Sunday, January 29, 2012

Week 42: Easy Week. . .

Well, my sweet hubby is out of town for 9 days.  Although we are already missing him dearly, the kids and I are a little excited about the possibility of using dairy items, potatoes, legumes, grains and maybe even a little sugar in our dinner menu plans this week.  I feel like I'm rebelling just a bit, but I'll be happy to return to Paleo eating in a week and a half.  Annabelle's favorite meal is beef stroganoff, so that's definitely going to be on the menu and we may have to have a pizza night as well!

We were eating dinner tonight and I just had to take a picture of my 8-year-old, Annabelle, eating Thai Basil Shrimp.  She eats it the way her daddy does (no rice, but lettuce wraps).  She really doesn't care for the cabbage and red peppers unless she eats them with the shrimp in a lettuce wrap.  Amazing!  I would never have tried that with my kids, but they all love it!

Weekly Menu #42

Sunday - Thai basil shrimp (I know we just had this on the menu, but we are eating it again!)
Monday - Over to a friends' house (I'm only responsible for dessert)  :)
Tuesday - Beef Stroganoff, steamed green beans, egg noodles
Wednesday - Out to dinner
Thursday - Baked salmon, roasted cauliflower, baked sweet potato fries
Friday - Barbecue meatloaf, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots
Saturday - Out to diner                                                                                           

Have a great week, everyone!  I'd love to see some of your menus!  Don't be shy!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Week 41

Sometimes I wish that someone else could plan my weekly menu.  I can only imagine that everyone feels this way sometimes.  I haven't felt well this weekend, so I just have no desire to put a menu together.  However, thanks to this blog, I feel pulled to post my menu as I lay here on my sofa.  I'm very grateful that this blog holds me accountable to myself and can only hope that it helps you in some way each week.
Playdoh cupcakes designed by Annabelle and Autumn!

I would love to see what you all are eating this week!  The operative word there is 'eating.'  You see, it doesn't matter if you are cooking the meal, making mac-n-cheese from a box, or going out to eat, I just think it would be fun for all of us to share ideas!  Share away!

Now here is the menu for this coming week:

Week 41 Menu

Sunday - Burgers, baked potatoes & sweet potatoes, seared asparagus
Monday - Thai basil shrimp with cabbage and red peppers, white rice
Tuesday - Grilled salmon, roasted cauliflower, leftover white rice
Wednesday - Chicken tacos, black beans, yellow rice, cabbage slaw
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Spaghetti with meatballs, zucchini pasta, roasted carrots
Saturday - Out to dinner

Have a great week everyone!


Chuck Roast Chili

Well, we've been searching for a recipe to meet the Paleo needs of my hubby and I found one on Bon Appetite that seemed to be perfect.  I hesitate to call it a chili, but it's more like a southwestern beef stew in my mind.  We were both so excited by the taste of this meal. . . it was full of super-tender meat, perfectly flavored butternut squash and all swimming in a sauce of savory chilies!

Texas Chuck Roast Chili, adapted from Bon Appetite (printable version)


6 large dried ancho chiles (or whatever you have on hand like new mexico, guajillo, etc)* (about 3 ounces), stemmed, seeded, coarsely torn
6 ounces bacon, diced
1 1/4 pounds onions, chopped (about 4 cups)
1 4-pound chuck roast, cut into 2 1/2- to 3-inch cubes
Coarse kosher salt
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 1/2 10-ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles (1 3/4 cups)
1 1/2 cup beef broth
1 7-ounce can diced roasted green chiles
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro stems
4 cups 1 1/2- to 2-inch chunks seeded peeled butternut squash (from 3 1/2-pound squash)


Place chiles in medium bowl. Pour enough boiling water over to cover. Soak until chiles soften, at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sauté bacon in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat until beginning to brown. Add onions. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle beef all over with coarse salt and pepper. Add to pot; stir to coat. Set aside.

Drain chiles, reserving soaking liquid. Place chiles in blender. Add 1 cup soaking liquid, garlic, chili powder, cumin seeds, oregano, coriander, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt; blend to puree, adding more soaking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if very thick. Pour puree over roast in pot. Add tomatoes with juices, broth, green chiles, and cilantro stems. Stir to coat evenly.

