Sunday, August 28
First off, I want to thank you all for the incredibly kind things you said in the comments last week on the 500th menu. It does my heart good to know that the weekly meal plans and recipes I share are actually helping people and that I’m not the only one benefitting from the TWFD community. Much love to all and thank you!
School starts for us this week, so we’re moving from our footloose and fancy free summer schedule to a real routine. Planning the weekly dinner menu seems like a good way to kick the week off!
– Chicken on the grill
– Rice and caesar salad
– Brats with peppers and onions
– Tacos (with Cora’s ground beef recipe!)
– Eat out night
– Breakfast for dinner – omelets and smoothies
You all know the drill – please share your own meal plans for the week in the comments! You guys are the best!~
Sunday, August 21
The giveaway described below is now closed. Thank you to all who entered! Winners are listed below!
Today is a big milestone for my blog. It’s my 500th weekly menu post. FIVE HUNDRED. Five hundred Sundays in a row I have posted. No matter what. Yes, some of those posts didn’t have menus (like when I had babies or traveled to Africa or whatever). But most of those posts did include a weekly dinner plan and, more importantly, a place where our little community could come together to support and help one another get dinner on the table each week! I know these weekly posts have helped our family immensely over the years. I hope that it has helped some of you, too! In related news, I looked up the Week 1 Menu post. Oh man, we’ve come a long way from half a menu and only one comment from my friend Margo (thank you, Margo!).
I think it’s time to celebrate the big 5-0-0, don’t you? We’re doing two special things this week in honor of the big occasion.
Celebratory Act #1: Menu #500
First, I need to post a menu! This week’s menu is completely, totally, 100% UNrealistic and is actually a list of some (although not all) of my most favorite recipes on the blog. This seems like the best 500th menu I could pull together and is most certainly my dream menu (I would never in a million years make all of these recipes in one week, but it sure would be delicious!) Here are the links to all the recipes (links are also included in the downloadable PDF, which you can access by clicking the menu image above or by clicking here). As usual, please share your own weekly menu in the comments! (In fact, when you share, well, see celebratory act #2 below!)
- Island Pork with Sticky Rice
- Murgh Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)
- Grilled Salmon Tacos with Zesty Cilantro Slaw
- Aaron & Lindsay’s Chicken Tortilla Soup Extravaganza
- Honey Goat Cheese & Caramelized Onion Pizza
- Indian Burritos
- Chicken Kai Pa Lo
- Cilantro Sour Cream Enchiladas
- Stuffed Peppers
- Slow Cooker Sweet Korean BBQ Beef
- Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Celebratory Act #2: An awesome GIVEAWAY that you all need to enter! You guys. For real. Today’s giveaway is golden. I was able to get some of my favorite kitchen brands to donate all kinds of wonderful items for the 500th menu giveaway. AND we’re going to have three winners! Winner #1 will receive every last thing you see listed below. (Winner #1 is a lucky dog.) Winners #2 and #3 will each receive the first item on the list below (that beautiful 6-quart casserole from KitchenAid, which we will get to in a moment). Not too shabby, my friends! Here is how to enter the giveaway (prizes must be shipped within the US): Leave a comment, any comment, on this post before Midnight PT on Sunday 8/28/16. That’s it! BONUS ENTRY: Leave an additional comment with your menu for the week! (You must leave a separate comment to get the bonus entry.) BONUS ENTRY: Follow This Week for Dinner on Facebook! (If you already follow, that counts! You must leave a separate comment to get the bonus entry.) BONUS ENTRY: Follow This Week for Dinner on Pinterest! (If you already follow, that counts! You must leave a separate comment to get the bonus entry.)
This giveaway is now closed. Here are the winners!
- Ana was our grand prize giveaway winner! Her Pinterest bonus entry (#82) is what got her the prize, but here is her initial comment! “Jane, congrats on reaching 500! I’m in awe of you! What a generous prize!! Would absolutely love to win!!”
- KitchenAid Casserole Winner #1: Nora B (#214), who said: “Wonderful giveaway!”
- KitchenAid Casserole Winner #2: Barbara (#118), who said: “Congrats on your 500th menu. They are a huge help to me on those weeks when I just can’t think of anything to cook.”
You may be wondering what the giveaway actually is. Here we go!
- KitchenAid Professional Cast Iron 6-Quart Casserole (retail value $249.99): I love KitchenAid and they are always willing to provide the most wonderful gifts to celebrate my blog’s milestones. This cast iron casserole (with a lid that also works as a cast iron grill pan) is GORGEOUS and I love it so much. As I mentioned, all three winners of the giveaway will receive one of these for their very own (you get to pick the color, but I gotta tell you, you’d be crazy not to pick Fiesta Blue. Really, it is so pretty.)
- Steamboy 200CU Steam Floor Mop from Reliable (retail value $99.00): I’ve had my Steamboy since the start of the summer and it is my new favorite. It is just so easy to clean the kitchen floor and my 9-year-old Anna loves cleaning with it, which has actually been very helpful! I also love that there are zero chemicals involved. I use it once or twice a week and am so happy this steam mop is in my life.
- Force of Nature Kit (retail value $89.99): This is another new green cleaning tool we have in our home that is really cool. I actually just got mine, so I don’t have a lot of experience with it yet, but so far I love it. Basically you make a cleaning agent that is powerful, effective, chemical-free and safe. I’ve really tried to cut back on chemical use in our home for many reasons and this gadget will help tremendously.
