Friday, February 5, 2016

Food for Thought

It was one of those weeks where there was enough on the calendar to keep us busy.  A few evening meetings, stuff during the day, plus the usual list of chores and projects to keep rolling.

It's never a bad thing to have a planned meal menu, but it's always a plus on weeks that keep you moving.  I planned from Pinterest this week, and if it seems heavy on pasta and cheese, well, it was.  It was cold here - we even had a Snow Day on Tuesday - so it was planned that way with a purpose.  Lots of carbs for the shoveling of snow and ice.  

There was a bit of a shuffle, so I have three meals that I will move.  I chose to clear out the 'fridge on Wednesday.  It was Catholic Schools Week and yesterday was Student Appreciation Day, which meant a fundraiser at a local restaurant, so we did that.  The Girlie's birthday is this weekend, and she's coming home with a craving for Gyros.  I don't have a good, traditional recipe for them, so we'll likely head out tonight for those.  

Two of the kids want to have friends over for the Super Bowl, so I might move the pulled pork to Sunday and the other two meals will roll to next week.  My grocery budget will be happy.

If you're in need of meals. . .

I actually made this Cheddar and Gruyere Mac and Cheese with Kielbasa a couple weeks ago, but forgot to include it in past Friday posts.  It was really good.  We like Mac and Cheese, but sometimes it can be bland, which I have realized is more a function of cheese choice, as opposed to seasonings.  The Gruyere in this one gives it a nice tang and adds creaminess.  It's a keeper and the discovery of Gruyere makes the search for the combo of cheeses shorter.

I am an oatmeal convert, but it has to be baked.  I still can't get my mouth around traditional oatmeal textures.  But baked.  Baked I can do all day.  The cold and snow this week, along with an unintentional opening of crushed pineapple prompted this Morning Glory Baked Oatmeal, which I've had on my list for a while.  I didn't have enough applesauce on hand, so I used what was left and apple butter made up the difference, about a cup.  Because of the apple butter, I left out the sugar (apple butter is sweetened) and the cinnamon (apple butter comes spiced.)  I had made chicken broth earlier and used all but one of my carrots, which shredded to half a cup, and I, think for us, it was plenty.  I think the can of pineapple I had was larger than the called for 15 oz., but I'm not sure there was much difference in the final product; maybe a little more moist.  It was good, filling and a different flavor combo - in a good way.

Enter the first of several cheesy pastas for the week.  White Pizza Lasagna.  This was no more time consuming than a regular lasagna, but it was really good.  I loved the roasted tomatoes, however at $3.50 a pint, I couldn't justify four, so I bought three and it was fine.  I did wonder if I could use frozen ones, which I have from last summer; may have to try that.  Some of the cheeses were a little tricky to find, but a well stocked grocery should carry them.  The recipe calls for whole milk, but we drink 2% so my sauce didn't quite thicken as much as I wanted, though it didn't really affect the outcome.  Next time I'll either double the roux, use half and half (which I almost always have on hand) or a combo of milk and heavy cream (another staple.)  It was really good and worth the work.

As I was scrolling through my pins, I found these Christmas Cherries, which I made for the cookie bake back during Christmas.  I'm not sure what sort of mad-scientist thing these candied cherries go through to make them clear and remove most of the flavor, but they work in these cookies.  The base is buttery and light and somehow those don't-call-me-a-cherry-cherries work.  They'll make a return this year.

I didn't get fish on my menu this week, probably because I didn't see one coated in cheese, but we did have two meatless nights.  One was the lasagna and the other was Quinoa Black Bean Tacos which I've made before and even the kids like them.

I've got birthday prep to do and a Parent Appreciation Rally to go to.

Happy Friday,

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