the great menu exchange

by @according2kelly on August 23, 2010

according to the calendars, january is the start of the new year. but let’s be serious – we all know that the new year really starts in september… that’s when we swap lazy days at the pool, for our hectic & busy schedules, complete with packing lunches, carpools, after-school activities & homework filled nights.

i don’t know about you, but i for one am just a wee bit nervous. i’m the first to admit, this summer i’ve let things slide… just a touch. my house seems to be in a state of constant disaster, the laundry piles up too quickly to even put it away, & let’s just say there hasn’t been much of a “dinner plan” since early june. but don’t worry, i have a plan – & it involves YOU!

as much as i wish there was a dinner saving superhero, i’ve done the research – & let’s just say he doesn’t exist. praying to the dinner gods & making a wish for a dinner menu to magically appear doesn’t work either. so, i’ve finally concluded that it’s time i buck up, put in the time & effort and develop a dinner menu. because we all know… deciding what to make for dinner is much more difficult than actually whipping up a meal.

but let’s be honest. whipping up one (or even two, or three) weeks of menu plans is easy. but once you’ve run out of your favorite, go-to, tried & true meals, menu planning starts getting a bit more difficult. but… what if everyone developed a menu plan, composed of their favorite, go-to, tried & true recipes? and then (hold onto your horses, this is where my plan gets really good), what if we all swapped said menu plans? a menu exchange of sorts?

so here’s the plan… after the huge success of our virtual soup exchange, i figure – let’s take it one step farther, let’s go all the way… let’s exchange ENTIRE menus. just imagine, a collection of weekly dinner menus, made up entirely of people’s absolutely favorite recipes?! never again, will you be scared to hear the words “what’s for dinner?”

ready for the details? your participation is simple, totally easy & practically pain-free…

step one: develop one (or more) week’s worth of dinner menus comprising of your family’s favorite, go-to, tried & true recipes.

step two: post your dinner menu(s) to your blog, including (or linking) to the recipes. (if you don’t have your own blog, no worries. just skip this step).

step three: leave a comment, email (accordingtokelly {at} gmail {dot} com), or tweet me (@according2kelly) your dinner menu & recipes, or the link to your dinner menu post, to me at , by thursday, september 2nd, so i can compile them all & make a download-able cook book for all to enjoy! (& of course, i will contribute all recipes to whomever submits them, after all, they are your dinner menus & your recipes. so please, let me know how you want me to refer to you… for example – menu & recipes submitted by kelly of www.according-to-kelly.com).

woot! woot! i’m getting super-duper excited. an entire cookbook chock full of entire week’s worth of dinner menus, comprised solely of people’s absolute favorite recipes?!  sounds like dinner will be planned for months… or at least it will be if one or two of you play along.  run along now, let’s start exchanging menus. already, my menu plans are forming in my head – planning dinner is so much easier when you limit the menu items to just your favorites.

image via anne taintor

21 comments
WillaHodges30
WillaHodges30

I had a desire to begin my own commerce, but I didn't have got enough of cash to do that. Thank heaven my close dude proposed to utilize the mortgage loans. Therefore I received the auto loan and realized my dream.

Jennifer
Jennifer

awesome idea! Count me in if I can figure out how to do it. Funny tink is I just found your blog today while looking for the recipe for Cafe rio rice. can't wait to see how this goes so excited. I have to get things in order this year.

jessica
jessica

the best I can do for you here is give you the phone numbers of all the restaurants I go to.

Courtney
Courtney

Great idea! I will post this on my blog soon! Thanks

Mindy
Mindy

Great idea. I'm in!

Chantel S
Chantel S

I am so glad it isn't just My house that has lost all control and reason...Sound Like the best idea I have heard all Summer!

jackie
jackie

what a great idea! can't wait to see what everyone comes up with! i am in for sure...

