Here’s our meal plan and reality for last week:
Sunday | Bruschetta
Monday | Cheesy Quinoa Burgers + Veggies
Tuesday | Chicken Caesar Salad
Wednesday | Cheesy Vegetable Chowder
Thursday | Ham and Pea Frittata (but with turkey)
Friday | Leftovers
Saturday | Mexican Chicken
Sunday we had our post-grocery shopping favorite, bruchetta. We love getting to use our own fresh Basil! We’ve said it before, but bruchetta is super easy. Your favorite fresh bread (we like baguettes and ciabatta bread) sliced into medallions, a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar brushed on, basil leaves, diced tomatoes, and baby mozzarella. Bake or broil until melted. Voila! It’s so easy, but packs a big flavor punch. It’s a good appetizer, but is filling enough for dinner, too.
Monday I swapped the Quinoa Burgers for Caesar Salad because I needed something easy. One chicken breast pounded flat and diced was enough for all of our salads. Awesome. I cook the chicken in olive oil and a bit of Caesar vinaigrette to ensure it has great flavor.
Monday I also made Homemade Italian Bread and I felt so freakin’ fancy. The bread seriously looked like it could come from a real bakery. I’m super proud (but the result has more to do with finding an awesome recipe and less to do with my baking powers). I made a bunch of little changes to the recipe. I had dry yeast and not cake yeast, so I had to do a conversion (math to the rescue!), I used swapped some of the white flour for wheat, and I ended up just about halving the baking time (glad I was keeping an eye on it). After dinner, I froze half of it to use later and the week and kept out half for other lunches and dinners.
Jonas helped. He LOVES pouring the ingredients in. He also “counts” when we pour in multiples of the same thing. He doesn’t know the words, but he knows the intonation of counting. It’s super cute.
Tuesday I made Cheesy Quinoa Burgers for the first time. I’ve tried a few quinoa recipes this year because it’s so good for you. It’s the only grain that’s a complete protein. It’s been a hit or miss for me so far, but I’m finding that we prefer recipes where quinoa is more dry, so it has a sort of cous cous texture. Quinoa risotto, not so much.
These Quinoa Burgers (which I would call Quinoa Patties or Cakes) did not come out anywhere near as pretty as the recipe: I think you’d have to have one of those metal cooking ring things chefs use to make perfectly round eggs for that. I messed up my first couple (they fell apart when I tried to flip them), but even with it taking several tries, this made a TON. And it was super good: crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. (I saved the ones that crumbled and will just use those leftovers for a side next week).
We served these up with frozen tater rounds, corn, and grapes.
Wednesday we made Cheesy Vegetable Chowder for the first time. With the title “chowder”, I was expecting a much thicker, heartier soup. I ended up doctoring it up a bit by adding about twice the cheese called for and throwing in a bit of heavy cream. Which didn’t up the health factor, obviously, but it was delicious. I alos had to add a bunch of extra salt. The recipe doesn’t have any times, so I think the thickness of the soup was mostly affected by the timing. If I change gears next time and let the potatoes cook in the soup much longer, they’ll break down some and thicken it up. (I can’t track down the photo I took, but there’s a nice one if you click the link.)
Thursday I moved up making Mexican Chicken because I underestimated the number of eggs we needed for the week (so the Ham and Pea Frittata is moving to next week). I usually use rotisserie chicken for this recipe, but this time I just cooked two chicken breasts and shredded them with a fork. Super easy.
Friday we went to Applebee’s, just because we had a gift certificate. We found out later that Jonas stole a knife and fork set and slipped it into the diaper bag. Ooops.
Saturday we were supposed to have leftovers, but Jake was in charge of dinner and wasn’t feeling it. So frozen pizza it was.
This week we also made Pumpkin Breadto use for breakfast, lunches, and snacks. It’s delicious. I’m so ready for autumn.
We also discovered the very naughty and very delicious combination of Vanilla Joe Joe’s (which are sort of like Oreos) and Nutella.
Eliza is a cold lunch kid, but I’ve never really shared what goes to school with her. So this week we’re letting you in on Eliza’s Lunches:
Monday | Bagel & Cream Cheese, Apple & Sunflower Butter, Veggie Sticks
Tuesday | Turkey & Cheese Sandwich, Orange, Carrots
Wednesday | Cheesy Quinoa burger, Carrots, Banana
Thursday | Yogurt, Pumpkin Bread, Granola, Dried Fruit Bar
Friday | Sunflower Butter & Jelly Sandwich, String Cheese, Grapes
Monday | Bagel & Cream Cheese, Strawberry Applesauce Crusher, Veggie Sticks, Juice
Tuesday | Turkey & Cheese Sandwich, Orange, Carrots, Juice
Wednesday | Cheesy Quinoa burger, Carrots, Banana, Crackers, Ice Water
Thursday | Yogurt, Pumpkin Bread, Granola, Dried Fruit Bar, Ice Water
Friday | Sunflower Butter & Jelly Sandwich, String Cheese, Grapes, Ice Water
Things went SO MUCH smoother in the mornings with E’s lunches already planned out. I figured out last year through trial and error about how much she’ll eat, so I don’t over-pack her lunch to ensure that she gets to all of her food groups. They have a healthy snack at school too, so she doesn’t eat all that much during lunch time. I try to think of lunches in terms of food groups instead of entree / sides, and that helps me come up with ideas because there’s less of a box (if that makes sense). This week her sandwiches were on homemade bread, which she felt was super fancy.
I try not to be too repetitive, but carrots are the only cold veggie E likes (but she doesn’t like baby carrots, for some reason). I’m going to try shredding a few into sandwiches and baking them into things; we’ll see how that goes.
E’s lunchbox is from Goodbyn and has saved us a fortune in plastic baggies. She used it all last year too, and I’d highly recommend it (Jake uses one too). The only downside I’ve seen so far is that it can be hard for Eliza to close the lid all of the way, so she’s come home a couple of times with hummus leaked out. Ew.
I learned about the boxes from Bluebird, who has a lot of great Kiddo Lunch ideas.
Not sure if I’ll be sharing E’s lunches more, but I’ll definitely be planning them. I might just put them in a different post so as to not crowd the Savory Sunday ones. I’ll let you vote.
Here’s what next week will (sort of) look like:
Sunday | Chicken Sandwiches and Cottage Cheese
Monday | Ham and Pea Frittata (but with turkey)
Tuesday | Tofu Lo Mein
Wednesday | Omelets and Country Fried Potatoes
Thursday | Creamy Chicken with Penne and Broccoli (recipe to be posted)
Friday | Shepherd’s Pie
Saturday | Leftovers
Other | French Bread, Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins (recipe courtesy of Sharmon), Big Brunch on Monday
Monday | No school
Tuesday | Banana, Sunflower Butter and Honey Sandwich, Veggie Sticks, and Cottage Cheese
Wednesday | Turkey Wrapped Cheese stick, Crackers, Carrots
Thursday | Annabel’s veggie fritters (recipe from First Meals ), Hard Boiled Egg, Apple
Friday | Biscuit Pizza, Grapes
What have you been eating lately? What do you really want to make next week? Do you have links to recipes you think we’ll like?
For all Savory Sunday posts, click here.