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October 26, 2008

Sunday Extra: 3 Weeks of Menus

You know I love to cook and regard the family dinner as a sacred time, although the combination of immature jokes (“Hey Mom- spell icup!”) and constant reminders (“Boys– use your napkins, not your shirts.  Finn, don’t steal Porter’s milk.  Get up and refill yours.  I’m not raising thieves.”) results in the most chaotic part of our day.  But I have high hopes that some day all of us will sit at the table and all elbows and napkins and condiments will be in their proper places, and we will have conversations that aren’t punctuated by audible farts, or center on jokes in which we are asked to name the word that starts with “f” and ends with “uck.” (Answer below for those of you who don’t have ten and twelve-year-olds.)++

I don’t see any end to our nightly Hearing on Who Gets Dessert, in which Bill sits as judge, each boy represents himself and makes an argument outlining the reasons he is entitled to Cookies N Cream ice cream, and I serve as adviser to all parties, reminding them of crucial arguments (“Tell him: Your Honor, a look at the evidence will make it clear that I have tasted each food on my plate and consumed seconds of pork.”)

I’ve been slammed at work lately and thus have been even more in need of easy recipes than usual.  The last couple of weeks I turned to Simply Recipes to find some winners and I’ve become a devotee of the site.  I heard Elise Bauer speak at BlogHer and recognized her beautiful site, but it wasn’t until Playgroupie raved about a Carnitas recipe that I really checked it out.

Here are several recipes that were hits with my family.  Some, like the Carnitas, I prepared in the crock pot a day ahead.  Most of the others were so easy that I did them the day of, prepping ingredients when I picked the boys up from school and cooking later.  The Shrimp Fried Rice was so basic that I made the rice a day ahead so It could dry in the refrigerator, then left Bill and the boys to make it while I enjoyed a girls’ night out.

I’ve divided this into three weeks of menus to make it easier on you so that you can do all your shopping today or tomorrow for the week.  I’ve also added two recipes of my own.  It’s the last week to make Jack-O-Lantern Pie, which The Voice Of Reason and I have been making for years.  It’s no great shakes from a culinary standpoint for my artichoke-loving boys, but it’s a tradition.

It’s officially freezing to me here, now that the temperatures are in the high 50’s and low 60’s.  If I were to move as far north as Nashville I might well die of hypothermia. Bill requested a soup or stew, so I’ll be making Sausage and Lentil Stew which is a snap and healthy as well.  It’s easy to freeze or take to work for a quick lunch.

Feel free to mix or match these menus; I’ve just tried to provide a good mix of chicken, meat and fish each week.  (The Simply Recipes dishes are marked with a *):

WEEK 1:

Jack-O-Lantern Pie (from the post Food, Glorious Food, which includes pictures of the pie and, for reasons I have forgotten, Brad Pitt.)

*Dad’s Fish Stew (the clam juice is above the tuna at the grocery.  For economic reasons I used catfish and tilapia which were cheaper fish.  Be sure and serve with bread to sop up the juice. )

*Sweet & Sour Chicken (super-easy, and don’t freak out when you mix up the sauce that seems odd and ends up perfect.  Be sure and read her tips about using a very hot pan.)

*Pot Roast (Of course everyone already has a pot roast recipe but sometimes it’s nice to try a new one.  I did it in the crock pot.)

WEEK 2:

Sausage and Lentil Stew (recipe below)

*Chipotle Meatballs (Remember how my Beef Balls were such a hit?  This is a great update. Sorry that you have to skim through the details of the family doorknob/fart game to get to the actual recipe.)

*Pasta With Tuna, Arugula & Hot Pepper (I know– this sounds weird!  But it’s fabulous, I’m guessing because you use fresh garlic and oil-packed tuna.  I used spinach instead of arugula.)

*Chicken Marinara (to make this even easier you could buy a jar of Newman’s marinara sauce and use that instead of making the tomato sauce!)

WEEK 3:

*Carnitas (these are fancy tacos.  The boys prefer flour tortillas, so I used some corn and some flour.  Publix has black beans that are seasoned, so we drain those and add them to the taco.  Don’t eliminate the step where you put the meat in the oven to crisp it up.  Delish.)

*Chicken, Mushrooms & Tomatoes with Port Wine (this would be a good Election Special dinner; follow it with the always popular Multi-Tasking Ice Cream Pie and plenty of wine and settle in for the night.  If you don’t have Port, you can buy some very cheap or use red wine.  This would be good with green beans, or brussels sprouts sauteed with garlic and bacon, or zucchini sliced thin and sauteed with sliced almonds and topped with some Parmesan, salt and pepper a la the Red Cat restaurant in NYC.)

