Today is Monday........Recipes for the week of August 30, 2010

The recipes for the coming week are inspired by the song, “Today is Monday.” We LOVE the book version with illustrations by Eric Carle (Today Is Monday). It is such a catchy tune that we find ourselves singing it as we walk down to the park. As you add each verse for the day of the week, you repeat back the meals for the other days of the week. Not only does it quickly teach kids the days of the week, it elicits important reading skills like recall, repetition and patterns.

When I told Skoogie and O about the idea to eat food all week that went with the song, they screamed a big YEAH! Skoogie said, "Lets have MEATBALLS with the sketti!" When we talked about Thursday, O said, "I don't like roast beef." I asked, "What if we made some yummy rolls, put the roast beef on the bun and then had a tasty sauce to DIP it in?" His BIG brown eyes got EVEN BIGGER!!! You can change the menu to fit favorite family recipes for each category. Whatever you choose, hopefully it will stir up some anticipation and excitement at your dinner table this week!

Today is…..

Monday, String Beans
Vietnamese Lemongrass, Green Beans and Tofu Stirfry

I planted lemongrass in my garden this year and am excited to use it and the green beans from our garden!

Tuesday, Spaghetti

Most kids are CRAZY for meatballs and for a little math, you can incorporate some fractions when preparing them. Serve with fresh veggies or salad.

14 ounces ground beef
3-4 T fresh flat-leaf parsley, chop
Minced garlic clove
1 egg
Ground pepper
Dusting of flour on a plate
1 onion
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
2 T olive oil
Few rosemary sprigs
2 ¼ cups strained tomatoes
14 ounces spaghetti noodles
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

Put the ground beef into a large bowl, add chopped parsley, minced garlic, egg and season with ground pepper and mix together with your hands.

The math: Have your kid(s) help you divide the mixture into half, then into quarters and then into eighths (like you would cut a pie). Then roll eight balls and roll lightly in flour and place the meatballs in the refrigerator.

Cut onion, carrot, and celery. Heat oil in heavy pan and then add vegetables and cook on medium-low for about 10 minutes until soft. Push veggies to the side or remove temporarily and cook the meatballs until browned on one side (approx 5 min.) and then carefully turn with tongs or spoon, continuing to brown the meatballs. Then add the rosemary and strained tomatoes, simmering for another 40 minutes. Remove rosemary sprigs from sauce. Cook the spaghetti. Serve sauce and meatballs over noodles, topped with parmesan cheese. Twirl and enjoy!

Gazpacho Soup, Serve with fresh bread or Hummus & Veggies/Pitas
4 cups tomato juice
2-3 cups freshly diced tomatoes
1 small, minced onion
½ - 1 cup cut green or red pepper (to your preference)
1 clove minced garlic
1-2 diced cucumbers (depending on size and your taste)
2 chopped scallions or 1 leek
juice of lemon (you could add half and then add more to suit your taste)
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1/4 cup freshly-chopped parsley
1 T. basil chopped
1 fresh jalapeno chili chopped (or less/more to your taste)
Dash of ground cumin
Dash of tabasco sauce (or less/more to your taste)
2 Tbs. olive oil
Salt & black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and chill for at least 2 hours. Preparing the day before allows for extra essence and layers of flavors. If you prefer a smoother soup, you could puree part or all of soup in a food processor or blender. I prefer the texture of all the super fresh vegetables!!! The trick will be whether the kids will embrace or reject the texture.

Thursday, Roast Beef
French Dip

I’ve been craving a good French dip sandwich, and what kid doesn’t LOVE to dip! We’re going to try Rachel Ray’s version this week with green beans from our garden.

Friday, Fresh Fish
Fish Tacos
Our kids LOVE fish tacos. I used to think, why would I want to eat fish tacos when I could just enjoy a filet? Now that we have kids, I figured it out! Kids enjoy fun “packages of treats.” Even if your kids don’t typically gravitate towards fish, using a lighter fish in tacos is worth trying. We often make an avocado and mango version, but that is definitely not local to our area. Instead we are going to take more of a pico de gallo approach. Serve some chips with the dinner and let the kids first dip their chips in the pico de gallo "salsa" to experience it with a safe and familiar chip before having it on a taco. I'll cut up a zucchini, toss with a little olive oil and will roast for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees for an additional side.


1-2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped (depending on size)
½ onion, chopped
4 T cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped (or less/more to your taste)
juice of one lime
1 T olive oil
1 garlic clove minced
corn kernels (if desired)
kosher salt and pepper to taste

3 T olive oil
3 tilapia or white fish fillets (about 8 ounces)
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in pan. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Cook fish 2-3 minutes per side until it is done and then cut into small pieces.

The tacos can also be topped with your choice of fresh cheddar cheese or queso fresco. To heat corn tortillas, heating directly over a gas flame on a stove offers more pliability. But you can also use a little olive oil in a pan and then keep warm in foil/the oven. Or wrap the corn tortillas in a damp kitchen towel and microwave for 1 minute.

Saturday, Chicken
Roasted chicken, with Cauliflower Puree and a Salad
We have a rotisserie feature on our grill that we don’t use enough, so we are going to give it a try this week. The same recipe can also be used in the oven. We’ll use the extra chicken for chicken quesadillas for an easy dinner Sunday or lunches next week.

3 pound roasting chicken
1 T butter, room temperature
1 T Herbes de Provence
2 t kosher salt

The day before, mix herb-seasoned butter and rub on chicken under skin and on outside of each chicken. Truss chickens by tying legs together and tying wings flush to sides. Store in referigerator over night. Let chicken get to room temperature (approximately 30 minutes) and then put on rotisserie. Maintain heat of 400 degrees, roasting for about 50 minutes. Cook chickens until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 170°F. Turn off grill, but do not open. Let chickens rest in covered grill 10 minutes.

If using oven, truss chickens, preheat to 450 degrees, roast for about 50-60 minutes until thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh registers 170°F. Remove from oven, baste with juices and let rest for 10 minutes.

Cauliflower Puree
Visit this week's upcoming Friday post for the recipe.

Sunday, Ice Cream
Go to your favorite ice cream store or make your own.

All you hungry children come and eat it up!

saved by the menu plan

I forgot to tell you - your spaghetti recipe saved me during a moment of last minute supper-making despair! I hadn't planned dinner, but had a stack of fresh tomatoes from the garden and some pasta. Spaghetti sauce - yes, but recipe?! Voila! and there it was. :)

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