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  1. Monday, June 18, 2018

    Week 583 Weekly Menu

    Hello meal planning friends! SO….this week Nate and I are heading to Sweden to spend some time with my parents, siblings and sister-in-law. My dad was born in Stockholm and none of his children have been to Sweden, so now we are all finally going together…without kids! I keep joking that the plane ride with Nate will feel like an extended date. 😉

    My in-laws are coming to watch the kids and for the first few days it’s just my (angelic) father-in-law holding down the fort, so we’re picking simple and easy meals for them to prepare together this week.

    Weekly dinner plans - Week 583 Weekly Menu from This Week for Dinner

    MONDAY:
    – Pesto Chicken Pasta

    TUESDAY:
    – Eat out

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Spaghetti
    Salad

    THURSDAY:
    – English Muffin Pizzas

    FRIDAY:
    – Hot dogs
    – Watermelon

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out

    SUNDAY:
    – Trader Joe’s Frozen Mac & Cheese
    – Salad

    I’m going to buy a few other prepared dinner items from Trader Joe’s and I think that should keep everyone covered on the home front. Everyone wish Grampa Herms good luck!

    You all know the drill, please post your menu in the comments below! And if I disappear for the next two weeks know it’s because we are thoroughly enjoying Midsummer in Sweden!


  2. Monday, June 11, 2018

    Week 582 Weekly Menu

    Happy Monday! I think it’s time I finally get my menu together for this week. It’s kind of a funny week with the last day of school and whatnot. Should be fun!

    Week 582 Weekly Dinner Menu from Jane Maynard of This Week for Dinner

    MONDAY:
    Thai Basil Beef with Coconut Brown Rice

    TUESDAY:
    Cora’s Mexican Ground Beef Tacos

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Leftovers

    THURSDAY:
    – Last day of school…eating on the fly!

    FRIDAY:
    – Spaghetti
    – Salad

    SATURDAY:
    – Attending a graduation party

    SUNDAY:
    – Father’s Day Feast…whatever Nate wants, still TBD!

    You know the drill…time to share your weekly meal plan in the comments below! Thank you and have a great week!


  3. Thursday, June 7, 2018

    Kitchen Sink Orzo Bowls

    These kitchen sink orzo bowls are delicious and a new favorite go-to dinner option in our house, super flexible and you can use whatever ingredients you have lying about…you know, everything but the kitchen sink!

    Kitchen Sink Orzo Bowls, a comforting, nutritious and delicious go-to dinner recipe

    Last week when I went to the farmer’s market I had no idea what I was going to be making for dinner that night (despite having a meal plan ready…yeah, sometimes I don’t follow it, I’m only human). I decided to see what vegetables I could find at the market and go from there. Then I came home, rummaged through the cabinets and fridge and discovered a package of whole wheat orzo. The result of all this searching and finding is today’s recipe, kitchen sink orzo bowls.

    Easy and tasty kitchen sink orzo bowl recipe

    This is a very flexible recipe. Pretty much the only ingredient you have to have is orzo! Olive oil, onions, tomatoes, salt and pepper are also pretty necessary, too, but beyond that you can throw all kinds of yummy veggies and even chicken or fish with success. As a result of all this flexibility, I don’t have any measurements for you on this recipe. I’ll describe the technique and the approximate amounts of ingredients I used and then I encourage you to take this recipe and make it your own. And your own version will probably even change depending on the season or what is in your fridge on a particular day.

    Recipe for Kitchen Sink Orzo Bowls - use whatever you have in the kitchen to make this delicious go-to dinner

    The final result is a very homey, tasty dish, reminiscent of a classic casserole but much healthier. If you’re craving risotto but don’t feel like cooking risotto, this is a great alternative, providing a similar texture and flavor without the long cooking process. Enjoy!

