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I am late with dinners this week because we had yet another four day weekend and I was busy playing Barbie Goes To The Doctor For A Routine Checkup And Gets Abducted By Unicorns Who Somehow Have Medical Degrees.

Also, I strongly considered seeing whether I could get away with not making dinner at all this week. But alas, I gave in.

We are going out three nights this week though, so that’s pretty close to just not cooking at all, right? One night, we are going out with friends and another night we are going out for my birthday dinner (Mexican food! Margaritas!) and another night we are going to try this local pizza place a bunch of my friends have been raving about.

Here’s what’s on the menu.

Dinners for the Week of February 20-February 27:

Note: I will be making mine with shrimp. This is my all-time favorite salad. The marinade for the chicken is SO GOOD. I like to drizzle it all over the salad. YUM.

Note: My husband asked for this specifically, and I aim to please!

Note: We have some leftover bell peppers from last week’s red curry, so fire fry it is! I totally screwed up the spice ratio last time I made this, so my husband made me promise to be more judicious in my spicing this week.

Note: These were SO GOOD when we made them a few weeks ago. We aren’t going out for dinner ON my birthday, so we’ll have these instead. Who says I can’t celebrate my birthday for multiple days?

 

Instead of birthday cake, I asked my husband if he would make this magical lemon pudding cake he made a few years ago. (NINE YEARS AGO. It has been way too long since I’ve eaten this magical cake.) I do not know if he has a recipe for it squirreled away somewhere, but it certainly looked a lot like this recipe from The Country Cook. (Although I don’t remember him using actual cake and pudding mix? But then again, NINE year ago.) Maybe it was this one, from Epicurious? Ooooh – or he could make little individual cakes, with this recipe from Once Upon a Chef! Well, I suppose I will leave it up to him. I’m pretty excited about it, though.

 

What are you up this week, Internet? Eating-wise or other?

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First, I love you. Thank you for your kind responses to yesterday’s crisis of parenting confidence. I read each and every comment yesterday and felt so understood and comforted. Also, Carla’s teacher noted today that a LOT of kids are off lately.  Some combination of recovering from all the illness going around and facing yet another dreary February day.  That helped, too. Today has not started out much better, but I didn’t cry, so we’ll call that progress.

Anyway. *Brisk clap.* No matter what emotional turmoil we’re facing, we still have to eat. So let’s plan some meals, shall we?

Tomorrow is my last day of this infernal challenge. It has been fun, if “fun” is a word you can appropriately apply to persistent headaches and an overwhelming longing for Diet Coke. And I am pretty sure if I tough it out for a week or so more, I’d be able to keep up with it. But I like carbs and I don’t want to cut them out entirely, nor do I want to live a wine-free life at this stage of my development, so I think I am going to stick to good ol’ calorie counting from here on out. But for tomorrow, I am going to make this FINAL sugar free option for dinner:

Note: Is this a complete meal? Shrimp and zucchini? Will my husband feel like there isn’t enough substance? I guess we’ll find out.

Follow Up: I made this version instead: https://damndelicious.net/2015/01/24/zucchini-shrimp-scampi/  It was DELICIOUS. Definitely filling, definitely enough for my husband and me. I will definitely make this again.

Then on Thursday, I am making Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (my own semi-homemade recipe, which is delicious) and we will get cake from our local bakery. Also, wine. And garlic bread.

For the remainder of the week (leaving a night for leftovers or going out):

Note: This is a tried-and-true FAVORITE in our house. I am going to see if this gets me back on the chicken train. (Ugh. The term “chicken train” is enough to make me leave the station again.) If not, I pack it with enough veggies that there’s no need real need for meat.

Note: This is another favorite. I use thyme or dill for the “herb” part of the herb crust. For some reason, Ina’s green beans and shallot dish is almost always the side I pair it with. It’s GOOD. And easy – especially because I don’t blanch the beans first. I just throw ‘em in with the sweaty shallots.

Note: Easy, delicious, healthy.

  • Black Bean Burritos

Note: I have missed eating legumes during this 10 day challenge. And cheese. Burritos are the perfect antidote.

I may also make a big pot of this for lunches next week:

 

What are you eating to combat the February Drears? Are you doing anything fun for Valentine’s Day dinner?

