When planning the week's menu, it's nice to know the weather (comfort food or grill), along with your weeknight schedule. But if you're winging it, here are a few things I've cooked this past week. If you're looking for more tried and tasted options, you can check out this Pinterest Board.
I had found a bunch of Coffee Creamers recipes that didn't require sweetened condensed milk (which can be as expensive as the fake-stuff creamers I'm trying to wean myself off of) and tried the French Vanilla version. It's nice because it makes just two cups since I'm the only one who uses creamer. It's not as vanilla-y as I was hoping. I used half-and-half, but that shouldn't affect the flavor. Still, there are several other versions to try, plus I wasn't a great recipe-follower. Note-to-self, read BEFORE just throwing everything together.
I said it was cooler this week so Hearty Beef and Sweet Potato Stew sounded good. I had never had parsnips or turnips, so it was a fun to cook with something new. My pet-peeve over cuts of beef, or rather their names came up when I couldn't find Beef Chuck Steak, but we had Beef Chuck Pot Roast, which looks a lot like a steak, so that's what I used. I knew, at least, that Pot Roast was a good thing for long simmering. It was warm, hearty and flavorful. The parsnips, if you've not had them have a sort of earthy-spice to them; even my kids ate them. My only change would be to cut my sweet potatoes bigger. The parsnips and turnips were well cooked, where as the sweet potatoes were very soft - not bad, just soft.
I served this Easy Homemade Chunky Apple Sauce with the above stew. It was really good. Just the right amount of sweetness and I loved the almond extract in it. Plus it was super fast, which will make it a perfect anytime-side.
Cornbread is one of those easy to make, goes with a lot of things sides. But it can be tricky to find a version that works for you. Some are sweet Some not so much. Some are drier. Some are moist, or as moist as cornbread can be. Well, I can stop my searching because this Everyday Cornbread was awesome! It's on the slightly sweet side and is nice and moist. I did reduce my cook time to 15 minutes - for baked goods I usually go five minutes under the lowest time to be sure I don't over-bake something, since we're at altitude. I served it with chili and had a couple slices left over and it even stored well; sometimes it doesn't keep, it just dries out. The blogger has a sweet potato version I can't wait to try.
I have been trying to work this Caramel Apple Strata into the menu for a couple weeks. It was, eh, it was okay. I may try a couple things. First, I didn't let it sit overnight, but since I was making it for dessert at night, I made it up early in the morning and figured by the time I baked it, it was like sitting overnight. Second, the top got way too brown - I'd cover it either at the start and take it off to finish the browning, or start out uncovered and cover it later to keep it from over-browning. Third, the two layers didn't really "meld," which might be because the top layer was too toasted. I'll try it again to fix the over-browning and if I still have the issue, I'll cube the bread. Finally, the caramel sauce. Though I followed the directions, it was more a caramel candy block than a sauce, so I'll either cook it by sight (looking for it to thicken regardless of the timer), use another sauce I know works, or go jarred. It was good enough to give it another try.
Some nights you just want easy, so Chicken Pesto Sandwiches it was. And they were easy. And they were good, lots of flavors fresh flavors working well together. The hardest part was finding Italian bread that was sandwiched sized. Hubby ended up finding some roasted garlic Parmesan cheese bread, which sounded good, so I went with that. I also didn't have the pesto I thought I had, but I had a bunch of fresh basil in the garden that was about to freeze its leaves off, so homemade it was. These were really good, I think even more so because of the bread, but plain, buttered and toasted bread would work well, too. They would be great with tomato soup later this winter.
Other than In-Law Dinner tonight, I have no set plans. Wonder what I'll end up doing?