stephmodo: Menu of the Week

Menu of the Week

• 06 January 2013

While I am always planning meals for our family (saves money and time!), I haven't been good about sharing my discoveries in the kitchen with you as of late.  To those of you who appreciate those posts, I apologize for that!  I am someone who is always on the hunt for good, healthy, cost-effective meals to feed my family and I hope that by sharing some of my discoveries here, you too find practical ways to feed your families too.

Below I outlined our meals for last week (found a few keepers!), adding recipe notes and general fyi's.  You'll notice there are only 5 meals listed, as I always leave room for 2 meals that are either leftovers, takeout (the obvious favorite!) or "brupper"...the family term for 'breakfast for supper').  Click on "Read More" to view the rest of the post (it's chock full of details and therefore lengthy).  Enjoy!

1.  Dutch Oven Roast, Mashed Potatoes (French style), Salad with Avocado, Homemade Bread (made by my father-in-law...delicious!) with Mt. Tam and Pineapple Pomegranate Salad -  My in-laws are in town so tonight's meal was extra special.  My mother-in-law roasted a beautiful roast in my antique dutch oven yesterday, that was the best I ever had (post forthcoming!).  It was a fairly small roast for 8 people, but since none of us eat a lot of meat, it worked out perfectly.

2.  Lamb Kebobs with Chopped Greek Salad, Pita - This meal was definitely the star of the week!  This was the first time I prepared lamb (typically not my favorite meat), and based on my family's reaction, it won't be the last.  Instead of making the meatballs into kebabs, I just sauteed them in my cast iron skillet and served them alongside the naan (a good substitution if you can't find good pita).  About the spice the recipe calls for...sumac...I found it in the spice aisle at Whole Foods.  One small container was $3.  I am confident we will use it up!  For the chopped Greek Salad, simply combine romaine lettuce, English cucumber, tomato, chives and good feta.  I love the Trader Joe's Feta in Brine--it's up there with good Bulgarian or French feta.

UPDATE: our family has lessened our meat intake, so I halved this recipe and it was plenty for our family of 6.  I just made sure the kids could load up on salad and naan.  Also, I substituted panko for the breadcrumbs.  Loved it.  Will definitely sub in again.  And last, I had to use my hands to make the meatballs.  I couldn't get the mixture to meld like it should otherwise.  

3.  Southwest Salad - A great vegetarian meal and one I make and mention often.  It's easy-to-make in the winter, sans tomatoes.  Just load it up with roasted peppers and avocado.  Be sure to use fresh limes for the juice vs. the lime concentrate you often find in the produce section at grocery stores.  The latter will kill your delicious dressing!

4.  Rainbow Swiss Chard Soup with White Beans, Homemade Rolls (bread machine!) - A simple meal of vegetable-laden soup and rolls.  I had high hopes for this soup and while it was good, it wasn't something my family enjoyed enough for me to make again.  The homemade rolls were definitely the highlight here!  Can't get enough of those and that bread machine makes it sooo easy.   

5.  Spaghetti with Tomato Anchovy Sauce, Crusty Baguette, Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette - While I am an anchovy fan (I typically ask for extras on my caesar), I wasn't over-the-moon for this tomato sauce.  I will keep looking...and sharing...until I find the perfect one!  Submissions appreciated :)

image 1 -  Alex Farnum  |  image 2 - Annabelle Breakey (both for Sunset)


  1. I am a huge fan of your menus and often look to your blog for inspiration, so definitely keep these posts coming! Especially in January, I am motivated to kick-start the new year right and to get back to healthy, low-cost meals.

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  3. i love when you share your "menu of the week." thanks! i pinned a few (or all) to try.

  4. Love this, i need to train myself to plan meals ahead of time. It just takes so much stress off. Happy new year!

  5. Hello there! I've gotten several great meals off of your menu planner posts and I so appreciate it! The rolls link does not seem to be working for me. Am I the only one? Anna

  6. Oh that soup looks so good!!! I need some inspiration for some healthy menus. My mouth is watering looking at those pics. Have a great week Steph!

  7. Hi Anna! Sorry about the link. Here is the recipe:

    Virginia Light Rolls

    Recipe By :The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook, p. 86
    Serving Size : 16 Preparation Time :0:00
    Categories : Bread Machine

    Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
    -------- ------------ --------------------------------
    1 cup plus 1 T. milk
    3 T. honey
    2 large eggs
    6 T. butter -- cut into pieces (I used unsalted)
    4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 t. salt
    2 t. SAF instant yeast or 2 1/2 t. bread
    machine yeast

    Place all ingredients in the pan according to the order in the manufacturer's instructions. Program for the dough cycle; press start.

    The dough ball will be soft, but add no more than 2 to 3 extra T. pf flour, as needed, if you think it necessary.

    When the cycle is done, transfer the dough to a floured surface and punched it down. Divide in half. Divide each half into 8 equal portions and shape into rolls. Place in greased pans or on a baking sheet that's been greased or lined with parchment paper/silpat.

    Brush with melted butter, if desired. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temp. until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

    Twenty minutes before baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    Place the rolls in the center of oven and bake for 25-28 minutes (mine were done in way less time--like 18 minutes approx.! so keep an eye on them), until golden brown.

    Serve warm.

  8. I love the Menu of the Week posts. It helps me find new recipes I love.

    If you're still looking for a puttanesca sauce you might give this one a try. It's one I've liked quite a lot, anchovies included, of course.

  9. Annie, thank you for the recommendation!

  10. Writing menus is a brillant time and money saver, Try Martha Stewart's Linguine with Garlic and breadcrumbs. Add in leftover veg or meat, or leave it plain.

  11. Great ideas! I love to gather inspiration from other family meal planners!
    Sumac is a Persian spice that can be purchased in middle eastern markets for a fraction of the cost. I use it to sprinkle on basmati rice and in lemon based salad dressings. Especially good in fattoush salad.

  12. Love love love your meal plans and recipes. I've tried tons if your recommendations and every one is on repeat around here. Keep them coming! Thanks - too fun!

  13. Stephanie,

    Consider Nature Sweet grape tomatoes for the winter. They come in an odd yellow cone type packaging, a little more expensive than most but, in my experience, consistently sweet and ripe throughout all seasons of the year. I discovered them after I left Seattle (six years ago today) but I suspect you can find them there.

  14. You ladies are the best! Thanks for the tips, links, etc. And glad to hear you enjoy meal planning like I do. I'll make an effort to create more and post here since it looks like something you appreciate.

  15. Yes, do post more! You have seriously great taste in food and if you recommend something, I know I'll love it. We are making the lamb kebabs tonight!


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