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My friend and I are doing ten days of no sugar/sweeteners, carbs, wine, or dairy because I enjoy self-torture. (Standard disclaimer, I am not a doctor and in any event I do not advocate cutting entire categories of food from one’s diet as a regular part of your longterm eating plan.) Basically, this means that I am trying as well as I can to eat only veggies, meat, nuts, and water for the next ten days. The lack of soda is so far the thing I miss the most, although I’m sure I will start pining for cheese any second now.  Seriously though, I am always up for a challenge, especially if said challenge will help me reset my over-reliance on cheese and chips. It’s just temporary, and I’m only on Day 2 and I hate life already, so we’ll see if I can even make it a week. (Although I made it a whole month without sugar, so I hope I can do this!) (Also, why do I do these things to myself????) Also, we have a date night this weekend and I can’t stand spending money on food I don’t like, so let’s call that a Planned Cheat Day.

Anyway, here is what I’m making for dinner this week (without any sugar/honey/agave, should those appear as ingredients):

Note: This cold weather has me craving two things: pasta and summer food. Let’s go with summer food this time since pasta is a no-go. This recipe sounds delicious. I might spice it up by adding in some bell peppers and throw in an avocado as well.

Follow Up: I don’t know why, but I didn’t follow this recipe AT ALL. Instead, I used this Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette for the salad and this spice rub recipe to flavor the shrimp. Then I followed these instructions for roasting shrimp in the oven. It turned out GREAT. Super delicious. And I didn’t even miss the honey.

Note: I always cut WAY back on the Chinese five spice powder because I find it easily overpowers the flavors. I will use some water chestnuts and leftover bell pepper to add some color to the lettuce wraps. If water chestnuts are a carb, I don’t want to know.

Follow Up: These are delicious but super messy. By the way, I use two whole packages of mushrooms because I love mushrooms. Also, keep in mind that this makes for a killer stir fry sauce after the fact. Usually, we eat all the pork… and then I make a veggie stir fry with the mushroomy sauce for lunch. There is a LOT of sauce left once the pork is gone.

Note: I will probably marinate the steak in the Italian marinade or the garlic and herb option from the link above. This Ten Day Challenge calls for no fruit, but I am making an exception for citrus juice used in marinades/dressings/this spinach recipe because I feel like it.

Follow Up: I used the garlic and herb marinade and it was super yummy. I used top sirloin steaks, which I prefer to flank steak. And I followed the instructions for oven roasting steak from this site to cook it. (I can’t stand searing meat first — yes, I admit it tastes better when you do that. But it makes such a huge splattery mess and my kitchen smells like Cooked Meat for days afterward.) The sautéed spinach was a huge disappointment. This is the second time I made it. The first time, I only made a little because I don’t typically like spinach and I was afraid I’d hate it and waste it. But I LOVED it. Then the next time… it was not good. My husband and I discussed it, and we think the first time success was a combination of low expectations and novelty. Too bad. Well, I can keep this on the back burner for if I’m REALLY sick of our standard broccoli, green beans, zucchini rotation.

Note: This is a new-to-me recipe but it sounds simple and tasty.

Follow Up: It WAS simple and tasty! Man, I love cod. It is pricey though. I got just over a pound of it for $16.95. (I got to the store so early, the fishmonger was just setting up his display of fish and didn’t yet have the prices up. And the last time I got there that early and asked him what the price of cod was, he got snippy about how he hadn’t had a chance yet to put up the prices. So this time I guess I would have spent WHATEVER IT COST just to not annoy him.) (I failed, by the way. I asked for a pound of cod; he put a piece that was a pound and a third on the scale and asked if it was okay that it was “a little over.” I said, no, I’d really rather it be closer to a pound. So he tried again. This time, it was a pound and a quarter. Still too much, I said. A) That’s an extra $4 and B) My husband and I can’t eat more than a pound of fish, even though we cut off a small piece and cook it for Carla who ignores it completely. Third time, it was 1.17 pounds and he didn’t even ask me, he just wrapped it up for me. SIGH.) (I know it was early and he was probably doing the very best that he can.) ANYWAY, this dish was delicious and easy. And it looked very pretty, with the little pile of asparagus on top of the fish, decorated with scallions and basil. The only thing that could have possibly made it better is if the “sauce” (literally just soy sauce) were a little thicker. I added a big blurp of sriracha to mine and that thickened it a little, but my husband is less interested in spice and he found it too thin to properly flavor the fish. Not quite sure how to fix that issue, though.

