Mama's Meal Plan 2015 Week Six: Vegetarian, and FUN!

Six weeks = six pounds.  That is how much weight Mama has lost since the start of the year.  If you've been following the plan thus far you'll see it is not lacking in fat or carbs.  Yet here I am, six pounds lighter.  Yes, I run on the treadmill at least three times per week.  Recently I returned to dancing as well, gearing up to dance captain Theatre Harrisburg's Addams Family the musical.  However, I really believe there is something to planning, cooking, and enjoying a meal together as a family.  I thought I heard about a study somewhere that proposed the act of sitting down and enjoying a meal versus shoving food in your face contributed to weight management.  Regardless, I am not suggesting this is a weight loss blog, but I am super happy of the added benefit of planning meals, packing lunches, and enjoying smoothies for breakfast. 

Typing that last line reminds me I promised a friend a blog post on our favorite family smoothie recipes.  Making a note now...

Back to WEEK SIX!  It says vegetarian.  I know.  Mama and Daddy in the past were two big carnivores, but we really want to try to cut back from the meat based proteins.  This week does have eggs, and cream, so it is not vegan. Last week I really liked the big pot of chili to carry us through the week.  It just got more and more tasty as the week went on, and heating it up for lunch made me smile every day.  With this cold weather, and taking a cue from a friend, we're doing another Sunday Soup.  Alton Brown hasn't steered us wrong yet, so his potato soup will be the Sunday feature and Mama and Daddy's lunches for the week.  Then on Monday, we'll have a frittata! The only other meal to cook is an orzo dish.  That's three meals, then the leftovers will carry us to next weekend.

SUNDAY: Potato Leek Soup with Salad


This sounded so warm and comforting, a great Sunday meal with some crusty bread and a salad.  I've been having fun on Pinterest finding salad dressing recipes to try.  The biggest hit came from a cookbook, I used Ree Drummond's ranch dressing...I think it would be good on EVERYTHING.   Anyway, back to the potato soup!  I am doubling the recipe, for leftovers...both for lunch and for a possible meal later in the week.  When I planned this week, Daddy had a work trip on the calendar, so I planned for less meals.  That trip was cancelled late the preceding week, so we adjusted amounts rather than add another meal.

MONDAY: Spanish Potato Chip Frittata with Salad

Yep. You read that correctly.  I'm not even sure what that means, "Spanish potato chip."  Mama's Mama bought her the Chopped Cookbook for Christmas (along with two other cookbooks).  I enjoyed a number of hours over the holidays leafing through each book and marking recipes to try.  I hadn't picked this one originally, but I was looking for different and new recipes for this week, and thought an egg dish would fit the bill! 

Did I already say I love this cookbook?  Well, I DO!  Our family enjoys watching Chopped on a weekly basis.  The premise of the cookbook is that many of the recipes should include things you already have at home, or can easily find.  This recipe includes a some pantry items, and has that fun Chopped flare with the addition of potato chips.  I honestly have no idea how that's going to play around here, but what the heck, we'll give it a try!

Spanish Potato Chip Frittata
courtesy of The Chopped Cookbook

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Whisk 10 eggs, 1/4 cup milk, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and a couple turns of freshly ground black pepper in a large bowl.  Add 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers, 2 cups plain salted potato chips, 1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika, and 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley leaves to the beaten eggs.

Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a medium ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the beaten egg mixture and cook until the edges start to set, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to the oven and bake until the center is set, 15 to 20 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes before sliding carefully onto a cutting board.  Cut into wedges and serve.

She said she liked the "egg-pizza"...we did too, just plan to add more spices next time! Maybe some more herbs too.


TUESDAY: Orzo & Black Beans with...yep, you guessed it, Salad


Here is another Cuisine at Home pick!  I believe this may be the third or fourth recipe we're trying out of the February issue.  So far, all have been winners, so I have high hopes for this one!  My only fear is the heat factor for the little one, but she's handled dishes with our beloved sriracha and curry okay, so we'll see. 

Orzo & Black Beans with Avocado-Tomatillo Sauce
courtesy of Cuisine at Home February 2015

1 lb. tomatillos, husks and stems removed, halved.
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1 jalapeño, halved and stemmed
3 large cloves garlic
2 avocados
1/2 cup packed fresh mint
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. ground corriander
      Salt and black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups dry orzo pasta
1 can black beans (14.5 oz), drained and rinsed

Preheat broiler with rack 4 inches from element.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Broil tomatillos, onion, jalapeño, and garlic on prepared baking sheet until tomatillos and jalapeño begin to blister, 4-6 minutes.

Pulse broiled vegetables, 1 avocado, mint, lime juice, and coriander in a food processor or blender until smooth; season with salt and pepper.

Cook orzo in a pot of boiling salted water according to package directions; drain and return to pot.  Stir in beans and sauce.

Dice remaining avocado.  Garnish servings with diced avocado. 

The meal was "okay."  The orzo did not hold up alongside the beans.  The sauce was delicious though, so our plan for the next time is to make the sauce again the same, but pour it over black rice with cannellini beans.



Guess what?!  You cooked three days...the next three, you reheat leftovers!!!  If the leftovers run out, make another frittata!  Follow the first part up until you added the peppers.  Then, add whatever you want!  

Me?  I'm going to pour myself a glass of wine, put my feet up, and crack open another cookbook. 


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