It has been a busy weekend. I started it out by working a lot and getting ready for my mother-in-law’s 60th birthday (Happy birthday, Kathleen!). On Saturday I had the privilege of photographing Hearts for Haiti downtown with Anne followed by church and basketball tournaments and a long overdue top-to-bottom cleaning of the entire house (excluding the laundry room and storage areas). I had started last weekend by doing the kids’ bedrooms, but I finished the rest of the house today. I feel like I’m ready to start the spring organizational cleaning now that I’ve gotten rid of all the surface area clutter: changing out the kids clothes, organizing cupboards and drawers. And the most exciting thing? I started planning the garden, complete with getting the seedling planters ready and purchasing a few seeds. Have you started thinking about planting your garden yet? It seems a bit awkward here since everything is still covered in multiple feet of snow, but March is almost here!
One of the things we strive for when planning our menus is making everything fit together into one nice, neat little package. We look to use ingredients in different ways throughout the week so that we’re benefiting from the ability of do-aheads and being able to buy in bulk.
Monday – Chicken spaghetti, side salads
Tuesday – Cheese and broccoli soup (similar to Panera’s), white whole wheat bread or your favorite bread recipe (make 3x) or – gasp – buy two large loaves
Wednesday – Hungarian pot roast with sour cream and paprika gravy, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, steamed carrots
Thursday – Green chili chicken tamales (note: I use lard, never shortening for tamales), guacamole, roasted salsa
Friday – French toast bake, bacon, fresh fruit of choice
The Preparation Shortcuts:
1. Boil two chickens when making the chicken spaghetti. Use the first for the spaghetti, but reserve both the broth and the second chicken (you can pull the meat off the bones) for the tamales on Thursday.
2. Reserve 2 additional cups of the chicken stock from the Monday boil to make the cheese and broccoli soup on Tuesday.
3. On Tuesday, triple the bread recipe. (You may only need to double depending on how large your family is and the quantity of bread you expect they’ll eat with the soup.) Use the extra bread for the French toast bake on Friday. Because we want to use more stale bread for the bake, the extra time between the meals works perfectly.
4. Use the leftover carrots from the soup to steam for a side on Wednesday.
The Shopping List:
2 whole chickens
1 chuck or rump roast
1 pound bacon
1 head broccoli
2 pounds carrots
5 large onions
1 green pepper
4 serrano chiles
1 bunch cilantro
Fruit of choice for Friday’s dinner
2.5 pounds potatoes
2 garlic bulbs
1 can diced tomatoes
1 4-ounce jar diced pimentos
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 jar roasted bell peppers
2 cups beef stock
1 8-ounce package dried corn husks
1 package masa harina (corn flour)
1 pint half and half
1.5 pounds sharp cheddar cheese
Things you may need:
Last week from Food for My Family:
Kugelhopf, from my grandma’s kitchen.