Touch of Nectar











Meatballs are one staple thing I keep in the freezer. I often add shredded zucchini or yellow squash to them in an attempt to healthy them up.

Then I was sent this sample.

Mostly made of soy. One of the suggestions on the label said it could be mixed with ground beef for a healthier burger.  Well now. Ground turkey was on sale this week for buy one get one free and I intended to make meatballs anyway… Perfect.

It certainly doesn’t look like much right out of the package.

I added two pounds of ground turkey and one egg. It made lots of meatballs!  I put 5 packages of 10 each in the freezer. Yay me!

The meatballs turned out very nicely. You can’t tell I added anything to them and they have a nice dense texture.



{September 8, 2011}   Deconstructed Salad Nicoise Bento

I got the Just Bento cookbook last year for Christmas and this is one of the bentos featured in it. Also one of my favorites.

The box that I’m using today was a gift from my friend’s kids. They brought it back special for me from Japan. 🙂  And it is PERFECT for this style of bento.

This doesn’t follow Maki’s recipe 100%, but her’s is a great jumping off point. On the left are salad greens and my Zydeco green beans.

On the right is olives (I didn’t have Nicoise olives. Sad), tuna tossed with vinegar and Dijon mustard, a few capers. 

In the larger compartment is boiled egg, cornichon pickles, cherry tomatoes and boiled potatoes (from a can – a new bento staple!).

Sprinkled over everything for a touch of color is parsley.

When lunchtime arrives I’ll top the salad with the tuna as a sort of dressing.Not too shabby for just cleaning out the fridge! And it’s pretty! 🙂

For dessert I have a few fresh figs. That seems appropriate to go with this bento for some reason.



{September 1, 2011}   12 Minute Bento – Step by Step

Yeah, yeah. It’s been awhile. I know.

 I am getting very excited because the kidling starts “real” school in about a week and she’s decided that she wants me to make her a bento for lunch each day too. So now I’m all inspired and I decided to take photos and time myself while making today’s bento.

Get out the food.

Get out the tools

Make onigiri. I used a pouch of salmon to stuff them this time. 1/2 a pouch for 2 fairly large rice balls.

Add stuff. Here I’m filling in with cherry tomatoes and a cucumber salad. The salad is tucked into a silicone lined paper cup. There’s a bit of fried, seasoned tofu tucked in the box too. I also topped the rice with a vegetable furikake (seaweed sprinkles). We’re half done! 7 minutes on the clock…  Yes those are picked onions (delicious!) but they didn’t make it into today’s box. Back into the fridge they went.

The rest of the bento.  More fried tofu and a silicone cup to hold a wet salad.

And finish it off.  Beet and orange salad. Pickled daikon and carrot. And I tucked a couple more cherry tomatoes in there too.

I’m having a cut up peach for dessert. Not sure if this counts as a bento, but it IS in a bento box. 🙂    12 minutes start to finish. Another minute or so to put everything away. Easy peasy!



The Menu this Week. April 16-22 2011

As usual, these are not in the order that I will make them. Fruit/dessert on the menu this week is pineapple, bananas, pears and oranges.  Do you see a theme with this week’s menu? Hubby brought the barbecue back from our property. It is one way I can get him to help me cook dinner. Shhh… don’t tell him I said that!

I’m super excited because the farmer’s market near my house is now open. You can expect to see lots of fresh fruit and veggies in the upcoming menus. I have asparagus to use but I haven’t decided what I want to make yet. Maybe a white bean and asparagus salad?

I bought half a ham for the kebabs, and only need a small portion of it, so I will make a ham and bean soup in the crock pot to freeze. I will also freeze a portion of diced ham for quick omelets or quiches. I love having a well-stocked freezer!

