Menu Plan

Happy Sunday! And happy fall! I’m loving the cooler mornings but not the fact that it’s getting darker earlier… I’m officially into #PumpkinEverything season. I don’t care if pumpkin’s not cool anymore, I love it anyways! Last week Ben went to Target and bought me a box Pumpkin Spice Cheerios. Find yourself some… they are SO good! Way better than the Pumpkin-O’s from Trader Joe’s. And on that note, enjoy the meals this week. I’m super intrigued by that sweet potato salad, and can’t wait to make my Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting… it’s one of my favorite fall dishes!ūüôā Yum-o!

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Monday

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Tuesday

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Wednesday

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Thursday

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Friday

  • DAY OFF – Go out to eat or order in!

Saturday

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Sunday

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Side Dish

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Dessert

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

This week’s meal plan was brought to you by:

Big Bear’s Wife | The Pajama Chef | Pies and Plots | The Cooking Actress | Foodtastic Mom | The Spiffy Cookie

Pin this to your meal planning board for easy access all week long!

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers! Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

 

Book Review: Kitchen Matrix

Check out one of Mark Bittman’s latest cookbooks, Kitchen Matrix.¬†It’s a great visual cookbook that fans of Bittman will enjoy.

Check out one of Mark Bittman's latest cookbooks, Kitchen Matrix. It's a great visual cookbook that fans of Bittman will enjoy.

A description of the book from the publisher:

Bestselling author Mark Bittman anthologizes his popular Matrix series in a boldly graphic new cookbook that emphasizes creativity, improvisation, and simplicity as the keys to varied cooking.

For years, Mark Bittman has shared his formulas, recipes, and kitchen improvisations in his popular New York Times Eat column, in which an ingredient or essential technique is presented in different variations in a bold matrix. Accompanied by striking photographs and brief, straightforward instructions, these thematic matrices show how simple changes in preparation and ingredient swaps in a master recipe can yield dishes that are each completely different from the original, and equally delicious. In Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix, Mark’s matrices come together to create a collection of over 400 flexible recipes covering vegetables, fruits, meats and chicken, and even desserts. Whether you’re cooking up soup (creamy, brothy, earthy, or hearty), freezing ice pops (in fruity, savory, creamy, or boozy varieties), or preparing asparagus (steamed, roasted, stir-fried, or grilled), following Mark’s approach to culinary improvisation will deliver stand-out results.

As usual, my five point review:

  • I have been a fan of Mark Bittman for awhile. I enjoyed his column in¬†The New York Times, and of course his¬†How to Cook Everything¬†series is great. His views [along with Michael Pollan’s] on the American diet, processed food, and cooking have shaped my food philosophy quite a bit over the past seven years. I like Bittman’s approachable style, and the flexibility he gives to home cooks. For those of you not familiar with his cookbooks, they are recipes that contain lots of suggestions [i.e. for this rice dish, use these ingredients to make it Asian style, these to make it Italian, etc.]. I know newer cooks [or those who don’t like to be told what to do] really benefit from that approach.¬†Kitchen Matrix¬†is no different.
  • Kitchen Matrix¬†is only about 300 pages long, but it has over 700 simple recipes in it that everyone, no matter their food style [paleo, omnivore, vegetarian, etc.]¬†will love. Wow! The size, like all his cookbooks, is a little overwhelming but he breaks down the categories of recipes well–appetizers, vegetables, meat, fruit, etc. In many ways, this could be a replacement “bridal shower” cookbook for creative types instead of the typical Betty Crocker title.
  • This cookbook is by far the prettiest of any of his books. It looks more like a blog than a cookbook, with tons of full color illustrations, recipes, and commentary. It is so fun to just look at, even if you don’t plan to cook anything! You also can learn quite a bit about flavor pairings, ingredients, and basic cooking skills within this book as well. Bittman generally provides flavor profiles beyond just the “American” palate, including profile options for¬†Mediterranean, East Asian, South Asian, and Latin American cuisine.
  • The layout of¬†Kitchen Matrix does take some getting used to. Pages are oriented both ways [left to right and top to bottom]. Some recipes aren’t given in typical recipe format, but rather in paragraphs. But neither of these elements are deal breakers for me!
  • Overall, this is a great cookbook. I pull it out when I want to get creative in the kitchen, or when I have basic ingredients on hand and don’t know what I should make for dinner or for a side dish. For me, it’s not the best cookbook to go to when I don’t have¬†any inspiration at all because it definitely is a bit open ended, but it’s a fun cookbook to have on hand.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to for the chance to read this great book!

Curried Lentil Soup

Easy and flavorful red lentil soup…this curried red lentil soup is simply the best!

I already showed you the soup along with this fabulous hearty Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread… and now here’s the recipe! This Curried Lentil Soup is also fabulous. Why would I share anything less than fabulous? Ha! Lentil soup is always a go-to vegetarian soup because it’s filling and flavorful without meat. This time, we’ve taken a regular ‘ole lentil soup and added red lentils and a south Asian flavor profile to ¬†make something extra special.

Easy and flavorful red lentil soup...this curried red lentil soup is simply the best!

