Wednesday, September 3, 2014

100 Meals of Real Food

One hundred days, three meals a day (plus snacks), that's a whole lotta planning. I decided instead I'd try for 100 days of at least one meal a day that consisted only of 'real food'. Tonight, it was dinner. Actually, lunch was as well because I ate dinner leftovers, so I'll rewind to last night. First day of school meant falling back into schedules and routine hence; Taco Tuesday.

H 'invented' a taco soup that is dead simple, but surprisingly good. Brown two pounds ground beef* (or turkey or chicken or whatever protein you want); add taco seasoning (make your own with this quick recipe that you don't have to mix up in advance), a quart of good beef stock, and simmer for about 15 minutes to bring it all up to temperature and at the last minute throw in some corn (I cut the kernels off the cobs of two leftover from the previous night's grill-out). If the corn is frozen, obviously do this more than a minute from the end so it's not still frozen. My kids like this as is with some grated cheese on it (which is where H's rendition ends), but I garnish mine and J's with sliced avocado, cilantro, a little cheese and (if I have the foresight) the chili-lime crunchies from this Iowa Girl Eat's burger recipe. If you don't include the corn crunchies, as I did not last night, it's still a good and really filling soup that takes no time and the whole family likes it.

As I was making my meal plan for the week on Sunday night, I asked J if he had any requests for main dishes or sides and he mentioned a bread salad I'd made earlier in the summer. While waiting for my car to get washed I'd seen it in O magazine and snapped a photo of the recipe, made it that night and we loved it, but just kind of forgot about it after that.

September means an overwhelming abundance of garden tomatoes and basil, so this was the perfect suggestion. Instead of a sourdough or white baguette I used a loaf of whole wheat bread, but otherwise the recipe is perfect as is. In order to make it a full meal for my family I heated a package of Aidell's chicken and apple sausages  (thank you Costco for carrying these in bulk!). My kids don't love the salad, but they still ate bites of it, but they do really, really love the sausage plus a straight up piece of the bread. J and I? Love the salad. With one of the sausages it's a full meal without feeling heavy. Let me know if you give it a try!

Warm Bread Salad with Tomatoes


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed but kept whole
  • 4 cups torn baguette pieces
  • 1 cup 1/2"-diced red onion
  • 4 cups 1/2"-diced tomatoes, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, stemmed
  • 1 Tbsp. capers
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper


Total time: 30 minutes 

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add baguette pieces and sauté until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low, add red onion, and sauté 1 minute, then add 2 cups tomatoes. Add vinegar and remove from heat. Add basil, capers, and remaining tomatoes and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately. 

Adapted from I Love New York: Ingredients and Recipes 

What changes (if any) are you making to inject a little change into your ho-hum menus? What do you have planned for this week?

*I'm so glad we invested in the half of a cow from my cousin and his wife this Spring. While our freezer was almost overwhelmingly full of beef at first, it's gotten to a manageable level after a summer of grilling burgers and steaks and I have room to start making some freezer meals again. If you're interested in purchasing bulk meat, one thing to consider is the huge savings you'll get on the premium cuts: a big 100% grass-fed, organic Prime Rib for under $4 a pound? Yes, please!

1 comment:

nyceone said...

I've made a similar salad... but as a BLT ... quite fine!! This month's Food Network magazine (thanks H. for letting me look at yours!) has some very good tomato recipes. I made the corn/tomato pie as in recipe. While it is time consuming to make it turned out exactly like the picture showed. Needed more salt and Pepper in mine but outstanding!