    Kitchen Sink Orzo Bowls
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Whole wheat orzo pasta (Definitely go whole wheat here! It's more nutritious and tastes the same! My favorite brand is Delallo Organic.)
    • Olive oil, a few tablespoons
    • Onion, about ¼-1/2 of an onion chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press
    • Cherry Tomatoes, halved, above one pint (you could also chop appx. 2 whole tomatoes)
    • Fresh vegetables, whatever you have lying around (I used 2 fresh summer squash)
    • Cooked chicken, chopped or shredded depending on your preference (About 1-2 chicken breasts' or a few thighs' worth of meat, I like the chicken to be grilled)
    • Dry white wine, ¼-1/2 cup or so (optional)
    • White balsamic vinegar, a few tablespoons (optional)
    • Pasta water, reserve 2-3 cups
    • Salt and Pepper
    • Spices and herbs if you like: parsley, oregano, basil are all good options (optional)
    Instructions
    1. Prepare orzo pasta as directed on the package. Drain, reserving 2-3 cups of the pasta water, and then set aside both the water and the orzo. I used about ¾ of a package of Delallo Whole Wheat Orzo to feed our family of 5 with some leftovers.
    2. In a deep, 12-inch skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook a few minutes until translucent.
    3. Add fresh garlic and cook, stirring, about 30-60 seconds. Add the chopped tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium low and let mixture cook for 5-10 minutes to really get the tomatoes to cook down.
    4. If using wine, add it now and cook about 5 minutes. Add vegetables and cook a few minutes until the veggies are al dente. (If you are using vegetables like carrots that take longer to cook, steam them ahead of time and just heat through at this point in the recipe.) If you aren't using wine and need a little more fluid in the pan, just add another swig or two of olive oil.
    5. Add the orzo to the pan. Add the white balsamic vinegar and then start adding pasta water about ½ cup at a time until you get a nice, creamy consistency. Salt and pepper to taste, adding herbs and spices if you choose. I simply used salt and pepper and it tasted great!

    OTHER RECIPES YOU MAY LIKE:

    EQUIPMENT I USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:


  4. Sunday, June 3, 2018

    Week 581 Weekly Menu

    Sorry about last week…we were, quite frankly, having too much fun over Memorial Day weekend and I blew it on the meal planning front! We had a strange week, too, so there wasn’t much cooking happening anyway. But we’re back in business this week.

    Week 581 Weekly Dinner Menu

    MONDAY:
    – Taco Salad

    TUESDAY:
    – BBQ Grilled Chicken
    – Baked Beans and Salad

    WEDNESDAY:
    Lentil Rice Bowls with Lime-Tahini Dressing

    THURSDAY:
    – Chopped Salad with Chicken

    FRIDAY:
    – Leftovers

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SUNDAY:
    – Stir Fry

    Seriously, your menus from last time were a huge help for me as I planned today. As always, thank you for sharing your menus with us week after week…including this week! Can’t wait to see what you’ve got cooking, please share below!


  5. Sunday, May 20, 2018

    Week 580 Weekly Menu

    Hey all! I am in major spring cleaning mode, cleaning out closets that haven’t been organized since we moved into this house. I’m at the point where I just want to set the house on fire and start over. Fun times! Taking a break to plan this week’s menu is a welcome diversion.

    Weekly Dinner Menu from Jane Maynard for the week of May 21, 2018

    MONDAY:
    Steak
    – Roasted Potatoes + Another Vegetable

    TUESDAY:
    Thai Basil Beef with Coconut Brown Rice

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Pesto Chicken Pasta
    – Salad

    THURSDAY:
    Homemade Hamburgers

    FRIDAY:
    – Leftovers

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SUNDAY:
    – Breakfast for dinner (details TBD)

    You know the drill! Share your weekly menu in the comments below! Thank you!


  6. Friday, May 18, 2018

    Friday Show and Tell: Joy’s Red Beans and Rice + the Chompers Podcast

    Happy Friday! I have two quick things to share today. These two things are awesome. Ready?