If you’re a fan of dal, you’ll like the soup. The flavors are incredible–garlic, ginger, onion…and of course, curry! There’s nothing better on a cold night, especially when served with some hearty bread. Mmm! The fact that this soup is made in about 30 minutes, thanks to the magic of the microwave [Iiiiiiii know–I never use the microwave in cooking, but it’s magic here], is an added bonus. Perfect for busy weeknights! Hope you guys enjoy!

two years ago: Honey Cornbread
three years ago:¬†Sweet ‚Äėn Spicy Apple BBQ Chicken & Slaw
four years ago: Peach Raspberry Clafouti
five years ago: Peach Shortbread
six years ago: Tropical Granola

Curried Lentil Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Print

from Jenna’s Everything Blog

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 8 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 – 15 ounce cans petite diced tomatoes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • cilantro, chopped
  • plain yogurt

Directions:

In a large bowl, microwave lentils and half of the broth for 10-12 minutes, until liquid is mostly absorbed

In a stockpot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion for 5-7 minutes, until soft and translucent. Season with pepper to taste, then add garlic, ginger, and curry powder. Cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add the microwaved lentil mixture to the pot, then add the remaining broth and tomatoes. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, seasoning with pepper as desired.

Serve with cilantro and plain yogurt.

 

SRC: Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread

Hearty and savory pumpkin bread… this is a recipe you don’t want to miss!

Hearty and savory pumpkin bread... this is a recipe you don't want to miss!

Hey everyone! Welcome to another SRC post! This month I was assigned to Smruti’s blog,¬†Herbivore Cucina. As with most food bloggers, Smruti¬†loves to cook–and the more unconventional the recipe, the better! Though she lives in the US now, she is originally from India so she has a wide variety of Indian and international recipes on her blog. Everything sounded SO good that I had a tough time deciding between Indian dishes like Layered Vegetable Biryani, Cilantro Coconut Chutney, and Oats and Dry Fruit Chikki… or Pizza Buns… or finally, Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread. I had to go with the seasonal favorite, ya know?ūüôā

Hearty and savory pumpkin bread... this is a recipe you don't want to miss!

This bread is so simple to make, and so delicious. Though there are a lot of steps involved with making a yeast bread, every time I make one I wonder why I don’t do this very often. It’s just mix, knead, rise, shape, rise, and bake. And then enjoy! If you have a stand mixer, it’s even easier because the mixer does the kneading for you.ūüôā This bread is way different from your average sweet pumpkin bread… but yummy in its own unique way. Of course, there is pumpkin pie spice to liven things up, yay!¬†I served this hearty pumpkin bread with one of my favorite soups that has yet to make the blog [SOON! I promise]–Curried Lentil Soup. And if you’re waffling between adding the seed topping or not–DO it! It’s well worth the extra effort, even if you have a baby you’re trying to entertain in the meantime. Enjoy! Thanks, Smruti for the great recipe.ūüôā

two years ago: Sausage and Ranch Potato Skillet with Fried Eggs
four years ago: Peach Ginger Pie
five years ago: Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad
six years ago: Chili Burgers

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Print

from Herbivore Cucina

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet yeast [2 1/4 teaspoon]
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/4 cup water, heated to 110-115 degrees F
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour [I used 1.5 cups whole wheat and 1.5 cups white whole wheat]
  • 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • toasted sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds, optional

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, honey, 1 teaspoon salt, and water. Stir together and then let rest for 5 minutes or so until yeast is frothy. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together flour, vital wheat gluten, and pumpkin pie spice. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin and olive oil.

When yeast is frothy, add flour and pumpkin mixtures alternately, stirring with paddle attachment until combined. Then, use the dough hook to knead bread dough for 7-8 minutes, until a soft dough forms. Remove dough and place in a greased bowl. Cover and place in a warm spot to rise for about an hour until, doubled in size.

Punch dough down and let rest for 5 minutes. Grease a 9×5 inch bread pan with cooking spray, then shape dough into a log and place in bread pan. Sprinkle seeds on top, if desired, gently pressing in. Flip dough and sprinkle the other side with seeds too. Cover bread pan and place in a warm spot to rise for another hour.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-18 minutes, until top is golden brown. Place pan on cooling rack to cool completely before cutting, about 3 hours.

Be sure to check out all the other SRC recipes today at the link below:

Menu Plan

Happy Sunday! Are you ready for a delicious week ahead? I know I am! It’s so fun that it’s getting *just a bit* cooler out so we can make SOUP for dinner now. Last week I made some curried red lentil soup that I¬†love [and will have to share the recipe soon. This week, my black bean soup is up for Wednesday. You need to make it this fall–it is so hearty and flavorful! Enjoy, friends!

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Monday

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Tuesday

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Wednesday

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Thursday

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Friday

  • DAY OFF – Go out to eat or order in!

Saturday

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Sunday

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Breakfast

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Dessert

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

This week’s meal plan was brought to you by:

The Spiffy Cookie | Foodtastic Mom | The Pajama Chef | Big Bear’s Wife | The Cooking Actress | Pies and Plots

Pin this to your meal planning board for easy access all week long!

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers! Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!