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  1. Sunday, January 17

    Week 156 Menu

    Good morning! I’m up with the birds, eating oatmeal with my sweet Cate and actually getting my menu done well before 10 pm. I think it’s going to be a good day. Well, except for the 6 loads of unfolded clean laundry leering at me.

    oatmeal sunday breakfast web

    Yeah, yeah…I have a couple duplicates from last week’s menu. We ended up taking an impromptu trip to Monterey for two days, so we ate out a little more than planned. Which is always a fun thing!

    MONDAY:
    – Homemade pizza…toppings tbd

    TUESDAY:
    Goat Cheese & Sun Dried Tomato Pasta (thank you to renee for the link!)
    – Salad & Bread

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Maple glazed chicken (one of Cate’s wonderful preschool teachers slipped me this recipe last week and it looks divine…I will definitely share the recipe after I get some good photos!)
    – Rice & Veggie

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    Waffles (recipe is about half-way down the page; try using 1/2 white flour, 1/2 white whole wheat flour…it comes out great!)
    – Smoothies (anyone have a vegetable suggestion for secretly slipping into a fruit smoothie?)

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out

    SUNDAY:
    Lentil Soup

    Your turn! Please share your menu for the week! Big, small, short, tall…we love ’em all! (Perhaps I should ditch this blogging thing and become a poet?)


  2. Friday, January 15

    “Food Matters” Giveaway Winners!

    I absolutely loved all of your comments on my New Year’s resolution post. I mean, I’m pretty sure the giveaway had something to do with the comments. 🙂  But regardless, you shared so many wonderful thoughts, helpful information and support, and some of you are even joining the Eat Less Meat challenge!

    food matters giveaway winners web

    If you are not one of the lucky people to win a copy of Food Matters by Mark Bittman,  don’t despair. You can purchase the hardback here and the paperback just came out. Neither one is very expensive and worth every…last…penny.

    Sales pitch over. Time for the winners!

    Total Fit Girl, who said “I’d love to win a book! I’m trying to eat less meat as well and would love to learn more and get some new recipes!”

    Patti, who said, “I’m making the switch to less meat. I’d heard Bittman interviewed about this book, would like to read it.”

    Peter, who said, “As a HUGE meat eater, married to a loyal Jane Maynard fan and fellow traveler, my heart sinks a little upon reading this. But, alas, truth is on your side. I salute you.”

    Jessica, who said, “Great new years resolution”

    Jessica, who said, “As a long time menu-sharer, you may have noticed we don’t eat an excessive amount of meat. We started eating less meat a couple years ago, and the more I read and learn about the state of our food policies in this country, the less I end up eating it. We started out just cooking with it less, and have moved on to buying local grass-fed meats or organic meats when we can’t get what we need locally. Because these products cost more we eat even less meat now, but feel much better about it when we do. I’ve been a fan of Michael Pollan’s for many years now, and definitely recommend his books on this subject. Food, Inc. was also very eye opening, not just on the meat issue, but on the food industry in general. There is also a good video of Mark Bittman on TED discussing the topics in his book. Happy Veggie New Year!” (I don’t know Jessica personally, but she HAS been posting menus on  this blog almost from Day 1! I guess all that loyalty finally paid off!)

    Congratulations to our winners! And stay tuned as I continue on the Eat Less Meat journey.


  3. Thursday, January 14

    Haiti

    I just received an email from a friend of a friend (Emily) that I would love to share with you. Emily worked for the Peace Corps for three years in the Dominican Republic and has friends still working there. She has been in touch with them and, as we can all tell from the heartbreaking news coverage, the situation is dire. Emily shared the names of four solid organizations that are on the ground and ready to immediately put donations to work. Here is the information she sent.

    Haiti Reborn: An NGO with representatives in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. Emily said donations to their organization will reach locals quickly. Donations to help earthquake relief efforts can be placed at http://www.quixote.org/earthquake. You can visit their website http://www.quixote.org for regular reports and updates.

    Doctors Without Borders: Another organization already in Haiti and working directly with victims of the earthquake. Visit http://doctorswithoutborders.org for information and donations.

