Showing posts with label menu planning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label menu planning. Show all posts

26 December 2017

Christmas Dinner 2017

I confess I planned my Christmas Dinner on December 23. Oh, I’d ordered a roast well before then – because roasted beef tenderloin was the obvious choice -- but how I was going to prepare the roast and what dishes would accompany it was very much left to the last possible day. Two weeks before, I got out all my holiday cookbooks with the intention of crafting a tasty menu. But I just wasn’t feeling it. Couldn’t be arsed, even. Christmas could go humbug itself.

Which didn’t make a lot of sense, considering I’d been decking the halls and humming carols all the live long day since December 1. I think I was very much looking forward to the fun of Christmas Dinner, but the work of it -- the planning and the shopping -- was something I actively wanted to avoid. Couldn’t we just, I thought, get take out?

I could imagine my mother’s face if I ever suggested such a thing.

Anyway, I pulled myself together at the eleventh hour and planned a menu. And then we shopped for it Christmas Eve morning ... which turned out to be much less traumatic than I had anticipated. The weather had been bad the night before so many people seemed slow to venture out and we managed to whiz around the stores, scooping up everything we needed became too crowded and I shivved someone with a sprig of rosemary.

Christmas Dinner 2017
Carrots w/ Butter & Parsley
Roasted Broccoli w/ Parmesan & Italian Herbs
Tinned Peas of Marital Happiness
Rolls & Butter
Olive Medley
Bûche de Noël w/ Fresh Whipped Cream

The beef was fabulous, but you really need to mind the temperature when cooking (and start with a scrupulously clean oven or be prepared to open all the kitchen windows). I took the 7.5 pound roast out of the oven when my thermometer read 135°F with the assumption it would rise to 140°F after resting and be a nice medium rare.

Alas, upon carving, it was revealed to be so rare as to be raw and inedible. Disheartened, I threw the thick slices back in the hot oven for 5 minutes and, to my relief, that brought them up to medium rare/medium. It was a truly delicious roast, regardless, and I do recommend the high-heat method. (I did rub the beef with Simply Ghee® Black Garlic Ghee, bought this past autumn at the Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival, rather than plain butter for extra pizazz).

The horseradish sauce was a great accompaniment. It went together in no time flat and has kept well in the fridge. I did double the amount of horseradish called for as my family likes a zippy sauce.

There’s no recipe for the carrots, really. I peeled and thickly sliced all the CSA carrots I had left (about a pound) from the Thanksgiving box and boiled them until tender, then tossed them with butter, salt, pepper, parsley, and a little sugar and let them sit on a warm burner until we needed them. Do not judge me for the use of sugar. It is something my Grandmother Gardner always added to her carrots and it does, imho, bring out their carrotiness.

There’s also no real recipe for the broccoli. I took a bag of fresh chopped florets, tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings and then roasted them in the 500°F oven for the 10 minutes the beef rested. When the broccoli came out of the oven, I tossed it with shredded Parmesan, and plopped it all into a warmed serving bowl.

Don’t judge me for the tinned peas. According to The Husband, peas are a necessity when served mashed potatoes and he just happens to like tinned peas best of all peas. I did splash out and buy the 50% Less Sodium Le Sueur® Very Young Small Sweet Peas, because we’re nothing but top shelf at Christmas.

Leeks might not be something you’d think about putting in mashed potatoes, but they’re just really big scallions, after all. I had two CSA leeks leftover and lots of garlic on hand so the Betty Crocker recipe was pretty much a godsend. The mashed potatoes were a lovely pale gold, creamy, and yum. Garlicky and leek-y, of course, but not aggressively so. A repeater, definitely.

And that was Christmas Dinner. And it was good. And now we shall subsist on (delicious) leftovers until Friday when there may be duck. Hooray.

