daily recap · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Day 71: Cod Gratin, Noodles with Chicken and Veggies

I finally made the cod and potato gratin I’ve been wanting to make since I heard of it when we saw Come From Away last year. We had some cod in the freezer that was all slightly odd shapes so it was a good use of it since you flake the cod for the recipe. I used up the last of the 10 lb bag of Russets I bought back in the end of April and some parsley and spring onion from this week’s produce box. It is so cold and chilly here today that making a casserole at noon didn’t seem strange. I really do love making the biggest meal of the day at lunchtime. It makes the whole rest of the day so much more relaxing.

For dinner, I sauteed up the leftover chicken and cabbage from earlier in the week and the little bit of bok choy from last night and tossed it with some Indomie Mi Goreng. Those noodles have been the real MVP of pandemic cooking. They cook in 3 minutes and are good with pretty much any leftovers you can toss in. I think they are a little small to be the main meal of the day unless you add a ton but they are perfect for a light dinner or lunch.

Non-food related activities:

I’ve been working my way through the In the Dark podcast about Curtis Flowers. What a case! I’m amazed at the reporting and legwork these women did.

I finished This Is Big: How the Founder of Weight Watchers Changed the World — and Me by Marisa Meltzer and wrote a quick review.

daily recap · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Day: 68 Bacon Fried Rice & Clam Pasta

For lunch I combined the leftover wild rice pilaf (with kale) and the leftover garlic rice, added a couple pieces of bacon and egg to make fried rice. It was really good!

For dinner Matt made spaghetti with canned clams, rainbow chard, parsley and green garlic. I actually think the clams were more tender than they were when we’ve made pasta with fresh clams.

Matt went to Weis while he was out running another errand and was finally able to get hot dogs! Plus a few other odds and ends like spaghetti, coke, cottage cheese and mayo. It’s been three weeks since our last trip out so we were getting low on some basics again.

Non-food related activities:

Watched Poldark. This is the second time we’ve rented it from Netflix only to have to appear on Amazon Prime the same day.

daily recap · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Day 66: Green Garlic Hummus, Lamb, Pita & Chips

For lunch I made some hummus with green garlic, green garlic lamb kofta and Matt made pocketless pita. We served with with grape leaves and tomato/eggplant from Trader Joe’s.

For dinner Matt had spaghetti with OTAMOT sauce (not sponsored!) and cottage cheese again and I had leftover carne asada with chips and salsa.

Non-food related activities:

Matt took Lulu on a walk and had some work to do.

We watched 2 episodes of The Good Fight on the CBS app and the latest episode of In the Dark on the CW.

daily recap · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Day 65: Lox with Potato Cakes & Cod with Garlic Rice

I took a great picture of the potato cakes we made with leftover mash but somehow it isn’t on my phone? We added dill, onions, an egg and a few spices then made browned them in a skillet. We served them with lox, capers and sour cream. So good!

Matt didn’t feel great so we swapped out my plans for dinner for an lighter meal of Filipino style garlic rice, sautéd zucchini and (frozen) cod.

Non-food related activities:

I attended a meteor shower in New Horizons.

We watched more French mysteries on Mhz. I’m learning a lot of odder French words like for various historical events, pirates, fairies etc

Time is so weird. I feel like we get up then it’s suddenly lunchtime then I blink and it’s 7 and we have to make dinner.

daily recap · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Day 50: Chicken Mi Goreng, Salmon & Gnocchi

Day 50! Wow! It is hard to believe that we have basically been home, save 2 short grocery shopping trips, 50 days. I feel like March went slowly but then April went by pretty quickly if oddly. It was so chilly, gray, and rainy that one day really bled into another. Our fig tree is leafing out! I hope we get a lot of figs this year.

For lunch, I sauteed some spinach, a large spring onion and chicken leftover from last night then tossed it with packes of mi goreng. They are just such tasty noodles and an easy way to use up some leftovers.

For dinner, Matt made some sockeye salmon I bought at Aldi with some gnocchi tossed with sauteed summer squash and pesto. Both the pesto and the gnocchi were shelf-stable from Aldi so it was a quick and easy meal! Aldi’s Italian products are generally quite good.

