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Posts Tagged ‘you have to make dinner EVERY DAY’

Welcome back from spring break! It is now time to meal plan, once again! Fortunately, the time away has (temporarily, I’m sure) reinvigorated me!

Here are some recipes I am actually looking forward to making this week:

Dinners for the Week of April 2 – April 8:

Notes: I will be adding bell peppers to this recipe for veggie appeal. Maybe chickpeas.

Follow up: This was decent. It tasted nothing at all like the kind of butter chicken you get an Indian restaurant, let’s be clear on that. But it was pretty good. And it was pretty easy. I did end up adding bell peppers and chickpeas, which were a good complement to the sauce.

Follow up: This salad is THE BOMB. The dressing is delicious and the pickled onions are SO GOOD. I never knew arugula could be so yummy!

Follow up: This batch of fire fry turned out to be WAY over-seasoned, when I was pretty sure that I had fixed my over-seasoning issues. (What I do is use an entire large container of yogurt, then increase the spices/herbs to 1 tablespoon where the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon.) My husband and I determined that it is the YOGURT that may be at fault. I use the cheapest, lowest-calorie fat-free plain yogurt I can find, which is Dannon. Next time, I am going to get a Greek yogurt instead and see if that helps. (I know that using a full-fat yogurt helps, because I did that accidentally recently and it was DELISH, but I am not really into using full-fat yogurt every time we eat this.)

Notes: Probably doing the yum yum sauce with the tuna is overkill, since it will be marinated already… but I have been wanting to do the sauce for a while, and this seems like a good fit.

Follow up: The yum-yum sauce was good, and I didn’t feel like it was overkill exactly. The marinade for the tuna was pretty mild. My bigger problem was overcooking the tuna. It is NOT EASY to get tuna to that perfect cooked-on-the-outside, -pink-on-the-inside level. Maybe next time I will use a different type of fish.

Follow up: This was very delicious.

  • Out

In addition to buying the ingredients for the above, I will be buying food to replace some of the items that were lost to our extended power outage. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been – it only affected one outlet, which had to be reset when we got home. The outlet happened to be the same one that powers both our wireless internet and our downstairs fridge. The wifi is now rebooted, and now communicating with our security system so our security company can stop calling us (they are on top of things, at least), and the fridge is up and running again. But everything in it was room temperature by the time we came home, so everything perishable had to be thrown out. The saddest things to toss were a) two miniature cakes I made with leftover cake batter from Carla’s last birthday; although my experience with eating the top of my wedding cake after a long stint in the freezer should have been enough to deter me from keeping them quite so long; b) a brand-new box of chicken dinosaurs, which have been Carla’s Entrée of Choice lately; and c) three packages of pork chops I got on sale. UGH. Oh, and a three-pack of butter from Costco. I held onto that a little longer than the rest of the stuff. BUTTER.

Oh well. Aside from the regrettable tossing of what was once perfectly good food, I am also kicking myself for not leaving the freezer unplugged long enough to clean it. Some ancient boxes of popsicles leaked and there are now greenish icebergs in the back of my freezer. Ew.

 

What are you having for dinner this week?

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I am not even going to preamble, today, Internet. Here are some meals I scraped together. But I refuse to enjoy ANY PART of the dinner process this week. I REFUSE.

Dinners for the Week of March 19 – March 26

 

Then, next week, we are going on Spring Break which is good because it means I don’t have to plan any meals… but bad because it means that I have to live with someone else making meals for me, which is stressful in its own way. I know. I am impossible.

What’s on your menu this week, Internet?

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It is heartening – well, maybe not heartening so much as making me feel like I’m not the only one who finds meal planning to be excruciating lately – to read that other bloggers are having the same Meal Planning Dread that I am. The ENDLESSNESS of it all is really getting to me right now. Even throwing up my hands and saying, “let’s get take out!” more often than usual is having less of a bolstering effect than it should; because I am well aware that this is just one meal I don’t have to plan/make and tomorrow there will be another one, waiting for me, and then a limitless parade of meals after that until the sweet release of death.

At this point, even the idea of slotting in a bunch of Meals I Love isn’t helping. And when not even spaghetti with meat sauce can cure a problem, you know it’s serious.

Anyway, here are some joyless options for the coming week.

Dinners for the Week of March 13-March 19, 2019

Note: Yes, I am aware this recipe is for chicken. Yes, I am using pork chops instead. Yes, I am still avoiding chicken. Yes, my husband recently said in a cheery voice normally reserved for our five-year-old, “I think it’s time you started eating chicken again!” Yes, I treated him to a little lecture about not policing other people’s food preferences. No, I’m not sure what I’ll end up doing with the quinoa; maybe I’ll mix the veggies into it. Although plain, unembellished quinoa seems like a fitting metaphor for how I’m feeling about meal planning lately.

Note: Not one thing about this meal is remotely exciting. I mean, it tastes good. And it’s really easy. But I am Not Feeling It In The Least.

