Mermaid Modern Hero Meal Plans!

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    • Continued working on spreadsheet. Not sure it's actually going to help. That's okay, trying new ideas means a bunch will fail.
    • Planned tomorrow's dinner: sauteed fish, homefries, herbed peas and a strawberry & peach crumble. Pulled fish and fruit from the freezer to fridge to defrost. Went ahead and mixed seasoning mixes for fish and homefries. Will go ahead and mix the crisp/crumble topping once MrLoverMan is done with the kitchen (today's his night to cook.)
      • I wouldn't mind another veg to go with this meal. For tomorrow, I'm working off what we have on hand. For future ideas... okra and cornbread or corn pudding/spoonbread are all that come to mind. I'm sure I can think up other veg side dishes. Salad. Hrmmmmmmm. Any ideas, Bees?


      Note to self: Apple Coleslaw will work for adding vitality and I have sufficient ingredients on hand for this.



        Sauteed Fish. I mixed up two spice mixtures and instead of just butter/oil and herbs had a dredging mixture designed for deep frying or sauteeing fish mixed with butter/oil. Oops! So, this turned out edible but not something to be repeated.

        Homefries. The mixture from the Ellyn Satter book was really good. Parmesan, paprika, and some other herbs. I wonder how much I can crowd these with them still baking up crispy instead of steaming. I wound up prepping two batches, which was far too time consuming, in my effort to not overcrowd the pans. I preferred the waxy potatoes over the starchy ones for this recipe. I needed to wait longer than I wanted to before turning them. When I tried to turn too early, they stuck to the pan. Next Steps: Create a recipe in Plan to Eat and tag. Slight preference to waxy potatoes over starchy. Experiment with how close I can crowd without trouble. Add this to a list of foods that can be prepped in bulk and eaten over time. Freezer friendly? More time consuming to prepare than say, the coleslaw below.

        Herbed Peas. Just peas. Didn't go to the community garden. Thus, no fresh herbs. And the plain peas were just lovely. Yay for freezers and microwaves. Next Step: make a list of herbs that are in the perennial garden at the community garden. Review list with head gardener.

        Apple Coleslaw. I've been trying to work out a coleslaw recipe that I actually like for ages. Finally! I've hit on one! This turned out really well. It also only took ~30 minutes to pull together. Next Step: Record a "base recipe" in Plan To Eat and tag. Add this to some sort of "Quick to Prepare Foods I can make in big batches and eat off of throughout the week" list.

        Strawberry & Peach Crumble. This one absolutely blew me away. I didn't know what to expect and was keeping my expectations low. It turned out... amazing... though. AND it's made out of ingredients that are either shelf stable, frozen, or last a really long time in the fridge. So, I think this will be entering a regular rotation. Next Step: Update receipe in PTE. Tag. Add to a list of recipes with similar key qualities.

        Pumpkin Custard. This I made not for dinner but for eating off of through out the week. It turned out well. I'm still working out the best method to dirty as few dishes as possible while still comfortably mixing all the ingredients. It's the first time I've considered that a stand mixer might be useful. Just a really big cheap bowl from a restaurant supply store may be sufficient, though. Next Step: Figure out volume of ingredients and then check local restaurant supply to price out a large stainless steel bowl.



        Today and tomorrow are off kilter from my regular schedule. So, I may or may not have food-related updates. Will return on Saturday!
        Last edited by Caesg; May 16th, 2019, 04:30 PM. Reason: ETA: link to goodreads page of particular Satter book that I was referring to


          tl;dr? Here are my questions for Darebees, at the top!

          Questions for Darebees.

          Rice. What fresh herbs could I mix in with rice to make it a more interesting side dish to orange chicken?

          Another not green veg. Any ideas for a vegetable side dish that fits the Orange Chicken/Rice/Gingered Broccoli profile, that is made out of a not-green vegetable?



          It's my night to cook, and here's what I've got planned out.

          Trader Joe's Orange Chicken. Keeping this part easy.

          Rice. Tonight, I'm just going to cook this plain in broth.

