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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Cheesy mashed potatoes
Sweet potatoes stuffed with dates, blue cheese, and walnuts