Being restaurant industry people, we're no stranger to odd work-weeks. The actual work schedule starts on Friday, but I don't want to do the weekly meeting on Thursday because it has a higher likelihood of Mr. Moon working. I have had jobs where the schedule starts every weekday, but Friday & Saturday always seem to be in the same week, thankfully. It's one of these odd schedules that got me working on military/24-hour time rather than 12 hour/AM&PM time, because of the number of times I've lain down for a nap during the winter and woken up at 7:05 (when it's pretty well dark whether it's AM or PM) and had no idea if I slept all night or only an hour, or what was going on. Plus, no accidentally setting alarms for the wrong part of the day.
Our new menu schedule allows us to make the menu when we know what his work week looks like, which is of course necessary to know whether we're putting something in the crockpot during the morning or early afternoon, or if we can have him baby-sitting meat on the grill. I'm still not a fan of such flexible scheduling, but the coworkers at this job are all very happy working there, and the perks aren't bad. So he's giving it a good shot.
Onto the menu plan!!
Got back on the wagon with lunch planning this week, and I'm grateful. It takes some of the guesswork out of eating, and reminds us to use things up that we bought for lunches and snacks.
I'm noticing a lot of Americana food this week, and I'm not really sure why. Funny thing is, this includes 3 vegetarian dinners, 4 experimental recipes, and lots of healthy goodness. Let me explain:
- Mushroom barley soup in the crockpot: lots of veggies sauteed in a dash of olive oil, veggie mushroom stock and barley, toss in crockpot, ignore for a while. Haven't done it before, but it has promise! Low fat, vegetarian (unless you add strips of steak like Mr. Moon and I are planning), whole grains.
- Leftovers: This was specifically put on there for Mum & Pops to get some of the butternut lentil soup I made last week. Though "soup" is stretching the term a little, it was flavorful and delicious. Lentils, onions, carrots, and chunks of butternut squash with lots of herbs and spices. I thought it needed a little hot sauce and curry powder, maybe some rice, but I can't say it was BAD. It was really good! And plenty that didn't get eaten which needs to be shared. Anything not gone after today is getting puree'd and frozen into small bags, and I can probably toss it in any soup as a thickener for a while.
- Sandwiches: On at least three occasions in the last couple months, Mr. Moon and I have been sorely tempted to stop for burgers or pizza after a late shift. Safeway deli sandwiches may not be the BEST food in the world, but it's a BETTER choice--and I'm all about that. Trouble is they're not ready-to-eat in the strictest sense, they need condiments if nothing else. We have to leave right after his shift on Friday to head out of town for a day, so I get to pick up sandwiches when I drop him off at work, doctor them up, re-wrap them, and we can munch on them in he car. Lower fat, more veggies, and no sugar in the condiments.
- Chicken Rice Casserole: Another experimental item, because we're putting these together Friday afternoon for Saturday's dinner. The plan is to spread a thin layer of cold butter on four different casserole dishes, toss in the rice, layer in some veggies, dump in some cold liquid (so as not to melt that butter layer so it stays non-stick) and top with a couple chunks of frozen chicken. Wrap in foil, leave in freezer, leave directions for mom (350 for 45 minutes, remove foil, remove when rice is cooked and chicken is done). I'm thinking we'll make this with mushrooms and tomatoes, to get out of the 1950's Americana rut. The thing about it is that it means the 'Rents can have a home-cooked meal on Saturday no matter what time we get home, and so can we--even if we don't feel much like putting forth the effort to cook. Put casserole in oven, wait a while, eat. I get my happy organic chicken and brown rice, everyone else can eat whatever is in the freezer.
- Salisbury Steak: The most experimental recipe yet, especially since I'm tossing it in the crockpot and have never made this before. Excited! But it will be a nice traditional Sunday dinner without the pressure of getting everything ready and out at once. Mashed potatoes can be made and held in the crockpot, and the same with the meat & gravy (which of course in my world will involve a lot of veggies).
- Mac & Cheese: Think this is greasy, gassy goodness? Try again. Don't tell Pops, but I found a recipe in the Moosewood cookbook for a creamy cheese sauce that is over half tofu, and has only a cup of cheese for a 6-serving meal. As you may recall, last time I made baked "country style" mac & cheese, I substituted half the pasta with broccoli, and it was a big hit. So I plan on doing that again. Plus, doing all that increases the protein count so it might even fill me up! Much lower fat than my family-traditional version, higher protein, vegetarian, and utilizing a cookbook I've had for years. All wins in my book!
- Turkey Dinner: Really no idea how this is going to go, and I suspect I'm going to opt for an easier meal that night. There is a turkey roast in the freezer, but it looks more like lunchmeat to me. I think I'm going to try to convince Mum to go for something a little more exotic that night, like curry or something else we can make in the crockpot, and save the turkey dinner for a night we can pick up some turkey legs or something.
- Leftovers: Twice in one week? Indeed. After all that, I suspect there will be plenty. And failing that, we've always got TV dinners we need to get through.
Getting excited about any innovative recipes this week? Or do you seem to be stuck in a rut of similar-themed food items?