Monday, April 30, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - April 30, 2012

Wow, almost May already!  Fired up the grill last night.  (Note to self:clean grill).  I think grilling season is definitely here.  DH ordered a few necessary parts that have deteriorated due to time and rust.  A good clean and we should be ready for summer.  Hot weather predicted all week here and not a drop of rain.  Only one more month of school for Miss D and then summer break.  I haven't even finished planting my garden (Note to self: plant garden :)

Sunday - Island Ribs, grilled potato wedges

Monday - Grilled Sliders, Oven sweet potato fries

Tuesday - Pasta night

Wednesday - Crunchy Chicken

Thursday - Homemade pizza

Friday - Tequila Lime Chicken or Lime Scallion Chicken?

Saturday - Soft Fish Tacos, guacamole, salsa and chips...and maybe a Hungry Girl Margarita?

For more menu ideas, please visit MPM at

Monday, April 23, 2012

Shlissel Challah or sea creature? decide

  This is the Shlissel (key-shaped) Challah I made last Friday.  I think it looks a bit odd.  Oh, well.  Points for trying?  The kids loved it though (and the sprinkles).

Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam
This is my grandmother's recipe for strawberry jam.  I've been meaning to post this recipe for a while now.  (BTW this is why some photos are new and some are old!)  Anyway, my grandparents used to own a fruit farm in Pennsylvania.  I remember picking strawberries at that farm when I was young and I remember the smell of the kitchen when my grandmother used to make this jam.  This recipe is very simple and only needs two ingredients: strawberries and sugar (along with a little bit of time and love!).  It's not a traditional firm jam, but a softer, almost runny consistency.  Which makes it perfect for topping yogurt, or even better, ice cream!  My kids love it though for sandwiches: cream cheese and jam for my daughter and just jam and bread for my son.  My kids and I went out picking strawberries yesterday at a local farm.  When we finished, the owner/farmer asked us what we had planned for all of the strawberries, my son replied "Jam!".   So here we go:

  Just wash, hull and chop the strawberries into a measuring cup.  

 Add an equal amount of sugar to strawberries So for 2 cups of strawberries: 2 cups sugar.  Pretty easy, huh?  Lightly shake pan to coat with sugar.  Make sure you use a large, heavy pot for this.  Later when it cooks it will bubble up a bit.

 Cover allow to sit 8 hours, or overnight at room temperature.  I really think this is the key step.  The sugar will dissolve and liquefy.  At this point you can leave the strawberries as they are for a chunkier jam, or mash up with a potato masher.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.  Stir gently to make sure all the sugar has dissolved.  When the mixture begins to boil, cook for about 10 minutes.  You can skim the bubbles that come to the surface if you would like a clear jam.  I don't (as you can see from the picture below).  I actually really like that bubbly part when it hardens (kinda like strawberry jell-o).  I don't really use a thermometer for this either, but the jam will need to get to about 221 F (I checked it today again to be sure).  You can stir the mixture occasionally as the strawberries want to stick to the bottom of the pot and scorch (not good for jam).  When it's done just ladle into canning jars and seal.  I don't usually "put up" this jam.  It never really lasts long in my fridge anyway.  The recipe will make slightly more jam than the amount of strawberries you start with.  So, today, I started with 2 cups of strawberries and ended up with 2 1/2 cups of jam.  Enjoy!    

Menu Plan Monday - April 23,2012

Brrr.  It's downright chilly this morning.  The wind is howling and knocking pine cones against the house.  The weather is supposed to warm up by the end of the week, but until then, I'm layering up!

Despite the wind and temps dropping, yesterday was a great day for strawberry picking!
We are fortunate to have a farm around the corner from us.  We went a few weeks ago for a play-date for the kids.  They had a blast and I made a big batch of strawberry smoothies afterwards.

I plan on making (another) batch of my Grandmother's Strawberry Jam today.  I've already made it a few times this Spring.  I know at least one of my readers has been asking for me to post this recipe for a while (yes Keith, I promise I will this week).  I can't seem to make enough of it.  My kids go crazy for it.  Especially my son.  He could eat a jelly sandwich (nothing else, just bread and jam) everyday.  Honestly, he could probably just sit and eat the whole jar with a spoon, if I let him!  :)

Anyway, back to the menu plan:

Monday - Minestrone soup with homemade baguettes.

Tuesday - Pasta night

Wednesday - Peach Whiskey Chicken, from The Pioneer Woman's new cookbook...I just got my book from Amazon on Friday and I can't wait to dive in!

Thursday - Maybe Macaroni and Cheese, veggies

Friday - Pecan Chicken, Challah.

If you would like more ideas for menus and recipes, please visit MPM at

P.S. I updated the page with a link to the recipe for the jam.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - 4/16/12

Keeping it short and simple this week.  Back to breads and pasta, yeah!  The kids did very well last week through Passover.  Only a few melt-downs and protests for oatmeal and mac-n-cheese from the three year old.  We'll see what next year brings, but a big sigh of relief to move on right now. 

So I asked the kids what they wanted for dinner this week and the only answer I received was spaghetti and meatballs.  So spaghetti and meatballs it is!

Sunday - Spaghetti and meatballs (big shocker, I know!)
Monday - Roasted chicken and matzo ball dumplings (leftover from Friday night's dinner).  The dumplings come from this recipe from Sara Moulton.  The recipe used to be on the food network site, but I can't find it anymore.  I don't totally follow the recipe (no butter, of course), but I think the idea of matzo balls as dumplings is fantastic.  They are great with either roast chicken or brisket.  My kids love matzo balls, so this is a nice change from soup. 

Tuesday - Ravioli

Wednesday - Leftover Spaghetti and meatballs

Thursday - Maybe homemade pizza?

Friday - Not sure yet. 

Looking for more recipes?  Please check out MPM on

Monday, April 9, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - 4/9/12

I know it's been a while since I last posted a menu.  It has been really busy.  Last week was Spring Break for my daughter.  I spent a good part of the week just preparing for Passover.  Now that all the cleaning and preparing is behind me (as well as the first couple of nights and the Seders), now what to make for the rest of the week...hmm.  The plan so far:

Monday:  Leftover Brisket, vegetable kugel, asparagus, carrot souffle, matzo ball soup
Vegetable Kugel

Tuesday:  Matzo Pizza

Wednesday:  Maybe fish?  Tilapia with quinoa, vegetables

Thursday:  Not sure, maybe meatloaf?  Surprisingly, my family's favorite recipe has matzo meal as the binder.  I suspect it's because I "hide" hard-boiled eggs in the center of the meatloaf. 

Friday:  Roasted chicken, vegetables, what else? 

Looking for more menu ideas, please visit MPM at

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rainbow Cookies...again

A couple of years ago was my first attempt for these Kosher for Passover Rainbow cookies.   Boy, these are really good.  It may not look like it makes a lot, but these bars each get sliced up.  A small piece goes a long way in flavor.  Although the recipe is not particularly difficult, it does require time and multiple steps.  I didn't even get to make them last year because I ran out of time (and energy).  This year, I decided I needed to make them first lest they not get done at all.  The picture above is the final step of coating the layers in chocolate.  They do freeze very well, although I am not a master at tempering chocolate so most likely a "bloom" will appear if I freeze them.  Oh, well.  The kids have already sampled the trimmings and extra chocolate and have given approval to the recipe.  Still waiting for the chocolate to set.  I will try to take a better picture of the final product all sliced up.