Happy New Year!
My sister gave me a blank recipe book for Christmas. I promised my mother I’d fill it with recipes and give it to her. If all works well, I can give her the book and a link to my Springpad! At least then she’ll be able to read my recipes. I’m trying to update them and comment on them as I use them; in most cases this also means minor alterations due to either goofs on my part (leaving out a recipe, misreading when it’s supposed to go in, etc), or simply having to substitute ingredients due to costs.

Monday menu planning with the Organizing JunkieThere’s another round of clean-out-your pantry going on out there in the Internet (as hosted by Jessica at Life as Mom and Crystal at Money Saving Mom). I’m not going to partake; but I am trying to design meals around what I have rather than what I need.

I’m still trying to finish off the little bottles in my fridge; but there’s only so many uses I can find for hot and savory sauces. Friends comment that my fridge is always full to bursting; I tell them to look again just before I go shopping — it gets pretty empty around then.

As always, lunches are leftovers. Snacks are fresh fruits/vegetables with simple dips. Breakfast is toast & natural peanut butter or oatmeal. My drinks of choice are tea, diet coke and water (unfortunately, in that order). I’m trying to stay away from deserts for a while, but (considering the number of dead bananas in my fridge), I can see myself making a loaf (or two) of banana bread.

Sunday
4
Chicken Cassoulet, steamed broccoli
The dish took a fair bit of time to assemble, but I was able to do it with company in the house. I cooked way too much and will be eating the leftovers for lunches this week. It’s a very hearty meal, but a bit bland for my tastes. Cheese helps, but I’m wondering if some of the spicy pastes in my pantry wouldn’t help more.

Monday
5
Steak Fajitas.
Served atop flour tortillas (warmed in the stove), these are filled with a mixture of sandwich steak, bell pepper, salsa, and sour cream. Just one problem — I’m out of tortillas. I made quesadillas for friends on Saturday and that used up my supply. I found a recipe online, so this might just work.

Tuesday
6
Fish sticks, steamed vegetables, basmati rice
I’ll make the rice with chicken broth & herbs; mostly just to give it some flavour. As to the fish sticks – they’re store bought.

Wednesday
7
Turkey Scallopini, buttered noodles and green salad
I have a package of Turkey Scallopini in the freezer that’s been there a while. This is another easy meal. The noodles are whole wheat egg noodles that I’ll cook up and add a bit of thyme and butter to flavour. The green salad is dressed with a red wine vinagrette.

Thursday
8
Cracker crusted fish, risotto and steamed vegetables. Banana bread.
Every time I put this recipe on my menu, something happens. Last time we ran out of crackers for … um … some unknown reason. Still, I want to use up the fish in my freezer — so crackers or no crackers — it will be eaten on Thursday.

The banana bread is technically for Friday night; but it has to be tested before I can dole it out to friends.

Friday
9
Santa-Fey Chicken Chili with cornbread biscuits. Banana bread (leftovers).
Chili always pleases a crowd. Ideally, I’ll have everything mixed up and cooked before leaving the house in the morning. I realized this weekend that, whenever I bring soups, stews or chili’s (or even wet ingredients for a meal) to serve to people, I pack the food hot in to freshly-washed mason jars. The results are easy to carry and I never worry about leakage.
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