Monthly Archives: November 2013

Menu – November 23 – December 1

Thanksgiving. . .

I was tempted to publish a menu with an amazing Thanksgiving feast, but the truth is that I enjoy traveling to South Alabama and letting someone else cook for a few days. And as I sit here stuffed with turkey and sweet-potato soufflé, avoiding the ridiculous Black Friday crowds, I can’t help but think about the burgers and fries we’ll eat Sunday evening when we return home to Atlanta. No fuss, easy cleanup, no prep.

I took a week off from cooking, and I have to admit we even chowed down on Amy’s bean and rice burritos Wednesday night. We don’t do it often, but sometimes even the most die-hard cooks want a break.

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Barley and oat waffles with apple pecan topping

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These waffles are a world apart from your typical white flour and cream concoctions. They have no wheat, eggs, milk, or soy, but they do have a good balance of protein and fiber. Adapted from an Arrowhead Mills recipe, this recipe works best with waffles and should be altered to make pancakes*.

Ingredients:

1 cup barley flour
1 cup oat flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp. honey (or sugar, if necessary)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups milk substitute
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Topping:

2 Apples
1/4-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1-3 Tbsp. brown sugar
Handful of pecans
Margarine

1. Place pecan halves or pieces in a small frying pan with a little margarine. Brown these on low heat, stirring frequently. Be careful; they will burn easily.
2. Mix all the waffle ingredients together in a large bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes.
3. While batter is resting, peel and slice apples.
4. Put apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and fill up bowl halfway with water. (May cook on stovetop, if desired.)
5. Microwave apples until they are tender and the sugar water is syrupy, stirring frequently.
6. Meanwhile, cook waffles in a lightly oiled waffle iron.
7. Cook waffles until no more steam escapes from the waffle iron.
8. When everything is done, serve waffles topped with cooked apples and pecans. Add a little maple syrup if desired.

*For pancakes, increase milk substitute to 2 cups.

Easy Sweet Potatoes with Cranberries

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Root vegetables helped our ancestors survive harsh winters for millennia, so it only makes sense that I stock my pantry with sweet potatoes this time of year. Twenty pounds next to the paper towels and cat food on the bottom shelf, waiting to be baked and eaten.

But if you’re like me, waiting an hour or more for sweet potatoes to bake in the oven just isn’t always an option. When I need dinner in a hurry, I make this quick-cooking version of a family favorite.

Ingredients:

2 or 3 largish sweet potatoes
1/2 cup dried cranberries or Craisins
3 Tbsp. margarine
Milk or milk substitute
Brown sugar
Cinnamon (optional)
Nutmeg (optional)

1. Peel sweet potatoes and chop into roughly 1-inch chunks.
2. Place sweet potatoes and cranberries is a small pot of water.
3. Boil until sweet potatoes can be easily mashed with a fork. Drain.
4. Add margarine and drained sweet potatoes back into pot and mash well.
5. Add a bit of milk and stir, repeating until you reach desired consistency.
6. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste. Mix well.

Turnip Green Soup

So. . . turnips. When I first purchased a CSA share, I learned that I like turnips. As a child, my few encounters involved some kind of canned monstrosity that masqueraded as turnip greens. In my mind, turnips were just as appetizing as pond scum (just as green, just as slimy). They were outright gross. The CSA share changed that. When I found myself the owner of pounds and pounds of turnips each week, I knew I had to learn how to cook them. . . and fast!

So the experiments began. I added the root to mashed potatoes with garlic. I tried baking sliced turnips with beets and other root vegetables with just a little olive oil and salt (not so great). I cooked turnip and potato patties, which were pretty tasty with ketchup. But the greens still gave me pause. This turnip green soup recipe changed my mind about eating greens. And while my entire family was skeptical at first, it’s now a favorite. Follow the link above, or try my much better, fresher version.

Note: The bitterness of turnip greens is still somewhat unpalatable to my sons, so I tone that down a bit with steps 1 and 2 below. However, this removes some of the calcium (the cause of the bitterness) from the greens.

Ingredients:

A big bunch of turnip greens
1/2 lb. soaked and cooked black-eyed peas (or two cans)
1/2 – 1 onion
2 potatoes, diced
1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced or diced
1 Tbsp. hot sauce
6 cups chicken stock
Olive oil

1. Wash and de-stem enough fresh turnip greens to fill a stock pot. Cover with water and boil for a few minutes.

2. Pour the contents of the stock pot through a strainer and set greens aside.

3. Sauté onions and sausage in a little olive oil.

4. Add diced potatoes and continue cooking until they get a little color on them.

5. Add remaining ingredients.

6. Let simmer (or cook at a rapid boil, if you’re short on time) until potatoes are done.

Menu – November 10-22

At long last, I’m sharing my menus. Each week, usually on a Saturday, I sit down and plan out the week’s meals, write my grocery list, and head to the market. This particular week, I have family in town for my older son’s birthday, so my menu takes into account that I won’t have time to go to the market over the weekend. This menu is therefore for two weeks.

As you can see, I plan breakfast and supper each day. Lunch usually consists of leftovers cobbled together from the fridge. As you’ll also see, my family has a strange love affair with breakfast meats (always uncured and nitrate free), or really just meat in general. So here we go. . .

Saturday
Supper – mushroom, bacon, and swiss burgers with peppers and onions; creamy potato and leek soup (minus the cheese); sautéed green beans; salad

Sunday
Breakfast – Blueberry muffins and bacon
Supper – Chicken, rice, broccoli, and mushroom casserole; butternut squash with apples; salad

Monday
Breakfast – hashbrowns and patty sausage
Supper – chicken tortilla soup; chips with salsa and guacamole

Tuesday
Breakfast – Daiya cheese grits, eggs (for those who can eat them) or hashbrowns, sausage
Supper – Baked potatoes with sausage, mushrooms, onions, and peppers; black-eyed peas; baked butternut squash slices

Wednesday
Breakfast – blueberry pancakes and bacon
Supper – turnip green soup and cornbread

Thursday
Breakfast – oatmeal with fruit and nuts
Supper – pork medallions; stewed and spiced apples; baked sweet potatoes

Friday
Breakfast – Banana, egg, and peanut butter pancakes (for those who can eat them) or leftover oatmeal (for those who can’t)
Supper – chicken with gravy; rice; peas and carrots; cranberry relish

Saturday
Breakfast – breakfast home fries with peppers and onions; bacon on the side
Supper – Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad

Sunday
Breakfast – pancakes, sausage, eggs, grits
Supper – pork loin chops, roasted acorn squash, cabbage, pear pie (crisp)

Monday
Breakfast – hashbrowns and bacon
Supper – black bean soup with sausage, cornbread, salad

Tuesday
Breakfast – oatmeal with fruit and nuts; leftover home fries with peppers and onions
Supper – chicken pasta with veggies, green beans, salad

Wednesday
Breakfast – Daiya cheese grits with crumbled sausage
Supper – clear out leftovers – chopped BBQ pork sandwiches, cabbage, roasted acorn squash

Thursday
Breakfast – waffles with mixed berry topping
Supper – pork and butternut squash stew, rice, cornbread

Friday
Breakfast – oatmeal with strawberries and coconut cream
Supper – vegetable stir fry with leftover rice

Saturday
Breakfast – peanut butter and jelly pancakes

A few things to note:

  • I will purchase a large pork loin (four pounds or more) to use throughout the week.
  • A large butternut squash will contribute to three separate meals.
  • A one-pound bag of black-eyed peas will contribute to two meals.
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