Sunday, October 13, 2013
Weekly Meal Plan - Autumn Comes At Last
Despite the fact that we are now mid-October, the grass remains as green as it was all summer long. The difference is seen in the fact that John hasn't mowed in 3 weeks time and the grass is only just beginning to look a little shaggy. When he mows next week, it will be for the last time this year. Because it's so very green yet outdoors, I haven't put up a lot of Fall decorations. My centerpiece on the dining table is mostly greens and I find I like it very well. I'll try to remember to get a photo posted of it this week.
Nights are cool and mornings are cooler. The days heat up but this week the temperatures are meant to slide slowly down. Today is supposed to be our last afternoon in the mid-80's. I looked across the field and noted many trees are bare already and those which still hold on to their leaves are only just beginning to change color. The golden rod and other yellow fall blooming flowers (mostly weeds) are blooming en masse and are gloriously, brilliantly, decidedly gold, as though to put an exclamation point on Autumn's glory.
John went back to work last night, and I didn't sleep until the wee hours of morning. It's caught up with me this afternoon. I've done housework, but it was light housework because that's all the house really needed. I've made dinner and prepped two casseroles for the freezer and made an extra entree while I was in the kitchen anyway. And then I cleared up all the mess and dishes and felt all in. I'm going to rest a bit and then see what else I can accomplish today. I have a list as long as my arm of things I should do this week...I've no clue if I'll get to half of it but I'm determined to have something to show for my time and energy at the end of this week. That's what autumn does for me, too.
Well enough chatter. Time to put my head into planning mode and figure out this week's meals.
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Green Salad, Cheesy Garlic Bread
I made up a fairly big batch of meat sauce. I started with the vegetables (onion, garlic, zucchini, grated carrot) and then added green bell pepper. I removed that from my pot and browned 1 1/4 pounds of ground beef. I mixed vegetables (but not bell pepper with all the beef, then divided it. I mean to make a second entree with the beef/veg mixture. I had so much spaghetti sauce left and a little spaghetti that I made up a Poor Man's Lasagna or Spaghetti Pie (recipe here ) and then I put some more spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a pie pan, broke up the remaining Mac and Cheese from our dinner last week over the top for an easy sort of Pastitsio. The Mac and Cheese tends to sort of melt over the sauce so additional Bechamel is not necessary. That's two entrees in the freezer for future days.
Baked Chicken and Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Carrot Raisin Salad
I had this chicken dish on my menu a few weeks ago and never did make it since the weather warmed up so. Today, while I was making up the pasta pies for the freezer, I cooked a big chicken breast half and a dozen wing pieces. at the same time. This gives me a second entree (wings) and today's dinner and I'm two ahead in the partially made meal department. I floured and seasoned the chicken breast, sprayed my pan with cooking spray, put chicken in the pan, sprayed it and put in a hot oven. This 'fries' the chicken very nicely, crisping the skin and browning the meat. I did put it skin side down to begin with (being sure to spray that skin side first) and then flipped it over to the bone side of the breast to finish off baking after the skin was brown and crispy. I removed the meat from the pan about 10 minutes before I thought it was done, sprinkled in seasoning and some flour right in the oils that rendered out of the chicken, then added about 5 ounces of evaporated milk, stirred the flour and milk together, put the breasts back in the pan and baked for the remaining time. This is an old fashioned recipe and at the point where you make the gravy you can also put biscuits in the milk and it makes a very tasty dish. I didn't do biscuits for dinner today. The gravy went over our mashed potatoes. Yum! Had a few mashed potatoes left over.
BBQ'd Wings, Carrot and Celery Sticks, Oven Fries
Very easy meal for me. Should give me plenty of time for some of my To Do list items.
Beef Burritos, Buttered Corn, Green Salad, Oranges
The extra portion of beef and vegetables will be my filler for the burritos. I'll use some of my homemade enchilada sauce as seasoning for the beef.
Beef Smoked Sausage, Creamed Cabbage, Potato Pancakes, Baked Apples
I'll use the leftover potatoes for the pancakes and the last of the cabbage for the cabbage dish. This meal could so easily be altered. You could steam the sausage, cabbage and apples together. I'll make mine an oven meal.
Black Bean Soup, Corn Muffins, Fruit Salad
I like to keep some canned cooked beans on hand. I'll add some of the smoked turkey breast end pieces to the beans for seasoning.
Beef Stew, Green Salad, Corn Muffins
I'll make this in the crock pot and use leftover muffins warmed in the microwave. I may have coleslaw instead of salad if I remember and buy cabbage on grocery day.