    Partners in Health: Based in Boston, Partners in Health (PIH) have been working in Haiti for many years to establish rural health clinics to address HIV/AIDS and TB as well as other issues plaguing the country. PIH staff in Boston and Haiti are working to collect as much information as possible about the conditions on the ground, the relief efforts taking shape, and all relevant logistics issues in order to respond efficiently and effectively to the most urgent needs in the field. At the moment, PIH’s Chief Medical Officer is on her way to Haiti, where she will meet with the leadership and head physicians for Zanmi Lasante, PIH’s partner organization in Haiti,  who are already working to ensure PIH’s coordinated relief efforts are leveraging the skills of more than 120 doctors and nearly 500 nurses and nursing assistants who work at Zanmi Lasante’s sites. Visit http://www.pih.org for more information.

    Yéle Haiti: Wyclef Jean’s organization. Emily said that this organization does fantastic work in general – she had a chance to work with them when she was in the Peace Corps. They have many directly-linked projects to community groups in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. There are two ways to donate to Yéle Haiti: you can send the text message “YELE” to 501501 to donate $5 (this will appear on your phone bill) or you can visit the website http://www.yele.org

    I am not affiliated with any of these organizations and have not worked with any of them. Please feel free to do your own research and then help how you see fit.

    Love and prayers to all the people of Haiti and their loved ones.


  4. Wednesday, January 13

    Kitchen Tip: Freezing Wine

    I love today’s Kitchen Tip. This one is thanks to my friend Nikki, who shared the Pasta Primarvera with us.

    freezing wine web

    Nate and I don’t drink, but I do cook with wine when a recipe calls for it. There’s a problem with this combination – whenever I use wine for a recipe, I have tons leftover that invariably goes to waste. Even if you do drink wine, I’m sure there are times leftover wine goes bad sitting in your fridge.

    Guess what? You can freeze wine and cook with it later!  How great is that?  My technique is to measure 1 cup of wine into small ziploc bags and then lay them flat in the freezer. Ice cube trays can work, too. If using plastic bags, be sure to double up on the bags as the wine never freezes completely solid and can leak. As long as there are 2 bags, you won’t have any wine in the bottom of your freezer. Also, I find it’s more helpful to measure out the wine into 1/4 and 1/2 cup measurements as that is what most recipes call for.

    And because I’m proving to be a real Mark Bittman groupie, check out this great article about freezing foods. This is where Nikki found the wine tip. I actually had read the article but totally missed the wine. Thanks once again, Nikki!


  5. Tuesday, January 12

    Pasta Primavera from Moosewood

    Have you heard of the Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks? If you have a vegetarian friend (or you are a vegetarian) who likes to cook, then you probably have. I can’t believe how many vegetarians in the last week have recommended various Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks to me. I think it’s time to go cookbook shopping. (Click here to read more about this interesting restaurant.)

    moosewood restaurant's pasta primavera from @janemaynard

    My friend Nikki made Pasta Primavera for us one night and it was divine. I couldn’t wait to get the recipe and she happily shared. It’s from the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites cookbook, which she said is her favorite of their books. If you want to buy it, click here.

    Let me warn you, this dish is a labor of love. Chopping all those vegetables takes time…especially if you add  more vegetables than the recipe calls for like I did. But it is an excellent dish, is super healthy, and if you’re only feeding 4 people like me you will have tons of leftovers. Blanching the vegetables as indicated in the recipe makes for perfectly cooked veggies.

    One more quick tip…I had some Tuscan Tomato Soup leftover when I made this pasta. Pouring a bit of that soup over the pasta was oh so good.

