Menu Plan Monday: May 22

Happy 2-4 Weekend fellow Canucks! What a lovely weekend it is turning out to be, despite the constant threat of thunderstorms and rain showers.

My youngest son and I actually had the chance to plant a veggie garden this weekend, including this little container garden on my back deck.

In addition to a tomato plant, I have a square box with 3 different types of lettuce, and a long, shallow box with various herbs. The big head of chives is one of only two things from last years attempt at a garden that survived (the other being oregano, which I've moved away from all the other plants in an attempt to keep it form taking over). The chives actually belong to my little boy, who has been known to stop by the garden while playing in the yard to pick one or two as a little munchie.

We did plant another garden bed, but as most of it involves seeds, it is rather boring to look at, so I didn't take pictures.

Now on to the menu plan for the week!

Sunday: Dinner at in-laws. (As much as I like to cook, it is still really nice when someone else cooks for me.)

Monday: bbq steak with bbq baked potatoes, asparagus and mushrooms.

Tuesday: chicken fajita salad (I'm making this recipe up, but will post about it later.)

Wednesday: I'm at work today, going in early and staying late, so I'm leaving options for the hubby for tonight since it is also a school presentation night.

Thursday: Spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread.

Friday: Left over night. I'm doing early in/late out work again today.

That's it for the week. I'm submitting this to Menu Plan Monday.

Mixing up a salad

How much easier can you get with a salad that involves greens, corn, tomatoes and chunks of sausage? Sure, the recipe calls for grilling corn on the cobb, which is not in season yet, but is easily substituted for frozen corn. It also calls for making a dressing, another step I skipped, using bottled dressing instead. Oh, and I didn't slice my cherry tomatoes thin - I used grape tomatoes which were great as is (and made it easier for the kids to pick around so they didn't have to eat a "yucky" tomato.)

If I had actually followed every step of the recipe, this still would have taken very little time to make. It was such a nice change for a salad, a great new way to enjoy sausage, and yet still a good, filling dinner. I will make this again. Maybe with fresh corn, when it becomes available.

(Btw, how are the pictures? These were taken with my cell phone and I'm pretty pleased with how well they turned out.)

Sausage and Corn Salad

4 cobs of corn
3 tbsp white-wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
4-5 hot italian sausages, about 500g
8 cups mixed salad greens
500 g cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced

Preheat barbecue to medium-high. Peel back corn husks but do not remove from cobs. Peel off and discard silk. Re-cover corn with husks. Soak cobs in water for 5 min.

Meanwhile, stir vinegar with garlic, cayenne and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in oil. Stir in cilantro.

Oil grill. Barbecue sausages and corn. Turn sausages occasionally until cooked through, 10 to 12 min. Turn corn frequently until tender, at least 8 min. Spray any flare-ups with water if necessary. When cool enough to handle, remove and peel back husk, then, using a knife, shave corn from cob. Thickly slice sausages.

Divide greens, corn, sausage and tomatoes between plates. Drizzle with dressing.

Menu Plan Monday: May 15

After a week of beautiful weather, we are forecasted to get nothing but rain this week. Ugh.

Did someone forget to tell the weather that it's April showers that bring the May flowers? Not May showers drown the May flowers? Normally the May long weekend is the time when I get a bit of a veggie garden in but so far this year I've barely even given it any thought, since it seems likely that anything I plant will immediately be drowned.

Back to the menu plan for the week, however.

Sunday: Grilled veggies and pork tenderloin. This is Friday's grilled veggies, which had to be delayed, and if it pours rain, I will do them in the oven instead.

Monday: Rotisserie (or bbq) chicken, marinated in a raspberry wheat beer, with roasted potatoes and corn.

Tuesday: Take out pizza.

Wednesday: Citrus Soy stir fry, from Rachael Ray's Look and Cook. I'm using pork as the protein and will be replacing the whole wheat spaghetti with rice noodles.

Thursday: Vegetable Chili with tortillas chips but without the sausage (I'd totally forgotten I'd done that!)

Friday: Fish and Chips, possibly from a local church doing a fish fry, or homemade.

That's it and being submitted to Menu Plan Mondays.

Martha Stewart isn't all bad

I've never been a huge fan of Martha Stewart, and admit, I'm still not. But I recently had her Martha's Everyday Food app for the iphone recommended to me by someone who knows food, so decided to give it a try.

