Monday, September 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 9/27/10

Fall "officially" came last week. Doesn't everyone like fall? Have you ever talked to someone who said they didn't like fall? It is hard for me to imagine anyone detesting this time of year; the crispness in the air invigorates, the changing of leaves beautifies the landscape, and there is football every waking moment of the day. (Okay, maybe some football widows dislike fall.) I like fall for all the fall foods that you can now make without anyone questioning you. See, now you can make pumpkin muffins, butternut squash soup, and beef stew and not have anyone raise an eyebrow at you. I am reminded, though, that I often feel the same way about the grilling and fresh vegetables the warmer weather brings in late spring/early summer.

Here's this week's menu! Heavily, heavily inspired by Ina Garten - loving the cookbook I checked out from the library!

Monday: Tuscan Lemon Chicken (swapping out rosemary for thyme), Roasted Potatoes (beside the chicken in the pan) and Wax Beans (still from our garden!)
Tuesday: Chicken and Spinach Casserole (from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food October 2010), & Salad
Wednesday: Easy Cod Meuníere (think cod or sole, sautéd in butter with lemon juice) , Wild Rice, & Peas
Thursday: Roasted Beef, Mushroom, and Barley Soup - another EF recipe (and maybe a salad from the fall garden outside?)
Friday: Brats, Chips & Fruit

Monday, September 20, 2010

Meun Plan Monday 9/20/10

Drum roll please! Time to share what's going to be on the table of the Richard family this week! Cue the trumpets!

*Eye Roll*


This week has a lot of peppers scattered through out. It's time to either eat them up or freeze for this winter.

Monday: General Tso's Pork, Rice & Egg Drop Soup
Tuesday: Roasted Chicken, Butternut Squash Casserole (the uber-sweet brown sugar kind) and Fresh Green Beans with Butter & Salt
Wednesday: Philly Cheese Sandwiches, Roasted Potatoes
Thursday: Mini-Meatloaves, Sweet Potato Fries, & Peas with Butter and Chives
Friday: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Fresh Tomato Soup

For the most part, my poor tomato plants are looking pretty pathetic. But I am still getting loads of cherry sized tomatoes. One plant is a volunteer, so I have no idea what variety it is (I think it was from seed that got put into my compost bin after a friend blessed me with a bucket of cherry tomatoes last year). The other is a yellow pear tomato. I guess I thought yellow pear tomatoes were larger but they are actually pretty tiny. The plant itself was by far the largest plant in the garden though. Interesting. Anyway, what do you do with all those small tomatoes?

We love tomato, cucumber, and feta salad. Yum. But my cucumbers are done and have been pulled out. I love salsa, but these tomatoes are not the meaty roma type tomatoes that make good pico de gallo. The fruit flies had found them and it was of the highest priority to use them up. Either they got pitched or I made something with them. Yes, it had come to that. ;)

While I was perusing the cook books at the library, I ran across Ina Garten's (the Barefoot Contessa) Back To Basics. And I am so glad I did. Her cream of fresh tomato soup inspired me and I loosely followed it. It was one of the most delicious soups I've made at home in a long time. You will need a food mill or food strainer for this recipe. I have the attachment for my KA mixer - love it!

Fresh Tomato Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped (or in my case a good handful of baby carrots)
1 celery stock, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 pounds of tomatoes, chopped or sliced in half depending on your size of tomato (I'm just guessing here - a little more or less shouldn't matter too much).
1/4 cup packed basil
1 teaspoon sugar (to taste - it cuts the acid of the tomato a little)
Salt & pepper to taste (2 teaspoons to a tablespoon of salt - depending on the saltiness of your broth - and at least a teaspoon of pepper)
2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup sour cream (Ina Garten uses heavy cream to finish her's - by all means use it if you have it - I think it would be fantastic!)

In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté until soft. Add the garlic, sauté for another minute. Add all the tomatoes, cover and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Add the basil and sugar. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Everything should be soft and the basil flavor will infuse the vegetables.
Break out your food strainer. Run contents of the pot through the food strainer/mill. Discard the solids. Return juice and pulp to the stockpot over medium heat. Add chicken broth, season with salt and pepper and whisk in a the sour cream. Serve and enjoy. Yum!

I'm going to make this again either today or in the next few days. Then, I'm going to freeze it to save it for one cold winter evening.