    Pasta Primavera from Moosewood
     
    My friend Nikki discovered this fabulous and filling vegetarian recipe and shared it with me. I will be forever grateful to her!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Vegetarian
    Ingredients
    • 6 garlic cloves (Nikki sometimes uses more)
    • 2 tsp olive oil (Nikki sometimes uses more, I think I did more like 2 Tbsp.)
    • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
    • ¼ cup dry white wine
    • ½ – 1 tsp salt (I’ve added this because it definitely need more salt, and if you add at this point with the sauce I think it will diffuse through the ingredients better than seasoning at the end)
    • ½ cup sliced fresh basil leaves (slice them crosswise)
    • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
    • 1 pound asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch matchsticks (Nikki leaves this out, I kept it in)
    • Handful snow peas, cut in half width-wise (Nikki & Jane addition)
    • Handful sugar snap peas, cut in half width-wise (Jane addition)
    • Handful green beans, cut into 2-inch lenth pieces (Nikki and Jane addition)
    • 2 small zucchini, cut into 2-inch matchsticks (Nikki likes summer squash better)
    • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
    • salt and ground black pepper to taste
    • 1 pound fettuccine or butterfly pasta (farfalle)
    • ¼ cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
    Instructions
    1. Bring a covered pot of water large enough to accommodate a colander or steamer basket to a boil (neither Nikki nor I have one of these setups, so we use a slotted spoon to scoop the veggies out of the hot water when it’s time). Meanwhile, saute the garlic and oil in a saucepan for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine and salt and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the basil and red onions, cover, and remove from the heat.
    2. When the water is boiling, blanch the vegetables. (If you prefer to steam the vegetables, allow 3 minutes between each addition of vegetables). Put the carrots in first. After 1 minute, add the asparagus and bell peppers (if doing snow peas, sugar snap peas and/or green beans, toss them in at this point). After another minute, add the zucchini (or summer squash) and peas. Cook for 1 minute more and then lift out the colander and all of the vegetables and set aside to drain. Reserve the pot of boiling water for cooking the pasta. Stir the vegetables into the tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper (if needed). Cover and set aside.
    3. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water. Toss the pasta with the reserved cooking water and 3 tablespoons of the grated cheese. Top with the tomato-vegetable sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve immediately.

    moosewood pasta primavera2 web


  6. Whoops Bunny Meal Planner Giveaway Winner!

    First off, can I say how happy I am so many of you are meal planning out there?  Or wanting to get into it?  What wonderful comments you shared for the Whoops Bunny meal planner giveaway! You made me smile.

    whoops bunny2 web

    Before I announce the winner…don’t forget the super sassy frameable meal planner from Ollibird that you can download for FREE on the original giveaway post.

    And, you can buy the adorable Whoops Bunny meal planner and shopping list by clicking this link.

    Now, for the moment of truth…random.org selected CheekyChic as our winner! Here’s what she told us: “I’ve been meal planning since I got married to my sweet husband Shawn. The only flaw, which I didn’t know was a flaw until reading your post, was I was writing my meal plans on ripped out notebook paper. Wouldn’t your giveaway be perfect for me? Thanks!”

    Now you can plan the RIGHT way, CheekyChic. 😉

    Thanks to everyone who entered and happy meal planning!


  7. Sunday, January 10

    Week 155 Menu

    I started a 10-week photography gig this past week for a big food company. Fun, huh? Yesterday while I was shooting one of the recipes, Cate was putting together a lovely dish of her own. She was telling me that she had just started a new job where she needs to cook and take pictures. Oh, and since we are both earning more money, we can now sit in the front of the airplane. It was so sweet…and funny. Here is her creation, Townhouse Crackers with red grapes, poultry seasoning and black pepper.

    cate's creation web

    Now that I’ve made my new years resolution public, I have to stick with it! Nearly all of my recipes this week are meatless, or use leftover meat from another meal. So far so good! Eating out is going to be interesting. Nate picked up some burritos for lunch yesterday and we split one veggie and one carnitas between us. That’s already 50% less meat then we normally we would have eaten at the same lunch. I’m feeling good about it. Slow and steady.

    MONDAY:
    – Turkey Pot Pie
    – Salad & Bread

    TUESDAY:
    – Tortellini Pesto Soup & Bread (thanks to Sarah for emailing me the recipe! I’ll share it when I get a good picture)

    WEDNESDAY:
    Goat Cheese & Sun Dried Tomato Pasta (thank you to renee for the link!)
    – Salad & Bread

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Nachos Supreme with guacamole

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out

    SUNDAY:
    – Homemade pizza…toppings tbd

    Please share your menus for the week! As always, plain and fancy are welcome.  And please don’t feel pressure to do vegetarian meals…if you’re eating meat, I still want to know about it! Like I said, we’re not cutting meat completely, so I still want the ideas, meat free or not!  Have a happy week!


  8. Friday, January 8

    My New Year’s Resolution: Eat Well, Heal the Planet

    The giveaway included at the end of this post is now closed. But please keep reading because there’s a LOT of wonderful information here I don’t want you to miss!

