How did everyone do with last week’s plan?! Did you make one recipe? Two? Three? The whole darn thing??
I made most of the recipes, but I definitely didn’t get it done over the weekend. I enlisted a combination of “wing’ it” and “call in some help from mom” this week. I did manage to throw together my Italian Mixed Green Salad with Pasta and Herbs, and my mom very lovingly cooked the PaleOMG Meat Sauce (and had it warm and waiting when I got home from work, to boot), but that was about the extent of it.
This week, I fully intend to get my crap together and actually cook the full menu.
Despite the fact that my brain kept whispering “pasta…pasta…pasta” while I was planning this week’s menu, I tried to throw some non-pasta dishes in. Pasta seems to be my go-to lately, even though the rest of the family is not all that fond of pasta in most forms.
I sourced all of the new recipes this week from Tasty Kitchen, which is one of my favorite recipe collection sites. I had intended on just going on there to take a look, but I just couldn’t pull myself away!
There’s no way I could walk away from these breakfast burritos.
Happy new menu day, everyone! Hopefully you were much more plan-ish, organized, and able to manage your time than I was last week.
My chicken enchiladas never happened.
My Sweet Potato Chai Muffins turned into Apple-Pear Bran Muffins, since the 2 sweet potatoes floating around in my produce drawer turned out to be hairy.
The Crockpot Migas? I didn’t even get my crockpot cleaned after I made the Ham & Egg Casserole.
So yeah. Some weeks just don’t look as good in real life as they do on paper, and that’s OK. Looking on the bright side, I did make us one breakfast in addition to the dozen muffins (11 of which went into my freezer for the future), and I was able to bake one pan of Old School Mac ‘N Cheese for the week, and I put a second pan in the freezer for another day.
We also thoroughly enjoyed Pioneer Woman’s Italian Pot Roast.
Some of us more than others, obviously.
Despite the fact that I didn’t exactly execute the menu fully last week, I don’t consider it a total bust. I was able to stock my freezer with enough muffins to last us at least another week or two, one dinner for the future, and now I have 2 fully cooked rotisserie chickens in the freezer (since my chicken enchiladas never came to fruition).
But we ate a lot of pot roast.
This week, I’m going to keep things as simple as possible. My “tiny little baby” turned one yesterday **cue the tear-shaped confetti**. My family is coming to town from Central NY on Saturday morning (hooray), and we are having a relatively low key birthday bash fit for a one-year-old!
She’s totally ready to party!
In light of Saturday’s festivities, I am not going to have time to prep anything, so all of my cooking will happen on Sunday…and I don’t want to spend my entire day in the kitchen, considering that most of my family will be going home that day, so I want to spend some time with them!
My mom is going to be staying with us for the whole week next week, and she really likes salad…so get ready–we’re going to eat salad this week. But, I promise that it’s yummy salad.
My Italian Mixed Green Salad w/ Pasta & Herbs recipe uses the fancy word “Chiffonade”, which I have no idea where I even learned. And I wasn’t even sure that I was using the correct word until I just Googled it up again. If you don’t know what “Chiffonade” is, don’t get nervous–just check this out: How to Chiffonade Basil.
I know that you’re looking at me right now and saying, “Eewww…I’m NOT eating leftover salad throughout the week”! But just hear me out on this one. Under the proper conditions, this salad will keep in the refrigerator for several days, and the last time I made it (the last time my Mom came to visit, ironically), it lasted nearly the entire week.
This was on day #4 or 5. No joke.
The key is to make sure that the ingredients going into the salad are as dry as possible. Prior to combining each ingredient, I spin everything in a Salad Spinner—especially the pasta, black olives, and artichoke hearts, since they’re all going to involve extra water to begin with. If you get mozzarella packed in water, spin it! If your sun-dried tomatoes are packed in oil, spin those suckers! Extra liquid will cause the salad to get really mushy and gross. But! If you keep everything as dry as possible before it touches the lettuce and such, your salad will last well into the week. I promise!
Here’s what we have going on this week in terms of recipes:
Pear Bran Muffins — The version on this weeks menu say “Apple-Pear” because when I made them last weekend, I used 1 chopped pear and 1 chopped apple.
So that’s pretty much it. Keeping it relatively simple this weekend, but you’ll have some minimal cooking during the week (but only if you are making the breakfasts from the menu). As always, I left off some of the obvious stuff that doesn’t need a recipe (tacos, cheesy eggs, grilled cheese). Those are pretty self-explanatory!
Just remember that items from the freezer are not included on the grocery list, so if you want to make those to stock your freezer for the future, be sure to add them to your grocery list!
**this is a reincarnated recipe post from Joggerslife, so excuse the ancient references to cookie parties.**
Although I am a baker at heart, I also love cooking. My favorite things to make are comfort foods, and I love nothing more than to whip up a huge pan of mac ‘n cheese or grits ‘n greens for potlucks and family parties. [I also have an affinity for food names that have an ‘n in them].
One of my most requested contributions for parties is my mac ‘n cheese. In the past, I’ve actually lay awake at night, conjuring up ways to make my mac ‘n cheese even better. Now, I think that I’ve come to a resting point with the recipe. Rather than try to change it any further, I’m going to leave it just the way it is.
