Meal Plan; 10-14 April – Surviving Chocolate Comatose

Easter egg hunting

Two large religions, Christianity and Judaism, celebrate Easter and Passover, although they recount the events and details somewhat differently. But in essence, we observe a very important religious event that shaped the future of both religions and has been reflected annually ever since the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

In more modern times, aka the last couple of decades, Easter has become more focussed on finding and eating an insane amount of chocolate, while thinking that an oversized bunny laid eggs in the garden.

A guy comes down to earth, takes your sins, dies, and comes back three days later. You believe in him and go to heaven forever.

How do you get from that to Hide-The-Eggs? Did Jesus have a problem with eggs? Did he go, “When I come back, if I see any eggs, the whole salvation thing is off.”

Jon Stewart

At our house, we read biblical encounters and have made it a tradition to also watch movies on the topic. Obviously, not real footage, but some movies are presenting the events fairly accurately (when compared to the Bible). Movies like Risen, The Passion of Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, and the new series called The Chosen.

My wife makes certain choices during Lent which this year saw her give up meat on Fridays. Of all days she picks Friday when I normally enjoy firing up the Traeger for some meat fest. However, I fully respect her decision and will make her rice while I dig into a large steak and a glass of red wine.

13 Years Old

It is official, we have another teenager in the family. Three teenagers at the same time. As parents, it is daunting to have three teenage kids, especially as growing older becomes a reality. I do not feel old, but under no illusion that I’m not getting younger.

We are blessed with three wonderful kids. Sure, we have our share of challenges as the kids test the boundaries more, but each child is doing amazingly, and we are very proud of the trio.

To honor our three kids, I had another piece of art inked on my upper left arm. Each Polaroid represents our kids, and each kid has an image that means a lot to them; reading, art, or Deadpool. I used their handwriting for their names. A painful three-hour session was done by a very good friend and tattoo artist.

We celebrated our latest teenager with some less than convincing wake-up singing, a family tradition, and presents in bed. Our son was eyeballing the presents and calmly removed a few presents so he could help her unpack.

Because it was Easter break, she stayed in her pajamas all day, while building new Lego pieces, eating croissants, and playing with VR through the Oculus headset. Playing with Oculus is a bizarre spectator game too, as your child is walking around the room while making interesting hand gestures, and talking to either herself or other players.

Curing is Caring

My wife recently, unbeknown to her, challenged me in curing and sausage making. Something I’ve also wanted to do, but have zero skills and experience in doing. Lack of experience hasn’t prevented me from trying something in the past, but this challenge hit my pride a little harder.

During the weekend, and some weeknights, I spend a lot of time planning and preparing meals for the family. I was rather surprised when my wife calmly said it would be nice if I made salami and sausages too. I’m not sure where I would find the time I responded, but secretly she had dented my cooking pride a little by insinuating that I couldn’t make these.

Challenges accepted!

As a direct result of her comments, I decided to explore some simple curing projects to start with some home-cured Lonza using 2 kg (4.4 lbs for you anti-metric people) of pork loin I happened to have in the freezer.

After defrosting the meat overnight, I generously rubbed and covered the meat with salt. According to the recipe, the meat must sit in salt for 24 hours, and you should change the salt halfway through.

For the record - I do not use salt for any cooking or baking, if I can avoid it.  Many food items contain natural salts, and you simply add other spices to enhance flavors.  The worst offenders of salt are canned products and any premade food you buy.  

24 hours later, and after changing the salt and draining the liquids that had accumulated in the tray, the meat was ready for the next phase.

I washed the meat very well to get rid of the salt and also cleaned it in regular vinegar. Afterward, I dried it with paper towels and started to rub some nice herbs on the meat so it is well covered on all sides.

Once the meat was spiced up, I wrapped it in collagen paper and stuffed it into the meat netting, tied both ends and then they are ready to hang for a couple of weeks. Apparently, they have to lose 30% of the weight in the process.

Something sexy about meat netting LOL

Viking Heart Within

Cooking with meat again

As they say in Lord of the Rings, “Meat is back on the menu boys!” In our case, it means meat is back on the menu for our Friday BBQ dinners so no more grass shavings for the missus.

I wanted to make a special bread for school lunches and came up with a country loaf with walnuts and cranberries. It was left to rise for 18 hours and then baked on the Traeger in my 5qt Lodge Cast iron for 45 minutes in total at 450F. So damn delicious to make bread on the Traeger, and very easy. I can highly recommend it.

The bread will be used for two different grilled sandwiches; pesto & mozzarella, and grilled cheese with avocado. The latter is a new family favorite, although I do not eat much bread anymore.

While making grilled chicken Kofta skewers, I also made a few spiced-up meatballs for the kids’ lunch. Might as well do something nicer for the kids with pasta. I’ll serve the chicken Kofta with a nice simple salad and some boiled rice. Easy and fast dinner.

Kofta is traditionally made with ground beef or lamb, although chicken, fish, or vegetarian versions made with beans or vegetables are becoming increasingly popular. Kofta is commonly served in a sauce or stew, and it is often paired with rice or flatbread.  Rumi Spice

We are having another favorite family dinner coming up this week – Quiche Fiesta. A few years ago I would’ve dreaded making a quiche from scratch and would most likely have bought the crust premade. However, making a quiche crust is very easy, and then you just fill it with stuff you like and bake it.

Midweek we will enjoy creamy chicken and mushroom cooked in the Lodge Castiron 12″ skillet, and served with mashed potatoes. Cooking with cast iron gear is very nice but you cannot store food in the skillet as you can with other pots and pans.

Lunch & Dinner

MondayPesto and mozzarella sandwich using homemade breadCreamy chicken and mushroom with mash
TuesdayHealthy Salad; corn, cucumber, red pepper, grape tomatoes and mozzarella piecesQuiche feast; mushroom and Gruyere – pineapple, ham, and cheese
WednesdayMeatballs with pastaChicken kofta with salad, rice and pita
ThursdayGrilled cheese on homemade breadLeft-over party
FridayQuiche slicesChicken kofta with salad, rice, and pita

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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