Posts Tagged ‘Monday Menus’

Monday Menus: Lemon, Honey + Thyme

December 10, 2012

posted by Kelsie Belanger

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person in the world who hates winter.  It’s just that living in New England sort of surrounds one with winter survivalist pride -my kindred spirits are in Florida this time of year.

That being said, I can still eat like it’s June. So here’s a recipe from Australia (where December means something different).



3/4 cup-1 cup (185ml-250ml) honey

1 cup (250ml) cold water

small handful of fresh thyme sprigs

the finely grated zest of 2 lemons

1 1/2 cups (375ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 4 large lemons)
(For full recipe click here)

Monday Menus: using staples from the pantry

May 7, 2012

I’m not the best at elaborate menu plans. Even when I try to keep it simple, I forget something important. So it’s been really important for me to figure out some nutritious meals for my family using what I always have on hand for those times that I didn’t make it to the store or when I’ve forgotten an ingredient.

I saw a recipe for enfrijoladas on Tasty Kitchen Blog today and I’m sure it’s something my family would love, with a green salad on the side. I’m always making burritos or tacos last minute, but I think this might be an interesting way to mix things up. I would probably end up going without the cilantro because, even though I love it, it’s one of those ingredients I frequently forget. I think we will be trying this in the next week or two.

One favorite that I usually have the ingredients for is chocolate sheet cake. It’s another recipe that is compatible with my last-minute lifestyle. My mom has always used a slightly modified version of the Lion House cookbook’s recipe, and that’s what I use as well. I love that I almost always have everything I need on hand, it only takes about 15-20 minutes to cook, I can frost it warm, and then it can be served warm or cold (I use a fudge frosting that uses granulated sugar instead of powdered, another plus because I don’t have to worry about lumpy frosting).  Or, if I don’t want to bother frosting it, I can cut up some sort of fruit to put on it (usually bananas or strawberries for me), then top it off with some whipped cream. That hint of cinnamon really holds a special place in my heart. Mmmm, maybe this will be dessert next Sunday.

Chocolate Sheet Cake:

  • 1 cube butter
  • 1 cube margarine (or you could use shortening, I usually double the butter, who said cake needs to be healthy?)
  • 4 T cocoa
  • 1 c water
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c buttermilk
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 t salt

Lightly mix butter, margarine, cocoa and water in a large, microwave safe, mixing bowl.  Microwave 3-4 minutes, then stir.  Add all dry ingredients, buttermilk and vanilla and mix again.  Then add 2 eggs and mix well until there are no lumps in batter.  Pour into greased sheet pan (10 x 15 in.) and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until cake tests done.  Frost with fudge frosting.

Fudge Frosting

  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c milk (or 1/2 c for thinner frosting)
  • 5 T butter
  • 1 c chocolate chips

Melt butter with sugar and milk in small saucepan.  Bring to boil, then boil for 1 minute.  Pour in chocolate chips. Remove from heat.  Mix in chips until melted and frosting is smooth.  Quickly pour and spread on hot cake before frosting sets up.

I hope you find something here you enjoy.  Please let me know if you have any favorite go-to recipes for last minute, I think my family is getting sick of grilled cheese sandwiches.

-Lori Trauntvein


Yogurt Pops-Monday Menus

March 26, 2012

With the warm weather we had last week I was reminded of some of the fun warm weather food my kids enjoy.  A few years back I decided that my kids needed a cool treat when they came in from playing outside in the heat, but I didn’t want to give them the cheep sugary popsicles and got tired of paying a lot for the healthier freezer treats that seemed to get used up SO FAST.  So I found a recipe to make my own.  I begin with a homemade yogurt recipe, then I use the yogurt to make popsicles.  (The homemade yogurt is just a way to lower the cost, but you could use store bought yogurt and come up with the same great tasting popsicles.)

Strawberry Yogurt popsicle (original recipe found here online)

1 cup sliced strawberries (frozen or fresh)

2 cups plain yogurt

1/4 cup honey

    1. puree strawberries in a food processor or blender
    2. Add yogurt and Honey
    3. Pour into small Dixi cups until each cup is about 3/4 full
    4. Insert popsicle sticks into cups and freeze
    5. when ready to eat, peel the paper off and enjoy.

Gwen helping me out

Our sticks normally freeze crooked, because I’m too lazy to use foil or plastic wrap to prop them up and I’m too forgetful to put the sticks in 1/2 way through the freezing process, but they are just as yummy regardless of if they are crooked or straight 🙂

Also, if you don’t want to use popsicle sticks, you could fill the cups up only 1/2 way and use toothpicks.  (We did that a lot in ice cube trays when I was a kid.) But with toothpicks you will want to put the 1/2 full cups in the freezer, set the timer for 30 minutes, then when it beeps they should be cold enough for the toothpicks to be inserted and stay put, or find another way for them to stay straight because the toothpicks are not long enough to hold while you are eating if they freeze crooked.

Maggie taste testing our work

There are A LOT of yogurt popsicle recipes online, so google a recipe for your favorite fruit.  (We have blueberry bushes in our new yard so I will be searching for a good blueberry-yogurt popsicle recipe to make this summer.)

And hopefully we will get lucky and see some more of that beautiful weather again soon.