- Le Creuset Butter Crock: You should all own one of these by now because I talk about it enough. But I have a sneaking suspicion a few of you may still need one. Into the giveaway it goes!
- Silpat Baking Mat (Half Sheet Size): This is another item I use ALL THE TIME. In fact I own four of them.
- Q Squared NYC’s Knoll Gardens Serving Bowl with Provence White Salad Servers: Q Squared makes the best melamine dishware around and their new Knoll Gardens pattern has stolen my heart. (Note: the salad servers are not pictured above but are included in this giveaway.)
- Magic Chef Microwave Cookware Set: Earlier this year I worked with Magic Chef to do recipe demos at a huge housewares show in Chicago to show off their new microwave cookware, which just hit the market! My favorite thing about this cookware is how it allows you to harness the steaming power of the microwave to cook all kinds of things, like perfectly tender chicken and heavenly chocolate lava cakes.
(Better Zester photo credit: KitchenIQ)
- Better Zester from KitchenIQ: Everyone needs a good zester in their life, and everything I’ve ever gotten from KitchenIQ has been awesome (including their knife sharpener, which I use every day!).
(Smood photo credit: Dreamfarm)
- Smood from Dreamfarm: Dreamfarm makes incredibly fun kitchen gadgets, many of which I own and love, and this one is no exception!
- ONE Beaded Bracelet, ONE T-Shirt and a fashionABLE Scarf: One of the very best things that has come out of having my blog is working with ONE. The work they do is inspiring and really making a difference and I am grateful to be a part of that work. Go ONE! And fashionABLE! (fashionABLE is a company I discovered through ONE and the work they do is amazing. And I love their scarves and have like a bazillion of them.)
A huge THANK YOU to all of these companies for making this giveaway possible!
Here’s to another 500 menus! (Oh man, can you imagine? Am I going to be posting these until I die? That would not be a bad thing, actually. ;))
Sunday, August 14
Happy Sunday! It’s going to be nice and warm this week, so I’m going with meals that don’t require much heat in the kitchen!
– Carnitas tacos
– Asian Chicken Salad
– Hot dogs and brats on the grill
– Fresh fruit
– Rachel Sandwiches
– Takeout night
– Breakfast for dinner: Waffles and Smoothies
Next week is Weekly Menu 500! How crazy is that?!?! Be sure to check in that day because I have something special planned to celebrate!
As usual, please share your own dinner plans for the week in the comments! I love reading them each week and using your ideas for inspiration, and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way! 🙂
Thursday, August 11
I have to confess something. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to Mexican food. I blame living 20-40 miles from the Mexican border for eight of the last 15 years, with the other seven years still being in California. One of my biggest fears of moving away from the San Diego area is that I won’t be able to access my favorite Mexican ingredients for cooking at home. No, really, it’s a true FEAR.
Now that you know I’m a snob, I have another confession to make. Ground beef tacos are not my favorite and I refer to them as “gringo tacos” in my head (especially when crispy taco shells are involved). This isn’t to say Mexican cuisine does not include seasoned ground beef for tacos, it’s just not my first pick and ground beef is never on the menu at any of my favorite Mexican restaurants. That all said, I will still eat and even cook ground beef tacos occasionally, it’s just never my first choice.
While we were visiting family the last few weeks, however, my sister-in-law Cora (who is a wonderful cook as well as a crazy talented photographer) made the best ground beef tacos I’ve ever had. Her Mexican friend Zu taught her how to make this delectable taco meat, and Cora has now passed that wisdom on to you and me.
Please note: The amount of meat you see in the picture above is the recipe below doubled.
First off, you will not need taco seasoning packets ever again. Stop buying them.
Secondly, after you make this taco meat, you will want to eat 10 tacos. You’ve been warned. (After Nate’s umpteenth taco he declared, “Why are these SO GOOD?!”)
Thank you, Cora, for bringing ground beef tacos back into my life in the most delicious way.Cora's Mexican Ground Beef TacosMy sister-in-law Cora gave me this recipe. Her Mexican friend taught her how to make this meat and it is scrumptious!Author: Cora WallinServes: 8Ingredients
- 1½ pounds ground beef
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (Cora prefers chipotle chili powder)
- 1 teaspoon paprika (Cora uses smoked paprika)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1½ - 2 tsp seasoned salt (to taste)
- 1 handful chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ onion, diced
- 1 pint quartered grape tomatoes
- Brown beef over medium heat in a large, preferably deep, skillet. Use a potato masher to really break down the meat as it cooks. (The potato masher is the secret trick to this recipe!)
- When the beef is about halfway browned, drain off excess fat, then add the diced onion and seasonings. Continue browning, then add the chopped cilantro and tomatoes.
- Reduce heat to low and cook until tomatoes and onions melt into the beef mixture, at least 20 minutes. You can add a bit of water as it cooks if needed. Also, continue to use the potato masher throughout the cooking process.
- Awesome served with fresh homemade salsa (like this one), pico de gallo and Cholula hot sauce...but you can eat it however you want!
Sunday, August 7
Tomorrow is my last day of vacation…which means next week I will be back to normal with everything, including the weekly meal plan. This week I’m planning a nice and simple menu to ease myself back into real life.
– Honey Goat Cheese Pizza
– Travel day…airport food
– Caprese Salad
– Takeout night
– Carnitas tacos
Your turn! Please share your dinner plans for the week in the comments, too! And have a great week!