This Beef and Orange Stir-Fry is the first recipe I've tried from it, since we seem to be enjoying having stir-fry for dinner since the weather warmed up, and everyone in this house has been eating a good amount of oranges lately.

Right off the top, there is not enough oranges or sauce. Before I even got this on the table, I added in more orange segments. And still ran out.

Aside from needing more sauce and oranges, however, this was quite good. There was barely enough left for the hubby's lunch the next day, none at all for mine, and was given thumbs up by everyone.

I admit, I've been enjoying the shopping list feature of this app, including how it links back to the recipe you need the item for. As for recipes, I'm still working my way through a few of them and holding out judgement until I've done a really thorough testing, even though I will make this again.

Beef and Orange Stir-Fry

  • 3 oranges (I used 1 more and could have easily used 2-3 more)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds trimmed boneless sirloin or rib eye, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 6 scallions, green parts only, cut into 1-inch lengths

  • Into a small bowl, finely grate zest and squeeze juice from 1 orange. Add garlic and soy sauce.
  • With a sharp paring knife, peel remaining 2 oranges. Slice oranges crosswise 1/2 inch thick, then halve slices; push out and discard any seeds. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, toss meat with cornstarch until coated. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Working in batches (adding more oil if needed), brown beef on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes; transfer to a plate.
  • Pour juice mixture into skillet, and boil until syrupy, about 1 minute. Return beef to skillet; add orange slices and scallions. Toss until coated and heated through. Serve hot.

Menu Plan Monday: May 8

I am happy to report we had an uneventful week here, with no massive power outages, missing roofs or accidents! We had happy events; a visit by my brother, short, but still nice, and my oldest son placed in the medals in both of his events at a Taekwon-Do tournament on the weekend. All around a good week.

I've no big plans for this week, menu wise, and some "lazy" nights planned. Here goes:

Sunday: It's Mother's Day and I refuse to cook - hubby cooking ham and mashed potatoes.

Monday: Bagels with cream cheese/peanut butter, and fruit (anyone have a good suggestion for a good bagel place in the West end of Ottawa? We love Kettleman's, but only the downtown location.)

Tuesday: Chicken and Cashew Stir Fry with rice (from Rachael Ray's Look and Cook)

Wednesday: I'm off cooking for other people this night, so hubby is in making ham sandwiches with veggies and dip

Friday: No plans, seeing what we have left and then maybe having munchies

And that's it for the week, my 'plan', which I am submitting to Menu Plan Mondays.

Menu Plan Monday: April 30

Last week was interesting and had an effect on my menu plan. The first few days went very well, with new recipes that were eaten by everyone (Beef and Orange Stir Fry being the favorite.) A last minute change to our schedule on Wednesday resulted in picking up something quick for dinner on the way home, rather than making what I'd planned.

Then things got really crazy for a bit.

If you live in the Ottawa area, then you know about the massive wind storm that swept through on Thursday, knocking out power for many areas. In our area, we also lost water and ended up with a boil water order for several days, with the city health unit handing out drinking water at the community centre.

While the shingles of my roof were being spread out on our lawn, the trees of our neighbors yard crashed into hydro lines, and another neighbors fence flattened and broke off, we were some of the lucky people. I know of at least one house where the trees went through the roof.

At the time this was happening, I was over at Saunders Farm, cooking a roast beef dinner for 50 people. With no running water and no power. Thank goodness for propane and generators!

Carving roast beef by propane lamp.

Salad, assembled and eaten by candlelight.

We were fortunate that our power was restored late Thursday night, rather than the predicted Friday afternoon, but I still had to throw a few things out of my fridge. The chicken I had defrosted for Wednesday's dinner was quickly bbq'd before it could go bad in the fridge, and enjoyed on sandwiches for lunch Friday.

With all that excitement out of the way, we should be good for an uneventful week, following my menu plan.

Sunday: BBQ chicken Kabobs with corn on the cobb and bruschetta

Monday: Nachos

Tuesday: Spaghetti and meatballs

Thursday: Spinach, mushroom and sausage calzones with salad

Friday: Bacon, eggs, toast and hash browns, by request

That's my plan for the week, which I am sharing at Menu Plan Mondays.