Quarantine Week 19

Well, almost 5 months into this quarantine life. It really hasn’t been that bad. I’m an introvert anyway, and I’m agoraphobic, so really, this is the life I kind of would think I would enjoy. Granted, I could definitely use with it being more of a lifestyle choice and not a fear of serious illness or death and all.

Since it’s August and the heat is really here for a bit, I’ve been cooking substantially less. I still make dinner most nights, but I’m not doing any of the things like making broths or baking or any of those more time consuming things. So I’ve been filling that time by learning Spanish. Maybe when I feel more confident, I’ll try to write a blog entry in Spanish. But not yet. So on with the weekly food journal.

Thursday (7/30) – I didn’t cook. I know it is shocking. We didn’t have any of the kids for dinner, and I was feeling super stressed out by the construction going on below us, so we just had leftovers. Also, at this point, we had plenty of leftovers.

Friday (7/31) – I made grilled cheese for the kid and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches for the hubby and I. I also made a black bean, corn and red onion salad as the side dish. I realized halfway through the meal that there was no real vegetable component. Guess I kind of dropped the ball on that. I also fried up the remaining bacon. I do this with the intent to use it in salads or scrambled eggs, but generally my husband snacks on it.

Saturday (8/1) – I made grilled pita bread pizzas. For the vegetarian, I topped it with homemade pesto, garlic and herb goat cheese, and cherry tomatoes. For us omnivores, I added homemade Italian sausage. I got the grill a little hotter than intended and kind of charred the bottom of 2 of the 3 pizzas. Not my best work, but the pizza was still good. Only one quarter of crust was completely inedible. I realized that the last time I did this, I only heated one side of the grill and put the pizzas on the indirect heat. That definitely worked much better, and I didn’t have shooting flames from the olive oil in the pesto leaking into the fire.

Sunday (8/2) – I made my homemade Swedish meatballs, gravy and mashed potatoes. I don’t want to brag or anything…okay, yes I do…my meatballs are awesome. And I made 2 lbs of them, so there were a lot of leftovers. My husband and I each had a lunch of them later, and he snacked on them for multiple days. And the potatoes came out so silky and delicious! I had originally planned to make them on the grill as I had previously but decided I didn’t want to stand in the rain, and the temperature was cool enough to do it stove-top. I did use the instant pot for the potatoes. It is just such an easy way to boil pretty much anything.

Monday (8/3) – I made a Lebanese lentil and rice dish I found on the Food Network Kitchen app. I left out the cayenne called for the recipe, and I think my lentils were a little more done that the recipe intended, but it was delicious. I am always leery of cinnamon in savory dishes, but it wasn’t overpowering and added just the right amount of complexity. I am now curious to try more recipes that combine cumin and cinnamon. I served it with Brussels sprouts, so this time I remembered the veggies.

Tuesday (8/4) – I made spicy shrimp and creamy polenta. Technically, my polenta was corn meal mush because it was made with fine ground cornmeal and not the coarse stuff one would normally use for polenta, but I’m going to call it polenta anyway. I used a combination of salt, pepper, ground Mexican chili pepper, and garlic on the shrimp and sauteed them with onions and orange bell pepper. It was just the right amount of spice when combined with the polenta. And we finally had an evening without rain, so we could dine al fresco.

Wednesday (8/5) – I made one the prettiest dishes I’ve done so far. It was just a simple spinach and ricotta manicotti, but I topped it with a homemade marinara sauce and some jarred Alfredo sauce and then sprinkled Romano cheese on top and baked it until the cheese just started to crisp. I sprinkled some chopped fresh basil over the top before serving. I love manicotti because it is a one dish dinner that has protein and veggies. And we got to dine al fresco again. We had a cool spell for a few days, and we tried to take full advantage of it. I also made a loaf of sourdough bread since it was cool enough to run the oven in the morning. I realized after it was done that I had intended to add a little sugar, and I forgot it. But it has a very savory taste to it, so I’m happy anyway.

I was about to say nothing too adventurous this week, and then I scrolled up and saw the words Lebanese and Swedish and realized my standard for adventurous may need some review. I may have a bit of an issue with setting expectations for myself a little high.

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