daily recap · planning · recipe · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Fish Stick Sandwiches, Salad & Chili (day 41 recap)

Another chilly day! At least it was sunny for most of it. Our beach plums (above) are really blooming! Last year was our best yield so far (after planting the bushes several years ago) but we didn’t really take advantage of it because my mom was nearly diagnosed with her brain cancer. I just didn’t have the capacity to worry about it. The plums are very small (like cherry-sized) and require a lot of prep. Hopefully, we will get a good yield this year too and we certainly will be home for it.

For lunch, we finished off the box of fish sticks we opened a couple of weeks ago in sandwiches with tartar sauce and a sprinkle of Old Bay. I was really pleased with them! I hope Aldi has them again, they were wild, sustainably caught, and quite tasty. I also made a salad with lettuce from our produce box (please let us not get so much lettuce again for a long time), leftover beets and potatoes from making the mimosa salad, cucumber, red onion, the last of the feta crumbles and a drizzle of balsamic. It was okay but I am not eager to eat a cold boiled potato in a green salad again anytime soon.

Dinner was a super basic chili I made in the slow cooker: 2 cans kidney beans, 2 cans fire-roasted tomatoes with chiles, lots of spices, 1 1/4 lb cubed sirloin, onion, and garlic. We had it with leftover cheese from making quesadillas, red onion, sour cream, and tortilla chips. It was pretty tasty! I wish we had fresh peppers but the canned tomatoes with chiles are pretty good.

We also had some ice I bought early in March thinking we might want a treat we didn’t make ourselves in April. Good thinking, past Rachel

A local restaurant has been doing a “Chopped” style challenge where you can get a box of seafood, meat, wine, vegetables, eggs, butter, cream, fruit, etc for $50 to make a meal with. You post what you create and you can win a gift card to the restaurant. Normally I don’t know if I’d do that but $50 seemed fair for all that food and drink and this week one of the ingredients is soft crabs!! My absolute favorite. We have to pick up the box Friday and make it by Monday afternoon. At the very least it will be a fun activity. I am a little nervous about the pickup but I think it will be okay. We need to go to the store next week anyway.

Non-food related activities:

We finished Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu. So many frustrating people. We also are finishing up Poldark season 4 on Prime, we had watched it live back when it aired but went on vacation We never saw the last three episodes because we missed one on the PBS app and PBS is pretty ruthless about episodes only being available for 10 days or so. I noticed we have season 5 on DVD coming up on our Netflix DVD queue (people laugh that we still get DVDs but they are great now! So many movies and shows aren’t available for streaming and we have so much time) so I thought we should catch up in case they are sent out soon. We only have like 40 discs in our queue and new stuff (last season of Mr Robot, please!) gets jumped over and we end up with some movie from 1983 I only vaguely know why we wanted to watch it. At least we know we like Poldark! I sort of prefer binge watching it anyway because it’s easier to keep everyone straight; they have a habit of picking up some very old storyline suddenly and all those white men in topcoats look alike to me.


Simple Pot Roast

Pot roast is one of the easiest ways to turn a tough piece of beef into a delicious meal. I normally make a smaller one (2-3 lbs) and that is enough for two with plenty of leftovers for future meals. If you have more people to feed or want more leftovers, buy a larger roast and scale up. The trick is to make sure the roast is at least 2/3 covered in liquid before you bring it to a boil and then simmer. If you add the root vegetables at the beginning they add a lot of flavor and make a great gravy but if you had them about 2 hours in, they retain their shape better and end up being more of a built in side dish. It’s really up to you. I just used carrots and celery because that is what I had on hand but turnips, potatoes, rutabaga, parsnips or winter squash (not spaghetti squash!) are all really good too.

This is my most basic version of pot roast, which is perfect for planned leftovers because while it is flavorful, it doesn’t have a super distinctive flavor profile so the meat is equally tasty in tacos as it is in soup or in sandwiches. A slightly more elaborate version is on my recipe blog which is very good as-is or in sandwiches but I find the leftovers are less versatile and it uses a few more ingredients.

I made the leftovers into borscht.

2 1/2-3 lb beef bottom round roast (or brisket or other beef roast)
1 medium onion, chopped
4-5 cups beef stock
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons herbs de Provence (or whatever you have that looks good)
2-3 cups chopped hardy vegetables like carrots, celery turnips, potatoes, rutabaga, parsnips and/or winter squash (optional)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
superfine flour (or all purpose)


Heat a small amount of oil in a large, lidded heavy-bottomed pot (like a Dutch or French oven).

Add the onions, garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Rub salt, and pepper into the roast. Sprinkle liberally with flour. (You can skip the flour if you don’t want to to form a gravy-like sauce–I skipped this because I want to use the juices/liquid in place of stock in a soup tomorrow) Place in the pan and brown on all sides.

Add the spices and stock.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 2 hours. Add the vegetables.

Continue to simmer, covered, 1 hour or until the meat is very tender.