I’m going to start this post off with menu making because if I put the recipe first, most of you will probably skip the menu making and go straight to making dinner, because it was that darn good.
Why make a menu, you ask?
whats that? you didn’t ask? well thats ok I’m going to tell you anyway.
1. it keeps cost’s down…that is if you choose the right recipes and stick to your list! Menu’s provide you with an easy way to make a shopping list, just write the ingredients you will need for your dinners, add your staple items (refer to my post yesterday if you don’t know what your staples are) and bam you are done! If you choose dinners that are relatively simple you should have a short (or shortish) list and minimal extra costs!
2. It saves you from the dreaded “Ugh there is nothing to cook in this stupid fridge” feeling. I get this feeling frequently when I haven’t preplanned my week of meals. I look at my fully stocked fridge, and see a mish-moshed pile of ingredients all of which had the best intentions but none of which could be put together to make a meal. Saving you from this feeling is also saving you from the inevitable “Oh lets just eat out” Feeling that comes next, which saves you money.
Now you understand the importance of menu’s now I shall tell you how to make one, my young grasshoppers…
The First step to making a menu is Knowing Your Options:
To do this you need to make a list of things you already know how to make, whether its a handwritten list in a notebook, a box full of recipes, or a computer database, it is important to have your standby’s close at hand.
Next you need to Explore your Interests:
To do this you will need Recipes/styles of cooking/Flavors that Interest you. The interent is chocked full of great resources for budding “chefs” and adventurous cooks. Once you know what your looking for you can visit any number of sites and let your sense of cooking adventure come to life. Some websites you might want to check out are:
the Pioneer Woman Cooks – Hands down the best food blogger on the internet! She is so funny, and her recipes are so delicious!
Tastespotting – This is basically food porn
Food Gawker – This too…
Epicurious – some great recipes on here but also some questionable ones so be careful!
Jamie Oliver – LOVE jamie oliver! Great recipes and healthy as well!
All Recipe – The good the bad and the ugly seach with care!
Use these to find new recipes or new ideas for dinners.
Next you need to Find/make a chart that works for you:
I use a piece of notebook paper with the week date at the top and days of the week listed. but you can use a calendar or dry erase board…MINE usually looks like this:
Menu – 6/6 – 6/12
Last you need to let your creative juice flow and fill that sucker in!
I try to alternate between standby’s and new recipes, I usually make 1-2 “New” or newish recipes every week. Things I’ve either never made before or only made once or twice. I also always leave at least one day open for leftovers, so that we don’t waste food. As an added bonus it keeps me from having to cook every single night of the week, which after 3 or 4 days of work and then making dinner its nice to have a break.
Alright now that the learning is out of the way time for the fun part! Here is a delicious recipe for you all to try
Servings 2 Prep time: 30 mins Cook Time: 15 mins
2 Chicken Breast (I only used one but that sucker was HUGE!)
1 pint Grape or Baby Heirloom Tomatoes
6 leaves Fresh Basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Slice grape tomatoes into bit sized pieces (I sliced the smallish ones in half and the larger ones in quarters.
Place tomatoes and basil in a small to medium sized bowl. Add EQUAL parts Balsamic Vinegar and Olive oil to coat Tomatoes. Stir and place in the refridgerator
3. Pound chicken breast to about 1/4 inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper and saute in a hot pan with about 1 TBL of olive oil until cooked through. Try to get as much browning as possible in the beginning then turn the heat down to low or medium to cook the chicken through, it should take 10-15 minutes.
4. To serve spoon the Bruschetta over the chicken, I did about 3 spoonfuls of tomatoes and one spoonful of just the juice at the bottom of the bowl.
To make the bread that I served on the side, Slice french bread in 1/4 – 1/2 inch slices at an angle if you like. Slice one clove of garlic very thinly and saute in a large pan with 2 tbl olive oil on medium heat. Remove garlic slices turn the heat up to high. Add the bread and toast both sides with the garlic oil.
I Served mine with a salad and the garlic toasted bread. it was delicious!
Hope you enjoy, and write me back and let me know how yours turned out!