Food + Wine

August 23-29 Mealplan

I was extremely worried going into today’s shopping trip. I had to take my son with me, and that always makes me spend more money. Not because he’s demanding this or that, but because he breaks my concentration. I’m like a soldier when I go to the grocery store – focused, determined, armed with my bulky coupon book. (Seriously, if you see me there on a Sunday and I don’t look or smile at you, please don’t take offense…I’m just on a mission) So we’ll never know what I would have spent without him there, but I think I could have done a lot worse (and have). I spent $70 and saved $97.
*Panzanella Caprese

There were baguettes on a BOGO sale today and I always try to get one when that happens, (I always buy whole wheat). I’ll either store it in the freezer for some pasta night down the road or plan on having panzanella that week. My mom’s garden is full of sweet, juicy tomatoes and this salad is a perfect way to use them. This meal is so easy to prepare…you make big croutons in the oven and toss them with chunks of fresh tomatoes, torn basil, garlic, olive oil and s&p, then finish it off with some Parmesan cheese. (For this particular salad, I’ll be adding some chunks of fresh mozzarella I got last week on sale so it becomes a ‘Caprese’ salad…yum.)
*Chicken Brie Challah Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries
Organic ground chicken is on a BOGO sale this week and I’m going to make burgers out of it. I’ll stuff each raw patty with some brie (still leftover from the carpet picnic and those yummy sandwiches). I also have half a loaf of challah bread leftover from G’s birthday breakfast of ‘Strawberry Cheesecake French Toast’, and I thought it would be awesome toasted as the burger ‘bun’. The sweet potato fries are a house favorite, I make them quite a lot and have posted the non-recipe before.
*Pesto Chicken Nicoise and Avocado Rice
I love tuna nicoise salad, but I thought I would make it a little different by using the chicken breasts I got today on a BOGO sale. I’ll roast some green beans, (also on sale today), cherry tomatoes (from mama’s garden), and baby potatoes (from a previous week’s sale) with some rosemary (our garden:), and serve it with the grilled chicken, hard-boiled egg, and olives (none for G…he hates them). I have some tarragon-basil pesto leftover from last week’s tomato soup that I’ll serve on top of the chicken. The avocado rice is just that – cooked brown rice, tossed with pureed avocado, seasoned with lemon juice, garlic and s&p. It’s beautiful and bright green. (It’s a simpler version of a ‘guacamole rice’ I came up with…I didn’t think that would go very well with the Nicoise)
*Fresh Linguini Carbonara
I got some fresh linguini last week and haven’t decided what to do with it until now. We love carbonara in our house, but make it a bit differently than the traditional Italian method. We serve ours with a fried egg on top instead of the beaten egg that’s usually tossed into the pasta. It’s great because when you slice into the egg, the yolk is stirred into the pasta, therefore creating a thick, rich sauce with the grated parmesan cheese. And I also like to add some peas and a pinch of cinnamon, it really adds an extra punch to the dish.
*Salmon Caper Patties and Roasted Lemon Rosemary Potatoes
I have some salmon in my freezer from a couple of weeks ago, so I’ve decided to turn them into patties. I grew up having salmon patties a lot for dinner (my mom always used canned salmon which is a great pantry staple for this very reason). I’ll poach the fish and flake it into a mixture of capers, bread crumbs, mayo and s&p then dredge in flour and pan-fry. The potatoes will be just simple, roasted garlic potatoes finished with a bit of fresh rosemary and lemon zest.
*Strawberry Balsamic Chicken, Rosemary Cornbread and Roasted Broccoli
I have a lot of strawberries in my fridge right now because if you buy one, you get three packs for free. My son loves snacking on them but I still had to think of clever ways to use them before they get moldy. I love the combination of strawberries and balsamic vinegar so I’ll reduce the mixture down until it gets thick and sweet, add a little butter and s&p and possibly some sugar. This will be a great sauce for the chicken thighs I have in my freezer from a previous sale. When trying to come up with a side dish for this meal, I kept thinking of rosemary because rosemary goes so beautifully with both strawberries and balsamic. So I decided to bake up some cornbread seasoned with chopped rosemary. And the broccoli will just make us feel better about eating 2 pieces of cornbread.
*Shrimp and Tomato Kabobs over Wild Rice Salad
I have some shrimp in my freezer from….?? (I always have shrimp in my freezer because it always goes on sale and it’s a great thing to have on hand.) I thought that putting them on skewers with some cherry tomatoes (mom’s garden strikes again!) would be great. And the wild rice salad is something I’ve never made before but I know I’ve had several versions of it in my lifetime. I seem to remember onions being in it, water chestnuts (which I always have in my freezer), and some kind of fruit (I have grapes and plenty of dried fruit..cranberries maybe?).
That’s it for this week. Happy Eating, Everyone!

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  • Reply cary August 24, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    yum. i think we're going to have panzanella tonite. in julie and julia julie sauteed bread pieces in butter. have you ever done it that way? i think i'll give that a try!

  • Reply Anonymous August 24, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Wonderful seasonal menu suggestions here! As for what to do with all those strawberries: Do you like rhubarb? One of my favorite things to do is dice a couple of stalks of fresh rhubarb and poach them gently in just a tiny amount of water and sugar and nutmeg (that great nutmeg from The Home Economist!)about 5 minutes or just until tender. Then cool and fold it into halved fresh strawberries. Maybe put a little lemon zest on top. The strawberry-rhubarb mixture keeps at least a day.

  • Reply Everyday Champagne August 24, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Yes, I have made croutons with butter and it really is the best way to do it. I start them off on the stovetop and then transfer to the oven (I usually use half butter, half olive oil though..)

  • Reply Everyday Champagne August 24, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Ooooh, I like your idea for the rhubarb and strawberries! I've only cooked with rhubarb once and I made a Kiwi Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
    (which turned out very nice, sweet and tart at the same time). Your compote sounds like a great thing to top ice cream with, or eat with biscuits. Thanks!

  • Reply Anonymous August 26, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    The fresh strawberry/poached rhubarb compote is also great stirred into plain yogurt–or even served with brie or another soft dessert cheese. (I neglected to say that if the strawberries are large, you may want to quarter them instead of cutting them in half.) And do you know this great trick for cleaning strawberries? Swish them quickly in a little bowl of orange juice (and then drain) instead of rinsing them in water. The citric acid keeps them fresh longer–and the orange juice intensifies instead of watering down the flavor.

  • Reply Everyday Champagne August 26, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    Oh yeah, I love brie with just about anything sweet! And I have not heard of your strawberry cleaning trick before, that sounds like a great idea. I usually don't clean any of my berries until right before I use them, so they don't get waterlogged and moldy. Next time I need to clean some strawberries, I'll try the OJ trick! Thanks again!

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