09 January 2012

Pantry Challenge Update & Menu Plan: Week 1

I came late to Good Cheap Eat's Pantry Challenge so the first week(end) was mostly just me taking inventory and complaining to myself about my shopping habits. I assure you that, at various points, the air in the kitchen was quite blue and the cats had all taken refuge in the living room as I liberated yet another unexpected canned food from the dusty depths of a cupboard. Some women have a weakness for shoes and cosmetics. I appear to have a weakness for groceries. And it's so easy to justify grocery purchases, you know. Probably much easier than with shoes. A family has to eat, after all, and it would be terrible to open the cupboards one day and find them bare ...

As if that would ever happen in my house.

While I'd written up my weekly menu plan well before deciding to go on the challenge, I still managed to use some things from my inventory:
  • straw mushrooms, 1 can
  • baby corn, 1 can
  • tomato sauce, 1 can
  • bulgur, partial bag
  • boil-n-bag brown rice, 1 packet
Tonight, I had planned to use up two cans of minced clams, an open box of whole grain linguine, and a large can of diced tomatoes to make Betty Crocker's "Linguine with Red Clam Sauce," but my post-work meeting ran long and I was tired so we had Chinese takeout, instead.

Go, me.

Anyway, I just moved Monday's linguine to Wednesday and I'll make a batch of Betty Crocker's "Curried Pumpkin Vegetable Soup" tomorrow morning to take to work since there will be no Monday leftovers for Tuesday's supper.

Pantry Challenge Menu Plan, Week 2:

Betty Crocker's "Curried Pumpkin Vegetable Soup." Ingredients: frozen mixed vegetables, diced tomatoes, curry powder, pumpkin puree, low-sodium fat-free chicken broth, onion, garlic, paprika.

Betty Crocker's "Linguine with Red Clam Sauce" with green beans. Ingredients: tinned clams, 28 oz can whole tomatoes in sauce, garlic, whole grain spaghetti, red pepper flakes, parsley, salt, black pepper.

Leftover linguine with random yoghurt and fruit.

"Betty Crocker's Tex-Mex Beef-Topped Potatoes" with green beans. Ingredients: potatoes, lean ground beef, chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, tomato sauce, chopped green chiles, shredded Mexican cheese blend. (Serve half the filling on two potatoes and save the remaining filling for lunch wraps).

Goya's "Chicken Veracruz" over brown rice with peas. Ingredients: sliced pickled jalapenos, capers, tomato sauce, boneless skinless chicken breasts, adobo, onion, garlic, oregano, cooked rice, lime.

Pantry items to be used this week:
  • tinned clams, 2 cans
  • 28 oz can whole tomatoes in sauce, 1 can
  • chipotles in adobo sauce, partial container
  • tomato sauce, 2 cans
  • chopped green chiles, 1 can
  • sliced picked jalapenos, partial container
  • capers, partial container
  • pumpkin, 1 can
  • chicken broth, partial container
  • diced tomatoes, 1 can

06 January 2012

Pantry Challenge: I'm On Board

Although I freely admit my lack of sticktoitiveness when it comes to these things, I've decided to join Jessica's Pantry Challenge at Good Cheap Eats because there's just too darn much stuff in my cupboards! Again. I need to start shopping with blinders on so I only see the things we need and not the extra, random things I want. (Although heaven only knows what I wanted with that jar of sorrel packed in brine. I have no idea how to eat it. Heat it? Chill it? Straight from the jar?)

I began this challenge by emptying out my food cupboards and creating a Google spreadsheet listing everything I found therein. While I initially intended this challenge to include the contents of my freezer, too, I found so much stuff in my cupboards that I never made it that far. Indeed, I'm pretty sure there's so much in my pantry that I'll need to do this challenge for more than a month to make a real dent!

And then, maybe, I'll move on to the freezer ...

Looking at my spreadsheet, it's already clear how some things can be used:
Anyway, I'm supposed to have goals for this challenge. Goals ... goals ... goals ...

Yes, cook all the things and end up with a smaller, better-shopped pantry (mostly) full of foods we regularly eat instead of random things that caught my eye.