Sunday, October 30
Trader Joe’s chocolate-covered pretzels are the devil. Or at least one of his tools of destruction. I hadn’t bought them in a while, and for some reason (I think it was the devil sitting on my shoulder) I bought a bag this weekend. And now I remember why I stopped buying them…I lose all self-control! The bag is almost gone, which means…I may have to hit Trader Joe’s later today.
Our last visitor is coming this week: Nate’s mom. I love my mother-in-law. I love all my in-laws. No one believes me. I could live with them. For real. So I can’t wait for Pat to get here! I’m putting a meal plan together, but it may change based upon, well, life with a newborn and the fact that Pat will be here!
- Pizza or Rubio’s with friends before trick or treating!
- Beef stew
- Yummy bread
- My friend Ana is bringing us dinner. We’re still being spoiled!
- Guac and chips
- Bistro Chicken
- Mashed Potatoes and veggie
- Eat out
- Breakfast for dinner (sorry, Nate…unless you can convince your mom to make us something else!)
Your turn! Please share with us what you have planned for the week! And have a Happy Halloween!!!
Thursday, October 27
My friend Stefania (a.k.a. CityMama) brought us a delicious dinner after the baby was born. Stefania blogs about food AND does meal plans each week, so she’s a girl after my own heart. I was looking forward to seeing what she would bring us for dinner and, let me tell you, she did not disappoint. This braised chicken served with a side of bulgar wheat with sliced almonds was scrumptious.
Stefania sent me the recipe with a note that it’s an easy “wing it” recipe that is very forgiving. I like those kinds of recipes! And not only is it easy, but the flavors are wonderful – a perfect balance of savory tastes with a bit of sweet thrown in. Yum!
Braised Chicken with Rosemary, White Wine, Golden Raisins and Mushrooms
From Stefania Pomponi-Butler
- olive oil
- 3 lbs of cut up chicken parts (Stefania used thighs because she loves them, and I wholeheartedly agree!)
- 1 onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup or so dry white wine
- 2-3 glugs (tbsps) white wine or white balsamic vinegar (very important!)
- 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1/2 cup of golden raisins
- 1 basket of white mushrooms trimmed and sliced in half
- salt and pepper to taste
In a Dutch oven or covered braising pan, heat olive oil (as much as you like) over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to pan. When chicken is browned, toss in garlic and onion and continue cooking until onions are soft. Deglaze the pan with wine and vinegar, scraping up all the yummy bits. Add rosemary sprigs, raisins, and mushrooms. Stir gently, cover and continue cooking about 15 minutes until chicken is done. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove rosemary before serving. Even better the next day. (Great over rice, pilaf, pasta, bulgur wheat or with bread to soak up the yummy juices!)
Tuesday, October 25
My computer is finally fixed so I can finally publish this post, complete with the photos that were being held hostage by the Genius Bar! Yippee!
The icing on our fabulous Thai dinner proverbial ‘cake’ two weeks ago was pineapple satay with coconut caramel sauce. The pineapple was super yummy, but the sauce is what I really loved. Erika (who made the dinner for us) says she doesn’t just use this sauce for pineapple satay – she also uses it for pancakes and other stuff. I’m thinking on top of ice cream would be divine. Regardless of how you use the coconut caramel sauce, you need to tuck this recipe away for later use. It’s a keeper if there ever was one.
Coconut Caramel Sauce
From Sunset Magazine
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
In a small saucepan, combine sugar with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, swirling to dissolve sugar; boil, swirling occasionally (do not stir), until just golden and honeylike. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in coconut milk (mixture will bubble furiously).
From Sunset Magazine
- 1 ripe pineapple
- Coconut Caramel Sauce (above)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
Trim ends from pineapple, then stand it on one end and cut off peel. Quarter pineapple lengthwise and cut out core. Reserve half the pineapple for another use. Cut each remaining quarter into 4 lengthwise slices, then cut each slice in half to make 16 thin wedges. Skewer each lengthwise.
