Meal Prep // The First Attempt

I have to admit right off the bat that I can be exceedingly lazy. Like, I am that mom that goes grocery shopping and then I’m too tired from running around for most of the day – so I get pizza. Meal prepping is a mixed bag to me. One one hand it frees me from having to really stop to consider what constitutes our larger meal of the day for David and me, but it also requires a solid amount of effort to put together. Do I worry every day, or bust my ass once?

I figured I’d try the doing it once route – which for the record was really like a horribly planned 3 day affair for me this time around. I still managed to pull it off though!

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Street Tacos and Pico de Gallo

Homemade Street Tacos

Last weekend I attended the very first “Taco Fest” in Reno.  I found some amazing fish tacos that I really liked.  The downside was that it was $3 per taco, and I’m talking traditional street taco size that is eaten in a few bites.  So pretty much I was spending 75c-$1 per bite.  Anyone who knows me will realize that is not my style.  So of course I decided I need to try my hand at making my own street tacos.  Now I will say that the meat will take some time to perfect, and I’ll likely utilize my Instant Pot as I did this time.  That way I can have street tacos in December.  Hah!

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Dutch Babies // Updated

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The name is weird to me, but I know Stephanie has made these in the past and they are well liked in her house. David told me last night that breakfast today was on me as he and the girls made breakfast yesterday morning. So I considered making waffles, but decided that’s too much mess. We had just had pancakes. Sophia loves crepes but I suck at them. Then I remembered the Dutch Babies I’d never actually had. Since you can make it in the blender it seemed like the perfect mostly mess-free breakfast option.

I am a big fan of using home milled flour whenever possible because it’s whole grain, freshly milled, and WAY cheaper than buying unbleached flour from the bulk bins at Winco. I get my wheat berries in bulk at Winco as well, so the price is really good. For this though, I may have to turn to my unbleached flour that I keep on hand for feeding my sourdough starter. It apparently makes a big difference, which I’m hoping will turn David around on not really loving this.

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Shredded Beef Tacos

In the last few weeks we’ve had dinner over at a friends house a couple of times. Specifically the person who was my best friend in middle school. We’ve known each other for somewhere around 20 years. A really long time when you’re 32. Crockpot cooking seems like it might be a staple since her husband does freelance video work, and she’s currently a producer at a local TV station and will soon to be a 911 operator in training! The last dinner was shredded chipotle pork tacos, but she fried the corn tortillas and sprinkled them with the powdered parmesan like a local taco stand does.

It. is. amazing.

David typically doesn’t eat pork out of personal preference, so I got a nice looking chuck roast on sale last week. Now it’s insanely easy, but I did manage to mess it up, but I’ll explain that after the fact in the form of a “Do as I say, not as I do” type warning. Also my friend used the Dr. Pepper method for her pork. Being a total lush as of late, I used beer. Okay and we don’t drink soda typically. David got an amazing coffee stout that I divided in half for the 2 roasts I got (one went into the freezer to be used next week).

Gingham Apron // Shredded Beef Tacos

Shredded Beef Tacos

1 Beef chuck roast, about 2-3 pounds
1 Bottle of beer, a good dark stout is best
3 Chipotle peppers and adobo from container

Corn tortillas
Oil
Powdered parmesan cheese
Shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped romaine lettuce
Black olives
Refried Beans
Sour cream

Place the roast into the crockpot.

Use toothpicks to secure the 3 chipotle peppers to the roast

Pour beer over the chipotle adorned roast.

Cook on high for 6+ hours, or until the roast shreds easily.

After the meat is shredded use a frying pan to heat enough oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan. Place a tortilla in the pan and place a few tablespoons of shredded meat on one half of the tortilla, quickly fold the taco in half before it start to crisp up. Let the taco get golden and crunchy on both sides before moving it to a tray with a towel to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle with parmesan, and keep making delicious tacos! Add cheese, lettuce, refried beans, black olives, sour cream, or more chipotles if you’re deranged (or David).

I can have 3 folded tacos in my medium frying pan with no issues at one time, because doing one at a time would be painfully long.

As I promised … a warning … Do NOT use the whole can of chipotles. That’s like 8-10 chipotles too many, and it makes the sauce almost unusable. The girls in no way appreciated the spice level of the sauce, so the taco meat was a little drier than it should have been. David managed to make my fuck up tolerable by adding some tomato sauce. That guy is always saving my ass in the kitchen. 😛

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Homemade Skyline Chili Recipe

I lived just outside of Cincinnati when I was little. My first real concert was at Riverfront Stadium. Yes, it was New Kids on the Block. I was like 9 or 10. Which frankly scares the crap out of me since Nola is the exact same age, but I digress. I distinctly remember Ollie’s Trolley from visiting my dad at work downtown, but honestly I don’t remember Skyline. Horrible to admit, I know. Somehow in the past few years David has come to like the only variety available to us here in Nevada… cans. Specifically 8 cans for $60. That’s $7.50 a can! O_O

By the time you’ve fed 4 people that devour Skyline Chili you’ve used 2 cans. That’s $15 and you’ve not even gotten the spaghetti, onions, or shredded cheese. I have most of the ingredients on hand at all times already. There is one big change I’ve made to the recipe I found, and that is the type of meat I use. Ground turkey has become more of a staple around here and so that’s what I used. I don’t think it made that much of a difference in taste, and visually you can’t tell either. It still gets consumed at break neck speeds here.

Skyline

Skyline Chili from Tornado Ali @ Food.com – Slight changes by me. 😉

1.25 lbs ground turkey (Jennie-O packs are 1.25 pounds)
2 cups chopped onion
4 cups beef broth
15 ounces tomato sauce
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp cocoa
2 tsps instant minced garlic
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (I omit this, kids and all)
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 bay leaf

1 package spaghetti noodles

Toppings
Onion, finely chopped
Cheddar cheese, finely shredded

Chop 2 cups of onions. I usually use an entire onion and call it good.

In a large pan, I use my enamel dutch oven, cook turkey meat. Brown if at all possible, and do *not* drain. Add onion an cook a few minutes longer.

While turkey is cooking measure all dry ingredients into a bowl. I use Better Than Bullion for the beef broth, and add the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce to that.

Add all remaining ingredients to cooked meat and tender onions. Let simmer until sauce has reduced quite a bit. It can take 60 to 90 minutes. I do use 3/4 of a pound LESS meat than what the original recipe states, so the liquid has to cook down more, but it turned out quite good. David really likes how the sauce cooks down and there is more flavor.

Once the chili is nearly done simmering down, get your spaghetti cooked.

Top spaghetti with a scoop of chili, then top the chili with the finely chopped onions, then top the onions with finely shredded cheese. This my friends is what is called a “4-way”. Sophia prefers the “3-way” since she does not like raw onions (she somehow fails to realize there are onions IN the meat… don’t tell her). I know you can get beans with it, but frankly that just seems sacrilegious.

Try not to become too addicted.

I know that for some spaghetti and chili might seem weird. Okay, chili with cocoa powder might be really weird too, but it’s awesome. It’s not always a dish that is loved instantly. It’s taken Sophia two years to get to the point where she enjoys eating, and is still kind of ambivalent if I try to pretend I don’t want to make Skyline for dinner. Nola … well, she’ll go into near hysterics at the notion of making something else. At least it’s something everyone will eat without complaint I suppose. 😛

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Baked “Hard Boiled” Eggs

Everyone who has been on Pinterest has likely seen the baked “hard boiled” eggs.  Stephanie made them the other day and I decided to do the same.  She said that one batch came out sort of soft boiled, and I cannot do anything short of 100% cooked eggs, so I took her incident as a sign and bumped up my oven a little bit.

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Those dots all over the shell caught me by surprise.  Though I figured it was the many pores in the shell at work, and most of it rinsed off anyhow.

I did 2 dozen eggs, in my normal muffin tins, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Ice bath as soon as they came out of the oven, and then back into the ice bath after I peeled them.

This is what happened……

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Menu Board

Pinterest strikes again. I saw Stephanie pin a menu board, and the description made me think “meh”, but at one point I finally clicked on it. The shopping list description was not really accurate at all from what I can tell, which was why I was not really interested. I have list making OCD. I don’t need help in that department. At all. I will stalk the stores a few days prior to grocery shopping to ensure I have the right prices, and then I make a spreadsheet.

