Sunday Morning Meal Planning

I owe a quick Disney clean-up post, and a much belated New Years’ Resolutions post, and also want to share some photos and stories about this year’s Mardi Gras – which had some really special moments.  But first, it’s been a while since I did a meal planning post and the boys are occupied right now and there’s some stuff I’ve made recently that you guys HAVE TO try.

Creamy one-pot garlic parmesan orzo with spinach and mushrooms. I live with people who don’t particularly love mushrooms, but once in a while I make them suck it up because I love them.  I truly think I could become a pescatarian and replace chicken and the occasional beef with mushrooms, salmon, and shrimp every day of my life.  But Jack’s allergic to shrimp and salmon is expensive and I’m the only one who likes mushrooms so basically if I die of a heart attack at age 40 from eating too much meat, you know who to blame.  Anyhow.  I made this dish with quinoa instead of orzo, mostly because I didn’t have any orzo and couldn’t find it at Costco.  It worked just fine, and it was really, REALLY good.  I did have to add a little more liquid – I think quinoa soaks up more than orzo – but that was fine.  I had the leftovers for lunch all week.  I served this with garlic bread – I buy crispy baguettes from Costco, then mix spreadable butter with fresh pressed garlic and stick it under the broiler for a bit.  Divine – way better than what I used to do, which was sprinkle garlic powder onto the butter.

Country captain chicken.  I had neither raisins nor slivered almonds, so I made this without those.  I think the raisins – or at least something sweet – would have cut the acid of the tomatoes in this one, so next time I make it I’ll make sure to pick some up.  But this was quite unique and good – a pretty fragrant mix of spices (nutmeg on chicken . . . not a common choice).  I made it with couscous and with roasted chunks of squash/zucchini, drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

PW’s mac and cheese with garden vegetable mix-ins.  I had a ton of cheese that had been cut for a Mardi Gras party that few people came to due to rain, so I needed a cheesy recipe to dump it all into.  I like PW’s mac and cheese because of the egg and mustard – it makes it creamier and with a little bite.  I made this mac and cheese as-is, and in a separate pot threw diced up carrots and broccoli for about two minutes, then thin half-moon slices of squash and zucchini (the Costco bag of squash and zucchini is substantial so we have had it a lot), then at the last minute swirled in some chopped bell peppers and spinach.  I added these barely-cooked veg to the mac and cheese along with halved cherry tomatoes (I let them just warm up in the already-hot mac), and served it up without doing the baking part.  Really great comfort food.

Black bean tostadas.  These I made up, late last night.  I drained a can of black beans and put it in a pot to warm, threw in some cumin/oregano/chili powder (the holy trinity of Mexican spices) plus a little water, and mashed it all with a fork. I spread it on a tortilla, sprinkled with shredded cheddar, put another tortilla on top, then whacked it in a frying pan of hot oil for a few minutes each side til it was crispy.  Blotted the oil with paper towels, and served it with (what else?) a fine dice of squash and carrots, sautéed in a little butter.  (Guys we have just three squash left and my goal is to get through it before it goes bad.  The Costco Produce Dilemma – so cheap, so fresh, so MUCH.)

I’ve made some other things recently also, but these were hits and I just had to share.  As to the coming week – below is the plan.  It’s a less busy week than I’ve had since probably November some time, and God I hope it stays that way.  I’d love to come home at a decent hour, sit for a second before having to leap directly into making dinner, have our nightly meal before 7:30 pm, continue to work on a puzzle the boys and I are doing.  (This puzzle is THE WORST – it’s printed with the illusion of 3D and the picture changes as you move left to right, and so almost impossible.  I’m addicted to it.)

Broccoli quinoa casserole.  I also bought a bag of Costco broccoli, so we’ve got to use it up, and this is an old fave.

Tortellini soup.  I’ll probably make this without the sausage, since I don’t have any on hand but I’ve got everything else.

Roasted chickpea gyros.  I’ve got some chickpeas left over from a chickpea curry I did the other week (really good – I hate tofu’s texture so its hard to find meat alternatives for some meals, but I’m starting to take a shine to chickpeas).  I may do something like this with them – a little different, pretty tasty, healthy!

12 minute chicken and broccoli.  Two things I (Costco) have a lot of (Costco) besides squash (Costco) are chicken and broccoli, so this seems like a good use of them.

And we’ll eat out one night this week, because it has literally been about three weeks I think?  A couple of times we’ve intended to go grab a burger or whatever, but for one reason or another (sick kid, rain, finding shoes is hard), we’ve bailed and just made something at home.  This is great, don’t get me wrong, but I want someone else to make some food for me one night this week.

OK.  Time to go get ready for the day.  Stay tuned for a Mardi Gras update, a New Years’ resolution post (I made them months ago, just never wrote them down!), and other updates, coming soon!

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