Archive for October, 2009

PostHeaderIcon Meal Plan – 12-18 October

fresh-veggies

Most weeks I plan our meals ahead of time by looking at what the grocery stores have on sale and what I get from the veggie co-op.  Tonight I sat down and prepared our meals for the week.  Here is a list as well as a few links to recipes that I have posted previously on the site.

moms2

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MONDAY

Breakfast
Waffles with fresh strawberries

Snack
Grapes

Lunch-kids
Crackers, cheese, raw carrots and 1/2 banana each

Lunch James and Melenie
Salad with Lettuce, Tomato, carrots, radishes and cheese

Dinner
Veggie and beef soup with grilled cheese sandwiches (onion added for James and me)

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TUESDAY

Breakfast
Boiled egg on toast, fresh strawberries

Snack
Banana bread and raisins

Lunch-kids
Elbow macaroni with pasta sauce and shredded cheese, sliced apple


Lunch-James

Soup and sandwiches

Lunch-Melenie
Soup, crackers and goats cheese

Dinner
Lemon and herb grilled chicken, grilled broccoli, cauliflower and carrots

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WEDNESDAY

Breakfast
Blueberry oatmeal with honey

Snack
Banana or pear

Lunch-kids
Leftover chicken and grilled veggies

Lunch-James

Chicken and mayo sandwiches

Lunch-Melenie
Grilled veggie rolled in tortilla with cheese

Dinner
Pork chops with apple-sausage dressing and glazed carrots

Apple pie bread

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THURSDAY

Breakfast
Scrambled egg and salsa on toast

Snack
Apple pie bread

Lunch-kids
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, fresh strawberries

Lunch-James

Leftovers

Lunch-Melenie
Salad

Dinner
Crockpot beef stew with ciabatta bread

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FRIDAY

Breakfast
Fruit smoothie, boiled egg and toast

Snack
Raw carrots and pretzels

Lunch Everyone
Leftover beef stew

Dinner
Pizza, grilled veggies and fruit salad

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SATURDAY

Breakfast
Scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage patties on biscuits

Dinner
Grilled pork loin, potato salad, green beans and salad

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SUNDAY

Dinner
Steak and artichoke dip hors devours, fruit and salad

PostHeaderIcon Breakfast Sausage Patties

Before living in the South (of USA)  I had never heard of sausage patties for breakfast.  Sausages came in casings and was either cooked on the braai (coals from burning wood), fried in a pan along with fresh tomatoes and onion or simmered with sauerkraut and beer.  I never did meet a sausage without his little see-through jacket until I landed here.

We have a great selection of breakfast sausages here in South, some are hot and spicy, others have a milder flavor and are filled with herbs and you even get the sweeter sausages that have maple syrup in them.  Because of the kids I tend to buy the milder flavored sausage, Emily and Alexia love having sausage for breakfast, James will eat it any way I make it and along with eating it for breakfast I use it in my stuffing for pork chops or dressing.

One of our local grocery stores had a special on pork butt roast and this was the perfect time to try making my own.  Our last attempt at sausage was a success in one way, but James did not like the flavor of them.  Instead of following a recipe this time, I found a few examples online and used them all to come up with something that we would like.  It was a great hit.  James loved it, I think his words were something like; “yum, this is so good, how did you get it to taste so smokey?”  Don’t tell him or the kids that it has several herbs in it or none of them will eat it!
yum

Breakfast Sausage Patties:

2 pounds pork butt, diced into small pieces
1/2 cup Bacon fat choped (I trimmed the fat from a packet of bacon I had in the fridge)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh chopped sage
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped Thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh Rosemary
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Nutmeg

Combine all the above ingredients well and feed it through your meat grinder.
(I used an old fashioned crank grinder and it worked great, as long as you put the blades in the right way around, lessons learned from our last attempt)
grinder

Refrigerate the ground sausage for an hour or longer then form the breakfast patties.  The recipe makes about 20 small patties.  You can either fry them up immediately or freeze them for later use.

