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!
This dreary weather pattern is getting to me Boston! We are on what feels like week 1000 of dark skies and endless rain. Where is summer, New England?! The only positives of this dreariness are: my students are not distracted in the slightest from preparing for their finals and the last days of schools (to be honest I don’t think they really realize that summmer vacation begins in F O U R days!) and my yard is so green and lush it feels like we live in an arboretum. It for sure does not feel like summer and so my stomach is craving all the cozy carbs of winter.
Inspired by Sarah Waldman’s singapore noodles, but lacking any of the ingredients for it, I made random noodles tonight and damn were they good! I started by boiling some chopped broccoli and asparagus for 4 minutes and then added rice noodles to the mix and removed from the heat for 8 minutes, drained and doused with cold water. Meanwhile back in the pot, I added about a tablespoon of sesame oil and brown sugar and stirred over medium heat. Adding the noodle mix back in, I added a tablespoon or a little more of oyster sauce and chili paste and a few sprinkles of fish sauce and mixed well over medium high heat. To finish it off, I added an egg and beat into the mix. It was so so so so good! I went back for seconds…and thirds
In an attempt to refocus my nutrition and to keep mealtime simple because life, I tried a pantry cleaning fried rice minus the rice. It was surprisingly delicious and definitely going to be another recipe in our rotation.
So what did I do?
It is probably going to be a little different everytime but here was this version:
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil with a tablespoon of minced garlic. Brown the the garlic. Add in a pound of ground chicken. Cook through. Add two eggs and scramble quickly. Add in chopped scallions, diced carrots, peas, and bok choy. Cook until these vegetable look softened. Add in the riced cauliflower and salt and pepper to taste. Cook another 3-4 minutes. Add soy sauce. I added about 2 tablespoons. Enjoy!
Every year it hits me! My winter blues and carb-overloading shift as the weather becomes tinged with the tiniest bit of springtime. I woke up this morning feel like I could smell spring and rolled my car windows down and knew that the 37 I felt rushing in was the beginning of this new season.
A new season always makes me feel like I can tackle a new challenge. This season, I am bringing back healthful foods because to be honest I miss them! I like eating my fruits and veggies but when the ground is covered in feet of snow I inevitably feel like I only have time to make pasta and bathtubs full of it!
Today I kissed winter and carbs goodbye and did a little meal prep to keep this momentum going into my first week back to work from spring break. Dinner tonight was chicken lettuce wraps and breakfast tomorrow will be a yummy broccoli and spinach frittata. I have some cold brew in the frig for morning too and am kissing my Starbucks addiction good bye too! Fresh starts here all around
Take 1lb ground chicken, 1tbsp soy sauce, 1tbsp hoisin sauce, 2 tbspoon watwr, 1 tsp olive oil, 3 diced scallions and 2 shredded carrots and mix up together in a skillet and serve in some Boston Bibb! Easy peasey
I always hate cooking the night before in order to have a dinner ready for the next day when we all race home for the evening hustle. But when I walk through that door carrying my weight in random work and daycare bags and heave two kids up the stairs, I am grateful that that dinner is ready to go.
Meal planning is not always easy but it sure does make a difference. Without a plan, I end up paying around $200 a week for groceries because I take a little bit of this and that and inevitably make impulse, hungry purchases. With a planned list is in hand that corresponds exactly to our weekday dinners, the final charge is more like $120!
This recipe was on this last week’s meal plan and it was pretty darn good and easy. As a crockpot meal, you toss in: 1.5lb of chicken, 2 cans of drained and washed white beans, 2 cups of salsa verde, 2 cups of chicken broth and then set to low for 6 hours. We served it with fresh squeezed lime and avocado and some sour cream would have been a nice addition too!
Do you ever want to give your past self a big hug?
I made a massive pot of lentil curry soup over the weekend and today I want to give that Melissa hug because leftovers!
Tonight David has some late meetings which means I have most of the evening shift alone with the kiddos and the last thing I want to attempt during the post-work-bedtime-hustle is cooking dinner. Plating it will be hard enough but I am so happy to have it ready and waiting once we get home tonight. And it was quick to make and delicious. Owen was crazy for it and Henry was too. David asked where is the meat?
Saute a diced potato, a diced sweet potato, a diced onion, tablespoon of curry powder, salt, and pepper. Add in a cup of green lentils and 5 cups of broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20-25 minutes. Add in some Kale and serve! It cannot get much easier than that.
I have not posted a recipe in SOOOOOOOOO long.
I am not sure why either.
We made this tonight and it was so delicious. We paired it with some coconut rice and sautéed broccoli and bok choy. And since life these days is busy, the recipe is super simple:
sprinkle cod with salt and pepper. Add diced scallions and olive oil to a pan. Saute for a few minutes then lower the heat to medium and lay the cod down. Top the cod with diced garlic and after about 4 minutes flip the cod, drizzle with 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of honey. Stir the sauce around the cod, cook the cod for another 4 minutes on that side then flip one more time to make sure to coat fish in the sauce and plate!