Monday’s Menu

I harvested all our basil on Saturday- and just in time as some of the leaves were already starting to turn brown from the cold. I read it was supposed to get down to 36 degrees, but I don’t think it actually did. The basil doesn’t really like it in the 40’s either, so it was time anyway.

With the basil I made 10 more small glass containers of easy Frugal Pesto for the freezer and dried a batch for the spice cabinet as well.

Have you ever dried herbs you’ve grown or bought? I used to think it was not worth my time since herbs are pretty inexpensive at the store (well, at least if you buy them in bulk…). But then I tried it and was amazed at the difference! The home-dried basil was so much more aromatic and flavorful than the basil from the store- and it stayed that way for a long time in storage, which surprised me.

Which makes me ask: exactly how old is the basil we buy in the stores?

Anyway, if you have herbs and you haven’t tried drying them before, I encourage you to and see for yourself the difference- I think you’ll be amazed, too.

I’m looking forward to our annual “girls weekend” with some of my family – it will be a nice break, I think. I’m not going to plan the menu for Brian and our daughter for the weekend, either. I think I’ll let them figure it out on their own- it’s always interesting to hear what they came up with when I get back. *smile*

Monday- Slow Cooker Italian Sausage Vegetable Soup, Easy Artisan Bread

Tuesday- French Beef Stew, mashed potatoes, green salad

Wednesday- 3-Cheese Macaroni (hmm, this is an Everyday Food recipe that makes extra for the Chicken and Sausage recipe on Thursday, but I can’t find it to link after looking all over the site- sorry!), chopped bean salad

Thursday- Chicken Sausage & Spinach Alfredo (using leftover cheese macaroni), Caesar salad

Friday- Jami’s gone (I’m thinking they’ll BBQ Salmon burgers….)

Saturday- Jami’s gone (betcha they’ll do hotdogs…)

Sunday- Leftovers or spaghetti using yummy Roasted Tomato Sauce






  1.  says

    Jami, you are all set for the week and foods that require basil :-). I am so impressed with your orginization skills. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  2.  says

    I love home-dried herbs. I do a lot of around-town scavenging for stuff like that. A lot of stores have herbs like rosemary growing decoratively that gets no chemicals applied to it. Most of the time, simply asking if they mind me picking some gets an invite to grab as much as I want. I even get apples, pears, and plums like this too, with some people even offering me a ladder to make it easier.

    Stopping by from menu plan monday.

  3.  Anonymous says

    Anonymous said…Hi! Love your blog. I use lots of herbs but have never dried my own. Do you just hang them to dry and then chop and put in package? I was given mint and basil for my garden this year and they did great but just went to seed ~ hoping next year I can do something with them. Thank you! Dawn ~ [email protected] ~

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Monday’s Menu

The rain has been steady the past few days with predictions of continuing rain for the next week. And while the temperatures aren’t terribly cold, the wetness sort of seeps into your bones.

I’ve been told that if you get lost in the woods in Western Oregon, it’s the chill from the wet that will kill you- even as the temperatures remain in the 40’s and 50’s. Therefore, the number one safety item to carry with you is a black plastic garbage bag to use as a poncho (number 2 is a whistle).

Don’t say there’s never any important information here at An Oregon Cottage!

What does this have to do with my menu? Warm, comforting food is in order.

That, and it’s no time to be planning a picnic in the woods, I guess.

Monday- Chicken & Lime Enchiladas, refried beans, rice (mixed with salsa), green salad

Tuesday- Hamburger Veg. Soup (replacing the potatoes with beans), artisan bread, veggie plate

Wednesday- Roasted sausages, carrots, potatoes & cauliflower (I’m going to make it like this, but with winter-available veggies started roasting a bit earlier); Orange-Almond salad

Thursday- Baked chicken legs (marinated in a Moroccan sauce I was gifted), Oven-Baked Risotto, Broccoli & Garbanzo bean salad (just what it sounds like, mixed with grated Parmesan and a vinaigrette, with maybe a few chopped pickled peppers thrown in).

Friday- Homemade pizza (I’ve got some cheese sticks I’m going to roll in the crust to make a cheese-crust pizza, which my kids will love!), carrots & celery

Saturday- (guests) Big pot of slow-cooker chili made with leftover pulled pork, ground meat, corn, and beans; salad, cornbread with honey-butter, cookie plate (using frozen goodies from Christmas!).

