Quarantine Week 13

This post is being published a bit later than normal, but yes, we are still quarantining. We adopting two beautiful kittens on the 24th. That would be the day I would normally finish out this weekly blog, so I was a bit distracted. But I did keep cooking…when not playing with the kittens.

Thursday (6/18) started with blueberry steel cut oats. I made them in the instant pot and added frozen blueberries after cooking along with some honey and milk. They were delicious. I am not sure why that can of oatmeal has been in our cabinet for several years unopened.

For dinner, I made Swedish style meatballs on the grill! It was super hot outside, so I definitely didn’t want to run the oven. I gave my husband the choice of meatloaf or meatballs, and his eyes lit up at the meatballs, so they were a must. They turned out terrific, and we ate them with the leftover strawberry poppy seed salad. They were so good, I didn’t get any of the leftovers!

Friday (6/19), I made a delicious quinoa salad with grilled corn and black beans. I had thrown the corn on the grill Thursday while I was cooking the meatballs, and the beans and quinoa both cook quickly in the instant pot. When it was time for dinner, I just threw everything together and served it cold since it was so hot outside. Despite my efforts to make this as kid friendly as possible, she ate maybe three bites. It seems the word “salad” is also a trigger word. That, or she’d likely had snacks later in the day before coming over.

Saturday (6/20), I got my sourdough out of the refrigerator to wake it up again. There will be more on that later, as I like to give it a couple of days to really come back to life. For dinner, I was finally able to obtain some large pasta shells from Target when we did an order earlier in the week, so I made stuffed shells. I blended ricotta, egg, Parmesan, and spinach with some seasoning. I stuffed the pasta shells raw and put them into a homemade marinara sauce and cooked them in the instant pot. When it was done natural releasing, I added some Parmesan on top and used the broiler function to brown it a bit. The kid even asked for seconds, so I guess I did okay.

Sunday (6/21) was Father’s Day. I had a loaf of bread that was getting to its final days, so I made up a French toast casserole late Saturday night. My husband is not a big fan, but I knew we would have leftovers for the kid all week. I made some homemade breakfast sausage and fried some eggs for him and I. We had a beautiful brunch on the deck and then opened his father’s day gifts. He got a very nerdy board game centered around an election in the 1800s and a book about the origins of the FBI. He’s a nerd. The kid is a nerd. Nerdy gifts are the norm!

For dinner, I grilled bratwursts and onions and charred some kaiser rolls. We had them with some of the leftover quinoa salad. We always have something super meaty on Sunday nights, especially on weekends we have the kid because she goes back to her mother’s Sundays.

Monday (6/22), I decided to do the stir-fried wild rice again. I still had some leftover cooked white rice in my refrigerator from the week before, and it seemed like a good use. I was also able to use up some beets and carrots that looked like they weren’t going to last much longer. I sauteed up some shrimp pieces that we got from Imperfect Foods so the husband and I could toss them into the dish at the table. The shrimp went really well with the rice. The kid barely ate, and the husband has informed me he is kind of over the wild rice. I guess I’ll go back to not feeding them a type of grass!

Tuesday (6/23) started with “almost” eggs Benedict. I had no ham or any form of lunch meat because we have discovered that with all the cooking I do, we don’t eat it fast enough, and it goes bad. You know I hate food waste, so we just mostly live without lunch meats for now. But I really wanted hollandaise sauce, so we had poached eggs on toasted English muffins with hollandaise. We served the kid leftover French toast casserole. Everyone was happy.

For dinner, I went back to my trusty grill. I made grilled pork shoulder steaks and served them with a nice side salad of romaine, leafy green lettuce, boiled eggs, avocado, cucumbers, tomatoes and ranch dressing. It was still cool enough to eat on the deck, which was nice.

Wednesday (6/24), my newest batch of bread was ready to bake. Luckily, it was also a very cool day, so I could actually run the oven early in the morning to bake it. I put a fan in the back door to pull out the hot air, and it worked perfectly. I used a combination of sourdough and a little yeast. The texture turned out great, but I may try putting a sheet pan under it next time as the bottom crust continues to be harder than we like.

We also got our new kittens on Wednesday. Obviously, that is not about food, but it definitely monopolized my day. They are brother and sister, and we adopted them from a local rescue. The little girl was immediately cuddly, but the boy took an hour or so to warm up.

I did manage to tear myself away from the kittens long enough to put dinner on the table. I used some naan bread to make pizzas. I used some basil from my garden to make a pesto sauce and I topped them with spinach, chevre and cherry tomatoes sliced in half. I made one of them a little less browned because the kid claimed last time we had pizza that she didn’t like her cheese as toasted. It turned out that she kind of liked the more toasted better. Sometimes, I think she doesn’t really have taste or preferences, just whims. Oh well, the pizza was good and the kid even liked the chevre after I told her what it was!

Anyway, another week down, and I think we are still finding ways to keep the meals interesting. The longer we go, the less I actually miss drive-thrus and eating out. I mean, I love sitting at a bar and ordering a nice drink or having lunch with an old friend at a nearby restaurant. But I think we continue to keep our meal times interesting.

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