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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Monday Night, Feb. 28, 2011

I'm suffering from another round of cooking burnout. It's a lot to plan and prepare (and clean up after!) 3 healthy meals every day, plus snacks for a family of 6. I admit, most mornings we have hot or cold cereal, maybe some yogurt and fruit, so breakfast is not really so labor-intensive, but I'm kind of ready for someone else to cook (and clean!). Just one night. Please?

My 6 year old  has offered to cook, but I just can't take her up on it. Although now she thinks she is a master chef, since she made a fruit salad that everyone devoured!

That said, I still have to make supper...

On the way to the table on Monday night:

Sloppy Sams in Pitot
Make-your-own Salad  (lettuce, tomatoes, purple and green cabbage, cucumbers, and carrots)
Couscous (cooked in whatever is left of the vegetable soup from Shabbat)
 Roasted Zucchini, Tomato, and Onion

As long as the oven is already on, I will probably bake something else - but I'm not sure yet what. Whatever it is, it will have to be eggless, since I didn't buy any eggs yet this week! (Everybody ate the eggless cookies over Shabbat, so I'm guessing it'll work out ok!) What should I bake? (I'm thinking muffins or a breakfast bread...)

Sunday Night, Feb. 27, 2011

I'm spending today alternating between hanging out with my kids and doing some major cleaning that I've been pushing off, so I don't want to spend too much time in the kitchen today...

Tonight's supper:

Vegetable Soup - leftover from Shabbat

Spaghetti with Alfredo Sauce

Make-your-own Salad

Fresh fruit (there seems to be a lot of fruit hanging out in the fridge right now, so we better use it up!) - my 6 yr old is determined to make a fruit salad for everyone. We'll see how she does!

I am a little nervous about letting a 6 yr old take on a project like fruit salad, since I am a little nutty about germs. I really hate spreading them around, because every time  I catch a cold I have a major asthma crisis. I'm going to have to really work on letting my kids prepare food more, since they always want to, but I need to balance this with my germophobia. Usually I only let them help with things that I know will be cooked or baked (and hopefully that kills the germs that kids inevitably have hanging around them, no matter how often I make them wash their hands!), but this time, my daughter REALLY wants to make a fruit salad. Any ideas how to handle this?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Shabbat Parashat Vayakhel (Feb. 25-26, 2011)

Looking forward to a rainy Shabbat this week, if the forecast is right. We like watching the Kinneret fill up from the our mirpeset!

(I just hope all my laundry that is hanging outside dries before the rain comes...)

How do you stay warm on a rainy Shabbat in a poorly insulated house without a good heating system (it's a rental...)?
I know I have to serve warming foods (and be sure the urn is filled to the max!)...

Here's my Shabbat menu - most of it will be served both at night and for lunch (obvious exceptions being soup/stew):

Vegetable Soup

Pan-Fried Tofu, for my favorite vegetarian


Broccoli & Cauliflower Kugel - fill a casserole dish with chopped broccoli and chopped cauliflower. cover with a mixture of  (well-blended) eggs, mayonnaise (yes, sounds weird, but it works), flour, water, and spices (i use salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder). bake for 1 hour at 375 F

Carrot Kugel (from the freezer!)

Chicken - whatever kind I find in the freezer that is waiting to be used!

Mushroom Barley Stew


I'm also planning to make something with chick peas, and something with cabbage (I bought some cabbage for 1.89nis/kilo and now I have to find a good use for it)...

Brownies and Peanut Butter Cookies

Let me know what you're serving!





Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday night - Feb. 23, 2011

It's clean out the fridge day! I have so many odds and ends hanging around, time to make sure they don't go to waste. It's amazing how much food we throw out when we're not careful...
How do you minimize waste? I'd love to hear what you do...

Here's what's for supper:

Vegetable Soup (from last night)

Crustless Tomato Quiche

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Beets

Rice (from last night)

Make your own salad - lettuce, carrots, red pepper, honey-cinnamon'd oranges

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday Night (Feb.22, 2011)

My house keeps turning into a sick house, and it's not fun. Everyone says this is part of the "klita" (absorption) process. I hope this part of our klita ends soon!

I'm going to have to keep our food simple and suitable (at least somewhat) for the sickies...