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for high heat (450° to 550°; you can hold your hand 5 in. above cooking grate only 2 to 4 seconds). Using a pastry brush, coat pineapple pieces with caramel sauce. Grill just until marks appear, then turn to mark other side, 4 to 5 minutes total. Put skewers on a platter, sprinkle with toasted coconut, and serve with remaining caramel sauce.
Sunday, October 23
My sister-in-law Jessica is with us this week helping out. Which is why I have this delicious raspberry cream cheese croissant muffin for breakfast. She knows how to spoil us!
She also is planning to make dinner for us every night she is here. So, my meal plan was SUPER easy to put together for you this week because Jess had already planned it. Plus she did all the grocery shopping. What an angel!
- Orange Chicken
- Rice and Veggie
- Kielbasa and rice
- Hamburgers and homemade onion rings
- Eat Out
- Tuscan Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese
Now it’s your turn – please share your menu for the week, no matter how plain or fancy it might be!
Friday, October 21
Today I want to simply share a great flavor combination I recently discovered (just like the apple bacon pizza).
We’ve all had the classic turkey and cranberry sandwich so you may be thinking I’ve got nothing new for you today. But I do. Bear with me. We’ve been eating at Cafe Borrone fairly regularly lately, and right now tomatoes are in season, which means that I order their amazing basil melt every time I go. But the other day I finally got a little tired of it. (I didn’t think that was possible!)
One of the “regulars” on their menu is a turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce, sprouts and cream cheese on a sweet baguette. I was kind of in the mood so I ordered it. And…it’s my new favorite. I really like the addition of sprouts. But what I really love is the cream cheese combined with the turkey and cranberry sauce. SO good.
So, here’s the “recipe.” And, unlike the basil melt and many other items at Cafe Borrone that I will forever be trying to replicate, this is one you can easily recreate at home!
Turkey Sandwich with Cranberry and Cream Cheese
Cafe Borrone knock-off
- Baguette (or other bread you like better – I love the baguette)
- Sliced turkey breast
- Jellied cranberry sauce, sliced or spread on the sandwich
- Cream cheese (big ole slices of it, no less)
Slap it all together and eat! YUM!
Thursday, October 20
One of the meals that was brought to us recently was a lasagna made by my friend Michele. I think lasagna is a great meal to take to people who have just had a baby. You can cook it in a disposable container, it can easily be made with or without meat depending on the family, and it makes a ton of food. We received a lasagna when we had Cate years ago and ended up wrapping individual servings for the freezer, leaving us with several meals that we could spread out over time. Of course, that’s what I did this time around as well. It’s so helpful!
And when the lasagna is AWESOME it’s even better. Michele used a recipe from Ina Garten, who we all know will never let you down! If you’re looking for a good lasagna recipe, this is it.
From Ina Garten
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound lasagna noodles
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
- 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.
Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one 1/3 of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.
Tuesday, October 18
Today I have a DELICIOUS guest post for you. Melissa Esplin is a friend of mine who used to live here in Menlo Park. She also happens to have a pretty awesome blog with a staggering amount of original content that I am in awe of. Melissa was an art major in college and has continued to utilize her artistic abilities years after graduating from school. You cannot believe the amazing things she creates…I mean, the girl knows how to weld. WELD. How can you not make amazing things with those kinds of skills?
Anyway, as a baby gift to me, Melissa agreed to do a guest post for my blog. And I’m so glad she did because it involves chocolate and David Lebovitz, a few of my favorite things. (I know David isn’t a thing, but how can I resist a Julie Andrews reference? Especially since David (and chocolate) are way better than raindrops on roses.) Thanks, Melissa, for helping out. I hope you all enjoy her lovely post!
Hello! Melissa Esplin here, can we all collectively say, “WOW & Congratulations!”? I’m just so amazed at how Jane is right back into things after kiddo numero 3! I’m so excited for you, Jane! Owen is absolutely beautiful.
