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Monday, August 25, 2008

Menu Plan Monday: August 25 (with Reviews)

I finally made the Crockpot Indonesian Chicken I did it as written, except we were out of peanut butter, so I used almond butter, added red pepper flakes, the juice of a lime and sesame seeds. It did need some sugar, perhaps because we, too used natural nut butters with no sugar added, so I added about two tablespoons of brown sugar, and would add a quarter cup next time. It was delicious, but so salty! I think I would add a little more liquid in the form of chicken broth as well, just to keep the sauce from thickening too much, but that might be because of how quickly it cooked. On low, mine cooked in less than five hours, and that was with starting the chicken from frozen. So, watch your pot.

Also, the Crockpot Gyros? Complete winner. We used half beef and half lamb. This is the third recipe I've used from this blog (each time I've changed them a little, but the spine has been good on all of them), and we've enjoyed all three. I was worried that making the gyro meat in a crockpot would taste steamed and not like the stuff we get at the $2.99 gyros joint in University Place (which is really good, but nothing else there is good, only get the gyros), but it was just about perfect. We definitely beat $2.99 a piece, too, and we made a ton. I made sure to cook it on high, since in my experience cooking meat on high in the crock makes it firmer than cooking on low. However, because I made about three times as much as she did, it ended up taking a little longer to be cooked all the way through, probably another hour, so keep that in mind if you make a larger portion. I added about two teaspoons of salt to the meat, also (for three and a half pounds). I made my laban bi chiyar, rather than her recipe for the tzatziki (do I look Greek?), and I took the opportunity to make harissa, because I've been craving it and this was a good excuse to make some. We rounded it out with lettuce, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese and we used the onions and garlic from the crock in it, too. Everyone loved this.

Since we found these

at our local market for an incredible deal, we scrapped our dinner plans Friday and made these little water bugs, with blanched broccoli raab and garlic cooked in good olive oil, served over pasta with shavings of parmesan cheese, a salad on the side and marionberries and cream for dessert. It was so good. It isn't every day that you find jumbo fresh water prawns. With the heads. And legs. And claws. For less than $9 a pound. It was a splurge, and I only picked up eight of them, but it was a nice addition to our dinner. They turned bright pink and the blue legs/claws turned dark red when we cooked them. We ate them like mini-lobsters.

I also found out that their regular price for local, live mussels was really inexpensive. It is nice having a real local market. They know us, everyone there is cheerful, smiles at you, jumps in to help out, they are trained extraordinarily well. They know about their products, they have tons of samples, because their products are high quality and sell themselves and they are willing to get things for us that they don't have. Also, the produce guy told me when the best time was to come to pick up the discarded greens to feed our poultry. Their prices do tend to be higher, though not always, but so is the quality, and if you shop judiciously, you can still keep a good budget. Since they select locally grown/raised/produced as much as possible, we do try to get those things as much as we can afford. If you live around the Peninsula area, e-mail me and I'll tell you how to get there. If it requires crossing the bridge, you're probably better off going to Metropolitan Market so you don't have to pay the toll.

Since we had lots of leftovers last week, and with our menu change Friday, I've put some repeats on this week.

What is on your menu this week?

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Oh my goodness! Love the pic of the water bugs although that was a bit scary first off. haha. The menu and meals sound delicious.

another meal planner
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