Meal Plan Week One

by Lauren Matthies


Monday

Meal: Enchiladas and Spanish Rice

Recipes:

  • For the rice I just followed the recipe on the box, but omitted the canned tomatoes.
  • For the enchiladas...
    • Ingredients:
      • Flour tortillas
      • 2 cans refried beans
      • 1 can enchillada sauce
      • Shredded cheese
    • Instructions:
    1. Place desired amount of beans and cheese onto tortilla and roll up.
    2. Pour enough enchilada sauce to cover the base of the pan.
    3. Place rolled up tortillas in a pan side by side.
    4. Pour remaining enchilada sauce onto the tortillas and top with shredded cheese.
    5. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 15- 20 minutes until cheese is melted and enchiladas are warm.

Photos:

Notes: The enchiladas were yummy, and I will make them again, however we didn't like the rice.  My husband said it reminded him of something that his dad used to make for them when they were kids and that that wasn't a good thing.

I used vegetarian refried beans because my husband and I are both vegetarians.

I used a small amount of cheese because my husband is not a fan of food with too much cheese on it.  You can definitely add more if you are a big cheese fan.

Verdict: Will make the enchiladas again, but will opt for a different rice.

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Tuesday

Meal: Mock Panera Strawberry Poppyseed Salad and Mock Nordstrom's Tomato Basil Soup

Recipe:

  • For the salad...
    • Ingredients:
      • 1 bag chopped romaine lettuce
      • Sliced pineapple
      • Sliced strawberries
      • Blueberries
      • 1 can mandrin oranges
      • Pecans
      • Poppyseed dressing
    • Instructions:
      1. Combine desired amount of each ingredient and toss.
  • For the soup...
    • Ingredients:
      • 6 Tbs olive oil
      • 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
      • 1 large onion, sliced
      • 1 Tbs crushed dried basil
      • 3 28-oz cans whole peeled Roma tomatoes
      • 1 quart vegetable broth
    • Instructions:
      1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until simmering.
      2. Add carrots and onion and cook until they begin to soften (approx 10 min.)
      3. Add basil and cook for 5 minutes, until completely soft.
      4. Add tomatoes and broth, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
      5. Simmer for 20-45 minutes (depending upon how much time you have).
      6. Puree slightly cooled soup in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Photos:

Notes: I originally planned to add cream to my soup, but it was taking forever and both Henry and I were ready to eat.  I actually really liked it without the cream, especially for summer as it was refreshing.  I think it may even be good cold, like a gazpacho.  I also had some chunks in my soup (parts that didn't get completely blended in the food processor).  I liked them, however, and wouldn't have minded more.  It's a personal preference.  If you don't want the chunks, make sure it's well blended or remove them with a colander.  Also, the amount I made was WAY more than was needed for two people.  I have enough soup to feed an army.  Feel free to half the recipe or just plan on freezing a lot of it.  

My inspiration for the salad came from the Strawberry Poppyseed Salad at Panera.  My husband is a big fan.  I thought I was going to need two bags of the chopped lettuce, but one was plenty.  The pecans probably needed to be either toasted or candied as they tasted a little soft.  They didn't have fresh berries that looked good at the store, so I used frozen ones instead (fresh would have been better, but the frozen was fine).

I served the meal with heated up baguette bread, which was a nice addition, especially because my husband only likes soup if he has bread to dip in it.

Verdict: Both meals were delicious and I would make them again.

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Wednesday

Meal: Mock Disneyland Cafe Orleans Pomme Frites and Mac & Cheese

Recipe:

  • For the pomme frites aka garlic fries...
    • I'm not even going to give you a recipe because it did not turn out well.  My husband and I started jokingly calling them "potato sticks" because they were basically baked potato sticks.  So much for trying to bake french fries.
  • For the mac & cheese...
    • Ingredients:
      • 4 cups milk (I used 2%)
      • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
      • 1/2 cup flour
      • 1 lb elbow macaroni, cooked
      • 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
      • 3 oz grated Romano cheese
    • Instructions:
      1. Heat milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it comes to a simmer.
      2. Turn off heat and seat aside.
      3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  
      4. Add flour and whisk until the mixture turns light brown (approx. 3 min.)
      5. Remove from heat.
      6. Whisking constantly, slowly add the milk to the flour mixture until evenly combined.
      7. Return the saucepan to medium-high heat and stir in both cheeses until melted.
      8. Add the pasta and continue stirring occasionally until the pasta is heated throughout.

Photos:

Notes: Like I mentioned above, the french fries did not turn out.  This meal was a bummer overall.  I was so excited to make my husband's favorite Disneyland meal for his birthday, but it did not turn out well at all.  The mac & cheese was fine (again, I have enough leftover to feed a whole town), but even the grapes were mushy (somehow they froze in our refrigerator and then defrosted mushy.  Which, I'm trying to adjust to our outdated appliances in our new place.  It's been a process in and of itself to learn how to adjust temperatures and cooking times in our oven.)

As far as the mac & cheese goes, I don't know if it was because I knew it was made with flour that I felt like I didn't enjoy that consistency/taste or if I wouldn't have regardless.  It actually tasted better to me once it was a little cold and not fresh off the stove.  I ate a decent amount of it because I was hungry, but I would try a different recipe for next time.

I did have more success with dessert.  My husband likes what we call "dippy cones" that we used to get at Cars Land in Disneyland.  I forgot that we got them with chocolate ice cream at Disneyland (apparently it's been too long already) so I bought vanilla ice cream.  Also, I could only find sugar cones, not cake cones.  Then I dipped them into homemade chocolate shell.  The chocolate shell was made with equal parts coconut oil and chocolate chips melted on the stove.  After dipping them I let them set in the freezer for a couple minutes and they were pretty good.  I would choose different ice cream, but my husband thought the shell was the exact consistency of what we get at Disney.

Verdict: Never again on the fries.  Maybe again on the mac and cheese.  Probably again on the dessert.

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My husband ended up getting off work early on Thursday so we ran to our storage unit to continue cleaning our apartment.  We decided to get dinner while we were out so we'll save the tacos for another night.  So, here's to a decently successful first "week" of meal planning and cooking at home.