Menu planning is one of the key tools available to create an organised household. It will save you time, money and stress amongst other benefits. If you are not currently meal planning I suggest you check out my post about how to find the right meal plan system for you.
I post my meal plan from the previous week so that I can review any new recipes and ensure you know if one of my meals was a failure and also highlight the best recipe(s) of the week. This way I can help you save even more time by only steering you to recipes that I can vouch for along with sharing any of my cooking notes.
Please note that most of my meals are not being eaten by my kids so I will indicate if a meal is one for our whole family. Between our desire to eat foods with a lot of spices and our kids desire to eat foods that don’t touch or freak them out we only eat the same foods an average of twice a week. We are working on this so you will see more family style meals in the next 6 months.
Menu from the previous week: October 3-9, 2011
Monday: Eggplant and tomato sauce + pasta from Skinny Taste (picture above). This was my first time making this but, like everything else I have made from Gina’s site, it was great. We added a couple of pinches of red pepper / chilli flakes to kick it up a notch and loved it.
Tuesday: Creamy Beef with mushrooms from Good Taste magazine (photo above). I make this one in the slow cooker all the time – it is so easy and delicious. We add fresh spinach to ours at the end of cooking time and usually don’t add the sour cream. This week we devoured it before I remembered to take photos so the photo from the site shows it with sour cream added in the sauce.
Wednesday: Chicken and mushrooms in a garlic white wine sauce (photo above). I wrote about this recipe in my post about the best food blogs and mega sites. It never fails to disappoint and if you take one savoury recipe from this post it better be this one!
Thursday: Cauliflower soup that is made with carrots as well. I want to add this recipe but I cannot figure out where I got it just yet and know it is from a blog. Will wait to share…but it is awesome and was a staple this past winter. This was the last batch from my freezer.
Friday: Simple Ricotta Pasta with a side of sauteed asparagus – this is just an expansion on a basic pasta + red sauce. Add in 1/2 c ricotta cheese and 2 TBS grated parmesan (optional extras are peas and spinach – fresh or cooked from frozen). I steam asparagus first and then sautee it in olive oil and fresh ground salt until golden and serve on the side.
Saturday: lunch at a friend’s house that lasted 6 hours so dinner was grab what you like from the fridge and pantry for everyone (ie cereal, toast, dips and veg). My friend made the most amazing butterflied lamb on the BBQ + gorgeous ratatouille that made me keep dipping bread in the juices and onions. Hoping to get the recipe to share soon.
I brought the American style brownies (photo above and recipe below) I have been making for friends for 11 years. This is a recipe you must make – they cannot be ruined and always wow people – even the “I don’t really like sweets” people! This day my timer died and I only just caught it on instinct as the edges burned. They still tasted great. I dusted icing sugar for appearances sake as it was darker, but don’t usually do this. Mr HLS liked them enough to indulge in the burned off-cuts declaring them delicious as well.
Sunday: family meal of Donna Hay’s Balsamic and Lemon Chicken (photo above and recipe below), flat bread made by Mr HLS, salad with mint from our garden, labneh also made by Mr HLS (because he cannot do a simple BBQ) + plain chicken sausages were back up food for the kids which came in handy as neither liked the chicken.
Deb’s Amazing Brownies: I have attempted to convert as best as possible for those in the States.
125g unsalted butter (about 1/2 c US)
100g bittersweet chocolate, chopped (about 1/2 c US)
1 cup caster sugar
2 TBS liquid add in of your choice: dark rum, kahlua or honey if non alcoholic
100g plain flour sifted (about 1 cup US)
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 180C / 350F
Butter a 20cm square baking pan / tin – I use a typical glass pyrex dish
Melt butter and chocolate according to your preferred method – either stove top double bowl or microwave (I do it in a tupperware jug in 20-30 second increments).
Remove from heat and cool.
Beat eggs and caster sugar until thick and creamy.
Stir in cooled chocolate mixture and alcohol/honey, then the flour and salt.
Pour into pan and bake approximately 30 minutes. Cool and cut into 12 -16 squares depending on YOU.
Donna Hay’s Balsamic and Lemon Chicken:
4 chicken breasts
4 large sprigs of sage
1/2 c (4 fl oz) balsamic vinegar
1/4 c (2 fl oz) lemon juice
2 TBS brown sugar
sea salt and black pepper
Place chicken in a large shallow dish with the sage.
Combine vinegar, lemon, sugar, salt and pepper and pour over chicken. refrigerate 15 minutes to marinate.
Preheat BBQ or grill to medium – high.
Drain the chicken and sage from marinade and reserve.
Cook chicken and sage 4-5 minutes each side or until chicken cooked through.
While chicken cooking, place marinade in small saucepan over high heat and cook 2-3 minutes to thicken.*
Slice chicken into large pieces and place on plates with sage. Spoon over sauce and serve with potato salad (or other side dish – deb).
*Note: we did not reduce the marinade and instead basted the chicken with the extra sauce due to miscommunication between the meal planner and king of the BBQ (who was distracted by the Rugby so will be forgiven for also overcooking Donna’s lovely recipe). I think it does need the sauce and will make it again to enjoy fully, but wanted to include it for you to try as well.
Do you have a favourite recipe that you think I should try? Link to a recipe in the comments or send it to me via my contact page. If I try it and like it you may find your recipe (and you/your blog) featured in a future meal planning post.
Find your simple,
I will be linking to organizing junkie http://orgjunkie.com/blog later today