Menu Plan Monday - Bonnie - Saturday 29 May 2010

Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie

I know that it is Saturday and not Monday ... but I'm going to post this anyway. I love doing my menu plans. I love sitting for ages ... yes, it takes me ages ! ... reading recipes, thinking through the week to come. Choosing the meals. Making the grocery list. Writing the blog post. Shopping. And then, I have to wait til Monday to post this ... the excitement of it all is gone by then. I mean, I'm still excited, because I'm cooking the meals and posting recipes (when I'm on the ball) and that's fun but it's not the excitement of the planning. I don't know ... maybe I'm weird and you all are wondering why I'm even explaining this ! ha ha. Probably. But ... you kept reading, so I guess you are weird too ! :)

Moving right along ...

Here's the plan for this week !!!

We're going to a party tonight.
I'm taking Thai Apple Salad


I'm super excited about this ...
We're trying Andrea's Steak Cobb Salad and Quick and Easy Spicy Tortilla Soup

So ... I'm starting something new with the children. Each of them is going to cook with me one night a week. They get to choose the meal ... fitting it within our unprocessed specifications ... and then help me cook it. Alia's night is Monday. She didn't even want to look through a cookbook She just straight away chose Thai Chicken Soup ! And then said she's got all her ideas in her head already ! We'll see what other ideas she comes up with as the weeks progress ...


I had planned to do Andrea's Red Wine Stew last week but totally forgot to take the meat out of the freezer the night before and didn't even realize until I was on my way home from work to get the kids and take them to tennis lessons !! Needless to say, all the ingredients are still sittin' there so we'll have that this week ! Will make bread to go with it ...

Jono chose from a Mexican Cookbook ...
He wants to try "Chicken Flautas" with homemade salsa and guac !

I made homemade mac and cheese the other night, it was ok. I think I ruined it by baking it.
My Mom's was always baked and so delicious but we were working with cream
of mushroom soup, not a white sauce like I'm trying to do now.
I'm going to make it again this week but not bake it.
The sauce I made was delicious as it was so I
am just going to add that to the pasta
and serve. It had caramalized
onions in it ... yum !

this week I'll
be happy enough
with it to post the recipe !

I think we may just try a different
Cheese and Burger Society burger for the foreseeable future !
We're going for #8 this week ... The Aunt Millie

Will try making this recipe into Challah buns ...

Cheese and Burger ~ The Camelot


You may remember a couple of weeks ago, we tried our first Cheese and Burger Society Burger ~ The Boss. That burger was the best burger I've ever eaten ! The other night we tried another one ~ The Camelot. It was not as good as the boss but still tasty. And I made it totally unprocessed which I was pretty pleased with !!

Here's the components ...

I used my basic beef patty recipe again. It's such a good one. Topped with camembert cheese.

I made whole wheat brioche rolls ... they were too thick for this burger but I'll change that for next time !!

I caramelized onions for the first time. It was super easy, time consuming, but easy and so stinkin' delicious. I used three red onions, sliced thin. A couple tablespoons of olive oil. Heat in big fry pan. Add onions. Stir occassionally but just let 'em cook for half hour or so ... 'til they are all brown and caramelly and did I mention stinkin' delicious ??

I used homemade mayo and dijon mustard. Sliced tomatoes. A few sliced mushrooms ... sauteed.

The original recipe had a peppered bacon as well. I'm sure that would have been yummy but we haven't found a bacon that fits our unprocessed specifications ...


Steak Cobb Salad

So I saw this recipe on the Rachael Ray Show last week and HAD to have it. Immediately!

Here is her recipe. I changed mine up a bit to fancy our tastes.