          Gingered Broccoli. I have a very simple, quick, recipe from Ellyn Satter's Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family that I really like. Normally we eat it all. I would like to reserve a little for leftovers and see how it reheats. If it reheats well, then I'll plan on doubling the recipe, next time.

          Another not-green veg. I'm really struggling with trying to think up another veg side dish to go with this that I can get excited about. Carrots would be fine. Lots of different green side dishes (asparagus, green beans, wilted chard). If I'm trying to add variety though I'd prefer to branch off from the green-theme. Although, maybe stick with the green theme and just branch off from cruciferous veg. Meh. I could try gingering cauliflower and then having green beans on the side. Hrm. I also considered an onions/peppers/mushroom mix with soy sauce. That's not quite hitting my palate right, though. I'm interested in trying bamboo shoots. Miso and carrots is worth trying. Just, nothings jumping out and saying, "Me! I'm the greatest to fill this slot!"

          Cherry Strawberry Crisp. Used up all the frozen peaches in the Peach Strawberry Crisp. I have a bag of cherries in the freezer. They're sweet cherries, not traditional baking/pie/tart cherries. So, we'll see how this goes.


          Same Menu, Future Date.

          So, I thought that I would work with what I have on hand, tonight, but try to look ahead for what I could do more with this menu in the future.

          Rice. Cook in broth. Figure out some sort of herb that would taste good alongside orange chicken. Made a prep note that will pop up on my calendar, prior to the day the recipe is scheduled for, to go to the community permaculture garden food forest and grab scallions.

          Gingered Broccoli. How did last time's leftover reheat? If well, double the recipe, today.

          Another not green veg. TBD

          Some sort of desert. TBD



            May 20th Review.

            Trader Joe's Orange Chicken
            . Went well, as expected.

            Rice. I forgot the broth, so that's probably still in the fridge. Again, went fine. Had leftovers.

            Gingered Broccoli. I reserved some for leftovers and they were great the next day. So, I am going to triple the recipe, next time. Huzzah!

            Another Veg, not green. I sauteed some carrots. I made a small batch both because I'd never done this before and because we were low on carrots and I knew MrLoverMan planned on using some in another dish this week. It was good, if not stunning. Placed "carrots and leeks" on the menu to try next time. Still not wild about this as a side dish, but will work until brilliance strikes.

            Cherry Strawberry Crisp. This was fine. Used up all the cherries! As noted above, these were sweet cherries, not pie cherries. I wonder if they sell pie cherries either frozen or in cans that aren't sweetened so I can control the level of sugar?

            Also. I'm going to add roasted chickpeas to the menu for next time. I won't serve it with the dinner but rather have them on hand to go with the leftover gingered broccoli and rice.


              I think I've drafted out next week's meals.

              Mon 05/27
              Menu: Crock Pot Swiss Steak, Quick Glazed Carrots & Leeks, Mashed Potatoes.
              Modern Hero: Building=Beef. Energy=Potatoes. Vitality=Tomatoes, Carrots, Leeks.
              Other: Doubling recipe. 2/3 of beef leftovers cubed and in the freezer for beef stroganoff following week. 1/3 beef leftovers cut for snacks over course of the week. Would work well without the potatoes as an A+C meal.

              Wed 05/29
              Menu: Dal, Broiled Eggplant Salad, Roti, Saag Paneer.
              Modern Hero: Building=Lentils. Energy=Roti. Vitality=Eggplant, Saag.
              Other: If no time for roti, then rice. Saag Paneer may prove too ambitious as I haven't made it before. Doesn't look too daunting though. A lot that can be done ahead of time. This is also a good option for A+C.

              Fri 05/31.
              Menu: Honey Garlic Chicken, Asparagus, Waxy Potato, Acorn Squash, Brussel Sprouts (sheet pan meal)
              Modern Hero: Building=Chicken. Energy=Potato. Vitality=Asparagus, Squash, Brussel Sprouts.
              Other: This is the first recipe I wrote about on this thread. I'd like to work on addressing amount of time required and finalize my preferred recipe for the glaze. Recipe also good for A+C.



