Menu Plan Monday: Jan 14-20, 2013

mpmfall1

Well, that deadline definitely went out the window – updating the theme isn’t as easy as I originally intended (since I’m installing a completely new framework, and behind the scenes getting everything to work with everything else is a bit harder than I thought. Luckily, I’m married to an IT professional, but at the moment, he’s married to his job, so I only get visitation (and help w/ the upgrade) on weekends now. I’m excited about the new look, though – I’m getting there slowly but surely and it will definitely be easier to update when I don’t have to go line by line through the code and by extension, getting a crash course in CSS.

We’ve made lots of new dishes in the past few months – becoming a hermit has done wonders for getting us to cook at home since going out to eat isn’t an option at the moment (hopefully that will change soon – I’m getting a bit stir crazy after confining myself to the house since July).

One unfortunate side effect of getting on the right medication is that I’ve managed to pick up a few (uh, like 35-40) unwanted pounds along the way. It’s difficult to tread the fine line between disordered and healthy eating, and I’ve started taking small, gradual steps to dropping the weight, adding in some exercise and cutting out the obvious culprits (way too much fast food, and highly refined sweets). I really need to find something I can stick with, but finding moderation is a challenge.

I’m a day late with our menu plan for the week – but feel good about the fact that we had most of the ingredients for these dishes on hand. We just got a Ninja Cooking System (we got one for my sister and she raved about it, so I got one for myself). I’m going to adapt a few crock pot recipes (including the Transylvanian Goulash we’re making later this week) and see how they turn out.

So, here’s what’s on board for this week:

Monday: Lemon Chicken with Orzo, Green Beans

Tuesday: One Pot Spaghetti, Garden Salad

Wednesday: Bacon Fried Rice

Thursday: Tofu Tortilla Casserole, Authentic Street Style Elotes

Friday: Transylvanian Goulash (in the Ninja)

Saturday: Oven Fried Chicken, Roasted Garlic and Tomato Risotto

Sunday: Manestra with Lamb, Spinach Feta and Mushroom Crustless Quiche

Breakfasts: Meyer Lemon Ricotta Pancakes w/ Blueberries, Slow Cooker Peaches and Cream Steel Cut Oatmeal, Fried Egg & Sliced Avocado Open Face Sandwich

Desserts: Apple Strudel, Mississippi Mud Pie

What do the rest of you have on deck this week? Are you all hating winter as much as I do? Take a second to check out what other Meal Plan Monday participants have on their minds…

Menu Plan Monday: Nov 19-25, 2012

mpmfall1

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve done a post for Menu Plan Monday – it’s not that we haven’t eaten or cooked anything – it’s been more that the last couple weeks have flown by without me really taking a moment to breathe. Over the past couple of weeks we have made a few new recipes – namely, the delicious Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes.

This year is going to be a fairly low-key Thanksgiving, just Paul and I. Glad that there won’t be the stress that comes with entertaining, grateful that I have the physical ability to cook this year, and sad that this holiday marks the one year anniversary of what has become a huge fracture in the family dynamic. But also very grateful for the lack of drama that comes with maintaining that particular relationship, which was definitely taking a great toll on my mental health. Also very, very thankful for second chances – my brush with death last year led me to do a lot of healing in my relationship with my father. I will miss him greatly on Thursday, and hope that I will be able to see him and his soon-to-be wife sooner rather than later.

But we decided to keep it really simple this year – he and I both prefer white meat over dark, so we’re just doing a non-stuffed turkey breast this year – it will make eating up the leftovers a breeze rather than a chore. What are the rest of you doing for Thanksgiving? Looking over the link-up for this week’s blog party gives me tons of ideas. Here’s what we have planned this week:

Monday: Pork and Sauerkraut, Kielbasa and Knockwurst, Mashed Yukon Golds

Tuesday: Oven Hot Dogs, Make-Ahead Mac and Cheese, Corn

Wednesday: Homemade Hamburger Helper Stroganoff, Green Beans

Thursday: Roasted TUrkey Breast, Mashed Yukon Golds, Stuffing, Candied Yams, Creamy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Cranberry Sauce, Make Ahead Turkey Gravy, Favorite Shoofly Pie, Amish Sugar Cream Pie, Caramel Apple-Pear Crisp

