What’s for Dinner April 2018

This week should have been an easier week to plan as we had a school fundraiser at our local Culver’s and two Blue Apron meals arriving Wednesday.  However, I was stumped to come up with two additional meals.  Sometimes that is how it goes.  Here’s the menu this week.  This is our first week trying the family style meals from Blue Apron.  For over a year we have been enjoying the dinners for two, which we love, but they did not provide enough food for all of us and were not family friendly enough anyway.  I’ll keep you posted on how we enjoy them.  If you’d like to try Blue Apron – leave your email and I’ll send you a referral for a free meal.

Monday – Culver’s School Fundraiser

Tuesday – Crockpot Creamy Cheesy Chicken Penne, Broccoli, Fresh Fruit Salad

(New Recipe – Thank You Pinterest)

https://www.themagicalslowcooker.com/slow-cooker-cheesy-chicken-penne/

Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Penne

Wednesday  – Blue Apron – Steak Frites and Roasted Vegetables

Thursday – Blue Apron – Turkey Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries

Friday – Chicken Patties, Sweet Potato Chips, Baked Beans

 

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Searching

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as we close out 2015 and begin anew in 2016, i’m aware of feeling as if i’m still searching for my purpose.  not in a day to day sense, i feel purposeful in my roll as a mother and wife.  and i’m even satisfied by my new part time job as preschool aide.  however, there’s something more pulling at my sub conscience, a yearning that is not yet defined.  what is it?  i intend to spend some time reflecting on this in the next couple of days.  in the meantime, my little family will be reading aloud the entries from our “Good Stuff Jar” this evening.  It’s a jar of notes that any one of us can add to at any time throughout the year about something good that happened.  It’s our tradition of remembering the good stuff – big and small.  Cheers!

 

Chocolate Raisin Cookies

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As promised, the recipe for the deeply satisfying chocolate cookies.  These are a moist, cake-like cookie with an unexpected, but sweet pop of flavor from the raisins.  I promise, you’ll like them.  Think chocolate covered raisins in cookie form!

Yield: About 4 dozen

2 Sticks (1 cup) salted butter, divided

2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar (splurge on a box of dark brown sugar – it adds moisture)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

9 ounces raisins (about 1 1/2 cups)

6 ounces semisweet chocolate ships (about 1 cup)

1. Preheat over to 300 degrees F.

2. In a double boiler over hot, not boiling, water, melt 1/2 cup butter and the unsweetened chocolate.  Remove from heat.  Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, soda, and salt.  Mix well with a wire whisk.  Set aside.

4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer blend sugars at medium speed until fluffy.  Add the remaining 1/2 cup butter and mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Add eggs and vanilla, and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add melted chocolate and blend until the mixture is thoroughly combined.

5. Add the flour mixture, raisins, and chocolate chips.  Blend at low speed until just combined.  Do not over mix.

6. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets, 2 inches apart.  Bake for 20-22 minutes or until set.  Transfer to a cool, flat surface immediately with a spatula.The Bake Shop

The Bake Shop

Several years ago, my dear husband, told me that he would be “all about” me baking something sweet on a weekly basis.  I laughed.  He knows I love to bake sweets and I know he enjoys eating those sweets.  It was a compliment and I certainly appreciated it.  But I laughed because while it sounded like a great idea, other priorities often win out over baking.  However, I do manage to bake rather frequently and like my cooking/dinner planning, my baking follows a seasonal path taking advantage of fresh and local fruits for pies and scones and muffins.  And that doesn’t include the holiday baking which includes traditional family recipes passed down through the years.

For me baking is relaxing.  Crazy, huh!?  Often I feel spontaneously motivated to bake cookies, a pie, or a batch of brownies.  This happened just the other day in fact.  It was Sunday afternoon, the kitchen was clean (that’s key), and it was a few hours yet before dinner.  And I had a craving for something chocolate.  We had received a Mrs. Fields Cookie Secrets cookbook as a wedding gift and there was a tried and true Chocolate Raisin Cookie recipe calling my name!  Don’t worry, the recipe is coming in the next post.  😉

Menu Planning

I menu plan.  I have been doing it for about as long as I’ve been married, which is almost 15 years!  I’ve not always been good at it.  In fact, I’m not sure I’m good at it now, but it works for our family.  And I enjoy it, which I think, is key when you menu plan.  If it’s a chore, well, it probably won’t work out very well.

I typically plan out our dinners for a week at a time on Sundays.  I sit at the kitchen table with the weekly grocery store ads and my cookbooks handy for inspiration.  I also reference our family calendar, making note of any event, practice, or late work night that may affect dinner.  My favorite part of menu planning is cooking seasonally.  I like to take advantage of the fresh, local fruits and vegetables as much as possible.  And I like to infuse some seasonal flavors into our dinners as well.  Autumn brings on pumpkin and squash as well as herbs like thyme and tarragon.  Winter meals are often hearty with beans and roasted meats.  Spring is all about the delicate flavors of asparagus and early strawberries.  Summer is full of bountiful flavor like tomatoes, basil, corn, and berries.

I’d like to post my weekly menu.  And if readers are curious about a particular meal, I’d be happy to share recipes and tips.  Just leave a comment!