08.20 Meals

Sorry, no pic. I should have taken a pic at lunch. I got a bug up my bottom and decided that not only was I going to cook lunch from scratch, but I was going to cook.

I made up some lentil soup based on the recipe from A Perfect Mix. It was so good, but you can hardly go wrong with soup made from chicken bouillon cubes. 🙂 DD wasn’t so fond of it, but Boogie Boy devoured his portion (with most of the liquid strained off and a little mashed).

Lentil Soup
Prep 10 min., Cook 2 hours (see what I mean by cooking?), serves 4

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 t. rosemary
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 rib of celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 onion

Put water, lentils, and seasoning in a soup pot, cover, and bring to a boil. While you are waiting, chop veggies. When the water is boiling, add the veggies, and bring it back to a boil. Put the cover back on, but off a little, so the steam can escape slowly, and lower the temp to low. Simmer for 2 hours. (To make this a mix in a jar, crumble bouillon cubes, and mix with lentils, rosemary and garlic. Store in an airtight jar. The original recipe was for 8 servings, so that probably fits in a standard canning jar better.)
Cost per serving: $0.24

While that was cooking away, I decided to try out some muffin recipes. I made banana muffins (because I had 3 bananas that were crying out to be muffins or bread), cheese muffins, and plain muffins. They all started with this recipe from the Hillbilly Housewife. I got everything out, and started heating the oven while I assembled the batter for the first batch (banana). I mixed the wet ingredients, adding 1 t. nutmeg and 1 t. cinnamon to the basic batter, when suddenly I smelled smoke. Arg, smoke was trickling out of my oven! WTF? I went over and opened the door a crack and smoke started pouring out, smelling icky.

Oh, yeah.

I had sprayed oven cleaner in there a couple of days ago to clean off the crusties on the bottom. I forgot. Yuck. I’m glad I hadn’t added any flour yet. Turn the oven off, leave the door open to let it cool quickly, and grouse to myself that my muffin baking time was growing very short (I planned to do 2 batches, and serve the second batch with the soup). Armed with one of my lovely washcloths (I love these things, microfiber on one side, scrubby netting on the other, totally machine washable and nearly indestructible) and a bowl of warm water, I proceeded to scrub the oven. I changed the water about 6 times, but was finally able to make my muffins. Now I ended up with all sorts of sizes and combinations, due to the fact that the totality of my muffin making equipment is one 6-muffin tin, 12 regular sized silicone muffin cups, and 12 mini silicone muffin cups (they’re not just for bentos!). So I ended up with 12 regular banana muffins, 4 mini banana muffins, 6 regular plain muffins (in paper), 2 regular cheese muffins, and 8 mini cheese muffins. I should have taken a picture of all those muffins lined up.

The kids loved the minis best. Of course.

Next time I make cheese ones, I will be reducing the sugar (as HBHW suggests). They tasted good with 1/4 cup, but too sweet for my tastes. And maybe add some hot sauce to half. 🙂
Cost per serving(muffin): plain $0.04; cheese $0.12; banana $0.06
Lunch total cost per serving: $0.36 (oh, YEAH!)

Then for dinner, I tried to make a WBSC lasagna recipe up. Yeah, it didn’t exactly work. Not for me, at least. The last time I made eggplant, I loved it. It was the first time I had cooked it and the first time I had eaten it. I figured had this vegetable figured out. I was wrong.

Okay, so the plan when I went grocery shopping went like this: Make a regular type lasagna. Use WBSC mix as the meat and sauce mix (duh), make a regular cheese mix (16 oz. cottage cheese, 1 egg, 1 c. mozzerella and parmesan cheeses, 1 T. Italian seasoning), and layer normally. Buy some eggplant or zucchini to add to the WBSC to up the veggie content. I should have bought the zucchini. Instead, I bought 1 smallish eggplant (because I know that bigger=bitter), and cottage cheese, thinking (foolishly) that I had everything else I needed. Fast forward to last night. I found a recipe that was nothing like what I was going to make, but it had information I needed – how to deal with an eggplant in order to add it to a meat mixture to make lasagna. I had a hard time finding a recipe for “eggplant lasagna” that involved real noodles.

Which, it turns out, I didn’t have.

Well, technically, I had three. Enough for one layer on a small lasagna. ARGH! Okay, next plan, I have 2 unopened boxes of Jumbo Shells! I’ll just fill them! (this is what I should have done) Now, at this point in the thought train, something was added to the tracks, causing a total derailment. I’m not sure what happened, exaclty, but some synopse stopped firing, and I decided for my second attempt at cooking eggplant, I would try using it as noodles in a layered lasagna. You know, because there were all those recipes for it. I did NOT, however, go print out one of said recipes. I just tried to wing it.

Bad idea.

It was so liquidy. I cooked it for 40 minutes, and let it sit to “firm up” for 20 minutes, and still couldn’t scoop it out. It was more like soup that lasagna. I should have cooked the eggplant first. I should have made stuffed shells. DH liked it (he loves lasagna, doesn’t care what shape it’s in). RM liked it. Boogie Boy, DD, and I all had about the same reaction to the eggplant portion: YUCK! I managed to eat about 2 slices (it’s good for you), but the kids didn’t eat any, I believe.
Cost per serving: $1.43

The good part of dinner? A really excellent salad that my RM was amazed he liked:

Tomato Onion Salad
Prep 10 min., Chill 1 hour, serves 4

  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion (yup leftover from lunch)
  • 2 T. Italian Dressing, the really plain stuff with no seasoning I am trying to get rid of
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 T. Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Seasoning
  • 4 leaves romaine lettuce

Cut tomatoes into chunks. Slice onion very thinly. Place in a bowl and combine with dressing, salt, and Seasoning. Chill for one hour. Chop lettuce coarsely and toss together with tomatoes and onions. Nummy! 🙂
Cost per serving: $0.28

I have to say I really like that Mrs. Dash blend. I’m sure it is totally filled with who knows what, but it tastes good. I have to say, though, watch out when you’re shaking it on – those big holes let a lot out at once! 🙂

Total Cost per serving: $1.71
Into the freezer went: 9 Banana muffins

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