Quarantine Week 48

Spring is almost here! We are supposed to have 60 degree whether this coming week. I am super excited. Living in Chicago, I know it could still snow again, but I think it’s definitely close to time to pull that grill out of storage and get myself set up downstairs for some summer grilling and smoking! But for now, let’s talk about this last week’s cooking.

Thurs (2/25) – We decided to order take-out from a local favorite, Monti’s. I ordered their large Philly cheesesteak just to be able to have leftovers. They did not disappoint. It was packed with so much meat, and I ordered double cheese. It was divine. We also ordered mozzarella sticks. So probably not our healthiest dinner of the week, but it was delicious.

Fri (2/26) – I made a nice savory pot of pinto beans. I have been amazed at how much flavor you can develop with spices when making these vegetarian. Where I grew up, ham or pork was a requirement. But you can use bay leaves, grains of paradise, and other spices to develop delicious flavor. I used my mushroom broth, which is packed with flavor.

Sat (2/27) – I made Croque Madame for the first time! They came out very well. The kiddo didn’t really eat it, but she is least adventurous about breakfast for some reason. She wants “flat eggs”, essentially an omelet without filling or being rolled up. And bread. She’ll eat any form of bread. Anyway, I digress. I had planned to make a quiche for dinner I think, but realized I had used up all of the cheese on breakfast. So I pivoted and ended up making a pretty delicious pasta primavera. I added parmesan at the table, but otherwise, it was vegan.

Sun (2/28) – Katie made a nice shrimp stir-fry. She is very partial to Asian cuisine and makes a lot of stir-fries, despite, I believe, having once told me she didn’t really like stir-fry. She makes herself pad Thai at least a couple of times a week. This one had slightly spicy sauce and was very good.

Mon (3/1) – I made the French Onion mac-n-cheese again. This time, we used mozzarella, Swiss and Monterey jack. We also added garlic and ground mustard this time. I found it absolutely delicious. This is a great dish because you can definitely use the “use what you’ve got” method when it comes to the dairy and pasta. And peas make a great side dish for it.

Tues (3/2) – I made a large pot of chili. This time I remembered and did use all beef. I let it simmer for 6 hours, and it was so super thick and just delicious. A tip, you can cook dry beans in an instant pot before adding them to the chili. I cook them about 5 minutes less than I would normally, as they finish cooking in the chili. And I don’t drain the beans, as the liquid helps my chili thicken.

Weds (3/3) – I made the saffron risotto. This one was varied up slightly, as I used my mushroom broth for the liquid, and someone accidentally added garlic. I should be more specific when I instruct my daughter to chop up some garlic and throw in there. I meant the broccoli, but oh well, it was delicious. The broccoli was not quite as roasted as I prefer because I doddled getting it in the oven, but overall, the meal was very good.

Wow, when I look back on the week to do these posts, I am always a little impressed with myself. However, this week, I’m a lot impressed. I don’t mean to sound egotistical. It’s just that I have been working substantially more, because it’s tax season, and because I took on a part-time position with another firm. So the fact that I haven’t gone back to frozen meals and the very simple makes me feel pretty good.

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