Thursday, February 21, 2013

Week #???? and a bit more

Well, there's only one explanation for why I haven't posted in over 2 weeks - we haven't eaten. I mean, that's obviously the only reason why I wouldn't post a recipe every day, and an extensive meal plan/shopping list each week.

Or, alternatively, unlike the other amazing mommy bloggers permeating the blogosphere, I'm just unable to keep up with the little curve balls life throws while simultaneously maintaining a daily, amazingly organized, witty, aesthetically pleasing, recipe-laden, 'my happy toddler' photo saturated blog. I justify my drastic failings (in comparison with some of those amazing blogs - you know the ones I'm talking about) by telling myself those other bloggers' kids are at boarding school, or have mommy issues, or the blogs are actually written by ghost writers. None of those things are probably true, but it's what I tell myself.

What I also tell myself is this - I blog for myself. I'm never gonna make it big like some of those other blogs, for one simple reason - I'm not willing to put the time into it. So, with that said - so sorry for being a couple weeks late, and while I'd love it if it didn't happen again, we should both go ahead and plan on it :) Consider it a, um, push out of the cooking nest - or whatever you want to call it - and go make a meal plan of your own, if you haven't already (which you probably which case, what did you make?! I'd love to know).

Here's what we've eaten over the past couple weeks (which were, by the way, filled with the husband traveling internationally, pink eye, strep throat, holiday weekend, and a semi-panic filled reassessing of my life):

* take out pizza
* bad day back up meals from the freezer (told you those would come in handy - perfect panic food)
* hotdogs (I mean, we put relish, onions & cheese on them & had them with sweet potato fries, but still...hotdogs)
* breakfast for dinner - pancakes, cereal, eggs
* went out to Ethiopian food for dinner (which, if you haven't done, you should consider doing. Unless you live in the midwest [anywhere other than Minnesota], then you should really consult yelp before doing so)

So, not a whole lot to document there :) Except this - our grocery bill was up. My lack of planning, and lack of time put into our meal prep may have meant I had time to tend to other very important things (and it was the right decision), but our grocery bill did increase. Moral of the story - planning ahead and sticking to a meal plan does save money.

So - here's the meal plan for this week, though it's only for 5 days since we are starting kinda late week and we have company this weekend:

Monday night: leftover lasagna (which I'll post a recipe for soon - this one was kind of a fail, but it was because I left out some key ingredients...even good cooks screw it up sometimes - my error was based in laziness and a refusal to go pick up those key ingredients from the store. I paid for it every time I ate that lasagna...even my kids wouldn't eat it. I finally smothered it in a jar of red sauce from Trader Joes and we called it an even)

Tuesday night: hubby made pancakes while I slept off strep throat. For the record, these pancakes were actually quite good. I added 1tsp lemon juice & the hubby used whole wheat flour instead of white, but otherwise I think it was the same as what's listed. I don't usually trust allrecipes, but they pull through on some of the classics.

Wednesday night: bad day back up - homemade enchilladas (I know, I can hear you "wait a minute! where's that recipe?! how can it be a bad day back up if it's not on this blog?! she's cheating on us". I admit it, I did. I made a delicious recipe and didn't get it up here yet. But it's coming - soon. I promise.)

Thursday: Chicken Divan (aha!!! here's the reason why I started this blog in the first place - we've finally got a repeat meal, and now, instead of having to do an entire post on every night's meal, I get a night where I can just drop in a link, recommend a bottle of wine, and then go consume a glass or two of it myself)

Friday: Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup with Homemade Sourdough Bread (which is currently bubbling ominously on my counter).

I'll try and get some of these recipes up - enchilladas and lasagna specifically, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this post illuminating my humanity and subsequently empowering yours. I hope that when reading these blogs, the thought that goes through your mind isn't "I don't know how she does it" (which is what I often think when looking at other blogs) but instead "oh yeah, I can do that too". Not because what I have to offer is so unequivocally great, but because I do know that good cooking, healthy eating, and affordable living are all incredibly compatible and achievable - by any of us.

So, enjoy! And please, if you feel so inclined, leave a comment every now and then to let me know you're reading/cooking, and if you have a blog - let me know what it is. I'd love to check it out.

Enjoy living like you don't have your act all together - that's how we do it here. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Chicken Divan (aka Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Casserole)

**note** I'll go back and put in links to recipes for homemade mayo and cream of chicken soup.  But for now, here's the basic recipe!**

This is a major comfort food, and in my hubby's top 5 favorite meals so it's a pretty frequent repeat in our house. The original recipe calls for canned condensed cream of chicken recipe, mayonnaise, and sour cream. Phew! Did your arteries just seize up? It's ok, I've modified this recipe so now your arteries will just wheeze a little.

Instead of store bought mayonnaise, we'll use homemade; instead of sour cream, we'll use homemade greek yogurt; instead of canned condensed cream of chicken soup, we'll use homemade cream of chicken soup.

The recipe:

Chicken Divan 

2 c  homemade mayonnaise
2 c sour cream/Greek yogurt
2 c cream of chicken soup
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 c cheese
2 c cubed chicken, cooked
2 c broccoli, barely steamed

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a 9 x 13 baking dish, spread the cooked chicken and steamed broccoli. I recommend slightly under-cooking the broccoli to retain nutrients and avoid overly mushy broccoli.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, cream of chicken soup, lemon juice, and 1 cup of cheese. Mix well and pour evenly over the broccoli and chicken in the 9x13 baking dish.

Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of cheese, and if desired, sprinkle lightly with paprika.

Place in the oven until hot, approx 30 minutes.

Serve over brown rice. Yummy!