Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Weekly dinner menu, 2/25/2012

I use a rough template for each night's meal, just to make planning easier and faster. (See sidebar.) I often adjust or change as I go, I have all the ingredients in the house either way. You will notice there is a vegetarian and a meat based main dish every night, vegetable sides, and usually gluten free starch, but sometimes a gluten based starch. Because I have celiac I never eat gluten, but so far my kids test negative for celiac, so they do eat wheat sometimes. I try to minimize the gluten in the house, but if they do eat wheat I try to make it homemade.  My daughter is getting ready to leave for college and wants to learn to bake bread, my younger son is obsessed with biscuits. And my whole family love popovers. When I serve gluten foods I just don't eat them, and that helps keep my carbohydrates down. At least everyone will eat fish!  I make fish on Mondays, since I shop on Sundays.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are always busy, so those are hamburger days, and though dried beans don't seem fast, they are easy, so that's what the vegetarians get.  As for the rest of the days, I just try for variety.

Here is the plan for this week.

Monday: Arctic char curry, brown rice in the rice cooker, roasted sesame broccoli.

Tuesday: Ground beef stroganoff, navy bean soup, sauteed chard, biscuits.

Wednesday: Skillet pork chops and apples, baked potatoes with cheese sauce, steamed broccoli and carrots, buttery oniony white beans. (Using leftover cooked beans from last night.)

Thursday: Scottish style mince and vegetable shepherds pie, creamy tofu shepherds pie, salad.

Friday: Tandoori style baked chicken, dal soup, rice, fruit salad with yogurt, grated carrot salad.

Saturday: Roast eye of round, fritata, mashed sweet potatoes, lettuce salad, crudite.

It's Tuesday night as I type and the char was a hit, and we ate dinner early tonight, so here are the recipes for Monday and Tuesday.

Fish curry, rice, sesame roasted broccoli.

Monday - I started brown rice in the rice cooker when I got home.  I sauteed an onion in coconut oil until it was picking up a fair amount of red-brown color, turned the heat down and added diced ginger (thumb-tip size piece,) the bottom half of a lemongrass stalk, cut into two inch pieces and crushed, juice of a lemon, a table spoon of GF tamari, a few glugs of fish sauce, and a heaping spoon of chili garlic sauce.  I added a can of coconut milk and let the sauce simmer for about ten minutes.  I threw in all of the stems from a bunch of cilantro for the last minute.

While the sauce simmered I peeled half a sweet potato, and cut it in quarters length wise, then 1/4 inch slices crossways. I peeled, halved, and sliced two really fat carrots.  I painstakingly picked out all the bones from the Char because my family is grossed out by fish bones.  I stemmed and quartered a big double handful of mushrooms.  I cut the fish into five serving pieces.

When the sauce seemed infused enough I strained it into a bowl, pressing hard on the solids, and put the fish (skin down,) the sauce, and the carrots, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms back into the clean skillet. I put the lid on and let it hang out while I got the broccoli ready.

I cut the broccoli into spears, tossed them with melted coconut oil, sprinkled them with sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, a bit of salt, and a pinch of raw sugar.  I put them in a cast iron skillet (the one I melted the coconut oil in) and put them in a 450 oven.  I turned the fish on and turned it down to simmer gently until the fish was cooked and the vegetables crisp tender.  The broccoli was done at the same time - like magic!

To serve the food I scooped the rice into a small glass cup (actually, I think it's a votive candle holder) that holds 1/2 cup of rice and has a pleasing shape, and put a timbale of rice in each soup plate, put a piece of fish next to the rice, and a small pile of the root veggies and mushrooms beside that.  I spooned curry sauce over the fish and veggies, there was enough to puddle in the bottom of the plate, and then I put a few broccoli spears between the veggies and the rice. 

I make a variation on this curry about every other week, when they were in season I used kafir limes instead of the lemongrass, and when we have it I use fresh galangal and turmeric.  Sometimes I use commercial curry paste.  My family love curry, and aren't crazy about fish, so this is a good trick to get them to eat fish.  Total cooking time was around 30 minutes.

Beef stroganoff, white bean soup, chard, and cheddar chive biscuits.

Tuesday - I had soaked beans Monday night, so they were plump and good to go when I got home late from work.  I started the beans simmering, and then my husband reminded me I had a dentist appointment, so I dashed out leaving the beans on low.  When I got back with shiny teeth and neither pockets nor cavities I turned off the beans and jumped into high gear to get the kids to dance and choir practice on time.

I sauteed three small onions, diced, half in a skillet, half in a stock pot, both with a rather shocking amount of butter.  Seriously, when my best friend was here the other day and I was cooking she gasped when she saw me put butter in a pan.  Maybe two tablespoons per pan?  While the onions simmered I peeled and diced two carrots, and chopped three stalks of celery, and added them to the stock pot, then I sliced two cups or so of mushrooms and threw them into the skillet.  When everything was picking up some brown and getting soft I crumbled in my house herb mix to both, salted and peppered both lightly, and added a pound of hamburger to the skillet, and about two thirds of the cooked beans and all of their liquid to the stock pot.  I browned the hamburger, and simmered the beans.  I added a half a cup of sour cream to the cooked beef, and pureed a cup or so of the beans with another half cup of sour cream, returning the puree to the turned-off soup.  Both got the juice of half a lemon, and good sprinkle of paprika, and rather more salt, because I always under-salt as I cook.

While all this was going on my son washed a bunch of chard and chopped it and sauteed it in butter, while my daughter set the table and my younger son and husband made a batch of biscuits with chives and grated cheese added.  Everyone but me got a pair of warm biscuits, soup, and the meat eaters got beef stroganoff and chard on top of the split biscuits.  I had chard and stroganoff, but no soup or biscuit.  I wasn't really hungry since I ate lunch at 2:30.  We got the dishes done and the kids out the door by 5:30!

I'll report on the rest of the meals later in the week.

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