By this time of year, I’m usually starting to fail on using everything I get in my share before it goes bad.
“Oh hello there greens from two weeks ago. You’re looking a little brown. And you, daikon radish, you seem somewhat… squishy. Apples? are you rotting right there on the counter? The nerve.”
Time to rally! This week: single minded focus on eating CSA veggies. Who’s with me?! Yes, hubs and children, I know – not you.
- Radishes: These little lovelies are for salads and snacking
- Turnips: got a quite an assortment of these this week. They are for roasting and snacking. And luckily, will keep for a bit in the crisper drawer.
- Greens: I’ll admit it. I’m officially tired of eating these. I think I’ll try and trick myself this week and sneak them into my morning smoothie. Shhh.
- Salad mix: I’ve been waiting for this. Spicy mix of arugula and spinach. Will eat dressed with honey lemon dressing.
- Some kind of little squash: Decor for now, roasted for later.
To go along with our stocked pantry, here’s what I suggest keeping on hand in the fridge and freezer.
- Cheese (I try to keep sharp cheddar, parmesan, mozarella, fontina, and monterey Jack)
- Dijon mustard
- Fruit in the freezer for smoothies
My freezer is also usually stocked with things I’ve made doubles of and am saving for another time, especially pizza crust and meatloaf.
With these items added to the pantry list, you’ll always have ingredients to make things like:
- pasta bake
- huevos ranchero (how do you even spell that?)
- cheese omelets (again with the spelling)
- grilled cheese
- pasta salad
What to eat Wednesday is a (kind of) weekly post focused on meal planning.
Back to cooking this week. For real this time!
Rees family menu this week.
- Monday: Pintos and corn bread
- Tuesday: Pizzas
- Wednesday: Meatloaf
- Thursday: Baked pasta
Menu planning is awesome, and I almost always do it. Of course there are always those days when you don’t want what you planned, or you forgot to take the meat out of the freezer, or insert any of life’s various happenings here. That’s why I always have a pretty stocked pantry. When your pantry is stocked, you can always make something to eat. Here’s what I like to keep on hand:
- Canned beans (black, pinto, great northern, garbanzo)
- Salsa (red, green)
- Chicken and beef bullion
- Canned tomatoes (crushed, juice, diced)
- Baking stuff (sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda)
- Grains (Rice, Oats)
- Olive Oil
- Vinegar (rice, red wine)
- Tortillas (regular and corn)
With this list, you could make
- pasta with sauce
- bean soup
- potato soup
- bean dip
- bean burritoes
- beans and rice
- pasta with olive oil
- white chili
- oatmeal (don’t knock it as a dinner option)
These are all pretty cheap, easy and healthy, if somewhat plain and everyday. But that’s nine meals – we could do countless more if you added in a few extras from the fridge. But we’ll go there next week.
After being knocked on my a$$ by some sort of strep/sinus infection, I’m back to almost normal. So maybe I’ll actually cook some of these this week.
Rees menu for week of 10/18/10:
- Monday: Green chili
- Tuesday: Cream of tomato
- Wednesday: Pintos and greens
- Thursday: pizza
- Friday: Taco soup
- Carnival Squash – Using these guys for decoration until after Thanksgiving. They look so cute on my mantle, window sill, and buffet table.
- radishes – for salads
- Mixed greens – Going to make beans and greens
- Fuji Apples – These are the best for eating plain or with Krema peanut butter
- Concord Grapes – I’m going to boil these down to the juice and add it to what I got from the last batch in the freezer, in anticipation of making grape jelly*
*The only type of jelly my son will eat on his PB&J. Finally, I can make something he will eat! Theoretically.
Last week, I brainstormed meals based on cooking methods. I came up with 30 meal ideas in only about 30 minutes. Using a category like this to generate ideas is called “springboarding,” if you’re interested. You can use it for anything. I added a demonstration* to show you how effective it is at the bottom of this entry. If you’re a dork like me, you’ll enjoy it. In the mean time, here are a couple more categories to play with:
- Tacos with ground beef
- Chicken fajitas
- Taco salad
- Southwest chicken casserole
- Chicken chili
- Burritoes with shredded pork (just crockpot a pork shoulder all day, then cool it and pull it – serve with green salsa)
Breakfast for dinner
- Bacon and eggs with fresh fruit
- Waffles and sausage links with fresh fruit
- Omelettes (I can never spell that right) with fresh fruit
- Biscuits and sausage patties with fresh fruit
- Oatmeal cooked with apples and cinnamon and scrambled eggs
- Fritatta (can’t spell that either)
*This exercise comes from the excellent book, Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
Try not to read ahead. Do part 1, then read and complete part 2. You’ll need a timer and your mind.
