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16 March 2012

A busy week - all the more reason to meal plan!

It is indeed a busy week, this week - as might be evidenced by the fact that this meal planning post is appearing on Friday instead of Tuesday!  Oops!

On the reckoning that it's better late than never, here's what is on the menu for this week :

Tues : Chickarone Soup with cheesy pesto dippers
Wed : Pizza Hut for hubby's birthday
Thurs : Hot dogs and potato wedges
Fri : Mango chicken with spiced pilau rice
Sat : Chicken & fennel gratin with salad
Sun : Asparagus & bacon risotto followed by Raspberry Sherry Trifle
Mon : Kibbeh meatballs in pitta bread with salad & potato wedges

Yes, you're right - the Chickarone soup was indeed on last week's meal plan.  To be honest, I forget why it got bounced to this week but we managed to have it on Tuesday evening and very nice it was too.  I've already blogged this recipe, which you can find here if you've missed it.  The cheesy pesto pitta bread dippers were especially nice and worthy of a special mention!

So manly - so "Hubby" :)
Wednesday was hubby's birthday and although I'm afraid it was a very dull and uneventful birthday (for various reasons which I won't go into here) we did manage to go out to our local Pizza Hut for dinner that night.

We were taking advantage of their Happy Hour promotion, which offers either a pizza or pasta dish, a refillable drink, countless trips to the salad bar and a side order of either potato wedges or garlic bread, for £6.  Desserts were additional to the price, but as their ice cream machine had broken down, we didn't indulge but stopped at a drive through Macdonalds and got a McFlurry on the way home!

Photo c/o Pizza Hut
I definitely think I did the best in my choice of the Four cheese Pasta with vegetables, as it was really very nice indeed and looked so much more appealing than the two pizzas that the chaps had!  I love the salad bar and was very happy with my choices of salad items, which were fresh and appetising throughout. The drinks choice (Robinson's Squash) was a let down, as it quite obviously contained Aspartame - which is something of a surprise for such a reputable "name".  The garlic bread was just that - garlic bread.  Not dripping in butter, but tasty and with a crispy crust - so nothing to complain about there.

It wasn't the most earth-shattering birthday meal we'd ever had, but it was hubby's choice and he professed to have enjoyed his pizza meal - which took him back to pizza's of yore, he said.  Maybe next year we'll be able to push the boat out a bit further, you never know.  Well, it wouldn't be difficult, especially considering that boat stayed firmly where it was this time, resisting all attempts to be pushed out in any direction at all.  *sigh*  Hey ho.

Onwards and upwards then.  Or maybe it should be "onwards and straight forwards", as there doesn't appear to be much upward movement going on at the moment.  We have that huge monkey "circumstance" sitting on our backs currently, but as we move on through that circumstance, hopefully there'll be some upward motion!

So, Thursday's chicken dish got bumped in favour of Bockwurst hot dogs.  My motivation got up and left part way through the afternoon and hubby offered to make hot dogs instead.  You must all know that I'm easily swayed by the promise of a Bockwurst, but if you include the additional lures of fried onions and Maille Dijon mustard, then I'll be snapping at the end of that hook in no time at all.

Let me tell you, that Dijon mustard is a nice thing.  Grey's Poupon Dijon mustard is a very nice thing, but Maille Dijon mustard just blows all the rest out of the water, where quality and flavour are concerned.  If you've never tried it and are a bit of a mustard hound like I am, I thoroughly recommend it to you - but in small doses, for your own protection!

I was originally planning to have a variation on a sausage roll for dinner tonight, but now the Mango Chicken has superceded that as we had bought the chicken.  Anyway, I was really looking forward to this recipe, I just ran out of enthusiasm by yesterday afternoon.  It's back today, so we're all set for some chicken breasts stuffed with mango chutney and brushed with a curried oil mixture, oven baked.  With a spiced pilau rice to accompany, it sounds like a lovely comforting dish for a Friday evening.

Saturday's Chicken & Fennel Gratin is, I believe, a Mary Cadogan recipe that I gleaned from a BBC Good Food magazine.  I don't seem to be able to find the recipe online anywhere, but if you know different, do tell me where and I'll link to it!

I liked this recipe as it is really very simple to produce, we love fennel and the gratination will add a lovely light crunchiness to the dish.  It seemed to me to be a perfect combination to eat in this betwixt & between period, as winter draws to a close yet before spring has really sprung.   I had the majority of the ingredients already in stock, just needing to get in the chicken and fennel - which amazingly, the supermarket had today!  Usually whenever I want fennel it isn't there, yet when I don't, there are dozens of the furry topped little green monsters just falling off of the shelf.  Well, two fell into my basket today, so I'm satisfied.

We're having my parents over for lunch on Sunday - being Mother's day - and hubby is going to prepare one of his legendary risotto's.  It's looking like a bacon & asparagus risotto at the moment, but as he is the one developing the recipe, it could be subject to change!  I'm going to make a beautiful old-fashioned raspberry & sherry trifle in the lovely glass bowl that hubby picked up - just for the purpose - for £1.50 in the charity shop.  I can't wait, it's been an absolute aeon since I've had a proper trifle!

I don't know about you, but whenever we are expecting either set of parents to visit, it seems to motivate a week of furious cleaning and sorting out.  As much as I have tried to resist the compunction to do this, it just gets the better of us and we find ourselves stressing over whether the windows are clean enough, or should we wash the curtains?  These days, owing to my being incapable, it's poor old hubby who gets all the jobs to do.  He's been grafting away every day this week - pretty soon, we'll be able to comb our hair in the reflections from the surfaces.  Meanwhile, I sit here typing away whilst trying not to a) get in the way and b) say anything that might imply I'm adding to his taskload!

I'm sure Sunday will be a nice day, as it will be lovely to have my parents over to us for a change.

By Monday, however, I expect hubby may very well be ready for a day off.

Monday's lamb meatball dish should add a bit of Middle Eastern interest to the day.  The mince is mixed with bulgur wheat and pine nuts (amongst other things) and the meatballs are served in a salad stuffed pitta bread, with tzatziki to moisten the whole thing.  Sounds, to me, absolutely delightful and I'm very much looking forward to it.

Now, I STILL haven't made that Dorset Apple Cake, nor the Peanut Butter - although I am harbouring peanut butter making hopes for when I finish with the blog.  You never know!

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