Meal Plan, Meal Prep: Sept. 17 – 23

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Meal Plan

  • Italian-Style Stuffed Peppers
    • Pantry — quinoa, sun-dried tomatoes, herbs & spices, tomato sauce
    • Freezer/Fridge –Italian sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, Parmesan
  • Pita Pizzas
    • Pantry — leftover pitas, herbs & spices
    • Freezer — mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce
  • Hot Dogs & Sauteed Cabbage (weird combo, maybe)
    • Pantry — onions
    • Freezer/Fridge — cabbage, hot dogs
  • Chickpea, Cauliflower, & Potato Curry
    • Pantry — curry powder, chickpeas, potatoes, coconut milk, rice
    • Freezer/Fridge — cauliflower, naan, peas
  • Spinach Pie
    • Pantry — onion, olive oil, garlic
    • Freezer/Fridge — spinach, cottage cheese, feta, filo dough, butter

Lots of simple meals this week. I had a few more on the list and then decided to be realistic. So far I have made the first two planned meals, so that is a good start. We’ll also eat leftovers a few times. Our fridge is ridiculously full and I am eager to get it back to the more reasonable level I had maintained last month or so.

Meal Prep.

  • Cranberry Tea Loaf
  • cranberry-orange cookies
  • cranberry-orange cookie dough (freezer)
  • cranberry-orange scone dough (freezer)
  • hard boiled eggs
  • cut up veggies (cauliflower, cabbage, carrot sticks, celery)
  • chickpeas (soaked & cooked, 1 for freezer, 1 for fridge)
  • coffee (grind beans)

The cranberry explosion is me using up some cranberries that thawed but were still good to use after the storm. I still need to complete a few things this evening, but hopefully will get that done. I may be dreaming.

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Sausage & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

stuffed peppers

I had some peppers and mushrooms in the fridge that really needed to be used up, so I decided to cobble together some stuffed peppers. These were super yummy, so I am recording what I did for posterity.

Sausage & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

serves 4 -6

Ingredients

  • 3 large green pepper, cut in half and partially steamed (I used the microwave)
    • reserve tops and chop for use in filling
  • 1 c. quinoa
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 med. onion, chopped
  • 8 oz. white mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. chopped green pepper (from tops)
  • 8 oz. sweet italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 1/4 c. chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (I used Penzey’s dried)
  • Italian seasonings to taste: red pepper flakes, dried basil, oregano, parsley
  • 1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
    • I stirred in a little Worcestershire sauce, sugar, garlic & onion powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Rinse quinoa and add to a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until cooked through. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and onions. Saute until translucent. Add mushrooms and salt as desired. Allow mushrooms and onions to sweat a bit and wilt further. Stir in chopped green peppers, saute a few minutes longer then push to one side of the skillet.
  3. Add the sausage to the pan, breaking up with a spatula. Once crumbled to your desired consistency, stir in vegetables. Continue to saute until sausage is cooked through.
  4. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Allow to cook while you choose additional seasonings. Add to your taste and bloom for a minute or two. Turn off heat.
  5. Stir in cooked quinoa — I didn’t use the full amount, maybe 2/3 of the final amount. Once incorporated stir in Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
  6. Pour 2/3 of the can of tomato sauce into a 13 X 9 baking dish (you can spray or not). Add any seasonings you might want.
  7. Fill pre-steamed green pepper halves and nestle into baking dish. Top each pepper with remaining tomato sauce and about 1/2 tablespoon of Parmesan.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until hot throughout and peppers are tender. Enjoy!

We had a simple tomato and cucumber salad on the side.

NOTE: I had leftover filling, probably enough to fill another two pepper halves. Next time I make this I’ll be sure to have four peppers. This time I was just using what I had on hand, so I’m pleased that it mostly all evened out in the end!

 

Food Lately: Musings & Meanderings

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This photo looks like it is trying out for the “one of these things is not like the other…” game

Honesty I don’t  remember exactly what we ate over the last couple of weeks, but these are the things I managed to grab photos of…

  • Skillet Lasagna
  • Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry
  • Pasta Pomodoro
  • Sausage, Sauteed Cabbage, Mashed Potatoes

Actually I did make curried butternut squash soup, although unfortunately I ended up having to throw it out because I didn’t remember to snag it when the power went out. You can see that quick and easy skillet meals are my saving grace right now.

