When we came home from Cali, I really got into my cooking groove. There were three goals in my mind: mealplan like a boss (no waste permitted and no meals out), shop for low cost but high quality meals, and be creative with leftovers. Rarely can I commit to this kind of work. I struggle to eat leftovers, always have an excuse as to why we should dine out, and blow too much of our budget at the grocery store only to find I cannot keep up with everything in the frig after all! But this easy pattern of excess and carelessness on my part needs to stop because David and I have some big plans for our future (and near future) and this was one area of my life I knew I could tackle. So far I am excited about this endeavor and happy to report that other than packing material for the foods, we had zero waste this week and I saved almost $100 at the grocery store making smarter purchases and utilizing our CSA share to fill in any gaps.
It is SOOOOO easy for me to stop somewhere along the road and grab a quick meal but I started to think about how much it would cost if I just made it for myself. Author Michael Pollan notes that to eat well and save money one should eat whatever you like as long as you make it yourself! I am embracing this notion and excited that I have a few weeks before heading back to school to settle into this kind of mealplanning. And with David helping me along the way we are both agreeing to our dinners which means we are more willing to eat it, enjoy it, and eat the leftovers of it!
This might totally be second nature for you already but it definitely is a process for us. Sometimes we get into a great pattern of cooking but buy random one time use ingredients and then don’t know where to go from there. Now I am trying to mix delicious meals with fun ingredients with plenty of staples and versatile ways to use them all in case on a particular day we want to cook it up differently. That touch of flexibility let’s us be creative and not get paralyzed by the notion of: but tonight we are supposed to eat meatloaf!
As one of our “clean out the frig” meals to avoid waste but to eat deliciously, we whipped up some grown up cheesy pasta!
Pasta of any kind
Make the pasta al dente. In a small bowl combine diced chives, diced mint, and the juice of a half a lemon with a cup of ricotta cheese. Add the zest of a lemon and mix all the ingredients together. When the pasta is cooked place is a bowl and mix in a tablespoon of butter and English peas. Top with Parmesan cheese and scoop into your bowls. Add as much of the ricotta mixture to your bowl and enjoy!