What’s Your Plan?, Week 4

It’s that time again – time to share what we’ve got planned for our menu for the coming week…

Here’s the plan: Every Saturday (okay, and occasionally it won’t happen until Sunday!), I’m going to publish our menu for the week here – on this blog – as a means of accountability. I’ll try to give links to recipes whenever possible. I’ll share links to resources as I come across them. And if you want to join in – and please do! – leave a comment in the comments section here telling us what YOU are planning for your dinner menus for the week. Maybe if we all join in – we’ll get inspired to try something new and different – or just maybe forgotten for a while!

For the week beginning today, Sunday, August 29 through Saturday, September 4th, 2010 our plan is….

Sunday – Beef Pot Roast with Roasted Veggies; evening meal is DIY.

Monday – Jonathan’s Chicken Surprise with Spanish Rice and Corn. Yes, it’s true. Jonathan has volunteered to cook dinner Monday night. He’s a pretty good cook, and we’re looking forward to whatever it is he’s got up his sleeve!

Tuesday – Breakfast for Dinner. We’re gonna do omelettes and hash browns. We typically customize each omelet for each individual. It works out well, that way everyone has exactly what they want. I’m seriously leaning toward sautéing some squash fresh from the garden to put on mine!

Wednesday – Chicken Stir-Fry with Yakisoba Noodles. The boys really like this meal – I love it because of all of the veggies.

Thursday – Some sort of Soup in the Crockpot. William has bilateral knee surgery at Shriner’s Thursday. It will probably be a day surgery – but there’s no knowing for sure if it will be, and if it is, no knowing when we’ll arrive home. So this will have to be one of those crock pot recipes that holds well at a low temperature! We’ll know more at his pre-op appointment on Wednesday what to expect – and that will affect what we plan for this meal. (But this one is looking mighty good!)

Friday – Homemade Macaroni & Cheese. I can admit it. I’ve tried making it roughly a bazillion times – and well – none of them have been anything worth trying again a second time. (Although the chickens have enjoyed my failed attempts immensely!) Anyone? You got a good homemade mac & cheese recipe that I should try this time out?

Saturday – Burgers on the Grill. I’m thinking we’ll have to see if we can find some corn on the cob to grill, too. Hard to believe our grilling days are winding down…

My big insider tip for this week is a web site that I probably turn to at least three, maybe four times a week. It’s Cook’s Illustrated. It’s one of the few web sites that I feel it’s worth paying the subscription for a higher tier of access on the web site. I am – to be perfectly honest – a little put out that they’ve added yet another tier of service – requiring yet another level of subscription – to access *everything* at the site… but I’ll likely get over it. The one plus about this highest tier of service is that it includes the contents of their many – admittedly fabulous – cookbooks. (Several of which I already own – but I’m just too cheap to buy too many more, as lovely and fabulous as they may be!) I may break down eventually to bump up to that higher tier of service – but frankly, given our current economic status – it’s WAY down at the bottom of the list of possible things to fork out cash for!

And because I think it’s kinda lame that you gotta subscribe to Cook’s Illustrated – one other fabulous web resource for recipes: Epicurious. I’ve been turning to them for – gosh – at least 10 years. Their web site – even way back when – has always been a fabulous way to kind of get an idea if you’re heading the right direction with a new recipe – or if you need to learn a technique. Great place!

How about you? Any web sites you wouldn’t consider cooking without?

And of course…

What’s Your Plan?

I’d love to know!


4 thoughts on “What’s Your Plan?, Week 4

  1. I can definiately recommend America’s Test Kitchen recipe for Mac ‘n Cheese. They have a skillet version, but nothing beats the baked version. Ever since I tried it the first time, my entire extended family insists on using this recipe!

    Baked Macaroni and Cheese

    The recipe calls for chicken broth, which was a surprising addition for me, but America’s Test Kitchen says they found it to be the best way to keep the macaroni and cheese creamy without becoming too sweet or dry.

    8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
    2 cups breadcrumbs
    1 pound elbow macaroni
    1 garlic cloves, minced
    1 teaspoon dry mustard, dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
    ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    3½ cups whole milk (do not used reduced fat milk)
    1¾ cups low sodium chicken broth (can use vegetable broth for vegetarian)
    1 pound Colby cheese, shredded (about 4 cups)
    8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)

    Make sure the oven rack is in the middle and preheat the oven to 400°F. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and mix with the breadcrumbs.

    Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and add the macaroni. Cook until almost tender, but still firm to the bite. Drain the macaroni , leave in the colander, and set aside.
    Dry the pot, add the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and melt on medium heat. Stir in the garlic, mustard mixture, and cayenne pepper. Cook about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
    Stir in the flour and cook until golden brown, about 1 minute. Stir in the milk and broth slowly and simmer, whisking often, until the mixture is slightly thickened. This should take about 6 minutes.
    Take the pot off the heat and slowly whisk in the cheeses until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the macaroni, until well mixed. Be sure to break up any clumps.
    Pour into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the macaroni and cheese. Bake until golden brown and bubbling around the edges. this should take about 25-30 minutes. Cool about 10 minutes before serving.
    To make ahead:
    Follow steps 2-5. Cover dish and put in fridge for up to three days or freezer for up to three months. If frozen, defrost for 24 hours before setting out at room temperature for an hour. If refrigerated, set the dish out at room temperature for an hour before cooking. Mix the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over dish just before baking.

    • Thanks Merilou! I’ve tried a CI mac & cheese recipe in the past – but it’s definitely not this one – and it definitely wasn’t popular with the kids! I’ll give this one a run this week – here’s hoping they love it as well as your family! (They can be so finickey, these boys!)

      Thanks so much!

  2. This is such a great idea. Wish I was even half as together as you are.

    Sorry to hear about your son’s experience. That sounds horrible. My thoughts are with you…

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