Remember – don’t freak out if you can’t find everything.  You can use an onion instead of shallots or dump in a can of diced tomatoes if those at your market aren’t beautiful, as I did.  The point is to end up with edible food.

* Shrimp Fried Rice (the boys did not leave me any to sample.  That speaks volumes.)

Oops.  I am missing a recipe here.  You can check out my recipe posts by clicking on the “Let’s Eat” category in the left sidebar.  Or to make it easier, I’ve compiled several right here:

Food, Glorious Food

Week O’ Recipes

Let Me Organize You, One Meal At A Time

Sausage and Lentil Stew:

6 oz smoked turkey sausage (I use more)

1.5 cups thinly sliced leek

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup dried lentils

2 10.5 oz cans chicken broth

1 tsp dried thyme (I add some fresh, too)

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp Tabasco

2 14.5 cans diced tomatoes undrained

Slice sausage into 1/2 inch slices and cut each in half.  Brown lightly in a skillet.  Add leeks, garlic, and cook 3 mins.  Add lentils and broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 30 mins.  Stir in thyme and remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 mins or until lentils are tender.  6 cups.

(I thought I got this from Cooking Light, which I frequently use, but I’ve searched all over their web site and cannot find it.)

*******************

Answer to immature joke:

++ FIRETRUCK

(and you did spell “icup” out loud, didn’t you?)
*********************

My mom died three years ago today.  I’m holding it together okay so far.  This is a picture of her in 1976, when she was 35 years old.    This is the exact way I remember my mom looking when I was growing up.
youngmomfor blog

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 1:01 pm • Let's Eat: Meals and Recipes,Mom   

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18 Responses to “Sunday Extra: 3 Weeks of Menus”

  1. sorry about your mom…i’m glad you’re holding it together, i respect you very much.

    thinking about you on this day.

    xoxo

    cynthia’s last blog post..jennifer hudson

  2. She was beautiful. Sending prayers your way today.

    The blogosphere is telling me to have meatballs this week.

    Headless Mom’s last blog post..Are You Fireproof?

  3. I love seeing that picture. She looked just that way when I last saw her in about 1989 too. Beautiful!

  4. Your mother was beautiful. Having met you in person, I see the family resemblance.

    Catherine’s last blog post..It’s All About Me(me)

  5. What a beautiful lady! I can see were you got your shape from! =)

  6. Your mom was beautiful and that picture looks like she had a good sense of humour, just like you.

    XOXO

    liz’s last blog post..Today was a perfect day for walking

  7. What a lovely woman your mom was. I’m sorry for your loss–I know you must miss her.

    Alison’s last blog post..Week in review, 10/19–10/25

  8. What a lovely photo of your mother!

  9. Your mom looks like she was a classy lady.

    Meghan’s last blog post..Let it be

  10. Three weeks of menus…you are my hero! I’m lucky if I can plan for 1 week in advance.

    I love that photo of your mother. She’s so beautiful.

    Hugs for you today 🙂

  11. Awww sweetie, I knew the day was coming up. So sorry, glad you were holding it together.

    I was planning on meatballs this week. I’d forgotten to do Jack O Lantern Pie, the kids adored it last year!

  12. Your mom was a beautiful woman.

  13. Thank YOU! I was just looking for new and easy recipes. I will especially enjoy making “Dad’s Fish Stew”. Your mother was very pretty.

  14. I’m totally obsessed with Elise, too. Try the Spanish rice! Yum!

    Also, it’s clear to see where your great hair comes from!

    Jeni’s last blog post..Hey All

  15. Your Mother was absolutely gorgeous!
    I’m going to bookmark this post so I can come back and try some of those recipes!!

    mandy @ adventures of a millennium mom’s last blog post..New Boot Goofin’

  16. Beautiful mom! One day I hope we’ll get to meet and talk about her-I know she must be proud of you.

  17. She is absolutely gorgeous!

    Hope your day continues to go smoothly

  18. […] the others yet.  We’ll be using them tonight, though, as I’m whipping up Elise’s Sweet & Sour Chicken so they’re coming in handy […]

Welcome to the Kingdom

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I'm Anne Glamore, wife, mother, lawyer and blogger. I have three boys, and I'm desperately trying to train them to become Southern gentlemen, but that may be an unrealistic goal. At this point I'd be ecstatic if they'd quit farting at the dinner table. If you're new here, check out the Readers' Favorite Posts below or browse through the Categories. I write about my attempts to teach the boys about peckers and sex (which we call "making googly eyes"), my struggles with hepatitis C and spine surgery, the boys' adventures with fire and pets, my mom's death from ovarian cancer, my love of cooking (with plenty of recipes) and anything else that crosses my mind. Join me on Twitter or StumbleUpon or Email me. I'm happy to speak to your group or club.

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