Thursday, September 16, 2010

Make it or Fake It

I try to make a lot of what we eat from scratch. I know it's kind of out of fashion, but hey, that's me. I think making it's less expensive, and I think it's healthier without a lot of the chemicals, artificially-produced ingredients, preservatives, and so many more unknowns in our food. I also enjoy cooking. I enjoy my breaks from cooking too, don't get me wrong, but for the most part it satisfies the creative side to me when I can take a bunch of stuff, throw it together, and present a beautiful, healthy, tasty meal to my family. I also believe that it is my "job" to make the meals. I am fortunate to stay at home and not have to work (that is, I work, but I don't have a formal job and no real salary). To make up for this lack of income, I feel it is my job to take care of the things that two income households might hire out. I do the laundry, the cleaning, the childcare and I do the cooking instead of us eating out, usually. The more I save, the more I increase my imaginary salary! But, like I said, that's me. The reality is that most people don't like to cook. This week's menu gives you both options: make it or fake it. It's up to you.

Make it: Grilled Whole Chicken, roasted vegetables, homemade dinner rolls
Fake it: Rotisserie Chicken, steam-in-the-bag vegetables, brown-and-serve dinner rolls

To grill a whole chicken, rinse and pat dry the chicken. Coat a foil roasting pan with cooking spray. Place chicken in foil pan, and dust with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Place in preheated grill over indirect medium heat (uncovered) for about 15 min per pound. No basting, no turning, no nothing. Your chicken will come out golden brown and crusty-skinned, with juicy tender meat inside.

For the roasted vegetables, choose several different veggies. We like fingerling potatoes, baby carrots, yellow onions, acorn squash, and sweet potatoes. Wash and prepare the veggies, then place in single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Roast at 400 for about 45 min or until tender.

Make It: Carolina Blond BBQ Sandwiches , baked beans,
Fake It: Lloyd's BBQ Sandwiches, baked beans, deli cole slaw
My grandmother made superb baked beans, homemade, from scratch. This is one recipe I have yet to attempt! Even we will be eating canned baked beans. If you're faking it, look for Lloyd's BBQ in a tub in your grocer's refrigerator.

Make It: Spaghetti, salad, french bread
Fake It: out to eat, Italian!

*note: make extra sauce for Saturday's pizza

Make It: Pasta Jambalaya
Fake It: Zataran's Jambalaya (with added meat if desired)

Make It: Tacos
Fake It: Tacos made from a tub of El Paso ready to serve Taco Meat

Make It: Maryland Crabcakes, home fries, steamed edamame
Fake It: Frozen Crabcakes, Ore Rida Fries, steam-in-the-bag edamame

*note, if you're making it, make double the crabcakes, as they freeze beautifully and doubling makes better use of . They also make great crabcake sandwiches for a future lunch or dinner! Try them with chili sauce (next to the ketchup) or Creamy Caper-Dill Sauce.

Make It: Homemade Deep Dish Pizza, salad
Fake It: Frozen Pizza

Shopping List (for Make It):
2 lbs lump crab meat or artificial crab meat flakes or 1 lb each
1 lb ground beef
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
taco shells and/or tortillas
shredded lettuce
mozzarella cheese
pepperoni (or your choice pizza toppings)
1 chicken
fingerling potatoes
sweet potatoes
1 acorn squash
3 yellow onions
1 bag baby carrots
coleslaw dressing
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
baked beans
red bell pepper
1 can black beans
1 can rotel
turkey keilbasa
whole wheat penne pasta
mexican blend shredded cheese
green onions
1 loaf of bread (from which to make breadcrumbs)
1 lemon (optional)

Monday, September 13, 2010


Things are changing in the life of Dinner Diva. Temperatures are cooling down, gracing my morning runs with a blessed breeze that leaves me feeling invigorated rather than beat down at the end of my miles. School has started, and with it a full schedule of inked-up calendars and post-it reminders. And DH and I are making some life changes that mean my time in the kitchen is limited...for now. Quick fix dinners are the theme this week: enjoy!

Sunday: Flat Tire Burgers in Edmond (I don't even want to think about how many miles I'll have to run to burn off my awesome juicy burger and crispy onion rings!)

Monday: Shrimp Stir Fry, Steamed White Rice, Egg Rolls

Tuesday: Grilled Salmon Steaks, Steamed Broccoli, Brown Rice Pilaf

Wednesday: Grilled Steaks, Roasted Green Beans, Breadsticks

Thursday: Fresh Tomato, Sausage, and Pecorino Pasta, salad

Friday: Garden Vegetable Crustless Quiche, fresh fruit

Saturday: Pizza Night

Something new, a grocery list! I'll try to include a shopping list each week...your comments are welcome!

egg beaters (1 1/2 cups)
1 16 oz carton cottage cheese
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar (reduced fat)
6 oz shredded monterey jack cheese (reduced fat)
pecorino cheese
1 11 oz can refrigerated breadstick dough, such as pillsbury

simply potatoes potatoes and onion
4 small zucchini
1 green bell pepper
8 oz presliced fresh mushrooms
parsley (fresh)
tomatoes (2.25 lbs)
1 onion
fresh basil
2 lbs fresh green beans
freash broccoli, 2 lbs

penne pasta
1 box brown rice pilaf

8 oz italian sausage or turkey italian sausage
rib eye or new york strip steaks

pickled jalepenos
kalamata olives

frozen egg rolls
frozen tuna steaks
frozen shrimp, 1 lb
frozen pizza