On the way to the table tonight:

Garlic Toast (I'll slice a baguette, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder or brush with roasted garlic)

Vegetable Soup (with a little extra garlic, to boost the immune system)

Rice

Stir-Fried Veggies (I have broccoli, red peppers, and mushrooms - should combine well!)

(And something else, I don't know what, so my husband will feel like it's a real meal...but I'll let him figure that out!)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Night, Feb. 21, 2011

I'm feeling a little uninspired about Monday night's dinner menu. My daughter is having a major reflux issue right now; it's really been a couple of years since I've seen her like this. It's so hard to deal with - a little kid in pain from eating (and also from not eating).

The problem is, I really can't think of any food besides cereal that she hasn't complained about lately...

Oh, I guess that means maybe it'll be a breakfast for supper day!

Here's what I'll offer:

Cereal (hot or cold)


Omelettes

Fruit Salad

Bagels (where will we get those!)? - we'll probably end up with those fake Israeli bagels, since I just don't seem myself baking them...


Cream Cheese

Vegetables - sliced thinly for putting on the bagels (reflux girl sometimes like cream cheese and cucumber together, personally I like cream cheese and tomatoes.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Night, Feb. 20, 2011

It's so gray and dreary out - looks like rain. I know we need the rain, and I'm looking forward to lots of it - I just prefer that it rain at night...

Anyhow, this rain is making me think of split pea soup - one of my favorites. And I just discovered another bag of split peas tucked into a corner of my freezer (yes, I keep all my grains and legumes and flours in the freezer (I have a BIG freezer!). A lesson learned in Texas after one too many bug infestations...).

Here's what we'll be eating tonight, keeping in mind all those foods I have to use up:

Split pea soup - onions, garlic, celery, and carrots sauteed in olive oil, cover the pot and cook over low for another 10 min. Add split peas and soup stock. Season to taste. Bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 1 hour, or till thoroughly cooked.

Pasta Alfredo with steamed broccoli

Roasted Onions, Tomatoes, and Zucchini with Basil - if this was just for me, I'd roast them all together. But I have to keep in mind the picky kids, and I'm actually going to roast each vegetable on its own. Then they can be eaten individually or mixed together. It's really not much extra work - just a couple of extra pans to wash, and if it gets the kids to eat, its worth it!

Chocolate Cupcakes (leftover from Shabbat!)

Are you working on clearing out your pantry yet? Please let me know!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Shabbat Parashat Ki Tisa Feb. 18-19

Wow! Twice in one month I am not really cooking for Shabbat! Unbelievable. This is unheard of...

I offered to help our hosts out, and was asked to bring a vegetarian main dish for Friday night, since they did not know what to do, and my favorite 12 yr old is a vegetarian, and I eat vegetarian when there is no humanely-raised chicken (and I cannot impose that upon my hosts).

Here's what I made:

Vegetarian Lo-mein - first I cooked and drained noodles. Chopped up some of that frozen broccoli and steamed it. I sauteed diced tofu, julienned carrots, diced red peppers, shredded purple cabbage, and sliced green onions. Added to that a mixture of tamari, ginger, honey, garlic, and apricot jam. Mixed it all together and I was ready to eat it! (But I exercised restraint and wrapped it up and it's in the fridge...) Now I just have to make sure to deliver it to our Friday night hosts enough time before Shabbat so it can be served warm!

I think I'll bake a cake or cookies so we have some sort of Shabbat treat around the house.

I'm looking forward to not having a pile of dishes to wash tomorrow or after Shabbat!
Which do you like more - hosting guests, or being the guest?

Pantry Challenge, Anyone?

Does anybody out there want to do a pantry challenge?
We can share our ideas about how to use up our stockpiles of staples (bought on sale, obviously!) and food in our freezers!
You can comment on this post or visit the Kosher Frugal Menus page on Facebook, and post a list of things you want to use up. Let's all brainstorm meal ideas using the foods we have on hand!