Note: I will be omitting the honey from the recipe above, but otherwise this sounds yumster. Or maybe I will marinate it in the chipotle marinade from my “steak marinades” link above. Hmmm… This is gonna have to be a game time decision.

Follow Up: I did end up using the chipotle marinade and it was DELICIOUS. Also, since my husband was on call and his arrival time was unpredictable, I sliced the zucchini lengthwise, cut up some red onions, put them all on a baking sheet, and drizzled them with olive oil and salt and pepper. Then I baked them at the same time that I baked the pork chops. The pork chops may have been a little overcooked by the time my husband got home, but everything was still very tasty. I doubled the chipotle in the marinade so that there was a little extra “pan sauce” to drizzle over the cooked pork. I love me a pan sauce.

  • Note: This week, I will skip the brown sugar in the sauce. Crud. I just looked and there is also sugar in the oyster sauce. Perhaps I need to rethink this meal…

    You know what? I can’t do this. It won’t taste good. I am going to swap this out with good old Taco Salad.

 

I am also doing a Valentine’s baking project with Carla and one of her friends. You know, because I like torturing myself so much.

Follow up: These did NOT turn out well. I will NOT be making these again. Carla and I made a test cookie, and THAT worked fine. But the batch that Carla and her friend so lovingly made burned, so I had to real-quick make all their cookies again and shove them in the oven so they wouldn’t notice. And half of THOSE stuck to the cookie sheet or fell apart. Then I made a third batch and the cookie expanded into the “stained glass” part so that you couldn’t even see it was a heart. Also, I couldn’t taste them because of my stupid challenge. FAIL.

SG cookies 1

Pre-cooked

SG cookies 2

Baked, second batch because the first batch failed. And they are so messy and definitely are going to stick to that cooling rack.

SG cookies 3

The girls frosted them and made them look 1000 times better than they did straight out of the oven. Still sticky though.

SG cookies 5

I tried to make some plain round cookies with small hearts cut out of the center and they STILL looked bad. The bake was better, though. I am nowhere near as good a froster as the girls.

Look for a repeat of these meals next week because it is REALLY hard to find recipes that fit my overly rigid and ridiculous ten-day challenge. No YOU eat eggs — I refuse.

Anyway: please tell me all the decadent, cheese-and-sugar filled foods you are eating this week, Internet. So that I may live vicariously through you.

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2019 01 31 Dinners This Week

I feel very blah  this week, in terms of meal planning. It’s so cold. I just want to curl up in a big bowl of spaghetti and meat sauce until spring.

Dinners for the Week of January 29- February 5:

We are rolling over a couple of meals from last week:

Note: I made these veggie quinoa bowls as a side a looooooong time ago. And now I am going to attempt to alter the recipe to make it more My-Family-Friendly for a main course. I’m adding shrimp, which I will probably marinate quickly in some lime juice and garlic and paprika, and I am replacing the broccoli with red and green bell peppers. Also, I am going to increase the amount of quinoa so there’s enough to satisfy my husband’s appetite. Also also, I am not including the peanuts.

Follow Up: Well, even though I amped up the veggie quotient and added shrimp, this still felt like a side dish. A GOOD side dish, don’t get me wrong. But my husband, in particular, didn’t feel like it was hearty enough for dinner. He added a big pile of spinach to his, which made it feel more like a salad. But we discussed how to dinner-size it more for next time and came up with these solutions: 1) We will add avocado and edamame to the salad to make it feel meatier. 2) My husband might also add black beans to his portion, which I rejected because I don’t like cold black beans. (He also suggested adding corn, which doesn’t seem like it would “go,” to me, but maybe I’m being overly rigid.) 3) We will add a small amount of honey to the dressing, which had some bitterness. I used this recipe for the shrimp, which was fine, but not so spectacular I’m rushing to do it again.

