Monday, December 12, 2011

Cream of Broccoli Soup

{Meatless Monday}

Hope your Monday has been a good one!!  Mine was pretty good...I just know that I ALWAYS have huge expectations of all the things I want to do.  And it's all very unrealistic...but for some reason, I repeat it every week!  ; )

This soup is a FAVORITE in our family.  Especially when I make bread bowls.  All my kids LOVE eating their soup in bread bowls, but unfortunately, I don't always have time to make them.  So it is quite a treat when I do!

Here's what you'll need:

3 cups broth
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 head broccoli, chopped
3-4 med. potatoes, diced

Boil all together until vegetables are tender...about 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile...  make a white sauce...

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
2 cups milk

1 1/2-2 cups cheese (a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar is best...I also love a little pepper jack!)

Melt butter in saucepan until just slightly browned.  Stir in flour until paste is made.  Whisk in milk and stir over medium heat until the sauce thickens.

At this point, you can add the cheese to the sauce...  Or you can add the sauce to the veggies and THEN add the cheese.  Basically, you just stir everything together, add extra milk if necessary and season with salt and pepper.  If you want it chunky, leave as-is.  But if you want it creamy, grab your potato masher and go to town until the soup is your favorite consistency!

Serve in a delicious homemade bread bowl and top with extra cheese.  This is often requested for birthday dinners by our children.  There is just something extra special about your very own bread bowl.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Six Week Menu

I am SO excited to share this with you!!  It has been a wonderful thing for has changed my life when it comes to cooking!  I love, love, love having it all planned out and my favorite part is that ALL the thinking has been done!  It makes shopping day so easy.  

Obviously, my six week menu is an all vegetarian you probably can't just "copy and paste" for your family.  But I really encourage you to try this out!  Go through your recipe books, the blogs you follow, the things you've found on Pinterest and MAKE A LIST!  Then separate them into "weeks" with a good variety.  Since this is Winter, I included one soup recipe every week.  I figure during the Summer, I can swap them out for our favorite salad recipes.  

I have a large family, so we rarely have a lot of leftovers.  Whatever leftovers we have just get taken for lunch or eaten after school.  I plan on making a new recipe each night, but sometimes when we happen to have a good amount of leftovers from a couple nights, I will just serve those instead of making what is on the menu.  It is very flexible.

One huge benefit of having EVERYTHING planned for me is that I was able to think about what kind of meal we need on each day.   For instance, on Mondays, I teach piano from 3:30 to 5 pm, so I chose a quick and easy meal for each that could be done in under 30 minutes.  
And on Tuesdays, I teach a children's choir from 5-6 pm, so I chose a meal that I could make ahead in the afternoon and then my kids could pop it in the oven while I am gone to choir and then we can be eating by 6:20 pm.

Every other day is fairly unscheduled, so I was able to use those nights for recipes that took a little more time.  Fridays are often our date night, so every Friday I chose a very easy meal that my kids can cook.  I have 3 older girls who are all very handy in the kitchen, so it isn't a problem.

When I say ALL of the thinking has been done...I mean ALL!!  

I have created a shopping list for each week and simply made multiple copies.   I put my full six week menu and all the copies of the shopping lists in a folder on my "office" counter in the pantry.  I also made an index card for each week's menu that I put on the side of my fridge so that anyone can quickly look and see what we are having that night.  That way I don't have to be going to the folder all the time and my kids or hubby could (in theory ; ) start preparing because they would KNOW what I was planning on making.  

On Monday morning when it is time to go to the grocery store, I simply pull out a copy of that week's shopping list...cross off the items I know I have in my fridge or pantry...add things like milk or bread, etc...and off I go!  

I. love. it. it is!  Most of the recipes are ones I have already posted.  I have made them all links for you.

Six Week Menu
Week One
F egg and rice burritos

Week Two

T     fettucinne alfredo
F     breakfast for dinner
Sat  bean and rice burritos

Week Three
M fried rice
T potato corn chowder
F noodles and white sauce
Sun pasta bake
Week Four
M     hummus wraps
W     broccoli soup
F      pesto pizzas
Sun  calzones

Week Five
T      bean and rice enchiladas
Th    vegetarian lasagna
F boiled egg quesadillas

Week Six
W vegetable pot pie

Here are two sample shopping lists...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Grandpa Leavitt's Fudge

Just posted my Christmas fudge recipe over at my other blog...check it out here.

Here's a little peek at the rich, creamy, yumminess!  ; )

Hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas season!  I'll be back here on Monday with another Meatless Monday!  Have a great weekend.