Meal Plan; 22-26 May – Modern Vampires and Soul Food!

Despite the dull and miserable weather, it was still a delightful weekend. I spent time with my lovely wife on another date night while hanging out with good friends.

We wrapped last week with a hilarious stand-up comedy show with the famed Rob Schneider. He has aged, but we all have, and yet he was telling some fantastic and funny stories. I could relate to many stories, which makes the comedy even better.

It was great meeting up with another couple of our close friends. We chatted over some lovely Israeli/Mediterranean dishes, telling stories about how we met our wives. It is not often we get to hang out and spend some quality hours with couples. However, I tend to meet with my friends, so meeting each other’s wives was enjoyable.

I met the same friend at 7 am Sunday morning to test-ride a kayak. I’ve long wanted to buy a kayak, but I was nervous about buying the wrong size or not enjoying it.

He kindly allowed me to use his kayak for a fantastic 45 miny cruise on a local lake. The weather was excellent. The lake was calm with only a few anglers, the fish were jumping, and we were greeted by the majestic Balg Eagle diving to catch a fish.

I couldn’t ask for a better introduction to the world of kayaking. Later that day, my wife and I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods and bought two kayaks. We are hooked!

Modern Vampires

Having our oldest Viking daughter home in the long hut is fantastic. She has been away for nine months and had a blast studying in Florida. Who wouldn’t enjoy learning in such a pleasant environment with great weather, incredible beaches, and a great state?

Sure, it can be challenging for her to adjust to family life when she has been living independently for the past 9-10 months without much interference from her parents. She was staying up late, attending campus parties, and hanging out with friends. Doing homework, etc. It is an adjustment for my wife and me, and we must re-arm ourselves with patience.

However, I’m growing concerned about some “interesting” habits and behaviors we are witnessing.

Since arriving home, she spends most daylight hours sleeping and comes out at night. She crawls down from the attic around meal times, then disappears again for several hours. It is almost vampire behavior.

Laundry and dirty dishes “magically” appear in various locations around the house, and the Viking daughter expects them to get cleaned, folder and returned. She provides limited help around the house, so nothing has changed.

Don’t get me wrong, we are excited and happy to have our daughter home but had hoped for some more proactiveness since she was living independently and managing her laundry.

More Chicken, Cajun, and Pork

In case you haven’t noticed, chicken is a stable item on our weekly meal plans. There are thousands (exaggerated) ways to prepare chicken and many different cuts too. And chicken is a very healthy protein.

I started the meal prep by marinating the 8-10 pieces of chicken thighs while I washed and prepped the vegetables.

If you are cooking multiple meals simultaneously, I prefer to prep the ingredients as I cook. If you attempt to prepare all the vegetables for all meals, then there’s a high risk that you will mix something up. At least, that is what happens to me. I can’t multitask!

I seared and sliced the pork loin in my Le Creuset pan. Once it had a good sear, I removed it from the pan and made the sauce. Nothing beats the smell of freshly roasted garlic. Not to the point of burning but warm enough to release the characteristic scent of garlic.

The rice cooker was activated to prepare some cooked rice for the shrimp & sausage fried dish.

After about an hour of marinating the chicken, I fired up the Traeger and grilled the chicken and the sausages at 450F until ready. Be careful not to burn the chicken or sausages. I never rely on the recommended time on any packaging and prefer to check on the internal temperature regularly.

After the meat was ready, the skillet pizza went into the grill, and I topped it with grilled chicken and spinach.

Once the meat was cooked, I started the Cajun chicken pasta soup and the shrimp & sausage fried rice.

School lunches are more straightforward, although I like to spice up and create various lunch options. I attempt to avoid bread, but the kids do love it. Bread is a safe bet, so I’m making a few Ciabatta buns and panini versions with meat, cheese, and fillings.

This week I also made some easy finger bites. Making breakfast muffins is fast, although no longer a cheap option given the cost of eggs. But we splash out sometimes.

Every meal I cooked yesterday was relatively quick, taking roughly 35-40 each. I use the time to listen to audiobooks and music or recharge mentally to prepare for the coming week.

Lunch & Dinner

MondayBreakfast egg muffinsPork Loin Filets in a Creamy Garlic Mushroom Sauce
TuesdayPesto and Mozzarella on a grilled ciabattaCajun Chicken Pasta Soup
WednesdayItalian-styled panini; Mortadello, salami, and coleslawBacon, Shrimp, and Corn Chowder
ThursdayHomemade pizza with Cajun chicken and spinach – baked on the TraegerCajun Shrimp and Sausage Fried Rice
FridayItalian-styled panini; Mortadella, salami, and coleslawConcert for the girls and left-over food for the boys

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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