Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Bare Essentials Challenge: Weekly Recap

As far as meal plans go, mine went off the rails completely the last few days.  I've been pretty much living on store bought soup that my husband has been nice enough to bring home to me as all I was really up to doing was lying on the couch, dragging myself into a vertical position when I absolutely had to to take care of the kids, and shivering.  I rarely get sick to a point where I can't function, but running a fever will take me out quicker than a plank board to the face every single time.  Luckily I run a fever next to never, but this virus I got from my son took me down hard.

I feel like someone took a bottle brush to the inside of my throat and I've just been wrapped up in about four layers the last three days.  It's been awful.

Thank goodness my husband didn't work today as he watched the kids and told me to rest.  And boy did I.  About the only time I was out of bed today was for a short period of time about noonish when I threw things into the crock pot to make soup for dinner tonight and then about six when I threw the rest of dinner together so we could eat.

Times like this I'm doubly grateful that I have things in the pantry and I did use up some things this week.  So, let's get to that shall we?
1.  Leftover Beef and Vegetable Stew (picture seen up top)

I had frozen a few smaller portions of the beef and vegetable stew from last week and I pulled out a few of them during the week so I had a quick lunch while my son was sick.  I was glad I had it as it made a quick and easy meal when I didn't have a lot of time to spare.

2.  Quick Pasta Salad as a Side Dish

This was actually really simple to put together.  I just followed the directions on the can of this...

It said to add the salad to rotini pasta for a quick pasta salad, but I used mini penne so I could feed the rest of the pasta to the kids for their dinner (for the son) or as a side dish without the pickled beans in it (for the daughter).  I liked the pasta salad better than my husband did, but even he agreed that it wasn't bad.

3. Cider Pork Roast

Believe it or not one of the things I have to use up in the pantry is alcohol.  I know that some people don't drink and I totally respect that, but I do drink from time to time (like once or twice a year is my average usually).  I'd bought a big variety pack of hard cider about three years ago as it was cheap and I really like cider, so I wanted to give the different flavors a try.  Unfortunately there was a ginger flavored cider that I just didn't really like so it has sat in it's bottles in the pantry for the last three years.  I broke out a bottle of it and poured it over the two year old pork roast I'd pulled from the freezer, added some chicken stock that I defrosted and then some sage and thyme and a bit of cinnamon (as I knew the finished product would come out a bit sweet from the cider).

The pork came out a bit dry (it was a loin roast I noticed after the fact...oops), but it tasted pretty good.  I'm going to use the leftovers to make some ground pork sandwich spread, hopefully tomorrow if I'm feeling somewhat human.

4. French Fries to the Rescue!
The only thing my son wanted to eat when he was sick was French fries, so I was really really happy that I had frozen ones in my freezer.  I think frozen french fries saved me a fortune this week as we would have been buying my son McDonald's three times a day otherwise.

5. Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
This was dinner tonight.  I threw two cans of drained canned chicken into the crock pot, two cans of cream of chicken soup reconstituted with one a half cans of water (instead of milk) and then I cut up a big rutabaga and added that, cut up a large carrot and put that in, and then I added some dehydrated onion and some dehydrated celery (I was out of fresh) and then I added about two teaspoons of Italian herb blend to season it with a sprinkle of black pepper.

Four hours on high later and I was ready to finish it.  I cooked some little star pasta in a separate pot and then added it at the last moment to the soup.  It worked great to thicken the soup up to an almost porridge consistency and it made it so my daughter actually ate the nutritious juices out of the pot as she ate the small little pasta out of her dish (bwahahahahaha!).   My husband assures me the soup tasted alright as all I can taste right now is that it was hot and had some salt in it that I'd taste every once in a while.  Sad, but that's about all I can tell you about it right now.

We had buttered bread with the soup to finish it off.  While the pasta was cooking to finish dinner, I pulled out my container of Bisquick and made some biscuits.  These are for breakfast tomorrow or maybe lunch.  I'm planning on browning up the sausage I got cheap at Fred Meyer a little bit ago (it's defrosted and in the fridge), mixing it in with some country gravy that's in the fridge right now and making sausage and biscuits.  I'll have either pears or peaches as a side to go with it, but I figure I'll use up the gravy that way and it'll be a simple, but filling, meal.

The rest of the week was pretty much store bought stuff.  My husband got himself some more chicken fried steaks at the store (where the gravy came in)  for his dinner while I was eating soup and then he got pizza for the kids for dinner last night (well pizza for my daughter, bread sticks for my son) and he had leftover pork in a sandwich.

The one final thing I did today was I took what was left of the failed pound cake from my birthday from the freezer to defrost and pulled out one of my free things of Cool Whip I'd gotten with coupons last year and put those in the fridge and then I sliced up the last pound of strawberries and mixed them with some sugar to macerate in the fridge.  Pound cake with strawberries and whipped topping will be for dessert tomorrow night.  I might not be able to taste it, but I think the husband and daughter will like it.

So, there you are folks.  My culinary adventures, as they were, for the week.  Did you do anything interesting on the culinary front this week?


  1. Oh I wish I was half as ambitious. I ended up quite sick and made only one meal this week...a veg version of chili for me. My poor husband made his own meals~as I begin feeling better I have to tackle the house as I ignored it for most of the past week.


  2. I'm impressed with what you were able to accomplish considering how sick you were feeling. Does your husband cook at all?

    1. Well, he can fry an egg and cook bacon in the same pan. Oh and he makes toast. Does that count? *Laugh*.

    2. My mother is a retired nurse. Growing up, she worked every other weekend, which meant that my dad was responsible for our care, including making us lunch. We joke he had 2 hot meals that he knew how to cook...grilled cheese sandwiches and bacon sandwiches. Both of those are still some of my all time favourite meals!

  3. We ate out too much with driving back and forth picking up and dropping off my college son. Also ate out to celebrate his birthday that is day before Easter. Wanted family to see him since he isn't coming home for either. I did make hm pizza, SOS, sausage, biscuits and gravy, pork shoulder roast, tamale pie, baked fish, and stuffed rigatoni with sauce and meatballs for dinners. Adam had asked for those meals so that is what we ate. Cheryl

  4. I was so sick a couple of weeks ago - finally ended up at urgent care, so I have so much sympathy for you! Thankfully I am feeling better. I hope you are, too! This is not related to this post, but I just had to change my ink cartridge and I remembered you saying you needed ink. I have been really happy with the ink I got from this seller on Amazon: I don't know anything about them other than I bought ink from him for a LOT cheaper than brand name and it has worked perfectly for me. :) I had tried filling them myself and that just never worked right for me. Last week ended up with an emergency trip for me, and then Saturday we found out my daughter's tires have to be replaced (about $1,000), so I just am about ready to give up. However, I do have a menu plan in place this week, so hopefully I can stick with it and not have any extra meals out!

  5. I'm glad you had help from your husband and he got you pizza, let you rest, etc. It makes all the difference sometimes, just to have a little help. I hope you can still keep resting a bit and not over-do trying to catch up. Your meals sound great!