Quarantine Life Week 20

This post is coming out a bit later because life has been very interesting the last couple of weeks. I’ll talk more about that in Quarantine Life Week 21. But wow! 20 weeks in quarantine. That’s five months! At this point, I think we have adjusted to this lifestyle. We’ve stopped talking about when things return to normal and just started adjusting to the fact that this is going to be our reality for a while. I almost had myself convinced to go into a grocery store, but then our numbers started consistently climbing again. The city of Chicago has not imposed any major restrictions again that really impact our lives, but I am fearful we will have another shutdown soon. Luckily, we’ve gotten really good at it, and we don’t really go out anyway.

Thursday (8/6) – Thursdays are becoming leftover days. We don’t usually have the 10-year-old on Thursday evening, and we generally have a good amount of leftovers. I had planned to make chicken but had a long day and wasn’t feeling it. So, leftover night.

Friday (8/7) – I used some boneless, skinless chicken thighs and made a chicken, rice and broccoli casserole using the bake function on my instant pot duo with the air fryer lid. I would say I need to lower the temperature a bit and cook a little longer. Not all of the rice was quite as done as I like, and the top got a little more brown than desired. However, it was delicious, and the leftovers were great…or so I’m told since my husband ate them all!

Saturday (8/8) – I made a pork roast in the instant pot with tiny potatoes. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite easy dinner dishes. I’ve talked to people who say they feel like the instant pot gets meat too tough, but I think they just need to adjust how they are cooking it. The trick is to set your timer for 3-4 minutes less than you think and to let it naturally release. If you quick release with meat, it will toughen it up.

Sunday (8/9) – I used my grinder to grind pickling spice into a power and used it as a rub on a tri-tip. I then smoked it for a couple of hours to about 150 degrees and then let it rest. It was the perfect medium rare. I served it with some steamed Brussels sprouts. We had tons left over, so that will inspire a few more meals. The husband and I apparently cannot finish off 3 pounds of beef by ourselves.

Monday (8/10) – We has some terrible storms in our area and so we ended up trading nights and not having the kid. Since my dinner plan was totally thrown off, and I didn’t have any meat thawed, we ended up just eating leftovers. The storms actually blew through pretty quick, and, unlike many of our neighbors, we did not lose electricity or internet. Some of our neighbors went 4-5 days without one or the other. We had neighbors running power cords outside for others to use to charge laptops and phones. It was a bit crazy but also nice to see people helping one another. We live in a second floor apartment above a row of storefronts that are currently under construction, so we couldn’t be much help with that. But I did share our wi-fi with our next door neighbor, as they use a different internet service and were down for several days.

Tuesday (8/11) – We had that tri-tip, so I chopped it up for taco meat. We had done a Harvest Time pick up, so we had fresh tortillas, pico de gallo (they make the best), and jalapenos, which I love in steak tacos. I made some black beans for the little vegetarian to have a protein. I told her she had to have a protein in her first taco. She ate two full tacos with black beans, red bell pepper, and cheese.

Wednesday (8/12) – I used more of that tri-tip to make a very nice omelet for breakfast. The husband just wanted cheese and pico in his, and the kid had cheese and mushroom. Ever the critic, she informed me she would like her omelet a little more done…after previously saying she didn’t like it to start browning. Kids will make you nuts. For dinner, I made a spinach pesto using a recipe from Food Network Kitchen. At first, I followed the recipe, but then I tasted it, and it was super peppery. Spinach and other leafy greens like that can give a very peppery taste. So, I adjusted it with a little honey and extra Parmesan. It was still a bit peppery, but amazingly, it created a real victory with the kid. She tasted it and was initially shocked. We talked about what caused the spiciness and how spicy it was before I adjusted. She decided to try it with more Parmesan shredded on top. She ended up eating seconds! Victory!

Okay, 2 nights of leftovers. I guess I may be slacking a bit. But, I think I get some credit on the meat-a-licious weekend menu and an interesting new pesto dish. I don’t know if it’s one we’ll make a frequent visitor, but it turned into a little victory on our food exploration path. Also, this week is what I may ultimately refer to as the calm before the storm.

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