    I am SO excited to share my new year’s resolution with you. And I’m SUPER excited about today’s giveaway (there will be 5 winners – sweet, eh?).  So let’s get to it, shall we?

    food matters post1 web

    Years ago I read the article “Unhappy Meals” by Michael Pollan in the New York Times. Combined with other reading and many discussions with people in “the know,” I have since been very interested in what eating healthy really means. As a result, I rarely buy processed foods and read all food labels with great skepticism, especially the ones with health claims. (Go read the article if you haven’t already. It’s awesome.)

    food matters post2 web

    I also think about the environment a lot. No matter where you stand on the issue, it is clear that we humans need to take steps to heal our planet. My dear friend Emily (who you can thank for the existence of this blog, by the way) recently recommended to me the book Food Matters by Mark Bittman (a writer for the New York Times and cookbook author whom I love – p.s. he’s not vegetarian). Food Matters talks extensively about the environmental impact of the way we eat. It’s astounding. In fact, I can only read the book in small snippets because I get too frustrated with the state of things. But it is an inspiring book and has over 75 recipes to get you going. (The NY Times article Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler by Mark Bittman is a great article and introduction to the issue. At the very least, read that article. You can also get information on Mark’s website, where you can officially become a lessmeatarian!)

    food matters mark bittman web

    Some interesting tidbits that caught my attention (just a few among many):

    • 40 calories of fossil fuel are required to produce 1 calorie of beef protein.
    • Meat consumption would have to fall 3 oz. a day to stabilize greenhouse gasses produced by livestock (which, by the way, produces more greenhouse gases than transportation)
    • In the late 1970s, the government nutrition recommendations were going to be “eat meat sparingly”…that is until the lobbies found out. The verbiage was switched to “eat less fat,” which changed everything and had multiple negative impacts (read the book for details!)
    • It’s not just about eating more organic dairy and grass-fed meat. If all of us switched to grass-fed beef today, we’d have to destroy most of our farmland and forests to create enough land for the cows to graze. There is simply too much demand. (Our consumption of meat per person has increased significantly over the last century.)

    Bottom line: Eat less meat. Eat less junk food. Eat more whole foods. We need to, for our own health and for the planet. Which leads us to the new year’s resolution portion of the program…

    I am going to cook and eat less meat going forward. I’m not eliminating it, I’m not becoming vegetarian or vegan. But I am going to increase my consciousness about the impact my food choices have on the environment and try to do something about it. I’m going to buy more local produce and meat, probably even join a CSA. I’m not going crazy but taking it one step at a time. I want the change to be sustainable because it has to be. We only have one earth. This is one meaningful way I can help save it.

    food matters post3 web

    What does this mean for you?  Two things.

    1. I’m going to explore vegetarian cooking (recipes, tips, etc) and share the journey with you. (No worries, for the carnivores…meat will still make appearances on the blog. Hello, Swedish Meatballs. But we will be eating less of said meatballs.)
    2. A GIVEAWAY!

    FIVE lucky random winners will each win one paperback copy of Food Matters by Mark Bittman. I wish I could get a copy for each and every one of you. It’s a fast read with wonderful info and recipes. You can buy it here…and of course you should enter the giveaway by adding a comment to this post by Midnight PT, Thursday, January 14. Good luck!

    Eat well, friends. Your body will thank you. So will Mother Earth.


  9. Thursday, January 7

    Swedish Meatballs

    Another Swedish food that my grandmother ALWAYS made was Swedish meatballs. Just like bulle, the smell alone takes me back in time. The last two years I’ve made meatballs 2 days before Christmas, ready to pop in the oven on Christmas Day. Making the meatballs is a little labor intensive, but doing them ahead makes for a super easy and delicious Christmas dinner.

    swedish meatballs finished product2 web

    Christmas or not, these are some good meatballs. They are best served with boiled red potatoes and lingonberry jam.

