Meal Plan; 2-6 January – A New Beginning

It was a crazy ending to 2022 for our family. Not because of wild Christmas and New Year’s parties. We are only five here in the US, so most annual festivities are celebrated as a small family, which doesn’t bother us.

However, this year our family was hit by the infamous COVID virus. In fairness, we have not been affected by COVID since the pandemic wildfire started in February 2020, which is a pretty good record considering I work in healthcare and have been in the office most days over the past three years.

But, we always knew the feckin’ virus would visit our home despite painting our door frame with blood to keep the creeping death away. The latter is obviously a biblical reference when God warns the Israelites as he’s about to punish the Egyptians.

The blood on the doorposts will be a sign to mark the houses in which you live. When I see the blood, I will pass over you and will not harm you…

Exodus 12:13-28

I apologize for posting this meal plan at the end of the week. Unfortunately, I had to look after my family, that fell victim to the dreaded COVID virus.

The Feckin’ COVID

For three years, we were lucky not to get infected by COVID since it started circulating the Globe in early 2020. As a result, we did not lock ourselves away for the past three years and went about regular family life. We spent the last day before the lockdown on Broadway in a packed theatre watching Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. During the awful lockdowns, we went grocery shopping and interacted with friends and family.

Then, on Christmas Eve, 24th of December 2022, after we had our traditional Danish fantastic smoked duck dinner and the kids opened presents, I felt under the weather. So I went to bed that evening and didn’t leave the comfort of my bed until Monday evening, the 26th of December.

Twenty-four hours after I got up again, my dear wife felt ill. We had to go to urgent care Friday, the 30th of December, as she was having chest pains and difficulty breathing. It was confirmed that she had COVID and started the Paxlovid treatment. She was down for New Year’s Eve.

Our son developed symptoms on New Year’s Eve, and on the 1st of January, he tested positive and received Paxlovid. And on the 2nd of January, our daughter tested positive.

So, I have been acting as a home nurse since the 26th of December and kicked off my 2023 working remotely.

But that did not stop me from making delicious homemade chicken soup for the patients. I gently simmered a couple of chicken thighs and drumsticks for an hour, sifted the broth, and added carrots, celery, and some pasta.

Chicken soup is good for your immune system … and your soul. And, in my opinion, healthy homemade food, loaded with ginger, garlic, carrots, celery, and heavy chicken stock, is the best weapon against most viruses.

I also cooked a super simple stew during the Christmas holidays, celebrating our Irish connection. What better way than making the Dublin Coddle, a mix of potatoes, pork sausages, carrots, and onions? It only takes 40 minutes to prepare this dish.

But please note that Irish cuisine is not known for exotic spices. The coddle is a plain yet delicious potato stew.

Time to cook some meals

We are suckers for stews and soups, so why not start 2023 with a few flavor-packed stew-ish meals.

The week kicked off with hearty broccoli and cheddar cheese soup, prepared by roasted broccoli in the oven while I gently fried some bacon to give it a healthy amount of pork fat, and the bacon acts as a secret ingredient.

Our kids love a simple spinach, pasta, and corn dish that my wonderful has made for them since they were babies. So I took the liberty of pimping up the dish with some glazed onions, wilted spinach, mushrooms, and stuffed ravioli.

We need fish or seafood once a week, so I might as well make a red curry and shrimp risotto using coconut milk. Start to finish is about 40-50 minutes, and it is an excellent option for a midweek meal.

I’m wrapping up the week with a fantastic spicy meat gumbo, which I have perfected over the past decade. It is based on a recipe by Jamie Oliver, Jamie’s America book, and is gorgeous. Given the amount of chicken, spicy sausage, sweet potatoes, peppers, and thyme, you have plenty for two days. Serve it with some boiled/steamed white rice.

For school lunches, I opted for a few easy creations. Also, my son was home from school due to COVID, so I only made lunches for our daughter. She LOVES caesar chicken salad, and I threw together two slider options. Both popular and fast.

MondayNo schoolRoasted broccoli and cheddar cheese soup with a hint of fried bacon, served with toasted bread.
TuesdayCaesar salad with grilled chickenCreamy spinach, caramelized onions, and mushrooms with cheese-stuffed ravioli
WednesdayCaesar salad with grilled chickenRed curry risotto with giant shrimp
ThursdayColumbian sandwich slidersMy famous spicy meat gumbo with rice
FridayRueben sliders … most likely gumbo leftovers or something on the Traeger.

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 much easier to make food in advance, although you must invest several hours preparing meals during the weekend.

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