I’m here to share with you my new favorite treat: Chocolate Idiot Cake with a salted caramel whipped topping. Mmm. Mmm! Chris said he just wanted chocolate or fudge for his birthday cake. No cake. Immediately I knew what I needed to make. I had found a recipe for a flourless chocolate cake on Pinterest that I knew would totally fit the bill. And it did. This cake is decadent, you only need the tiniest of slivers to send your tastebuds in chocolate shock. This recipe is so easy “Only an idiot would mess this up”, which naturally made me nervous before embarking. The guy who wrote the recipe is obviously a professional, and major foodie at that. What he thought would be an idiot-proof recipe I thought might be a bit on the complicated side. No way.
I made one change to the recipe, which ended up alright in the end. I don’t have a springform pan (gasp!). Aren’t ladies like me who like to cook supposed to have multiple springform pans? Instead I used a regular cake pan & lined the bottom with parchment paper. You’ll want to cut out the disc shape in your parchment, butter the bottom of your pan, then set place the parchment down. You don’t want the batter going underneath the parchment, hence the butter. Then you butter & powder the pan as suggested in the recipe. It took under 7 minutes to prep the cake batter & put it in the oven. SO FAST! Once I was done cooking, I let the cake cool properly before getting it out of the pan. I loosened the sides with a butter knife & loosened a couple of the edges of the parchment lining the bottom (being extra careful not to disturb the cake itself). I inverted the cake onto a cake plate & tapped the heck out of the pan. The cake came out perfectly!
For the topping, I made a salted caramel sauce (if the link to the blog that the recipe originally came from does not work, you can also find the recipe here) and folded a few heaping tablespoons of that into stiff whipped cream. Mmm. The salted caramel cream balanced out the rich cake with a lot of lightness & a touch of sweet. I can’t wait to make this again!
If this cake is really as easy as Melissa claims, I might just try making it myself despite the fact I’m a total zombie right now. Be sure to check out Melissa’s blog I Still Love You for a daily dose of fashion, crafting, tutorials, printables & more! I’m telling you, it’s good stuff.
Sunday, October 16
Sorry today’s post is late. And it doesn’t have a photo. Between Owen still not totally realizing that humans are NOT nocturnal and my computer shutting down and making an S.O.S. tone non-stop on Friday afternoon (right when I was about to sync up my new iPhone no less!) necessitating a trip to the Genius Bar where it still resides, well, I guess that says it all! But I haven’t ever missed a Sunday menu post and I’m not going to start now!
Monday is the last day for meals being brought in. It’s been heaven and we feel very grateful to so many wonderful friends! We’ll see how I do this week…Owen is definitely more work than my other babies were, so I’m still feeling a little (okay, a lot) worn out. We still have a lot of support the next few weeks, so we should be good regardless of how well I stick to the meal plan!
My mom’s team at work sent us a TON of frozen meals from Omaha Steaks, so we’ll probably start using some of those. So, for a few nights I’ll list the Omaha Steak food we’re eating, but link to my recipe I would normally use if I were actually cooking it!
- Dinner coming from friends
- Beef Stew
- Yummy bread
- Chicken Salad Sandwiches
- Fresh fruit (still coming in from our CSA!)
- Eat out
Let’s see what you got! Share your menus for the week! And I’ll have more recipes to share this week from meals that were brought in by friends (including the pineapple satay and coconut caramel sauce I was supposed to post on Friday before my computer decided to prove it knows Morse code).
Thursday, October 13
On Tuesday night, one of Cate’s former preschool teachers Ms. Erika brought us dinner. Erika loves to cook (in fact, she posts her menu on my blog every week!). A few days prior, she sent me an email with 6 different menu options, all of them completely delectable-sounding. Nate loves Thai food and anything with peanut sauce, so we picked the Thai-themed dinner. And I’m so glad we did…it was fantastic!
For dinner Erika cooked up chicken satay with peanut sauce that was seriously AWESOME. (I’m super excited about the peanut sauce recipe because I’ve tried several different brands and recipes and could never find one I liked. Finally, we have a winner!) For side dishes she made jasmine rice, Thai cucumber salad and a Thai slaw, all of which were wonderful.
