Archive for the ‘Manic Meal Monday’ Category


Manic Meal Monday 2

January 24, 2012

It’s Monday, and yesterday brought both manic food shopping and preparation. It would be hard to top the last Manic Meal Monday in terms of ease of preparation, but this comes close, especially if you purchase pre-cut butternut squash and/or pre-cut beef.

The meal o’ the week was inspired by Dominique over at Will Run For Beer, who posted this Burgundy-Style Beef Stew recipe. It was already a WW recipe, but she made it even more WW-friendly by subbing butternut squash for potatoes. The damage is a mere 8 PointsPlus for a very hearty stew.

Recipe (with modifications, based on preference/availability; mine are in bold, hers are in italics):

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 lb boneless beef bottom round, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth [I used vegetable broth since I already had some open.]
1/2 cup dry red wine (I used a Cabernet Sauvignon) [I used a Carmenere and hated that I cooked with such a good win, but it needed to be consumed.]
20 oz chopped butternut squash the original recipe calls for 3/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 lb mushrooms [I am not a ‘shroom fan, so this was omitted.]
4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup pearl onions (the original recipe calls for frozen, but I could not find them in my store) [I cut up one whole, medium yellow onion.]
2 cloves if garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried savory [I’m not sure what savory is, and I don’t have it, so…I tossed in a bunch of spices that I like, including cayenne pepper, ginger, oregano, and a little cinnamon, and I liked what came out of the crock pot.]


1. Mix together flour, salt and pepper into a shallow dish. Coat beef with seasoned flour and shake off the excess.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add coated beef and cook until browned on all sides. Transfer browned beef to your crock pot.

3. Add remaining ingredients to the crock pot. Cover and cook for 3-4 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low, or until the beef and vegetables are tender.

This makes 4 servings. Oh, look…lunch!

And, funny story related to this recipe:

My mom is in town visiting, and we went to the grocery store together. I was in the meat department, and didn’t find the cut specified in the recipe, so I asked a woman working there about it.

Me: Oh, OK. Hmm…three pounds. Well, I need to find the smallest package. I only need one pound.

Her: Just a pound? What are you making?

Me: A stew.

Her: Blech. You want to use this in a stew?

Me: Yeah…will this not work for stew?

Her: It’s so lean. You need some meat with some FAT.

My mom: Well, she’s kind of on a diet, so I think she wants the lean.

Her: Oh, well, if you’re doing that diety thing, I guess this will work. But I wouldn’t eat that stew.

For the record, the stew was great, and the meat was tender. Enjoy!


Manic Meal Monday

January 10, 2012

While not a hard and fast tradition, it’s true that most Sundays, I’ll prepare enough food to get me through either lunches or dinners (sometimes both if I’m ambitious) for the week. I’d like to credit my amazing organizational skills (ha! I mean, yes, I have them….somewhere…), but this manic food prep is more likely borne from the fact that I’m a single gal on the run. I like to cook, but am often pretty busy. I eat the same thing meal after meal because…I’m often the only one eating it! So I have a few favorites that I like, and I’ll post those sometimes. Maybe they can help you, too! I’ve done pretty well at weeding out things that don’t taste as good reheated.

Related aside and tip: last year I was commuting to work with a fellow graduate student. We had similar interests in eating healthy, hearty foods and saving money by bringing our lunch to work. But we also had the same problem of feeling like we ate the same thing day after day until we were sick of the leftovers. So we had “lunch club” where we alternated bringing in two portions of leftovers so that we each had a meal. It was such a relief to have a homecooked meal when I was really busy, and such a joy to share good recipes I’d tried with someone else.

But I have a treat for today’s manic meal! After seeing several pins on Pinterest about Mason Jar Meals, I decided to try one. My main inspiration came from Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body, who posted a recipe for salads in a jar. There are also some good ideas for prepping full meals for the week and storing them in jars on Big Red Kitchen.

For my salads, I used pre-cooked chicken (1/2 cup = 2 PointsPlus on WW), quinoa (1/4 cup uncooked = 4 PointsPlus), grape tomatoes (about 6-7), raw zucchini (about 1/4 cup), orange bell pepper (about 1/4 of the pepper), baby spinach (enough to top it off…probably about a cup per jar), and Wishbone balsamic vinaigrette (2 Tbsp. = 2 PointsPlus) [Grand total of 8 PointsPlus and a ton of good protein!]. Everything was layered in a quart (32 oz.) wide mouth Mason jar.

I may have overstuffed my first attempt at this, because I shook one today like a salad shaker, and, well, the spinach doesn’t shake with everything else. But you can see that everything else blended nicely, and when I dumped it out onto a plate, my co-workers oohed and ahhed over my very restaurant-looking salad that really, outside of the time it took for the quinoa to cool before I put it in the jar, took about 10-15 minutes to make 3 of. Yum. I might add a little more dressing next time, but this was tasty. And pretty.

Just make sure you don’t let the dressing and leafy greens touch, and that anything you cook is fully cooled before you put it in the jars.