                Yesterday, I served a PPM (preprepared meal, freezer meal) of Pate Chinois (a french canadian version of shepherd's pie) and strawberry cobbler. It was really nice having low-stress meals both Monday and Wednesday. It really helped free up time so that I could plan out next week's meals. I have 2 or 3 more "dinner"-sized Pate Chinois in the freezer and maybe a dozen "micromeal"-individual serving size one in the freezer.



                Today I finished planning out the menus for next week. Next, I want to go through and add prep notes in PTE regarding everything that can be done ahead of time.


                  I am intrigued by this "apple coleslaw" (I love apples) -- is there a recipe link or post I missed somewhere? I have an apple salsa recipes that's supper easy I can trade!

                  APPLE SALSA
                  2 x granny smith apples
                  1 x jalapeno
                  1 x small bunch scallions/green onions

                  1) Dice up the apples, jalapeno, and green onions and combine in a bowl
                  2) Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and 1/2 tsp of honey (sometimes I also add 1/2 lime of juice, but you can experiment here)
                  3) Pop a lid on bowl and shake up to mix



                    Ooooh, I look forward to trying out that Apple Salsa, Brunsonja ! What do you typically serve it alongside?


                    Short Answer:

                    APPLE COLESLAW
                    1 x Cabbage
                    1 x Carrots
                    1 x Fuji Apples
                    Lemon Juice
                    Poppy Seeds
                    Pinch of Salt

                    1) Shred cabbage, either with a chef's knife or with a food processor slicing disk that looks similar to this.
                    2) Shred or grate carrots and apples either with a cheese grater, a food processor grating disk that looks similar to this, or a julienne peeler.
                    3) Mix cabbage, carrots, and apples in a large bowl.
                    4) In a small container, mix dressing ingredients to taste.
                    5) Add dressing to veg and fruit to taste. Reserve any remaining dressing for future salads.


                    Long Answer:

                    First, a fun note. I purchased my julienne peeler at an ethnicity-specific grocer (it was a thai grocery, I think?). I bought it thinking it would just be fun to put little wavy edges on my carrot slices sometimes as a decorative element. It wasn't until much later that I realized it was an actual functional tool for making extremely thin, long, veg-noodles and the like, similar to what I imagine folks get from using a spiralizer. And these julienne peelers work very fast, are much easier to clean than I imagine a spiralizer would be, and take up little room in the kitchen drawers.

                    Second, notes on the apple coleslaw recipes and developing a personal cookbook. I don't have a standard recipe fleshed out for base and variations, yet, on the apple coleslaw. The recipe above is my best guess as to what I made. I was using items available on hand and so pulled things like, "Oh, well, there's definitely not enough mayo. So, I'll just mix the dressing directly in the mayo jar so that we get as much as possible!" Also, in general, I tend to review multiple recipes, identify the commonalities, and then work from there.

                    That being said, developing "standard" and "variation" recipes for my go-to foods is a definite goal. I would like to have a standard personalized cookbook and cycle menu to work from. Particularly, I know that if/when I return to the workforce that I will not have the energy to peruse recipes and figure things out on the fly. I'll benefit immensely from having standardized recipes, already adapted to my/my family's personal tastes, to reference. Also, there's a possibility that in order to work full time I will have to hire help to complete home based tasks, particularly if the health professionals and I can't figure out a way to knock a few hours off my nightly sleep needs with this drasted hypersomnia. If that's the case (that I have to hire help with ADLs in order to maintain a full time job), having the aforementioned cookbook will be invaluable.

                    So, off the top of my head, the recipe above is my best guess as to what I made. When I do flesh out a recipe, I'll circle back and tag you. ^_^



                      Yesterday, I added prep notes (notes that will show up on my PTE calendar at x-number days prior to the day the meal is served) to each of the recipes that I plan to prepare next week.


                      Today, MrLoverMan and I need to go to the grocery. I wish we were a little more on top of our budget to better determine how much we can reasonably spend at the grocery. That being said, we're getting better at the budget. All things in their time, I suppose. MLM's mother is in town this weekend for the holiday. I hope that we scheduled things all right so we won't be terribly rushed. Next Steps: Purchase groceries. Continue to flesh out budget.

