Sunday, January 23, 2011

menu for two

I thought I'd start regularly posting our weekly menu as a way to keep track of how we're actually eating. I also thought it might be interesting to show you what recipes are on my radar each week, what I'm experimenting with, and whether it was a success or a failure. I also know how hard it is to cook for two people especially when one of those two does not like eating leftovers. So most of the time, I have to figure out portions just so we don't end up with any leftovers and I have to come up with something different every night (a tremendous feat just by itself).

I also think it'll help give you ideas for dinners for two (or one, with leftovers). Especially for those times when it's really hard to find recipes and ideas (November and December I'm looking at you. My usual go-to places for recipes explode with Thanksgiving sides and desserts at this time and as much as we'd like to eat a pound of Christmas cookies or a casserole fit for an entire family gathering for dinner, it's not really a smart thing to do).

We also decided that (maybe due to our age?) eating meat every night feels a little heavy on our stomachs, so I try to have Tuesdays and Thursdays as "vegetarian" nights (seafood, eggs, cheese is ok) which has also presented its own set of problems (especially when one of us doesn't like beans). I've also never cooked or eaten much vegetarian food myself (I grew up on a cattle farm, eh hem), so I have to get more creative and more adventurous because of that (especially since we've both decided tofu's just not doing it for us).

{this week's menu}
tuesday: garlic soup with grilled cheese for Idle Husband
wednesday: naked ravioli
thursday: "sausage" patties with salad
friday: meatloaf with salad and mashed potato
saturday: pizza
sunday: roast chicken, roasted vegetables, and salad

what really happened

{monday} no, I still haven't tried these with chili. I just didn't have any other options for dinner since we were completely out of everything and this seemed like the best meal to eat without vegetables.
{tuesday} I still hadn't gone grocery shopping, so I omitted the wine (1/2 cup more of stock), heavy cream (milk and butter instead), french bread (ends of my own bread), bay leaf (I season my own stock), and gruyere. Overall, this recipe just didn't taste very much like garlic (let alone outrageous garlic). It was more like a slightly garlic-y onion soup. Also soup is a complete meal for me so I'm cool with having it alone (or with a salad), but I always have to make at least one grilled cheese for IH.
{wednesday} I ground my own pork (change number one), omitted the parsley, butter, and sage leaves, and I was honestly just too lazy to bother browning butter. I also went with spaghetti cuz I didn't want to buy bow-tie pasta when I had a huge bag of spaghetti sitting unopened in my pantry. The kitchen scale has proved invaluable for everything (not just macarons). Since spaghetti is hard to portion, I cook about 160-200 grams and it ends up being just perfect. Idle Husband unexpectedly had to work late, so I didn't really finish out the rest of this recipe. I forgot about the frozen peas which bummed me out so much as I've been wanting to get rid of that ice rock in the freezer forever. I chopped in 3/4s of a tomato that had been sitting on the counter since Tuesday, and I stirred in some salted margarine (I love pasta and margarine). I wish I had put some seasoning into the pork balls themselves. They were tasty but more on the tasty meh side of things. I also had a lot leftover, so I froze it for an emergency.{thursday} I didn't have the specific spices that were called for so I used what I thought would be good and kept the measurements the same. Once it was all combined and ready for shaping, I thought that it could easily go horribly wrong. The mixture was so sticky. It helped to wet my hands, but I kinda settled into the idea that they were going to gum up, fall apart, and stick to everything. I made them in the morning and kept them in the fridge on a baking sheet (uncovered) all day before cooking. Thankfully, they easily came off the pan and cooked up fantastically! The recipe only made 10 small patties and I wished there had been 10 more. I'm definitely making it again, but I'll be doubling it.
{friday} I talked about this meatloaf here. Now I always personalize it with my own spices and I double up on the carrots and onion instead of spinach. I also sprinkle brown sugar on top and squirt some ketchup on and mix it around to make a glaze. For me, meatloaf has to have a sweet ketchupy glaze. I also almost never do mashed potato for this, but I happened to have it and one potato boiled and mashed is the perfect amount of mashed potato for both of us. It really compliments meatloaf. It almost makes it taste better, you know?

click to enlarge

{saturday} I usually do pizza on Fridays, so I have the time (aka I'm not as lazy) to make the dough, but if I have a frozen pizza dough ball, then I'll do it on the weekend as a quick dinner (especially Saturdays because I find that's our busiest weekend day). I had those leftover pork meatballs from Wednesday, so I used them as a topping. Pizzas are great cuz you can get rid of leftovers in one meal and your husband won't even notice cuz they're on a pizza. We also prefer Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce to tomato sauce, and I piled on a bunch of mushrooms and some sliced ripe olives which I bought just for this pizza. I know it sucks to open a whole can of olives for only a sprinkling, but I spread the rest out evenly on a pan and froze them. They freeze really well and unthaw with lightening speed. I added my favourite pizza dough recipe since I don't think I've posted it before and I can't remember where I got it. When you're adding the flour, you're kneading the dough, just so you know. This one's so good, I don't even consider other dough recipes when I see them. It makes enough for two pizzas which is a lot nicer when you're putting the time in to make it. Don't skip sprinkling the pan with cornmeal. That's the secret to pizza. (I went searching through the archives to see if I had ever posted it before, and I completely laughed my ass off at this post I wrote a while ago).

{sunday} AlI I do for a whole roast chicken is unthaw it, pop it on a foil lined pan, salt and pepper the heck out of it, and place it in a 350 degree oven till it's done (when a meat thermometer placed into the thickest part reads 180 -- that's another invaluable kitchen tool). Usually, as soon as you can smell it, it's just about cooked completely. I always do a salad with this (for me, no meal is complete without one), but I've been craving roasted vegetables like a crazy person. So I chopped up fresh brussel sprouts, beets, broccoli, acorn squash, carrots, sweet potato, and cabbage (just enough for me and some if IH wanted to try them), drizzled some canola oil on them, salt and pepper, a few cloves of garlic, and some chunks of bacon (IH looked at me sadly in the morning and said, I'm really thinking about bacon. So the rest of the bacon was draped over the chicken just for him). Then I roasted them on a seperate pan at the same time as the chicken. They could have come out a little earlier than they did, but they were so good, I only had one chicken leg and filled up on the roasted vegetables instead. Gawd I love roasted broccoli and cabbage! So delicious!

1 comment:

Deborah said...

yum, yum, and yum - you are hired as our personal chef - when can you begin?