Leftovers for Lunch

So it has come to my attention that a few of you were under the impression that I was not going to blog anymore!! And I am here to say…not true! It is Wednesday, and here I am. I just meant I was going away from the dinner posts, at least for a bit, so as not to bore you all to tears.

For now, or until I think up another fascinating series, there will just be odds and ends, dinner success stories and/or failures, and other tidbits.

Today I am going to share a couple of my lunches that I thought were particularly nice.  I pack my and my son’s lunch most nights of the week, and definitely take advantage of leftovers.  And frankly I could use some ideas about what to pack for a kid who will only eat 2 types of sandwiches.  He does have a pretty broad range of foods that he likes, but not many that can be eaten cold other than the 2 sandwiches..anyone?  I need to do some internet searching.  I could send him all sorts of things that he wouldn’t eat, but the kid is running around all day at camp and needs to refuel, so I don’t think it’s really the right platform to be trying out brand new stuff.  Then again maybe he would eat it if he was starving and had nothing else to eat..hmmm.

Anyhow, my son and I both have a PlanetBox, which we absolutely LOVE.  They are a bit heavy for my son to carry, but it stays super cold with just the one small ice pack I think because it is metal.  So I guess that is a good trade off in terms of weight. The adult one has a bit more space and one less compartment than the child one, and comes with 2 great containers, one small one for sauce or dressing, and one glass container with a silicone lid that fits in the big compartment.  So here is yummy lunch #1:

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Big salad with green leaf lettuce, carrot, cucumber, roasted red peppers, 2 slices of leftover bacon, horseradish honey mustard dressing (homemade), leftover quinoa with a little butter.

And yummy lunch #2:

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Sliced turkey, cucumber, baby bell pepper, homemade hummus, leftover corn on the cob, and I think I had some rice crackers on the side.

And finally, yummy lunch #3:

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Leftover turkey meatballs, jarred sauce, rice spaghetti, corn on the cob (again! what can I say, it’s corn season..yummm), kale chips.

This was a kale chip experiment.  I notice that kale chips do not keep well; they get soggy very quickly.  On this particular day it was so humid they weren’t even crunchy by the end of the meal! So I packed them up and put them in the toaster oven at work the next day on the toast setting for just a minute or two.  They re-crunchified quite nicely!

And here is one last weekend lunch (also utilizing a lot of leftovers) which I thought was particularly lovely looking (and tasting I might add!):

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Leftover green beans, white beans, orange cherry tomatoes, baby bell peppers, carrots and my latest favorite quick dressing: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a tiny bit of honey, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

What’s your favorite way to use leftovers in a new meal?

Family Dinners, final edition.

So far so good in keeping the family dinner blog going. But I believe we’ve come to the point where you’d rather cut your toenails than read about turkey meatballs again.  Therefore this is the final edition, for now.

Things are not running as smoothly, however, in farm to preschool land.  I’ve had everything happen in only 1 weeks time since the markets started…from losing my assistant after 1 market day to having no farmers at all on what was supposed to be the first market at one center, to getting in a car accident for the second time in about 6 weeks while driving home from a market that was cancelled when we arrived to a closed child care center. Whew.  I just keep breathing and knowing it will all work out, and just riding the bumps in the road like I own them.  Just keep on keepin’ on. Before I begin, I didn’t really take any good pictures this week, so here’s one of my son buried in the sand at the beach, just for fun.  He stayed like this for a really long time.  A guy walking by almost stepped on his head.

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So here’s some dinners for this week:

Sunday: Meatballs (same recipe but with ground beef this time), brown rice pasta, homemade basil pesto, roasted radishes, sliced cucumbers, raw sugar snap peas.

Monday: I worked.  Leftovers for the boys.

Tuesday: Olive oil and Spike oven roasted chicken drumsticks, wild rice blend (Whole Foods brand- and they changed their recipe, it’s not salty anymore!), corn on the cob, honey glazed carrots, raw carrots.

