Tuesday, December 15, 2009

menu planning monday: the notebook

Do you have a folder, calendar, or notepad where you keep your Menu Plans? I have kept my weekly menus in this small notebook in my kitchen for almost a year. I also jot down new recipes and "review" notes about the meals in the same notebook. It became a nice habit for me to pull out the notebook when I was making my grocery list.
Some time in October, though, I put the notebook up in the cabinet in a cleaning spree. Since then, I have been planning my menus on the back of my grocery lists.
Bad idea.
Because once the shopping is done and everything is crossed off of my list, I was in the other habit of tossing the list in the recycle bin.
So while I had my menu all planned out, it was long gone by the time dinnertime Monday rolled around, leaving me frustrated and flustered. I knew I had all the ingredients but what was I supposed to be making??!  This happened to me week after week, and I would scold myself for not getting back to the notebook.
It happened again this week. So I'm going by memory, which is not 100% reliable. And I promise from now on I'll write my menu plans in the notebook.

monday: French Onion Soup (Kraft recipe)
tuesday: King Ranch Chicken
wednesday: Topsy Turvey Taco Bake
thursday: family night, no cooking
friday: Max's Famous Meatloaf

King Ranch Chicken
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup

1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 cups chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
1 package corn tortillas (or flour)
3 cups cooked, diced chicken breast meat
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Preheat oven to 350. Combine the chicken soup, mushroom soup, broth and tomatoes with chiles. Set aside. Lightly grease a shallow 3 quart casserole dish. Layer 1/2 the tortillas, 1/2 the chicken, 1/2 the onion, 1/2 the bell pepper and 1/2 the cheese in the casserole dish. Pour 1/2 of the soup mixture over the layers. Repeat the layers of tortillas, chicken, onion and bell pepper; pour the remaining soup mixture over the top, then top with the remaining cheese. Sprinkle with chili powder and garlic salt and bake for 30 to 45 minutes.
Topsy Turvy Taco Bake

1 ½ lbs. ground beef (raw)
1 egg
1 T. instant onion (just the dried minced stuff)
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 pkg (1.25 oz.) taco seasoning
1 pkg (8.5 oz.) cornmeal muffin mix (I used a jiffy mix)
Dressings: chopped tomatoes, avocado, shredded lettuce, green onions, cheese, black olives, salsa, and sour cream (whatever you like on your taco)

Combine beef, egg, onion, tomato sauce and taco seasoning. Spread in even layer in bottom of 10-in baking dish (I used an 11x8 dish). Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Prepare cornmeal muffin mix according to package directions. Spread over top of beef. Continue baking at 400 degrees for 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let sit on counter for 10 minutes. Turn upside down on serving plate and top with tomatoes, avocado, black olives and cheese; dollop sour cream on individual servings.
Max's Famous Meatloaf

1 egg
1 lg onion
1 lg bell pepper chopped (i don't use)
1/2 c. milk
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic chopped fine
2 slices brown bread cut in small pieces
cayenne pepper to taste (i don't use)
1 lb ground beef or turkey *don't forget the meat!*
mix all ingredients and then prepare sauce. pour half the sauce into the meat loaf and mix well. put meat mixture into loaf pan and pour remaining sauce on top. bake 1 hour at 350degsF.

1 4oz can tomato sauce
2 T brown sugar
1 T vinegar
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
stir well and simmer 5 minutes.

I owe my inspiration and encouragement to Menu Plan to OrgJunkie.com, where Menu Planning Monday is celebrated every week.