Monday, January 13, 2014

Menu planning! What’s for dinner! Baked ravioli, rotisserie chicken, yakisoba, karaage, curry nabe, ginger pork and more...

This is a bits and pieces post, but this time around, it's a bits and pieces slash "what's for dinner" type post. : )  So, December 27th, according to the date stamp on this picture. I went to the "cheap meat store" and bought about 2 weeks worth of meat. Enough meat to last from December 27th to January 11th. One meal lasted 2 dinners worth, that was the nabe and I pretty much expected that beforehand. And 1 meal was meatless, which was the baked ravioli. But yep, enough meat to last 2 weeks. My average I spend on 2 weeks of meat ranges from 4200 yen ($42 US) to 5000 yen ($50 US). 5000 is when I don't go on the 20% savings day. When I go on the 20% savings day it's always in the 4,000 range. In this pic, there is mostly chicken in this pic but 2 packages of pork in this pic also though. This is the bottom layer of the pic below.
This top layer, everything is pork. We eat a lot of pork here at our house too. There is a package with 2 pork roasts per package, so 4 pork roasts. The smaller pork roast pack went to the pork curry. Thin sliced pork for ginger pork, thick sliced pork for fried pork chop, the other set of pork roasts went to pork green chili. And the beef with sauce far left top corner was for Noboru when we would have yakiniku one night. I have a really big fridge and lots of freezer space. So, I can put this in my freezer and have room to spare.  Also, I didn't white out the price, you can tell the price is there but I whited out the store I buy meat from.... each package has the name of store and even more info.... they put the name of the store, address and phone number, so because of that I white out the address of the store I shop at, which is just safety wise, a good thing for me to do. : )
Then I go to my regular grocery store and get everything that I might need for the week except for veggies that go all wilty too fast, ykwim. But hard veggies like onions and carrots and potatoes and stuff are fine. The cabbage I used that night. In this pic, you can see, yakisoba stuff top left corner, a box of curry, curry nabe pouches, karaage liquid, tomatoes. I do run to my regular grocery store twice a week to make sure I have the fresh veggies that might not last too long and to make sure those are always fresh and I do run to the bakery twice a week for good sliced bread. 

This also came from the regular grocery store. You can see macaroni salad is happening by the 2 products on the left, that was for karaage night. Sauces, miso soup and pasta. We eat tons of pasta around here. : )

Yep, we were for surely having ginger pork and yakiniku. That ginger pork sauce is the best. It is so good. 

Laundry beads and lemon bath powder. That was it for that day. 
I will sit at the table and write my meals out and then write ingredients needed for such and such dish. That way nothing gets forgotten. This list says, Karaage, beans and green chili, chicken parmesan, pan fried yakiniku (versus outside but either way is fine) curry nabe, yakisoba, pork curry, we also had, baked ravioli and a few other meals, I added when I saw the meat that day. 
This pic was taken after Christmas and during Christmas/winter break. I skillet fried some of that honey baked spiral ham and when it browned, I cracked 8 eggs and made cheesy scrambled eggs. 

Colby cheese shredded. 

Very meaty, very filling, perfect for Noboru, Branden, Noah and myself.

Just a quick breakfast one morning, we all had. Nothing fancy shmancy at all. But really good. 
December 28th, we made a Costco run and Cainz/ Besia run. Had to get cleaning supplies for the before New Year's big huge clean up, and any last minute items needed at Costco.  The boys used their otoshidama money grandma Mitsuko gave them and they bought these Adidas soccer balls and have some cash to spare. 

We bought a roast chicken to have, so that added another meal to the 2 weeks worth, right there. : ) And Noboru needed coffee and it's cheaper at Costco, and 1 big pack of tortillas that have to last all of January. I'm sure they will.

A case of Vita Rain. When Branden and Noah go swimming, their friends bring drinks on the bus, and so the boys each bring one of these.

A case of Cherry Coke. And that was it pretty much, as far as Costco goes. 

Besia on the other hand, I could use a good amount of house cleansers since I go through them, quite a bit here. My 2 favorites are the Cainz spray bleach for the kitchen (have used this forever!), and my other favorite is the spray with the 2 kids on the bottle in the green bottle towards the right in this pic, also for kitchens, I like to use that when I clean up my microwave and inside of my fridge.

Two new bathtub/shower room sponges, and wash rags. The sponges and rags came from the Daiso. 

Quite a drink stock up. Case upon case of bottle water, Vita Rain and Cherry Cokes. We also have jasmine tea and juices as well.  
The roasted chicken, was really good one night. We had rice with it, and steamed veggies and a simple salad. 