My son helped me cook a little tonight, he boiled the corn and lifted them out of the water with the tongs.  He also helped cook the carrots, grate the orange zest over them, add the honey, and stir it up. Did he eat it? No sir.  Too bad for him, it was delicious.  You should try it.  It was my farmers market recipe this week.

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Wednesday: Quinoa Pizza Bites, marinara sauce, fresh mozzerella, roasted red pepper, and basil salad, black cerignola olives, sauteed broccoli, watermelon.

The pizza bites were delicious, I will definitely make them again but go lighter on the salt.  My son took a teeny nibble and said they were delicious, but didn’t eat any more.  Just 4 slices of watermelon.  Nothing else.

Have you had cerignola olives? My fave.  Huge and not too salty.  Might be good for a kid’s first olive.

I’ve been working on mastering broccoli with garlic and oil like they do in the Italian restaurants.  Here’s my method–cut a head of broccoli into florets, saute the garlic for a couple of minutes in olive oil. Add the broccoli and about 1/4-1/2 cup of chicken broth.  Turn the heat up pretty high, cover the pot, and let it cook about 5 minutes.  Test for doneness–should be tender crisp and still bright green.  Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday: I worked late-ish and the boys went out for burgers.

Friday: Chicken sausage, quinoa, peas, apple slices

Saturday: Frozen chicken nuggets (yes we eat them, but only the Bell and Evans white meat, real uncooked chicken ones), kale chips, watermelon, sliced cucumber.

OMG best kale chips I have ever made! I used half a huge bunch of regular green kale, removed the stems, tore them into large pieces, washed, and dried them in my salad spinner.  I tossed them with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, a drizzle of honey, about a tablespoon or 2 of nutritional yeast, and some salt and pepper. I laid them out on a cookie sheet and cooked them for about 10 minutes on 375 degrees.  They do better on a little less hot, but thats what the nuggets needed.  I would do them on 325-350 under normal circumstances.  Flip them once during cooking and watch them CLOSELY! There is only a few moments leeway between them being limp, chewy and underdone, being perfectly light and crispy, and being burnt and bitter.

For more family dinner ideas, check out this post, or this one, or this one, OR even this one.

And please feel free to share YOUR family dinner ideas here, obviously I’ve run out.

Family Dinner Week 4

So we were away all weekend and came back late Sunday night.  I had guests in town, and I was working on another project etc etc etc, which left me zero time to plan or shop or cook.  So all bets are off this week as to how the meals will turn out.  I had some stuff hanging around and some meat in the freezer and my incredible talent of being able to create a decent meal from a seemingly empty refrigerator.  I did finally manage to get to TJs on Tuesday, but don’t think the planning phase is going to happen this week.  So here goes.

Monday: Had to work.  Boys went out for pizza.

Tuesday: Grilled chicken breasts, curried grilled cauliflower, guacamole, salsa, blue corn chips, sliced cucumber, cherries.

I just seasoned the chicken breast with Spike and olive oil and they came out nice.  I think I have finally learned not to overcook chicken breast after overcooking about 6,236 chicken breasts over the past 10 or so years.

The cauliflower had incredible potential.  I wanted to do something a little different so I tossed the florets with some olive oil, curry powder, salt, and black pepper.  I grilled them in a grill basket and they were looking really nice until I turned up the heat at the end just to finish them a little more and something caught fire inside the grill and pretty much ruined it and gave a really bitter flavor to the cauliflower.  But I would try this if I were you, it would have been delicious I think, had it not caught fire. Doh.

AND score a silent point for me, my son actually ate and loved cherries tonight after trying to persuade him to eat them for many years.  I was eating them and conspicuously (though not intentionally) spitting the pits out onto my plate.  This struck my son as funny and he grew curious and agreed to try a cherry.  He was pleasantly surprised that not only was it great fun to find the pit in his mouth and spit it out, but that cherries are also incredibly delicious.  He said he loved them, and I simultaneously cheered silently while also sitting on the edge of my seat hoping he didn’t choke on the pit.  It was good times.

