Fast moving waters. Screaming kids. Riding the rapids while laughing. Camping and over the fire cooking … well, more like propane griddle dinner.
We had a blast with a busy scout weekend, and I still managed to prepare a meal plan for the family, do the grocery shopping, and get an eye test.
My son thoroughly enjoyed the thrill of floating down the river and fighting the fast-moving rapids, with sudden drops and plenty of splashing.
For me, it was like the old Viking pillage and plunder rides, pushing the longboats forward with the power of the ores or paddles. I was in my natural element screaming orders to the frightened scouts. We kicked some rapid arse.
It’s incredible how much we can achieve in s short amount of time – especially considering that I left Friday at 4 pm for scout camping/rafting and returned at 10.30 am Sunday.
The Italian Job
Andiamo amiche – mangiamo un po’ di cibo.
Or if we want to be rude, va’a fare in culo. The latter should not be expressed too loudly in public. We always learn the wrong words and sentences.
I was caught shouting profanity at Rome’s 2000 new year party. I have limited recollection due to large amounts of booze and dancing. I became a legend that evening!
As you might have guessed, the meal plan theme is Italy – a country I have always adored and loved to travel to.
I must’ve lived there in a past life. I know my way around Rome and Venice, from an early age, much to the amazement of my dad.
During our annual family summer holiday with our camper, I was able to navigate Rome and tell stories about what happened in certain parts of old Rome. Stuff that I possibly couldn’t have read as I did not know Italian.
Italy fascinates me. The culture, the people, and of course, the food.
Pasta – a slippery history
Pasta, a simple ingredient in Italian cuisine, has been a cornerstone of the diet since Marco Polo brought it back from his adventures to China in 1271–95.
Others are giving credit to the Arabic influence in the Southern parts of Italy, as they often use the same durum flour in both cuisines. And the Arab invasion in the 8th century will undoubtedly influence the cooking methods and ingredients.
Whether it is the Asian connection or the Arab influence, pasta has strongly affected Italian cuisine positively.
Pasta has not evolved much since the introduction, although some try to “spice” up pasta by using different flours, eggs, and vegetable coloring.
Pasta is made from two key ingredients; water and semolina flour. You can add eggs for a darker yellowish color and richer flavor. Simple and yet delicious.
Today, pasta is enjoyed across the globe and is 100% associated with Italy. Naturally, therefore, you expect to be served pasta on every street corner, which is not far off, except pizza has a more substantial street food presence.
For me, Italian food screams family dinners and healthy eating.
Most dishes have a lot of delicious fresh vegetables; lettuce, tomatoes, olives, red onions, garlic, and pickled pepperoncini.
Nothing fancy, but it is how the dishes combine vegetables with pasta, risotto, and a variety of meat that gives it a simple and fresh taste.
Once a dish is prepared, we add some wonderful fresh herbs like oregano, basil, and perhaps a little black pepper. And, we cannot forget the smooth olive oil.
Yes, it does contain a lot of pasta I’m sure my doctor is not recommending, but I’m sure homemade Italian pasta is healthier than the imitation stuff we buy in the stores.
If we have time during the week, we will use fresh (homemade) pasta for our meals. It all depends on how much I can get the family involved with the cooking.
Another excellent advantage of cooking Italian is that I get to drink red wine during the week. You have to immerse yourself in the Italian food culture to enjoy Italian food fully.
Fire up the Traeger. Ready your Dutch oven. Go shopping, and let’s start cooking—another Sunday in the Kitchen with music on the magical Demerbox and wonderful aromas filling the room.
|Monday||Mani pasta bake||Caprese Chicken|
|Tuesday||Italian sub||Pasta with meatballs|
|Wednesday||Meatballs sliders||Tuscan shrimp pasta|
|Thursday||Mini Calzone||Chicken & Mushroom risotto|
|Friday||Italian salad||Pizza (on the grill the Traeger, of course)|
One day, I might get so organized that I will link the meals below to my recipes. We can only live in hope!
Have a fantastic week, my friends. I hope you enjoy these meal plans. It is so much easier to make food in advance, although you need to invest several hours in preparing the meals during the weekend.
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