                      There are several items that I can prep, tonight. I'm just concerned about time. Maybe MIL would enjoy completing food prep tasks alongside of us instead of taking a nature walk...? Or maybe she can do food prep with us and then when it hits my wind-down time (~5pm) she and MLM can take a nature walk on their own while I tend to my routine. There will be plenty of sunlight left and neither of them will need to wrap up as early as I do. And she might appreciate some one on one time with her son.


                      Crock pot swiss steak, etc.


                        ooooooooh, you add poppy seeds, love it!! I totally feel you on the recipe shorthands, I've developed my own inner monologue on how to break down complicated things into simple "this is how I'll get it done" steps which involve the laziest, least-amount-o'-dishes possible short cuts (love the mix in the jar!)

                        I will have to try that one out, thanks for sharing!!

                        I serve Apple Salsa usually with blue corn ships (they're my favorite, and the color contrast of blue + green looks fancy on my serving trays) / but when I'm really hungry I'll eat it with anything, it's become one of my favorite homemade snack items after sliced cucumbers with tajin. I got the original recipe off my Mealime app, it was paired with paprika-spiced porkchops (which is actually a good combo too)




                          Glazed Carrots. I've now made this recipe three different ways (just carrots, carrots and leeks, orange ginger carrots) and I'm just not wild about it. Hurumph.

                          Gingered Broccoli. I cooked 3 pounds of gingered broccoli instead of the usual 1 pound. Last time I prepared this recipe, I reserved leftovers to see if it was leftover-friendly and it was. This time, I made lots for leftovers and took one portion and put that in the freezer and will see if it's freezer friendly. If it turns out to be freezer friendly, that will be pretty awesome. While cooking, I had Brunsonja 's prep tips in mind. For now, I have more time than money. So, purchasing the full heads and processing them at home makes sense. However, I am collecting these recipes with the future in mind, including a future where I have very little time and a more reasonable cash flow. Costco carries large bags of fresh broccoli florets (this particular recipe does not work well with frozen or frozen and defrosted broccoli, unfortunately). So, I was thinking through that while working.

                          KITCHEN GADGETS

                          I don't want to grow our kitchen gadgetry to ridiculous proportions. I do, however, want to have tools that help get the job done.

                          Very Large Stainless Steel Bowl. I don't quite know where we're going to store this thing. It's 16 inches/41cm wide and 5 inches/13 cm tall. I was an exceptionally happy food prepper having that bowl to use, today. I purchased it at a restaurant supply store that's open to the public.

                          Fine Mesh Strainer. I think it's a fry basket. It's the finest mesh I could find for <$40. I paid $13. What I really want is a springform pan that will fit comfortably inside a larger vessel with interchangeable pan bottoms of various sizes for straining. The closest I've been able to find is this item. I was feeling impatient and wanted something I could use today though. So, I've got a fry basket.


                          Brunsonja . I love your colors and presentation of the food! Yay for colorful yummy salsa and blue cornchips!


                            Today is June 10th. There was some raw, plain (not seasoned or anything) broccoli leftover from the June 5th cooking. That broccoli was purchased on June 3rd. So, it seems that fresh broccoli can last about a week. Good to know.


                              Note to self: I would like to plan out next week's meal plan including what can be prepped on grocery shopping day or the day following (cutting up ingredients that will be used across multiple recipes).



                                MrLoverMan and I spent 3 hours and 45 minutes driving, shopping, and putting away groceries between 3 different stores, today.

                                While MrLoverMan was at the moview, I spent 1 hour 45 minutes meal planning.

                                I really do feel confident that as I continue to work through this cookbook/cycle menu thing that we'll be able to streamline these sorts of things.

                                For now, though, geez that's a lot of time!


                                The hand me down crock pot we've got has been a little finicky. It seems to simmer more strongly on low than on high. So, tomorrow, I want to test the temperatures on each setting using my kitchen thermometer. The thought is that I'll boil water, pour it in the crockpot, and then set to low, and check two hours (because "danger zone") later.

                                Then, I'll repeat the same process the next day (because wanting to start out with a cold crock pot) on high.