There are several things that I love about this recipe, but the one thing that puts it over the top is the pasta. Please don’t use elbow noodles. I’ll cry if I hear about it. I promise you that it’s only about 32% as good when you use anything other than cavatappi or cellentani pasta.
This one…the corkscrews!
I brought this ridiculicious mac ‘n cheese yesterday to the annual Cookie Party, and it was a total hit. So much that it’s prompted me to post the recipe here, allowing me to share it with all of my blends as well as my real friends at once [hi friends!]. I only wish I had taken a picture yesterday of its’ beautifulness. I guess you’ll just have to make it yourself!
Let me know if you try it. I promise it’s delish. This would be the perfect thing to bring to Mom’s house (or Grandma’s) for Christmas dinner. Everyone will love it.
Beth’s Ridiculicious Mac & Cheese
2# Cavatappi or Cellentani Pasta (they hold the most cheesy goodness!)
1C White Zinfindel
1C Heavy Cream (or milk, if you must)
3 T Worcestershire Sauce
1 T Horseradish
1/2 T Garlic Powder
1 t Pepper
1 t Paprika
1 T all purpose flour
3 T Milk or water
24 Oz. Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (I buy the huge bag already shredded from Safeway)
12 Oz. Shredded Cheddar & Colby Cheese Blend (Ditto above, but use only ½ the bag)
1-2 C Corn Flakes (crushed), or Bread Crumbs
1 C Fried Onions (canned or homemade)
1) Boil pasta al dente, drain and set aside. Noodles should be a little chewy, or they’ll end up mushy after you bake the mac n cheese! Reserve about 1 cup of the noodle water in case you need it later.
2) In a large pot (think: big enough to hold all of the noodles and be able to stir and mix at will), bring the White Zinfindel to a low boil, and simmer on low/medium for about 3-5 minutes. Whisk in the heavy cream, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, garlic powder, pepper and paprika. Simmer on low/medium for another 3-5 minutes.
3) With the mixture still at a low simmer, start whisking in the shredded cheese gradually. Keep the heat high enough to melt the cheese fully, but not high enough to burn. Continuously stir the cheese as it melts, or it won’t make a nice smooth sauce.
4) After all of the cheese has melted, whisk together the flour and milk/water until it’s fully dissolved and not lumpy anymore. Turn up the heat on the cheese mixture slightly, then begin quickly whisking the flour/water into the cheese. You have to do this quickly and whisk the whole time or it will end up lumpy. After it’s all dissolved and combined, turn heat down to low/warm.
5) Hot noodles work best, so if you weren’t able to keep them warm while you were making the cheese mixture, re-drain them in hot water to warm them up a bit. Add the noodles to the cheese mixture in 3 parts, making sure not to add too many noodles to the cheese mixture. I always end up with extra noodles in the end [which is perfectly fine with me…that means I have buttered noodles for days! …oh, buttered noodles!] If things get a little dry, just add in some of the reserved noodle water (from above).
6) Top with crushed corn flakes or bread crumbs and fried onions. Cover in foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, removing foil for the last 10 minutes.
Let me know if you make it–I’d love to know how it went!
Isn’t the new website pretty cool?! I sort of just threw it together in the past few days, so you’ll notice that things will probably continue to morph and grow over the coming weeks. I’m slowly adding the past Weekly Menus onto the site, but for now I’m just focusing on making sure that you have this week’s new menu on time!
If this is your first time, you can read all about my menus here.
I’ve just started scouring my old website (RIP Joggerslife) for recipes that I may want to reincarnate, and there is some good stuff on there! Now I’m deciding if I want them to live on the 52 Menus | 52 Weeks site, or if I want to put them somewhere else entirely. I’ll let you know how that goes.
This menu is a little “comfort food” heavy, and I even added a recipe for Old School Mac N Cheese. Don’t question the deliciousness…just go with it! I promise we’ll only do this every once in a while.
Just a few things to remember…I only include items on the grocery list for new recipes. That means that if you’re just starting out and you want to incorporate one of the two ‘freezer pulls’ this week, you’ll have to add the ingredients for Baked Vegetable Egg Rolls and Vanilla French Toast to your own grocery list. The grocery list is completely modifiable (it’s provided in Word format), so you can add what you need to it.
This week I also added a text box on the right side of the grocery list for “Weekly Items”, which is what I do with my own list. That way, you can add the things that you need to pick up in addition to your 52 Menus | 52 Weeks stuff (or add the other miscellaneous items that are on my menu like apples, pears, mixed veggies, etc.). If you’re in my household, you NEVER forget the mandarin oranges. That would put us in crisis mode.
I added a batch of Mini Pizzas on to the ‘Make Ahead’ list this week, so just do that when you have a little bit of spare time. You can do it any time during the week–we’re just stocking the freezer for future meals!
As always, just email me with any questions! Hope everyone has a great week!
p.s…If you want to download the pdf document that has all of the recipes, as well as the grocery list and game plan, it’s right here (just right click and choose “Save Link As”, then you can open it in Adobe to view all of the attachments).