Here's a partial list of foods I have on hand:

barley
split peas
black beans
white beans
chick peas
oats
whole wheat flour
rye flour
oat bran
yeast
flaxseeds
sesame seeds
corn meal
popcorn
whole wheat ptitim (the large "Israeli couscous" as they call it in the U.S.)
whole wheat couscous (the morrocan kind)
green lentils
spaghetti
spiral pasta
shkidei marak (soup nuts)
tomato paste
ketchup
mayonnaise
sugar
peanut butter
honey
date honey (no sugar added)
blueberry fruit spread - 100% fruit
olive oil
sunflower oil
cocoa
chocolate chips
pureed butternut squash (freezer)
broccoli florets
random frozen vegetable leftovers
an assortment of frozen soups/soup stock
frozen corn
frozen peas
frozen green beans
frozen phyllo dough
frozen cheese bourekas
frozen chicken
assorted frozen shabbat leftovers

a few cans of tuna (for my hubby, I don't eat tuna)

I also have some cheese in the fridge, 1 package of tofu, yogurt, and cream cheese.
Fresh produce in the house right now:
4 potatoes
onions
garlic
carrots (lots)
apples
oranges
pomelit - lots
bananas
beets
cucumbers
tomatoes

I'm sure there's more! Looks like I should really be using up some of this stuff before Pesach!
What about you?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday night - Feb. 16, 2011

I'm thinking about a pre-Pesach pantry challenge in a big way. Time to use up some of those things I stocked up on when I found good sales. That said, I am not going to forgo buying fresh produce, eggs, and dairy products, even chicken for Shabbat...

This morning I poked around the fridge and freezer, and I will be making supper using things I have on hand.

On the way to the table:

Yesterday's Tomato Soup - my pot is big enough to stretch it out for 2 meals!

Rice and Lentils - most people make this as one dish, but my crew is so ridiculously picky that I will make rice and I will make lentils... I make lentils very simply: start with sauteed onion, garlic, and any veggies you want to add. Add sorted and rinsed lentils to the pan, along with water and seasonings (or soup stock). cook till liquid is absorbed and the lentils are soft in texture (you may need to add more water as you go along. I don't measure quantities. I just guess.).

Roasted Cauliflower
 
Cottage Cheese Pancakes - I have cottage cheese that is about to go out of date. Mix it up with eggs, flour, salt and pepper and make pancakes!

Make your own salad - diced cucumbers, shredded carrots, purple cabbage, and honey-cinnamon'd oranges


What are you making for supper? Are you doing a pre-Pesach pantry challenge or freezer cleanout? I'd love to hear how you handle it!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tuesday Night (Feb.15, 2011)

Tuesday is turning into a busy day for us! I have a feeling it will be one of those days when we get home at 6 p.m. from running around all day, famished.

I think it will be a crock pot day!


Here's what we'll be eating:

Tomato Soup -  Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. place in crock pot with crushed tomatoes, soup stock (I love keeping soup stock in my freezer - made from all the vegetable trimmings that otherwise would have gone to waste!), a few tablespoons of tomato paste, honey or other sweetener, ground black pepper, and bay leaves. Cook on low for 8 hrs. Don't forget to remove the bay leaves before serving, and puree if desired. I don't usually bother to puree this soup.

Toasted sandwiches - We have leftover pitot, so we'll fill them with tomatoes, peppers, avocados, olives, etc and sprinkle with cheese, and toast.

Fresh Veggies on the side - Whatever is still in the fridge! (I think we're down to carrots and cucumbers)

Apple Crisp - Diced apples sprinkled with cinnamon, covered with oats mixed with sugar and healthy oil, and baked till smells delicious. I'll assemble this in advance and put it in the oven as soon as we walk in the door.

How do you feed your crew on busy days?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Monday Night, Feb. 14, 2011

Somehow we still have plenty of leftover side dishes from Shabbat, so now I need to be sure we use them up! They were all warmed in a meat oven, but we don't really eat meat during the week...

I still have some tofu in the fridge... I have a feeling this is going to be a mis-matched meal (in a big way!) but sometimes that works out best because there may actually be enough variety to please even my pickiest child! (sigh. I wish my picky children would stop being picky...)

Here's what's on the way to the table:

Sloppy Sams served in pitot - drain, crumble, and season tofu. Brown in a cast iron frying pan with onions, peppers and whatever else you like to add. Season with tomato paste, sugar, vinegar, and spices to your liking.

