Thursday, December 15, 2011

Menu Planning Thursday

Thursday is the day I plan my menu for the following week. I chose this odd day because Friday is garbage day and whatever I do not plan to use will be tossed (ugh). Also I am trying to reduce our waste be it food, toiletries, household cleaners, or other "stuff". For two people, we were creating a lot of trash and recycling. I have been working on creating recipes to use up odds and ends and small bits of leftovers.

I used the once a month cooking (OAMC) program for a quite a while and it was great. However, with a full-time course load of classes and a full-time job, I was always forgetting to defrost something. When I am finished with graduate school in 2013 I know I will go back to it.

Here is my dinner menu for next week:
Sunday: beef roast, glazed carrots, and mashed potatoes
Monday: "the sandwich" (recipe to follow)
Tuesday: chicken and rice casserole with steamed broccoli
Wednesday: beef tacos (using the leftover roast from Sunday), tomatoes, lettuce and cheese
Thursday: homemade mushroom and pepperoni pizza, salad
Friday: Korean BBQ (Bulgogi) with steamed rice, seaweed, and kimchi
Saturday: BLT sandwiches (to use up the tomatoes and lettuce) and fresh fruit

"The Sandwich" is something my family and I first had while visiting my Uncle Ron and Aunt Ginny in Colorado in the late 70's. It is typical of the decade -- too much of everything. What is it about winter that makes a large slab of bread with meat, cheese and veggies is so appealing?

1 large loaf of Italian bread (the taller the better - you'll see why)
1/2 to 3/4 of a lb of hamburger
1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce
butter or margarine
8 oz of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 onion diced
1 sweet pepper (any color that suits you)
1 lb of mushrooms
2 tsp of vegetable oil

Brown the meat, drain, mix with the spaghetti sauce, and set aside. Dice the onion and sweet pepper finely and slice the mushroom thinly. Heat a bit of oil in a skillet and saute the veggies until soft. You can also grate in a bit of garlic, if you like.

Next, slice the bread lengthwise so you have three long layers. Spread the hamburger mixture on the bottom layer and top with 1/2 the cheese. Add the middle layer and butter the top of it. Spread the veggies evenly over the buttered bread and top with the remaining cheese. Before adding the final section of the bread, butter it also.

My favorite part of this is the crusty edges, however, if you want to keep the bread softer, you can cover loosely with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees or until the cheese melts and everything is heated through. This will not freeze well but reheats beautifully wrapped in foil in the oven.


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