For the Steak
  • 4 small strip steaks, 8-10 oz. (We used 1 steak about 10oz for the 2 of us and it was a NY sirloin steak)
  • 2 limes for zest and juicing 
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

For the Salad dressing 
  • 1 shallot, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon mustard. (RR said to use Dijon. I didn't have so I used Horseradish mustard)
  • 1 tablespoon Wocestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
 For the Salad

  •  2 head of lettuce (we used only one for the two of us eating...and it was romaine)
  • 1 small bundle of watercres leaves (I actually had bought some of this the day before for our miso soup so I was happy to have it for the salad!)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles (RR used blue cheese)
  • 2 medium size tomatoes, diced
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 2 avocados, sliced

Prepare the Dressing

Grate shallot and garlic into a bowl. Add mustard, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and warm water. Whisk. Add vinegar and pour in olive oil while you whisk it. Taste. Add salt and fresh pepper to taste.

Combine lettuces in a bowl with dressing. Toss.

 Prepare the Steak

Bring steak to room temperature and season with salt and pepper, garlic salt.
Heat outdoor grill and when ready to eat dress meat with a drizzle of olive oil and cook to your preference.

Let the meat rest while you smash up cilantro and zest of 2 limes and juice of 1 lime. Slice steak thinly and rub cilantro lime mixture onto the meat. Also, you can drizzle a tad more olive oil and salt on if need be.

Bring it all together

Arrange dressed salad on individual plates with steak down the middle. Place tomatoes, boiled egg slices, feta and sliced avocados (squeeze fresh lemon or lime juice on them to keep from browning) around the steak.


Menu Plan Monday - Bonnie - 24 May 2010

Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie

Rory said to me last night that he has been pretty bad about staying unprocessed lately ... due to lack of preparation ~ which is mostly my fault ~ I haven't been sending him big enough lunches. I plan to fix that this week and get us back on the wagon ! Not that we've strayed too far ... but I've noticed myself, here and there, eating things that I shouldn't. But ... this is not something that I'm willing to feel guilty about ... we're just going to move forward from here !! That's life, right ?


We're going to try another cheese & burger society burger tonight.
#16 ~ The Camelot
I'm going to make these Brioche Rolls
(with some obvious unprocessed substitutions)
I'll let you know how they turn out.
I'll try my hand at caramelizing onions for the first time ...
And I made some mayo last night that I'll add some dijon to for the dijon mayonnaise.
I took a video of the EASY mayo process but can't get it to upload.
Will keep working on that.


We've got friends coming over for lunch
I'm going to make Black bean chili soup !
OH YUM !!!

And for dinner ...

We're going to try something from this amazing site that I discovered last night !
Maple Apple Cheddar Melt with roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli.



I'm feeling like pizza ... but not any old pizza ... FUNKY LIME PIZZA !!


We're having a pot luck dinner with our home group ... here at our house ...
I'm going to make ... Spanikopita Meatballs ! (A FAMILY FAVORITE !!)



Homemade Mac and Cheese
I've done an unprocessed version (pictured) of this but need to tweak it.
I'll do that this week and then post the recipe for you !


We didn't end up having this last week ... in a string of KITCHEN FAILS ... I left the
preservative free meat
in the fridge one too many days and got a big whiff of narsty
when I opened the plastic to cut the meat ...
I'll give it another whirl this week, hopefully me string of fails is behind me !!

Andrea's Red Wine Stew


I'm not going to plan Friday today ...
I never know what we will do on Friday night until Friday afternoon !!

I'm going to try making Jill's Granola Bars for lunches this week !

Whole Wheat Brioche Bread Maker Rolls


This one is made from the last of the dough .... I just rolled it into a ball and it came out like this.
The others were round ... but you'll see that in the coming cheeseburger recipe !!

My inspiration for this recipe comes from here.
Of course, I had to make it fit our unprocessed specifications ... here's how I did that.

1/2 cup milk
4 eggs, large, at room temperature (I just sat them in a cup of hot water for a few minutes)
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons powdered milk
1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 & 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (I sifted mine)
3 teaspoons yeast

Put all of the ingredients in your bread maker and run on the dough cycle.

Roll it out and cut or shape into whatever you like. I used large biscuit cutters to make hamburger buns ...

Let rise for 1/2 an hour in a warm place.

Brush the rolls with an egg wash of one egg beaten with one tablespoon of water.