And:

Note: This is one of my favorite marinades. Simple and delicious. I will pair it with broccoli.

These are the new meals on the agenda. I am guessing we will end up eating out on Saturday night this week, so I’ve tried not to over-plan.

Note: I’ve made this before, as a side for something else. It was good enough that I want to try it as the main course.

Follow Up: This was good. Definitely a solid stir fry.

Note: This is a brand new recipe. I bet my husband will want some sort of meat as an accompaniment… Maybe I can roast him a chicken breast to add to his portion. And I will probably throw in some bell peppers leftover from the veggie stir fry to give it some color.

Follow Up: I was super suspicious of this, because I had no idea what it would taste like. It didn’t seem like it was inspired by Indian flavors… but it also didn’t seem particularly Thai… After eating it, I’d say it is somewhere in between-ish, maybe a little more on the Thai side. It reminded me a little of Massaman curry, but my husband disagrees. My husband and I had a little debate about the sauce. We both felt there wasn’t enough (and it was DELICIOUS). But I think if you doubled the sauce, it would be TOO saucy. And you can’t do one-and-a-half portions, because you’d be stuck with a half can of coconut milk and I for one don’t want to waste it or measure it out in the first place. So we decided on halving the chickpeas. Chickpeas, it turns out, are VERY high in calories OMG I did not realize that before putting this on the menu. It’s too bad, because I love chickpeas. Often, as with this recipe, I prefer them to meat of any kind. But if you jack up the veggie quotient, I think you won’t even miss the second can of chickpeas. Lower calorie, better sauce distribution: I think that’s how I would modify this in future.

Note: This marinade sounds easy and delicious. I will probably sauté the zucchini with a red onion and some minced garlic.

Note: I am suspicious of this recipe, but I love hamburgers and burgers sound properly festive for eating during the Super Bowl, so we’re going to try them.

Follow Up: THESE WERE SO GOOD. They were super easy, especially because my husband made them. And delicious. I kind of want to eat these every day.

What’s on your menu for the week?

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Just as a general note, if you or anyone you know need a Girl Scout Cookies hook up, Carla is selling cookies between now and February 2. If you don’t know any Girl Scouts and you want cookies, want to donate cookies to U.S. troops, or want to support an Internet child you don’t know, let me know and I will send you a link to her online order form.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Last week reminded me that I enjoy shrimp. In small quantities. So I am going to try not to lean on it too much while I am avoiding chicken. Hence the Zero Shrimp Recipes below.

Also, we didn’t eat all the meals I’d planned (one night, my husband had a surprise – to me, not to him – meeting, so we ate leftovers, and another night we spent all day Going Going Going, so we went out to eat instead), so I’m recycling two:

Note: I think one of the reasons this is a leftover item from last week is that I am scared of the spinach. I don’t particularly like spinach, and I have never cooked it before. But I am getting sick of green beans, zucchini, and broccoli, which we rotate practically every three days.

Follow Up: This was SO GOOD. The cod was lemony and delicious, and super easy to make. I think next time I might even skip the flour, just sprinkle the fish with a little paprika, salt, and pepper, and drizzle it with butter and lemon juice. Very simple but really yummy. I also had a few baby potatoes and a red onion and some mushrooms lying around, so I chopped those up and roasted them with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and some fresh thyme. I was afraid the spinach would be gross, so I wanted to have a backup vegetable. But the spinach was AWESOME. I used this Ina Garten recipe (I love you Ina) and it was so simple and really delicious. All in all, an excellent meal! Definitely will do this again.

Note:  I am also planning to do a homemade tartar sauce for my husband. (I prefer a bit of mayo mixed with sriracha, myself.)

Another thing is that I think maybe I need to be more… honest? is that the word? about how many days per week I am willing/able to cook. Especially when it’s a new-to-me meal.

This week, I am going out one night with my dear friend/mentor. And I think I’m going to give us a second night for leftovers/going out/what have you.

Here’s what’s on the meal plan for the remaining three days:

Note: I don’t think I have ever cooked flank steak. And my husband isn’t a huge fan of asparagus. So this meal could be a big loser, we’ll see. (But it’s NOT CHICKEN.)

