Menu Monday 01/15-19/2018

My ten year old is going to start making dinner on Monday nights. She gets to plan and prepare the meal for that night. I’m excited to (hopefully) pass on my love for cooking and also have some good discussions about healthy and balanced meals. How do you involve your family in meal preparation?

Monday- Jennika Cooks!

Tuesday – Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp, Crusty Bread, Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Garlic and Lemon

Wednesday – Steak, German Potato Salad, Asparagus
Sticking with our Wednesday German Theme…sort of. PS there are so many great steak recipes out there. I like a simple, well grilled steak that’s just barely cooked. Did you know you should let your raw steak come to room temperature before cooking it? Also slathering butter on it before cooking never hurts either. 😉

Thursday – BBQ Chicken Pizza, Green Salad
This is another favorite. I have a great pizza dough recipe, but for this pizza I highly recommend using PW’s recipe.

Friday – Pad Thai
We haven’t had pad thai in ages. It’s one of my favorite quick and healthy Thai dishes. I don’t strictly follow any recipe for this. For example, I think bean sprouts are hard to get these days, so I’ll substitute some other type of vegetable, spinach maybe? I also like to use firm tofu as my protein. Anyhow, this is a good basic recipe.

Menu Monday- 01/08-12/18

It’s a new year and time to get back to eating healthy and wholesome meals instead of holiday candy and party foods. I am making a deliberate effort to incorporate more vegetables into our diet. What eating goals do you have for this new year?

Monday-Coconut Lime Chicken with Brown Rice and Green Salad
This is my launching recipe. I prefer to cut the chicken into small pieces and increase the amount of sauce by bumping up the chicken stock and coconut milk. I also use a jalapeno and no chili flakes, but you could omit this if your family does not like spicy foods.

Tuesday-Indian Butter Chicken with White Rice and Roasted Cauliflower
This is one of our family favorites. There are so many great versions of this recipe out there. Here is my favorite.  I don’t have a recipe for the roasted cauliflower. I like to toss it in olive oil and salt and roast for 15 minutes at 400, until it is just tender. Then top with Parmesan cheese. However for this meal I may find something that will better complement the Indian flavors.

WednesdayKartoffelpuffer and bratwurst with sauerkraut
We are doing a 5 week study on the Five Solas as a way to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. So I’m trying to find something German to make each night of the study. I know almost nothing about German food so this is a big stretch.

ThursdayZuppa Toscana, Green Salad and Breadsticks
Think Olive Garden 🙂 I always make several modifications to this. I omit the bacon and use kielbasa sausage instead of spicy Italian sausage. I also use 1/2 & 1/2 instead of heavy cream.

Friday– Leftovers

I hope your week is full of good food.

The Commune Table-October Week 1

Here’s what we enjoyed eating last week. May your table be full of yummy foods and good conversations. 

Sunday-Balsamic Roast Beef French Dip Sandwiches, Corn and Basil Salad

Monday-Our school was doing a fundraiser at Sonic Drive-In

Tuesday-Coconut Curry Soup, Brown Rice
I love this recipe because it is flexible. This time we added fresh chopped zucchini from our garden. 

Wednesday-Kale & Butternut Squash Pasta, Fresh Fruit

Butternut Squash, bacon, and pasta, a match made in heaven!
Butternut Squash, bacon, and pasta, a match made in heaven!

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Thursday-Sesame Chicken Edamame Bowls, Fruit Salad

Friday-Easy Butter Chicken, Rice, Roasted Garlic Cauliflower, Naan


The Commune Table

It’s officially fall which means time for soups and breads and recipes based around squash, yum! Apparently nobody notified the weather and so we’ve been eating soup on 90 degree days. Oh well, we’ll get there eventually. Here’s what we enjoyed this last week:

Monday-Honey Garlic Crockpot Chicken, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Green Salad
I followed her suggestion and topped the chicken with bacon and cheese and broiled it. It’s worth the little bit of extra effort.

Tuesday-Personal Pizzas, Green Salad
This is a commune favorite, we have a fantastic dough and sauce recipe. The kids love to make their own pizzas and this meal works great on busy nights when not everyone is home for dinner at the same time. 

Wednesday- Garlic Lovers Veggie Stir-Fry, Brown Rice
Simple, quick, and so good. I confess that I forgot to remove the huge chunks of ginger from the oil before I added the vegetables. This meant a few very surprising bites…not recommended. 

Thursday-Homemade Chicken and Noodles, Roasted Green Beans
This is my family’s recipe and was what we always requested for our birthday dinners. My favorite part is making the noodles together. The kids love unrolling the long strands of dough and tossing them with flour before they go in the broth. We always leave one noodle rolled up and see who gets it in their bowl. 

P.S. It’s a short menu this week because the kids and I took a spur of the moment trip up to visit my family.

The Commune Table

Here’s what we ate this last week with recipes or links whenever possible.

Monday–Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad (see recipe below) and Fresh Fruit Salad.

