Sunday, January 27, 2013

Menu Planning... again.

I know that I have written about menu planning in the past.  I looked back and it was just about 1 year ago... More than 300 meals later, I am still struggling with accommodating the various tastes and diet needs of the family living here now... the need for lower calories for the 50-somethings, the need for high-calorie for the over-80, the diverse tastes  of the 20-somethings and the need for gluten-free options.  In just a short time I can add, toddlers and preschoolers to that list too when the Uganda family returns to the US for a time.

So here we are, needing to eat this week, needing to shop efficiently and use my time wisely in preparations.  Menu planning still meets all those needs and I know the week goes much more smoothly when I have a plan!  

Here is this week's plan (main dishes) - If I come across any amazing recipes for the things on the plan I will post them later.

Monday - Chicken-Broccoli Pasta (rice for the gluten free)

Tuesday - Potato soup, wheat bread (or gluten-free biscuits)

Wednesday - Pineapple chicken and rice

Thursday- Roast beef in the crockpot

Friday - Take Out Pizza for everyone who can eat it or who shows up for dinner

Saturday - Options from the freezer

Sunday - Spare ribs/pulled pork, chips and other assorted munchies for the Super Bowl game.

Here's hoping that these ideas spark some creativity for you as you make a plan and work your plan. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Spanish Rice & Quinoa

We love Spanish Rice at our house.  Over the years my recipe has evolved and the newest version is gluten-free. (In the past I had added a can of cream of something soup and that is now off limits. Replacing the ground beef of the past with quinoa is another change I have made recently.)  I am never sure how spicy to make it since tastes vary greatly here, but tonight I hit a nice balance, receiving positive comments from the husband who doesn’t like too much spice AND the future son-in-law who can’t ever have too much spice! 

Here is my best guess at the recipe that is measured by  a “bit of this and a bit of that.”  You can adjust to your tastes. It is a large recipe, but we like the leftovers!!

  • 3 cups long-grain rice
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 – 1 ½  cups chopped onion
  • ½ - 1 chopped red or yellow pepper
  • 1 44fl oz. container V-8 juice with water added to make 8 cups.
  • 1 tablespoon beef base
  • 1 tsp. Ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp. celery flakes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley or cilantro
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • grated Mexican blend cheese

Sauté onions and peppers until tender.  Add rice to the sauté pan and cook till light golden brown, stirring often to prevent burning.  Stir in V-8 juice, beef base and herbs.  Stir in rinsed quinoa.  Transfer to a baking dish that holds about 4 quarts.
Cover tightly with foil and bake at 400° for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Serve in bowls topped with grated Mexican blend cheese.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Transitioning to Gluten Free

In an effort to tame the beasts of arthritis and fibromyalgia, I  took the advice of a friendly pharmacist and went gluten-free... mostly.  2013 is my year to be hard-core about it.  Thanks to a very thoughtful Christmas gift from a friend, I am on my way to stocking the gluten-free ingredients I need and plan to begin a serious study of gluten-free baking.

What I have missed most, besides pizza, is the little breads that often accompany a meal at our house.  Today, since soup was on the menu I took my bag of Mr. Ritt's Gluten Free Flour Alternative and turned to my favorite muffin recipe.  I am posting it below with the gluten-free alternatives in parentheses.  The muffins were light and very, very close to their original texture and taste.  I am delighted!

Oatmeal Muffins
From the Orange Betty Crocker Cookbook
Makes 12 muffins
Oven temp: 400 ° (425°)

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk soured with 1 tablespoon vinegar or 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
  • 1 cup quick oats or 1 1/4 cup rolled oats  (Process 1 cup GF oats in the food processor until they resemble quick oats)
  • 1 cup flour (1 cup or 140g. GF flour substitute; I used Mr. Ritt's.)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon b aking soda

Preheat oven to 400 °. Grease bottoms of 12 standard muffin cups (2 ¾ inches in diameter) or spray with cooking spray. Beat egg well. Stir in soured milk and oil, Mix in remaining ingredients just until flour is moistened. Batter should be lumpy.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 20-25 mminutes or until golden brown. Let stand in pan 3-5 (5-10 minutes) minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack.