As mentioned last week, potty training a toddler evaporated my energy to the point I couldn’t quite get posts updated and recipes written. I decided to give myself a break and write-off the recipes from last week, so I’m starting this week with a clean slate- on which I think I managed to cook pretty spectacular pictures.
I think last week’s lunches were such a hodge-podge of whatever I could scavenge that my menu this week was unconsciously developed around the leftover potentials- I have 3 meals that involve slow-cooking large portions, and will store well for lunches through this week and next. Overall, it was a good week; I think my pictures have improved somewhat, too (doesn’t that taco look really good?).
Week of January 22:
Sunday: Panko and citrus crusted salmon, cabbage salad, quinoa, and broccoli (recipe here)
Monday: Pita chip chicken and eggplant caponata
Tuesday: Grilled ham and cheese, with roasted red pepper tomato soup
Wednesday: Shredded pork tacos, with pickled cabbage
Thursday: Super-duper healthy chili and baked potatoes
Friday: Chicken soup w/ matzo balls
Sunday’s salmon was a great recipe, even if the fish itself was a bit dull and flavorless. I’ve heard disparaging comments about quinoa and so should mention how I make it. If you still think it tastes like cardboard, then you just don’t like quinoa and should use some other hearty grain- like barley or wild rice. Boil 1 1/2 cup water or broth for every 1 cup of quinoa. Add grain, cover, and turn down the heat to simmer for about 20 minutes- stirring occasionally. When it’s done, the liquid should be completely absorbed. To serve, drizzle with a good portion of quality olive oil and add salt, pepper, and garlic salt.
You can also eat it like oatmeal- just add a little brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup and some nuts and dried or fresh fruit. Just be sure that you cook it in water- NOT BROTH- if you plan on doing this. This is a truly nourishing breakfast, and travels well. I think the picture on the left is actually farro, rather than quinoa, which works well, too, and I find even tastier. Both are whole grains with tons of protein, but farro (and barley, which is easier to find than farro and very similar) has a nutty flavor and is less granular than quinoa.
Monday’s chicken is one of my family’s favorites. It’s got the crispiness of fried chicken, without the fried-ness. While not the epitome of a healthful diet, it’s likely a win with picky kids (and picky grown-ups, too). I enjoyed the eggplant caponata, though neither the Ninja or PMM did- the Ninja isn’t a huge fan of vinegar, and this does have a definite acidic bite to it. I had leftovers for lunch on Tuesday mixed into the leftover quinoa, and it was fabulous. I know the raisins seem like a strange addition, but they actually really complement the vinegar.
Tuesday: who doesn’t like grilled cheese? Add grilled thick ham slices, fancy whole grain bread (the kind from a bakery) and a carton of pre-made low-sodium roasted red-pepper tomato soup, and you have an upscale version about which I’m not embarrassed to write. I particularly like to generously sprinkle Italian seasoning on the buttered bread before grilling, and into the soup for an extra earthiness to the otherwise single-note flavors. This was an easy night, and there were definitely no complaints, and no leftovers.
Wednesday’s meal I basically made on Tuesday night after the kid was asleep. I set up the steamer to ‘Boil/Simmer’ for 4 hours (after which time it ‘Keeps Warm’) when I went off to work on Wednesday. Arriving home to the smell of cooked food is indescribably lovely. I had to shred the pork, and if it hadn’t been for a toddler insisting on potty breaks literally every 2 minutes, that wouldn’t have taken long. We now have plenty of leftover pork- that will be re-invented as enchiladas next week.
I have tried numerous recipes for pork in my not-quite-slow-cooker, and I think this is the family favorite. The recipe is here, though I did sub a 3lb pork loin (leaner meat) and use prechopped garlic in a large quantity (I think about a tablespoon). The grocery store was out of red onions (really, Ralphs?) so I used some of the remaining red cabbage from Sunday night instead and it worked well.
Thursday’s chili was an experiment. I wish I had thought to take a picture of the blender prior to blending, but we basically decided to use chili as an excuse to eat more veggies.
Since this has been a week of slow-cooker meals (without actually owning a slow-cooker), I will make chicken soup Friday. I am sautéing a tub of chopped onions, celery, and carrots with a bunch of chopped herbs (I have a lot leftover, so I’ll just throw them all in). To this I will add a lot of liquid- 1 quart water and 1 quart pre-made chicken broth- and one whole chicken (innards removed). This will cook on boil/simmer in my steamer for 4 hours, after which time it will keep warm until I arrive home and complete the meal by making matzo balls (from the recipe on the side of the box).