Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Make Ahead Madness!

Last year, our family vacation took us to Colorado. We had a condo with a full kitchen, so I brought pre-made, frozen meals with us. They stayed frozen, or mostly so, for the drive. It was so convenient to have them there! It meant that I could actually BE on vacation, without having to cook, and that we didn't spend a fortune on eating out. To that end, for this year's trip, I think I'll cook double, and freeze half of everything for our trip. You should try it! It's quite fun!

Monday: Pumpkin Waffles, fresh fruit, bacon

Tuesday: Chicken Enchiladas, mexican salad

Mexican Salad:

4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 can corn
1/2 cup salsa
1 can black or pinto beans, drained
4-5 green onions, thinly sliced

Place 1 cup lettuce on each of 4 plates. Mix remaining ingredients and divide evenly on top of lettuce. Serve cold. (By the way, I love this salad for lunch too!)

Make ahead: double the chicken enchiladas, and freeze half in a disposable pan.

Wednesday: Chili Grande, cornbread

Chili Grande

1 lb ground beef or ground turkey, or a combo thereof, uncooked
2 cans chili beans
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 envelope (1/4 C.) taco seasoning

Place all ingredients in crockpot. Stir well. Cook on low 8 hours, or on low 2 hours and on high 4 hours. Serve topped with sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions, or crumbled tortilla chips, if desired. (double the recipe and freeze half, if desired)

Thursday: Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole, spinach salad

(make ahead: make 2...freeze one in a foil cake pan)

Friday: BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches, fruit salad, baked potato chips

make ahead: double the BBQ pork; freeze in baggies

Saturday: Deep Dish Pizza

make ahead: double the pizza, bake half way, then wrap tightly and freeze.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gluten-Free: It Ain't Free

Recently, a good friend of mine discovered that one of her children suffers from a gluten intolerance. Though this is becoming more and more common, and more and more foods are being offered gluten-free, I decided to dedicate this week's menu to a "normal" week of gluten-free meals. My aim was to create a menu that not only had no gluten, but also had no specialized ingredients, those which normally would have gluten but were made special.
As we have learned, specialized foods come with higher price tags, and I wanted to see if this could be done without them. That way, not every meal or even every week has to break the bank, and those specialized foods can still be used, but just less often. Eliminating bread and pasta proved to be a greater challenge than I thought! I imagine my friend will have to work a little harder at her new meal system before it becomes old hand. But a healthy child is worth the investment and re-training required!

Monday: Omelettes, bacon and fruit

Tuesday: Enchilada Soup

Wednesday: Sloppy-joe stuffed potatoes, salad

(eliminate the buns in the recipe, and top baked potatoes with the sloppy joe mixture)

Thursday: Grilled pork tenderloin, baked sweet potatoes, steamed fresh green beans

Friday: Raspberry-Balsamic Glazed Chicken Breasts, Polenta, steamed broccoli

Saturday: Asian Turkey Cabbage Wraps, Rice with Mango-Ginger Sauce

Sunday: marinated sirloin steak, baked potatoes, steamed edamame

grill or broil the steak, then slice thinly diagonally across the grain, and serve on a platter of edamame...gorgeous!