Cheryl is half-Ukranian, so she spent the afternoon making half a feast for Ukranian Christmas, which means perogies and onions and bacon (but no shishkebabs or cabbage rolls, lamentably). She used Lindsie Grey’s dough and it was velvety and delicious. You should all use Lindsie Grey’s dough.
Monday: Juicy Pressure Cooker Meatloaf
This one had “fiasco” written all over it, but i am illiterate.
They have a cute little picture of a ruler measuring their 4 inch meatloaf, and i thought “whatever – i’m not going to measure my dinner.” But i should have, because every fraction of an inch of thickness apparently adds 20 minutes to the cooking time.
In the end, it took me and the girls a whopping TWO AND A HALF BLESSED HOURS to put this thing together. When i took the load out at the prescribed time, it was undercooked, so i had to put it back in the Instant Pot. The problem there is that unlike an oven, you have to wait for the pressure to spool up, so setting it for 5 minutes is actually closer to 15. AND it had to go in the oven afterwards anyway. We ate at around 830, half-starved and snapping at each other.
The meatloaf, admittedly, was very delicious… but then, it better have been. And it’s hard not to be delicious when you contain bacon and cheese. i don’t recommend this recipe … i think you could get comparable results in a tenth of the time using a conventional oven and no rulers.
Tuesday: Instant Pot Beef Stew
i was running Puzzled Pint Toronto again, so Cheryl fell back to the reliable beef stew recipe that she so loved the first few times. It’s great, it’s easy, and it makes awesome leftovers.
For my part, due to an overflow situation, i wound up babysitting one team at Jack Astor’s. They put their calorie counts on the menu now, and i spend 30 minutes agonizing over what to order. i only had 800 calories left to eat, and nothing on their menu is under 1100 calories – not even the salads. In the end, i took the bullet and ordered the World’s Worst Pad Thai. They don’t call it that on the menu, but they should.
Wednesday: Instant Pot Chicken Curry
Cheryl gave this one a whirl. It turned out… mediocre. She said it was decent as leftovers. i dunno. i don’t think any of us were all that excited about it. It just wasn’t all that flavourful.
Thursday: Instant Pot Salsa Verde Chicken
You know i’m making this once a week for the rest of my life, or until i get sick of it. The recipe was vastly improved on Thursday with the addition of actual, real tortillas from La Tortilleria, a Mexican shop around the corner from the office. They make nixtamal tortillas, which are apparently from lye-soaked corn. La Tortilleria has actual Mexican people working there, and they say the nixtamal tortillas are more authentic-tasting than the white or yellow ones. They say they taste like “back home.” You know me – i strive for authenticity. So, sick of not having legit tortillas on-hand for tacos, i grabbed five packs of them. Kept one in the fridge, and threw the rest in the freezer. i’ve seen the future, and it’s raining tacos.
Friday: Instant Pot Rice Pilaf
Aiming to add more vegetables to my family’s diet, i gave this recipe a try. Veggie-heavy recipes usually take a long time in prep, but this one came together like nothing. i used pre-sliced musrooms, and the green beans, potato, carrots, and kale sliced up really quickly.
There were a few downsides: first, i think the ratios are off, because the rice didn’t absorb all of the liquid, and the dish came out really mushy. Second, i missed the queue to put oil in the bottom of the pot, and so my rice stuck to the bottom a little.
Third, the recipe called for oyster sauce at the end, and i didn’t have any. Cheryl’s had trouble with her iron counts lately, and a concerned friend brought her a pack of oysters in tins (oysters are apparently high in iron), so i cracked one open and poured some juice in. i also convinced Cheryl to eat one of the oysters, and she said it was horrible, and that she couldn’t get the taste of it out of her mouth all night. Further, she said the oyster sauce ruined the entire dish for her.
i told her that the upside was she’d be right horny in an hour. She said she had no idea what i was talking about. i told her that oysters are a (very well) known aphrodisiac, and she said i was full of baloney, and had to Google it. Once my wild claims were verified, we made wild, passionate love in front of the teevee as the kids looked on in horror.
Saturday: Wedding grub
We witnessed the nuptials of Rachel Wildman from our youth group days in Toronto, and had to call Saturday a cheat day, because it was anyone’s guess how many calories the dressing-soaked salad and various other meal elements contained. Cheryl side-loaded the day with some takeout fried chicken for lunch, just so we could call it a complete write-off. (Fun fact: a 3 chicken finger meal with taters, gravy, and a Dr. Pepper clocks in at 1100 calories. And a few months ago, i was eating that a few times a week.)
As insidious as that sounds, with all the leftovers from these meals we’re making, and the hours we spend meal-planning and shopping on Sunday, our takeout quotient is way, way down. By about next month, we should see a real change in our budget too, because even with slip-ups like buying baby back ribs and not making them on time so they turn green and maggoty (which was Monday’s transgression), we’re still ahead of the game on nutrition and cost of food.
If you come across any sure-thing recipes you think i should try, let me know!