Sunday- leftovers






  1. says

    Yum,all that food sounds delicious..and I’llremember the next time I get lost in the forest of Western Oregon to bring a whistle and a garbage bag :) :) That actually sounds like a good tip…especially since I live in Southern Oregon :) :) Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

    p.s. It’s been nothing but wet here too. I still hold out hope for some snow…but not sure if I’ll get it!!

  2. Diana (Di) says

    I’m coming to your house for dinner. ;) everything sounds delicious. By the way, the sun is out and I’m headed out to greet it.

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Monday’s Menu

We’ve got so much going on this month that I’m sure if I didn’t have a menu we’d be getting “quick food” way more than we should. Since we’ve never spent a lot of time eating out, it probably wouldn’t that as much as some easy prepared foods from the grocery like precooked chicken or nachos every night.
This would be especially sad at this time of year because now is the time I need to start being a bit more systematic in using up frozen and canned foods from last season. The freezer needs to be defrosted before the new season’s bounty starts filling it up again, so I like to have the frozen things used up by the middle (or end, realistically…) of June. Except for meats, we pretty much eat fresh in the summer and fall, so this is prime time to clear out the freezer.
I start really using my freezer-door chalkboard now, trying to be more diligent in marking off the items as I take them out of the freezer so I can plan our menu around the what’s left that needs to be used. What’s in there now is a bit of our roasted tomato sauce, quite a few frozen berries (hello smoothies!), some corn, jalapenos & anchos, and some shredded zucchini. Hmmm…maybe corn salsa, and cream of zucchini soup?
We’ll see.
Monday- Chicken salad sandwiches on homemade bread, chips, carrots (youth night)
Tuesday- Slow cooker: Garden Chicken Dinner (new recipe…), updated artisan bread, chopped corn salad
Thursday- Shrimp & Asparagus over White Bean Puree (new- doesn’t that sound interesting?), artisan bread, spring green salad
Friday- eat out (my birthday!)
Saturday- Turkey burgers on homemade buns, oven fries, carrots, etc.
Sunday- leftovers




  1. says

    I’ve been doing the freezer cleaning thing lately as well – and trying to use up those last bits of produce before the garden starts producing again. I wish we could eat totally fresh for the next few months – we’re not quite there yet – but it’s coming!

  2. says

    Good heavens someone who actually plans meals ! A foreign concept to me, I am a think about one meal an evening planner. You are an inspiration ! Gina P.S., Happy Birthday soon !

  3. says

    Duh – why didn’t I think of that? Another great tip from you. Use April, May and June to clean out the garage freezer – defrost and then start filling up again. Brilliant. Totally doing that. Looks like we’re having green bean something for dinner this week and I have a bunch of frozen odd-end breads that need to be grounded up for bread crumbs.

  4. says

    Melinda- You’ll get there- it’s a good spot. ;-)

    Gina- I used to do meals one day at a time (and occasionally still do if I’m in a mood!), but it wasn’t good for our budget, or regularly using what we had. Plus I dreaded that 4:30 “what am I going to make tonight?” moment each day- even worse when it came at 5:30 or 6:00!

    Sarah- Thanks!

    Annie- Oh, good, glad you found it useful.

    Jean- It was a tiny little recipe from Sunset that they didn’t have on their site when I looked. I’m changing it to use shrimp and if it’s good, I’ll put it up! PS- No worries :-)

    Shannan- you are good for my psyche, woman! Thank you. :-)

  5. Jenelle says

    Another tasty week at your house! I’d love to hear how the Shrimp and Asparagus over White Bean Pure turns out. Sounds pretty good to me.

    Happy early birthday! :)

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Monday’s Menu

Well, the biggest surprise from the menu last week was how much I liked the Zucchini, Corn, and Tomato Saute (I think I called it a salad, but it’s really a saute). I’ve yet to fined many cooked zucchini dishes that I like (it’s so easy for it to become smooshy…), but the zucchini is diced and mixed with corn, tomato, onion, and feta cheese and cooked just briefly. Oh. My.

It’s my new favorite and I’ll be posting the recipe in the next couple of days.

OK, before the menu I have to share what I think is my most embarrassing kitchen moment ever. Let me set the stage.

