Monday, September 10, 2012

MPM - 9/10

I have had the most trying and most fun day in a long time.

First off, I am pleased to say that I have met my goal of keeping up with my menu plans.  I want to plan several weeks ahead, but at the moment doing one week at a time is at least forward progress after going so many  months with out doing them.  I will be linking up with MPM once again.

So, I am posting this menu plan for this week:

Sun. - Slow cooker Pork roast, Green beans, homemade pasta with pesto sauce
Mon. - Stuffed peppers, rice, salad (this may change)
Tues. - Garlic Chicken Scampi, homemade pasta, green salad
Wed.  - Egg rolls, fried rice, wonton soup
Thurs. - Brisket, beans, potato salad 
Fri. - Slow cooker scalloped potatoes and ham, pea salad.
Sat. - Left Overs

The beauty of menu planning is that you can be as strict with it or just use it as a tentative guide.  Here, we use it as a tentative plan.  1. I am still getting back in to the groove of menu planning, so things come up that I forgot to plan for.  2. Our routine for the family this time of year is always last minute kind of changes going on.  That's why, for me it just a kind of road map to follow but still has room for sight seeing.  

For example, I had planned out my first menu plan for the week, making up meals that would use up the left overs.  In other words planned left overs.  Only one problem, that little 2 pound pork shoulder roast just didn't have enough meat left over for four more meals.  Also, I used a different recipe tonight, wanted a less spiced up recipe so any left over meat could be used for different recipes.  Didn't want the flavors competing so to speak.  Normally, my family doesn't much care for pork roast so there is lots of left over meat. Not this time, they really liked it.  I have to say, in all honesty, I liked it too.  I had almost given up on cooking pork roast because they just never seemed to come out right.  This recipe is out of my new Fix It and Forget It Big Cookbook that is for slow cookers.  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK. The recipe was super simple and has changed my mind about pork roast.
It really was good. Guess I said that already. Don't you just love those slow cooker liners? I won't post the recipe as that would be against copyright laws.

Back to the point, as I said, I had already planned the week's menu, making use of all those left overs.  Realizing there just wasn't that much left over, I had to redo the menu.  The second attempt had like three days of chicken in a row.  That would just never go over in this house.  Also, I realized as I cleaned out the fridge that I had some items that needed to be used sooner rather than later, so menu plan number three was formed. That is what I posted above, that is what I am going with.  Unless I go to the spare fridge tomorrow and find that the peppers have gone bad.  Then I will figure out something else.  My family would love to have beef and potatoes every night of the week, however, I am just not creative enough to pull that off so I try to be sure and not have the same meat two days in a row, vegetables either.  Besides, I dearly love my chicken and potatoes are not diabetic friendly to my body.

Menu planning is a best friend for the budget.  1. You know ahead and can plan for it.  2. No impulse buying because you now have a plan. 3. You can take advantage of sales or great buys you happen on. I am hoping to use menu planning and once a month cooking or bulk cooking to cut my grocery bill.  My goal is to cut it by 1/4 for the next two months, then 1/2 after that.  That is going to be hard because of holiday cooking, but I think I can do it.  I am going to give it my best try at any rate.  I actually have a very well stocked pantry, fridge and freezer so it really should be easy to accomplish.  Of course, there seems to be always something I am finding I am out of that I thought I had.  Am sure there will be small trips to the store a few times.  Hopefully a minimum amount.  If you need some inspiration for your menu planning, head on over to Organizing Junkie where she host Menu Plan Monday, hundreds of creative minds post their menus each Monday to share with all.

This was tonight's dinner.
It was really good and since there was not much left over, I know the family liked it too.  

The beans have a really long name, Pennsylvania Dutch Green Bean Casserole, but when Mom shared the recipe to be published in a cookbook for the Airstream club she called it Marinated Green Beans.  When I see "marinated" I just automatically think of Italian seasonings, oil, like marinade for meat. This recipe is sweet and sour thing with the mix of sugar and vinegar.

Marinated Green Beans

2 cans french cut green beans
1 med. onion, cut in rings (I usually end up cutting in half rings, gives me a flat side to cut the onion easier)
8 strips of bacon (I find that four is fine)
1/2 c. slivered almonds
6 T. sugar
4 T. vinegar

Drain beans, put in casserole dish.  Place separated onion over beans.  Fry bacon strips, save drippings.  Cut bacon strips in halves, lay over onion rings. (I chop my bacon before I cook it, so it is more diced) Add sugar and vinegar to the bacon drippings.  Heat drippings and pour over casserole.  Marinate several hours or overnight. (overnight is the best, but is still flavorful after about 4-6 hours) Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Takes a little prep time, but well worth it.

My other triumph tonight was my home made pasta.

 OH AM I SO GLAD I BOUGHT THIS MACHINE. I admit, there is a huge learning curve with the dough, but I am looking forward to making more.  I was a little nervous about the whole thing after reading some of the reviews of the people that did not like the machine.  I wondered if it truly was the machine, or as one reviewer put it, just a problem with their dough.  I whole heartily believe it is the dough.  My research, and an earlier attempt at making noodles, convinced me that it is very important to use the recipe provided with your machine. The proportions are different for different machines.  At first my dough was a little dry, added some water, then it was a little too wet.  I kept working with it and was able to get it going fairly well.  If the dough is too wet, it won't extrude correctly.  If the dough is too dry, the pasta won't keep it's shape. All in all, I considered it a success.  In fact, I had way too much pasta.  I have some in the freezer and will bag it up, see how that works.  I have some of the dough left over as well which I bagged up and put in the fridge.  I have no idea how that will work, but I hope to do a little more research and see if I can find away to preserve it or store it so I could make a large batch and just pull off what I need for the meal.

I don't know if it is the cat I am babysitting (my youngest son's), allergies, a late summer cold, or a mix of all three but I am sneezing, blowing my nose while trying to catch it from running away and my head feels like it weighs a ton. I am off to soak in the tub with some eucalyptus salts and then doing a little reading before I hit the bed.  Morning routine starts early around here, and then I will get Mister M. too.  Also, I have managed to go through most of my boxes of craft stuff, just have the fabric to stack on shelves.  Hubby finally got my sewing table put together tonight as well.  The diva den, craft studio, is almost back in place and ready to start having some creating going on. Kind of bitter sweet though, found three projects that I was supposed to complete for my mom and didn't.  Now that she is gone, it kind of hurts to come across them knowing that I didn't finish them for her.

Thanks for stopping by, come again soon.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Dianna - I'm posting here because you don't have your email in your profile. I"m not sure what you mean by how I get my recipe list to work. Did you want to make your own? I created a blog called "Cyndi's Recipes," and it's just the recipes. There are also posts within that blog that have links to the recipes - for example, I have a post called "Beef." Then the post itself is just links to all the Beef recipes. Then I use the URL of the "Beef" post as a link in my main blog sidebar under recipes. Does that make sense? Or were you asking about something else? You can email me at cholmaneee at uia dot net so we can not use the comments to continue the topic.