Menu Plan July 13 – 19

Wow…where did the week go?!  Our days have been very busy, despite the lower-key summer around here.  In Ireland, as in the rest of Europe, people really disappear for the summer.  They take a few weeks off, visit family, take a trip, and just generally relax.  Another benefit of getting several weeks of vacation each year!

This week, the post is more about what worked, and what did not.

Saturday – We did barbeque chicken with sauteed spinach and mushrooms, and fresh corn on the cob.  Fresh corn is hard to find here.  Usually it is sold “pre-boiled” at the store, in this vacuum sealed packaging.  I found fresh corn for about €1/ear ($1.30 – try not to be appalled at the price) at the local Polish store, so we enjoyed a rare treat here.

Sunday – Grilled Halloumi (a type of cheese) skewers with zucchini, red pepper, eggplant, and red pepper, with bulgur salad on the side.  Halloumi is a firm cheese that can be grilled, or cooked in a saute pan.  The kids have really liked this in the past, but this meal was a total dud this time around.  “I don’t like that.  Ewww. What else are we having?…”  Just in case you readers out there assume that my kids eat everything we serve. 😉  On a positive note, Isaac decided he likes zucchini now.

Monday – Meatless Monday!  We made a new pasta dish, Pasta with yogurt, peas, and chile.  It is adapted from another Ottolenghi cookbook, Jerusalem.  This was a big hit with the kids, and I liked that the pasta sauce was made from yogurt – less effort and less fat too.

Tuesday – Homemade soft tacos with rice and beans.  Since the Tex-Mex selection in Ireland is so lackluster, we make our own taco seasoning, Spanish rice, black beans, and salsa.  Making everything from scratch definitely takes more time than it would in the US, where great store-bought Tex-Mex ingredients can be found.  I used to make homemade tortillas, but the roti flatbread I can buy at the Middle Eastern shop is a great substitute.

Wednesday – Carrot Soup and Cheddar Souffle.  Ok, it was really warm, and I decided I didn’t want soup.  There are plenty of soup-worthy days in Ireland, but yesterday was not one of them.  We made breakfast tacos with the leftover tortillas, beans, and salsa.  Just add scrambled eggs!

Thursday – TBD.  Thawing a pound of “turkey mince” (ground turkey) as we speak.  Since writing the above, we made turkey burgers, sauteed the leftover Halloumi cheese, and served it with homemade burger buns, tomato and bell pepper salad, and mixed veggies (peas, carrots, corn and green beans.)  Not bad for a meal intended to use up the “bits and bobs” of leftover ingredients in the refrigerator!  Oh, and the kids are back to liking Halloumi again.  Sigh.

Friday – Pepperoni pizza, or maybe something more interesting, depending on what arrives in the CSA box!

Summer Grilling – Menu Plan July 6-12

I don’t know about you, but the weather here in Ireland has been GLORIOUSLY BEAUTIFUL for the past few days, and the good weather is supposed to last through the week.  We are taking advantage of the weather to do some grilling and enjoying time outside.  I’m actually a bit late posting this because I have avoided spending time indoors with my computer.

Saturday, July 6 – we spent the day in Skerries, on the coast north of Dublin, and I picked up some great Irish salmon, and mussels at the local fishmonger.  Mussels here are about the equivalent of $1.80 – $2.00/pound.  They are super fresh, and so easy to prepare.  We made maple syrup and ancho chile grilled salmon, grilled mussels, with honey mustard roasted potato salad.  To grill mussels, just clean and de-beard them, then toss on the grill for 5 minutes or so, until they are open.  That’s it!  It’s literally that easy.

Sunday, July 7 – Another great grilling day.  We made lamb burgers with grilled vegetables and pesto barley.

July 8 – Meatless Monday.  Fried brown rice with stir fried tofu, cabbage, and carrots.  The kids love tofu, especially when when stir-fry it with soy sauce and brown sugar, and it creates a sweet and salty caramelized coating on the outside.  I use the recipe out of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

July 9 – Pasta Bolognese from Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?  This pasta dish is quick, easy, and can easily be doubled for a crowd.  In the time that it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta, you can make a great bolognese sauce.  It is definitely better than spaghetti sauce from a jar, and only a few minutes more prep time.

July 10 – Tomato soup and onion galette. We tried tomato soup a few weeks ago, and the kids have been asking for it ever since.  We have an abundance of onions right now, so we’ll probably make an onion galette (free-form tart).

July 11 – Leftovers! Or baked potatoes…or both!

July 12 – Pizza – if this weather holds up, we might try it on the grill.

Ok – next week I really have to start adding pictures to these posts!


Back to the real world – Menu Plan June 21 – 27

We are back from our trip to the US (more posts on that later), and I am trying to get on top of the chaos in our house.  At this rate, I’ll never get completely unpacked before our next trip! (Not that it hasn’t happened before…noooo…not at this house…)

So, a basic menu to get us through the next week while we try to get back on Irish time, and settled into life here in Dublin.  Most of these recipes are easy, go-to meals.

Menu Plan

Friday – Homemade pizza night – pepperoni, onion, and mushroom.

Saturday – Grilled Polish sausages from our local Polish grocer, with “Green Pancakes” from Plenty.  The pancakes are savory, with spinach, green onions, etc mixed into the batter.  We’ll see how these go over with the kids. Usually they like things that are in patties – we have made zucchini and carrot fritters before, and those were a big hit.

Sunday – Roasted chicken with potatoes, and eggplant tricolore (also from Plenty).  Eggplant tricolore is a salad with roasted eggplant, bell peppers, and tomatoes.  It is a new recipe, so I’ll let you know how it works out.

Monday – it’s back to Meatless Monday.  As much as I love Texas beef, it will be nice to lighten things up a bit on Mondays again.  This Monday we’re having tomato soup with grilled cheese or grilled vegetable sandwiches.  I use the tomato soup recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone that calls for canned tomatoes…because the fresh tomatoes here are nothing to write home about.

Tuesday – Garden-style lasagna from CookingLight.  I have used this recipe for years.  It makes a ton, freezes well, and has a good balance of veggies vs cheesy sauce, so the kids like it as well.  My main alteration to this recipe is using full-fat cottage cheese instead of reduced-fat.  I found that the flavor is much better and the dish is less ‘watery’ than with the reduced fat cottage cheese. (Also, finding low-fat cottage cheese here in Ireland is a bit of a challenge.)

Wednesday – Leftovers Day!

Thursday – Usually frittata day, or maybe quiche or souffle.  It really depends on what we have around at the end of the week, but Thursdays have become our “egg night”.

Lunches – PB&J, white beans on toast (gag – I hate beans, but the kids love them), barley or bulgur salad for me, and something we don’t usually have in Ireland – tuna melts!  Tuna here is mainly sold packed in oil, not water.  I found some today (at Lidl, of all places!) that is packed in water, so I bought a few cans to try it out.

Here’s to a good week, wherever you may be!