I think every year I decide to try and make a conscious effort to make meal plans and grocery shop for those meal plans and make the meals I’ve planned and not waste food. It’s something that I hate doing and usually I’ll do an alright job for a few months and then everything will fall off the rails because I’m tired or busy or depressed and then it’s back to eating pasta three times a week. It also doesn’t help that kids are so weirdly picky and it can be discouraging to slave over some meal only to be confronted by several variations of “Calvin-face.” And I never know what will be a hit; for example this week Nicky went wild for the white chicken chili but Gwen wouldn’t even try it, and the next night Gwen devoured her entire serving of bacon & cheddar quiche and Nicky threw all of his on the floor.
But you soldier on, and over the past year or so (lol this has taken a long time ok) I’ve started to get better at cooking and DARE I SAY even found satisfaction and enjoyment in it. And I think that is reflected in the quality and variety of the meals I’m making, which in turn leads to my kids actually eating and enjoying them. I’ve had some real flops and missteps along the way but I feel good about the progress I’ve made and continue to make.
Historically I’ve posted my meal plans in advance but for some reason when I did that I never actually made what I’d planned out? I don’t know why. So going forward I’m going to share what I made the week previous so I can discuss what worked, what flopped and what was an unmitigated disaster.
Sunday: grilled steak, baked potatoes and roasted purple cauliflower What can I say, I’m a sucker for purple vegetables! I basically used this recipe (I was short on time and thyme so I left out the latter and skipped the onion) BUT I feel like this cooking time was WAY too long? After 35 minutes my cauliflower was definitely overdone, like I think 20 minutes before adding the parmesan would have been more than sufficient. I never seem to have very good luck with recipes from Epicurious, but I think I would try this one agin, with all the ingredients and just a shorter cooking time.
Monday: fettuccine with seven pepper sauce I hadn’t made any fresh pasta since last summer and I couldn’t remember what recipe I used then so I tried a new one but it didn’t really work for me. I think the proportions were off somehow, so the dough was too soft or something? When I rolled it out as thin as I wanted it the noodles wouldn’t cut all the way through in my machine. I had to re-roll it more thickly and even then I had to hand-cut a lot of these. The sauce was amazing though; just the simple Marcela Hazan tomato sauce with seven roasted peppers added. You could use fewer roasted peppers but like… why would you want to???
Tuesday: white chicken chili I actually made this from a soup mix that had the white beans and a very generously sized seasoning packet. The instructions called for 5 cups of water, a diced onion, 1 1/2lbs of chicken breast, and 7oz of mild green chilies but I was worried it would be a little boring so I made a couple changes. I replaced 1 cup of water with low-sodium chicken stock and added 1 cup of corn, a handful of frozen greens (it’s a mix of kale, chard and spinach I keep for smoothies and I MOSTLY added it for visual interest), and a teaspoon of smoked salt. I wish I’d had some green bell peppers to add as well but overall this was great!
Wednesday: bacon & cheddar quiche this was good but I didn’t make enough! I’d wanted to make my own crust from scratch but the grocery store by my house had delivery issues this week and ran out of butter! So I had to use a premade crust that was too small. I also meant to pick up some microgreens to make a side salad to go with this but I was out with all the little kids and it was pouring with rain and I was so focussed on getting home that I… forgot. TERRIBLE. But yeah, this was just a basic quiche with cooked bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and a lil green onion. With the salad it would have been a perfect meal.
Thursday: Annie’s bunny pasta with cheese On Thursdays Taylor and I eat takeout later, without the kids, so we usually let Gwen pick what she wants for dinner, which is usually some kinda macaroni and cheese.
Friday: pizza night! Making homemade pizza from scratch on Friday nights is something I started doing a few months ago. I use this recipe for the crust and bake it in a cast iron pan as per these instructions, and it always turns out great! This time I actually made three different sized pizzas in three different cast irons:
• large with carmellized shallots, yellow pepper, cocoa tomatoes and fresh basil
• medium with carmellized shallots and pepperoni
• small with carmellized shallots, pepperoni and cocoa tomatoes
These were all good but imo the vegetarian one was the best! I’m still on the hunt for a good sauce recipe (right now I’m using a bottled one) so if you have any recommendations let me know!