Meal Plan Week Four

by Lauren Matthies


From here on out, I will write separate posts for new meals that I feel are share worthy.  My husband and I are definitely creatures of habit and eat the same meals over and over.  When we go out to eat, we eat at the same few places, and we usually order the same thing (I am more likely to try something new than my husband, but both of us usually stick within our comfort zone.  The other night I tried something new and regretted it.)  Because of that, many of my meals from here on out will be repeats or just vary slightly.

Monday

Meal: Burritos and Queso

Recipes:

  • For the queso...
    • Ingredients:
      • 6 ounces American White Cheese (at the deli counter)
      • 2 ounces Monterrey Jack Cheese
      • 1 pint Heavy Cream
      • 1-2 teaspoons garlic
      • Desired mix-ins (e.g., red pepper flakes, chili powder, pico, etc.)
    • Instructions:
      1. In a pot over medium heat, begin to heat the heavy cream.
      2. Add cheese and let melt, while continuing to stir.
      3. Add garlic and desired mix-ins.
      4. Serve warm.
  • For the burritos...
    • Ingredients:
      • Large burrito sized tortillas
      • Rice, cooked
      • Pinto beans, cooked and warmed
      • Lettuce, chopped
      • Cheddar cheese, shredded
      • Any other desired toppings
    • Instructions:
    1. Heat tortilla in microwave by wrapping it in a damp paper towel and cooking for 30 seconds
    2. Combine all ingredients in tortilla.
    3. Wrap and eat.

 Photos:

Notes: I've made this queso in the past and it was a hit, but this time it was just okay.  I enjoyed it in the burritos, but it wasn't as good with the chips plain.  Part of it was I was rushed and didn't let the cheese melt all the way, and the other part was that I didn't have chili powder.  That being said, it turned out fine, but nothing to write home about.

I didn't photograph my burritos because I was hungry and ready to eat.  My burritos didn't have rice like my husband's, and instead, had beans, cheese, lettuce, avocado, and queso.  If I hadn't been in such a rush to eat, I would have added some diced tomatoes as well.  You can add whatever you like in your burritos, e.g., hot sauce, pico, guacamole, corn, veggies, meat, tofu, etc.)

 Verdict: I'd definitely make the burritos again, but would save the effort of making the queso for a larger crowd.

Tuesday

Meal: Mimic "Boston Market" Meal

Recipes:

  • For the cornbread...
    • Ingredients:
      • 1 cup milk
      • 1/4 cup butter, melted
      • 2 eggs
      • 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
      • 1 cup flour
      • 1/3 cup sugar
      • 1 tablespoon baking powder
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • Instructions:
    1. Whisk together milk, butter, and eggs
    2. Stir in cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until just moistened.
    3. Pour into greased square pan.
    4. Make 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees, until toothpick comes out clean.
  • For the mac & cheese...
    • Ingredients:
      • Box of spiral noodles
      • 2/3 cup milk
      • 1 pound Velveeta cheese, cubed
      • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
      • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
    • Instructions:
      1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
      2. Place milk, Velveeta cheese, dry mustard, and tumeric in a bowl over (but not touching) a pot of simmering water.
      3. Whisk until melted.
      4. Pour warm cheese mixture over pasta and stir.

Photos:

Notes: My husband and I used to drive about 30 minutes to get to Boston Market back when we lived in California and it's another place we miss out here.  As vegetarians, we didn't get the typical Boston Market meal, however we got a bunch of sides, with the mac & cheese being our main focus.

I decided to try using veggie noodles for this dish and they were okay, but not great.  I'm not sure if it was a combination of the sauce and the noodles or if I just didn't like the noodles.  Next time I would stick with a whole wheat if I was trying to be healthier.

I don't like using super processed foods too often (depends upon what it is, but Velveeta kind of freaks me out for some reason).  With that in mind, I put aside my hesitations and used it because it was the only way I thought I might get a Boston Market style mac & cheese.  To me it wasn't worth it.  Again, it could have been the noodles that gave it an off flavor to me, but it didn't do it for me.  

I enjoyed the cornbread, and, while I may want to try a different recipe in the future, I would also be fine with making this one again.  It was very simple and, although I've never made cornbread before, think there's no reason to use a box mix when this from scratch recipe is just as simple.

Verdict: I was not impressed with the mac & cheese, but would likely make the cornbread again.

Wednesday

Meal: Veggie Burgers and Fries

Recipes:

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 can black beans
    • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
    • 2 baby bell peppers, chopped
    • 1/2 onion, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon oregano
    • 1 teaspoon garlic
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers
    • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
    • 1 teaspoon ground tumeric
    • Cornbread crumbs to form desired consistency
    • Burger toppings and buns
  • Instructions:
  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Drain black beans and mash them with a fork until they form a paste.
  3. Mix together all ingredients.
  4. Divide into patties.
  5. Place patty onto a small frying pan and cook over medium-high heat, heating for approximately 3-5 minutes on each side, adding cheese toward the end if desired.

Photos:

Notes: I decided to add quinoa to my veggie burgers this time, and to make use of my leftover cornbread from the night before.  These veggie burgers definitely had much more kick than the ones I made the other week.  My husband noted that they still had a slightly crumbly consistency (rather than the compact version you will get at restaurants), but I'm trying to avoid using egg in my burgers (I think adding egg would bind them better if you want to try it).  I actually ate the leftover mix right out of the tupperware container for lunch the next day.

As you can see in the picture, to help the cheese melt a little faster, I placed a lid over the burger once I placed the cheese slice on top.  This is optional.

This time I just bought the burger buns because it was less time consuming.

 Verdict: I will continue to play with my veggie burgers, but would be content making these ones again.

Thursday

Meals: Tortellini Marinara and Salad

Recipes:

  • For the tortellini...
    • Ingredients:
      • Package of tortellini
      • Jar of tomato basil pasta sauce (or sauce of choice)
    • Instructions:
    1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
    2. Combine pasta and sauce.
  • For the salad...
    • Ingredients:
      • Lettuce, chopped
      • Mandrin oranges
      • Canned pineapple chunks
      • Fresh blueberries
      • Dressing of choice
      • Quinoa, optional
    • Instructions:
    1. Combine ingredients and toss.

Photos:

Notes: Again, I used apple cider vinegar on my salad and it was delicious.  I also added some quinoa from the night before on my salad.  The next day for lunch, I used the remainder of the leftover quinoa, combined it with the leftover salad and some extra fruit, mixed it with more apple cider vinegar, and had a delicious and easy lunch. 

I was hoping to make sourdough bread for this meal, but my starter is having trouble getting off the ground.  Hopefully I have some success with it soon so that I can start baking with it.

Verdict: Definitely a repeat meal.