Quarantine Week 28

It’s October and feels like fall. While my husband is obsessing about fall foliage, I am obsessing on when I can fit my favorite hearty fall dishes into the menu rotation. Think all things soup or casserole. And since we have had success with at least three soups with the kid, I am really wanting to expand on that. At some point, I may even try making a vegetarian chili, though that is just tough for me. I could go on a rant here about the proper way to make and eat chili, but I’ll save that for another post. On the positive side, even with some of the less than healthy meals I would say I have been making, the husband is feeling pretty good, as he has lost 35lbs in the last 28 weeks. So on to me telling you about our week.

Thursday (10/1) – I’m sure this will surprise no one, but we had leftovers. That chili was just calling to me. But I did add a little tomato paste and simmer it a bit to thicken it a bit more, as we both thought it was a little thinner than normal. So there was some cooking…sort of.

Friday (10/2) – I made “pork and beans”. Okay, I used my instant pot to pressure cook a pork shoulder roast on top of some great northern beans and onions. It was actually pretty delicious. However, I would recommend slicing up the pork before storing the leftovers, as it makes it a bit easier to manage on reheat since the dish comes out a bit more like white bean soup.

Saturday (10/3) – I made shrimp scampi. We have really been on a shrimp thing since the whole quarantine started. This may just be because Imperfect Produce often has shrimp available. Or it may be because it’s a meat I can decide I want and thaw in less than half an hour. But I realized I had not made scampi, which I consider to be the iconic shrimp dish. So I made us some scampi. I’m not bragging here, but I was concerned about leftovers and really didn’t need to be. We ate all of it.

Sunday (10/4) – I decided to try making Michael Symon’s Perfect Roast Chicken again. The recipe is pretty simple. The main components are really high heat and a cast iron pan. There’s a little more to it than that, but you can read about that from the chef directly. It came out beautiful, and the meat was so juicy and tender. I sautéed green beans in garlic and butter as a side dish, which went perfectly with it.

Monday (10/5) – I recreated Chipotle at home. Okay, I didn’t have as many options, but I had a lot. I cooked up some chicken thigh meat, black beans and some cilantro lime rice. I also made Mexican corn salsa and guacamole. Oh ya, and I sautéed some orange and yellow bell peppers. We made our own little burrito bowls. The most impressive thing was that the kid tried and LIKED guacamole. When I say liked, I mean she rushed to finish her burrito bowl so she can devour the rest of the guacamole on some chips.

Tuesday (10/6) – I took the leftover black beans and refried them. Then I added some milk and cheddar cheese and made an incredible dip. Yes, the husband and I ate black bean queso dip and chips for dinner. We aren’t ashamed of it.

Wednesday (10/7) – Inspired by that mushroom pate I made for the cauliflower wellington last week and the vegetarian meatballs, I decided to take a stab at mushroom burgers. I pureed mushrooms and cooked farro in my food processor and then added some seasonings and parmesan cheese to the mixture. I made it into patties and pan fried them. I served them on hamburger buns with sliced Colby-jack cheese. The husband and I added traditional toppings like mayonnaise and mustard, but the kid just ate hers plain. Everyone agreed they were very good. I want to tweak the recipe just a bit, but this will definitely stay in our menu rotation.

Okay, I kind of managed a couple of leftover nights this week. But I did manage portion control pretty well. I ended up freezing the last of last week’s chili, but we ate most of the leftovers for lunches. The breast meat for that roasted chicken is also getting turned into chicken salad which doesn’t usually last too long.

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