Carrot Kugel - leftover from Shabbat

Potato Kugel - leftover from Shabbat

Toasted Barley with Mushrooms - leftover from Shabbat

Vegetable Lo-mein - leftover from Shabbat

Cut Vegetables - carrots, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes

What do you do when you have a bunch of leftovers?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sunday Night, Feb. 13, 2011

Shavua Tov to all my readers!

I hope you're all enjoying and benefiting from this blog as much as I am. It's really helping me figure out ways to cook using the foods I already have on hand, and getting me to look out for better deals when I shop. Plus, I have managed to avoid supper crises! Please let me know if you've tried out any of my menus or individual dishes. I'd love it if you would share your favorite frugal recipes, as well. I'd love to hear your ideas and try things out (slowly but surely I WILL get my family to expand their food repertoire...).

Here's my plan for Sunday night:

Vegetable soup (leftover from Shabbat! I love cooking a huge pot of soup on Friday)

Baked ziti - I think I actually just have "spiral pasta", mix that with homemade tomato sauce (crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, spices and herbs like garlic, basil, oregano, pepper, etc, and add water if necessary) add roasted veggies or chopped spinach, optional ricotta-type cheese, and top with shredded cheese. Bake.

Pasta with mock alfredo sauce (gevinah levana with garlic and other spices, with shredded cheese sprinkled on top of the plate) - not all my kids eat baked ziti, so I'm offering an alternative.


Cucumber, tomato, and red pepper with some sort of dip/dressing

I'm wondering if I need to add something else to round out this meal. What do you think?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Shabbat Parashat T'tzaveh (Feb. 11-12, 2011)

I have been pretty under the weather this week, and I am raiding my freezer for Shabbat, although I am making fresh chicken (my family likes it SOO much better fresh!), potato kugel (using up those potatoes before they sprout!) and fresh soup.

Here's what we're having:

Vegetable Soup

heat olive oil in soup pot, and saute onions, garlic, celery, thinly sliced carrots, and any other soup-worthy vegetables you have on hand. lower the heat and simmer for about 10 min. Add water or soup stock, herbs, spices, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer for at least 30 min. I usually simmer for 1 hr or longer. This helps develop a hearty flavor! (serve with kneidlach - not happening this week! - or soup nuts or lokshen)


Oven-"Fried" chicken

Lightly spray a baking sheet or roasting pan with olive oil.
Coat chicken pieces with a mixture of mayonnaise, ketchup and pepper (I sometimes use ground black pepper, sometimes cayenne pepper). Then dip in breading mixture of your choice (I use either crushed cornflakes seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder and parsley, or a mixture of corn meal and whole wheat flour or wheat bran with those same seasonings, but you can use whatever breading you prefer!). Place on pan, cover loosely with foil - shiny side down and bake at 375 F until chicken is fully cooked. you can uncover it for the last 10-15 min. to brown the tops better. (I use a convection oven and I find that it browns well enough with the foil on and cooking the chicken covered keeps in more of the moisture...)


Potato Kugel  

I use a very simple recipe with the following ingredients: potatoes, onions, eggs, oil, salt, pepper. sorry I can't give out proportions. I just make it up as I go along.

From the freezer:
Carrot kugel, Toasted Barley, Tofu something, Brownies and whatever other goodies I find in there on Friday!

I'll probably throw together a simple salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers; and if I'm really feeling energetic I'll make a soup or stew in the crock pot so we can have something hot for lunch.

What are you making for Shabbat?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mock Mashed Potato Follow Up

So, I tried to be creative and I don't have a very adventurous group around my table. Serving new foods to kids with GERD is really never easy. They are so wary of anything new, and afraid they will get heartburn...

So last night's dinner was not so successful. They loved the soup and ate tons of salad, but almost no one ate the polenta with veggies or the mock mashed potatoes... I actually thought they were quite tasty - but not spicy, because I know my customers - but they are all a little too suspicious of new things. Next time I think I will only hit them with ONE new thing at a time.

How do you get your family to try new foods?

Wednesday night - Feb. 9, 2011

I'm very disappointed with this week's grocery sales. Have you found any good sales lately? I have a Rami Levy, Yesh, Mega, Kimat Chinam and Supersol near me...