Non-food related activities:

I started the Let’s Talk About Sects podcast, which I’m enjoying. We caught up on our CW shows. I’m so tired! Neither of us slept terribly well last night–Matt has really bad poison ivy and I had to get up to use the bathroom and had troubles falling back asleep.

daily recap · planning · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Day 47: Corned Beef Baked Frittata & Ravioli

Matt made a baked frittata with 4 eggs, leftover rice, leftover corned beef, garlic, onions, leftover shredded cheddar and frozen spinach for lunch. It took forever to bake but it was great! Frittatas are wonderful for using up leftover odds and ends and when stretched with a lot of other ingredients (like rice) don’t have to use that many eggs.

For dinner I sauteed some cubed ham, mushrooms, onions, garlic and kale and tossed it with from frozen truffle mushroom ravioli from Aldi. This is my favorite way of serving frozen/fresh store bought ravioli or tortellini. It’s easy, has vegetables and doesn’t require me to make a real sauce.

I made tuna and pasta salad for our lunch tomorrow and prepped ham, rutabaga, carrot, parsnip, and celery for slow cooker split pea soup tomorrow. All I will have to do is make some broth (using Better Than Bouillon) and get it going in the morning. Last time we went grocery shopping it was an exhausting day and I wanted to make sure I didn’t have to come home and cook lunch or come up with dinner. I don’t love grocery shopping and we don’t have many grocery stores near us. Even though we live in the city, the closest store to us over a mile away and unfortunately, we have bought rotten meat, expired dairy, and spoiled seafood there before. I don’t want to deal with that at all if I can manage and I really don’t want to deal with it now. The next closest stores are about 10-20 minutes away so that plus the stress of shopping right now and the volume of buying for hopefully 3 weeks or more is so stressful! The last thing I want to do is worry about cooking tomorrow.

It has been 28 days since we last shopped so we are down to the bare bones in the fridge. We have a fair amount of frozen seafood and some chicken we froze earlier in the month in the freezer but it’s mostly condiments, cheese, a lone tub of hummus, eggs, carrots, zucchini, and celery in there. Like last time I am going to go to Aldi and then Matt is going to go to a “regular” supermarket to get the odds and ends we don’t get at Aldi-bread, International ingredients, anything from the pharmacy department (vitamins, mouthwash) we need and whatever Aldi didn’t have during my trip. And soda. I really am getting low on Coke and it’s making me antsy.

Nonfood related activities:

We are still watching some Meurtres à… They are a little uneven because they are basically made for TV mysteries taking place in different French towns but some are really good! It’s on Mhz.

I finally was able to get the last variety of bushes for my island in New Horizons. I’m still listening to podcasts while doing it. I don’t have a lot of TV shows that I watch airing right now and there are few jobs to apply to right now.

We both talked to our mothers who are in good spirits. My mom got the Skip-Bo deck and notecards I sent her for an early Mother’s Day gift and was really excited.

daily recap · planning · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Day 46: Grilled Cheese with Corned Beef & Green Beans with Chicken and Rice

For lunch we made grilled cheese with leftover shredded sharp cheddar, marble rye, mustard and leftover corned beef. The ground corned beef was pretty crumbly so it mixed well with the cheese but wouldn’t have been great just sliced on a sandwich.

After lunch I made some Spiced Applesauce Corn Muffins using yogurt, applesauce and cornmeal that is/was all taking up a lot of room in my fridge and freezer. I posted the recipe here. Matt had one as a snack and said they were tasty! I froze some and left some out for him to have for breakfasts for the rest of the week.

For dinner we had some green beans to use up from last week’s produce box and some cooked chicken leftover from yesterday’s fritters. I don’t love green beans because they are a lot of work for something I find kind of blah but it made for a good dinner. Matt cooked them some chili oil/crisp, oyster sauce and sesame seeds for a sort of homemade takeout vibe.