Friday: Turkey Chowder with Wild Rice, Crimini and Pancetta, Thanksgiving Sandwiches

Saturday: Fried Mashed Potato Cakes with Cheddar Mustard Sauce topped with a Fried Egg (Brunch), Sweet Potato Pockets, Chicken Meatballs with Sage and Cranberries and Cranberry Reduction

Sunday: King Crab with Beurre Blanc and Spinach-Corn Orzotto

Menu Plan Monday: Oct 29-Nov 4, 2012

mpmfall1

I’m really glad we started participating in the Menu Plan Monday blog party last week. For the first time in a while, we cooked almost all week. We did a pretty good job of sticking to the schedule, and if we keep this up, we may actually start to put a real dent in our pantry and freezer stores. So we’ve been doing a pretty good mix of old favorites and new recipes – on average, we tried 3 or 4 new recipes last week, and most of them were good enough that we’ll make them again, especially the Elotes Bake – we’re already planning on making it again this week along with Tamale Pie. Each one of the recipes below should be linked to either our blog post when we made it, or the original blog source of a recipe we’d like to try. This week, with the shift downward in temperature, we’ve been craving warm spices and hearty, stick to your bones meat and potatoes type of fare. Be sure to check out what others are making this week. Here’s what we have planned.

Monday: Avocado Melt, Chips

Tuesday: Meatball and Italian Sausage Grinders, Garden Salad

Wednesday: Chicken Tamale Pie, Elote Style Corn Bake

Thursday: Apple Sausage with Sauerkraut, Sauteed Pierogies and Onions

Friday: Chicken Meatloaf (from North Market Poultry and Game), Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Saturday: Sugo di Carne with Pasta

Sunday: Chicken Divine (original recipe, which I’ve recently adapted and need to rephotograph – I’ve blogged about it previously when using leftover Thanksgiving turkey to make a Turkey Divine)

New Breakfast/Brunch Recipes: Healthy Pumpkin Pie Muffins with Streusel Topping, Pumpkin Pie French Toast, Kale Frittata

Dessert to Try: Butterfinger Nutter Butter Cheesecake Bars

So what dishes do the rest of you have planned for this week?

Menu Plan Monday: Oct 22-28, 2012

mpmfall1

It’s funny – in the 7 years I’ve been blogging (just had an anniversary pass last week!) I’ve seen the food blog community expand from a thousand or so to tens of thousands. Many come and go within a few months, many others have been around as long (if not longer) than Columbus Foodie has, and have become the foundation and inspiration for many others yet. In the time I’ve been blogging, I’ve tried thousands of recipes, and about 500 or so of those have ended up in our permanent rotation.

I’ve been following the participants of the Menu Plan Monday blog party for ages now, and have often toyed with the idea of participating myself – but always find myself planning meals at the last minute, which results in tons of wasted food and money because I fail to shop and plan around sales and what I have in my own (Mormon-like – no kidding when I say we could eat for a year out of my pantry alone) pantry. So I’m finally making a commitment to planning in advance and in the process, to participate regularly in this hop.

Each one of the recipes below should be linked to either our blog post when we made it, or the original blog source of a recipe we’d like to try. Each week, we like to try a couple new recipes – this week is no exception. Be sure to check out what others are making this week. Here’s what we have planned.

Monday: Italian Wedding Soup, Garden Salad

Tuesday: Baked Tortellini, Wilted Baby Greens

Wednesday: Double Decker Beef Tacos, Rice Cooker Mexican Rice, Elote Style Corn Bake

Thursday: Balsamic Chicken Thighs with Orzo, Sauteed zucchini

Friday: Penne Vodka Pasta

Saturday: Maple Glazed Salmon with Roasted Brown Sugar Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans

Sunday: Lazy Sunday Casserole

San Francisco: Day 1

Sorry for the delay in getting this up, folks – I had lots and lots of pics from the trip to go through, and then had to edit, organize and upload them all. Finally we get to the fun part, recollecting the trip. I’ll be telling the story in four parts – Day 1, Day 2 (Part One), Day 2 (Part Two), and Day 3. I’ll link to each as I put up new entries. These recaps will be very picture heavy, so please check it out under the cut.