Bake in a 350 F/ 180 C pre-heated oven until the bottoms are browned. I think mine only took about 20 minutes ...

Quick and Easy Spicy Tortilla Soup

I found this recipe here.
I didn't change much...

1 green pepper
1 medium sweet onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (you won't need all of it unless you like your soup ON FIRE!)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 can can diced Mexican style tomatoes (I used these...cause they are so awesome)
1 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed.
1/4 cup..or so of chopped up fresh cilantro
1 chicken breast, diced
Tortilla chips, for topping
sour cream, for topping
Monterey Jack, shredded, for topping
few slices of avocado

  1. In a large pot heat the oil on medium heat and saute the onions. Add bell pepper, jalapenos (I added two or 3 thin slices...diced.), salt and pepper. Cook until the onions become translucent. Add the cumin and stir until fragrant.
  2. Add Chicken. Cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add chopped cilantro and chicken broth, tomatoes and corn.
  4. Cook for about 15 minutes (until chicken is cooked through)
  5. Add salt to taste

Pour into bowl

Crush a handful of tortilla chips on top of soup. Sprinkle cheese, dollop sour cream, squeeze lime and throw a couple slices of avocado on top (We forgot the avocado on ours! But added a spoonful of pico de gallo!)


We served ours with an amazing Steak Cobb Salad!

Asparagus Soup {FAIL}


Last night I attempted to make asparagus soup. A quick, easy and delicious asparagus soup. What I ended up with was cold lemon and thyme flavored water. It's my own fault. I didn't buy enough asparagus and then didn't adjust the amount of water in the soup. I should have adjusted it down by a third. All in all, it's my biggest KITCHEN FAIL in a long time. Not to mention that before serving this dish, we had to clean the scalding hot soup up from all over the house ! The blender exploded all over me ... think burns on my arms, pajamas that needed to be changed, hair that needed to be washed, soup in the LIVING ROOM !! and a drainer full of drying dishes that needed to be re-washed.

At least the photo turned out ok ...

Menu Plan Monday - Bonnie - 19 May 2010

Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie

Yes ... I do realize
it is Wednesday already !
I wrote this on Monday ... Things
have totally changed. I spent so much time shopping on Monday
that I didn't get the soup made. We ordered Indian.
Tonight (Wed) I'm making the soup ...
The other nights will ju
move back one !


I'm going to make cream of Asparagus Soup ...
it's a recipe Shay gave me on the phone the other day.
Supposed to be super easy and even super-er yummy !
I'll let you know !
I'm going to serve it with Romano Toast
and this Quinoa / Prawn recipe.

40 Clove Garlic Chicken
Pumpkiny Fritters

Andrea's Red Wine Stew


Lemon Thyme Fish
Roasted Cauliflower and Broc

Jamie and Jaffrey

... I recently posted this on my other blog and thought I'd share it here too ...

... some cookbooks I've recently checked out of the library ...


... this first one is Cook with Jamie ...

... Jamie Oliver ...

... you know him ? you love him ? yeah, me too ! ...


... his cookbooks are so informative ...


... so inspirational ...


... so practical ...


... so pretty ...

Photobucket colorful ...


... not to mention yummy ...


... this cookbook is a one of my favorites ...

... i have checked it out a number of times & one day will probably buy it ...

... the funny thing is, there is not ONE picture inside of it ...

... usually i don't even look at cookbooks if there are no pictures ...

... but this one ...

... read some of the recipe titles and tell me you don't get a picture in your head ...


... drool ...


... salivate ...


... a bit more drool ...


... seriously ! ...

... i love this cookbook ...


What is your all time favorite cookbook ?

Can you even choose ?

How about your favorite cookbook author ?

Is that easier ?

Cheese and Burger ~ The Boss


This is the best burger I've ever eaten in my life ...

We got the 'recipe' from The Cheese and Burger Society.

It's #15 ... The Boss.

We had to make a few modifications ...

First ... we couldn't get asiago cheese so we used romano.