Follow Up: This was pretty good! The marinade was easy and tasty and overall this was very simple to make. I was a little wary of using boiled asparagus in the quinoa, so I roasted it, Ina Garten style (a little splash of good olive oil, some salt and pepper, roasted for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven). It also turns out that we were out of quinoa, so I used couscous instead. Honestly, I prefer couscous so it worked out nicely. I think the biggest objection to this meal was the cut of meat, which was a bit fatty. Next time I could try a different cut of meat.

Note: This is a recipe I’ve made before, so I feel fairly comfortable fooling around with it. I am going to swap the chicken for pork tenderloin, and the carrots for parsnips andcarrots andred onions because I don’t really like carrots. Cooked carrots. Raw carrots are A-okay.

Follow Up: This ended up being good… if I scraped the mustard sauce off of the pork. I think in terms of mustardy pork tenderloin, I much prefer this mustard balsamic version from Jo Cooks.

My husband admitted that he does not care for cooked carrots either (a revelation), and Carla tried one — and one parsnip — and agrees that she does not like either. So we will be foregoing the cooked carrots in future

Note: I have some tilapia in the freezer from the last time I made this. So all I have to buy is broccoli and some shallots! Woot! Also, don’t let the “en papillote” thing deter you. This is SO EASY. And very delicious.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoy it when you tell me what YOU are eating this week, so please. Spill the beans. (Or chicken. Or spaghetti. Or whatever it is you’re planning for dinner.)

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My dad and I used to go out for pizza to this little pizza joint on the edge of town when I was a kid. They had the best pizza. But one day, the pepperoni (my favorite pizza topping) developed this weird smell. No one could smell it but me, and my parents frankly thought I was ridiculous. But to me, anytime I was around pepperoni – there or anywhere – I was overpowered by this sharp unpleasant nearly unendurable scent. The upshot was that I couldn’t eat pepperoni – or pizza – for A Long Dark Time. Years, maybe. So long that the pizza joint got turned over to new owners who transformed it into a rather seedy bar.

I have since come around and pepperoni smells wonderful once again and remains one of my favorite foods. The point is that I am not unfamiliar with being put off by certain foods. It’s happened before with ground beef. Perhaps it has even happened, years ago, with chicken; I can’t remember. But I’m off chicken currently, and it’s cramping my style.

Last week, I ate some leftover chicken paprikas and got a weird piece of chicken in my bite. I tried to keep chewing it, which was a bad plan, and ended up gagging into the sink and washing the rest of my paprikas (a much beloved and comforting food!) down the drain. BOO. And now I am queasy about chicken.

CHICKEN. I cannot stand the thought of it! It makes my face scrunch up and my stomach heave just to write the word on this page! And yet… how will I live without it?!?! Probably 80% of my meals revolve around chicken!

I am not opposed to eating vegetarian-ish things. But my husband needs Meat. I make him a beautiful butternut squash soup and he says, “where’s the protein?” He has gone All In on the Protein At Every Meal deal and I try to live up to my role, in his eyes, as Protein Provider.

We could have a lot of fish. But I like to buy fresh fish (am spoiled) (also my husband is spoiled and swears that any fish not fresh off the fishmonger’s ice tastes fishy) and also fish is expensive. I like to admire the beautiful snow white flesh of the halibut but I am loathe to spend $24 a pound for one dinner. Let alone more than one dinner. No thank you.

We could eat various other meats. But I am going to be honest with you here, I can only eat so much beef. Tacos, yes, maybe once a week (although they are not conducive to my Healthy Eating plans; if I’m going to eat one taco I’m going to eat six and I’m not even joking). Chili, fine. But it’s not a weekly kind of meal. Filet mignon, okay, once in a blue moon (expensive; finicky and oil-splattery to cook). Other cuts… just don’t appeal to me. I’m not a person who enjoys things that are shaped from ground beef – outside of hamburgers, that is. I won’t do loaves or balls sculpted out of meat, no thank you. I mean, I could probably do a pot roast now and again. But that’s a labor intensive affair right there. I am all about the easy meals. Same goes to beef burgundy or beef stew, by the way. Fajitas, but with steak? Meh, but maybe. That’s about it, folks.

