A New Mouth to Feed

Between mid-October at the time of my last post and, well, today, we added to our ranks. Namely with one magical little girl… Nora Elizabeth, to be called Nora Beth. During that stretch between October and December 18 I grew in stature, and in the time between December 18 and today, I have shrunk in stature, soaked in every minute with our sugar plum fairy, and tried to figure out how to create some structure in all of our lives that will allow us to flex and stretch as we get used to our new family unit… especially when I go back to work in 3 weeks (sob, sob, sob).

Having tried several different manners of meal planning with varying levels of success, then abandoning all notion of planning during the final months of my pregnancy, I’ve worked my way back into it. Rather than planning a meal every single day of the week, or, hell, every day of the month (shoooowhee! I loved doing that while I was doing it, but thinking about getting back to it is exhausting at the moment), I’ve spent the past two weeks trying out a 3 or 4 meal a week plan. Some of the meals have been crockpot gems, which tend to yield more leftovers to feed us for lunches during the week or supply dinners for a couple of nights. Having roughly half of the week scheduled also allows for us to have some a la carte choices since I tend to stock our fridge or freezer with ample produce and 1 or 2 proteins beyond what our recipes call for. The protein we don’t use ends up in a future meal plan. Additionally I don’t assign a meal to a specific day. 2 weeks in, and I’m really liking the rhythm and flexibility we’re building. But don’t ask Nora Beth about my rhythm. Even at her fresh age she knows that mama possesses less than zero.
Prairie DogHere’s a look at last week’s meals along with my comments and this week’s meals.

Week of January 18th:
Crockpot Honey Parmesan Pork Loin – I really liked how hands off this recipe was, and pork equals economy; however, I was really unimpressed with the lack of overall flavor was in the finished product. I served it over roasted spaghetti squash with Brussels sprouts, which was great, but I doubt I’ll make this again.
Beef + Blue Cheese Sliders – I would make these every single day of every single week if I possibly could. They were incredible. We served them with a big salad for dinner then reheated them alongside homemade tomato soup for the perfect after-church lunch. I sent the recipe to my mom who made them and raved about them as well.
Crunchy Thai Cashew Quinoa Salad – I’ve made this before and am so glad I rediscovered the recipe. When I make it again I’ll omit the raw onion… just tooooo strong. This salad made the perfect light and healthy (and vegetarian!) lunch all week.
BBQ Beef + Mango Quesadillas – These scrumptious quesadillas are a longtime favorite. With only a handful of ingredients and easy to assemble, these are filling, reasonably healthy, and high-yielding for delicious lunches or dinners later in the week.

Week of January 25th:
Sausage + Tortellini Soup – I really liked this new-to-me soup from my pretend best friend Shay’s blog. It was perfectly hearty for a cold night and made enough for after-church lunch today plus one more full meal. I served this alongside a big ole honkin’ salad.
Fiesta Chicken – This is one of our most-made meals around these parts. Fool-proof and delicious served over rice, spaghetti squash or (if you’re feeling really rowdy) Hint o’ Lime tortilla chips. I like adding a few splashes of Cholula and some avocado. Half of this meal will go to a family with a new baby, and the other half will stay here with us.
Chicken + Andouille Jambalaya – I don’t follow a recipe here. I make a box of Zatarain’s jambalaya rice and add some Trader Joe’s fire roasted frozen peppers and onions, seared spicy andouille sausage, and seared chicken seasoned with Tony Chachere’s and smoked paprika.
Spicy Chicken Baked Tacos – Another recipe I’ll be trying out from Shay’s blog, I have high hopes for this little ditty!

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