I froze 12 of them, we had 4 for brunch and I have 2 more in the fridge waiting to be used to stuff pork chops or turned into dressing.
freezer

I am off to the grocery store to buy another pork butt to make more sausage for the freezer.  I was also thinking of  changing the recipe up a bit and making sausage links for a sausage and mushroom dish that I make.  This is another grocery item that I no longer need to buy,  I get to control what goes into the sausage, no preservatives, no fillers, just the good stuff.



PostHeaderIcon Sandwich Bread

Years ago I found this recipe on the back of a King Arthur bag of flour and I have made it ever since.  This is one loaf of bread that always comes out really well.  The only problem with it is that half the loaf gets eaten within minutes of it coming out of the oven!  I have made it twice this week and plan to make a third loaf on Sunday.  Between the Ciabatta bread and this loaf I really have no reason to buy bread any longer.  Here is the link to the recipe and a few pictures of the bread baked in my kitchen.

King Arthur Flour – Classic Sandwich Bread Recipe

doughballl

For this recipe I used 2 cups of All purpose flour and 1 cup Whole wheat flour.  My second loaf was half white and half wheat and it came out just as great.

prerise

After an hour of rising the dough goes from looking like this to ….

1stRise

this.

2ndRise2

After another hour of rising.

Loaf

The loaf.  Isn’t it pretty!!  I LOVE bread, the smell, the taste just the process is magical…. well scientific actually, but it feels like magic.

Yum

No words…….aaahhhhh

PostHeaderIcon No-knead ciabatta bread

ciabatta1

My mom and sister have been visiting us for a month from South Africa and although we did a lot of cooking, eating and generally having a great time around the table, there was no time for blogging about it.  Life is back to normal now and I am ready to try a few new things.

Last night while looking through a copy of Cooking light magazine (thanks to my 2 free trial issues) I saw a delicious looking sandwich made with ciabatta bread and roasted veggies.  I figured since I have not had much luck with my sour dough bread and ciabatta bread is already flatter than normal sandwich breads it would be a good intro back to bread making.  I came across this blog called Foodwishes and it a has a great little video attached that shows you exactly how to make a no-knead ciabatta bread.   The blog has everything that you need to make this bread and the video is a hoot so I did not take many pictures of the process, just a few of the final bread and what I ate for lunch today.

ciabatta

This was a very easy bread to make and the taste is fantastic! The crust is hard and chewy and the inside is soft with loads of air bubbles.   Emily (my soft white bread lover) gobbled it up and asked for more.  I ate it for lunch with last nights left overs.  A tomato, basil and balsamic vinegar salad on one slice and left over pork, and roasted veggies on another.  The kids ate theirs with a generous amount of homemade butter.

lunch

The Recipe:
4 cups bread flour or 3 1/2 cup white flour and 1/2 cup wheat flour (you can use all purpose flour)
1/4 teaspoon yeast
2 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the ingredients using a spatula until you have a sticky wet dough.  Depending on the temperature of your house let it rise between 12-18 hours.  I left mine for 18 hours in a very hot house and it did not over-rise, so the dough is very forgiving.

After the 18 hours, punch the dough down using the spatula and transfer to plastic wrap or as I did parchment paper.

The only thing that I did differently, (it made things a little easier) is using parchment paper.  Instead of shaping the dough on plastic wrap and later transferring it to the baking sheet as suggested in the video, I shaped it on parchment paper.  Lightly oil the paper with olive oil and sprinkle with corn meal.  Shape the loaf, punching out the air bubbles as you move and shape the dough.

Let the shaped dough rise for 2 more hours on the parchment paper.  Then pull the parchment paper onto your baking sheet, I used a pizza stone, but you can use any cookie sheet.

Bake at 425 ‘F for 35-45 min – mine took about 40 min to get that nice brown color.

This bread will be great with soups and stews during the cold months and a great building block for a rustic hardy sandwich.  You have got to try it, it is so easy!

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