This leaves pork. I do enjoy a good pork. Har har. I can do chops and tenderloin just fine. But… I just don’t think I could come up with enough variety. It’s not quite as versatile as that veritable blank canvas of foodstuffs, the boneless skinless chicken breast. I guess we will find out.

(If you are thinking, “Wait a second there… you have named literally three types of meat when there are MANY MORE OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO YOU! Turkey! Duck! Rabbit! Veal! Venison! Buffalo! Ham! Boar! Game hen! Sausage! Lamb! Shellfish!” Well then perhaps you have underestimated my ability to be squeamish about nearly everything on earth.)

(Neither my husband nor I eat tofu or any other plant-based protein substance. I know. We are lame.)

Well, despite all these crazy restrictions, I have managed to scrape together a week of meals that sound pretty appealing. And, most importantly, chicken free.

Dinners for the Week of January 8-January 14

Note: This is a new-to-me recipe but it sounds scrumptious. I haven’t decided if I will make this with beef or shrimp yet. Probably I will end up getting beef for my husband and then I will just eat the veggies.

Follow Up: This recipe was pretty good. I did end up eating it without veggies, and we added a handful of broccoli to the peppers and onions. However… as with most things containing Chinese Five-Spice powder, I found this overpoweringly five-spicy. I knew going in that I find that spice to be a little cloying, so I halved it. But it was still too much. So if I make this in future, I would either not include it at all or put in something like an eighth of a teaspoon or less. Aside from that, this was super easy to put together.

Note: Yes, this is a recipe for chicken. I am going to use pork chops instead. (In actuality, I used pork tenderloin. What? I like to play it fast and loose over here.)

Follow Up: I ended up foregoing the zucchini; instead, I made the tzatziki sauce that went with the recipe and made a quick Greek salad with quinoa, tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion, drizzled with lemon juice, olive oil, and a splash of red wine vinegar.

Note: I’m not sure what to pair with this, as a side… Maybe I will do some black beans? A simple salad? This is going to be a game-time decision, if by game-time I mean the grocery store produce section.

Follow Up: The rub/marinade for this salmon is super yummy. The avocado cream is also yummy. But I don’t know if they are necessary together? The avocado cream felt a little superfluous, and it was so limey that it kind of overpowered the flavor of the fish.

I paired this with a simple salad: mixed greens, quick pickled radishes, green pepper slices, and a sprinkle of roasted sunflower seeds. Then I made this quick lime vinaigrette. The salad was honestly the star of the show. Next time, I might make more salad, slice some avocado, and put the salmon on top. Skip the avocado cream altogether.

Note: This sounds decadent and totally anti-diet, but it has shrimp, which I enjoy for two reasons: 1. They are fairly low-calorie, if that matters to you. 2. I can only eat four or five at a time, which helps with #1 and also ensures I don’t spend a billion dollars on shrimp. The bad thing about shrimp though is the de-veining, which is DISGUSTING. Let’s not even think about it for One More Second or we’ll be down another protein.

Follow up: My grocery store sells shelled, de-veined raw shrimp in a big two-pound bag. I wasn’t in the mood to spend $20 to experiment with shrimp, so I bought some raw shrimp from my fish counter. The fishmonger told me that they are the exact same shrimp from the bag, so it was a good way to test them out. And they were excellent. I rinsed them several times in cold water, just in case they were salty, and they ended up not being salty at all.

This recipe was very good, but pretty labor intensive. I made the cajun seasoning (even though I didn’t have white pepper — whoops) and then I used my immersion blender to puree the sauce so there weren’t any tomato chunks in it. And even though I used the same pot for the sauce that I used to sauté the shrimp and veggies, I still had that plus the pasta pot plus the big bowl I used to keep the cooked shrimp and veggies warm plus lots of measuring devices that I had to wash. It was very tasty. It made a TON of sauce, and I am not sure how it will be as leftovers. We’ll see, I suppose. Next time I would probably try to halve the recipe, and I would make sure to have skim milk on hand (I ended up using whole milk, which is what I had in the fridge).

