery can be added instead if you wish and cooked for around 15 minutes.
    4. Add your spices. Make sure to strain the anise seeds once the soup is done, or just pick them out of your individual bowls.
    5. Cook soup for 1-3 hours, or more, if so desired. I like to make this around lunch time then cook it right until dinner time. Once the soup is done remove the chicken bones. You can place these on a plate and pick off the meat from them as it turns out extremely tender and delicious.
    6. Cook noodles of your choice in a separate pot according to their instructions then add to individual bowls.
    Squash ravioli with garlic butter sauce: For the sauce I just sautee some garlic in butter and olive oil, you can also throw in some bell peppers, zucchini, or onions, then toss with pre-made, cooked squash ravioli (can be found at Costco!).
    Image found here

    Well I hope you enjoy these recipes and happy eating!

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