Another night we had karaage, we had made a bunch of it, we had that with macaroni salad, steamed veg, rice and the kids and Noboru had miso soup.
Pork curry another night, everyone also got a mini cutlet that I made here at the house as well. Noboru got pork cutlet, and the kids and I had chicken cutlet. I bought 1 huge chicken breast cut it in thirds, it was a nice surprise, because everyone was expecting pork curry and the cutlet on top was a bonus. : ) 

There was leftover curry, as always, not enough to have a whole other dinner mind you, but enough for lunch the next day for the 4 of us, so we all had curry spaghetti. This was so good. Noboru loved it. The kids always get happy when they see we're having curry spaghetti and a great way to use the leftover curry. : )
Ginger pork, we had this with salads (choice of ranch or vinaigrette) and Noboru and the boys also had this with miso soup. 
Pan fried yakiniku. Noboru had beef. This is enough chicken and mushrooms for 3 people or more. I placed this in the center of the table and let everyone pick what they wanted. We all had a little bowl for dunking our meat in with sauce, separate bowl for rice and we 4 wrapped our meat and enjoyed our family dinner that night. 
Another night, yakisoba. Chicken for the kids and myself. Though the kids could choose either, but they picked chicken. Here we have, bean sprouts, cabbage and chicken. 

Noboru likes pork. Which is the standard/norm. : )

Each pack of yakisoba comes with 3 packs of noodles and are about 98 yen for the 3 pack, I always buy 2 packages so we end up with 6 servings of noodles. Noboru needs 2 servings of noodles for his. And the kids and I need 4 servings of noodles for ours. When they were younger we used less, but now they are the age they are, 4 packs is what we need. Branden eats about 1 and a half pack of noodles as do I and Noah so far only needs 1 pack to get full. But as he grows, who knows. : ) 

Huge amounts, and about to serve it up! Anyway that was another nightly dinner. 
The thick cut pork from the 2nd to top pic, sure did become fried pork chops alrighty. : ) In this pic, is fried pork chops, Rice a Roni and steamed veggie. I had fried 10 pork chops, everyone ate 2. So there was 2 left in the fridge. I always know that one of the boys, if not both will walk back into the kitchen especially during Winter break and munch a nice cold crisp pork chop. : ) 
Also during the winter break, I baked a yellow cake. 

Some chocolate frosting. 

Dinner this particular night was to be baked ravioli. Boil the ravioli al dente. Sauce on the bottom, thin layer of ravioli. 

A ladle or two of sauce and some cheese, and layer again....This is only layer 1.

This is layer 2.

Layer 3. I baked for about 30 minutes, and then I peeled the tin foil off and sprinkled the top with cheese as well. Put back into the oven until it was golden brown and nicely melted.

Yes, I did let the kids have a slice of cake while dinner was nicely baking in the oven. Noboru came home, he said, "what's for dinner?" I said baked ravioli and for dessert yellow cake with chocolate frosting. This baked ravioli feels like it's about 7 or so pounds by the way, seriously! It's heavy and so filling and so delicious. Yep, our winter break was spent nicely staying home, relaxing and just enjoying nice family dinners. Watching TV or having family movie night. It was cool. : ) 
Another night, I made 1 big pot of pork green chili (from 2 pork roasts) and 1 pot of beans.  This is my serving from that night, pork green chili with beans, some shredded cheese, some tortillas for wrapping dinner with and a superly cold Cherry Coke, so cold, because I like to put them in the freezer an hour before supper. 

Also during the winter break, we made homemade from scratch oatmeal, raisin, pecan cookies! OMG, these are so good!

Nice to have a good filling supper, a nice hot lemon bath and a couple cookies to munch while the boys are playing their DS games or watching TV. : )

Omiyage. Genki and his family went skiing in Nagano and brought us back these cookies. They were really good. 
Nabe night. The winter break was winding down, but meat wise, I was still going strong, lol. Not bad considering I spend on average 4200 yen to 5000 yen on meat (this isn't counting my veggie bill etc... though I do shop at a cheap veggie and fruit place too). I used 3 chicken breasts here. For curry nabe night.

I pour a little sauce and put the 3 diced breasts in. They boil for about 8 minutes or so. I am meanwhile chopping veggies and jamming to music in the kitchen. Justin Timberlake's TKO, Britney Spears Perfume, Still Into You by Paramore, or Sweater Weather, the DJ Mike remix of course. :)

I like that with nabes, there is no carved in stone you MUST use this veggie or type a noodle or else. : ) You can use what you like. I use mushrooms, 1 carrot and only 2 small potatoes. This is plenty though, no worries, enough to be had the next day even.

