Family Dinner Plan: Summer’s last gasp

The weather is confused. Instead of cooling days, leaves turning color and stews and curries on the stove, our September temperatures have been hot making way for grilling, coleslaw and dinner salads. Although, now that I am reflecting on it, September and October are usually the most pleasant months, weather wise, in the Bay Area. Better enjoy it while I can before the El Niños show up this winter!

Here is my dinner plan for the week of September 20, featuring vegetables from our Fifth Crow Farms box. We also rejoined Real Good Fish, and now have fish deliveries once a week.

Sunday: Smoked pork chops, coleslaw with cabbage, carrots and cilantro, mashed kohlrabi

Monday: Roast chicken, roasted beets and turnips, sautéed beet greens

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday

Wednesday: Rice and beef stuffed poblano peppers

Thursday: Real Good Fish of the week

Friday: Homemade pizza and trashy TV

What is on your menu plan this week?

Family Dinner Plan: Is summer really over?

Of course it isn’t. Just because the kids go back to school and there is a chill in the evening air does not mean summer is over. Tomatoes are just coming in season, for goodness sake!

Our box from Fifth Crow Farms contained cabbage, chard, apples, leeks, sage, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, salad mix, and purple peppers. Here is my menu plan for the week of August 30:

Sunday: Grilled chicken, sliced tomatoes with balsamic, sautéed chard, roasted potatoes, green salad

Monday: Crock Pot Chicken, braised carrots, green salad, sliced tomatoes

Tuesday: Czech meatballs, sautéed cabbage and onions, roasted potatoes

Wednesday: Dinner out after soccer practice

Thursday: Fish of some sort along with vegetables from our new Fifth Crow box

Friday: Trashy TV and Takeout

What is on your menu plan this week? 

Family Dinner Plan: Coaching soccer

In addition to lots of other activities, I also coach youth soccer. I have been doing this on and off for about 10 years, and each year I think I might be ready to move on and then I decide to pick up my whistle for another season. This week is our first week of practice for both my fall teams and honestly, without a weekly meal plan, I would probably lose my mind.

In our box from Fifth Crow Farms, we found parsley, red onions, romaine lettuce, cauliflower, zucchini, cantelope, shishito peppers, cucumber, cranberry beans and carrots. I stowed the cranberry beans away for colder weather and will use the rest of the box this week as follows.

Here is my menu plan for the week of August 23:

Sunday: Appetizer: Quick fried shishito peppers with sea salt; Dinner: Grilled beef kabobs, cauliflower rice, grilled zucchini

Monday: Slow Cooker Sloppy Joe’s, coleslaw, sliced tomatoes

Tuesday: Back to school event

Wednesday: Angel hair pasta with raw tomato sauce, roasted salmon, green salad

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: TGIF and last block party of the summer!

What is on your menu plan this week?

Family Dinner Plan: Vegan challenge 

The Big Guy loves to run and out of the blue has decided he is curious about vegan diets. You know me, I love a challenge, so I agreed to devote three days this week to a vegan diet. We have brought in a supply of almond milk, spiralina powder, nutritional yeast and loads of nuts, and you will see that incorporated in the menu plan below. 

To help with this challenge, I picked up a copy of But I Could Never Be Vegan, by Kristy Turner. Along with this is our weekly veggie box from Fifth Crow Farms which includes beets, cherry tomatoes, arugula, lettuce, fennel, apples, turnips, cilantro, and yellow onions.

Here is my menu plan for the week of August 16:

Monday: Mexican stuffed baked potatoes

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday – Falafel tacos with Sriracha-Tahini sauce

Wednesday: Chickpea Sloppy Joes, green salad 

Thursday: Back-to-School dinner special!

Friday: TGIF with our weekly block party and movie night

What is in your menu plan this week? Any exciting changes to your household diet?

*Octopus salad, from our recent trip to Croatia, is decidedly not vegan, but very pretty nonetheless!

Family Dinner Plan: New camera

A study of zucchini. Zucchini three ways. Reflections on zucchini.

Our box from Fifth Crow Farm contained the above mentioned zucchini and summer squash, beets, leeks, new purple potatoes, baby gem lettuce, strawberries and blackberries, lemon cucumbers, fennel, and broccoli

Here is my menu plan for the week of July 19:

Sunday: Sous vide steak, roasted potatoes, steamed broccoli, lemon cucumbers, toasted marshmallow milk shakes

Monday: Dinner out after San Francisco adventure day

Tuesday: Zucchini and rice casserole, salad with fennel

Wednesday: Dinner out

Thursday: Roasted salmon, cabbage and kohlrabi coleslaw

Friday: TGIF 

What is on your menu plan this week?