Sat – CORN/Leftovers Night

Sun – Olympic Burgers #   from 365 Grilling Recipes

Mon – Ham and Pineapple Kebabs #445833 from 365 Grilling Recipes

Tues – Chicken Sandwich with Lemon Basil Mayo #451586 from Eat Well Stay Well

Wed – Pork chops (TBD),  Dijon Parsley Potatoes from George Foreman

Thurs – Grilled Chicken Fajitas from 365 20 Minutes Meals (make double and freeze half), Salsa Fresca Mexicana from 365 Mexican Recipes, Rice

Fri – Watercress and Cucumber Salad with Fresh Tuna from George Foreman, sliced tomatoes

Breakfasts – Sunday, unless we go out to breakfast. Almond Pancakes from Beyond the Moon (didn’t get made last week) and fresh fruit
Muffins (TBD)

Lunches – (smaller portions of the recipes) Grilled Pear Salad with Parmesan from 365 Grilling Recipes
Shredded Carrot Salad # from 365 Grilling Recipes
 
Dessert – Applesauce Cake #451271 from Spices of the World (didn’t get made last week)



The Menu this Week. April 9-15 2011

As usual, these are not in the order that I will make them. Fruit/dessert on the menu this week is pineapple and cantaloupe. I’ve already messed up the menu, but tonight will be the Rigatoni. And I have some watercress to use… I’ll have to find a recipe for that.

Sat – Going hiking with the kidling, so I need a fast and easy dinner.

Sun – Chicken Athenos #330056 from 1001 More Low Fat

Mon – Pizza Burgers #445820 from 365 Grill (make double and freeze?)

Tues – Pineapple Rum Turkey Kabobs #231845 from Low Carb, Rice and Snow Peas

Wed – Lemon Herb Swordfish Steaks #452353 from Low Carb

Thurs – Rigatoni with Escarole and Italian Sausage (sausage from freezer) #334597 from 1001 Low Fat

Fri – PCT Movie night. Leftovers or pizza.

Breakfasts – Sunday, unless we go out to breakfast. Almond Pancakes from Beyond the Moon

Lunches – Blackeyed Pea Salad from Beyond the Moon

Dessert – Applesauce Cake #451271 from Spices of the World



No time to pack a pretty bento lunch this morning, I just grabbed something from the well stocked freezer.

Butternut Squash and Pear Soup. I rounded out the rest of my lunch with some cheese and crackers. Easy peasy. And very tasty!

This soup has a nice little zing to it from the curry powder and just a hint of sweetness from the pears. Just the thing for a gray day like today.



{March 29, 2011}   Quick and Delicious Dinner

My menu plan for last night more or less got thrown out the window for various reasons. I keep plain chicken breast in the freezer for just that sort of occurance.

I thawed the chicken and found a simple and fast recipe in my 365 Great 20 Minute Recipes cookbook (out of print? I can’t find a link)

The recipe is called Ginger Chicken Saute and it really did take me only 20 minutes to get dinner on the table.  This is recipe #106 of Project 365I had rice already cooked in the fridge, so I heated that up with a tiny bit of water in the microwave. Meanwhile I also sauteed some snap peas and yellow squash.

Dinner is served! Yum! Very gingery.

This could also be done as a make-ahead or OAMC meal if you make the marinade and freeze the chicken. Just cook and eat in that case. Easy Peasy! I will make this again for sure. Hubby inhaled it too, which is always a bonus.



We recently cleaned out nearly all of our freezer stock. While this is a good idea to do several times a year to keep things fresh, it makes me twitchy. I like having a very well stocked freezer in case of emergency. Surprise dinner guests, unemployment, illness, zombie apocalypse… It is also  nice to be able to pull something frozen out of the freezer, already prepped and have dinner ready in minutes. No thinking required. Some nights are like that.

Last week ground turkey was on sale buy one get one free, so I made a huge batch of meatballs. I froze them individually on a tray before placing them, in dinner-sized portions, in zip lock freezer bags. I bought a large package of chicken breasts. Half of the package made dinner for 3 with leftovers and the other half was cut into smaller portions and put in marinade in the freezer.  I also stocked up on some pantry items that were running dangerously low.

Week Total – $20.67
 
2 pounds Ground Turkey – $5
1 large package boneless, skinless chicken breasts – $12
2 cans tuna – $1.00
3 cans diced tomatoes – $2.67

I also made twice baked potatoes and froze 8 servings worth.

This week, I’m hoping to get to Costco and buy a package of pork roasts. They usually have them for $12. There is three decent sized roasts to a package. One will go in the crock pot for some sort of shredded pork dish, one will be sliced into scallopini/schnitzel/piccata ready portions (without the breading) and the third will be cut into stew-sized chunks, which could also be used for kebabs.

