Food Lately: A Dumb Week

Meals Sept. 24_30

Ugh. We ate out quite a few times this week. Crappy fast food, too, which is convenient in the moment but always makes me feel a little gross afterward. Not I think solely because of the food but because the food is greasy and heavy and shoved into a random opening in my schedule, which make the process of eating it stressful as well. My schedule now includes an every-other-Saturday obligation related to my internship, which cuts into my food prep and grocery shopping time and really impacts how much I get done. So. I’m not quite sure how we’re going to manage that, but it seems like freezer and crock-pot meals might be the most helpful for that week. Actually, when I did cook this past week it mostly involved the freezer. We had the baked spaghetti twice and then used the Encrusted chicken breasts for meals twice as well. They are okay, but I don’t think I’ll buy them again.

I did end up spending a bit more on groceries than I had tallied last weekend. As I thought, I needed half & half midweek and also bought a small bunch of bananas. The total for that purchase was $3.25. I forgot that I had ordered some spices from Penzey’s, mostly for holiday gifts, but I stupidly did not double check my inventory of spices because I was convinced that I NEEDED more cinnamon. And I do prefer this particular kind of cinnamon, but it was a dumb purchase because in addition to the small jar I have in the spice cabinet, I already had TWO bulk size jars in the pantry. So I spent $11.29 on fancy cinnamon that I don’t need. I think I am going to give my nieces and nephews a cooking/baking kit for Christmas, now that I have so much cinnamon to disperse…sigh. And then my hormones were running wild this week so my emotions were also going crazy and I indulged in some candy for a little emotional eating. That was $4. So I went $15.50 (or so) over my monthly budget. Not the end of the world, but I feel like I bought dumb stuff or made stupid mistakes, which is annoying. Honestly I care less about the money and more about giving in to emotional food cravings for such total crap. I’ve gotten back into the habit of tracking calories and that was kind of a depressing series of entries, lol. Next week and next month will be better, though, as I have a strategy for my new schedule (I think).


Food Lately: Last Week, This Week


meals 9_17_17

So, last week got really intense with everyone trying to make up everything after the long period of time off from the hurricane. Pictured above is everything that I remembered to take photos of as far as dinners are concerned except for the stuffed peppers, which I shared in a recipe post last week. The pita pizzas were ok, but not great. Mostly they ensured that the pitas were eaten. I didn’t take a photo of the hot dogs we ate because a) not very interesting and b) we ate in a hurry in transition from one thing to another. Anyway, here is my plan and how we actually did:

  • Italian-Style Stuffed Peppers
  • Pita Pizzas
  • Hot Dogs & Sauteed Cabbage (weird combo, maybe)
  • Chickpea, Cauliflower, & Potato Curry
  • Spinach Pie

What We Ate:

  • Italian-Style Stuffed Peppers √
  • Pita Pizzas √
  • Hot Dogs & Sauteed Cabbage (weird combo, maybe)  √ I don’t remember what we had as a side, probably just veggies and dip.
  • Chickpea, Cauliflower, & Potato Curry 
  • Spinach Pie NOPE I didn’t have time to fiddle with the filo dough this past week and the weekend was pretty full, too, so not sure if I’ll get to that before the spinach is used in other meals.
  • ADD ON: Simple Pasta Bolognese & Roasted Broccoli √  I used up a jar of Barilla pasta sauce — the sweet peppers variety — and it made a fantastic bolognese. Then I feel like I get extra points because I immediately used the leftovers to make a small baked spaghetti for Michael and I to enjoy this week.


This week’s meal plan:

  • Southern Style Chicken Breasts, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Green Salad
    • Pantry — potatoes, garlic
    • Fridge/Freezer — Perdue Encrusted chicken breasts, milk, salad greens, cabbage
  • Baked Spaghetti, Green Salad
    • Pantry — whole grain pasta, pasta sauce, onion
    • Fridge/Freezer — ground beef, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, salad greens, cabbage
  • Sticky Sesame Cauliflower & Tofu, Rice
    • Pantry — rice, soy sauce, honey
    • Fridge/Freezer — tofu, cauliflower, pepper strips
  • Spinach Pie
    • Pantry — onion, olive oil, garlic
    • Freezer/Fridge — spinach, cottage cheese, feta, filo dough, butter
  • Egg Roll in a Bowl
    • Pantry — coconut aminos, garlic, onions
    • Fridge/Freezer — ginger, carrots, green onions, cabbage, ground beef

I’m also gearing up for my “shelftober” challenge and wondering if my $15 budget was a little too ambitious. Mostly because we have very little fresh fruit in the house right now and that always makes me feel like I need to stock up. We shall see, I guess!

Meal Plan, Meal Prep: Sept. 17 – 23


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.

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


  • 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


  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!