What’s for supper? Vol. 107: I’m chicken my privilege

This week, I managed to use leftovers from a previous meal in every single new meal. Some of this was planned, some was felicitous. Some was just scallions.

Here’s what we had:

SATURDAY
Fancy hot dogs, chips, salad

It’s amazing how a few toppings can transform a hot dog meal from shameful to splendid. I got cheapo hot dogs for the kids and Nathan’s for them as appreciate Nathan’s, and I set out ketchup and mustard, of course, and also diced cucumbers, thin-sliced pickles, diced tomatoes, pickled peppers, diced onions, and celery salt for Chicago-style hot dogs, and crumbled blue cheese, hot sauce, and chopped scallions (left over from last week) for Buffalo dogs. Yum yum.

***

SUNDAY
Chicken enchiladas, beans and rice

#1 son has been asking for this dish for a while, and not just so we can quote Dr. Marvin Rubdown.

I use Pioneer Woman’s recipe. I cooked six giant, recklessly seasoned chicken breasts in olive oil

and, after shredding them, set aside the meat from two of them for later. I had thirty-two large tortillas, and, because the gods are cruel, enough fillings for thirty-one enchiladas.

In my neverending but alwaysfutile quest to have more than enough onions for the enchiladas, I diced and sautéed seven onions. I rushed them a bit, so they didn’t really caramelize, but they were still luscious. You cook them up in the chickeny oil, using the same pan.

I shredded up about two pounds of cheddar cheese, which wasn’t quite enough. The enchiladas were a little skinny, to be honest; but also to be honest, I actually like eating up the slightly soggy folded ends of tortillas.

We went through two large cans of green enchilada sauce and two large cans of red. Some tomatoes, sour cream, and cilantro on the top. Or maybe it was scallions, I forget.

Lackluster photo, completely delicious food. I had other plans for Sunday, but the all-devouring enchiladas ended up taking all day to make. Next time, I may try stacked enchiladas, where you use the same ingredients, but just layer them in a pan, rather than rolling them. I want enchiladas, but I want my life back, too.

We had leftover rice from last week, so I mixed it up with a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes with chiles and some of the juice, a can of drained black beans, some jarred, sliced jalapeños, and bunch of cumin, chili powder, and salt. I feel like there must have been other ingredients, but I sure can’t remember them now. It was tasty, and I was proud of not just throwing down a bag of chips.

***

MONDAY
Ham, baked potatoes, peas

Monday is our crazy-go-nuts day, and so we had a meal than involved taking things out of the bag and making them hot. No complaints.

Oh, and we had some yogurt sauce left over from last week’s turmerific chickepea chicken. It smelled okay, so I daringly slathered it on my baked potato with some scallions, and holy cow, it was so good. It was Greek yogurt with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

***

TUESDAY
Chicken tortilla soup, leftover enchiladas

Feeling like a genius, I took the leftover chicken out of the fridge and vaulted straight through to the quick and easy part of this recipe from Pioneer Woman. I didn’t have any masa or cornmeal, so I just decreased how much water I added, and it was plenty thick. Only one child refused to eat it because it turned out the tortilla strips weren’t noodles. Avocado on soup is a revelation.

There were, as I expected, still some enchiladas left, so we had those instead of the rice or corn bread I’d usually make as a side dish. It was a lot of the same flavors as the soup. Not a problem.

***

WEDNESDAY
Grilled pizza sandwiches with olives and pepperoni

Sometimes these turn out delicious, and sometimes they’re kind of bleh. This time the gods ordained that we should have bleh. I used sourdough bread, but I think a softer bread, like potato, would have worked better.

You brush the outside of the sandwich with butter mixed with garlic powder and oregano or basil, and then the inside of the sandwich is sauce on both slices of bread, with cheese and toppings (well, fillings) in the middle. I think I was just yelling so much on Wednesday that nothing was going to taste good. Anyway, I made supper.

For very thick grilled sandwiches, I like to grill them until they look right on the outside, then slide them into the oven for a while so the cheese melts all the way and everything’s hot enough.

***

THURSDAY
Fancy ramen

Yep, I planned a weekly menu that included both “fancy hot dogs” and “fancy ramen.” We’re just that fancy!

I’m always amazed at how popular this dinner is, how cheap, and how fast. It took less than half an hour from stepping into the kitchen to saying grace.

I had a few pounds of boneless pork ribs, and I just browned them in olive oil, then sliced them in thin squares. Then I soft-boiled a dozen eggs and heated up some frozen stir fry vegetables. Then I cooked up a bunch of chicken ramen, just using the little flavor packets, and set the ramen out with all the other stuff in separate bowls, plus some leftover chopped scallions. Tasty and satisfying.

This is a photo from previous ramen. I forgot to get the pics of current ramen off my son’s phone.

Sometimes we add soy sauce, hot sauce, sriracha sauce, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, or crunchy chow mein noodles, or stir in some spinach. You can make all kinds of fancy sauces and add extra seasonings for the pork, but simple is also great.

This kind of choose-your-own-adventure meal is a great way of compromising with kids. You prepare all kinds of wonderful foods, but set them out separately, and let the kids choose what they like. That way, you don’t have to cook a separate meal for picky people, but you don’t have any horrible battles over “just try one bite.” I generally offer what I consider food every single time, and the picky kids gradually, casually decide on their own to start trying it, even if only because they don’t like feeling left out.

