It’s another quarantine-induced quandry… How to feed a larger household 3 squares a day without killing myself – or someone else – but also to recognize and be grateful that food does bring us together… To treat it all in a way that the work of food and eating won’t turn us into tired, hungry, full, snippy little zombie-esque animals.
Normally in a family with 4 kids, even though we almost always had dinner together, it was otherwise more rare that everyone is home or home at the same time for meals other than dinner. With the girls living on their own, it’s a slightly lesser load, but still mostly focused on 1 meal – dinner. But QUARANTINE?! We’re almost ALL here. 6 of us. Full time. Breakfast, lunch + dinner. Every. Single. Day.
Sure, feeding everyone isn’t just MY responsibility, but being organized so that none of us are overwhelmed with cooking is. If any few of us want to eat well, that is. And I do want the yummy food. Food absolutely brings people together in a beautiful way – when we’re all relaxed and enjoying a well-cooked meal together. Now to make sure none of us regret this time … haha ha haha <Oh, did that laughter sound crazy and NERVOUS to you?! It was… >
For the next few weeks we’ll be back to a full house of 6 FULL TIME HUMANS – Six! SIX!! – with lists of ‘special orders’ they’re wanting to eat, things they’ve missed from home or have been craving. Take-out can be REALLY expensive for 6-8 people. It’s a bit cheaper to break it up by ordering in Lunch, vs a full Dinner. My ultimate solution for it all? A LOT of prep… We’ll see if it works.
Ready?! I’m figuring this out in real time here! Braces yourselves!
Also, I got a brand new Vitamix, so – bear with me …
Vitamix Corn Soup + Grilled Cheese (Burgoo style)
Pan-Seared Steaks in Butter (make 1-2 extra Steaks for Pho, save pan juices)
Grilled Veg + Kale Caesar Salad
Mashed Potato (Vitamixed smooth!!) (make extra for Eggsluts tmrrw)
Fresh ‘No Knead’ Bread (started the day before) (save extra loaf)
Eggsluts (w extra/leftover Mashed Potato) (puree leftover veg in?)
Crusty day-after 2nd loaf Bread, sliced
Sliced (extra) Steak Pho w kept pan sauce, w Poached Quail Eggs
Fish en Papillote – Mediterranean Style (w Zucc ‘salad’ veg) (double the dinner quantity of Fish)
Cauliflower Steaks (simple lemon/oil)(Make double)
Chilled (leftover)Fish Rillette on Flatbread,
Any leftover chilled grill Veg from above as antipasto?
Leftover Lemon Loaf / Fresh Banana Bread
Flatbreads w ‘leftovers platters’ – Antipasto, Hummus, Ricotta, Chilled Fish Rillette, Cold Quiche, random fridge Charcuteries, Veg + Dip
4-Day Thomas Keller Roast Chickens (2-3) w Roast Veg
Kale Caesar Salad
Dutch Baby, leftover Banana Bread
Chicken Soup (homemade bone Stock – can be frozen for another day) w Noodles, leftover Kale (if freezing, add Kale but not Noodles)
Chicken Pot Pies (w extra Chicken / Veg) (can be frozen for another day)
DIY – cereal, bacon/eggs, waffles
Super Grill in butter some Chicken leftovers and put on Turkey Congee from the Freezer w green onion (or make wild rice)
Poached Egg Ravioli with Brown Butter Sage OR simple Tomato/Lemon/Chive, Thomas Keller Butter Leaf Herb Salad w Blood Orange
(also roll Tagliatelle and Linguine for other days)
Grilled Asparagus w Poached Quail Eggs
Pavlova (extra egg whites from Ravioli) w fresh fruit
Poached Eggs on bed of leftover Ravioli filling on Cracklebread
Other Tomatoes/Cucumber/Lemon/Chive from Pasta for “Greek” Salad w Meat Skewers
Extra Pasta (rolled as Tagliatelle, dried on counter) with Carbonara, Strong (melty) Cheese, grated Cured Egg Yolk – a few days later …
Kale Caeasar Salad
Fruit Crisp with Ice Cream
Leftover Fruit Crisp
Yogurt Bowls w Fresh Fruit from Pavlova
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches w last night Strong Melty Cheese, Sage from Ravioli, Bacon from Tagliatelle Carbonara
Thomas Keller Sous Vide Salmon (MasterClass) w Green Beans or Asparagus (if leftover) + Bearnaise Sauce
Buy 1 extra salmon for curing – start it earlier if possible
Souffle (Julia Child style EVERY time) JUST BECAUSE!
