Wow! It’s been a little longer than I thought since I posted here. I have been good about taking pictures of food and my grocery “hauls,” I just haven’t got my act together enough to write up posts about them. Good news: I have been cooking up a storm and paying a lot of attention to our bottom line. Bad news: I let my mind wander in this respect in January and we ended up eating take out more times than I would like and my grocery budget was kind of astronomical. My goal for this month is no unplanned take out, no unplanned lunches out (when I work) and fewer cups of coffee “just because.” This should all be fairly easy, except the last — Panera awarded me a free bagel every day in February and I am tempted to pick up coffee when I get that bagel. I’ve decided that I mostly don’t NEED the bagel, and that will help me cut back on the coffee. 🙂 We’ve been doing a good job on these goals so far this month; here is a run down of what we ate the first week of February.
Monday: “Souped-Up” Ramen (not pictured)
- I use packaged ramen and add various goodies to up the nurition and flavor. This time I added sauteed tofu, mushrooms, ginger, frozen peas & sesame oil. So good. We try not to do this often because the sodium content is astronomical, but I love this easy way to get a pan-Asian flavor fix.
Tuesday: Chicken, Peppers, Olive and Capers over Pasta
- One of my favorite pasta dishes, this is great for stretching protein and has that sour-sweet flavor combo from the capers, olives and balsamic that I love. If I have it, I love tossing the dish with some chopped fresh parsley at the end, but not this time. The sweet peppers can be expensive, but Aldi has been having great prices on three packs and I grab a couple when that happens. They keep reasonably well in my fridge.
Wednesday: Chicken Taco Salad with Pineapple Salsa and Avocado Dressing
- Generally I avoid those TASTY videos that show up in my facebook feed because it seems like every other recipe is for a dip and/or calls for a block of cream cheese and/or basically looks like a delicious heart attack on a plate/in a bowl. But this one caught my eye because it’s pretty healthy and I had all the ingredients on hand. It was delicious. I don’t think I really followed the video recipe exactly, but it served as phenomenal inspiration. Probably our prettiest meal of the week.
Thursday: Caramelized Onion, Mushroom & Cheddar Quiche, Sauteed Kale
- I had a baking day this past week and made five loaves of quick bread and two quiche. One loaf of bread was for my coworkers, one for our neighbors as a thank you for sharing their grapefruit and the rest went in the freezer. Aldi had eggs on sale for $.99/dozen this past week so I frozen some in half dozen portions and made quiche while I was at it. I often think of quiche as a kind of expensive dish, but with eggs that low and using a shortening crust, I really think this was my least expensive meal of the week. Even considering the mushrooms and cheese. Once again, Aldi comes through.
Friday: Roasted Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, Rosemary White Beans, Turkey Burger (not pictured)
- This was a totally thrown together meal using whatever we had in the fridge, freezer and pantry and while not the most exciting, it was definitely a victory for me in terms of using what we had and being satisfied rather than eating out or picking up take-out. I was saved from myself by the simple fact that my husband didn’t answer the phone when I called on my way home to offer to pick something up for dinner. I was tired and cranky when I got home (pack a snack, Laura!)(use the crock pot, Laura!) so had a tough time getting it together but we managed to pull off a fairly nutritious and yummy meal. Michael had the turkey burger — they’re frozen patties and I don’t care for them, but I was happy to see them being used!
Saturday: Mixed Bean and Winter Squash Stew, Garlic Bread
- I love this stew. It’s easy, although it takes time. The steps can be broken up over a few days and it tastes better after sitting for a day, so that is awesome as well. It makes a huge batch for two people, perfect for freezing and using later in the month. The recipe is by Martha Rose Shulman and is in Ready When You Are. A slightly different version of the recipe is available online. This was an after work success. My goal for this week is to have mealtime successes after each day that I work. I do plan ahead, but tend to change things up midstream based on what we have that needs to be used up and so on. And I never think I will be as tired as I am when I get home. Baby steps!!
I’m linking my retroactive meal plan up at Organizing Junkie.