July 07, 2010

On the Menu

I'm nosy, it's true. I wonder things like how much people spend on groceries and what kinds of things they cook for dinner every week. I love to see what people ahead of me in line at the grocery store are buying.

Don't get the wrong idea, I'm not just nosy about food related issues. It's just all I'm admitting to today.

I assume you also have weird food related curiosities so I've decided to share this week's menu with you. For those of you that could care less, please come back tomorrow for some lovely cottage kitchen inspiration.

Do you menu plan? I didn't use to but then I'd find myself standing in front of the freezer at 4pm every day wondering what in tarnation I was going to fix for dinner. Planning takes the pressure off. I'm not that good at making decisions under pressure. Which explains my first marriage.

Also, I love to try new recipes and this process encourages me to sift through the nine hundred and eleventy thousand recipes I have ripped out of magazines.

I meant to post this on Monday since that's how I usually plan, so this week's menus will begin there.

Tri color Tortellini tossed with basil olive oil and parmesan
Old Fashioned Fudge Pie  (pictured above)

Fish Tacos with Chipotle Sour Cream and rice
(I use Panko breaded Cod from Costco for these)

Pizza baby!
Cream Cheese Cookies (new recipe)

Cast iron skillet chicken with onions, garlic and mushrooms

or as it's known in our house Every Man for Himself Night

Farmer's Market Pasta
This consists of whatever catches my fancy at the Farmer's Market that morning, tossed with whatever pasta I have in the house, olive oil, parmesan, red paper flakes and enough of the pasta water to make a creamy sauce and I'll add in any leftover meat I might have sitting around like chicken or sausage. This is not rocket science. I usually add a fresh baguette from the market as well.

Breakfast: Blueberry Crumbcake
Dinner: Grilled Burgers and Fresh Corn Salad

Clearly I love to bake. A little too much according to my hips. Truthfully at least one of these meals probably won't happen because I won't feel like cooking at some point. Another confession. We eat hot dogs. Nitrates and all. Sometimes we have breakfast for dinner. Sometimes a humble grilled cheese.I'm not the perfect homemaker. I've even given up trying. Sometimes you have to admit defeat.

What are you making for dinner tonight?


  1. I'm in such a recipe rut so thanks for the ideas!

  2. Ok, I'm feeling super guilty now because I confess I haven't cooked much lately. Sometimes it's just hard to feel motivated to cook for two. When our kids were here, I cooked all the time and enjoyed it. You however have given me some new inspiration today. I am loving some of those recipes. You have challenged me Jen.


  3. I recognized that corn salad right away. We have it all the time during the summer - one of my favorites! I've tried it with Paul Newman's Light Lime dressing as well - it gives it a slightly different taste, but very good!

  4. We have a bunch of stuff from the holiday weekend and the extra large pot of corn chowder I made last night so we're doing a leftover night and moving the planned seafood lasagna recipe test (one of the last for the cookbook project! yes!) to tomorrow.

  5. Love trying new recipes. Tonight I am trying a Summer Shrimp Stir-fry and serving it with brown rice! Love having a plan for the week, but always realize with kids coming and going, that it could change a little. And that's okay.

  6. Oh, Jen, I love posts like this. I've been feeling like a terrible homemaker lately. Not wanting to clean or cook and just generally hating being at home. Glad to know there are others out there that don't feel perfect sometimes either. I usually meal plan just like you do too. It's a "flexible schedule". :-)

  7. Your menu looks fabby! I heart fish tacos - they are our favorite summer meal. Gotta try that fudge cake - it looks scrumptious. Tonight we're cookin' up some veggie stir-fry - all our favorite veggies tossed with olive oil and sauteed ever so slightly (love the crispy veggies), over Trader Joe's brown rice.

  8. Well, Jen since you asked... WE are having shrimp in alfredo sauce over linguine. Hopefully this will not take too long on the stove since it is a HEATWAVE here in north Canada. Summer is here!

    I am so enjoying your house adventures.


  9. I've been wanting to make this recipe...


    ...Grilled Corn and Chipotle Pepper Salad (looks scrumptious) but I've been too lazy to drive across town to the market. You've inspired me with your week's menu!

  10. yummy lookin' pie. i'll be right over for a slice!

    we make a very similar recipe called chocolate buttermilk pie (recipe from sandra lee). doesn't taste like buttermilk at all (whew).

    great idea to have a plan :)
    i remember one of my professors saying something about planning. ... you either plan, or plan to fail...

