Sunday, February 28, 2010

Should I Ladle Them?

It's 5pm. I have 5 people stalking me with ravenous looks in their eyes. A sixth person, the biggest of all, will be coming in soon. A few of them are starting to whine. There is no food in sight, except for the crumbs under the kitchen table. I stand in the kitchen feeling rather frantic. Should I grab the soup ladle to start fending them off? It is not a pretty picture...

This is what it looks like when I haven't planned out our meals for the week.

Planning ahead makes things go more smoothly. I really do know this. I have experienced it first hand and yet, sometimes I don't do it. I kick myself later. Not only does it make my life less than peaceful, on some levels, it isn't fair to my family.

My job is them - to love them, to clean them, to school them, to make a peaceful home for them and FEED them. When I don't do my work, when I don't do the planning, we all suffer. Besides, doing my job and keeping the peace, meal planning saves time, mental energy and even money, but more on that later.

I have made a basic meal plan for each week. It lists breakfasts, snacks, lunches and dinners for the whole week. (Remember, we homeschool so I feed 5 kids all day, everyday.) There have been requests to share "The Feeding Frenzy," as it is titled. I am going to do it...I just need to figure out how. My blogging skills are not quite up to snuff.

So, in the meantime, here is the temporary PLAN. :)

Monday nights for dinner we have Soup & Bread. Not always the same soup and bread, but some kind of soup and bread none the less. Here is the recipe for tomorrow night's soup. It is awesome! ALL of my employers (the kids and The Big Guy) love it, which I love because it is EASY!

Pasta and Greens in Garlic Broth

feeds however many you need it to feed

5 cloves to 1 head of garlic, minced or chopped fine

3-4 T olive oil

large bunch of kale or swiss chard, diced (if you look at the bunch and don't think it is large -get two)

chicken broth - enough to fill your soup pot to your liking

1 lb of pasta - cheese filled tortellini (dried or fresh), gnocchi, shells, even elbow macaroni

ground Parmesan cheese ( the stuff in the green container works, but REAL is best!)

Here is the gist of the whole recipe:

Wash the greens. If you are using kale, you probably want to cut off the stems below the leaf if not up into the leaf a bit. They are rather tough. If you are using swiss chard - use the stems. Dice the leaves and stems (if you are using them). In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil. When it shimmers, add the garlic. If you are only feeding a few people, you'll want to use the lesser amount of garlic or not if you really like garlic. Saute the garlic for a minute or so. Fill pot with broth. I usually use water with chicken bouillon in it. Not ideal, but it fits the budget. To feed all of us and maybe have a few leftovers, I use my big pot and 20 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil and add the pasta. When the pasta has about 5 minutes left, add the kale. If you are using chard, add it when the pasta has about 3 minutes left. You can add ground black pepper or let people do that themselves. Same with salt. However, you might just want to leave the salt off the table if you used bouillon cubes. The cheese is yummy sprinkled over each bowl.

I realize that this recipe is rather sketchy. It is like that on purpose. Cooking doesn't have to be exactly precise - especially soup. Give it a shot!

Really, you will love this soup! Plus, you'll get some healthy greens and garlic into you and your family.

We have homemade bread that is VERY easy and so delicious. I mean really, truly amazing bread. That is for another post!


  1. Wendy,I would love to know what you serve for breakfast and snacks. I am always running out of ideas. I love your blog!!
    Nancy Brook

  2. I made this soup for dinner last night and my family LOVED it! Thanks for the great idea!
    -Stephanie Rhoades (Friend of Becky and your mom's in Merced)

  3. Nancy - I'll plan some posts on that! Thanks for the idea.

  4. Hi Stephanie,

    I know who you are even if you didn't explain it. :) Glad you guys liked it. What kind-of pasta and greens did you use?

  5. Wendy, I love reading blogs and yours is proving to be a favorite. Keep sharing . . . recipes, gardening and school advice are all wonderful! Could you post your bread recipe? I have one, but it isn't that great.

  6. I'm making this for supper tonight. Let's see, what would I rather do... cook? Or sit here reading your blog? Both options are very good, but I'd better get out there if I want to eat tonight.

  7. I made this tonight for dinner. I didn't even know what Kale or swiss chard was but I found the Kale in the grocery store and bravely purchased it. The soup was WONDERFUL and even my anti-veggie husband ate the green stuff. I used the cheese stuffed tortellini. Wonderful soup!! Now where is that bread recipe you mentioned???

  8. Yeah for more greens eating husbands! Using the cheese stuffed tortellini is our favorite. I'll get the bread recipes up. They are great!

  9. Took me awhile to make it back...Wendy, I used organic red chard (the only kind they had in the market!) and gemelli (twin twisted tube pasta). Delish. Thanks again!
    -Stephanie R

  10. Glad it turned out well, Stephanie. We're planting our chard this week...very exciting.