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Weekly Menu

I can't believe August starts this week!  The Ohio State Fair started last week, which always signified the end of summer for me as a kid because the school year was just around the corner.  Now that I am older... the fair continues to be a reminder to get out to make the most out of the last moments of summer.  

We're getting ready for a family trip to the beach!  Can't wait to get away... have the sand in our toes and the ocean waves crashing in front of us.  We're looking into getting paddle boards since we tried some out while in Tampa last year.  They would be a blast in the ocean, but still fun in Ohio since you can take them on lakes and deep (hopefully slow moving) rivers.

So this week I am trying to come up with a few breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes that are light and will feed about 20 people easily.  And then a couple extras, like poptails... popsicles cocktails!  I plan on testing a couple out this week from Baker's Royale like her White Russian Pudding Pops and Mudslide on a Stick.

Parfaits will definitely be on the menu.  They are so easy and delicious!  I have made them in the mornings before work since they are so quick... just layer in some yogurt, fresh fruit, and granola... yum!

Since I mentioned mac and cheese in last week's meal plan, my husband has been requesting it every night!  I never got around to making it last week since it takes a little longer to make, so it is back in the meal plan for this week...

grilled chicken with mexican corn and mashed potatoes
creamy zucchini and rice soup
out two nights for the fair and a friends birthday!

Stuffed Tomatoes - total time 35 minutes

Nothing beats fresh tomatoes in the summer time!  There is a reason why tomatoes are the most home grown fruit or vegetable.  Some times they end up getting eaten like an apple right there in the garden while they are still warm from the summer sun.  The ones that make it inside are enjoyed fresh with some basil and mozzarella, cooked into different meals, made into sauce, or canned to unlock summer again in winter.

I read this book titled Tomatoland last summer.  You won't find it in my good reads list only because I felt it was kind of drawn out for a handful of good points, so I'll summarize those points in a few sentences.  At one time, tomatoes grew wild in Mexico, and if you search carefully, they still do.  The first hybrid tomato plant was grown down the street from where I live today (BTW, hybrids are not GMOs).  Most of the tomatoes we see in grocery stores are picked way before they are ripe; while they are still green and hard, so they are sprayed with a gas to ripen while in transit.  Tomato field workers travel to where the tomatoes are growing that week, get paid very little, and work in poor conditions.

Ice Cream Bars - total time 1.5 hours

After Lindsay at Pinch of Yum posted her Oreo Fudge Ice Cream Bars, I knew I had to make something similar because these are perfect for summer.  So I made these for my step brother's 30th birthday!  

Lindsay used and Oreo crust and made fudge sauce.  Now I'm not a big fan of Oreos... actually I don't like them at all unless their in something... and even then.  But I'm a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies!  So I used that as my base and dark chocolate ganache as my barrier between the melty ice cream and chewy cookie.

Although cookies and ice cream have really always gone together (ice cream sandwiches!)... it wasn't until I had my first BJ's Brewhouse Pizookie that I became obsessed with this combination (okay, maybe obsessed is a strong word).  So now I make my own quick pizookies at home when we have cookies and gelato on hand (which is pretty much always) by heating up the cookie for 15 seconds in the microwave.  Makes such a big difference!  (Note to self: stop making cookies and buying gelato, you can't help yourself.)

So back to these ice cream bars... sooo good!  Although you can't heat the cookie and ganache to make that warm and cold pizookie combo, this is still just as delicious.  The cookie is just a little under baked so is still tastes a little like cookie dough.  The dark chocolate provides a rich crunch.  And the ice cream is cool and creamy.  You could eat these bars by just biting into them... or... the less messy way (based on experience doing both), with a plate and fork.  

Weekly Menu

This past week has been a hot one!  I don't mind it, but I also have been inside working in air conditioning most of the week.  Speaking of which... my husband broke down and turned on our AC at home.  Guess it was too hot for him!  As soon as he left town for work I shut it off and opened the windows.  It was starting to rain, so I figured the "heat wave" was over.  It is summer, it is supposed to be hot!  I would much rather hear the birds singing and the crickets chirping than the hum of an air conditioner any day.

