Part of our weekend routine is to sit down with our own hand-written book of recipes, our folder of clipped recipes, and the other sources we draw from for ideas and inspiration, and put together a menu for the week. We make notes on adjustments, compile a list of ingredients needed for everything on the menu, check it against our current pantry, fridge, and freezer stocks, and then work through the grocery list before going to the store to get what we don’t have. We take any meat for the first few nights out of the freezer and put in the fridge to thaw (imperative since our built-in microwave has been dead for about a month, and we’ve not bothered to call to have someone look at it yet).
This eliminates the dialog that otherwise starts by about Tuesday night and continues through the week:
“What do you want for dinner?”
“I don’t know – what do you want for dinner?”
“I don’t know – what will the kids eat?”
“I don’t know – go ask them.”
“We want eggs and sausage!” (which they’ve already had for breakfast)
Or, I should say, this routine almost eliminates this dialog. Every once in a while, no matter how well I review the menu and plan things out, something comes along to derail me. Case in point is this past Monday. Somehow, in putting everything together, I completely overlooked the fact my planned recipe was a slow cooker recipe. There is nothing like coming home after a 9+ hour day at work, plus my first day back to the gym in well over a month, to realize that the only meat thawed out for dinner is the main ingredient for a dish that requires a good 5+ hours on low in a crock pot. Add in the fact it’s approaching 7pm and everyone’s getting hungry. Now what do I do???
Improvise! Grab a few ingredients (including a frozen package of ground turkey) and whip something up fast, before the natives get too restless and tear apart the kitchen. The result is a soup that will almost take you less time from start to finish that it will for you to read through the intro of this post. So let’s get started…
- 1-1/2 lbs ground turkey (not pictured, because it was already cooking when I remembered to start taking pictures)
- 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped up (stems and all, but trim the leaves first)
- 2 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into disks
- 1 medium yellow or sweet onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 tbsp no-salt seasoning blend
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, coarsely chopped
- water as needed
Start out with a large saucepan that has a lid. If your turkey is still frozen (like mine was), put 3/4 cup water in the bottom of the pot, then place the turkey in there and put the lid on. Heat on high to get the meat thawed and cooked quickly (remember, our microwave is DOA). While the meat is cooking, get the rest of the veggies chopped. When the turkey is nearly cooked, toss in the carrots, onions, and garlic. Continue cooking until the the meat finishes cooking through and the onions and carrots start to soften.
Simmer for 20 minutes. While you wait, use a wooden spoon and serving fork to defend the pantry from marauding natives and hungry kids. After the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, turn off the heat and stir in the parsley. Let sit for a few minutes to steep and cool slightly.
If you’re lucky, you might try to harness the angst of the hungry kids and get them to help you make up a batch of primal biscuits or almond muffins to go along side this soup. There’s just enough time while the soup is simmering and cooling at the end to mix and bake them. If not, you can just serve the soup by itself. And remember to read the planned recipe a little more carefully next time to double-check when it needs to be started…