Luckily, I still have plenty of produce in the fridge. Time to get creative! I'm not sure my family likes it when I get creative, since that means they have to try new things. But that's the point, so they try new things! How do you get your family to try out new foods?

On the way to the table tonight:


Split pea soup
Mock Garlic Mashed Potatoes (let's see if I can get the kids to eat the cauliflower!)
Polenta topped with roasted veggies and black beans (and some cheese for picky eaters)
Lettuce, Purple Cabbage, Honey Cinnamon'd Oranges, Cucumber, and Avocado Salad

Some notes:
Mock Garlic Mashed Potatoes - I'll puree cooked cauliflower with roasted garlic and other seasonings as the mood hits me, and serve it like mashed potatoes. Rumor has it it's pretty good like this. We'll see how it goes...

Polenta is pretty easy to make. I make it kind of runny so I can pour it into a well greased quiche pan. Then, I top it with all sorts of things - right now I have lots of tomatoes and red peppers, so that will be most of the topping, along with black beans. Then bake it for about 20 - 25 minutes... I have a feeling I may have to melt some cheese on top for my picky eaters!

Once again, I'm serving the salad "salad bar-style". Everybody wins!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Night (Feb. 8, 2011)

I'm a little under the weather, but I still need to run my household. I hung out a couple of loads of laundry today, even though it's raining (I put the drying racks in the covered part of my mirpeset). (I have no dryer)
I didn't think of putting on a coat for that task... I'm cold.

If you have great warming foods to serve, please tell me! I could use some creative and different ideas.

My kids are wondering why I've been serving soup so often lately. Don't they notice it warms them AND fills them?

Here's tonight's menu:

Minestrone Soup
Cheesy Baked Cauliflower
Rice
Roasted Beets
Tomato and Chick Pea Salad

Some notes about this menu:

Minestrone Soup is very forgiving - you can really use all sorts of veggies in it!

I'm experimenting with the cheesy baked cauliflower. I bought a whole lot of cauliflower  for 1.99 NIS/kilo. Now I hope I have the energy to clean and check it... I know cheese is not the most frugal food, but you can stretch it pretty far with enough ingenuity.

I will make oven-baked rice, since I'm roasting beets also, and I'll probably bake something else since the oven will be on already. Date bread? Chocolate Cake? Cookies?

I cooked a lot of chick peas the other day, and now we need to be sure to eat them... so we're having a salad repeat. Especially since tomatoes were 1.99 NIS/kilo...

Let me know what you're making for supper!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Monday Night, Feb. 7, 2011

I ended up going out shopping on Sunday afternoon, only to be very disappointed with what I found. I went to Kimat Chinam, where for the past few weeks I have found amazing produce deals, and for the past few months in general  has had very good produce pricing... only to discover that they raised all their produce prices (cucumbers for over 5 NIS/kilo, for example)! So, I left and went to Mega, since I noticed an ad the other day about some low produce prices.

At Mega I found a bunch of produce, so I bought according to the sales. Once again, we have lots of cauliflower. I'll have to get creative with cauliflower! (I also found tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and red peppers for decent prices)

Let me know if you are finding stores with good produce sales! (The shuk here in Teverya isn't really less expensive than the supermarkets, only perhaps right before closing, but that timing doesn't work out for me right now...)

Tonight's menu is a bit different. We like to mix things up every once in a while....

Breakfast for Supper!

Omelets
Cut Veggies - carrots, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes -  with avocado dip
Hash Browns
Carrot muffins
Citrus fruit salad


Some notes about these dishes:

My kids think omelets are so much cooler than scrambled eggs, so we'll go with omelets.


I have tons of avocados left from when I bought them at Yesh for 1.99NIS/kilo a week and a half ago. They are all ripe now. So, avocado dip is in order. I'm going to try to freeze some, as rumor has it that does work. What do you think?

Hash Browns allow me to pretend that I really am a southerner. I like to think I have southern roots, even though they're not very deep... I like potatoes in most any form, in any case, so I will introduce my kids to the idea of hash browns tonight!