Tuesday–Chicken and Black Bean Soup, Chips

Wednesday–Cheesy Kale Stuffed Zucchini, French Bread
Recipe changes: Instead of turkey I used 10 pieces of bacon, baked and crumbled  up. Yum!

Thursday–Caprese Grilled Chicken, Green Beans


Saturday–Potstickers and Fried Rice


Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad
2 chicken breasts, well seasoned with Montreal Steak Seasoning (or something similar)
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 head butter lettuce, chopped
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 can black beans, rinsed

Grill the chicken and slice. Toss all other ingredients into a big bowl. Top with dressing (see below).

Cilantro Lime Dressing
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 TBS lime juice (more or less to taste)
2 TBS  red wine vinegar
1/4-1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro (depending on how much you like it)
1/2 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Mix until smooth and yummy.

Menu Monday: April 25-30th

Here’s what’s cooking this week:

Monday–Greek Island Shrimp Pasta–A friend gave me this recipe and I’m very excited to try it!

Tuesday–Quinoa and Black Bean BurritosQuinoa is an amazing little grain.It is healthy and adaptable. If you haven’t tried it yet, consider adding it to your menu soon.

Wednesday–Thai Charred Eggplant and Spiced Coconut-Red Lentil SoupThe first is an old favorite, the second is new. 

Thursday–Sesame Roasted Salmon, Steamed Broccoli, and Brown Rice

Friday–Pasta Melanzana and Grape Salad

Spring is Here!

I haven’t posted anything in a long time.


The reason? Spring is here! In Utah that means beautiful, sunny, 70 degree days (followed by hail and snowstorms), green grass, flowers blooming, gardens wanting to be planted, and LOTS to do outside.

Last week we drove (yes, drove) to Oregon for a surprise birthday party. This weekend, we are driving to Moab to do some good hiking, suntanning, and relaxing in one of the most beautiful places in Utah. Oops, I meant ugly. One of the most boring and ugly places in Utah. Don’t go there, there’s nothing to see.

So, I have thought a lot about writing, but not done it much. In apology, here’s what I can offer, a wonderful new favorite recipe that’s perfect for this time of year. Get Me To the Top Granola Bars.  We love these bars on hikes. They are the perfect amount of sweet and are easy to pack in the backpack. And if they do get crumbled, you’ve got granola! They are also very versatile so you can add whatever nuts or candy you’ve got in your cupboard.

I hope you enjoy these. And I’ll try harder to write.

Get Me To the Top Granola Bars
4 1/2 cups oats (old fashioned)
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips, nuts, crasins, rasins, or a mixture
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until throughly combined. Press into a Pam-sprayed 9×13 pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 17-22 minutes. Let cool five minutes, then cut into squares.  Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Battle of the Brownies

I recently came across the Deceptively Delicious cook book by Jessica Seinfeld.  In her book she provides many classic recipes with the addition of pureed vegetables in the ingredients. The idea is that these “improved” recipes are a great way to sneak an extra serving or two of vegetables into a meal for picky eaters.
I love the idea but I have to admit I had my doubts. Can you really add a 1/2 cup of pureed spinach and a 1/2 cup of squash to brownies and not taste it? I needed to make two batches of brownies for an event, so I decided to find out and use others as my unknowing test panel.
I used Seinfeld’s recipe and a classic, Betty Crocker brownie recipe for the test.

Can you tell which one has the veggies in it?
Can you tell which one has the veggies in it?

The main difference between the recipes, besides the addition of the vegetables, is that one fills a 9×13 pan and the other just a 8×8 pan.

The finished product.
The finished product.

There was a noticeable difference in appearance between the baked brownies. The veggie brownies were much more cake-like and moist. The BC brownies were dense and crumbly.
At the event I watched to see if anybody tasted the veggie brownies and made gross faces. I also kept an eye on both trays to see how they disappeared. By the end of the event I had not noticed any grimaces or gags and both trays were completely empty! I did notice that the BC brownies seem to go slightly faster than the veggie brownies.
My personal taste tests (with my sister, husband, and I) revealed that when tasted side-by-side you could tell a difference in taste between the two brownies. The BC brownies are much richer and proper brownie tasting. However if served alone I think the veggie brownies would go undetected and really do taste just fine. I would suggest serving them with a berry sauce or perhaps adding a little bit of mint extract to the batter before cooking to further disguise the slight vitamin taste.

So my conclusion: I don’t know that I’m completely converted to putting veggies in my recipes, but I am certainly willing to try more of Seinfeld’s recipes. I think I may even try to sneak some veggies into an almost two-year-old’s birthday cake! 🙂

Menu for the Week of 5/4-5/8

Monday~Italian Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Tuesday~White Fish in Mustard Cream Sauce with wilted spinach and brown rice
Wednesday~Breakfast: bacon, eggs, cheesy grits and fruit salad
Thursday~Spaghetti and green salad
Friday~BBQ Steaks with quinoa salad and corn