For dessert Erika made pineapple satay with a coconut caramel sauce, which I will share with you tomorrow. You do not want to miss the coconut caramel sauce. It’s heaven.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to survive life without my friends cooking dinner for us every night. It ROCKS.
Of course I had Erika send me the recipes for everything she made. Enjoy!
Adapted from Vegetables on the Grill by Kelly McCune
- Appx 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips that fit on a kebob stick
- 4 tablespoons peanut oil
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh lemongrass
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon minced dry red chili pepper (or a few shakes of chili powder)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
In a food processor or blender, combine the oil, sherry, lemongrass, garlic, curry powder, chili pepper and brown sugar. Process until smooth. Pour mixture over chicken strips, toss gently to coat the pieces, and marinate for 1 hour or longer in the refrigerator.
Soak 16 wooden skewers in water for 15 minutes. Carefully insert skewers into chicken lengthwise.
Oil the grill. On a closed grill over medium hot coals, grill chicken, turning once until cooked through. Serve with peanut satay sauce.
Peanut Satay Sauce
Adapted from Vegetables on the Grill by Kelly McCune
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1/2 of a medium-sized white onion, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 cup canned coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon minced dried red chili pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh lemongrass (the tender inner stalks)
- 1/2 cup unsalted crunchy peanut butter
Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion, garlic and lemongrass together until soft and the onion is transparent. Add the curry powder and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the coconut milk, soy sauce, brown sugar, dried chili pepper, lemongrass and peanut butter. Cook over very low heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Thai Cucumber Salad
From Erika Bailey
- 1 medium, unpeeled English cucumber, sliced
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- About 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion (to taste)
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cubed small
- 1 small red chili pepper, seeded and sliced thin
Arrange cucumber, onion and pepper in layers in serving bowl. Mix vinegar, sugar, salt and hot water until sugar is dissolved. Sprinkle carrots over cucumber mixture. Pour liquid over cucumbers, chill several hours then serve.
Thai Slaw Salad
From Rachael Ray
- 1 (16 ounces) prepared shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix) from produce department
- 1/4 European seedless cucumber, sliced into thin sticks
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced on bias
- 20 leaves fresh basil, shredded
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup white distilled or rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar or 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Combine vegetables in a bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in a small plastic container and shake vigorously for 1 minute. Drizzle sauce over vegetables and toss to coat evenly. Let stand 10 minutes and re-toss before serving and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
Tuesday, October 11
I absolutely loved Maurice Sendak books when I was a kid. All of his books stand out clearly in my memory, from the wild things to the naked boy in the night kitchen to chicken soup with rice. Chicken soup with rice holds a very nostalgic place in my mind because of his book, even though I never actually ate it as a kid.
One of the many delicious meals that we’ve received from friends this past week was chicken soup with rice. It was SOOOO yummy. (Maurice would definitely approve.) Nate and I were literally fighting over the leftovers the next day. (He won, but in exchange he had to get me lunch at Cafe Borrone.)
My friend Mary Jo made the soup for us. I of course asked her for the recipe. She told me there was no recipe. I told her too bad and that she still had to write out exactly what she did for me. Thankfully, she obliged! I’m just hoping I’ll be able to recreate it!
Mary Jo’s Chicken Soup with Rice
- Boil 3 chicken breasts that have the skin still on and the rib attached, along with a chopped onion for maybe 25-30 minutes in a big pot. Save the broth.
- Cook some carrots (I did them separately in another pan just so they don’t get over-cooked in the soup pot.
- Cook some rice in a couple of cans of chicken broth—again not in the soup pot with the broth you’re saving. (I hate to use up all the good broth in the big pot)
- Tear the chicken off the bones and discard the bones and skin.
- Thicken the broth in the pot with some cornstarch.
- Add the chicken, carrots, rice. Season (salt, pepper, garlic salt—whatever) (Jane note: I could taste the black pepper in Mary Jo’s soup and that was one of my favorite aspects of the flavor.)
- Pour in some frozen peas that you’ve run some hot water over for a minute—the soup will cook them the rest the way, so they’ll hopefully remain a little green, rather than turn yellow.