When I finished working in January, I asked Cleavermama/Bowling Alley Brunch/wonderful friend/boss, “So, how long until my life returns to normal”? She gave me the same look the nurse gave me when I asked her, 2 days after having AP, “How long until I lose the baby weight?”. It’s the kind of look that feels like someone just patted you on the head and said, “Oh, honey.”
She said around mid-February, she starts getting back into the swing of things. For the first time in… um, months? I am planning our menu and blogging about it to boot. This week starts Lent, so there will be more meatless dishes. Also everything you hear about the Unemployment Office is true. They are a MESS. My husband’s layoff/work/layoff/work schedule is throwing the whole system into a tizzy, so a few extra nights of ‘rice & beans’ is welcome.
Here’s our tasty week. Well, here’s our week with great hope that it will indeed be tasty. For more Menu Plan Monday, check out I’m an Organizing Junkie.
Taco Style Lentils & Rice – I’ve made this before and everyone likes it. For some reason, my printed-off copy of this recipe has a lentil stuck inside the plastic page covering. It’s gross.
Texas Pinto Beans – these are SO good!! If you haven’t cooked with dried beans but you want to (and you should want to: they are cheaper, you can control the ‘mushiness’, and cut down the salt) this is a great first recipe.
Stuffed Pepper Casserole
OK I am making this up a little. I have a jar of gourmet roasted red peppers I got at GB Russo’s months ago and have completely forgotten my original intention for its use. So I will combine that with a pound of browned ground beef/pork mix I found on sale at the store, and all of the leftover rice from the past week or so that I threw in the freezer. Then I’ll mix in a small can of tomato paste, a jar of spaghetti sauce, and about 2 cups of grated parmesan cheese. I’ll just toss it in a casserole dish and bake it at the standard 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. I’ll serve this with a side of canned (from this summer) peaches.
Mural Of Flavor Breaded Tilapia – this recipe is from Penzy’s Spices. My sister in law gave me some of that Mural of Flavor and I put it on everything now. We’ll also have cooked broccoli, and home-made applesauce.
Home-made pizza. I’ll just make some dough in the bread-maker and top with peperoni and olives on one, and bacon and banana pepper on the other. A.P.’s class is doing a ‘pizza parlor’ theme so I know I’ll get some good help! We’ll also have popcicles made from the leftover smoothies.
Home-made macaroni and cheese. I am dangerous with this recipe. I could eat the whole thing. In fact, I think I have. It was my Grandmother’s recipe, which my cousin gave me this summer and I have made about 30 times since. This recipe is enough for 2 meals, so I freeze half for later.
1 large box (16 oz) macaroni – shells, elbows, whatever.
16 oz. container sour cream
16 oz small curd cottage cheese
3/4 stick of butter cut up
2 lbs sharp cheddar cheese, shredded. A note of personal persnickitiess – I like to shred my own cheese when I’m baking it, or it just doesn’t melt right. All of those yummy stabilizers they use in shredded cheese don’t work.
Put in a casserole dish and bake at 350 uncovered for one hour.
Here is a snack we have also come to love. Thanks to my friend Jill, who passed along the recipe.
No Bake Granola Flax Treats
1/2 cup butter
4 cups marshmallows
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup crushed graham crackers (8 crackers, one ‘pack’). The recipe says cinnamon, but I don’t think it makes a big difference.
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or any dried fruit)
1/2 cup dried roasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup ground flax seed
Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows, stir continuously until melted and mixture is smooth, about 4 minutes.
Stir in oats, graham crumbs, cranberries, sunflower seeds and flax seed until thoroughly mixed.
With greased fingers, press mixture into greased 8×8 inch glass baking dish.
Cool completely. Makes 12 pieces.
We just made some with dried apricot and almonds instead of cranberries and sunflower seeds… so… good. You’ll feel morally superior for feeding your children flax seed too.