Continue reading

Taste & Create: Shortcut to Mushrooms

Taste and Create Logo

I’ve participated in the Taste & Create event on and off for years now. Basically you cook something from another blog, while they cook something from yours. By luck of the draw, I almost always seem to get paired up with vegetarian blogs. While it still leaves me with a ton of options, I’m sure it completely narrows the choices for the other party. This time around, it was the Shortcut to Mushrooms blog. Sorry about the delay in getting this up, I got a bit distracted with school starting.

Cooking from a vegetarian blog means that I inevitably end up making a side dish of some sort, and this was no exception. The only thing I did differently was to use a green bell pepper instead of red, because that was what I had on hand. It had an interesting flavor to it. It was a bit spicy, a bit starchy, a bit salty, but definitely a nice side dish. Would have been even better with fresh corn off the cob. Next time around, I may think about incorporating some maple into it somehow.

Corn Pudding

Corn Pudding
recipe from the Shortcut to Mushrooms blog

Mix in a bowl:
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can creamed corn
1 slightly-beaten egg
1/4 cup milk
Big handful of grated sharp cheddar cheese
Black pepper to taste
(You won’t need salt using canned corn, but might if you use fresh corn)

Sautee in butter until tenderish:
A few tablespoons each of:
Minced onion
Diced red bell pepper
Diced poblano pepper

While still cooking in the pan, add to the veggies:
2-3 tablespoons of hush puppy mix (or flour w/ some added seasonings if you’d like, or just flour)
Mix well to coat the veggies. Let the flour brown a little.

Allow the cooked veggies to cool a bit.
Mix them with the stuff in the bowl

Pour all of this into a buttered glass baking dish.

Bake in a 325 degree preheated oven for at least 30 minutes. Check for the consistency you like. It may take up to an hour to cook in a deeper pan (or if you want it to be more chewy-licious and golden-brown on top).

Let cool as much or little as you want. This is great hot, room tempurature or cold (but admittedly, I like corn more than most people!)

OLS Week 13: Caprese Risotto

onelocalsummer

It seems almost wrong that One Local Summer is ending just as the growing season is at its peak – with so much still to look forward to, and with no excuse to cook anything but completely local, ending the event seems almost premature. I wish there were a “One Local Fall” to carry on the tradition because we still have winter squash, apples and pears, and so much more ahead of us.

So it’s bittersweet that my last meal of this event is also my favorite. I’ve made lots of risotto this past year, but this one? Wow. This recipe (found on another food blog) brought out the flavor of the fresh ingredients – sungold tomatoes and basil picked right from my deck, fresh mozzarella from Blue Jacket Creamery, half and half from Snowville Creamery, Kitchen Basics chicken stock, leek and garlic from the Worthington Farmers Market. This is one that just says “August” to me, and this is one I wouldn’t even attempt to make out of season. I’m going to enjoy every second of summer while it lasts…

Cherry Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Risotto

Risotto with Fresh Mozzarella, Grape Tomatoes & Basil
recipe from Cooking in Kansas City blog

3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 1/2 cups fat-free, less- sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 cups chopped leek
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup half & half
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1/4 fresh basil, chopped
5 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, finely diced

Place vinegar in a small, heavy saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until slightly syrupy and reduced to 1 tablespoon, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Keep warm.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add leek and saute 3 minutes. Add rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add wine and cook 1 minute or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup of broth; cook five minutes and stir often.

Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup a time, until liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Stir in half and half, salt and pepper and cook 2 more minutes.

Remove from heat; stir in tomatoes, basil and cheese. Place about 1 cup risotto into six shallow bowls; drizzle each with 1/2 tsp. balsamic syrup and 1/2 tsp. oil.