    Joy the Baker's Red Beans and Rice Recipe

    Joy’s New Orleans-Style Red Beans and Rice

    When I went to New Orleans about 347 years ago I bought a bag of Camellia Red Kidney Beans, a New Orleans classic. And then I came home and put the beans in the pantry. And then I didn’t do anything with them in forever and the beans were sad. But now they’re happy because they finally made it into a pot. One of my blogging friends Joy the Baker moved to New Orleans a few years ago and has a recipe for Red Beans and Rice on her site. I trust Joy, so I decided to give her recipe a try.

    Oh goodness I really loved this dinner. Joy’s Red Beans & Rice are delicious. And I didn’t change the recipe at all, which means I’m just gonna go ahead and send you on over to her site! (Okay, I did double the amount of pancetta and sausage, a decision I firmly stand by. We also served it over brown rice, which worked great.)

    Also, people from New Orleans say you have to use Camellia’s Red Kidney Beans. And you can buy them online so there really is no reason not to.

    Also, I bought a canister of Tony Chachere’s Famous Creole Seasoning for this recipe and have since used it three times on other foodstuffs, too. So, that is also a worthy investment.

    Chompers, the kids' tooth brushing podcast that rocks

    Chompers Podcast

    If you have any kids in your life that you have any kind of influence over then you need to keep reading. CHOMPERS IS THE GREATEST THING EVER. What is Chompers, you ask? It is a twice-daily podcast show for kids that teaches them how to brush their teeth and gets them to brush for a full 2 minutes. They tell jokes, share facts, do quizzes…the list goes on. It’s the best. Owen, our 6 year old, especially loves it and has listened to the Chompers podcast twice a day every day since we discovered it. And he totally brushes the whole 2 minutes every time.

    Seriously, go subscribe STAT. (I hear even some adults listen to the podcast to make sure they get their full 2 minutes of brushing in, too!) Click here to visit the Chompers website or simply subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.


  7. Monday, May 14, 2018

    Week 579 Weekly Menu

    Since yesterday was Mother’s Day I took it upon myself to perform no household duties, including planning the weekly dinner menu. Sadly Mother’s Day only lasts 24 hours and we still need dinner this week. Back to real life!

    Week 579 Weekly Dinner Menu for the week of May 14, 2018

    MONDAY:
    – Chicken Tortilla Soup

    TUESDAY:
    – Red Beans and Rice (trying a new recipe, will let you know how it goes!)

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Hamburgers

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Stir Fry

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SUNDAY:
    – Steak
    – Roasted Potatoes + Another Side Vegetable (whatever I find at the farmer’s market)

    You know the drill – share your menus in the comments! They are a huge help to us all, thank you!


  8. Friday, May 11, 2018

    Friday Show & Tell: Cool Food, Kitchen Gear and More!

    I have so many things to share today, ranging from a non-wheat pasta product, a non-dairy milk alternative, a super cool kitchen tool that made making cut-out cookies delightful, cool shoes AND a live show for the family that is sure to be awesome. Let’s just jump right in, shall we?

    Banza Chickpea Pasta

    Banza Chickpea Pasta

    I don’t follow many celebrities on social media, but I do follow Kristen Bell (who I actually saw speak last week and she is tiny and adorable and smart and she even sells really delicious bars that save lives, go check them out!). Back in February she posted this cute Instagram video about Banza pasta. I’ll be the first to admit I ordered six boxes almost immediately after watching it. I have eaten the pasta a few times now and am ready to report that…

    I love Banza! It smells and tastes a little different than normal pasta. Because, duh, it’s not normal pasta. It’s made out of chickpeas. Which means it’s full of fiber and protein and all kinds of good nutrients. But, also, when you top it with whatever you normally top your pasta with, it totally tastes good. If you’re looking for a wheat alternative or just want a pasta with a healthy boost, I recommend Banza!

    Oatly

    Oat milk by Oatly is a great dairy alternative!

