Mama's Meal Plan 2015, Week 11: Comfort Food

This week, we're all about comfort food.  Our daughter requested a spaghetti and meatball night, as well as chicken noodle soup for her lunches.  Mama's a big fan of pasta, so this was an easy request to fulfill.  I am typing this as I'm in the second step of my first ever pot of homemade chicken noodle soup!  Hopefully I can report good things in the end.

My love of all things Curtis-Stone-recipes continues this week with his Kimchi fried rice on Monday, his in-law's comfort food from Korea.  I really can't wait to try it, and was kind of more excited than I probably should have been to purchase my first ever jar of Kimchi.  I have a little concern about the heat level, but Mark and I each tried a little bite of the pickled cabbage and it wasn't too bad.  I'm hoping the rice, veggies, and other ingredients help to offset the spiciness.

Tuesday we go to one of my specialties for dinners: meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and Brussels sprouts.  This is one of the comfiest comfort foods around this house.  Believe it or not, the Brussels sprouts are favored over many other vegetables here.  Of course, olive oil and kosher salt pretty much makes anything yummy, in my opinion.  Occasionally using bacon in there helps too...

Sunday was a BIG cooking day to get ready for the week.  Homemade chicken noodle soup is no joke.  I spent two hours on the first part, took an hour and a half break to take my Daisy Troop on a cookie walk-about, then came back for the next two hours.  Based on the way my house is smelling right now, I believe the work will be worth it.  I also cooked a big batch of jasmine rice, so we'd have nice, dry, day-old rice for Monday's meal.  Wednesday and Thursday will be leftover nights, and Friday fish meal worked so well last week, I'm going to do it again this week!  Personally, I'd like to do the salmon dish from a few weeks ago again, but I'm not sure that's in the budget.  We'll see what other fun seafood meal I can dig up.

Here's this week's plan:

SATURDAY: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Self explanatory.  And delicious.  Used a beef/pork/lamb mixture, diced onion, dried parsley, dried oregano, kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, finely shredded Parmesan cheese.  Made 1-inch balls, cooked in oven for about 20 minutes at 400°, then plopped in the sauce to keep warm.  The sauce, I will admit publicly, was a jarred sauce.  Full disclosure: the Muir Glen Organic Spaghetti sauces are awesome.  I mean, I love the pomodoro sauce we make from scratch and all, but that pre-made sauce is delicious, and at around $3.00 a jar, can't be beat. Add crusty bread and butter at the table, you have a carb-loading feast.

SUNDAY: Chicken Noodle Soup

I scoured my books and the internet, and came up with the following:

1 whole chicken
Homemade chicken broth
8 carrots
4 stalks celery
2 medium onions
1 tbsp minced garlic
10 sprig parsley
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 leeks
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp fresh-ground pepper
3 cups PA Dutch egg noodles

In a large stock pot, place whole chicken, along with organs.  Clean and roughly chop: 4 carrots, 2 stalks celery, 1 onion - add to pot.  Thinly slice half of a lemon, add to pot.  Tie together 2 sprigs fresh parsley with 3 sprigs fresh thyme, add to pot along with the minced garlic and bay leaf.  Cover all with homemade stock.  Add enough water to cover chicken if your homemade stock is not enough (ours wasn't).  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for about one and one half hours.  Remove cooked chicken from pot, allow to cool.  Pour stock through sieve, discard all but strained stock.  Once chicken is cool, discard skin and bones, chop chicken into 1/2 inch pieces.

Cut 4 carrots, 1 onion, 2 stalks celery, and 3 leeks into 1/4 - 1/2 inch pieces.     Melt butter in large pot, add vegetables.  Saute for about 5 minutes, then add salt, pepper, chicken, and stock.  Cook for 1 hour, then add the remaining 8 sprigs parsley, chopped, along with the noodles, to the pot, cook until the noodles are ready.  Served in our house with biscuits.

MONDAY: Kimchi Fried Rice

This will be (hopefully) easy, as the rice was already cooked and cooled on Sunday.  Also, while I was prepping the carrots for the soup, I went ahead and cut the carrots for tonight's meal.  

Kimchi Fried Rice
Courtesy of Curtis Stone, What's For Dinner, ©2013

10 scallions
6 tbsp. canola oil
4 lg. eggs, beaten
4 cups cold rice
3 carrots, cut into quarter-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups napa cabbage, kimchi, drained and chopped
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp. white sesame seeds, toasted
Sriracha or other hot sauce

Cut the dark green tops of the scallions on the diagonal into 1-Inch pieces. Finely chop the white and pale green parts. Reserve one-fourth of the dark green scallion tops for garnish.
Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the canola oil and tilt to coat the cooking surface. Add the eggs and quickly stir for about 30 seconds, or until just cooked but still wet. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 1/4 cup canola oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the rice and cook, allowing the rice to become slightly crisp on the bottom of the wok before stirring, for about 4 minutes, or until heated through. Add the carrots and stir for about 1 minute, or until beginning to soften. Stir in the kimchi, followed by the scallions (both tops and bottoms), and stir for about 2 minutes, or until heated through. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil and stir for about 1 minute. Stir in the eggs and season to taste with salt.

Transfer the rice to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Serve hot, with the hot sauce.

TUESDAY: Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, and Brussels Sprouts

Here's my go-to meatloaf recipe:

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground lamb
1 pound ground pork
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Generous pinch of kosher salt
3 turns of ground pepper
1 diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic

Mix, form into loaf, either in loaf pan or on baking sheet.  Cook at 350° until done.

Serve with mashed potatoes and vegetable of choice.  For us, it will be thinly sliced Brussels sprouts, tossed with olive oil and kosher salt, sauteed stove top until they begin to brown a bit.

WEDNESDAY and THURSDAY: Leftovers of the previously listed meals

FRIDAY: To Be Announced (once I figure it out....)


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