As we enjoyed a meal at one of our much-loved restaurants, Harvest Pizza, Clintonville, on Wednesday, March 11, we had no idea that we should have been savoring every moment of the experience. Life was about to change.
With Covid 19, came dramatic changes for everyone. In our household, it meant that I would stay home from work because I’m in a high-risk category, my husband would work from home, and our daughter would be here with us, working and deciding on graduate school.
Before virus (BV), we ate out…often. Going to restaurants was our favorite form of family entertainment. After virus (AV), we eat at home. That means, my contribution to the well-being of the family is cooking.
BV – I cooked several times a week. That consisted of dinners and at least one big breakfast on the weekend.
AV – I cook on average 7.6 times per week. That includes some dinners, some lunches and breakfasts. In the 140 days since the hammer dropped, I’ve cooked at least 152 meals.
BV – We ate out or had takeout two to three times a week. Many more if you include Starbucks runs.
AV – As a family we’ve chosen to be pretty careful, and have only gotten takeout food about 10 times. (Yes, Harvest has been at least three of them!)
To cook that many meals for my family, and more importantly, to keep the menu interesting, I’ve had to find plenty of inspiration. Some of my sources for inspiration are surprising, but according to my family, I’ve found a way to keep it interesting.
With no job, I’m able to devote lots of time to menu planning and organizing. My husband shops for the weekly grocery order because I’m limiting my time in public. I organize the list according to the aisles in the store to make it easier for him. It\’s all time-consuming, but worth it for us. There are no, \”what should we cook for dinner,\” or \”what takeout should we order,\” circular conversations. It\’s all planned and simple throughout the week. I do ask for input from the fam when I make the menu. But they largely leave the decisions to me. This system isn\’t for everyone, but it works for my family.
While we have some regular favorite meals, I try to make new recipes regularly. I’ve also tried not to repeat recipes too often. There are 22 meals that have been good enough to repeat. Three of those meals were so well-liked, I\’ve cooked them four times during the past four months.
BV, I thought I was a pretty good meal planner and a decent cook. AV, I am a much better cook, and I am so much more organized! Because this is the one thing I can do for the family, I’ve tried to do it well. Our fruit and veg consumption has doubled, and I’ve incorporated meatless meals. I have to shout out to Cooking Light. I subscribed to the magazine years ago, and still receive a quarterly publication. Between those recipes and the Cooking Light website, I’ve found most of my meal ideas.
Here are three meals that we’ve repeated four times!
Green Curry Fritters with Cabbage Slaw – This is a light, flavorful meal that we love. The fritters are made of ground chicken breast and the slaw is great with them. I generally don’t serve a starch with this combo, but rice or slider buns for the fritters might be good. It\’s a Cooking Light Recipe at: https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/green-curry-fritters
Garlic-Miso Pork Noodle Bowl – This is another Cooking Light recipe that’s become a favorite in our home. Find it at: https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/garlic-miso-pork-noodle-bowl
Miso-Butter Chicken is a Blue Apron recipe. If you’ve never tried this meal delivery service, it might be worth a trial. We used it for a while when it was fairly new. While we LOVED the food, they still hadn’t worked out some of the delivery issues at the time. For our lifestyle (both working, some odd hours), it worked beautifully. It was convenient and the quality of the ingredients was amazing. You can find this recipe on the Blue Apron website: https://www.blueapron.com/recipes/miso-butter-chicken-with-freekeh-sauteed-carrots
I have several posts in the works covering a variety of topics like sweets during the pandemic, gardening, throwback recipes and crafts.
Thanks for sharing! We are up to three favorites and repeat them…..weekly! Need to up that total!