Zucchini Mandolin Salad
French Butter Cake w home-canned Peaches (only a few left!!) and Grand Marnier Whip
Leftover French Butter Cake, Yogurt w Peaches
Salmon (extra, cooked) Pasta Salad w Celery, Mayo, Chives
Homemade Gnocchi w Fresh Pesto Sauce, Fried Pancetta, sliced Portobello
Artichokes w Mayo / Parm / Cured Egg Yolk dips
Apple Pie w Filling made from our Trees last year
Round #2 of Eggsluts w extra Gnocchi potato, pureed with a few pcs of Pancetta – because they ARE that good
Portobello ‘Pizza’ Melts from whatever is in the Fridge / leftovers / etc, including leftover Artichoke Hearts, Fried Pancetta
Thai Takeout from Kids Work 🙂
Start No Knead Bread + Flatbread for tomorrow’s Lunch/Dinner
Bagels w Cured Salmon (2 days), Capers, Cream Cheese etc.
Another leftovers / veg/dip / Antipasto platter w Flatbreads
Seafood FEAST from Lobster Man (treat day!) incl Clam Linguine (buy Prawns, but save for tmrrw)
Ottolenghi Celery Lemon Salad
Fresh No Knead Bread for all them juices!!
Seafood Ramen (w fresh Stock, extra celery) add saved Prawns, Bok Choy, Pho fixings
It looks overwhelming – and that covers only 8 or 9 days! – but with prep, I don’t actually have to do all the work. Anyone can easily prep the Eggsluts the day after our Steak Dinner. In fact, it’s already half done. Once the ‘base meal’ has been made, anyone available can chip in quite easily for the secondary meals. Shopping can easily be done ahead and with fewer trips, knowing what we’re having ahead of time. A bit OCD on the Prep? Well, my very sanity is at risk, PEOPLE! Haha.
There is NO need to follow THIS list precisely – that’s not why I wrote it out. Although if you do I’d love to hear how it turns out for you LOL! I actually had to think through it for myself, so thought I’d share it. But maybe there’s a few ideas in there, and maybe it helps to think about ‘carrying over’ the meals you are ALREADY making so it’s less work in the end. Maybe this all still looks like a lot of work and you’d rather do take out LOL – can’t blame ya! Really, it’s my fault for having so many kids that love food, and for letting them date and bring in more humans to the fold who also love food … LOL
That’s not 12 days! Here are a few extra ideas to fill in the other meals, to give you some flexibility filling in a day here or there:
- Big meals like Lasagne that feed masses – just put in the oven, add salad, and go!
- Easy ‘everyone help’ meals, like grilled veg and meats on the BBQ – simple chopping – are good anytime
- If Breakfast can be mostly ‘pre-made’ while already in the Kitchen prepping Dinner the night before, then why not?!
- Bond over a more labour-intensive meal prep together once or twice, such as fresh Gnocchi or the Poached Egg Pasta
- Easy snackables like peas in shells, small cucumbers, baby carrots and dips
- Don’t feel bad – we all mix in the odd McDonald’s drive-thru, Kraft Dinner or Frozen Perogies smothered in bacon + cheese for lunch, or some local take-out for dinner. It’s all good!
- MELTS! You can put just about any leftover on a piece of bread, add cheese, toast and VOILA!
- Movie + Nacho / Popcorn Nights are all you need for dinner sometimes – it’s our favorite!
We often designate the night before who will be helping with what (cooking, table setting, dishes) the next day, so that everyone can ‘schedule’ it into their brains what needs to get done. ANYHOW, we’ll see how it goes… ! Will all these meals happen EXACTLY as planned? Absolutely not. But at least it’ll work out more often than not. As I was sorting through photos, I realized this is basically 6 weeks of Quarantine food squished into a 2 week ‘hilight reel’ LOL!
WISH ME LUCK! After these few weeks, it’s back to our regular programming of *just* the 4 of us. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. EVERY DAY.