The storm, as I have mentioned, wiped out a lot of food in my fridge and freezer. Not the big deep freezer, but my over fridge freezer. For possibly the first time ever, I have ZERO bananas in my house, fresh or frozen. Because I’ve been working to keep a more reasonable amount of food on hand, our fridge wasn’t as stuffed as it might have been. Which probably contributed to how quickly things warmed up, actually, but also meant that my losses there were comparatively low. My freezer, on the other hand, was pretty much not salvageable. Partly because that freezer has become the place where I throw things to “save” them but that we really don’t want to eat and because, frankly, everything just melted. The few things that I had in there to prolong life, but not because they need to be frozen, are what survived. Namely, nuts and yeast. I am looking on this as a golden opportunity rather than a tragedy. I’d like to use that space much more efficiently and keep only a small selection of convenience foods, anything that needs to be defrosted for the upcoming meal plan, and baking supplies that I use regularly in the small freezer. Basically this means moving the whole wheat flour from the garage freezer and stowing in a basket the frozen ravioli and precooked chicken that have made my life easier this semester. One other basket will hold items for the upcoming meal plan and one final basket will hold opened bags of fruit or vegetables so that I make sure to use them quickly.

I’m also getting serious about using up some of the stock that is STILL in my deep freezer. Several big roasts are on the meal plan in the coming six weeks or so, just to finally get them out of there. Going forward, I then plan to do a better job of storing food we actually eat rather than food I think we should eat. For example, the 40lb purchase of chicken breast from Zaycon was actually a good buy — we’ve almost completely eaten that down. The turkeys I bought after Thanksgiving, on the other hand, are not, since neither of us really ever feel like a full turkey dinner and for the two of us it’s kind of ridiculous. And so on and so forth. On the one hand I feel a little frustrated with myself, but on the other I’m pretty excited. This is me settling in to a better, more efficient way of thinking about food and cooking for us that reflects who we are rather than some mythical vision of us that absolutely doesn’t exist.

Meal Plan, Meal Prep

food prep_breads

I was a busy bee this weekend and got quite a bit of things prepped for the upcoming week or two. On Saturday I had a baking day and went a little crazy. I made four loaves of zucchini bread, one loaf of chocolate banana bread, two loaves of white wheat sandwich bread, and a chocolate zucchini bundt cake. We’ve eaten a loaf of zucchini bread and some of the cake, but most of the dessert breads/cake are in the freezer.

On Sunday I went grocery shopping and then prepped the food that came home in bulk. I cut up a huge watermelon and added some lime juice because it wasn’t the most flavorful. This had the added bonus of using up some limes I had forgotten to use when I made oven fajitas a week or so ago. I also cut up the two pounds of strawberries and they are in another container in the fridge. While I was making a big chicken stir-fry for dinner, I chopped up two onions to use during the week. It is really convenient to have a them on hand in the fridge. Finally, I used one loaf of the white wheat bread to make up some freezer PB&Js. I used up the dregs of a few jars of jams that had been lingering in the fridge as well as finally getting to the natural, organic peanut butter I bought a couple of months ago. It had really separated so I ended up slowly having to reconstitute in a bowl — kind of tedious, but now that the remainder is in the fridge it should stay together. It did cause me to ruminate on the benefits of hydrogenation, though. 😉

On Monday Michael and I made up a batch of salad base, as well as a bag of shredded cabbage that I will use in egg roll in a bowl. I also baked a tray of chicken tenders for lunch salads and cut a few ribs of celery into sticks for snacks. While I was making the lasagna, I portioned the rest of the Italian sausage into bags and froze them for later.

I also have a goal to sometime this week make up one ham and cheese pie and one spinach and feta quiche. The spinach and feta quiche is for breakfasts this week (if I get it made), while the unbaked ham and cheese pie goes in the freezer for a later meal.

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Meal Plan: September 3 – 9

  • Sunday — Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry over Rice
  • Monday — Skillet Lasagna, Garlic Bread
  • Tuesday — leftovers
  • Wednesday — Curried Butternut Squash Soup, Mustard & Cheddar Grilled Cheese
  • Thursday — leftovers
  • Friday — Green Peppers Stuffed w/Sausage, Rice & Mushrooms
  • Saturday — Broccoli Cheese Stuffed Baked Potatoes