On the board for dinner this week:
Sat: Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, with thick crusty bread and slices of sharp cheddar cheese.
Based on this recipe (which is based on the Panera soup), but with a few changes (of course; there is rarely a soup I don't want to add a bunch of veggies too):
1-2 cups diced carrot (I use 2+, my family loves carrots)
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onion
2-3 cloves chopped garlic
5 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
~ 1 lb. cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, diced
2 packages Uncle Ben's long grain and wild rice (with seasoning packet)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4-1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, divided
2 cups milk (I use skim)
1. In a large pot (I use my cast iron dutch oven) over medium heat, saute onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in 1-2 Tbl. of butter.
2. Add chicken broth, water, and cooked diced chicken. Bring to just boiling, then stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet. Cover and remove from heat.
3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in contents of 1-1.5 seasoning packets until mixture is bubbly. Reduce heat to low, then stir in flour mixture by tablespoons, to form a roux. Whisk in milk, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened, 5 minutes.
4. Stir milk mixture into broth and rice. (You could add in some white wine too if you have it on hand.) Cook over medium heat until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes.
Sun: PW's Brisket, fresh country white sliced bread from Sprouts, my mom's vermicelli salad, corn on the cob, and baked beans.
My mom's vermicelli salad is the stuff of legend. I don't know where the recipe came from, but it is always a hit and requested at all get togethers. I don't like pasta salads generally, I don't like raw celery, and I hate mayonnaise, and yet, I love this side dish:
Glenda's Vermicelli Salad (aka, "the verm")
Break 1 (12oz) pkg of vermicelli into 2" pieces. Cook, rinse, and drain.
Add and marinate overnight in the fridge (I dump it all in a gallon ziploc):
1 Tbl Accent
1 Tbl seasoned salt
3 Tbl lemon juice
4 Tbl oil
The next day, add the following and let set for several hours in the fridge before serving:
3/4 c. chopped green pepper
1/2 c. chopped onion (I usually use green onions)
1 to 1 1/2 c. chopped celery
1 to 1 1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 cans sliced black olives
It goes great with any bbq meal, as well as baked ham, smoked turkey, hamburgers, etc.
Mon: leftover Soup.
This soup, like most soups, is even better the second time you eat it.
Tues: leftover Brisket, with homemade macaroni and cheese, green beans, bread
Wed: Pierogi bake, peas.
I'm using onion and cheese frozen pierogis from Sprouts and I usually put them in a baking dish with pepperonis scattered around, top it with marinara sauce, and top that with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese and bake at 350 for 30 mins. Sounds odd, but I got it from the back of a pierogi box a million years ago and it's a yummy, filling, different way to serve them.
Thurs: Migas, fresh flour tortillas, black beans, fruit.
I make migas by breaking a bunch of eggs in a bowl, adding salt, pepper, and milk, and pouring the mix over a hot pan with a little melted butter (i.e., the makings of scrambled eggs). Then I add in diced tomato, diced onion (which I usually saute before adding the egg mix, except when I forget, which is often), and crushed tortilla chips (this is an awesome way to use up stale chips). Stir it around until the eggs are cooked and serve them with some warm tortillas, beans, salsa, and mexican rice. The kids love it and it feels like a little fancier way of doing breakfast taco night.
Fri: Take-out pizza with coupon JP carefully cut out from a flyer on our front door knob.
This place has good cheap pizza (and we get a free medium with the order of a large!) and $1 draft beer until 7. I'm looking forward to it.
The 10 lb. brisket has been marinating since yesterday (as have the vermicelli salad noodles) and was transferred to the oven at 9 a.m. this morning. The kitchen already smells good. I'm also planning on making these Best Big, Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, but only if I actually do the barre class DVD that is sitting next to my TV.
As part of our budget reduction, I've been bringing my lunch to work every day (except Mondays; that is my work friends and my sacred Freebirds day and I'm holding on to my once a week $6 veggie burrito with diced avocado for dear life). I used to hate (HATE) packing and eating a homemade lunch. Lunch is my favorite meal of the day. The first thing (and possibly only thing) I became famous for in the office was my voracious lunch appetite. I out ate pretty much every guy I work with at an all you can eat Mexican food buffet (better than it sounds) and BBQ place. I love lunch. I don't eat breakfast, I don't snack, and I eat a small dinner. Lunch is my meal.
And yet, once JP lost his job, I could no longer justify spending $8-10/weekday on it (and with my own pay cut/job change, I could barely justify it before that anyway). So I convinced my newfound best work friends that they should bring their lunches too and now we eat together outside or in random offices Tues-Fri. And after a few months of forcing myself to pack my lunch box every morning, I now find myself actually enjoying it. Not as much as a Five Guys cheeseburger and fries, but at least I no longer resent my little pink lunch bag.
Part of my problem with packing my lunch has always been that I want a big, satisfying meal, and it was hard to make at home hours before I was actually going to eat it and every frozen lunch meal seems to have like 300 calories and that would never be enough. I now have a decent rotation of lunches, but if you have any ideas for good work lunch ideas (we have access to a fridge and microwave in the kitchen), let me know!
My lunches generally consist of:
- big batch of quinoa divided into 2-3 containers, with whatever diced up veggies, chicken, and cheeses I can find in the fridge, and a separate small tupperware container of dressing, oil and vinegar, bbq sauce, etc. to pour over the top when it's time to eat;
With 1 of these 2:
- turkey sandwiches with all the veggies I like on yummy ciabatta rolls, wraps, pitas, or other bread that looks interesting in the bakery section of Sprouts;
- crackers and sliced cheeses and turkey;
And 1 of these 2:
- fruit (whatever the kids are getting; this week it's blueberries, sliced apples, and little clementines);
- yogurt (I don't really like yogurt, but I'll choke it down if we're out of fresh fruit at the end of the week. The kids switch to apple sauce or little mandarin cups, but I like those things less than yogurt).
Healthy, satisfying, all of it travels pretty well, and most importantly, I look forward to eating it. And now time for my in-home barre class so I can get started on my cookies!
Spring break days 5-7
7 hours ago