Mama's Meal Plan 2015, Week Seven: Roast 2 Chickens, Eat for a Week!



We started the year's plan with roasting two chickens, I know...but I've gone a step further this time around.  I also picked completely different recipes to use with the leftover chicken, and I'm excited to try both of them.  My March issues of Rachel Ray and Food Network Magazines arrived this past week, and I had the opportunity one evening (while listening to an amazing cast rehearse their music) to sit and peruse the pages for ideas.  Does anyone else love sitting and reading recipes?  Just me?  The best part is I was away from my kitchen, so I didn't have the ability to stuff my face because reading recipes ALWAYS makes me hungry!




This week is also the start of Lent, so Tuesday's plan is to attend a Pancake Day Dinner.  Don't know what pancake day is?  Well, the season of Lent generally arrives with many planning on doing without luxuries.  Back in the day, oil, butter, sugar were all considered luxuries...and what better way to use those up than with a big ole stack of pancakes?!  Pancake Day is also known as Shrove Tuesday (shrove = shrive = confess), Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), and to some of us PA Germans: Fastnacht Day!  Whatever you call it, this coming Tuesday will feature some sort of fried dough and stacks of pancakes on my plates.  Healthy eating to resume on Ash Wednesday, along with some extra contemplation me thinks.

This week starts with a lot of cooking and prep on Sunday, then simplicity until Wednesday.  Reheats return Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  The chickens purchased for this week were TINY, so, in a "just-in-case" moment, I opted to purchase the pork for Monday's recipe, rather than my original plan of using leftover chicken in its place.


SUNDAY: Roast Chicken(s), Wild Rice, Roasted Cauliflower, Mushroom Pan Gravy




As mentioned above, the chickens were pretty small!  I used the following rub: olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and garlic.  After that rub was applied, I liberally coated the chicken with kosher salt.  Finally, I added half of a small onion into the cavity of each bird.  They were roasted at 375° for an hour and one half.

The cauliflower was cleaned, cut, coated with olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon, dusted with kosher salt and two turns of fresh ground pepper, and was roasted at 400° for about 15 minutes.  Wild rice cooked according to package directions.

For the pan gravy, I melted 2 tablespoons of butter in a sauté pan.  In the meantime, I coated 1/2 cup baby bella sliced mushrooms with 2 tablespoons flour.  I added the mushrooms to the melted butter, and stirred until they were coated.  I strained the pan drippings into a measuring cup, and then poured 2 cups of drippings into the pan, stirring the entire time.  The gravy was cooked on medium-high heat for about 6-8 minutes.  

The meal was a success, especially with the addition of the pan gravy.  Evie tasted the rice and deemed herself "not a fan."  We suggested trying it with the gravy, and then the rice disappeared.  So did her cauliflower, minus the gravy though. 



After dinner, the chickens were de-boned, the meat into one container, the bones into my big stock pot.  The stock was made with: bones, onion, celery, carrots, a few slices of lemon, a big pinch or two of kosher salt, about 4 turns of fresh ground pepper, and water.  The stock turned out beautifully, even minus the herbs we usually throw in...I actually completely forgot the bay leaf, and I'm okay with that, the stock is pretty delicious. 

I also prepped the carrots, peppers, and onions for tomorrow's meal, along with hard boiling eggs for Evie's lunches.  Extra carrots and peppers were also cut and readied for her lunches.  


MONDAY: Singapore Noodles

 



This meal says it is for 2 people, but I purchased two boneless pork chops and I can use the entire box of rice noodles.  Add a salad, and I should be able to comfortably feed our family.  Notes after cooking the meal:  It ended up just being me for dinner...Daddy had a business dinner, daughter was sick.  The rest of the meal will be lunches for the rest of the week!  I did not use the entire box of rice noodles, it would have been too much.  This meal was really tasty, especially with the fresh lime and scallions as garnish.  I doubled the amounts for the sauce, and added more tamari at the table.  Definitely will make this one again! 


I also made a quick carrot-ginger salad dressing that smells and tastes so good I almost went ahead and ate it with a spoon when it was freshly made.

Carrot-Ginger Dressing

1 carrot, washed, peeled, cut in half
1 piece of ginger (about 1 inch), peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon Tamari
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Whir in a blender until smooth.  Enjoy.


TUESDAY: Find a pancake dinner!  Or Fastnacht Day celebration!  


If unable to do either, make a big stack of pancakes, we love this recipe, enjoy with real maple syrup and berries.


WEDNESDAY: Greek Strudel

 

 



The leftover chicken will go into this strudel.  I'm pretty excited to try my hand at working with phyllo dough.   The only thing I'm concerned about is the level of work in this dish for a middle-of-the-week recipe.  I'm not sure it was a wise choice, especially since the filling is cooked together first (instead of adding pre-cooked chicken).  Should things go south on Wednesday, you will find a recipe for a quick gumbo instead here...so, stay tuned! UPDATE:  It took about 2 hours from start to finish.  In the end though, it was totally. worth. it.  This meal was so delicious!  Evie looked up a Greek salad dressing recipe, we added a salad, and the meal was a huge success! 




THURSDAY: Reheated Strudel (or gumbo) or Reheated Chicken Dinner


Depends on our moods.  This Thursday is Daisy Scouts night, so whatever we do will either be quickly consumed before the meeting, or quickly reheated and consumed before the young one's bed time.  Either way, Daisy night means dinner needs to be fast and easy...and what's easier than reheating food you already made?!


FRIDAY: Ditto above, or, chicken pizza


I'm not kidding.  Daddy and Evie had a father-daughter night last week, and they made pizza.  I purchased frozen dough two-pack and they only used on of them.  I still have enough to make a decent size pizza for the family, and they had leftover sauce as well.  I'm thinking something creative with that for Friday night...we'll see.  As usual, I'll post results!



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