With the fronts came some winds... and a couple of my tomato plants snapped!  I guess that's what happens when I buy more tomato plant than I have tomato cages.  We always seem to have a couple strong wind storms during tomato season, so I should know better (and I really should have supported my favorites, purple cherokees).

This week's menu is almost entirely made up of items from Green BEAN Delivery and New Century CSA as most weeks during the summer are.  I love knowing that my produce is in season and supporting local growers and artisans.  Plus, I love having it delivered to my door and not going to the grocery store!  Harvests are really at their peak right now in Ohio, so there is really no excuse to be eating tomatoes from Mexico or watermelon from China.  If you can't find a farmers market, most grocery stores have a local section or at least signs around the local produce.  It is not only better for your local economy, the produce is actually more nutritious for you too!  Since it doesn't have to make a long trek across the county, it can be picked when it is fully ripe meaning more time to soak up the sun and photosynthesize!  :)

mini taco pies
cucumber tea sandwiches with creamy artichoke stuffed mushrooms
ginger tuna fillets with salad
mac and cheese with pulled chicken (we'll see, it might be too hot for this kind of comfort food)
salad (summer default for when it is too hot and we're too hungry to wait for something to cook)

Zucchini Recipes & Stuffed Zucchini - total time 1 hour

Right now is about that time of year when everyone is looking for zucchini recipes.  Whether your garden is full of them, you couldn't pass them up at the farmers market, or you're preparing for sneak some zucchini on your neighbor's porch day, you may be a little overwhelmed.  A couple of my friends have already been offering up their zucchinis!

I can't believe that only a 10 years ago I had never even heard of zucchini, much less ever ate it.  Which is why I try to make it a priority to try new foods and cook new things nearly every week.  It is easy to get into a routine of the same ten or so meals... but just think of all the things you might be missing out on... like me and zucchini!  

Zucchini is such a versatile vegetable.  When I first started cooking it, it was usually just a quick saute as a side dish or baked into bread.  As I try new recipes, there are many entrees that include zucchini...

A couple recipes where zucchini is the star of the entree...
zucchini enchiladas (my favorite)
stuffed squash blossoms (well, this is before the zucchini is a zucchini)
zucchini fritters
creamy squash casserole   

A couple recipes where zucchini is the supporting role...
veggie sushi rolls
beer braised sausage & veggies
vegetarian stuffed peppers
veggie jambalaya

Veggie Sushi Rolls - total time 15 minutes

I mentioned the other week that my New Years resolution this year was to eat some raw vegetables every day.  I figured that this would help me get some more vegetables on my plate too.  Some nutrients in vegetables become more powerful and nourishing when cooked (like lycopenes in tomatoes).  But there are other nutrients that start to break down, and depending on your cooking method, some of the nutrients could be leeched from the vegetables altogether.  So it is important to have a balance between cooked and raw foods.

It has been much easier than I thought!  Between salads, sandwiches, juices, and things like these veggie sushi rolls there are a lot of options.  Everything is really easy to make and always really quick since it doesn't have to be cooked.  There really isn't a recipe on how to make these sushi rolls.  You can use pretty much whatever vegetables you have on hand, just slice them and put them in some nori (or you can add some rice for a more traditional roll).  There is a little bit of technique to get it right though...

Weekly Menu

Had a great time in Chicago this past weekend!  A little bit of work and a lot of fun.  Went to a Cubs game at Wrigley field, yoga in Millennium Park, shopping on Michigan Avenue, and Taste of Chicago by the lake.  Oh... and lots of food and drinks!