    Okay, so I have pretty much cut dairy from my diet. I still use butter, but whenever I eat anything with cream or milk, I feel awful. Which means I haven’t had a decent latte in months, which is a cryin’ shame. Then, last week, I went to one of my favorite local coffee shops Revolution Roasters and discovered they had “oat milk” as one of their milk options. After a lengthy discussion with the barista (because once you get me talkin’ ’bout food I can’t stop), I gave the oat milk latte a try and SKIPPED HOME SINGING TRALALA BECAUSE I WAS SO HAPPY THE END.

    Oh wait. That’s not the end. I went home and ordered a whole lotta oat milk from Oatly, the very oat milk my barista raved about.

    So far Oatly’s oat milk is my favorite milk alternative I have tried. It has a unique flavor, as all milk alternatives do, but it’s my favorite so far, and the flavor is more subtle than say almond or coconut milk. It kind of tastes like, well, granola or oatmeal, but, like I said, it’s subtle. And the oat milk plays nice with my body. No nuts to worry about, no dairy to worry about and I feel good afterwards. Oatly is a plant-based, sustainable product, which is another big reason I am happy to support them.

    King Arthur Rolling Mat

    The rolling mat for baking form King Arthur Flour

    Oh my goodness I am so happy I bought this rolling mat. SO HAPPY. Here’s the background: my grandma and my mom always had the Tupperware rolling mat, which I received as a wedding gift many moons ago. I know they loved it, but I never really did (sorry Mom and Grandma!). The mat would slide around and over time it started cracking and falling apart (which made me sad because nostalgia, but I haven’t missed it in the kitchen as far as cooking is concerned). Once my Tupperware rolling mat bit the dust, I bought a new rolling mat from King Arthur. It came in the mail and I promptly put it away for a few years. It stayed in the cabinet, patiently waiting, until yesterday.

    This mat is seriously awesome. It stays put on the counter beautifully, it’s really big, and it just plain worked great. I highly recommend it! Click here to buy a King Arthur Rolling Mat for yourself.

    My New Favorite Birkenstocks

    My New Favorite Birkenstock Styles - Mayari and Daloa - from This Week for Dinner

    I didn’t start wearing Birkenstocks until a few years ago. Once I did, I was hooked and it’s pretty much the only shoe I wear (as made apparent by the T-shaped tan line on my feet that I just can’t shake). The Gizeh style has served me well and I own three pair. But, I’ve gotta admit, I was getting a little tired of them. So, I started poking around, looking at different kinds of Birks. I ordered a pair of the Mayari sandals in Stone and the Daloa sandals in Mocha, just to try on, mind you. And, well, I kept both pair. They’re my new faves. Which means now I’ll have even more Birkenstock tan lines on my feet. 😐

    Wild Kratts Live!

    Wild Kratts Live US Tour

    My kids love Wild Kratts on PBS. A lot. Even Cate, my 7th grader. I just learned that there is a Wild Kratts Live show and the U.S. tour kicks off in September. We are totally going no matter what. But it’s a surprise, so don’t tell my kids. (Hopefully they don’t read this, fingers crossed!) Click here to get tickets for a show near you!

    In Conclusion…

    Please don’t tally how much money I have spent on this post. Thank you and good day.


  9. Thursday, May 10, 2018

    Pressure Cooker Pot Roast

    So. I’ve been making pot roast in a slow cooker for ages. The recipe is simple, reliable and delicious. I didn’t think anything could ever replace that recipe. And then, this week, I tried making pot roast in my Instant Pot, using the pressure cooker settings. Whoah, boy, pressure cooker pot roast just replaced slow cooker pot roast. Quite frankly I’m stunned by this upset. But I’m happy about it just the same.

    How to make pot roast in a pressure cooker

    I bought an Instant Pot I think three years ago and, until last month, had used it only once. I tried cooking basic chicken using the pressure cooker function and it worked, well, fine. It didn’t blow me out of the water, and so the Instant Pot got pushed to the back of the cabinet. And then my friend Christine mentioned a few weeks ago how she loves making brown rice in the pressure cooker. So I dug it out and started experimenting.

