I know that someday you'll find better things.

Monday, May 19, 2014


Remember two weeks ago when I was Dinnertime WWM? (That's World's Worst Mom, the acronym of dishonor and underachievement.)

Well, last week, I tried to make up for it, which as it turns out was terrible timing considering that my Algebra final exam was on Wednesday and we were leaving for Boston for my sister's marriage the following morning. 

And let's not forget the whole Property Appraisal hoopla.

But, guilt is a powerful motivator, and I was motivated to try--really try--to redeem myself for the previous week's mealtime transgressions.

So, here is what we had:

World's most elaborate at-home weekday salad, featuring all kinds of things like sliced hard-boiled eggs, bacon, deli meat, lots of sliced vegetables, etc.
Dessert: sliced mango
Health Factor: Great, perhaps a little protein-heavy, but whatever
Effort Required: Way too much, but this might be because I was also trying to simultaneously prepare Wednesday's meal.

I forgot to give Russ and the kids the bolillo loaves to accompany their salads, which led to "World's most elaborate sandwiches" in their lunchboxes on Tuesday. 
Oh well.

Teriyaki pork kebabs with grilled vegetables served over rice
Dessert: grilled pineapple
Health Factor: Pretty darn good
Effort Required: Good grief! From here forward, this will be reserved for Saturdays and summer!

This was supposed to be the easiest meal, since Russ prepared and marinated the meat Monday night. The plan was for him to take the lead on this meal so that I could prepare/obsess for Wednesday's final exam. I'm not sure how things spun out of control so quickly, but it might be the latest we've ever served dinner. 


Did you know that grilling pineapple seems to quadruple the sweetness-factor? It nearly sent us into sugar-shock, but the kids didn't seem to mind.

Cottleston pie, blanched asparagus, sliced tomatoes, remaining lone bolillo loaf 
Dessert: sliced cantaloupe
Health Factor: Better than fast food
Effort Required: Manageable. Reasonable, even, as long as you're not trying to prepare it at the same time as another meal (and quiz the kids on their spelling words, and sign permission slips, and...) 

Cottleston Pie is one of those great flexible meals where you can substitute out just about any (and almost all) of the ingredients for whatever you happen to have on hand. The only annoying thing is that by the time you put everything into the baking dish, you've already done all the work of sauteing the elements that require cooking, namely the beef, bacon, and onions. 

To then have to bake it until hot and bubbly is an insult to efficiency.

This week, I discovered that you can combine all the ingredients into the crockpot, put on the lid, and shove the whole thing into the refrigerator to be re-heated later in the week, which worked out exactly the way I hoped it would.

If you were to seek out this recipe, you'd have the best luck searching for "Calico Bean Casserole. "Cottleston Pie" is our family's name for this casserole, based on the poem by A.A. Milne of Winnie the Pooh fame.

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
A fly can't bird, but a bird can fly.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
Why does a chicken? I don't know why.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
A fish can't whistle and neither can I.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie

Last time I shared a cost-breakdown, so to keep things fair, I'll do it again. I do need to include a few disclaimers, though. 

First of all, there were some things that we already had on hand that I will need to estimate (like rice). There are other things, such as the ingredients for the teriyaki marinade, that we had on hand which would be a complete pain to try to evaluate for cost. Especially since we use tamari instead of soy sauce, brown sugar instead of white, balsamic vinegar instead of white, etc. I will include a link to the recipe, though, because we have thoroughly enjoyed this marinade on beef and chicken, and now, pork, too! 

I think this is the one we use. It says at least two hours, but we've had the best luck marinating it overnight. (click here for marinade recipe)  

Also, I'll quote the fresh fruit price as if it were for a single amount, when in reality I purchased double of everything you'll see. This is because I was at Sprouts-- discouragingly-iffy when it comes to the freshness of the fruit. You never know when you'll get a rotten melon, and it's happened to us enough times that we've learned it's just easier to double up.

Each of these meals yielded enough leftovers to create subsequent lunches even after feeding a family of five (including three forever-ravenous children ages 14, 10, and 7).

World's Most Elaborate At-Home Weekday Salad:
- one head of red lettuce: $.88
- two sliced heirloom vine tomatoes: $.70
- cucumber, sliced: $.50
- green pepper, sliced: $.50
- 1/4 of a sliced red onion: $.20? 
- half a package of uncured bacon: $1.75 (You can get uncured bacon super-cheap if you buy at the right time, but you usually have to buy a LOT of it to get the deal. Fortunately it freezes well!)
- six eggs (so, half a dozen): $1.75
- quarter-pound deli turkey (Boar's Head Oven Gold): $2.25
- quarter-pound seasoned roast beef (Boar's Head, grownups only): $2.98
- quarter-pound deli smoked ham (Kroger's Private Selection-- good quality but still house-brand. May contain gluten, but it's for the kids, anyway): $2.08
- bolillos (8-count from the bakery section. Pretend we had four that night): $.86
- mangoes (Pretend we had two, not four): $1.00
Total cost: $15.45

Teriyaki Pork Kebabs:
- 3-ish pounds of centercut porkloin: $5.01
- one bag of those cute little red, orange, and yellow peppers: $1.99
- one green pepper $.50
- one red onion: $.80
- one cup of rice: $.30
- one pineapple: $2.50
Total cost: $11.10

Cottleston Pie:
- 3/4 of a red onion: $.60
- 1.37 pounds of ground beef (grass-fed, grass-finished, which explains the price): $6.84
- the other half a package of uncured bacon: $1.75
- one can baked beans: $1.58
- one can kidney beans: $.68
- one can black beans: $.86
- two big bunches of asparagus: $3.59
- two sliced heirloom vine tomatoes: $.70
- the last lonely bolillo: $.22
- one cantaloupe: $1.50
Total cost: $18.32

So that's Good Mommy dinner week for you! Now, on the heels of a whirlwind trip up North, we've returned to an (intentionally) empty fridge, exhaustion, and an utter lack of motivation.

I am seriously considering making fish-sticks and macaroni and cheese for dinner tonight.

Don't worry, I'll redeem myself next week...

1 comment:

  1. Go for the fish sticks and mac and cheese! You deserve it! Love, Mama