We had an old college friend for dinner last week and he and my husband were sitting at the breakfast bar while I made dinner so we could all talk.

Now, we’ve noticed that the flies since we moved out where there are horse pastures all around us are more numerous. We get large ones, medium ones, and tiny ones that like to fly into your ears. Every time someone opens a door, they come inside and we find we have a hard time keeping their numbers down inside, though we try. The sound of summer has now become the “thwack” of a paper hitting something with a fly on it. Lovely.

Anyway, I’m breading some chicken for dinner as this friend and my husband are watching. I’ve gotten out the baking sheet and put it on the counter in front of them, then turn around to get something from the fridge. My husband comes in the kitchen and I hear a “clap” and then laughter.

Turn around and see him pick a dead fly off the baking sheet, apologising to our friend and laughing about his dinner “out in the country.” He washes the baking sheet.

I start to bread the chicken. I’m literally shooing flies away as I’m doing it. For some reason they were pretty bad that night. It figures.

I get done with the chicken and am putting the last piece on the sheet when I see a tiny fly on one of the other pieces. I try to shoo it away.

It won’t move. I guess the chicken was really good.

I try again. It flies to another piece. I try to shoo it from that one.

Let me mention here that both men are watching as the fly lands on both pieces. I’m laughing nervously.

Now I’m getting desperate and I’m having to actually PUSH the fly off of the chicken, knocking the breading off in the process.


He just moves onto another piece. I finally had to PICK IT UP WITH MY FINGERS! I threw it (and the breading clinging to it…) away with a very awkward laugh while I’m thinking, “what do I do? I can’t take the breading off the chicken and put it back, can I? Do I just cook it?” At least my husband was able to wash the sheet when he had a fly on it – I can’t wash off breaded chicken!

Meanwhile, our guest is laughing (politely?) with my husband, who’s saying something comforting like, “What a great story you can tell your wife about eating out in the sticks” using a thick southern accent.

Anyway, with a red face, I just stuck the chicken in the oven hoping the high temperature would negate the effects of the fly. Or at least make us think so.

I don’t think I’ll forget the incident for a long while though.

No body tells you things like this when you’re dreaming about moving out “to the country.”

Monday- *Layered Cobb Salad, Black-eyed pea chopped salad, grilled bread

Tuesday- (company over) Pork, pepper, onion kabobs, *Zucchini, corn, & tomato saute, Rice pilaf, Cabbage & herb slaw with oranges, *White Zucchini Cake with broiled frosting

Wednesday- Chicken curry, Rice noodles, Asian Slaw with peanuts

Thursday- Garden vegetable stir-fry, Chicken pot stickers, Baked noodle pillow

Friday- trip to the coast (bring cinnamon rolls!)

Saturday- coast

Sunday- coast

*Look for recipe soon!






  1. Emily says

    We’re loving the flies in our country home too. Glad to hear I’m not alone!! I ended up hanging up one of those ugly sticky fly traps. It’s working well. :)

  2. Anonymous says

    It’s good to hear that everything isn’t always perfect in the kitchen at the Oregon Cottage (not that I would mind if it is–I would love to spend an afternoon there, I’m sure it would be soul soothing!). But what I really wanted to tell you was a trick for keeping out flies. Not sure if it will work in the country, but it worked okay on a relative’s houseboat the other day–the french doors were left wide open an the food was out on the table. David’s cousin filled a quart ziploc baggy full of water and hung it in the middle of the doorway. He claimed that, because the fly has “multi-eyes,” the water confuses them and they “see” a whole wall of water. Not sure if that’s really true–but we had VERY few flies come through the door. Country flies may be smarter–or just more numerous! (P.S. Ben has been catching flies with his fingers since he was about 3. The other day he discovered that he could freeze the fly for a few short minutes,and when he pulled it out, it appeared dead, but after a minute or two in the sun or with Ben breathed on it it would “come back to life.” Very helpful, that boy. We gave firm instructions that there were to be no more flies (or any other creatures) put into the freezer from now on!)

  3. Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

    Thanks for the tip! I do remember a restaurant we went to once that had a baggie filled with water hanging in the open doorway and we didn’t have flies at our table. I’ll have to try that.
    Emma did the fly-in-the-freezer trick once and that was enough for me- yuk.

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