Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Menu Planning – Weeks #2 & 3

I’m on week #3 of 10  for doing the majority of my cooking on Sunday afternoons.  And I feel like I’m getting into the swing of things.  Maybe?  Possibly?  Hopefully?

First, let me go back.  For week #2’s eats, my menu consisted of some big ole stuffed chicken breasts and a big ole casserole. 

I winged (heh, “winged“...  cuz chickens have wings – not that that's the portion I was cooking) some chicken breasts.  After wandering plan-less around Kroger (never an efficient idea), I decided on chicken breasts that I would stuff with fresh sauteed spinach, goat cheese, and caramelized onions.

Stuffed yet?

For the big ole casserole,  I took this recipe and used it as a base that I “healthied” up.  I subbed wheat pasta, used egg whites (instead of whole), ground turkey (instead of beef) and added some thawed frozen spinach.  And tossed in a little light Greek yogurt to make it a little extra creamy. 

So we ate on all that all last week. 
And it was pretty good. 
But definitely not as exciting as the pork tenderloin sliders and Asian lettuce wraps from the week before. 

I became menu obsessed.  Must.  Make.  The Foods.  YUMMIER.

The thing about cooking like this is that you really need to want to eat it.  A lot. Repeatedly.  I bring my lunch pretty much every day and last week, for instance, the casserole, got old.

But this week, I do believe I matched and quite possibly outdid week #1.

The secret?  I had to dissect the true meaning of Hawaiian rolls and sammies themselves. (Yes, verry deep thoughts here.)  What was so good about those meals?

Answer?  The versatility.  The pork could go on a roll.  Be eaten by itself.  Or make for a tasty salad and, therefore, lo-carb.  Also, the lettuce rolls were naturally low-carb and perfect for day or night. 

Note:  I am not one of the no-carb crowd.  I love them too much and believe in their useful body fuel.  But I do try to eat the “right” carbs - Hawaiian rolls not included - and just limit them at night.  In case you were wondering.  Which I bet you weren’t.  Do people really care about other peoples’ carb consumption?  Moving on!

So to match week #1, I did pretty much the same thing.  But different.

On the menu, big ole meatballs and a big ole thing of stir fry.  (It’s also important they be “big ole“.)

I made this recipe for the meatballs and doubled it.  In doubling, I used 1lb lean ground beef and 1lb lean ground turkey.  Also, for the liquid I did part milk, part egg.  I think I did the rest the same?  Oh, I sauteed the garlic & onions.

To go with our Sunday night meatballs, I got some Hawaiian rolls.  (To no one’s surprise.  At this point, I should put their ads on here.)  I also sauteed some onions and peppers.  Poured a jar of marinara in a pot & heated it up.  Our own personalized meatball bar!

Versatility.  Boom.

We had the option of meatball sliders.  Or the meatballs sans roll for the lo-carb night.  (Or with brown rice for a carb night alternative.) 

Hubs loved them.  Like, mentioned it more than once how much he liked.  And I put a gold star in my Wife Memory Journal.  (Which is totally not a thing.  That I would ever admit to...)

So Sunday night, winner.  Monday night, big ole made-ahead stir fry time.

I oh-so love to cook chicken in my cast iron to get a crisp skin even when you buy skinless chicken.  Its only downfall is my tendency to smoke up the house & set off the fire alarm.  (I’m not convinced our oven hood isn’t just for looks.)

I seasoned a large pack of skinless chicken thighs and a large pack of skinless chicken breasts with kosher salt, pepper, paprika & garlic powder.  Cooked it all up in 2 batches and set aside to cool. 

I threw 3 bags of Kroger brand frozen stir fry veggies in my largest skillet to cook.  Then added some fresh cut mushrooms as well as 2 cans of chopped water chestnuts and a can of chopped bamboo shoots.  I also threw in some peanuts.  Lots of crunch!

This pic does not do skillet-size its due
Big ole

As I cooked all of this over a medium heat, I pulled all of my Asian sauces out.  And poured and plopped in fish sauce, lemongrass, sriracha, chili paste, oyster sauce, a Korean marinade... Just to name a few.  You would think so many ingredients would be too much!  (You would be wrong.)

Guys.  It turned out really well.  The flavors, the crunch, the chicken, the perfect amount of heat.  Because I never go by a recipe, it never turns out quite the same.  (Similar to the lettuce wraps.)    But this time was a humdinger.  (Yes.  A humdinger.)  If I do say so myself!  Eaten over rice or by itself, a very satisfying meal.

Week #3 = Check!  Now on to figure out Week #4...

No comments:

Post a Comment