  11. Everything sounds wonderful...especially that pie.

  12. I also peek at other people's grocery carts & love hearing about their menus. I have some really good days for cooking and lots of "can't be bothered" days.

    Sunday, I made this, with butter lettuce instead of arugula: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Fava-Bean-Asparagus-and-Arugula-Salad-with-Shaved-Pecorino-107799. It took forever but was SO good. I served it with BBQ chicken sandwiches I made with deli chicken and buns, as well as Kettle Chips, and a fresh fruit salad from our farmer's market finds.

    Last night, my fiancee and I had a friend over and together we all made homemade Swedish meatballs in sherry cream sauce, mashed potatoes, radish sugar snap pea salad (http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/sugar-snap-pea-and-radish-salad) and Swedish apple cake with vanilla sauce (http://www.foodgeeks.com/recipes/20050).

    We started at 6:45 and didn't eat until 10, but it was fun and challenging. Our meatball recipe is from The Complete Around the World Meat Cookbook by Myra Waldo. I wing the sherry cream sauce.

    Now Portland is in the midst of a heat wave and I doubt I'll cook again until it cools off. We'll have some leftovers tonight & then eat out Thursday and Friday.

  13. I've been making menus for about a year now and I can't, for the life of me, figure out why I didn't do it before. It really does make dinner and budgeting so much easier. Tonight we are having Mexican egg rolls and a spicy rice of some sort(basically whatever looks like it should go in a Mexican rice dish will probably get thrown in...yumm).

    Blessings, Heather

  14. Dear Jen,
    Everything sounds good and looks delicious. Can you post the salad recipe that has the corn in it and fish tacos? I would appreciate it so much. I am not much of a cook anymore - been retired for a long time.
    Glad you are feeling better and settling in your new place.

  15. I'm dying for the cast iron skillet chicken recipe. Sounds yummy.

  16. hi jen,

    you know, i always get warm comments telling me that i'm refreshingly honest and you know what? so are you and i totally dig it!

    i don't menu plan but i should. i shouldn't bake so much, but i do (my belly is my "issue"). we just had breakfast dinner the other night which included blueberry pancakes smothered in preserves and maple syrup. {sigh .. i'll never be a bikini-mom}

    love ya, jen!


  17. Great post...I feel the same way, I love to know what people cook and how they plan. I have to confess that I'm more of a "oh, geez, it's that time again?" But, I think you have inspired me to at least think out the week in advance...so much easier.

    As far as what we spend on groceries, we are a family of four (me & hubby & one teenage girl and one teenage boy), we live in the northeast and it runs somewhere between $1000-1300 a month (this number actually includes personal stuff like shampoo, toothpaste, toiletries and the like). We've been eating out a lot lately and our dine out bill has really escalated from $350-$450 a month to a scary $600+ a month. Of course, the groceries go down in the big dine out months.

    I happen to have these numbers on the top of my head because we've just redone our budget...we are definitely going to rein in our dine out budget.

    I try to buy organic where important (fruits & veggies, cleaning products).

    Tonight was an "easy" night...which means everyone fends for themselves, although I did make myself & daughter a salad.

    Very interesting post!
    xoxo Beth

  18. We are just grilling smokies tonight and serving that with Kraft Dinner. It's hot here and I don't want to do anything to complicated! Your Friday sounds like what we call YOYO or Your On Your Own. It's something my teenage boys actually enjoy, as long as it doesn't happen too often. It's music to my ears when I hear "What's for supper tonight Mom, yoyo? :)

  19. what day do i come to visit?
    i've been doing 'NO SUGAR, NO FLOUR" for 3 months & I'm blown away by the amount of sugar/sugary products in the carts ahead of me.
    For shame! :-)
    xo, Cheryl

  20. I loved our dinner tonight:
    Oven roasted eggplant, sweet peppers,zucchini and summer squash over farelle (bowtie) pasta. Over the top I add a sauce of homemade plain low-fat organic yogurt (about 2 cups) and 1 tsp of minced garlic. Over that I drizzle a sauce of butter, lots of paprika and a dash or three of cayenne pepper. Freshly baked French bread on the side. YUMMY! My hubby is Turkish, and this is common there.

  21. the fresh corn salad looks soooo delicious!