Stephanie Preira
Stephanie Preira

Great Idea! Submitted by Stephanie of http://creativelycuttingcorners.blogspot.com/ Here ya go: Fontina & Sundried Tomato baked Pasta Ingredients 1 pound uncooked penne 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 ounce) 3 cups fat-free milk 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded fontina cheese 1/4 cup (2 ounces) mascarpone cheese 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Sundried tomatoes garlic Cooking spray Breadcrumbs 1 tablespoon butter 1 small garlic clove, minced 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley Preparation Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; keep warm. Preheat oven to 350°. Saute garlic and sundried tomatoes until soft. Remove from heat. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and milk in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk. Cook 10 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat; add cheeses, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Stir in salt and black pepper and sundried tomato mixture. Add cooked pasta, stirring to coat. Spoon pasta mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Stir in breadcrumbs until well combined. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture evenly over pasta mixture. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley. Carrot Soup recipe Peeled 5 lbs of carrots Cut into thirds. Use one large onion. Cut into quarters. On medium heat cook with 1 stick of butter, cook onions until opaque but not browned. Add carrots, a one tablespoon of thyme, a tsp salt and a tsp of sugar and stir. Add 2 48 ounce cartons of chicken or vegetable stock 1 ¼ cups of rice. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer gently to cook carrots. (At this time the rice will also be cooked.) Puree (you can let it cool down before pureeing, but then reheat gently) You can stop here. OR you can use more stock if you need to adjust consistency or add about two cups of heavy cream (I added heavy cream.) Blackened Tilapia Recipe Ingredients: 4 tilapia 2 tablespoons paprika 2 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons lemon pepper 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper 1 1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed basil 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 cup unsalted butter, melted Heat iron skillet on high 5 minutes. Mix all seasonings in a bowl. Dip fillets in melted butter and coat with seasonings. Place fillets in hot skillet and cook 2 minutes on each side. Cheesy Baked Tortellini: Ingredients: Olive oil 2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves 1 pound purchased cheese tortellini 2 ounces thinly sliced mozzarella 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil an 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. Whisk the sauce, mascarpone cheese, parsley and thyme in a large bowl to blend. Cook the tortellini in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 2 minutes. (Don’t over cook as they will cook in the oven) Drain. Add the tortellini to the sauce and toss to coat. Transfer the tortellini mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top the mixture with the mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheeses on top melt, about 30 minutes. Halibut with Balsamic Glaze Ingredients 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 2 to 3 tablespoons honey, depending how sweet you want it 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 garlic cloves, minced 4 (6-ounce) halibut fillets Nonstick cooking spray Instructions Whisk the vinegar, honey, oil, and garlic in a bowl. Arrange halibuts in an 8-inch square baking dish. Pour marinade over the fish, coating it completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. Preheat the broiler. Line the bottom and sides of a baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Remove fish from marinade, reserving marinade, and arrange the fillets atop the baking sheet. Pour the marinade into a heavy small saucepan. Broil the fillets until they are just cooked through and caramelized on top, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile bring the marinade to a boil and simmer until it thickens slightly and becomes syrupy, whisking often, about 15 minutes. Spoon off any excess oil from the sauce, if desired. Transfer the fillets to plates. Spoon the sauce over and around the fillets, and serve. POTATO ARTICHOKE CREAM CHEESE SOUP Ingredients 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 small yellow/white onions-chopped (you could use leeks too) 1 clove garlic, minced 2 medium potatos, peeled and chopped 1 (8-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed or 1 can artichokes (in water) drained 4 cups chicken stock 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 block softened cream cheese (regular or reduced fat) 2 tablespoons chopped chives or scallions, for garnish Heat olive oil in a heavy, large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and the garlic; stir. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the artichokes, stock, cream cheese, and salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Using a handheld immersion blender, or in a blender in batches (only fill blender 1/2 way and make sure the lid is vented so it doesn't explode all over the kitchen :), puree the soup. Sprinkle with a little chopped chives or scallion and serve! Vegetarian Lasagna Ingredients 8 cups marinara sauce 14 semolina lasagna noodles, cooked 14 spinach lasagna noodles, cooked Breaded eggplant 12 to 14 thin slices Provolone cheese Lemon ricotta mixture 12 to 14 thin slices of Mozzarella cheese 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated 1 cup basil, freshly chopped Directions In the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking pan, spoon 1/2 cup of marinara sauce. Cover it with a layer of 3 or 4 spinach lasagna noodles to cover the bottom of the pan. Pour 1 cup of marinara sauce over the pasta, followed by 1 layer of breaded eggplant (about 8 slices). Cover the eggplant with a layer of Mozzarella, about 6 to 8 slices, cover with sauce and a layer of semolina lasagna and spread the lemon ricotta mixture evenly over the top. Cover with a layer of spinach lasagna noodles (6 to 8) and a layer of Provolone cheese. Top with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Refrigerate the lasagna until ready to bake. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes at 350 degrees until bubbly and golden brown. Allow 15 minutes for the lasagna to set before cutting and serving.

Tashia D
Tashia D

Great Idea! I'm in and will start working on it tomorrow!

Amy Rosa
Amy Rosa

I am in to! Love the idea!

Previous post:

Next post: