Clockwise from top left: oven fajitas, spaghetti & meatballs, breakfast potatoes & eggs, vegetable korma
Last week I mostly stuck to the menu. I didn’t take a picture of the hot dog meal. I misread the vegetable korma recipe and peeled way too many potatoes, so we had breakfast for dinner one night (not on the original menu). And I didn’t make the pumkin and black bean soup because really what I wanted was pumpkin chili, and for that I needed ground turkey. Also I scheduled that recipe for Thursday, which is a no cooking day since I am out of the house from 7:15 am to 9:30 pm. Michael can obviously choose to cook something for himself that day, but more often than not there is a ton of leftover food available. And I’ve acknowledged that I usually just have to purchase at least one meal on that day — I’m not organized enough to manage packing three full meals. But overall I stuck to the menu and we didn’t eat out (aside from my day on campus).
This week I’m planning to take advantage of the extra day off and make up two recipes ahead of time, which should significantly cut down on our cooking duties the rest of the week. I’ve also got two soup/stew recipes on the menu for the week — it’s that time of year and since we love them, I decided not to worry about feeling repetitious. Do you have anything exciting planned for the week, meal-wise?
- Meatball Subs, Salad, Berries
- Turkey & Pumpkin Chili (make ahead), Cheesy Cornbread
- Baked Spaghetti (make ahead), Steamed Broccoli
- Squash and Chickpea Curry, Rice
- Stuffed Pepper Soup, Salad
- hard boiled eggs
- salad base
- chex mix
- veggies for various recipes
- ham, broccoli & cheese egg muffins
Happy Birthday to me! Actually my birthday was Sunday, but still. 🙂 I am trying to stick to a plan of not eating sweets or desserts except on Sundays, which might be a little tricky this week but I plan to persevere. This is also the week that classes and my internship starts back up, so my schedule is getting amped big time tomorrow. These meals are pretty easy and Michael will be cooking some of them, so I’m banking on starting the semester off on the right foot and NO TAKEOUT this week.
Anyway, here is what’s on the menu for this week:
- Sunday: Birthday Dinner Out
- Monday: Hot Dogs, Carrot Sticks, Clementines (this was the result of getting stuck in some ridiculous traffic)
- Tuesday: Vegetable Korma, Mustard Seed Cauliflower, Rice, Naan
- Wednesday: Oven Fajitas, Coleslaw
- Thursday: Pumpkin Black Bean Soup, Salad, Cornbread
- Friday: Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad, Garlic Bread
And here is a quick look at the meals I managed to make last week:
I never got a picture of the chicken soup, but we had it. And a lot of the sides just didn’t happen or we went with super easy stuff because of the plague that had settled over the house. But more or less I followed the plan! Yay!
Y’all, I have been stupidly sick since last weekend. Among other things, I am so disappointed that the beautiful week of free time that would allow me to be productive turned into a week of convalescense. I still have a cough, but I’m hoping that things have turned far enough past the corner that sleep and breathing is a reasonable expectation for tonight. So, although that really isn’t an intro for this recipe, I can say that this is a very easy recipe to follow even when you’re feeling seriously under the weather. It also has good things in it — greens, garlic, olive oil — that I think nourish a body.
This recipe is from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, which was my staple cookbook during and immediately following college and grad school. It still contains many of my favorite recipes. As may be expected, I follow this (and any) recipe loosely, tonight using arugula and frozen spinach for the greens, cottage cheese for the ricotta and adding a bit of parmesan to the sause in addition to sprinkling it on top. I also used just 12 oz of pasta and since I didn’t really measure* my greens (or, lets be honest, any of the ingredients), I ended up with a decent amount of leftover sauce to throw in the freezer. This really tastes like the greens you use. It’s not a cheese sauce with some greens added to it. So please take that into consideration if you make it — this is not going to taste like spinach mac and cheese.
Pasta with Greens and Ricotta
Serves 6 – 8
- 1 bunch watercress (about 1 cup chopped), stems removed
- 1 bunch Swiss Chard, tough staks removed (about 4 cups chopped0
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- dash of salt and ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 lb pasta (short and chunky works best here)
- grated Parmesan or crumbled ricotta salata, chopped tomatoes, and/or toasted walnuts to serve over top (optional)
- Bring a large covered pot of water to a rapid boil.
- While the water heats, rinse the watercress and chard well, shake off any excess water, and chop corasely.
- Saute the garlic in the oil for a minute, until soft and golden, taking care not to scorch it. Add the damp greens and saute, stirring often, until they are wilted but still bright green. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and remove from the heat.
- In a blender, puree the cooked greens with the ricotta until smooth and evenly colored. Use pasta water to thin if necessary (I have used up to 3/4 cup). Add more salt and pepper to taste.
- When the water boils, stir in the pasta, cover, and return to a boil. Then uncover the pot and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and immediately toss wiht the sauce in a warmed serving bowl.
- Top with cheese, tomatoes, and/or nuts.
According to the cookbook, the nutritional breakdown per 8 oz serving is:
313 calories, 12.2 grams protein, 7.5 grams fat, 49.3 grams carbohydrate, 200 mg sodium, 12 mg cholesterol
*I eyeball, and I’m fairly accurate, but it’s not an exact science.
Ugh. We ate out quite a few times this week. Crappy fast food, too, which is convenient in the moment but always makes me feel a little gross afterward. Not I think solely because of the food but because the food is greasy and heavy and shoved into a random opening in my schedule, which make the process of eating it stressful as well. My schedule now includes an every-other-Saturday obligation related to my internship, which cuts into my food prep and grocery shopping time and really impacts how much I get done. So. I’m not quite sure how we’re going to manage that, but it seems like freezer and crock-pot meals might be the most helpful for that week. Actually, when I did cook this past week it mostly involved the freezer. We had the baked spaghetti twice and then used the Encrusted chicken breasts for meals twice as well. They are okay, but I don’t think I’ll buy them again.
I did end up spending a bit more on groceries than I had tallied last weekend. As I thought, I needed half & half midweek and also bought a small bunch of bananas. The total for that purchase was $3.25. I forgot that I had ordered some spices from Penzey’s, mostly for holiday gifts, but I stupidly did not double check my inventory of spices because I was convinced that I NEEDED more cinnamon. And I do prefer this particular kind of cinnamon, but it was a dumb purchase because in addition to the small jar I have in the spice cabinet, I already had TWO bulk size jars in the pantry. So I spent $11.29 on fancy cinnamon that I don’t need. I think I am going to give my nieces and nephews a cooking/baking kit for Christmas, now that I have so much cinnamon to disperse…sigh. And then my hormones were running wild this week so my emotions were also going crazy and I indulged in some candy for a little emotional eating. That was $4. So I went $15.50 (or so) over my monthly budget. Not the end of the world, but I feel like I bought dumb stuff or made stupid mistakes, which is annoying. Honestly I care less about the money and more about giving in to emotional food cravings for such total crap. I’ve gotten back into the habit of tracking calories and that was kind of a depressing series of entries, lol. Next week and next month will be better, though, as I have a strategy for my new schedule (I think).