  22. I need your FM pasta in my life. And that corn salad thingy. And I need it but quick.

    ps- Be honest, are you secretly hoping for another Grocery Store Confessional?? ;)

  23. well...tonight I made CapTomBas aka Capellini Tomato Basil. Its takes 10 minutes start to finish but I haven't blogged the recipe. ;}
    I did however try something new & LOVED it & have the recipe up in case here
    DELish! And easy :)
    I wholeheartedly agree, planning makes meal making much better. Much more of a joy than a chore. But alas, I am sliding....maybe you'll inspire me!!

  24. Yay! Another planner that is fine with dumping the plan! I plan on Wednesday mornings (the new grocery circular comes out then) and I usually know our weekend plans by then. I haven't done so much of this planning recently with a traveling hubby and being swamped with (unpaid)work. I did manage to make baked pasta last night with salad. we have pasta once a week, at least. I will cook the entire box of pasta, and use the leftovers to make a baked pasta, throwing it in the freezer for another meal.
    I am going to have to try the corn salad. Looks yummy! I already make the fudge pie.

  25. That all looks REALLY good. Especially because its 5:30 and I'm really hungry. And, because I've been avoiding baking & those photos are very tempting...

    I also plan ahead, sort of loosely. I decide on what meals I'm going to make for the next two weeks & then decide which of those I'll make on the actual day. Because I've shopped for everything in those meals, everything is on hand.

  26. Ok Jen ~ here we go....
    For dinner each night it's usally my husband and I,2 of my 4 ~ 20something kids (Teddi my yorkie and Daisy my sons dog are the plate lickers)
    Monday ~ 4th of July ~ lobster rolls on our friends boat(For 4large rolls ~ I bought a 3 pound lobster and had the store cook it.I cleaned the lobster(dont forget the meat in the body) and added a tiny bit of Hellmans(gotta be!) mayo, 1/4 cup finely chopped onion,Old Bay seasoning to taste~ put on hotdog potato rolls YUM!
    Tues ~ Homemade meatballs,handmade raviolis (not by me but someone-LOL)garlic bread
    Wends ~ Roast Chicken legs(buy one get one free this week)with potatoes,squash from the garden
    Thurs ~ leftovers from last night,my son brought over pork chops for himself and cooked them on the grill(boy were they good!)
    Salad from the garden every night~
    I spend about $160.00 per week ~ I try to always buy organic but can't always afford it.I do get nitrate free hot dogs and saurkraut thats local ~ most saurkraut in reg. grocery has sulfites ~ my husband nearly died from them.I refuse to buy soda except if it's your birthday and I get the glass bottled ones only.I'll shop farmers markets starting next week for produce,seafood,bread,soap. Next week I am going to start Dr Mark Levine's Cleanse so it will be brown rice,broth,chicken and salad for a week or so.Oh ~and even though it's not so good for you ~ I love making jello ole school ~ you know the layered kind with everything bad for you & Tapioca Pudding....mmmmm.

  27. LOVE this post Jen!!! And I'm nosy too, which is why we probably get along so well, LOL! We eat hotdogs too, although I have found some nitrate free ones (store brand) that are DELICIOUS. The downside is, you can eat MORE of them because you don't get the bloats, LOL. So probably not good!
    And seriously, your not leaving us without RECIPES for all those yummy meals are you????
    And yes, I do mostly meal plan, or try to anyway :)

  28. I just stumbled across your blog and I love your menu planning. I always try to plan ahead somewhat but I need to get better about it. It all sounds delicious!

  29. haha ha...... I giggled when you wrote about seeing what other people are buying at the store. That is SO me! I have often wondered if the checkout people are intersted in what people are buying or if it's just a mindless job, swiping the groceries over the beeper.
    I enjoy menu planning. Although, I haven't done it this summer. Usually I really stay on track during sports seasons and school time. The crock pot really gets a workout then!

    I really love a white kitchen too. There is something so pure, simple and "cottagey" about them. And I'd love to have a big farmhouse sink!

    I've enjoyed your little cottage blog. It's been nice "visiting" with you.

  30. I loved reading your meal plan - always great to get some new ideas to add to mine! And I love to see that some people still prepare dinners - most of my friends don't really cook for their families. To them everynight is a every man to himself night - or in other words, heat something up from the freazer! We do have at least one night a week when I don't make anything. At my house they are called YOYO nights (Your On Your Own!!!)


Thank you for taking the time to say hello today! I always love to hear what you have to say.