Wednesday: Frozen fish sticks (TJs), homemade tartar sauce, pasta, leftover homemade pesto, salad bar (romaine, carrots, sugar snap peas, almonds, raisins, roasted red peppers).

Another shocker from my boy–I can’t even remember the last time he ate a fish stick, and he just bellied up to the table and ate 4 of them without even batting an eye or making a comment.  Like he’s been eating them forever. I also haven’t served them in months either.  But there ya go. Crazy.

Salad bar is a big favorite in my house.  I used to serve salad all together in one big bowl, but my son would never touch it.  Now I serve it all up separately-lettuce in one big bowl, and all the toppings in small bowls around.  This way my son can pick and choose what he likes. It makes a little more dishes but is otherwise just as easy to prepare.  Looks nice too!

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Thursday: Pulled pork in the crock pot, brioche rolls, potato chips, broccoli slaw, sliced cucumber, sliced apples.

I am just learning to like pork products other than bacon, and this pulled pork is super easy and yummy.  I like to dip mine in a little barbecue sauce too.

Friday: I went out with the girls! Rejoice. Boys had pasta and meatballs.

Cherry update: The night my son tried a cherry he said that he would like to eat cherries every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  When I served them again a day or two later, he looked, declared his love for cherries and didn’t eat a one.  I’m not sure he’s had one since that night.

Family Dinner Week 3

This was a very hectic week indeed.  And have to say that when I am not around, not a lot of dinner cooking gets done. Even if I leave plans.  Oh well.

So without further ado, and because my time is so limited this week:

Monday: I was out at a meeting and then meditation class, the boys went out for pizza.

Tuesday: Homemade turkey meatballs (they were so good last week I had to do it again, though I have to admit they weren’t as good this time, maybe because I left out the parmesan), homemade pesto (with basil that I grew myself-yahoo!), brown rice spaghetti (the one from Trader Joe’s is really quite good!), blanched broccoli from the farmers market.

I blanched the broccoli quickly in the pasta water before I boiled the pasta, then threw it in a bowl of ice water to keep it nice and green and still a little crisp.  My former broccoli lover still didn’t eat it…

Wednesday: Homemade beet hummus (it was so good, I don’t know why I buy hummus, it’s never very good), tortilla chips, bread, leftover broccoli, cut up carrots, celery, and radishes, avocado.

For the hummus I used 1 can of garbanzo beans, 1 small roasted beet, a few tablespoons of tahini, the juice of about 3/4 of a lemon, 1 clove of garlic, a glug of olive oil, fresh chives and parsley, and salt and pepper.  I’ve never been able to get my son to eat beets but he loved this hummus, it was a gorgeous hue of red/pink and was delicious too.  He loved it! He also made himself a broccoli and carrot sandwich. Ha.

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Thursday: I was working and husband was away, so I had to pack up lunch AND dinner for my son at the sitters house.  Whew.  At least I got in lots of fruits and vegetables.

Friday: Annie’s gluten-free mac and cheese, fresh mozzerella, roasted red pepper and basil salad, roasted beets, roasted asparagus and carrots, roasted radishes, corn on the cob.

This was a clean-out-the-fridge night meal.  We are going away tomorrow and didn’t want to waste all those beautiful vegetables! I have to say I never thought of roasting radishes, and it was SO delicious.  I will definitely do it again.  I like radishes but only in small amounts, and I can never use them up before they go funky.  I can’t remember where I saw the recipe, but it was so simple.  Slice the radishes thin and throw them in a baking dish with a tablespoon of butter and some salt and pepper. I roasted mine on 375 (though most recipes call for a bit hotter) and when the butter melted I just stirred it around a bit.  I roasted them til they were soft and shrively and a little brown, probably about 25 minutes.  Yum.