Dinner Menu Fail!

Oh no...someone forgot that her birthday was on Sunday. Yes, I forgot about my own birthday when I was creating last weeks menu.


The brown rice supper was amazingly delicious for how simple it was. The tofu was perfectly golden brown and crispy, the carrots were sweet and zippy, the brown rice was delightfully nutty, and the roasted peanut sauce was spicy and tied everything together.

Brown Rice: about $.50
Carrots: about $.50
Ginger: about $.50
Scallions: about $.25
Tofu: $2.50
Peanuts: about $.75
Other Ingredients: about $1
Total: $6


Mac & cheese with spicy broccoli is always tasty and oh so simple. Unfortunately, I underestimated the amount of macaroni one box made. The broccoli made the meal substantial enough.

Annie's Classic Mac: $.99
Broccoli: about $1.50
Other Ingredients: about $.50
Total: $2.99


I had planned for rice and black beans with chorizo, but Vaughn and I agreed that we should prepare the fish first before it got too funky. I prepared the oven-roasted sesame salmon with soba noodles and broccoli slaw. Broccoli two nights in a row? Who cares - it's tasty! I couldn't find miso at my co-op and didn't feel like running around to find it, so instead I made a teriyaki-soy glaze. A friend told me about South River Miso, a wonderful mail-order miso company that gets creative with their products. Also, a great thing about my co-op is that they have a great selection of bulk items, including sesame seeds which cost half as much as the seeds that come packaged. Anywho...

Salmon: $8.50
Sesame: about $.50
Soba Noodles: about $2
Broccoli: about $2
Other Ingredients about $1
Total: $14

Sure, this meal was more expensive than the others, but you dont want to get cheapo salmon. It was still only $7 per person!

Now here is where the week gets a little (a lot) more relaxed with the guidelines...


We just didn't want to cook, and how could we resist a great Friday fish fry during lent? We went to Cafe Centraal for their beer batter, potato chip crusted Alaskan cod, delicious fries, tasty beer, and the best coleslaw I've had in a while. I'm not going to tell you the total. Let's just say it's part of my birthday gift. :)


We went to Honey Pie as another birthday gift of food. Vaughn had The Davenport: turkey, mustard-laced cranberry sauce, horseradish mashed potatoes, tomatoes, onions, bacon, served over rye bread and covered in Gruyere cheese sauce. I had Fancy Mac: macaroni made with cheddar, mustard, and Gruyere cheese sauce topped with bread crumbs and bacon. So good. Honey Pie does a phenomenal job at putting twists on diner food. We were also amazed by how well they prepare their dishes. Food that sounds like it would be heavy and greasy is surprisingly quite the opposite. Again, not going to tell how much.


Birthday! Yay! We visited Vaughn's parents near Chicago and his mom made a delicious meal of plank baked whitefish, red quinoa, spicy garlicky broccoli, and flourless chocolate cake. Sue was eager to show off her brand new appliances - the new range features burners that you don't have to light with a match, a left front burner that doesn't meander, and an oven that bakes. She also has a new microwave/convection thing that I think is magic because I have no clue how it works. Microwave popcorn one minute and bake something in a metal pan the next...yeah...that's magic. This dinner cost us a half tank of gas.

Monday (last night):

Leftover night! Vaughn was sick and I was exhausted from a frustrating day at work so we raided the fridge of all its culinary bric-a-brac. Vaughn made Irish stew at some point last week because they had nice lamb neck bones at the co-op, so that was the main portion of the meal. Tasty!


Finally made Ina's Tuscan lemon chicken, Bittman's bread salad and roasted Delicata squash. The rock hen was very good, although I undercooked it the first time around. I tossed it under the broiler for another ten minutes to finish it off. I was amazed that it was still juicy and the skin crisped up nicely. The bread salad recipe was good, but I didn't soak the bread - I just don't like soggy bread. Instead I tossed everything in a casserole dish, added a splash of veggie stock and let it meld in the oven while the squash was finishing. Also, as much as I love figs, I will reduce the amount in the recipe because they made the dish a too sweet for my liking.

Rock Hen: $5.99
Kale: about $1
Lemon: $.50
Bread: about $1
Figs: about $.75
Other Ingredients: about $1
Total: $10.24

Looking forward to either whitefish or lemon sole! :)


Table For Two

Vaughn and I tend to splurge when it comes to food - we just can't resist tasty treats! In an attempt to curb our spending, we have set up a weekly budget and limited dining out. Planning is another great way to curb the splurge - keeps my eyes on the list rather than on the shelves. Here is what's in store for this week:

Monday (yesterday): Dine out.

Ate at Guanajuato (a little Mexican place) last night. We're trying to keep eating out to once a week.

Tuesday: Brown Rice Supper with tofu, roasted peanut sauce, and stir fried carrots.

This recipe is from Deborah Madison (queen of vegetarian recipes). A simple, tasty, healthy, seasonal meal. The carrots get a spicy punch from fresh ginger. The roasted peanut sauce is lighter than the usual peanut butter based sauce and unifies the entire dish.

Wednesday: Mac & Cheese with spicy sauteed broccoli.

Super simple and delicious! I like to make homemade baked mac & cheese, but our co-op was having a sale on boxes of Annie's Homegrown. Nutritionally, there is not much of a difference between Annie's and Kraft, but Annie's does boast organic wheat macaroni and annatto extract for natural color instead of synthetic food dyes.

Thursday: Rice and black beans with chorizo.

Rice and beans is becoming a weekly staple. Our co-op has a sale on their homemade chroizo, which will be a very nice addition to the meal.

Friday: Oven-roasted miso sesame salmon served with soba noodles and broccoli slaw.

This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks that I've forgotten about - the Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers cookbook.

Miso and sesame seeds should be a staple in our pantry, so I'm going to pick some up this week. Salmon is a great fish because, since it is a cold water fish, it is higher in omega-3 fatty acids than tropical fish like tilapia. I'll reserve some broccoli florets and the stems from Wednesday's dinner to make the broccoli slaw - don't want the stems to go to waste.

Saturday: Eggs baked on a bed of sauteed mushrooms and croutons

Breakfast for dinner! Another one of Deborah Madison's that I'd like to try. Eggs are a delicious, healthy and cheap alternative to meat or fish. Our cage-free eggs come from a local poultry farm called Yuppie Hill. Sure, they cost more than their caged counterpart, but they are $3 a dozen - $.25 an egg!

Sunday: Tuscan lemon chicken, whole grain bread salad and roasted squash

I saw Ina Garten make this chicken on Food Network and it seems like a great alternative to roasting a whole chicken. She butterflies the chicken and lays it flat on the grill which would speed up cooking time. Instead of a broiler chicken, which would be too big for the two of us, I'll make this recipe with a rock hen (Cornish game hen) which our co-op usually has frozen. I'll pick it up early in the week to give it plenty of time to thaw.

The bread salad is a recipe from Mark Bitmann's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and is like a fresher, brighter stuffing. Whole grain bread, kale (my favorite green), and dried figs make this a tasty, nutritious side.

I will try to post recipe total prices, photos, and recipes this week!

and now I'm off to the store...