Citrus Fruit salad - I have been buying all those citrus fruits that are in season right now. We have white grapefruit, pink grapefruit, pomelit, naval oranges, and clementines right now (yes, we also have lemons, but I'll leave them out of the salad!).  My 6 yr old really wants honey-cinnamon oranges, so I'll indulge her and make them again.


Let me know what you think, or what you're making for supper tonight!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sunday Night, Feb. 6, 2011

Shavua Tov! I had a very relaxing Shabbat in Yerushalayim. It was great to see family and friends whom we rarely get to see.

It's a new week, and in the past, Sunday night supper has snuck up on me and often caught me off guard. Now, I have a plan! (This meal planning thing is great! I am stretching my shekels so much further, and feeling much less stressed out!)

Here's the menu, using only things that I have on hand (not sure if I will make it to the store or not early in the day - I haven't planned my grocery run, yet!):

Green Bean Soup
Broccoli or Spinach "Puff"
Couscous
Chick Pea & Tomato Salad

Some notes about these dishes:

Green Bean Soup works very well either with EXTREMELY fresh green beans (garden or farm stand), or frozen ones (these are usually harvested and frozen the same day, so they are very fresh). It does not work well with supermarket "fresh" green beans. Here's what I do: Sautee onion and garlic in olive oil till translucent. Add green beans to the pot, stirring and heating till they are bright green. Add water or soup stock. Heat through, puree, add milk or rice milk to make it "creamy", and season with salt and pepper.

Broccoli or Spinach Puff: (Yes, these are slightly less frugal than the other menu items, but we all have to add some variety and remember to not be so thrifty as to never make our kids' favorite foods. My 3 yr old loves anything with spinach and my 12 yr old loves anything with broccoli. I know, go figure...) Mix the following ingredients together and bake in a deep casserole dish at 375 F for 1 hour: 16 oz. cottage cheese, 2 eggs, 4 oz. shredded cheese of your choice, 2 T. flour, 2 c. chopped broccoli or chopped spinach, salt and pepper to taste.

Chick Pea & Tomato Salad - don't forget to soak the chick peas overnight, and cook them early in the day (or use canned - but that costs a lot more per unit, and then you also have to deal with the question of BPA in cans. I prefer to soak and cook them myself.), as these chick peas should be completely cooled before combining with tomatoes and green onions for this salad...

As usual, let me know what you think!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Easy ideas for Shabbat

Lucky for me, I'm actually not cooking this week! (So rare, and I really appreciate it when that happens. Even though cooking makes me happy, I still like having a break sometimes.)

In any case, I figured I could just share a few tips and shortcuts for making Shabbat a bit more frugal and simple without it feeling stingy. We try not to waste the chicken - I splurge and buy organic chicken for ethical and environmental reasons - so I don't cook much extra chicken. Instead I make sure that there is plenty of good stuff on the table, using in-season produce and inexpensive, filling grains and legumes.

Here are some simple ideas:  steam those vegetables you bought when the shuk was closing, or roast them if you're already using your oven. Roasting really brings out the flavor in so many vegetables. Certain kinds do best if roasted alone (like beets), others can be roasted as a medley (I like roasted ratatouille - place diced onions, garlic, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, and eggplants in a roasting pan and toss with olive oil. roast uncovered in your oven till they smell amazing and look done).

Rice, barley, couscous (whole grain, of course) and other grains are nutritious and frugal can be embellished in so many ways. I like to add mushrooms to most dishes, but that's because I really like mushrooms!

If you're looking for a side dish with some zip, you can make a southwestern-style pasta salad. Simply combine cooked pasta with diced tomatoes, peppers, green onion, cooked black beans, and frozen corn niblets (these defrost very quickly when mixed into the salad!). Season with a jar of salsa (hard to find here - so you can use one of those spicy tomato based piquante salads instead), lemon juice, and ground black pepper.

Enjoy your Shabbat! Let me know what you do to fill your table with good food without spending all night and day cooking! I could always use more ideas.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Thursday Night, Feb.3, 2011

I can't believe how fast this week is flying by. Menu Planning is really helping me out - there are fewer foods going to waste and no supper crises, so I'd say it's been a successful food week. Not everything I've done this week has been so successful, but I'll take what I can get...

