Saturday, February 6, 2010

Who cares about the menu plan? We're snowed in and hungry for take-out.

So we made our own.(Alright, who snagged one before I could get a picture?)Started off with Vietnamese spring rolls (cha gio) filled with ground pork, shredded carrots, bean thread noodles, minced onion and garlic, fish sauce, salt, pepper and a dash of sugar then wrapped in rice paper wrappers I soaked in beer and a little water. DH prepared the fish sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, bird pepper and garlic for a dipping sauce called nuoc mam cham. Then I made a chicken, Chinese broccoli, fresh mung bean sprouts and brown rice dish -- sort of a cross between a regular stir fry and fried rice.I had several cups of cold, cooked brown rice in the fridge and didn't want to be bothered heating it up to serve under the vegetables so I tossed it in the pan after the vegetables and chicken were cooked, treating it as I do when making fried rice and drizzled a tiny amount of sesame oil over it while quickly tossing it around to heat then added the veg and meat back to the pan. DS ate two helpings on top of 4 spring rolls.

Don't know for sure how many cha gio DH ate but I had 5 besides a test one DH and I shared while I was cooking them. I wrapped 33 and there were 9 left when we were done. You do the math. I think it means they were good. Or he was hungry. Or maybe both. Ah, well, they're small with only a tablespoon of filling on a quarter-round rice paper. And he did all the washing up... But wanted no supper this evening. Wonder why not?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Wholegrain Blonde Brownies

I made a batch of these yesterday and meant to include the recipe in the weekly menu plan post. These are so easy to make and since they take only a few pantry items, I can always whip up a batch on the spur of the moment. In yesterday's case, DS had been visiting his grandmother and my uncle was going to drop him off on his way home. A plate of blonde brownies can be an excellent way to say "thank you!" (Plus I won a blue ribbon for them at last year's county fair.)

This recipe came from a lovely old cookbook from 1963 titled "Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers: Desserts Edition, including Party Beverages" and is credited to Mrs. Dixie Dunn Ruby, Charles Town Sr. High School, Charles Town, West Virginia. That book has 378 pages of recipes and every one I've tried so far has been a success. It's a keeper.

Blonde Brownies

1/4 cup vegetable oil (original calls for melted butter)
1 cup light brown sugar or sucanat, packed
1 large egg
3/4 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour (originial calls for all-purpose)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, optional but very good!

Combine oil and sugar in mixing bowl and stir until well-blended. Stir in egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients, stirring to combine. Stir in walnuts.

Spread in a greased 9"-square baking pan. Bake at 350°F. about 25 minutes. Do not overbake! Cut into bars or squares while still warm.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Menu plan for week of Feb1/10

Forgot to do a menu plan last week but we survived. It is easier for me with a written menu, tho, so here's another attempt at making this a habit. The recipe for Monday's soup is included at the bottom of the post.

Monday, Feb 1
Tortellini Italian Vegetable Soup in the crockpot
No-knead wholegrain bread

Tuesday, Feb 2
Roast chicken
Mashed potatoes

Wednesday, Feb 3
Broiled fish (whatever's in the freezer - flounder or tilapia)
Potato cakes (made with Tuesday's mashed potatoes)

Thursday, Feb 4
Oatmeal Blender Pancakes w/blueberry syrup

Friday, Feb 5
Chicken & cheese quesadillas (using Tuesday's chicken)

Saturday, Feb 6
Black olive & mushroom pizza (crust recipe)
Carrots & celery

Sunday, Feb 7
Swiss steak over noodles
Green beans
Fruit cup (canned or frozen)

Crockpot Tortellini Italian Vegetable Soup
12-15 servings

1 quart whole tomatoes
1 quart tomato juice
6 oz tomato paste or 4 oz dried tomatoes, powdered
1 quart green beans
1/2 to 1 pound ground beef or venison, optional
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped or 1/2 cup dried, chopped bell pepper
1 carrot, chopped or 1/4 cup dried, chopped carrots
1 quart chicken, beef or vegetable broth or water *See Note
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves or 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon garlic granules or 2 cloves, crushed
1 pound fresh or frozen cheese tortellini or 9 oz. dried tortellini

Brown ground meat in olive oil. Add onions, cook till they're translucent.

Combine whole tomatoes and tomato juice in 6-qt crockpot. Use large spoon to break apart tomatoes. Add chicken broth, green beans, tomato paste, chopped carrots and peppers, salt, basil and garlic. Add cooked meat and onions.

Cook on HIGH for 2 hours or LOW for 4-8 hours. About 30 minutes before serving, turn crock to HIGH if on LOW, and add tortellini. Monitor cooking as frozen tortellini may be cooked in as little as 10 minutes, dried will take longer. If preferred, tortellini may also be prepared by boiling in a separate pot of water (4 minutes for frozen, 10 minutes for dried). Drain then add to soup mixture. I do it all in one to save a step and a pan...

Note: If using dried tortellini and cooking it in the crockpot, add an additional 1 cup liquid (water or broth).