It was great to kind of get away from the daily grind.  Although coming back to it this morning and realizing the work doesn't know you're on vacation was not exactly fun.  Oh well... looking forward to some home cooked meals after a few days of eating out.  So on to this week's menu...

stuffed zucchini
shrimp tacos
zucchini ricotta free form tart
salad (because it's a hot one this week)

Fried Arts on a Cake - total time 25 minutes

So the whole food truck idea has been around forever, of course.  But in recent years it has become so popular, it is kind of crazy.  The idea is great, get your food to where the people are... totally makes sense.  But "gourmet" food from a truck?  I don't know.  I mean the deep fried Oreos and corn dogs make sense from a food truck... you only need a place to coat it in batter, then dunk it in a fry tank... very little prep space needed.  But some of these menus these food trucks are offering... I certainly don't envy the cooks in those trucks.  While the food may be good (great even), and the restaurant came to me instead of me going to it... it still makes me think I'm eating fair food even when it is a healthy salad.

So there is a food truck in Columbus that seems to be everywhere... art festivals, Fourth of July shindigs, even at my work.  Good things is, this food truck has vegetarian entrees too!  They may not be the healthiest meals in the world, it's nice to have an option that is packed full of vegetables, even if they were fried first.  

Any way, we got food from this food truck is called Sweet Carrot which I mentioned in a previous post.  I had "fried arts on a cake" which was a corn fritter with fried artichokes, cole slaw, and some kind of creamy sauce on top.  It was delicious!  My husband had mach and cheese with barbecued pulled pork on top, which had a cute, funny name for Art Festival, but now I forget what it was.  So I thought I would try to remake both... just haven't gotten around to the mac and cheese... that sounds like a winter meal to me.

Weekly Menu

As a sat there eating my cheese pizza at the soccer game, I realized that I had not ate any raw vegetables today.  That was my New Years resolution this year.  I guess I stopped keeping track almost a month ago.  I know I have missed a few days since the year started and probably a few more since I stopped keeping track, but that doesn't mean I'm giving up on my resolution.  Salads, sandwiches, juicing, and veggie snacks like carrots and celery are easy ways to get raw vegetables in.  How long have you kept a resolution going?  Ever made it all year?

This week is a short week for meal planning because I will be in Chicago for work... and then for fun... for most of the week.

tuna and green bean pasta
baked ziti pie
stuffed zucchini

And then I think I have to make these ice cream cookie bars that Lindsay from Pinch of Yum made last week... looks delicious, although I have a few tweaks I want to make.  :)

Radish Slaw - total time 15 minutes

Radishes... they are such a pretty vegetable with the vibrant tones of red... but outside of slicing them up and tossing them in a salad I have never really know what to do with them.  Even when scouring Google and Pinterest it is difficult to find something that isn't a salad or just a garnish (on the bright side, now I know how to make a radish rose).

I know some people pickle their radishes (although I don't know what they do with them, since pickled radishes in a salad doesn't seem quite as appetizing), so I thought a radish slaw would be some where between a pickled radish and a salad.  I have been meaning to post my version of Sweet Carrot's Fried Arts on a Cake... this radish slaw paired with zucchini fritters is kind of a second version of that combination (minus the fried artichokes).  The buttery, cheesy flavor of the fritters paired with the tangy, peppery flavor of the slaw.  A very summery and southern combination.  My husband dug out his old bartending supplies and whipped us up some mint juleps to go with dinner.  Perfect meal to enjoy sitting outside enjoying the beautiful summer weather!

Broccolini Frittata - total time 35 minutes

Happy Independence Day!  I hope you have time for a "lazy weekend" breakfast or brunch before running off to parades and fireworks.  While this breakfast has nothing to do with anything red, white, and blue (like a strawberry and blueberry parfait), it is great to just sit down and really enjoy breakfast with the family without rushing around worrying about being late for something.

This breakfast will leave you feeling full without weighing you down.  It is savory with a touch of bacon (easily omitted to make vegetarian).  And it is really easy!  I love frittatas for feeding multiple people in the mornings.  It is like cooking individual omlettes for everyone in one pan all at once.  I also like frittatas for dinner because cold cereal for breakfast every morning really just doesn't do it for me and some times the only time you can get a real breakfast in is when the sun is going down.


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