    Recipe for pressure cooker pot roast

    As of today I am so-so on brown rice (I just haven’t perfected that process yet) and in love with making beans in the pressure cooker (I’ll share that recipe another day, it took some tweaking but I finally have it where I like it). And then I decided to try pot roast. HUGE SUCCESS. It tasted the same as my slow cooker pot roast and, top to bottom, took about 2 hours instead of the usual 8-9 hours.

    I will say this – I can totally see instances where cooking the pot roast for 8 hours will be more convenient based on my schedule for a particular day. But what is so glorious is now I have two options, 2 hours or 8 hours, with equally delicious results. Hooray for pressure cooker pot roast!

    Pressure cooker pot roast, my new favorite way to make pot roast!

    I took my inspiration for this pot roast from my friend Barbara from Pressure Cooking Today. She is my pressure cooker guru. You need to bookmark her site pronto if you have a pressure cooker or Instant Pot. You’re welcome. (Click here for Barbara’s pot roast recipe, which has a few more ingredients than my version below.)

    Pressure Cooker Pot Roast
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Simple, easy and delicious! Instructions below are based on using an Instant Pot.
    Author:
    Serves: 6-8
    Ingredients
    • 1 chuck, chuck-eye, or round roast (around 4 pounds)
    • 1-2 tablespoons canola, vegetable or olive oil
    • Salt and pepper
    • ½ of an onion, chopped
    • 2 cups beef broth or stock
    Instructions
    1. Sprinkle roast evenly with salt and pepper. Set aside.
    2. Select the "Browning" setting on the Instant Pot. Add oil to Instant Pot and let heat up. Once hot, brown the roast on both sides, a few minutes per side until you start to get beautiful browned spots. Set roast aside.
    3. Add onions to the Instant Pot and cook until softened and translucent. Stir regularly.
    4. Add broth to Instant Pot, scraping the bottom of the pot to deglaze. Let onions simmer in the broth about 3 minutes or so.
    5. Add roast and change Instant Pot setting to High pressure. Make sure the pressure release handle is on "Sealing." Set the timer for 90 minutes. It will take about 15 minutes for the pot to build pressure and for the 90-minute countdown to begin.
    6. When the 90 minutes is over, turn off the pressure cooker and let it sit for 15 minutes, letting pressure release naturally. At the 15-minute mark, using a hot pad and being careful not to touch the steam, turn the pressure release handle to "Venting" to release the rest of the pressure. Once it stops steaming, remove the lid.
    7. Let roast rest for 10-15 minutes. Use juices for gravy, straining the juice first to remove the "stuff" left behind in the juices. Make gravy using white roux (click here for recipe and instructions). You can also use a slurry made from ½ cup flour whisked with 1 cup cold water to thicken the gravy if you forgot to make the roux.

    OTHER RECIPES YOU MAY LIKE:

    EQUIPMENT I USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:


  10. Sunday, May 6, 2018

    Week 578 Weekly Menu

    Happy Sunday! This week I attended the Mom 2 Summit and it was, as usual, really wonderful. This year I came home with a list of things to do that are going to improve my {aging} blog. So get ready! Changes are in store and they are all for the better! (Although, honestly, some of those changes are pretty boring and you won’t even know they  happened…but I’m good with that because spring cleaning always feels good, even when no one sees inside your closets!)

    Weekly menu from This Week for Dinner for the week of May 7, 2018, including pesto chicken pasta and chicken tortilla soup!

    MONDAY:
    Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos (I’ll be eating mine as a brown rice bowl :))

    TUESDAY:
    – Pesto Chicken Pasta

    WEDNESDAY:
    Chicken Tortilla Soup

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Red Beans and Rice (trying a new recipe, will let you know how it goes!)

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SUNDAY:
    – Baked Salmon with Chimichurri
    – Roasted potatoes and another side vegetable

    Okey dokey, your turn! Please share your menus in the comments! Can’t wait to see what everyone has cooking! (That and I can’t wait for a list of dinner ideas that I can steal for next week!)