Part 1: Take 30 seconds and think of all the white things you can. Count them as you go.
Scroll when you’re done.
Part 2: Take 30 seconds and think of all the white things in your refrigerator. Count them as you go.
Most people can list more white things in their refrigerator, than white things in general. This is because “refrigerator” acts as a springboard. Did it work for you?
Rees menu for week of 10/11/10
- Monday: Mahi mahi in parchment
- Tuesday: Curried chicken thighs
- Wednesday: Pintos
- Thursday: Cream of tomato soup
- Friday: Pizza or pasta
What a gorgeous fall weekend here in Central Ohio
- Squash – I’m going to see if I can’t concoct some kind of quick bread or pancake that uses squash puree. These guys are starting to stack up.
- Green peppers – pasta salad made with feta, peppers, and bowties.
- Swiss chard – Spinach Dip (chard makes a good sub for spinach in most everything that calls for cooked spinach)
- Apples – I’m going to make an apple pie with the Golden Delicious and snack on the fujis. mmmm
For most of us, the pace of life moves almost faster than we feel we can go. You must get ready, work, clean, do laundry, clean kids and their laundry, take kids to basketball baseball soccer dance cheerleading piano lessons… And you must also eat. In your spare time, right?
This is why I’m a big fan of meal planning. Even though I don’t always stick to it, it gives me a feeling of security that I know what we can eat for dinner each night of the week. Right now, I do this on a weekly basis, but you can also expand it to cover several weeks at a time.
Let’s say you’d like to plan for 6 weeks. I’m going to automatically assume 5 days a week, and plan on eating out or eating leftovers on the other two nights. So 5 days times 6 weeks…30 meals.
To think of 30 recipes seems a daunting task. So let’s break it down into categories. If we can think of five categories – one for each day – then we only need to come up with 6 recipes per category. Use one recipe from each category every week for six weeks.
In the upcoming weeks, I’ll give you a series of categories and sample meals for each. I’ve tried to keep them mostly healthy, though there are a few splurges. I also use the same veggie side dish (when there aren’t a lot of veggies in the main dish) for each category to keep it simple. You should mix and match as you like, and adapt them to fit the likes and dislikes of your own family.
Monday – Boiling
- Spaghetti with tomato sauce, salad and garlic bread
- Chili, with chips and avacados
- Potato Soup, salad
- Farfalle and broccoli with pesto, salad, italian bread
- Chicken noodle soup, salad
- Linguine with olive oil, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes, salad
Tuesday – Grilling (grill sandwiches on the stovetop and use the real grill for the other stuff. Or a grill pan if it’s too cold out)
- Grilled ham and swiss sandwich, roasted carrots
- Burgers, roasted carrots
- Grilled cheese with bacon sandwich, roasted carrots
- Steak (get a bigger cut, like NY strip and serve 1/2 per person. It will be plenty), roasted carrots
- Grilled salami and mozzarella sandwich, roasted carrots
- Pork chops, roasted carrots
Wednesday – Oven roasted or Crockpot
- Pork roast, apple/sweet potato sauce
- Beef Stew, apple/sweet potato sauce
- Pintos, apple/sweet potato sauce
- Beef brisket, apple/sweet potato sauce
- Lentils, apple/sweet potato sauce
- Whole roasted chicken, , apple/sweet potato sauce
Thursday – Baking
- Meatloaf with mashed potatoes
- Pepperoni Pizza
- Potatoes au gratin, with beef
- Southwest Chicken Casserole
- Mexican pizzas
- Macaroni and cheese
Friday – Sauteeing
- Chicken stir fry with rice
- Thai Chicken curry with rice, broccoli
- Beef stir fry with rice
- Sausage and pepper sandwiches
- Veggie omelets
- Fried rice, broccoli