Family Dinner Plan: Summer sweetness

I don’t write nearly as much about our fruit CSA from Frog Hollow, mostly because fruit does not need as much of plan. It is pretty easy to pick up a peach or nectarine, along with a napkin to catch the juice, and go to town. Frog Hollow specializes in stone fruits (apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines) but also grows wonderful Warren pears in the fall. A year-round CSA, Frog Hollow relies on other farms during the winter to fill the boxes with citrus,  avocados, pomegranates and apples. The above photo is a sampling our of our box this week.

In our Fifth Crow Farms box, we found red butter lettuce, purple kohlrabi, sage, scallions, strawberries, carrots, Dino kale, and fennel.

Here is my menu plan for the week of July 12:

Sunday: Sous vide chicken breasts, grated carrot and kohlrabi saladkale tabbouleh salad, grilled Lebanese flat bread

Monday: Sweet and sour pork lettuce cups, Thai cashew coconut rice salad,

Tuesday: Dinner at the beach! Bringing a salad to share

Wednesday: ?

Thursday: Grilled hamburgers with all the toppings, green salad or other veggie crudité

Friday: TGIF

What is on your menu plan this week?

P.S. Follow up from last week – my menu plan was usurped last week by a Sunday dinner with loads of leftovers, which we ate on Monday night and Tuesday night. Wednesday I finally got around to what I had put on the plan, and am pleased to report that the quinoa salad with dill and radishes and grilled turnips with garlic sauce were tasty. The romanesco cauliflower did not cut into slabs nicely, so I ended up roasting the florets after tossing with ginger, cumin and turmeric. And I never got around to the grilled carrots – by the time I wanted to try the recipe, the other family members had eaten them for snacks! The message here is that the menu plan is a suggestion of what to come for the week, but don’t worry if schedules and life take a different turn!

Family Dinner Plan: Grill everything

Hope you had a delightful 4th of July weekend!

Our box from Fifth Crow Farms contained summer squash and zucchini, lettuces, spinach, romanesco cauliflower, strawberries, baby turnips, dill, Savoy cabbage, new potatoes, red onions, carrots and radishes. I feel as though I might have snagged an extra vegetable or two, there were a couple things leftover in the share box after pickup.

Here is my menu plan for the week of July 5:

Sunday: Sous Vide St Louis Ribs, easy slow cooker baked beans, coleslaw, plus whatever else our friends are bringing

Monday: Grilled turnips with garlic, chipotle lime grilled romanesco cauliflower, noodles with peanut sauce

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday

Wednesday: Grilled carrots with lemon and dill, golden quinoa salad with radish, dill and avocado, grilled chicken thighs

Thursday: Leftovers or possibly takeout

Friday: TGIF Block Party!

What is on your menu plan this week?

Easy pasta and pizza

Last week I was a guest teacher for teen cooking camp on pasta and pizza. It was almost like a summer camp for me, working with kids who like to cook and sharing my passion for food. Amy, my co-teacher, taught an easy way to make pasta, and since she makes pasta every week for her family, I consider her a bit of an expert.

Easy Pasta

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 egg

Pile the flour onto your counter top and make a well in the middle. Break in the egg and use a fork to mix together. It will be messy and it is very likely the most will break, but don’t panic, just continue mixing the flour and egg together.

Once the dough holds together, divide in half and cover one half. Take the second half to your pasta machine and run through 6 times on the 0 setting, folding in thirds after every pass. Then do one pass at each of the remaining settings, 1-9. Now your pasta is ready to cut or shape as desired!

We also made pizza using an easy dough that only needs about 45 minutes to rise. I have been messing around with make ahead and cold rising dough, but this dough would be useful on those days I don’t plan ahead.

Easy Pizza Dough

2 1/4 tsp yeast

2/3 cups warm water, divided

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 TBS olive oil

2 cups white unbleached flour

Mix yeast and 1/3 cup water. Add in sugar, salt and olive oil. Add in remaining water. Add in flour and mix until dough comes together. Dump out dough onto counter and knead for about 5 minutes, until dough is smooth.

