Monday, October 28, 2013

Menu #66

Do you know that when Xavier started Kindergarten I thought to myself, “Wow, all the free time I’ll have!”  Silly me!  With all the fall activities lately, I haven’t had a chance to make a real menu, much less post one.  There was a ton to do for the school’s Fall Festival the last couple weeks,  but I did go shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables and kind of just threw things together with what I had in the pantry and freezer.  Then I went straight to getting everything in order for our Red Ribbon Week, which kicked off this morning. 

Even with all the hustle and bustle, I’ve managed to get dinner on the table every night (except weekend nights…that’s my time off!).  The key has been simplicity.  I’ve been making very quick dinners and have been using the slow-cooker constantly.   

Above is a super delish butternut squash-red pepper soup I made last week that everyone loved.  I roasted the butternut squash in the morning while we were getting ready for school, which saved a lot of time in the evening.  Here’s the recipe. . .

Creamy Butternut-Red Pepper Soup

3 T grape seed oil
1 butternut squash
S&P, to taste
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 C heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Split the squash in half, remove the seeds, drizzle with 1 T grape seed oil, season with salt, and roast for about 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

Heat 2 T grape seed oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, add the bell peppers, onion, and carrot, and season with salt & pepper.   Cook the vegs until starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes.  

Scoop the butternut squash pulp into the pot and stir. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pot, and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 20-30 minutes.  Remove from the heat and using an immersion blender, puree the soup until very smooth, add cream, and taste for seasoning. 

I served ours with a crumbled bacon garnish and garlic wheat toast. 

This week’s menu. . .

Monday:  Slow-Cooker BBQ Chicken Sliders/slow-cooker BBQ potatoes/broccoli salad
I sliced 4 small red potatoes and added them to the slow cooker.  I then seasoned 2 very large chicken breasts with BBQ seasoning, cut into 4 smaller chunks, and added them to the slow cooker also.  I topped the whole thing with about 1/2 C BBQ sauce.  Six hours later, I will have a yummy dish of shredded BBQ chicken sliders with BBQ potatoes served with a dollop of Greek yogurt and sliced scallions.

Tuesday:  Smorgasbord Night!    
We have plenty of leftovers to work on, including the yummy butternut squash soup above. 

Wednesday:  Italian Subs/pickles/baked onion rings or fries/fruit salad

Thursday:  Happy Halloween!!!  Ghost Pizzas/bloody eyeballs/witch’s fingers
Halloween menu translation—Ghost-shaped white pizzas with sliced black olives for eyes and mouths, turkey meatballs in marinara, and baby carrots with almond slices for fingernails.  J  Our school’s PTA is making Halloween goodies for the teachers, so I’m making orange fudge also. 

Friday:  Dinner Out or Take-Out
This is the last day of Red Ribbon Week and I know I'll be exhausted.  Were having sushi...just not sure if we're eating out or in.

Saturday:  Grilled Steaks & Prawns/baked potatoes/salad

Sunday:  Chicken Egg Rolls/veg pot stickers/rice noodle salad w/ peanut vinaigrette

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Menu #65

So Happy!

Yesterday’s menu was delayed because my whole family came to visit and we had a blast while they were here!  We went to the beach on Saturday with my mom, brother, sis-in-law, niece, and uncle and had one of the best times ever at the beach.  The tide was so low, the weather was absolutely perfect, and everybody was smiling and laughing.  I love days like those!  Then my other brother gave us all a surprise visit on Sunday morning with his twin babies and his fiancĂ©!  We watched football together all day, Xavier showed off his bike and soccer prowess as much as he could, and we had a fab BBQ of ribs, garlic-parmesan potatoes, baked beans, watermelon, and ended the whole thing off with homemade chocolate M&M ice cream. . .yum!  We had a houseful but Xavier could not have been more delighted.  The last of my family left last night, so here I am getting things back in order today. 

First things first, this week’s menu. . .

Tuesday:  Leftovers
We have so many leftovers!!!

Wednesday:  Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken Tostadas/cilantro-lime rice/refried beans/avocado-mango salsa
I have a lot going on tomorrow with Red Ribbon Week prep and volunteering for after-school movie, so I’m throwing salsa and chicken thighs in the slow cooker to do all the work for me.  I’m prepping my mango salsa in the morning with the addition of avocado.  All I’ll have to do when I get home is steam the rice and make refried beans.

Thursday:  Leftover Makeover--Chicken Chilaquilles/cilantro-lime rice/beans/avocado-mango salsa
I’m going to use leftover corn tortillas and chicken and layer them in a baking dish with cheese and salsa to make chilaquilles. 

Friday:  Parmesan Fish Sticks/mac n cheese/fruit salad
Laddie has a booth at the Del Mar Home Improvement Show this weekend, so it’s just me and the little guy for dinner.  I let him pick dinner for both Friday and Saturday, and I’m actually pretty pleased with his choices.  J

Saturday:  Roasted Red Pepper-Tomato Soup & garlic-parmesan bread

Sunday:  Homemade Pizza/salad

X-man & Cousin Ken :)