29 June 2011

Can we at least TRY to keep to the menu plan, this week? 28 June - 4 July 11

Well, I suppose we can TRY - but it's highly unlikely we'll make it to the end of the week without going off-piste somewhere along the line!  That is, if current progress is anything to go by.

The Shepherd's Pie has been bumped from last week to this coming week, but at least we did manage to make the Prawn & Pea Risotto - which was gorgeous.  I have to admit that I ate far too much of it, but then it was really nice and it wouldn't have kept.  Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I also didn't get around to making the Gooseberry & Almond Cake, as hubby beat me to it with a boiled fruit cake and I figured that one cake in the family was probably enough.  He's working on getting back into baking and went for the fruit cake as being the thing he's been most successful with in the past.  Although, having said that, he did make a cracking loaf of bread, shortly afterwards.  I don't think he's going to have much problem picking up the threads where he left off, somehow!

So, here's how this coming week is planned to shape up :

Tuesday : Pizza
Wednesday : Baked Gnocchi with spinach, tomato & mascarpone
accompanied by a side salad
Thursday : Shepherd's Pie with carrot, swede & broad beans
Friday : Creamy ham & mushroom pasta bake
Saturday : Chicken Caesar Salad with crunchy croutons
Sunday : Pasta "Rick Stein" (can't remember the name) plus a side salad
Monday : Sausage, bacon, egg, mushroom & baked beans.

Okay, I admit it.  Tuesday's dinner is (was) a large cop-out.  Frozen pizza - chuck it in the oven and that's it.  Dinner's on the table with the minimum of washing up.  I have to admit, also, that I was looking forward to mine - a Pineapple & Ham pizza.  Haven't had one of those for ages and it was really nice, too.

So I'm back onto the cooking horse today (Wednesday) with the Baked Gnocchi dish from Jo Romero's Comfort Bites blog.  Oh, and no - I won't be making the Gnocchi from scratch.  LOL  After our last disaster with that, I think I'll make some for a lunchtime before I commit myself to a main course dinner dish!  For all that it contains a lot of cheese, I'm quite looking forward to a meal that doesn't contain meat for once!  I can't say that Son & heir joins me in my enthusiasm, but I know for sure that he'll love the gnocchi once it's in front of him.

Thursday brings about the return of the Shepherd's Pie from last week.  Hubby has decided to serve it with carrot, swede and some fresh broad beans - which he says he might even double de-pod (is that an expression?).  It did occur to me that at £1.40-something for a bagful of the beans in their pods, if you then pod them again, you'll be throwing away far more than you're ever eating.  Which makes me wonder why we didn't buy frozen - but there you are!  Chalk this one down to living and learning.

I've had a resistance to creamy sauces just recently, which seems to have abated as I've included three dishes on this menu plan that involve a creamy sauce of one sort or another.  Funny how these things go, isn't it?  Friday's dinner of creamy ham & mushroom pasta bake certainly couldn't get a lot creamier, hammier or cheesier (just making up words as I go along, now!).  Son & heir will have to pick the mushrooms out of his portion, but it's a small price to pay for the rest of the recipe - which I know he likes.

Saturday's Chicken Caesar Salad isn't going to be greeted with much enthusiasm from Son & heir, that's for sure.  Not only is it full of lettuce (*gasp*), but it also contains the dreaded Parmesan cheese (*horror*).  Still, it's a trade-off to get his paws onto the lovely chicken and his favourite, crunchy garlicky croutons.  Hubby and I love a good Caesar Salad and I'm hoping that this proves to be a good one, as I'm making the dressing from scratch instead of relying on a pre-made dressing.  We do love anchovies, but keeping your fingers crossed for me can only help!

Now, what about this "Pasta Rick Stein", then?  Well, you see, I saw the lovely Mr Stein making this in one of his "Mediterranean Journeys" t.v. shows a couple of weeks ago and it looked so easy and so nice, that I immediately thought "that'll do for me!" and resolved to make it.  However, such is the incapacity of my brain to remember small details, that I have completely forgotten what he called it.  If I describe it to you here, perhaps those of you who also saw the programme might have a better memory than I and be able to tell me the name of it!

[As an aside, I'd just like you to imagine a lot of bleeps while I swear like a navvy at the frustration engendered by owning my brain.  Three or four years ago, my brain melted.  That is to say, I went to sleep and didn't wake up the next morning.  I was still alive (no, really? lol) but in coma.  I was rushed to hospital where they put me further into coma and then woke me up, which fortunately for me - worked.  However, since then my memory has been random at best.  For three weeks, I have been trying to remember the name of that dish - and having typed the above, it comes back to me.  Pasticcio. I could honestly bang my head on the desk, right now.  Yes, it's good that I remembered it - but why couldn't I remember it all those weeks ago, when I first started trying to?]

Deep sigh - and carry on.

Okay, so it's a ragu made with lamb or beef mince, in this case it'll be beef, layered with what is basically a macaroni cheese mixture.  If you imagine a cross between Lasagne, Macaroni Cheese and Spaghetti Bolognese, you've probably got the idea.  Anyway, it sounded - and looked - really lovely and perfect for a Sunday.  I'll serve it with a side salad of lettuce, tomatoes, olives and roasted red peppers, so we'll be going a bit Greek on Sunday!

All of which leaves us with Monday to deal with, where I've planned to have a good English breakfast - except for dinner.  I just know that Son & heir and hubby will enjoy the meat fest that a full english breakfast can be and, so long as the majority of it is grilled, I think I'll get away with it too.  We don't have this kind of thing very often, so it's a treat.

Well, goodness only knows whether we'll have any of that on the day's we're supposed to - but I'm liking the look of the plan so far!


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