I’m trying to plan for food to prep for tomorrow for Wednesday when we finally go the store. Last time I planned ahead and had soup I had made ready to heat up for lunch and we just had quesadillas with leftovers for dinner. Matt found shopping really stressful and it took a long time to both shop and unpack/organize everything. I’m leaning towards making tuna pasta salad for lunch and split pea soup in the slow cooker (prepping both tomorrow) since I have some boneless “carving” ham in the fridge. We are really scraping the bottom of what we have in the fridge now. It’s been almost a month since we shopped last and we haven’t had much delivered besides oil, a few produce boxes, flour, bread and yeast. We have a good amount of frozen fish but that all takes more effort and energy than I think I will have on Wednesday and doesn’t really yield leftovers if I were to have it tomorrow.

Tomorrow I think I might make some frozen ravioli because we have a bag taking up a lot of room in the freezer and I can dress it up with whatever vegetables arrive in our produce box tomorrow.

I found out we won second place in the challenge! Not too shabby. I can’t imagine first place made food that was any tastier than ours though!

Non-food related activities:

We watched the ever delightful Muppet’s Treasure Island on Disney+ and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist on Hulu. I keep feeling like we should play a game or be more abitious in the evenings but I don’t have the energy.

I started listening to podcasts while playing Animal Crossing which turned out to be an excellent idea. I normally would only listen when washing the dishes or driving alone but since we are here 24/7 that hasn’t been happening.

daily recap · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Day 44: Soft Crabs & Syllabub

Today we worked on our entry for the Blue Hill Tavern contest. We made a lunch of corn, crab, shrimp, potatoes and carrots and I made a syllabub for dessert. We prepped one last dish–an appetizer–but we are going to make it tomorrow. The submission is due on Monday.

For dinner we had leftover tuna salad turned tuna pasta salad, tortilla chips with salsa, a snack of some odd (but not bad) Kung Pao chicken mini eggrolls from Aldi I bought a very long time ago.

I’m trying to clear the top fridge freezer out as much as possible before the big shop this week. We have so many odds and ends in there (bacon, flours from the local grist mill, bread crumbs, leftovers we froze in single portions for Matt’s lunches etc) that it is almost dangerous to open the door. We have a small upright freezer in the basement that is normally more than enough but it’s a little small for when we are really stocking up. Bags of things like frozen fish are so bulky and this is basically the size of a dorm fridge. I don’t think a larger one would be better in the long run though, sometimes it’s nearly empty during regular times. Who knows though? Maybe we will end up wanting to have more things on hand in the freezer than we normally do? I found we frequently forgot what was in there and didn’t eat it so I had stopped stocking up so much. We don’t spend a lot of time in the basement so we’d just never go in it. Even keeping a list of the contents didn’t help much.

Non-food activities:

Cooking really took up much of the day. I read some of my book and we caught up on Katy Keene which is still one of the oddest shows on the CW, possibly ever.

daily recap · planning · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Day 43: Hard-boiled Eggs, Tuna Salad & Chili

Another oddly chilly day for late April. Our backyard is basically flooded from the rain. I’m not eager to get to super hot weather but a few warmish sunny days to lounge in the hammock would be nice!

For lunch I made tuna salad (2 3.5 oz cans tuna, mayo, dill relish, dash Goddess dressing, lemon pepper) on white bread (me) or pumpernickel swirl (Matt) with bibb lettuce from the produce box. I made double what we need and refrigerated the rest.

I had a snack of a hard-boiled egg dipped in “everything bagel” seasoning. I got the idea from these pre-packed eggs with dry dip I tried at the Natural Products Expo. It’s really good!

We heated up the leftover chili and I had it over some baked potatoes to use them up and Matt had it over pasta. He made extra pasta so I stirred it into the leftover tuna to stretch that out.

We are out of Utz chips and our favorite pretzels. I’m very close to ordering a case of pretzels from the factory. It seems a little nuts but if they had good expiration dates it might be worth it. We eat about a bag a month and had planned to pick up more at the pretzel museum when it got warmer but that’s of course closed now. We had bought 6 bags back in November and finished them up yesterday.

We had a little ice cream with my favorite caramel sauce and we are almost out of both. I think we will be able to get more ice cream but I get the caramel sauce from this tiny supermarket further in the city and I can’t imagine getting there anytime soon.