I will not be cooking this weekend, since I will be out of town, so I’ll concentrate on re-stocking instead of making dinner-ready food. The other thing I will purchase this week is hamburger. Trader Joes has well-packaged hamburger for $2.49 a pound. I will buy 4 and most likely use one for dinner this week.

Week total – $21.96.  At least 10 dinners for 4 can be made with just those two purchases.

Off to look for the recipes!



Restocking the freezer this week.  Some doubling up on recipes throughout the week.   Ground turkey is on sale at Safeway for buy one get one free, so I’ll be making a HUGE batch of meatballs to freeze. I also want to restock my freezer with roasted red bell pepper and tomato soup.  I might throw some beans in the crockpot for some sort of freezable stew later this week too. I bought a giant package of chicken breasts, so those will go in the freezer in at least 3 different marinades. (to be determined)

As of today, I am at 99/365 recipes. As always, these are in no particular order.  (Already changing the menu since I forgot a few things at the store last night…)

Sat 26 Shrimp and Snow Pea Stir Fry – Cooking Light 04
Steamed rice, dumplings (freezer)

Sun 27 – Mini Meatloaves – Cooking Light 2004 (make double) and Twice Baked Potatoes (make at least double. hubby loves these)

Mon 28 Pork Chili with Greens – 1001 Slow Cooker  and Sweet Corn Cheddar Pancakes From Asparagus to Zucchini

Tue 29Sage Stuffed Chicken Breasts – George Foreman Green Beans (wondering if this would freeze well?)

Wed 30 – CORN/Leftovers night (might change since I won’t be around this weekend to cook)

Thur 31 Pork and Fennel Ragu – Cooking Light 2004 Rice, Bread, Salad

Fri 1 – Off to Canada! I’m teaching a 4 hour backcountry cooking class. So not ready! Hubby and kidling to eat leftovers or eat pizza.

BreakfastsStrawberry Cinnamon Muffins – Cooking Light 2005 and Ginger Dessert Waffles – Spices of the World

LunchesGreen Apple Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette – Cooking Light 2004 and  Tarragon Tuna Salad – Spices of the World and and Potato Salad with Parsley and Chives – Cooking Light 2004 (for hubby. Didn’t get made from previous menu) Slaw of some sort? I have green cabbage to use up.

Dessert Applesauce Cake Spices of the World (made with home canned applesauce) I also picked up an angelfood cake at the store – to be served topped with Cool Whip and home-canned berries.



The Menu this Week. March 19-25 2011

It’s official! I am ¼ of the way through Project 365. I have made 92 recipes. Only 273 left to go! I am about 2 weeks ahead of schedule, but I’m anticipating a lot of days in April and later this summer when I will not be cooking at all.

Dinners this week are mostly from the pantry. Pretty much the only things I need from the store this week is a pound of hamburger and a large package of chicken.

As usual, these are most likely not in the order that I will make them. I’ve been trying to get the husband and kidling to eat more fruits and vegetables so I will also serve melon, grapes, pineapple and/or oranges with dinner. And bread. Always with the bread.

SatCanton Chicken and Rice  from 1001 Low Fat

Sun – Chicken Stew with Parsley Dumplings (my own stew from the freezer) from 1001 Low Fat

Mon – Pork Schnitzel from Rachael Ray’s 365 No Repeats and Rice Pilaf with Shallots and Parmesan from Cooking Light 2004

TuesPasta Shells with Tuscan Tuna from Cooking Light 2004

Wed – Beef and Been Burritos from 1001 Low Fat and Zucchini with Oregano and Sun dried tomatoes from Asparagus to Zucchini and Herbed Polenta from 1001 More Low Fat

Thurs – Knit night. Hubby and kidling to eat leftovers or order pizza.

Fri – Fettuccini with Chicken Piccata from 1001 More Low Fat

Breakfasts – Almond Pancakes from Beyond the Moon and Muffins (undecided. Strawberry?)

Lunches – (also doubles as side dishes) Potato Salad with Parsley and Chives from Cooking Light 2004, Macaroni Salad from 1001 More Low Fat, Armenian Bean Salad from Asparagus to Zucchini and Egg Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes from Beyond the Moon.

Dessert – Double Crust Blueberry Pie from 1001 Low Fat (made with home-canned blueberries)



et cetera