19 January 2015

Menu Plan Monday: 19 January

Another week, another menu plan! This is also the third week of Good Cheap Eats' Pantry Challenge! I got off track a little bit last week because life and my list o' stuff I want to use up during the challenge didn't shrink as much as I hoped but, whatevs, it's a new week. Let's be optimistic and strive for success!

  • Microwave scramble of eggs, egg whites, peppers, onions, and chicken chorizo on multigrain English muffin with muenster and salsa.

  • Big salads topped w/ white beans, tuna or tiny shrimp, feta, olive oil, garlic vinegar, and seasoning blend.
  • Equally big bowls of vegetable soup w/ toasted English muffins & light cheddar.
  • Supper leftovers.
Super salads!

  • Almond-crusted turkey cutlets (freezer) w/ baby red potatoes & spinach (freezer).
  • Tuna steaks (freezer) w/ couscous pilaf (pantry) & green beans (pantry).
  • "Chicken thighs cacciatore"-style (mostly freezer) w/ yellow squash & zucchini over rice (pantry).
  • Crabby corn chowder (pantry) w/ Texas toast (freezer).

  • Bananas & 0% Greek yoghurts.
  • Pistachios (pantry) & sliced apples.
  • Dark chocolate (pantry) & red wine (not a work "snack," obviously).

15 January 2015

Improv Challenge: Pork & Rice

Baby, it's cold outside! And blustery! And greygreyGREY. What better time of year for a big spicy pot of carbs and meat? I kept thinking I had more time for January's Improv Challenge (pork and rice), than I did ... and then it was Tuesday and I realized I'd been so obsessed with Good Cheap Eats' pantry challenge and reading library books that I'd completely forgotten about the Improv. I knew no-one would hold it against me if I skipped January, but I felt that the ingredients were so basic I should be able to come up with something.

(On the plus side, except for the chorizo, all the other ingredients were already in-house. So, yay for that!)

I used Supremo fresh Mexican chorizo for this recipe, because I knew I wanted loose meat and not chunks of cured/dried sausage and that was all my grocery store had for fresh. It's packaged in inedible plastic casings and I just cut off the ends and squeezed the meat out like toothpaste. That sounds kind-of disgusting, I know, but it cooked up delicious.

Chorizo Rice & Bean Pot

Serves: 6


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 14 oz fresh Mexican chorizo [Supremo]
  • 1 cup medium grain white rice [Goya]
  • 14½ oz can no salt added diced fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained [Muir Glen]
  • 1½ cups low-sodium chicken broth [Pacific Organic]
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 14½ oz can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté onion, garlic, and chorizo, bashing the meat with a spoon to break it up as it cooks, until onion is tender and chorizo is cooked and crumbled (about 8 -10 minutes).
  2. Drain off most of the fat, leaving approximately 1 tablespoon behind. Stir in rice and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and broth. Bring pot to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir in beans and corn. Cook 10 minutes more or until heated through. Season to taste.
I didn't add any seasoning to this -- not even salt and pepper -- because I found the chorizo added enough flavor on its own, but YMMV. Also, while we ate this dish in bowls with a little salsa and sour cream on top and found it good, it was even better the next day mixed with a little cheese and used as filling for burritos.

14 January 2015

Easy Sunday Supper: Pan-Fried Boneless Pork Chops

We were quite the lazybones this weekend and, despite vague intentions to the contrary, never left the house. Instead, we lolled about the living room, reading books, and catching up with CrashCourse videos. Happily, I'm in the midst of a pantry challenge so felt super industrious and organized when I pulled every meal out of the freezer or pantry without having to think (much) about how I could cook and not stop reading Shirley. (Usually, I just say to myself "Book is too good! We don't need to eat yet! One more chapter! Two! Three! Oh, no! It's seven o'clock! Someone, order pizza!").

Anyway, these chops were dead easy and reminded me that I should make pork chops more often. They're a thing I ate quite often as a child, but never really think about when I'm menu planning. The Husband eschews ham and bacon, true, but has no issue with chops or roast so I cannot blame the omission on him.

Pan-Fried Boneless Pork Chops

Serves: 4 (or 2 + leftovers)


  • 4 boneless pork loin chops, each about ¾-inch thick
  • ¼ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp dried marjoram
  • ¼ tsp rubbed sage
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil


  1. Place flour, thyme, marjoram, sage, and pepper in a pie plate or similarly shallow dish. Dredge pork in flour mixture, turning to coat; shake off excess and discard.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and cook for 10 minutes or until done, turning pork once. Remove pork from skillet.
We ate these chops with "Outback Steakhouse Mac-A-Roo 'N Cheese" (I used half-and-half and added a bit of smoked paprika) and a simple salad of chopped cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, and vinaigrette.

Pantry challenge ingredients: chops, Velveeta, penne
Glad to see eaten before they went squishy: cucumbers and tomatoes