BEAUTIFUL substitute !

Second ... no rosemary ciabatta rolls ... we used turkish buns.

The recipe just calls for 'beef patty' ... we made ours using this recipe ... doubled it

and made HUGE burgers. Also ... added rosemary, thyme, and basil to the burger meat mix ...

So ... all you do is cook your burger ... we did ours on the Weber ... add the cheese

for the last couple of minutes so it melts ...

Then assemble ...

I started on the bottom bun and worked my way up like this ...

black olive tapenade

arugula (rocket) leaves

sliced tomato

sliced red onion

(make sure it's thinly sliced ... ours wasn't but it will be next time !)

burger with cheese

top bun

I'll probably make the burgers a bit thinner next time ...

I couldn't finish mine ... lucky I have a growing boy to do that ...

Rory finished his but wishes he hadn't ...


--1 medium tomato, not over ripe, per each person (or as many as yoy think people will eat)
--equal amounts mayonaise and grated parmesan cheese (the kind you shake out of a can), about 1T per tomato

Cut each tomato in half (along the equator, with the north pole being the stem end) and put them on a baking sheet.

Mix the mayonaise and cheese together, it will form a thick paste. (Add a little more cheese if needed)

Spread a nice layer (at least 1/8" thick) of the mix on each tomato half, spread it clear to the edge. Use all the spread.

Put it under the broiler about 3 inches away from the element, broil till it is beautiful brown and a little bubbly. It will only take a minute, so watch them.




-6 or so peppers-as many as will fit comfortably side by side in your crock pot (I used red and green ones both)
-1 pound ground beef
-1 can diced green chilis
-12 ounces frozen corn kernels
-1 can black beans, drained
-1 can diced tomatoes
-1/4 cup salsa
-1 1/2 cups cooked rice
-1t Worcestershire sauce
-1/4t salt
-1/2t pepper
-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Remove tops of peppers and seed them.
Brown the meat and then stir in the chilis.
Reserving about 1/4 cup of the cheese, stir the rest of the filling ingredients together.
Spoon as much filling into the peppers as will fit (probably about half of it).
Put the leftover filling into the bottom of the crockpot. If desired, lay the pepper tops on top of the rice.
Place the stuffed peppers carefully in the crock pot.
Cover, cook on low 6-8 hours on low (6 was plenty) or 3-4 hours on high. Sprinkle the reserved cheese on the peppers for the last 30 minutes.

We served it with grilled tomatoes and flour tortillas on the side.

Menu Plan Monday - Bonnie - 4 May 2010

Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie

It's Tuesday here but we've just finished a three day weekend so my days are mixed up ! PLUS ... I've neither planned a menu nor shopped for this week. I'm going to try and rectify that now ... Well. the menu planning part anyway ... I don't know when I'll get to the shopping. Maybe I should just do that online this week. Yeah, I think I will. The problem will be the delivery. Tuesday through Thursday are busy busy days for us ... not much time at home ! :)

We had a bit of a disaster last night for dinner. Actually, the food we ate was good ... but there was supposed to be chicken with it. On Saturday afternoon, we put frozen chicken into the crock pot to cook 40 Clove Garlic Chicken. By dinner time, it was STILL FROZEN ! So, we decided to have Indian for dinner, and let the chicken cook for Sunday. Sunday dinner we ended up having a meatball BBQ with two of our neighbor families. Such a blast ! I made my Spanikopita Meatballs, Pumpkiny Fritters and Tsatsiki. So ... last night, after a fabulous day spent mostly in our little patio garden, we planned to finally eat the chicken ... it was still in the crock pot ... but in the fridge ! We made mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, peas and beans to go with the chicken. We ended up just eating the veg ! The chicken STILL was not cooked. I couldn't believe it !! It was pink ... and in some parts, still red. DISGUSTING ! I've never seen anything like it. We hummed and hawed, even called Rory's Mum to see what she would do, and in the end, I made the executive decision that we didn't want to mess with pink chicken ...

PS ... I'll never put frozen chicken into the crock pot again !!