Clean out bowl, add a little olive oil and put dough back in to rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

Our group experimented with substituting 1/2 cup of the regular flour for bread flour, 00 flour and cornflour. We had the best results with the bread flour and 00 flour.

Family Dinner Plan: Summer bounty


Our weekly CSA boxes from Fifth Crow Farms have been filled with gorgeous produce! This week we found lettuces, cabbage, rainbow chard, yellow beets, spinach, zucchini squash, parsley, basil with roots and two baskets of strawberries. In addition, I signed up to receive a chicken from Root Down Farm, which we grilled the day it arrived. 

With host weather expected this week, here is my meal plan for the week of June 28:

Sunday: Grilled steaks, sautéed Padron peppers, fresh corn, green salad with avocado

Monday: Kids cook! Chicken and rice, no veggie in sight!

Tuesday: Cold Zucchini (and spinach) and Mint Soup, Noodles with peanut sauce, beets with goat cheese, apricot clafoutis 

Wednesday: Leftovers or milkshakes, depends on how hot it is!

Thursday: Roasted salmon, pesto with fresh pasta, steamed beet greens, green salad

Friday: Out to dinner

Saturday: BBQ ribs, baked beans, coleslaw, watermelon – traditional July 4th feast

What is on your menu plan this week?


Vacation Cooking: Kids are the stars

We spent last week vacationing in Minnesota with extended family. Every other summer we meet for a week on a lake in the western part of Minnesota, spending time fishing, tubing and eating. Each night a different family takes care of dinner – on our night, we did a simple BBQ with burgers and brats, coleslaw, baked beans and of course, several desserts.

The highlight of the week is always the night the kids cook. In 2011, the kids did a great job, with chili, Pad Thai and several appetizers. 

This year the menu included mini pizza appetizers, meatballs in red sauce, artichoke dip, Peruvian stir fry, sweet potato fries and red velvet cake. 


Sous Vide Inspiration

Our veggie box from the new CSA we joined, Fifth Crow Farms. Each share came with a 1/2 dozen duck eggs. I am excited to give those a try!

No menu plan this week, I have a spring flu. Oh, just as good as the winter flu with fever, aches, pains and blahs, but then you also have the beautiful weather outside which makes it more painful to be stuck in bed. Hopefully today is the turning point.

To make up for it, here are a couple sous vide recipes I have tried lately with good success. Took the butter poached beets to a dinner party to rave reviews (so says my husband, I was in bed with the flu).

Sous Vide Salmon with our Real Good Fish salmon from last week

Sous Vide Butter-Poached Beets (we skipped the whole salad part and just crumbled goat cheese over before serving)

Sous Vide Teriyaki Chicken Breasts

Sous Vide Lamb (we did both lamb rack and lamb loin chop)

Do you have any sous vide recipes you recommend?

Family Dinner Plan: Still, the sous vide

Last week I wrote about my new sous vide machine and this week I have had a couple opportunities to play around with the device. The photo above is from dinner on Thursday night, a super easy Teriyaki Chicken Breast that took 45 minutes in the sous vide, just the amount of time I needed to put together the sides. This came about after I had lunch with Annette who told me how easy it was to use the sous vide during the week. I thought most recipes took 3+ hours, but she explained that you can cook a steak in under an hour. Revolutionary!

Here is my menu plan for the week of May 17:

Saturday: Tandoori-spiced sous vide lamb chops (rubbed lamb loin chops with Patak’s Concentrated Curry Paste before vacuum sealing and sous vide bath), Indian-inspired coleslaw (cumin and mustard seed vinaigrette over shredded cabbage and carrots), basmati rice and naan

Sunday: Sous vide short ribs, roasted potatoes, braised chard, green salad with radichio

Monday: Sous vide butternut squash, carrot and ginger soup, grilled cheese, green salad

Tuesday: ?

Wednesday: Fiesta Wednesday (not as good as Taco Tuesday, but it will have to do!)

Thursday: Real Good Fish Day!

Friday: Take out and Trashy TV!

*We are having our sous vide short ribs tonight for dinner. That recipe was a 72 hour recipe from last week’s menu, and by the time Wednesday rolled around, we had one person traveling, one person with an evening activity, and another two who need to run errands. I quick chilled the completed dish, still in the vacuum bag, and then popped into the freezer. I will reheat tonight in the sous vide and serve as planned.

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