I do have one problem though. Sticking to a menu plan. I manage to stick to it for a few days, and if I can get a week of actually following my menu plan I’d be shocked. Part of my problem is that I have my menu on my computer in a – prepare to be shocked – spreadsheet. David doesn’t creep around on here to find my menu plan. I’m glad he doesn’t because I don’t need him rolling his eyes at my always open SimCity Social window. 😛

Holy organization batman!

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Oh hey there!

I am SO behind this week now. Monday I started the week with the house caught up, lots of baking bread, and feeling like I would conquer this week. Tuesday after making some bread I got a phone call from my mom saying they were just about to my house. I forgot they were going to be in town! Crap! So Tuesday afternoon was spent with Sophia and my parents. I’m not complaining because my parents leave in 11 days to move to Ecuador.

While my mom and I were waiting in the atrium of the Montessori school for Nola to get out of class Nola’s teacher approached me about chaperoning the field trip the next day. I agreed. That night Nola had soccer practice, and it was our end of season party.

Wednesday morning was spent at a pumpkin patch. The afternoon I took Sophia to a few thrift stores to mill about that are right around the corner from the school. I need to save gas, because the van is a gas hog. Wednesday afternoon Sophia had soccer practice.

Thursday morning I agreed to help Nola’s teacher get her address book in Outlook cleaned up and cross referenced with what she has on file to ensure parents are getting the e-mails. Before I even got started on that it was discovered that one of the class rats had died. There was questions, theories, crying, and concern by the teacher as to what should be done. I did though get to see how the teacher and her aid dealt with such things on the fly. Montessori is far different from traditional school to begin with, and to see how something so sensitive was handled was very interesting. I milled around Savers a bit, and treated myself to lunch before getting Sophia. After that we needed to hit up WinCo to get apples for her apple tasting on Friday, and I got all my paperwork in to the Girl Scout office so I can start a troop. I also had PTO meeting that night. Looking back Thursday was a day of pure crazy.

Friday morning was the “Second Cup of Coffee” with the principal of the school, and after that I came home, got the PTO stuff e-mailed to Nola’s teacher (did I mention I’m the PTO class representative, because I am). Then I went to Target to get my free Lindor Truffles (go like them on Facebook and look for the giveaway coupon to print!), and while I was there I picked up the flyers for the Target Debit card to put at the front desk of the school. 5% off, and 1% back to the school of your choice, can’t beat that!

Saturday was the last 2 soccer games of my soccer coaching career, because I have no intentions of doing it again to be honest. I think starting up and maintaining a Girl Scout troop will be more than enough for me from here out. There was also an event at the school for the PTO I attended as a “vendor”. I put out some photography business related stuff and ran a ring toss. Then we came home and had movie night. Popcorn, root beer floats, Monsters Inc., and a Hot Pocket each.

Today I need to get caught up. Laundry, dishes, sweeping, moping, dusting, and using the chicken that has been thawed out for 2 days now. This weeks Baking Bucket List hasn’t been done. I think I’ll likely combine it with another week or two. I still need to order vanilla beans, and my mom has requested a pecan pie for the train portion of their move to Ecuador. So pecan pie on week 11 will switch places with apple pie on week 4 (which is when I think I’ll do vanilla bean ice cream).

I have other things planned too that will be keeping me busy for awhile. Trying to make things easier in the long run means putting some time and effort in now, and of course my life wouldn’t be normal right now without chaos. 😉

Peach Cobbler

This weekend I got the first of my Baking Bucket List done. I thought I was going to have to move some things around because cobbler sounded amazing, and I wanted to make it. Luckily I seemed to have already put that down for Week 1. Yay!

Finding a box of huge peaches at Costco for $4 on Thursday is sort of what started it. That and I just love cobbler, even blueberry, and I’m not the biggest fan of blueberries (muffins are also the exception). Now put fresh raspberries in front of me, or put me in front of a raspberry bush and it’s on. I digress, though. Peaches.. millions of peaches. Peaches for me.

Okay there is a chance I should NOT be writing a blog post because I seem to have the attention span of my 5 year old. So just humor me.

Pay no mind to the center. O_o

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