    Swedish Meatballs
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Beef
    Ingredients
    • FOR THE MEATBALLS
    • 1 pound ground beef
    • ¼ pound ground veal
    • ¼ pound ground pork
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • 2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 2 teaspoon paprika
    • 2 cups bread crumbs
    • ½ cup milk
    • 1 onion (medium) (I do only about ⅓ of an onion)
    • 2 tablespoon butter
    • 2½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
    • 3 beaten eggs
    • FOR THE SAUCE:
    • Fat left in skillet
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic
    • 5 tablespoon butter
    • 2 teaspoon tomato paste
    • 1 teaspoon beef concentrate (or bouillon cube)
    • 2 cups bouillon or beef stock
    • Optional: 1 teaspoon aromatic bitters (I’ve never used these)
    • ¼ cup butter
    • 1 cup sour cream
    Instructions
    1. Have meat ground together twice or mix really well. Soak bread crumbs in milk. Add meat – mix well. Mix in pepper, nutmeg, paprika, and beaten eggs.
    2. In a large frying pan, saute onions in 2 T butter until soft. Add salt and dry mustard and stir. Add onion mixture to meat mixture and mix well. Form 48 small balls. Brown meatballs in ¼ C butter. Remove balls – set aside in a 9×13 baking pan.
    3. Add garlic and 1 T butter to fat left in skillet. Blend in 4 more Tbsp. butter, tomato paste, beef concentrate, and beef stock. Stir mixture over low heat until it thickens slightly. Stir in 1 cup sour cream and a few more tablespoons of butter (yes, more butter!). Pour sauce over meatballs. Heat in moderate oven (I think baked them at 350 degrees) until hot.
    Notes
    This recipe improves if made one day ahead.

    swedish meatballs three meats webswedish meatballs cooking webswedish meatballs sauce webswedish meatballs in pan webswedish meatballs finished product1 web


  10. Wednesday, January 6

    I DARE you to make Meal Planning a New Year’s Resolution (random giveaway and a free download to help you get started!)

    This giveaway is now closed. But this post is full of great info…plus a free meal planner download. So keep reading!

    I don’t bug you very often about meal planning. I figure if you want to do it, you will. If you don’t, that’s fine too.

    However, every January I can’t help but plug meal planning as a great new year’s resolution. Here are a few quick reasons why I think you should start {or continue} meal planning:

    • Because I said so. Isn’t that enough?
    • It will save you money.
    • Weekly meal planning = less trips to the grocery store = a happier life
    • It only takes a few minutes. I SWEAR. Especially if you visit a certain helpful website each week to get ideas from…
    • You will no longer be stressed when dinnertime rolls around.

    For those of you who are thinking, “I’m not organized like that.” Don’t forget, I am NOT all that organized myself.  The only reason I get a meal plan done every week is because of this here blog. If I can do it, anyone can! And there are no rules when it comes to meal planning…don’t stress yourself out about it, just find a system that works for you.

    Now that I’m done lecturing, on to the fun stuff!

    Fun Thing #1: Whoops Bunny is giving away a Weekly Menu Planner & Shopping List, with a matching set of pencils. They are SUPER cute and come with a handy magnetic strip, so you can easily stick your meal plan to the fridge. To enter for your chance to win the set, just add a comment to this post by Midnight PT on Monday, January 11th.

    whoops bunny web

    Fun Thing #2: Ollibird has really cute meal planners that you print out and put in a frame. You then write your meal plan on the glass with wet or dry erase markers, which clean off easily week to week. You can find this design and this design at their etsy shop that you can download for $10.00 each. And…lucky you…Ollibird is providing a free download for the design you see below! Aren’t they the sweetest?

    Here’s how to download and print this beautiful menu planner:

    scribble menu copy web copy

    • Click on the image above. Save image to your computer. Dimensions are 19.625″ x 15.75″ but image can easily be cropped to most other standard dimensions. As is, the image will fit well in an Ikea Ribba frame.
    • To print the large image, try a printer such as Kinkos, which should be a little less than $10.

    Now that you have all these wonderful options for writing your menu plans, no excuses! And I hope to see your menus posted here on This Week for Dinner each week! I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again…I love reading your menus!

    One last thing…you don’t have to commit to meal planning as a resolution to enter the Whoops Bunny giveaway. Please, post a comment regardless! Although…the random number generator might look favorably on those who take the meal planning plunge. (Okay, maybe not…but it’s a nice thought!)

    BIG THANKS to Whoops Bunny and Ollibird for making this year’s meal planning post the best ever!