That said, it looks like it will be another busy Thursday. We usually end up running in the door right before suppertime, and everyone wants to eat "NOW". I may not post every Thursday from now on, because it's just too predictable...

The Menu:


Any leftover soup from the week
Make your own salad 
A variation on pizza

Some notes about this menu:

Make your own salad works wonders in our house! My kids don't always like it when too many flavors are mixed together, but for some reason, it's so much more palatable for them to choose their own combinations. I just put out all the various vegetables (and yes, fruits sometimes too) in individual bowls and everyone takes their own winning combination. This way, the one who loves avocado can have it, and the one who won't touch it avoids it without any fuss...

Our pizza variations usually include toppings like tomatoes, olives, peppers, and mushrooms.

Crock Pot Cooking

Today, I decided to put the soup in the crock pot, even though we were home all day. I thought it through and was wondering which one is more cost effective - to cook the soup on the gas stove for an hour or more, or to use the crock pot?
If anyone knows, I'd appreciate the information!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wednesday night - Feb. 2, 2011

My house feels really chilly. We all had hot chocolate before putting the kids to bed tonight.

I know that those of you in the States will think I'm nuts, and I'm sorry that you have to deal with so many snowstorms and "Crazy Weather" (one of my kids once wrote a song entitled "Crazy Weather"... It was a big hit in our house!). But I'm thinking that we need cold weather food for Wednesday night.

So, here is the plan (using only foods that we already have in the house):

Creamy Green Vegetable Soup
Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Zucchini Pancakes
Lettuce, Purple Cabbage, Cinnamon-Honey'd Oranges, Avocado, and Walnut Salad (ok, the salad is not a cold weather food, but we have plenty of these ingredients and serving salad always makes me feel like a better meal planner.)

Some notes about these foods:

Creamy Green Vegetable Soup - Trying to get the kids to finish up the cauliflower that I made the other day. Here's what I do - make a basic vegetable soup with onions, garlic, celery, broccoli stalks (peeled and chopped), and zucchini. After it has simmered for a while, add some frozen spinach and the already cooked cauliflower. Puree it before serving. Serve with croutons or "soup nuts". (The kids love it and have no idea which veggies are in it!)

Stuffed Baked Potatoes - Bake some potatoes, cut in half, keeping the skins intact, and scoop out the insides. Mash it up with garlic, cheese, chopped broccoli or any other additons you like. Scoop back inside the potato halves, and bake again.

Zucchini Pancakes - I make these with shredded zucchini, chopped onion, ground flaxseed, egg, salt and pepper.

Salad - pretty self explanatory. You can make Cinnamon-Honey'd Oranges like this:  Peel and section a few oranges. Cut them into bite-sized pieces. Place in a bowl you can cover, drizzle with honey and a generous amount of cinnamon. mix gently. cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving with your salad. There is no need for any other dressing on this salad!

Sloppy Sams Follow Up

I was so happy last night when the sloppy sams were eaten without complaint! I think we're finally getting closer to a truly successful sloppy sam recipe!

Here's what I did:

(This recipe requires a small amount of advance preparation, but it is well worth it.)
The night before or in the morning, open and drain a package of firm tofu. Place on a towel lined plate, cover with another clean towel (or paper towel), and weigh it down. I used my cast iron fry pan to weigh it down, and it really drained a lot of liquid out of the tofu over the hour or so I drained it.

Once the tofu is well-drained, crumble it finely with a fork (in a bowl you can cover). I seasoned it with soy sauce, garlic powder, and onion powder. Cover the bowl and refrigerate till you're ready to throw the sloppy sams together.

Later, finely dice 1 medium onion, 2 cloves of garlic, and a sweet red pepper. Saute in olive oil over medium heat, preferably in a cast iron pan. When the onion is translucent and fragrant, add the tofu crumbles. Continue to cook, stirring frequently. Once the tofu browns somewhat, add tomato paste, water, sugar, vinegar, ground black pepper, and any other seasonings you like. Allow to cook over med-low heat till warmed through, stirring occasionally. I also added some oat bran toward the end, because I accidentally used too much water. This thickened it up really nicely, and even added fiber and nutrients to our meal.

Even my 6 year old daughter, who always claims not to eat Sloppy Sams, ate it all up!