Matt picked up our box from Blue Hill Tavern for the contest. I’m a little disappointed. The soft crabs were supposed to be local “whales” but the owner said couldn’t get them (understandable) so we have some frozen tiny crabs from somewhere else and a few shrimp. No mirepoix, just a tiny bit of mystery grated cheese, and about half the amount of potatoes I was expecting, 1 onion, 1 carrot, a tiny Roma tomato, 2 ears of corn, cream, butter, 4 eggs, a packet of Kool-aid, 2 kumquats, a slice of watermelon, and a bottle of wine. The last two week’s boxes look a ton better than what we ended up about. We’ll use it of course, but I wish we were told that the crabs weren’t available and we could have just gotten something else or tried another week. I was excited at the idea of an activity for the weekend (and very very excited for soft crabs!!) but now it’s shaping up to be more of a chore. I had some fun ideas but they really won’t work with tiny crabs, a tiny amount of shrimp and 4 baby potatoes. We can use our own oil/spices/garnish for the contest but there isn’t a lot to work with. I’m sorry we spent the money now. It is nice to help out a local business which was part of my goal so I’m trying to focus on that.

Non-food related activities:

I read some of an ARC of the upcoming Lisa Jewell novel. I’ve been reading her books for like 20 years now! OY! They are so uneven but they are normally pretty entertaining.

We watched the Hedwig episode of Riverdale. I think it was their best musical episode yet! Heathers was by far the worse.

daily recap · planning · recipe · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Fish Stick Sandwiches, Salad & Chili (day 41 recap)

Another chilly day! At least it was sunny for most of it. Our beach plums (above) are really blooming! Last year was our best yield so far (after planting the bushes several years ago) but we didn’t really take advantage of it because my mom was nearly diagnosed with her brain cancer. I just didn’t have the capacity to worry about it. The plums are very small (like cherry-sized) and require a lot of prep. Hopefully, we will get a good yield this year too and we certainly will be home for it.

For lunch, we finished off the box of fish sticks we opened a couple of weeks ago in sandwiches with tartar sauce and a sprinkle of Old Bay. I was really pleased with them! I hope Aldi has them again, they were wild, sustainably caught, and quite tasty. I also made a salad with lettuce from our produce box (please let us not get so much lettuce again for a long time), leftover beets and potatoes from making the mimosa salad, cucumber, red onion, the last of the feta crumbles and a drizzle of balsamic. It was okay but I am not eager to eat a cold boiled potato in a green salad again anytime soon.

Dinner was a super basic chili I made in the slow cooker: 2 cans kidney beans, 2 cans fire-roasted tomatoes with chiles, lots of spices, 1 1/4 lb cubed sirloin, onion, and garlic. We had it with leftover cheese from making quesadillas, red onion, sour cream, and tortilla chips. It was pretty tasty! I wish we had fresh peppers but the canned tomatoes with chiles are pretty good.

We also had some ice I bought early in March thinking we might want a treat we didn’t make ourselves in April. Good thinking, past Rachel

A local restaurant has been doing a “Chopped” style challenge where you can get a box of seafood, meat, wine, vegetables, eggs, butter, cream, fruit, etc for $50 to make a meal with. You post what you create and you can win a gift card to the restaurant. Normally I don’t know if I’d do that but $50 seemed fair for all that food and drink and this week one of the ingredients is soft crabs!! My absolute favorite. We have to pick up the box Friday and make it by Monday afternoon. At the very least it will be a fun activity. I am a little nervous about the pickup but I think it will be okay. We need to go to the store next week anyway.

Non-food related activities:

We finished Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu. So many frustrating people. We also are finishing up Poldark season 4 on Prime, we had watched it live back when it aired but went on vacation We never saw the last three episodes because we missed one on the PBS app and PBS is pretty ruthless about episodes only being available for 10 days or so. I noticed we have season 5 on DVD coming up on our Netflix DVD queue (people laugh that we still get DVDs but they are great now! So many movies and shows aren’t available for streaming and we have so much time) so I thought we should catch up in case they are sent out soon. We only have like 40 discs in our queue and new stuff (last season of Mr Robot, please!) gets jumped over and we end up with some movie from 1983 I only vaguely know why we wanted to watch it. At least we know we like Poldark! I sort of prefer binge watching it anyway because it’s easier to keep everyone straight; they have a habit of picking up some very old storyline suddenly and all those white men in topcoats look alike to me.