Monday Menus: Corn bread and Veggies

February 6, 2012

-Ginger Johnson

Here are a few recipes that I’ve been making a lot lately, and are great seasonal side dishes.

Corn Bread (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Sept/Oct 2002)

2 c flour

1 c fine-ground cornmeal

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

3/4 c sugar

8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

3/4 c sour cream

1/2 c milk

Butter-flavored shortening or vegetable oil

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spoon about 1/4 shortening or oil into a 12 inch cast iron skillet*, and place in the oven to heat.

2. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk eggs in a second bowl until well combined, about 20 seconds. Add sugar to eggs; whisk vigorously until thick and homogenous, about 30 seconds; add melted butter. Add sour cream, then milk, and whisk until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; mix gently until batter is just combined and evenly moistened.

3. Very carefully remove skillet from oven, and spoon batter into it. Return to oven, and bake until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.

*Note: if you don’t have a 12 inch cast iron skillet, you can make muffins instead, using a standard muffin tin (12 cups) sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts (from

I have always hated Brussels sprouts. Yuck. As an adult, I really thought I should conquer this bias. I tried them braised with bacon. Still yuck. As an adult–and a vegetarian–I felt I should try again. When I found this recipe, I gave it a whirl, and BINGO! I found a way to think kindly of those little twerps. Serves 4 as a side dish

1 pound brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 can broth (chicken or vegetable)
2 to 3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon smooth dijon mustard (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Trim sprouts and halve lengthwise. In a large, heavy 12-inch skillet heat butter and oil over moderate heat. Arrange halved sprouts in skillet, cut sides down, in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook sprouts, without turning until undersides are golden brown, about 5 minutes. [Updated to note: If your sprouts don’t fit in one layer, don’t fret! Brown them in batches, then add them all back to the pan, spreading them as flat as possible, before continuing with the shallots, wine, etc.]

Add the shallots, wine and stock and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low (for a gentle simmer), cover the pot with a lid (foil works too, if your skillet lacks a lid) and cook the sprouts until they are tender can be pierced easily with the tip of a paring knife, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the lid, and scoop out brussels. Add cream and simmer for two to three minutes, until slightly thickened. Whisk in mustard. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary with more salt, pepper or Dijon. Pour sauce over brussels, sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve immediately.

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower
A simple but delicious way to make cauliflower.
2 Tbsp minced garlic
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/3 c parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a jelly-roll sheet or a large casserole dish.
2. Mix cauliflower, garlic, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread onto baking pan and roast for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Sprinkle parmesan on top, and broil 3 to 5 minutes.

Monday Menus: a few recipes for leftovers

December 26, 2011

There are a few things that it seems like I always have leftovers of, especially this time of year. One of those things is cranberries. For some reason I always seem to end up with an extra bag of fresh cranberries. I think I buy them because they look so pretty, but I never end up making fresh cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. Probably because I subconsciously want it to sit in my fridge and remind me to make this treasure that we stumbled upon one year at a Christmas party.  I’ve seen it circulate around the blog circuit and pinterest lately, so you may have seen it, but it is definitely worth another mention.

Cranberry Salsa Dip with Cream Cheese


Rather than post the entire recipe, I think I will just post the link because the original recipe has a beautiful photo, and the instructions are really clear. Just make sure you refrigerate it at least 4 hours before eating it, because it tastes a little nasty right after you make it!

Another thing I often have leftovers of is bananas. Now you can always use them for banana bread, but my mother in law makes the best cake that she calls “Banana Bars” that you can use those leftovers for if you want something more like a sweet dessert. Here is the recipe.

Banana Bars

  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c sour cream
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 3-4 ripe bananas
  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Buttercream or cream cheese frosting (or see instructions below)

Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs, sour cream, bananas and vanilla and mix. Add dry ingredients and stir in. Bake in 10×15 cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (but I don’t have one, so I bake it in a 9×13 pan.

Make frosting by combining 2 c powdered sugar, 1/2 c softened butter, 1 tsp vanilla, and 3 oz softened cream cheese (or make your favorite buttercream or cream cheese frosting). Frost cake when cool.

Lastly, here is a recipe I got from my cousin that you could either use holiday ham leftovers for, or the lunchmeat variety of ham.

Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad

16-20 oz. dry pasta (rotini or another bite size variety works best), cooked al dente
1 1/2 c sweet onion vinaigrette dressing
1-2 c ranch dressing (I use the home-prepared Hidden Valley variety)
12 oz sliced ham, cubed (approx.)
8 oz cheddar cheese, cubed in bite size pieces (I buy cheese sticks and cut them up)
1 med. tomato, diced very small
2-4 oz. chopped or sliced black olives
2 c small broccoli florets
Any combination of other vegetables chopped into bite size, such as zucchini, cauliflower, celery, cucumnber, red or green peppers, etc.

Set ranch dressing aside. Combine pasta in onion vinaigrette dressing and marinate while you make the rest of the salad. Combine all the rest of the ingredients with the pasta, and add ranch dressing to taste and desired consistency. Refrigerate 4 hours. Add more ranch dressing prior to serving if desired.

I hope you all enjoy the last week of 2011!

Lori Trauntvein