8 minutes of the chicken boiling alone and it's 98% done, but keep in mind the total cook time for everything is about 30 minutes so it will be way way way done by then. : ) No worries. So 8 minutes of diced chicken boiling alone. 

Hard veggies take longer, than soft ones do obviously, so they have to go first, before the easy to wilt or go limp ones do. And the mushrooms don't matter so I add them now anyway and the bean sprouts. At this point, I set my timer for 10 minutes on the stove and cover. 

The potatoes are soft now, could be because I dice them up to be spoon size, meanwhile the mushrooms and soft and the chicken at this point is now so totally done. Everything looking good and well on it's way.

Frozen chicken meatballs, need only 5-7 minutes to come alive again, lol. I cover and come back in about 5-7 minutes. And stir gently as to not break up any meatballs.

Rinse 1 pack of udon with water in a strainer. The other 2 packs we used for leftover curry nabe the next day.

Last things added are the things that would go all mushy if added first, the udon noodles and cabbage. The liquid from the nabe pouch has been slowly increasing throughout me cooking this on the stove.  I cover and let the cabbage and noodles steam.

I add the last of the 1 pouch of nabe sauce, stir and it's done. We then pull out the table burner and move from kitchen stove to table top. 

It is cooked already, but eating here and everyone eating around 1 pot is pretty nice. It was a great dinner that night. Curry nabe is a family favorite around here. : ) 
Family Guy calendar went on the fridge. 

Two days before school started again, I washed and tumble dried their gym uniforms again to make sure they were fresh. Washed their white inside shoes and sneakers, let dry in the sun. And went through both of their pencil cases and stuff to see what needed renewing. Noah got 4 new pencils towards the bottom of this picture, a chicken ramen one, GariGari Popsicle one, choco strawberry one and like Japanese plain M&M's, those pencils were for Noah, he also got a Gari gari mechanical pencil to use at home and 1 Meiji chocolate bar eraser that smells like chocolate. Branden wanted a mechanical pencil but he wanted that particular one at the top of this picture and the additional pencil lead, scissors for Branden and 1 regular pencil for his math class but a GariGari one. Made sure everything got a name sticker on it. And that was that. : ) 
The Black List is getting SO good! 

I rearranged my living room furniture last week. 
Cleaned the living daylights out of my living room as a matter of fact. : ) And the big patio sliding glass doors, the bottom part, dirt always gets in there and gets all grody and yuck looking. I got one of my wash rags with hot soapy water and cleaned that white metal area until they were super clean. I dusted the room, blinds, Windexed windows. And moved the furniture around. The boys came home from school. I didn't mention the furniture change at all, Noah came home first and was like..."holy smokes! You changed the furniture around" hahaha, Branden was equally surprised. : )
I love watching American Horror Story: Coven. I really enjoyed Stevie Nicks appearance on the show, she's more my parents age type of music but I grew up listening to her because of my folks, so I like her and just really liked seeing her make an appearance on the show. 
A random lunch pic, the bakery I go to twice a week, makes this egg salad sandwich and omg is it good, they also make a karaage sandwich, all white meat. I usually pick up one of those for lunch while I am there picking up bread. this particular day it was egg salad. The bread is so soft. As a side to my sandwich, I had a mikan and a bottle of water.

The Denver Broncos won the football game this week against the San Diego Chargers, we've had a good year. Next week we will play the New England Patriots! They are a good and strong team! They are coming to Denver for that game! Of course I want the Broncos to win, but my gosh is this going to be a nail biter of a game next week. Eeek. : ) Go Broncos go!

So in a nut shell, winter is here it has been bitterly cold outside every night dropping to 23 F, yet our town has not had a single dot of snow at all yet! Many parts of Japan have gotten snow (even Tokyo, remember the flight delay, haha), but none for us, as of yet. Hahaha. What else, just have been watching good TV shows, The kids loved that special on CNN, called March of the Penguin. I watched it with them and it was awesome. We had a nice quiet winter break though we did also squeeze in Guam, we basically just hung out here at home and ate lots of good food and stayed toasty warm in the house. Also, since winter is here, I am now basically not hanging laundry outside anymore, because it's just too cold to dry in a timely manner, so I am now using our dryer at home and I do that in winter. Football is getting so good lately. Anyway that's about it for now. And yep, January 11th I did go and get 2 more weeks worth of meat. We are stocked up again. Tonight we are having tostadas, yum! : )