Note: This is good, but not a meal really designed for calorie counters, just FYI. I plugged it into MyFitnessPal and — even HALVING the recipe — it comes out to something like 700 calories a serving. That’s using light, unsweetened coconut milk! And not including the avocado! Why must so many delicious — and arguably HEALTHY — foods be so antithetical to weight loss? WHY? Ahem. I am making it anyway. In the past, I have recommended to myself to cut the fish sauce in half for the marinade and only use 1/3 of the suggested amount for the dressing. But that’s because I don’t like fish sauce and even being in the same city block as an open bottle of fish sauce is enough to make my nose wrinkle.

Note: I make a double serving of this, and round it out with TONS of veggies. Bell peppers, broccoli, onions, zucchini — the ratio of veg-to-meat is at least 4-to-1.

Note: This is, as per the “firecracker” designation, spicy. So any accompaniments must be nice and bland, to offset all the spice.

  • Taco Pizza

Note: I spread a lightly-baked pizza crust with refried beans, then top with taco meat and cheese, then bake until the cheese is melty. Then I top with onions, lettuce, and tons of hot sauce; my husband adds tomatoes and sour cream to his half, and omits the onions.

  • Out

 

What are you eating lately, Internet?

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We had a lovely dinner party this weekend. Both chilis seemed to go over well, we had plenty of things to talk about, and our new friends’ kids were AMAZING. They were older than I thought they would be (middle school age rather than upper elementary), but they were super nice to Carla. And they were engaging and fun to talk to and super polite – helping clear the table and asking for things very nicely and just in general being the kind of children that make you want to know the parents’ Secret Magic.

This week, we have no exciting plans, which is fine and good. We have one rollover meal from last week, which we will eat tomorrow.

Note: We haven’t had this in a while. I probably won’t eat the chicken, but I can load up with chickpeas.

Here’s the rest of this week’s menu:

Dinners for the Week of March 6-March 12

Note: This is an old standby. The marinade is SUPER easy to make, and you just… put the fish in the oven. Very easy and tasty. I will steam broccoli and drizzle some of the broiled marinade over the top of it. Maybe there will also be some rice.

Note: I have had some zucchini in my crisper for… weeks, I think, and I really need to just MAKE IT before they finally get cranky and mush-up on me. They’ve been so patient and stalwart. I OWE IT to them to eat them. Also I owe it to my wallet and to my desire not to waste food. Have I mentioned what I do with zucchini? I chop them into half-moon shapes. I rough-chop a bunch of red onion or shallots. Then I sauté the zukes and onions together in a little bit of olive oil until they are cooked through and getting caramelized on the edges. YUM.

Note: We haven’t had this in a while, and I love it. Because I don’t eat the beef part of the dish, I amp up the veggie factor by tossing in some red and green bell peppers. We end up doubling the sauce, to account for all the veggies.

Note: Yes, I know we literally had this dish last week, but I am SO TIRED OF MEAL PLANNING and also it’s good and easy. The only problem is that the packages of zucchini noodles at my grocery store today were all WET. Ew. So I didn’t buy any. My grocery store also didn’t have any sandwich bread, so I will have to pop back in later in the week. Also also, the zucchini noodles are $6.99 a package. That is STEEP. I haven’t priced it out but I am pretty confident that buying the actual zucchinis would be MUCH less expensive. So I am strongly considering getting a spiralizer. This highly-rated spiralizer is (currently) $29.99 on Amazon… which is a LOT for a tool that will probably also require a ton of work. But it would only take two “Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles” meals to make up the price. (Oh. I didn’t mention that I buy two packages of zucchini noodles for this meal, did I? Yes. It is a lot of zucchini and a LOT of money.) But what if it is a Huge Pain to make the zucchini noodles myself? And $29.99 is expensive enough that I could just try it once and then give up on the thing. Plus, I don’t think I would use it for anything else, so it would be a one-trick pony, and you know the rule about buying single-use items for the kitchen… But I really enjoy zucchini noodles! And I also enjoy not paying $14 for a single vegetable for a single meal! Although… now that I am thinking of it, I might pay $10 for a pound and a half of hamburger, for tacos… and you add in the shells and the veggies and the sour cream, and it probably comes out to about the same on a cost-per-person basis. Maybe $6.99 for my own portion of zucchini noodles is TOTALLY REASONABLE. But then again… Ugh. I could go on waffling about this totally inconsequential topic ALL DAY, apparently.

Note: Yes, yes, this is another meal that we just ate. Whatever. It’s so yummy and so full of veggies and FLAVAH. I am now starting to worry a little whether I have enough shrimp for this AND the scampi though… Oh well! We shall power through! Maybe I will take a little trip to Costco and see if I can buy shrimp THERE. (Why am I so all-capsy today?)

  • Crockpot BBQ Pork Tenderloin with Baked Potato for Me, Green Beans for My Husband

Note: I feel a little guilty making this when I know it’s not my husband’s favorite… But I like it so much and it’s SO EASY. I have some little rolls I can defrost, and maybe I will pick up some coleslaw from… somewhere so he can make little sandwiches. He seems to prefer that. But I am not in the mood to make a huge container of coleslaw that he will eat a teeny portion of and then will languish in my fridge until I angrily/guiltily throw it out.

