Monday, 16 February 2015

Stress-free food: Menu Monday

Once upon a time, I had a resolution that kindof, sortof stuck.

A few years ago, I was horrified by the smell that was coming from my refrigerator. (Some quick context setting) At the time, I was single.  Food was something I knew I had to consume in order to keep me alive.  I was re-exploring being an omnivore after a decade of near veganism.  I was also a workaholic, in the sense that working near constantly shielded my brain from the disaster that was my personal life.  During a well intentioned shopping trip, I must have purchased the fixings for some sort of quick and easy chicken dish.  And then I was promptly required to go on work travel.  This particular trip, as many of them did, had me leave early on a foggy Vancouver morning, had me arrive back home late on a rainy Vancouver night a few days later, and so on and so forth for a couple of weeks.  When I was finally in my apartment for more than 8 hours of sleeping time, the smell of death was inescapable.  Chicken breasts should not be left unattended for 2 weeks in a locked down apartment.  From then on, I bought only what I could consume that day.  My waste was way down.  The flip side being, when I was not travelling, my food costs skyrocketed.

When I moved to Halifax, my job requirements were far less demanding on my personal time.  I also fell in love, which reignited my love of cooking.  And Jeff got the top of my culinary game, but more cooking meant more ingredients, which meant more waste.  What to do?

I started planning: flavour groupings so that the cilantro didn't become soup in the herb drawer; two different meals that each use half a butternut squash; utilising sale items to maximise savings.  On Sundays, I find one recipe that tickles my fancy, and I build a week's menu around it.  One trip to the grocery store later, our weekly food costs are down considerably.  I thought you might be interested in a peek at this process and out weekly menu board.  

This past week, I was away on business, so the menu the week before was last heavy on the large portions so that Jeff get home cooking even though I was not there.
The inspiration for this week was cleaning out the crisper - we had a number of carrots, celery and parsnips that were near to the end of their days. My first thought for lacklustre veggies is always soup.

Monday - recipe from Pinterest. Edamame is now a staple that were buy in bulk from Costco.

Tuesday- recipe from "Skinny Meals in Heels", an offensively titled cookbook that has an impressive selection of really tasty meals. (Cilantro and ginger required)

Wednesday - soup from Jamie Oliver, salad from Chatelaine. Both soup and salad were gussied up with bacon. (Ginger, sad veggies)

Thursday- recipes from Jamie Oliver. (Cilantro and ginger)

Friday - soup from Pinterest. (Sad veggies)

Both Saturday and Sunday (ginger, cilantro) were also from "Skinny Meals in Heels".

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