OLS Week 11: Summery Chopped Orzo Salad

onelocalsummer

I’ve been harvesting stuff like crazy from my backyard garden. And what better way to use up a fridge full of fresh veggies and beat this horrible heat than to make a cool, colorful orzo salad that has great flavor and texture? This one came out so well that I’m putting it into my permanent rotation. I’m submitting it to this week’s edition of One Local Summer.

Rundown of local ingredients:
From my backyard: cucumber, zucchini, radishes, Sungold tomatoes, fresh herbs, early girl tomato
From the Worthington Farmers Market: bell peppers, red onions, corn

Summery Chopped Orzo Salad

Summery Chopped Orzo Salad

8 oz. orzo, cooked and rinsed with cold water
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced small
1 medium zucchini, diced small
5 radishes, diced small
1 small red onion, diced small
1 large ear corn, sliced off the cob (use canned if fresh not available)
1 Roma tomato, diced small
1/2 red or yellow (or both) bell pepper, diced small
Handful grape tomatoes (any color), halved or quartered (depending on size)
1 lb. mozzarella balls (perlini)
Fresh basil, parsley and chives, chopped

Dressing:
1/2 c. white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 c. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop all veggies very small, and toss with cooked orzo. Mix all dressing ingredients and shake hard in a container to emulsify. Dress salad with as much dressing as you’d like. You won’t necessarily use it all. Chill and serve cold.

OLS Week 9: Cuban Panini

onelocalsummer

I missed out on last week’s One Local Summer. It wasn’t that I didn’t make a local meal last week – I did. I just never could carve out the time I needed to last weekend to actually write about it.

So I’m joining back in this week with a quick post about one of my favorite things to make when I’m not in the mood to do much cooking – paninis. This Cuban panini is a favorite.

Cuban Panini

Super easy to make local using ham and roast pork from Thurn’s, rolls from The Andersons, and Guggisberg Swiss Cheese. I wish I could say that the pickles and the mustard were local too, but unfortunately they weren’t.

OLS Week 7: Fun with Frittata

onelocalsummer

Remember last month, when I told you about my frittata nightmare? And that I wasn’t sure what the problem was? Well, it turns out that the problem WAS the cookware. I picked up a nice oven-safe nonstick omelette pan from Amazon.com, and it worked beautifully.

Because for this edition of One Local Summer, I ended up making an Oven Omelette, which for all intents and purposes IS a frittata. I ended up using andouille sausage from Thurn’s in place of the chorizo, which was a nice substitution. Additionally, I used Gretna Grillin’ Cheese from Blue Jacket Daily, which is a halloumi-esque cheese made locally. I have to honestly say that the cheese didn’t behave like I thought it would (I figured it would stay in cubes and brown up, but it ended up getting more melty than that and sticking to the andouille, which wasn’t a bad thing. I can see myself making this again.

Local food sources:
Eggs: 2 Silos, Mt Gilead (bought at Clintonville Farmers Market)
Sour Cream: Smith’s Dairy (bought at Carfagna’s, IIRC)
Green Onions: bought at Worthington Farmers Market
Onions: bought at Worthington Farmers Market
Andouille Sausage & Ham: Thurns, Columbus
Cheese: Blue Jacket Dairy (bought at Worthington Farmers Market)
Zucchini: grown in my backyard

Chorizo, Halloumi and Zucchini Oven Omelet

Chorizo, Ham and Haloumi Oven Omelette
recipe courtesy Donna Hay Magazine

6 eggs
2 tbsp. sour cream
6 green onions, chopped (scallions)
sea salt
cracked black pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, sliced
1 link chorizo sausage, sliced
3 1/2 oz. halloumi cheese, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced
5 1/4 oz. ham, chopped

Preheat the oven to 355F. Place the eggs, sour cream, green onions, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Heat a medium non-stick ovenproof frying pan over high heat. Add the onion, oil, chorizo and halloumi and cook for 3-4 minutes or until onions are soft and the chorizo is golden. Add the zucchini and cook for a further 3 minutes or until just soft.

Stir in the ham and add the egg mixture. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 15 minutes or until the egg is set and the top is golden.