Monday, January 24, 2011

Week #1

Yikes!! What have I gotten myself into?! My cart has never been so full, my bill so high, or my freezer looked so small.

 Major downside to such a full cart: extra time to listen to the checker regale the bagger with how wasted he's going to get this weekend. So wasted, it would seem, that he's going to still be drunk when he goes to the dentist on Monday. And he's going to be all, "Dude, do what you want. I can't feel it anyway. See? Punch me." And then, apparently, the dentist is going to be all, "Have you been drinking? I can smell it on your breath."

Riveting stuff, I know.

Anyway. This week's menu:
-Minestrone and Green Salad
-Butternut Squash Lasagna with marinated Jicama and Apples
-Shrimp Fried Rice with steamed Green Beans
-Bulgur and Turkey Stuffed Peppers and Green Salad
-Curried Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie and broiled Asparagus

And so it begins. Rock concert movement number one: count and chop the onions - 2  medium, 3 large, and a half cup (I'm gonna call it a small 'un). Go.

Onion Lesson #1: Bags of onions have many many bad onions in them. But you don't know that until you cut into them and see the delicious grey center. Yum.

Onion Lesson #2: Use a food processor to chop! It's heaven!
Onion Lesson #3: No matter how long you stare at it, you cannot get the kinds of onion slices you want out of the food processor attachment. Buy a mandolin.

Rock concert movement number two: stare at recipes for several minutes waiting for a logical sequence to occur to you. Sigh heavily. Dive into first recipe and hope that as you do this more often, you'll find a groove. Then go get the baby who is joyously splashing in the cat's water dish. Dammit.

Ok. The Fried Rice wants cold cooked rice, so I put the rice cooker to chugging away. Six cups of cooked rice seems like too much for one family (the kids are picky), so I doubled everything except the rice for this recipe. It looks about right.

The other shared ingredient is carrots. Lots of carrots. So before I get going on the Minestrone, I peeled and chopped the 3ish lbs. of carrots - 2 carrots for the rice, 2 c. for the Minestrone and 1.5 lb for the Shepherds Pie. Good thing the husband took the kids out, because this requires country music. Loud country music. Possibly even "Party Country" on Slacker. The husband hates the country music.

Uh oh. Rice cooker is boiling over!
It's fine. Just messy. Whew.

Minestrone done. I was a little wary, as there are no spices, but a taste test shows it to be quite yummy and flavorful, actually. Yay.

Next up: Stuffed Peppers. This is a microwave heavy recipe, which I don't care for. So I'm just following the package directions for the bulgur and putting the peppers in the oven with a little water for about 30 minutes.

While the turkey is cooking, I'm going to get the squash baking for the lasagna. Oh, BTW I substituted turkey for beef in the peppers to make them healthier. The rather nebulous instructions are to "prepare for freezing." I put half the tomato sauce in a Pyrex bowl, cooled the peppers in the fridge then wrapped them in plastic wrap and put everything in a freezer bag together.

Butternut Squash Lasagna is pretty straight forward! Actually easier than I anticipated....Well, would have been easier than anticipated had the 4 year old not returned home and demanded to "help."

These Good Housekeeping recipes really like the microwave. Someone needs to tell them it takes the nutrients out. So I'm tossing the potatoes in the oven for an hour for the Curried Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie. Probably should have done this when I put the squash in. C'est la vie. Oh! Just remembered I should put them on a cookie sheet as sweet potatoes can ooooooze.

Now seems like a good time to go back to the Fried Rice while those bake. I'm adding red peppers to up the veggies and shrimp to make it more meal-y, and omitting the mushrooms by request....sad face. Mmmmm...good recipe.

Oh my. I'm running out of steam for the Shepherds Pie. Also, I bought three extra pounds of meat?? How did that happen? And then I thawed it all. Looks like I'll need to brown it and re-freeze...tomorrow, at Tara. After all, tomorrow is another day. I know that I probably unnecessarily doubled the turkey for the peppers, forgetting it was already a make some/freeze some recipe. I'm not sure where the other two pounds came from.

Wow! Turns out two 49.5 oz cans of chicken broth was just right for this week! Am estimating genius. Except for the meat thing. Ahem.

Wish list at the end of week one:
Large Soup Pot
More Sexy Mixing Bowls for holding ingredients
Wine. Lots.


  1. Hooray!

    I have yet to freezer meal cook. I shall watch you quietly whilst I munch on animal crackers and see how you do. Then maybe I will jump in and try it out.

    I bought a bag as tall as Julia of animal crackers. Yum.

  2. Outstanding. Especially the cat's water bowl bit. I needed a drink just reading it. Can't wait for next week. And I need a shot out for giving you my book on Wednesday......

  3. This looks like fun, Morgan. Can't wait to see what you cook and how it freezes...I love stocking my freezer and thawing out yummies when life is crazy. Here's a tip: Keep a freezer inventory on the side of the beast so you know what's in there. Otherwise, you will quickly lose track!