Monday, July 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Well, this is going to be a pretty boring MPM. We're pretty much eating out of the refrigerator this week. It's not a bad thing. First off, I'm taking part of Eat Local Challenge on The Mighty Appetite Blog this week. [Eat 10 local things this week. See this post for what I'm doing: ]

Secondly: we're heading to NY with FiL and SMiL on Aug 8. We'll get to see Grease on Broadway. I've never flown, much less been to NY so I'm pretty scared and excited. I'm a bit worried since I have some medications to take with me (nasal and diabetic ones) and I want to take some knitting too. Since it's just a weekend thing it's going to be carry on baggage too - so I'll have to keep an eye on the size of my bag (we're using JetBlue). Ahhhhh! So we're trying to save money and keep the fridge kind of bare.

I'm not planning breakfasts or lunches this week because it was a bit much last week - Hubby pretty much either eats cereal or bread products and I either eat leftovers, yogurt (with granola or cereal added) or an omelet and rarely just cereal. I've got granola and muesli now, so I'm set. For lunches I usually either eat leftovers or figure something out from the pantry so it's pretty much a no-brainer for me and hubby always takes 2 sandwiches. The only thing I do cook is breakfasts on the weekends, and I don't really need to PLAN for those that often, since I usually have stuff on hand to make those. I ended up not making the grilled tuna, we did eat the tuna, but I just sauteed it, and served it last night with the leftover Pasta with Chickpeas and Broccoli Rabe for dinner. It was really good. :) Anyway, here's my dinner plans in no real serving order and for more ideas check out I'm an Organizing Junkie

1) Fried Rice using leftover Asian rice from Eating Well (this was very easy and tasty and all I need to do is add some protein (eggs and not sure if I'll add meat or not) and some frozen mixed veggies (for a bit more color and veggies)
2) Pecan Crusted Chicken that I didn't make from last week served with a Corn, okra and stewed tomato concoction (Just mix them all together and simmer until they are tender)
3) Deconstructed Egg Salad (recipe below with it's real name) from Jamie Oliver that I talked about a bit ago using those "gourmet" eggs - duck, quail and turkey. I will hard boil those tomorrow. It's supposed to be HHH (Hazy, HOT, and humid) pretty much all this week, so this will be a good meal to have. I picked up "local" (from Harrisonburg) watercress while at Krogers for it
4) Pasta Salad I still have a bit left (I ate it for lunch twice, and hubby and I ate it for lunch, it made a lot) and see above about the HHH
5) BLT's - once more it's HHH and tomatoes are coming into their own now. I'm thinking I'll make some Bacon Beer Bread (recipe below) in the Bread Machine that will go wonderfully with this too although I don't have any beer on hand, but I don't really need it for it since it's flat and it'll still work out fine.

Return of the Egg Salad
Serves 4

To be honest, throughout my youth, egg salads and egg sandwiches evoked nothing in me other than disgust and revulsion! Overcooked eggs, mixed with a bit of old may and little else - not something to really get me going. However, I think it's worth revisiting the humble egg salad and showing how it can be put together in ways that make it a bit more exciting and delicious. Common sense means you've got to start with the freshest, most beautiful free-range or organic eggs, otherwise don't bother. And don't think you have to draw the line at hens' eggs - try duck, quail or goose eggs too, as they can all be found easily these days. Go on, spice things up a bit and break the monotony! I like this salad when served as a little pre-dinner snack, or as a small salad in its own right, with some good quality grilled or toasted bread.

Cook a couple of eggs per person in boiling, very lightly salted water until they're a tiny bit soft in the middle. The salt in the water helps prevent the shells from cracking. A large hens egg will need 8 minutes, a normal sized goose egg 12 minutes, a duck egg 9 minutes and a quail egg just 2 minutes. Once you've cooked the eggs, place them in cold water to stop the cooking right away. Drain them and peel them, then carefully cut each one in half and lay them yolk-side up on a serving plate. Whether using homemade mayonnaise (see page 26) or a jar of ready-made, to add a bit of life to it I like to mix in 6 Tbsp of mayo with the fragrant zest of a lemon and enough lemon juice to give it a delicate twang. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. At this stage the mayo will be a little thinner than usual because of the lemon juice but this is fine. Carefully spoon some of the mayo over each egg, with a twist of black pepper on top.

To accompany this salad there are a few things that I like to do. The first is to get myself too big packages of cress. Cut the cress out of the containers, then wash it, drain it, and spit it in a salad spinner. Simply serve on the side of the plate next to the eggs. Anchoives are also a great addition - just get ahold of some good-quality Spanish or Italian anchovies in oil and marinate them for an hour in a little white wine and some chopped fresh parsley. Take them out of the marinade and serve a couple per person with the cress next to the egg salad. A great alternative is to cook a couple of thin slices of bacon until incredibly crisp then stack them on the side of the plate. Serve the lot with rounds of hot toast.

Jamie Oliver, "Cook with Jamie, My Guide to Making You a Better Cook"

Bacon Beer Bread
From Joanna Lund

3/4 cup nonalcoholic beer
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons granular Splenda
2 Tablespoons Dijon Country mustard
2 Tablespoons reduced-calorie margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons (one 1/4 ounce package) active dry yeast
3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup Hormel Bacon Bits
1/4 cup chopped green onion

In baking pan container, combine beer, water, Splenda, mustard, margarine, salt, yeast, and flour. Follow your bread machine instructions.

Add bacon bits and onion when "add ingredient" signal beeps. Continue following your machines instructions.

Remove bread and place on a wire rack to cool. Cut into 12 slices. Will make a 1 1/2 lb. sized loaf.

Serves 12 -- Each serving equals:
HE: 1 1/3 Brd, 1/4 Fat, 1/4 Slider
2.9 Points
146 cal, 2 g fat, 6 g prot, 26 g carb, 348 mg sod, 6 mg calc, 1 g fiber
DIABETIC: 1 1/2 St

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