Monday, August 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday--Kid and Husband friendly edition.

So, last week's menu did not go over very well with my family.  Veggie lasagna night was met with tears by my children, the salmon made them gag, and the black bean and corn salad made hubby's tummy upset.

Ok. Fine.  I will try to be even more stealthy with my healthy food.

Back to basics this week.

Shepherd's Pie (from my new Weight Watcher's Cookbook....don't tell)
Steak Sandwiches on ciabatta buns, raw veggies and dip
Panko-crusted chicken and steamed vegetables and oven fries
Roasted Chicken with twice-baked potatoes
Chicken fried rice

Monday, August 23, 2010

Menu Plan Monday--Pantry Clean-out Edition

Following yesterday's post about my newly cleaned and organized pantry, here is this week's menu plan.  I will be highlighting the ingredients for my meals that I found in the depths of my cupboards while I did my clean out.

Three Cheese Vegetarian Lasagna (lasagna noodles found in a dusty box, stewed tomatoes,canned spaghetti sauce, mushrooms and zucchini that were going South in my fridge, sundried tomatoes found at the bottom of the crisper)

Roasted Chicken, potatoes, steamed vegetables (all out of my pantry and freezer)

Chicken Fried Rice (brown rice, leftover roasted chicken)

Honey-Lime Salmon on black bean and corn salad (black beans and frozen corn)

Spaghetti Pie (wilting broccoli, whole wheat spaghetti)

Balsamic Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Mashed potatoes

Bonus dessert:  Apple Pie bars

Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for more meal plans!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pantry Clean Out

The Monday Project

This month's monday project has been to clean out your pantry.  I didn't think to take before and after pictures, but I spent an afternoon spreading all of my food out on every available surface on my kitchen.  I had hit my breaking point after one too many times of  losing things I knew I had in there, and then going out and buying more.

As far as junk goes, I am happy to say there wasn't much to throw out.  I keep one container of small candies in the pantry for the kids and that is about it.  I did find out I don't need buy stewed tomatoes for a very long time!  I had seven cans scattered throughout the shelves.

The cherry on the organizing cupcake for me will be printing out these adorable labels so I can mark all of my jars and canisters.  I am nerd like that.  I couldn't find the decal paper the instructions specify, so I settled for clear adhesive label paper (the full-sheet kind, not the ones pre-perforated)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Grown up Playdate.

I met a friend at the playground this morning.  She mentioned her afternoon plans involved a trip to the laundromat because of some home renovations that left her without a washing machine.  I suggested that she bring her dirty clothes over to my house instead.  My machines don't require quarters and her daughter would have kids and toys and a big yard to hang out in.

What did the grown ups do?

We dusted off my old pasta machine and cranked out some delicious noodles.  So simple.  So fun.  Even the kids took turns making noodles.  Emmett had a ton of fun making little shapes with the leftover bits of dough.

Sorry for the shocking lack of pictures.  It is hard to take pictures and deal with wiggly noodles at the same time.

The recipe couldn't be easier.

Home made Pasta.


1 lb semolina flour (I found mine at the bulk food store)
1 cup water (to start)


Mix flour and water together, adding more water very sparingly if necessary to make a dry, pliable dough.  Get right in there and knead for a good 10 minutes.  The dough starts out very crumbly and gritty to the touch, but as the semolina absorbs the water it turns lighter in colour and becomes very soft and workable.  The time goes by quickly when you are chatting with a friend!  You will also notice your triceps getting a good workout.

Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest for 10 minutes.  This gives you time to wipe down your dusty pasta machine and figure out how to put it together again.  This will also give you time to drape some clean kitchen towels over your dining room table chairs in preparation for drying.

Pull off a ball of dough about the size of a small apricot and thread it through your machine, starting at the highest setting.  Repeat a few more times, turning the dial to lower and lower settings each time, until the dough is as thin as you want it.  We could almost see through the dough by the time we were done rolling it--I might leave it thicker next time.  Run the dough through the cutters when it is as thin as you want it.  Repeat this step over and over and over and over again until you have no dough left.

Alternatively, you can lightly dust your counter with flour, get out your rolling pin and roll the dough out by hand, and then cut it into noodles with a sharp knife or pizza cutter.

Gently drape your noodles over clean towels to dry.

To cook, blanch your noodles in salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes.  Home made pasta takes no time at all to cook.  Freeze any uncooked noodles.  (I dusted the uncooked noodles with extra flour and then carefully  wrapped them in parchment before sealing in a large zip top bag) You will have leftovers.  Trust me!  Be sure to send some home with your friend.