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Monday, May 18, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 5/18

After a couple of especially busy weeks, I'm hoping to get back into a routine this week. Here's the menu plan as it stands right now.

I have an evening meeting (rare indeed!) for work tonight. Jason & Emma will be eating some leftovers from the weekend.

I'm off from work -- unusual but appreciated.
Baked fish, coated with crushed up crackers, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning
Thin-sliced potatoes, sprayed with olive oil spray, and baked until crisp
Fresh green beans, cooked with a little bit of ham (see tip HERE)

I'm off again - two days in a row!
Homemade Pizza Night! (Recipe HERE)
Note: I've started baking my pizza crust for 4 minutes before adding toppings. I was having some trouble with it being kind of soggy in the center, and this seems to have cured that problem. I bake it for 4 minutes, top it, and then bake it for another 8 minutes or until the cheese is starting to brown.

It's a working day, but I start about two hours later than usual. I'm going to take advantage of this time and put dinner in the crock pot in the morning.
Slow-Cooked Chili (Recipe Below)

It's a working day again....
I'm intentionally making extra chili on Thursday so that I don't have to cook tonight. It's always my goal to not cook when I work. It makes the evenings much less hectic for everyone when I do this!

Hopefully it won't rain! We're going to grill again.... YUM!
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken (Lawrey's marinade)
Baked (okay... microwaved) Yams

My brother and sister-in-law will be in town... YAY!! We'll be enjoying dinner at our house with them and my parents. I don't want to be chained to the kitchen, so I'm breaking out the Crock Pot again. I never did make the pork roast from my freezer, so I'll be getting it out again.
Teriyaki Pork Roast -- my never-fail recipe! -- Recipe HERE
Corn on the Cob
Fruit Tray
Layered Chocolate Brownie Dessert (Recipe below)

Recipes for this week:

Slow-Cooked Chili

1 pound lean ground beef (browned)
1/2 cup chopped onion (I use frozen.)
28 oz. petite diced tomatoes
15 oz. tomato sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. cumin (the spice that makes it taste like Wendy's chili)
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
15 oz. mild chili beans (undrained)
15 oz. can black beans (drained)
***Substitute kidney beans, pinto beans, or any other bean!

Combine all ingredients in a Crock Pot, and cook on low for 7 -8 hours. I usually double this and add in two different types of beans, just for variety. If you like things spicier, you can add spicy chili beans instead of mild, or you could use seasoned diced tomatoes.

You must, must, must use the cumin. If you don't have any, buy it. It's a wonderful spice, and it drastically changes the flavor of your soup and chili -- for the better! I could never figure out why my chili tasted so different from the chili at Wendy's (which we love). Once I tried cumin, I realized that it was the missing ingredient!

Layered Chocolate Brownie Dessert

9x13 pan of brownies (baked ahead of time)
2 large boxes of chocolate pudding (make ahead of time)
1 large tub Cool Whip (more if you love Cool Whip)
1/2 bag chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk chocolate -- either works)

This is a pretty simple one. You need to start by baking a 9x13 pan of brownies. You can make them chewy or cake-like, whichever you prefer. You can bake them from scratch, or you can use a box mix. Either one will work.

When the brownies are cool, crumble 1/2 the pan into a bowl. I used a large glass dessert bowl, because this is a very pretty dessert when it's done.

On top of the brownies, add 1/2 of the pudding that you made.

On top of the pudding, add 1/2 of the Cool Whip.

On top of the Cool Whip, add 1/2 of the chocolate chips.

Repeat these layers.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. It's best to make this the night before and add the last layer of chocolate chips right before serving. This allows the pudding and Cool Whip to soak into the brownies. It makes a gooey, yummy chocolate dessert!

I've used mini M&Ms in place of the chocolate chips, but they do bleed color onto your Cool Whip. You can also use crushed chocolate/toffee bars or any other candy in place of the chocolate chips.

For more great menu-planning ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday sponsored by I'm an Organizing Junkie.


Christi said...

I'm drooling over the brownie desert recipe! I need a trifle bowl now!

Jennifer said...

Christi, we should use every opportunity to buy new kitchen gadgets and containers! Chocolate desserts NEED to be displayed! :)

Rachel @ springpad said...

Not only do your meals sound great, but that layered chocolate brownie dessert looks delicious! I'm definitely going to have to try that one out soon... You should check out springpad's weekly meal planner - it's a great way to keep track of all of your menus and recipes, I think you'll really like it!