Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Quick Beer Brats and meal plan

Tonight we had a simple, quick dinner of Johnsonville Beer Brats with peppers, onions and mozzarella on hoagies, because we had to run to Home Depot to shop around for a new water heater. Ours has been in the house since before Johnny bought it (10 years ago) and certainly looks it. It leaks on and off, and we tighten a nozzle for a quick fix, but the puddle slowly travelling towards the drain grate in the basement floor the past week has alerted us it is officially time for a new one.

My menu this week is a little ambitious, so today I took some time to prep - Robin Miller style! I'm going to be making Biz's homemade pizza. I've never made my own bread or dough, outside of dessert ones, so I'm a little nervous - but I have high hopes because hers always look so good! I'm also going to be making gnocchi from scratch, following 101 Cookbook's recipe.

I'm going to make my dad's eggplant parmesan that we had during our visit at the end of December. I've been a little bummed in the Italian-style cooking area because so many cheeses don't agree with Johnny. A lot of things I make now I've taken parmesan out of, or replaced breadcrumbs, etc. and they just don't taste the same to me, as true home-made Italian food. But, Johnny tried out my dad's dish -with no substitutions or adjustments-, really loved it, and didn't have any trouble with the paremsan, so I'm excited to try it on my own! I bought the quality parmesan, instead of the little shaker container, to see if that will affect the outcome of a whey problem. I also wracked my brain and am going to add a little tweak so I can use this week's BSI - zuchinni!

Last, I'm going to make some crab cakes. I'm a seafood girl through and through. I grew up on the coast of North Carolina, always eating the freshest of everything, sometimes only a few hours off the end of my dad's fishing pole, or out of grandparents' crab pot. This midwest flash-frozen stuff just doesn't cut it and I can certainly understand why a full-blooded Chicagoan, like Johnny, doesn't like seafood. But, I've slowly introduced tidbits here and there and he's been welcoming and even enjoyed some of them. Last time I made crab cakes they were well-received, so I'm happy to be cooking them again!

We shopped this week on a Sunday night, which is a new one for us. We were both up and full of energy so it seemed like a smart idea to get it out of the way before the work week started. I thought our grocery store was 24 hours, but apparently that's only during the week. Once we got in the store, the loudspeaker let us know we only had twenty minutes! We rushed around, dividing up the list and did a great job - leaving the store with 5 minutes to spare! I ended up saving $9.22 in store card savings and $5.75 in coupons I brought to the store. Our receipt also had a phone number to take an automated survey about the shopping experience. It only took 3 minutes and I get a FREE loaf of French bread with my next purchase!


Anonymous said...

Yeah! I can't wait to see how your pizza turns out. Seriously, it is no fail - and I love the fact that you don't have to wait around for it to rise!

Great shopping and planning - you definitely save more money that way - good job!

Anonymous said...

We used to spend summers in Virginia where our grandpa would buy bushels of just caught crabs, we would cook them in a huge pot on an outdoor fire pit, and eat them at picnic tables lined with newspapers and cans of melted butter! Where did you grow up specifically in North Carolina? We've spent summer vacations in Nags Head North Carolina. Those are the best memories!