Monday, February 18, 2013

On the menu board for the week of February 18th

On the menu board for the week of February 18th:

If you're anything like me, you often fight the "what's for dinner" battle.  I LOVE to cook at home, but it does take a little bit of planning.  Defrosting meat or picking up produce or making sure that you have a side dish, there's quite a bit that goes into planning a family dinner.  I've tried half-a-dozen different solutions but I've finally stumbled onto a system that works for me.  I sit down and plan out a month's worth of meals at a time.  And then each week, I write the menu on our chalkboard wall next to the fridge.  I defrost any meat that we need and make a list of produce to pick up from the grocery store.  

Monday:  chicken taquitos - No special recipe here.  But I have to thank Dr. & Melanie Bellinger who taught me you just have to heat up the corn tortillas a bit more so that they don't fall apart when you're rolling them.  :)
Tuesday:  breakfast tacos with chorizo, country potatoes, and fruit
Wednesday:  pork fried rice - Wednesdays are our fast dinner nights.  So I'll cook the brown rice of Tuesday night and slice the pork thin.  Then when I get home on Wednesday night, all I have to do it throw everything together.
Thursday:  alfredo mac & cheese - My kiddos wouldn't have anything to do with alfredo until I called it white mac & cheese.  :)  I substitute the cream for 2% milk - yummo!
Friday:  almost always pizza night in our house.  But I found this adorable idea on Pinterest and so this Friday will be Angry Bird pizza night! Check out the idea here.
Saturday: grilled brats
Sunday:  copycat Chik-fil-a nuggets.  This is a new recipe for me and I'll let you know how it goes...  Check out the recipe here.

My plan is to post my menu plans each week.  I think it will help me stay organized and if it can help someone else tackle their what's for dinner battle then that's awesome too!  

Bread Basket - English Muffins

Bread Basket - English Muffins

I LOVE English Muffins!  Ever since I was a girl, these were a special treat.  Lately, I've been working on making all of the bread that my family eats.  Number one because it is way cheaper!  Number two because I'm really intrigued by clean eating and trying to minimize the amount of preservatives that my family consumes.  This recipe is also a great way to sneak in some more whole wheat to my family's diet.  So a few weeks ago, I stumbled onto this recipe on Pinterest and I just couldn't wait to try it.  This last Saturday, I finally had my chance.  A few edits and then English muffin bliss   They were delicious.  An amazing cross between a biscuit and bread.  They didn't have the characteristic nooks and crannies that I am used to, but they were tender and had a fantastic flavor.  You definitely MUST give these a try for your next breakfast treat.  :)

1 c. milk
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 c. warm water (105-110 degrees)
1/4 oz yeast
3 c. all purpose flour
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
cornmeal for pans

  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over the warm water.  Stir to combine.  Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  2. In a small pot, combine the milk, butter, and sugar.  Stir over low heat until the butter is melted.  Allow to cool until it is between 105-110 degrees.
  3. (I used my KitchenAid for this part, but it can also be done by hand.)  In the mixer bowl, with the dough hook attachment, combine the 3 cups of all purpose flour, the yeast/water mixture, and the milk/butter/sugar mixture.  Stir to combine.  Once incorporated, all the whole wheat flour.  Allow the mixer to run for about 3 minutes to lightly kneed the dough.  Then, allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.  
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thick.  Using a biscuit cutter, cut out the English muffins.  Do not twirl the cutter as you cut out the muffins.  Carefully place each muffin on the cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with corn meal.  Cover with a towel and place in a warm spot to rise for 45 minutes.  Dough should at least double.  
  6. Heat a cast-iron (or other heavy bottomed) skillet over medium-low heat.  WITHOUT adding any grease, carefully place muffins in the pan, careful not to overcrowd and ensuring that muffins are not touching.  Cook muffins on each side for about 8 minutes until well-browned.  Allow to cool slightly on a wire rack.  
  7. Split English muffins and enjoy!
* Yields about 16 muffins.
**Adapted from My Fair Baking Recipe (