Note: Sometimes cod is good, sometimes it is bitter. I do not know when or how to determine which kind of cod I will get. Perhaps I will choose an alternative – tilapia is my the chef’s favorite because it is sturdy while still flaky and has the uncanny ability to take on any flavor you apply to it; my husband the dining public prefer more expensive “less fishy” fish.

Note: This marinade is good on chicken, I think it will be just as good slathered on a tenderloin.

Follow Up: I ended up using this marinade on pork chops rather than tenderloin and it was delicious.

Note: I am still kicking myself for not saving the recipe for the first time I made salmon cakes. It did NOT include Old Bay, which neither sounds nor tastes appealing (to me), but it was easy and fairly yummy. I have a sneaking suspicion that I Frakensteined my salmon cakes from multiple recipes, so it can likely never be recreated. Oh well. This version – stripped of the Elderly Docks and parsley – should do.

There you go! A chicken-free week! I plan to get the salmon all at once and then maybe make the salmon cakes and freeze them? Does that sound too ambitious? Perhaps. And then I will get the cod/tilapia/what-have-you on Saturday and make the cod meal that night. The shrimp… well, I’ve heard that frozen shrimp is one of the Great Hidden Deals of the grocery store, so I may attempt to put that to the test. If so, I won’t need to worry about waiting a few days before adding it to a meal.

What are you eating this week, Internet?

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We are all sick. My poor husband has gone back to work and Carla and I are draping ourselves pathetically across various pieces of furniture. I have given up trying to ban Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse from our home, and it plays endlessly in the background, rotting my child’s brain and fueling my nightmares.

I have managed to drag myself off the couch long enough to write 80% of the thank-you notes for our Christmas gifts. Carla needs to write three separate thank-yous to her teachers, who got her a book for Christmas, one to her babysitter for an unexpected gift of Play-Doh, and one to her grandparents for whom thank-you notes are Super Important. (I have taken their Supreme Importance to heart, as you see, writing them from my deathbed and all when I haven’t even been able to make Carla a breakfast heartier than “dry Wheat Chex in a bowl.”) She is signing the other cards, which I think is plenty. Getting her to write all the notes she needs to will be… a lengthy process. Please fill in the ellipsis with your own of all the other words I considered and rejected.

Even before this illness – which began Sunday as a scratchy throat and has snowballed to its present state of misery – felled us, my plans for dinners this week were… relaxed. It’s hard to get back into the dinner swing, post elaborate holiday meal planning. Plus, I am back on the calorie counting wagon, which makes me feel spiteful about dinners anyway.

Here we go. Perhaps in a few days I will feel well enough to plan meals for an entire week.

Dinners for the Partial Week of January 2 – January 7

Note: I am making this tonight because it is so easy. Nearly no effort, which is the most I can muster right about now. My husband and I pair this with basmati rice  (which I made last night) and caramelized onions (also a low effort item), and he also adds sundried tomatoes and feta cheese to his plate. Nothing green with this meal, but you could add a quick side salad if you were so inclined.

Note: I think this was on my meal schedule a couple of weeks ago and we ended up not eating it. Such flexibility is the benefit of having lots of chicken breasts in the freezer.

  • Mulligatawny Soup

Note: WordPress spell check is claiming that “soup” is not a word. It is, right? A word? And a food? Have I stumbled into some weird delirium? In any event, this mixture of meat and broth and other things is another super easy meal. Although I don’t think I have any pre-cooked shredded chicken in the freezer, which means I need to roast some before I make this. The recipe we use is adapted from Joy of Cooking, and it requires sauteeing mire poix (which I have pre-portioned in the freezer; you can buy mire poix from Trader Joe’s and just portion it out into freezer bags, or you can do a big batch on a day when you have time) with a couple tablespoons of flour and curry powder, adding chicken stock, shredded chicken, some thyme, salt, pepper, and bay leaves, and rice, and then cooking for awhile. You can add warm milk at the end if you so choose. Very simple but hearty and delicious.

That’s it. On Saturday, we’re going out to dinner with friends. Sunday, we may have some friends over – if that happens it will be last minute and very casual and I am trying VERY HARD not to freak out about that, because I am neither a last minute nor a casual kind of person. Monday… well, we’ll figure it out when it gets here I guess.

What are you eating this first week of 2019?

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