***

FRIDAY
French toast?

I’m sort of pre-resting on the laurels I’ll win next week for Thanksgiving, so I don’t care what’s for supper today.

I will probably skip What’s For Supper? next Friday, because everyone is eating more or less the same thing, right? Here’s the planned menu so far:

Turkey with stuffing and gravy
Cheesy mashed potatoes
Sweet potatoes stuffed with dates, blue cheese, and walnuts
Cranberry walnut bread
Parker house rolls
Cranberry sauce in the shape of a can
Olives and pickles
Apple pie, pumpkin pie, maybe salted bourbon pecan pie, and chocolate cream pie with ice cream and fresh whipped cream
Wine and apple cider
And don’t forget! Pie crust is a million times easier and better when you freeze the butter and shred it before incorporating it into the flour.

12 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 107: I’m chicken my privilege”

  1. Oh my peas. My son has been on a soup kick, so I thought that chicken tortilla soup sounded yummy and went for it and…oh my. My Patreon backing just returned to me a thousandfold.

  2. The Pioneer Woman’s enchiladas are great, but all enchiladas are So. Much. Work. I switched to making stacked enchiladas, or PW’s tortilla casserole, and never looked back. Same taste sensations and you get your life back. When I am really pressed for time, I shred up a store-bought rotisserie chicken and use a fresh salsa from Aldi’s, instead of making the chicken and sauce on the stove before layering them into the casserole. One additional tip for this dish: fresh or frozen corn tastes much better than canned.

  3. I swapped a lot of things around so my meal plan went poof but it all worked out.

    Monday: Chicken drumsticks were amazingly on sale, so I bought those, and then I found boneless pork chops on sale, so I bought those, but the pork was close to sell by date so we had those instead, with mashed potatoes and veggies.

    Tuesday: grilled cheese and soup, leftovers.

    Wednesday: The chicken drumsticks–I just dredge them in butter and sprinkle on seasonings and bake the heck out of them–with Spanish rice and green beans.

    Thursday: burgers and hot dogs, I’d planned to get tater tots because I really like them, but my six year old vetoed me at the store and we had french fries instead, which everybody likes better, so it’s okay I guess.

    Friday: Pasta night as usual. Boring but safe. Even so I have to make three different kinds of pasta: spaghetti for the main crowd, gluten free for me, and rotini for the youngest who considers long noodles the work of the devil.

  4. Most of this week’s food was supplied by my wonderful mother, who also got to supply childcare last weekend so I could finally have my nearly-2-weeks-overdue baby. So I enjoyed hospital food (yes, I chose which hospital based solely on who has better food; I figure they’re mostly the same in other respects) and those at home ordered pizza. And my mom brought over bbq chicken which lasted us two nights (and we still froze some), and we thawed out a bunch of meatballs she had brought over earlier and everyone loved pasta with those, and one night my husband made hot dogs (though not the fancy kind).
    Good thing my kids all seem to like Grandma’s cooking better than mine, I guess. Far less whining or making pb&j than usual.

    1. Congratulations on your baby! I had one that was 11 days overdue, mainly because he was stubborn and I stubbornly refused to be induced until my doctor was back from vacation. It’s such an amazing feeling when they finally arrive!

  5. Can someone please explain what “boneless ribs” are? Is it just a sheet of rib meet, or what? It sounds like “boneless skulls” or “calcium-free teeth” to me.

  6. Monday: chickpea soup with spinach, potatoes and Italian sausage mixed in. Surprisingly, the sausage did not taste as good as when I just fry up a pound of ground beef with some Italian seasoning and throw it in. Go figure.

    Tuesday: ground beef stacked enchiladas and broccoli. Turned out…ok. I think I made a mistake with the sauce or something.

    Wendsday: went out on a date to a nice restaurant (as in not fast food) and bought little boy’s Christmas present while we were out. Ran into our state representative at the restaurant who apparently vaugely recognized my husband (he went to the state capitol a lot last year as a debate coach, and they visited the state representative office for our area every time with the students), so he stood up when we passed and shook his hand. We had a laugh about that when we got out to the car… hubby’s shirt wasn’t even tucked in.

    Thursday: a coworker of my husband’s ended up with some tamales she thought were too spicy for her, so she gave them to us. I heated up a can of refried beans and made some rice, and we had that with the tamales. It was LOVELY. Our family tradition growing up was to make tamales every year for Christmas Eve dinner (kind of a South Texas thing), so the whole house smelled like Christmas all evening.

    Friday: probably the chicken I pulled out of the freezer on Wednesday and meant to have yesterday. Not meatless, I know, but I need to use it before it goes bad.

    1. I’ll officially be ‘past due’ this Sunday, so I have no blessed idea what Thanksgiving will look like this year. If I’m still preggers we’ll be going to my in-laws, if I’m not I’ll probably being trying to sleep at home. 😛

  7. This all sounds wonderful. I have been off work on medical leave, so have been trying to clean out my refrigerator/freezer as well. Nothing strenuous, but I dug all the chicken bones out of the freezer (there were quite a lot of them) and made broth. This doesn’t take a lot of effort and is so worth it. I made risotto with some of it and will probably make soup with the rest.

    Next I thawed a pot roast and cooked that. I made roast beef salad with some of it (diced gherkins, celery, onion, some mayo and mustard, and the beef). Never tried that before but it was good. I’m making vegetable-beef soup with the rest of it.

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