Monday, January 23, 2012

Comfort Food

I just finished my meal planning and cooking/baking schedule for the week.  This is something I highly recommend everyone do.  I make mine on Sunday, and I plan out 5 dinners for the week along with a schedule for cooking crackers, bread, yogurt, granola, etc.  This week I have all new dinners planned for the McGhees and some fun recipes I can't wait to share with you all. 

The beautiful thing about planning out my menu is that it makes grocery shopping a breeze.  I go through each recipe, and make note of what I need.  This usually ends up with me cleaning/organizing my fridge and freezer as well.  Oh, and I ALWAYS reuse whatever leftovers I have.  For instance, I still have italian beef left over from last week so I am going to use that in tomorrow night's dinner.  I also have unmashed beans leftover from last week's taco night, so I will be reusing those as well.  I froze both of the beans and italian beef, so I need to make sure I defrost them. 

I recommend writing your meals into your calendar/planner.  And, I really recommend having a cute and functional planner.  Your life will be more organized for the simple fact that you will want to relish in it's cuteness by visiting it often and writing everything down. 

Oh, and the BEST part about giving up processed foods and doing menu grocery list is short and we are saving some serious money!  Yeah, more money to spend on a new spring wardrobe put in the mini McGhees' college funds. 

Yesterday was Sunday and we headed to my parent's house for dinner.  My mom made some good ole' homestyle turkey and noodles and I brought artichoke bread pudding from Circle B kitchen.  I will say this recipe turned out okay.  There was something missing.  I will definitely make it again, and make some changes...probably more spices, less bread.

Artichoke bread pudding
  • 12 to 16 thick slices of dry bread
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 cups of canned or frozen artichoke hearts, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced (if using artichokes)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (such as chives, parsley and tarragon; or sage, thyme and marjoram)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • 4 ounces fontina cheese, large grates
  • 4 ounces asiago cheese, large grates
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small bits
INSTRUCTIONS: Place the bread in a single layer in a shallow dish. Pour 2 1/2 cups milk over the top. Let soak until the bread has absorbed the milk and becomes soft, about 30 minutes. Press the bread slices to extract the milk. Measure the milk; you should have 1/2 cup. If not, add milk to make 1/2 cup. Set aside.
Heat a small amount of olive oil or butter in a small skillet and saute the sliced garlic until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Do not let it brown. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 3-quart mold - a souffle dish works well. Beat together the eggs, salt, pepper and the 1/2 cup milk until well blended.
Set aside a few of the artichoke slices to use for the top. Layer one-third of the bread in the prepared dish. Top the bread layer with half of the remaining artichoke slices, sprinkle with the sliced garlic and then half of the mixed herbs, and sprinkle one-third of each of the cheeses over that. Repeat the layers, using half of the remaining bread, all of the remaining artichokes and herbs, and half of the remaining cheese. Arrange the remaining bread on top, strew the remaining cheese over it, and garnish with the reserved artichoke slices. Pour the milk-egg mixture over all, then dot with the butter.
Bake until the top is crusty brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

My sister brought roasted garlic lemon brocolli from  It was delish and I will definitely be putting it into our rotation.  I wish there had been leftovers because I would love to know how it tasted cold the next day.
  • 2 heads broccoli, separated into florets
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, toss broccoli florets with the extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper and garlic. Spread the broccoli out in an even layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until florets are tender enough to pierce the stems with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and transfer to a serving platter. Squeeze lemon juice liberally over the broccoli before serving for a refreshing, tangy finish.               

Off to the kitchen....tonight's dinner, yogurt, bread, and maybe crackers!