Bring chili to simmer. Cover and place in oven. Cook 2 hours. Uncover and cook until beef is almost tender, about 1 hour. Add squash; stir to coat. Roast uncovered until beef and squash are tender, adding more soaking liquid if needed to keep meat covered, about 45 minutes longer. Season chili to taste with salt and pepper. Tilt pot and spoon off any fat from surface of sauce. 
DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cool 1 hour. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Week 40: Chili Week

Relaxation. . . That's the spirit of this week.  My friend, Anne, and I got to escape this weekend and enjoy a mom's retreat up in Rome, GA!  We had such a wonderful time connecting with other moms, learning great tips and eating food that we did not prepare!  You know I love to cook, but I also LOVE to eat delicious food that I don't have to cook and clean!  I ate dessert with both lunch and dinner!  That makes for a perfect weekend in my book!  :)

This is the Winshape Retreat in Rome, GA!  
We're trying to find a good chili that's Paleo-friendly.  There's tons of recipes on Paleo recipe sites, but we haven't been impressed with the ingredient lists, so we're going to try a bean-free chili.  We tried our existing chili recipe on Sunday night, but it just didn't taste quite right.  In addition to taking away the beans, we also used ground turkey instead of ground beef.  So, we'll be trying another non-bean recipe later in the week and we'll let you know if it's any good!

On the Menu. . .

Sunday - Chili (w/no beans for Paleo diet), salad
Monday - Seared mahi-mahi with tropical salsa, green beans, yellow rice
TuesdayChicken Roman Style, roasted cauliflower, roasted sweet potatoes and potatoes
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Roasted Salmon with mixed veggies (I use pre-marinated salmon from Costco with a Normandy mix of frozen veggies, defrost it all and throw it together on a cookie sheet at 400 F for 15-20 minutes)
Friday - Texas beef chili, broccoli, mixed green salad
Saturday - Hopefully more leftovers. . .

Post your menus, everyone!  It's ok if you are eating pizza or hot dogs too!

Happy cooking!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Week 39: Paleo, Paleo, Paleo. . .

As I've mentioned before, we are following a Paleo diet very strictly over the next 5 weeks while my hubby is in this Cross-Fit challenge.  I typically focus my dinners on Paleo cooking, but I'm trying to resist baking and using any items that are completely 'unfit' for his diet.  Of course, he bought me a Kitchenaid mixer for Christmas and now decides to go on this challenge.  I hate that my mixer is just sitting there, not being used, but it will have to wait a few more weeks. . .

Although I may be frustrated about not baking, I am thrilled with this challenge my man is working on! Cross-Fit has been amazing for him and he's in the best shape of his life!  There are no complaints from me!  :)

So, I've been scouring the internet for any more Paleo ideas and found a few great blogs that I thought I'd share with you! My favorite thus far is 'The Paleo Mom.'  She has some cookies and granola bars that I'm anxious to try when the challenge is over!

Onto the menu for this week. . .

Weekly Menu 39:

Sunday - Beef with soy sauce & ginger, roasted cauliflower, leftover cabbage slaw, white rice
Monday - Herb rubbed sirloin tip pork roast with roasted mixed veggies
Tuesday - Angel hair pasta with red meat sauce, zucchini noodles, broccoli
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Grilled salmon fillets, wild rice, steamed green beans
Friday - Out to eat
Saturday - Breakfast for Dinner (TBD)

Have an amazing week!  Happy meal planning!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Week 38: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone!

Welcome to 2012!  I can imagine that it's been a busy holiday season for all of you!  I hope that you were able to relax a bit and enjoy this special time with friends and family.  We had a wonderful Christmas!  We had my BIL, SIL and FIL in town the week before Christmas and then we took off to Orlando with my oldest BIL for the week after Christmas!  I turned 35 just 2 days before Christmas as well!  It was non-stop around here, but I loved every minute of it!

However much I love my house full of people, non-stop action and tons of love, I also cherish the quiet days after the guests have left.  The kids are playing quietly in their playroom while I catch up on the computer today and it's a blissfully sweet sound.

As you can see, Zach is just as excited as I am to use our new mixer!

I received a wonderful gift from my hubby this year, so I can't wait to start using it!  He got me my Kitchen Aid mixer that I've been eying for quite a few years!  I kept using excuses about why I didn't need one, but he fortunately saw through all of that this year and bought me a beautiful shiny red toy! 

I'm not much for New Year's resolutions, but Alain is doing a 5-week challenge at his Cross-Fit gym that measures body fat loss and muscle gain (I think).  So, he is very committed to eating healthy (that means a totally Paleo diet from here on out) for the next 5 weeks and I'm going to keep dinner no-carb, no legumes, no milk for him.  You'll still see black beans on my menu and you'll see rice a few times a week because the kids will continue to eat their carbs and beans.  But I'll be leaving milk off all of my menu items for dinner due to Alain's milk allergy.

Menu Week 38:

Sunday - Angel hair pasta with meat sauce, zucchini noodles, steamed broccoli
Monday - Mexican beef in the crock pot, yellow rice, black beans, seared zucchini
Tuesday - Baked chicken, roasted asparagus
Wednesday - Seared salmon fillets, roasted cauliflower and carrots
Thursday - Chicken with balsamic reduction, roasted white & sweet potatoes, steamed green beans
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday -  Out to eat

Happy cooking to all of you!  Now, I can't wait to see your menus!