BellyGrowling #1, a week worth of dinner experience

from Jan

Sunday—Roast chicken, peas, jellied cranberry, and rolls, lots and lots of rolls 

This was the easiest dinner of the week.  We were all visiting my mom and were treated to a weekend of my brother's cooking!  After a brief discussion with Joshua deciding if he wanted the skin on or off his chicken leg (off), we sat down to a lovely meal.  Now, there was some controversy about the skin on/off decision because taking the skin off meant the spices came off, too.  Honestly, I think this turned into a philosophical discussion with our four-year-old.  Although, a much less nauseating one than when daddy eats sardines from a can (Where are the heads?  Are those the bones?  Those are dead fish?  How did they get dead?  And my personal favorite: That's the spine!) 

Monday—Deli Café (aka, Jason's Deli) 

Joshua and I drove home from Grandma's house this day.  I had, for once, been super prepared before we left for the trip and had a quick meal ready to cook when we got home.  That was when I thought we would get home around 4pm.  But, we had one of THOSE trips home.  Two fun 30-minutes stops at rest areas, two emergency "I have to pee and I can't wait" pull over to the side of the road stops, and 1.5 hours to go less than 10 miles on the Capitol Beltway.  So, when we pulled onto our exit at 7pm, there was no way I was making anything for dinner.  Plus, Joshua was incredibly patient in the car and I really wanted to give him a little treat.  Hello and thank you, Jason's Deli! 

Tuesday—Joshua's pick 

Ok, so I kind of punted on this one.  And, to no one's surprise, Joshua picked chicken nuggets.  And, thankfully, there were some fish sticks in the freezer for me!  To make myself feel better, I did "cook" some frozen peas...and ate all of them myself. 

Wednesday—Veggie fried rice 

Back in the saddle!  I thought this was a surefire hit:  Joshua always eats this and it is a good one to make when we are on our own because it is a fast, flexible, easy recipe and Joshua usually likes to help make it. And, I got too cocky.  Joshua wanted none of it!  He did not want to help me make the "sauce," usually his favorite thing to do and he certainly did not want to eat it  I was shocked and, admittedly, disheartened as I ate my plateful alone at the table while Joshua played with his blocks.  To my relief, after some time in the bathroom (I'll just leave it at that), Joshua happily ate his plateful and even commented how good it was! 

The recipe is adapted from the Vegetable Fried Rice entry in 1,000 Vegan Recipes (2009) by Robin Robertson.  Here's what I do:  (1) saute 2 or 3 different vegetables that are hanging around in the fridge/freezer; (2) in a small bowl, mix together ½ to 1 teaspoon onion powder, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons fresh ginger (or the powdered spice jar equivalent), ½ teaspoon turmeric, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons mirin, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce; (3) mix the "sauce" into the vegetables; and (4) mix in about 3 cups cooked rice or spoon vegetable mix over rice.  About 4 servings. 

Thursday—Chili and cornbread 

Jeremy's home, so a favorite meal is in order!  When we were at my mom's house the previous weekend it was very cool weather and we talked about how nice it would be to have chili the following week.  Well, this day turned out to be 80 degrees and sunny, but we shall persevere!  Joshua professes that "I just don't like it," when it comes to chili.  But, throw some noodles under that chili and it is one of his favorites.  Strangely, though, no cornbread for him So, noodle chili for Joshua, no cornbread.  Big bowl of chili with crumbled cornbread pieces for Jeremy.  And, big piece of cornbread in a bowl with chili scooped over it for me.  Three separate meals, one big pot (I had leftover noodles in the fridge)!  And, a big shout out to Trader Joe's cornbread mix! 

My chili recipe which is from my mom is very straightforward:  In a pot combine:  1 lb ground meat (we use turkey), ½ cup chopped onion, 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, 15 ounce can of kidney beans, 8 ounces of tomato sauce, 1 chopped red pepper, 2 tablespoons (or to taste) chili powder, and a pinch of cinnamon.  Yes, cinnamon...Joshua's favorite spice that you will notice pops up in odd places in our meals.  I have to admit, in this case, the cinnamon is really good! 

Friday—Make-your own Mexican food plate 

This meal is a great way to clean your refrigerator and please everyone's tastes (no tortillas, lots of cheese, no rice, all the guacamole, etc.).  The only real preparation this meal takes is to make sure you buy your avocados far enough in advance so they are ripe on the night you want them.  Speaking of avocados, guacamole is the only thing I really MAKE.  My guacamole is simple:  2 avocados, 1 tomato, ½ lime worth of juice, 3 garlic cloves, and onion powder to taste.   In addition to the guacamole, I put out bowls of corn, black beans, rice and/or quinoa, shredded cheese, red pepper, onion, and salsa.  If I'm feeling particularly energetic, I may saute a vegetable mix in addition to the frenzy of microwaving.   

Saturday—Veggie lasagna 

Noodles and cheese, how can you go wrong (oh, and there are some veggies in there, too)!  This is typically a crowd pleaser and tonight it was a spot on recipe that everyone enjoyed.  A good end to the week!  My recipe is an adaptation of this one from Vegetarian Times:  http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/zucchini-corn-cannelloni/ 

Here is what I do:  (1) saute 1 medium chopped onion, 1 medium chopped zucchini, about 6 chopped mushrooms, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 pinch nutmeg, and frozen spinach (amount to taste); (2) add in 1 cup of ricotta cheese and 4 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese; (3) cover bottom of 8x8 inch baking pan with cooking spray and Trader Joe's marinara sauce; (4) layer no-bake lasagna noodles, veggie/cheese mixture, shredded mozzarella, and marinara sauce twice and top with marinara and shredded mozzarella.  Bake at 350 degrees from 25 to 30 minutes.  Serves almost 4.  (We usually have one small piece for leftovers.)