Onto this week ...

I have reserved a delivery time for tomorrow morning ... that means we need to eat out of the fridge/freezer tonight. Could be interesting ...

Could be interesting.
I'll go dig through the freezer after I'm done here ...

Crock Pot Fajitas !!

Pumpkin Lentil Salad

Alia has been begging me for
Thai Chicken Soup

The cheese I ordered last week to make THE BOSS never arrived.
He said he'd try again this week ... we'll see if it arrives this week ... if not, I'll just try
it with a cheese other than asiago. Anyone know a good substitute off the top of your head ??

Chicken Tagine in a Clay Baker


Well ... there you have it ! This week's menu ... planned, ordered and to be delivered bright and early tomorrow morning ! HOORAY for internet shopping. We may have been eating eggs on toast all week if this option wasn't available to me !!

I love productive mornings ... it's now 7:26am and I'm off to start my day ...

Yogurt Without a Yogurt Maker

You will need: candy thermometer, another thermometer (meat or room) that goes up to 120 degrees F, a cooler, and a portable light such as a trouble light. Sterilize everything that will touch the yogurt or its ingredients. (I rinse all with boiling water.)


4 cups milk (I use 2%, but can use skim up to whole)

¼ cup nonfat dry milk

½ cup plain yogurt, must have active cultures (Stonyfield is great, with 6 cultures, but Dannon with 2 cultures works also.) (After your first batch, save ½ cup of the yogurt you make to use as the next starter.)

This makes 8 6 oz cups of yogurt. You can use up to a gallon of milk, increasing the yogurt used to ¾ cup. Since the yogurt comes in 6 oz cups, I just use the whole thing instead of measuring out ½ cup, and it works fine. I understand you can leave out the dry milk if using whole milk, but I wanted a lower fat yogurt so chose 2 %.

Begin by putting lit light bulb into covered cooler. You want the interior to get to 110 to 120 degrees. A 40 watt bulb worked for me with the lid of the cooler slightly ajar. You might need a 60 watt bulb in the winter. Keep the thermometer in the cooler, as you must check the temperature periodically once the yogurt is incubating.

Combine milk and nonfat dry milk. Heat this over medium heat, stirring, until candy thermometer reaches 170degrees F. Do not boil.

Cool pan of milk on counter, in fridge, or in dishpan of icewater until it is 110 degrees F. Stir milk as it cools. It will take about 20 minutes in the fridge, longer at room temp, and a shorter time in the ice water.

Once the milk is 110 degrees, put your starter yogurt in a bowl or measuring cup and add a bit of the warm milk. Whisk until smooth, then stir this back into the pan of milk. Pour mixture into sterilized glass cups or canning jars. Cover each jar and set into preheated cooler.

Let incubate 4 to 8 hours, checking temperature of cooler periodically. Close or open lid of cooler as needed to maintain 110-120 degree environment. Yogurt is done when it reaches a gel consistency. You can tip the jars to check. Longer incubation leads to thicker and more tart yogurt.

Chill at least 2 hours before enjoying. Will be good for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

Fun {with} Pancakes


I like to make mini pancakes for the kids lunches ... I put this insanely delicious fruit spread in between two of them and send 'pancake sandwiches' as a lunch box treat ... yum. I usually make myself a couple too ...

Here's how I make our pancakes these days ...

Add the following to a blender ...

1 &1/2 cups milk ... regular, skim, soy, almond, powdered ... doesn't matter. I've tried them all !
1 Tbs honey
2 Tbs olive oil
1 & 1/3 cup whole wheat flour (whole meal spelt flour is also good)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract


Pour pancake size batter blobs into a heated frying pan ... when they bubble for a bit and the edges begin to go darker than the rest of the pancake, flip it ... Cook a couple more minutes and voila ... pancakes !


Another fun thing ... as if pancake sandwiches aren't fun enough ... is to pour your batter into a big jar and head down to the beach and BBQ your pancakes there for a beautiful Saturday morning breakfast !!