Sunday, October 02, 2011

Sunday meal planning for the week of Oct 2-8

Sundays are our weekly meal planning days. We take inventory of what we have already, look at the calendar to see what who is available and for how long to fix dinners, and then we decide what we’ll have each night. A new commitment to having healthy, low cost options for lunch at work means that I will also be considering what I can cook that will ensure leftovers, or what I can prepare ahead of time to have on hand to take to work. Once meals are planned, we make a list of the things we need from the grocery store (we can’t, after all, provide our own flour yet!). This is an especially important step for us, though we aren’t always good about sticking with it, because we are 9 miles from the nearest grocery store. Although I do pass several on my commute to and from work, our time is limited enough that making one trip for all that we need for a week really helps. We’re trying to get better about that.

I did an inventory today. I walked through the kitchen with a pad and pen and wrote down all that we had on store that could be used for meals. It took about five minutes to do it, and already that five minutes has saved time (and, I suspect, money) on the meal planning front. While doing the inventory, I was able to identify several things that I could potentially make this week. Here’s what we’ve got to work with:

CSA Share

The shares provided a lot of fun stuff to work with this week….some of my favorite things since it’s greens season.

  • ½ pound of broccoli rabe and/or ½ pound of Asian braising mix (contains bok choi, red mustard, pea shoots, and broccoli rabe) (My share has both so that I can provide recipes for each.)
  • ½ pound of baby arugula
  • 7 oz each of a choice of two cheeses: feta, cottage cheese, plain chevre, jalapeno chevre, and garlic herb chevre (My share has feta and cottage cheese.)
  • A few sweet peppers and/or two servings of okra (My share has both, again to provide recipes that use each.)
  • 1 pint of yogurt
  • ½ gallon of goat’s milk
  • 1 dozen eggs


Here’s what we already have on hand in the pantry (not including spices, oil, etc.):

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • 2 cans of crushed tomatoes
  • Corn meal
  • Flour
  • White rice
  • Brown rice
  • Pinto beans
  • Great northern beans
  • Spaghetti noodles
  • Polenta
  • Barley
  • Lentils
  • Dried morita chilis

Our freezer is a little bare right now, except for a few frozen roasted peppers from last summer (2010) which probably should be thrown out, a couple of pounds of pork fat, and several packages of lamb ribs, about three or four bites of homemade salted caramel goat’s milk ice cream in two containers that need to be eaten or thrown out, and Lisa’s empty ice cream bowl and spoon (when you have an ice cream craving, you don’t want to have to walk the extra steps to the cupboard, you know).

This Week’s Plan for the CSA Share

So here’s what I plan to do with the CSA share this week:

  • The ½ pound of broccoli rabe will be braised with an anchovy paste and served with creamy polenta and marinara sauce. This will feed the two of us for dinner and provide some leftover for lunch the next day.
  • I’ll make an Asian salad with the Asian braising mix (it’s young and tender and can be eaten raw) with miso dressing and serve it with fried tofu and rice. Again, it will serve the two of us for dinner, and provide some leftover for lunch.
  • The arugula and peppers will be used for two salads for lunch and one for dinner to be served with pan-fried okra, lentils and rice. The rule in our house is that salad dressing has to be homemade, so I’ll post a recipe for a basic dressing.
  • I’ll take the cottage cheese to work to have on hand for a quick afternoon snack.
  • Eggs and yogurt are for breakfast.
  • Goat’s milk will be used in coffee and will be heated with vanilla and honey or almond extract and honey for a warm evening beverage before bed. I may use it for other things as well.

Pictures and recipes will be posted as I cook this week. What are you planning for meals?

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