Monday, May 16, 2011

Menu Planning Monday

I know, I know this is supposed to be a writer's blog.  But writer's have to eat too, and if you're a mother and a writer you're probably all too familiar with the sinking feeling of, "Oh no, it's Monday again....what nutritious meal can I make that my whole family will enjoy, can be made quickly enough not to interfere with soccer/swimming/softball/piano and will also provide the holy grail of eagerly anticipated leftovers." 

Last night I was sitting at my desk trying to plan around those guidelines and it hit me.  A Monday morning meme dedicated to foolproof recipes.  You can post them on my blog in the comment section, or better yet post them on your blog and let me know.  I'm hoping to mine the collective conscience of friends, fellow bloggers and writers in charge of preparing family dinner.  Of course my motives are purely selfish-I want to be free from the tyranny of meal planning! 

My first recipe is an easy make ahead from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.  My kids call it pizza soup.  The recipe makes a big batch so I make it ahead and stick the rest in the freezer to pull out whenever we need a quick healthy dinner.  Supplement it with a cheese quesadilla and it's well-balanced meal.

In the pot before it's blended.
Roasted-Tomato Basil Soup

3 lbs ripe tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons good olive oil
1Tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper (sometimes I skimp because my little guy doesn't like it too spicy)
2 chopped yellow onions
6 minced garlic cloves
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I go light here too for the same reason)
28 oz canned plum tomatoes in their own juice
4 cups fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or dried if I'm out of fresh)
1 quart chicken stock (or water if you're a vegetarian)

Preheat the oven to 400.  Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread the tomatoes in one layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes. 

In an 8 quart stockpot on medcium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2T olive oil, the butter and red pepper for 10 minutes until the onions start to brown.  Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme and chicken stock.  Add the oven-roasted tomatoes and liquid on the baking sheet.  Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill and adjust seasonings.

Okay, final note-I have a hand blender that I just stick in the pot and it blends everything up.  If you like soup a hand blender is an invaluable kitchen tool that will be well worth your investment! 

Hope your family enjoys this as much as mine does and looking forward to seeing all of your great recipes!


The Bookworm said...

This sounds good! I know how hard it can be to cook simple, nutritious meals that the whole family will enjoy. Thanks for sharing :)

Jo Schaffer said...

Yumminess! (= Those hand blenders are sooooo handy!

Johanna Garth said...

Naida, I know!! It's my least favorite thing about Mondays.

Jo, hooray-a fellow hand blender lover. Wait, that doesn't sound quite right...but you know what I mean! ;)

Michael Di Gesu said...

You are so right Joanna. We have to keep up our strength to write for hours on end.

It's so nice to finally visit you. Sorry it's taken me so long.

Unknown said...

this is a hard one....I have to say, not a week goes by that I don't pick-up a rotisserie chicken at costco.
Little guy likes just plain chicken, medium sized guy likes a sandwich or a leg. My husband takes pride in coming up with something new every time. Me, I couldn't care less. Pour me a bowl of cereal any day.

Johanna Garth said...

Hi Michael, thanks for stopping by!

Lizy, I think my problem is I'm too much like your husband-always obsessed with coming up with something new!