  • Out/Leftoevers

 

That’s it for the week! Next week, I am sure I will be suffused with tons of Meal Planning Enthusiasm and Creativity! 

What’s for dinner in your house, Internet?

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My current mood is shifting somewhere between “can’t stop cringing about how awful high school was and how immature I was and how desperately sad it was that I actually thought high school was good at the time when upon reflection it clearly was NOT” and “bleak contemplation of the universe’s eventual and wholly unknown end which will lead to Absolute Nothingness, at least for me, and even if I’m lucky enough to miss the end of the universe it will be because I am already dead.”

And I am expected to make dinner, every single night, on top of all that. BLEAK.

Something I don’t think you know, probably because I have failed to tell you, is that Carla rarely eats dinner with me and my husband. RARELY. We are talking once or twice a week if we are lucky. Which means that I am cooking her dinner and then putting her to bed and then cooking dinner for myself and my husband. And she’s SO PICKY, which means that I expend a tremendous amount of energy thinking about how to tempt her to eat new foods and trying to figure out how to schedule the few foods she will eat so that she isn’t getting chicken dinosaurs three nights in a row, or whatever. YES, I feed my child copious amounts of chicken dinosaurs. SHE EATS THEM.

Sorry. I am apparently also feeling a little yelly at the moment.

Where was I? Oh yes. Rehashing high school failures, fretting about the acceleration of dark energy, moping about our endless need to eat.

So, here’s my hastily-thrown-together meal plan for the week which I came up with while sitting outside the grocery store this morning. Oh. We are also having Brand New (Potential) Friends over for dinner on Saturday, which could be contributing to my woe.

Dinners for the Week of February 26-March 5

 Note: The farro salad was so delicious the last time I made it, there’s no way it can possibly live up to expectations. But I’m going to make it anyway. I will roast the green beans and diced onions before adding them to the farro.

  • Tacos

Note: This is one of the few things Carla eats with any regularity. She has also expressed desire to help make the dinner, which should be fun.

Note: This dish was so good when I made it a couple of weeks ago, there’s no way it can possibly be as good this time. I’m really setting myself up for failure this week.

Note: As you may have sensed, I put this on the weekly menu when I am not particularly moved to strain my brain thinking of new, fresh recipes to try. Oh well. It’s an Old Reliable, even if it’s lost most of its excitement factor.

Note: We haven’t had this in a while. I probably won’t eat the chicken, but I can load up with chickpeas.

Note: Yes, basically we are doing exactly the same thing that we did the last time we had guests. My mom suggested my grandmother’s special salmon recipe, which my husband vetoed because fish can be… controversial. I wanted to do Lemon Chicken and My Standard Salad, but my husband is tired of the lemon chicken (which used to be our Go-To Guest Meal) and I am still not eating chicken and plus chili allows me to do everything in advance except serve the actual food. (If I made the lemon chicken, I would have to figure out when to put it in the oven, and then I’d constantly be fussing about whether it was done yet or not. Not really conducive to good conversation.) My husband will be making chocolate chips cookies.

  • Out
  • Leftovers

For Carla, my big plan this week is that I am going to try to get her to eat a hamburger patty; I bought some ground beef for the tacos and one of the chilis, and I am going to steal some to make her a mini burger. She has deigned to eat a meatball recently (just a bite or two, despite meatballs being one of her ENDURING FAVORITES a couple years ago), so I am really hoping I can get her to try the hamburger. Carla eats steak (on occasion), and I spotted two perfect Carla-sized (and Carla-priced) filet mignons at our meat counter today, so I am going to make one for her this week and freeze the other. We have a piece of salmon in the freezer, so I’ll try that one night. She used to eat salmon reliably every week, but when she had a brief bout of stomach flu this winter, it was right after eating salmon… and she’s been avoiding it ever since. (I get it.) I also bought her a tiny container of Hormel chili to try (prediction: she won’t), but I’m guessing I will end up making her chicken dinosaurs when our guests come over. And to round out the Carla Meal Plan, we’ve got tacos, chicken dinosaurs, and probably a “snack dinner” (with a bagel and cream cheese, some pepperoni, some fruit, some grape tomatoes). She gets a side of snap peas, broccoli, or green beans with each dinner, and I usually give her rice or bread, although we are working on eating plain penne. (She was penne at school, but not at home; she eats no other kind of pasta except food-colored spaghetti noodles.) There is also always fruit. Blueberries have been plentiful at our grocery store and delicious, but we also have a lot of apples on hand. So that’s it in this week’s What I Try to Get Carla to Eat. I wish we were having pork chops on a night when we could all eat together; Carla has eaten pork in the past, and I think if we all sat down together she might eat it again. Oh well. There’s always next week, when my family will inevitably require sustenance AGAIN.

Tell me what you’re eating this week, Internet.

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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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