Suburban Pioneers

The Adventures and Misadventures of Homesteading in 21st-Century America

Sarah: Final Week of Eat-In May! May 28, 2014

MealPlan Week5I use Barbara Kingsolver’s recipe for Eggs in a Nest from her book/website Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: a Year of Food Life.  Incidentally, it’s a great read if you like gardening, cooking, or really good non-fiction writing.

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Sarah: Week 4 Planning May 20, 2014

Filed under: Eat-In May,Food & Cooking — suburbanpioneers @ 3:21 am
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MealPlan Week4

 

Sarah: Week 3 Planning + Quick Veggie Chili May 12, 2014

MealPlan Week3

Here’s the plan for the week, everyone!  The goal is quick and healthy with as much variety as possible (because we do eat leftovers for lunches, and there’s only so many times a month you can revisit the same meal!).

As a bonus: here’s my quick chili recipe, vegetarian, and ready in less than an hour.  Also–this is a super-mild chili recipe because I wanted to be sure Little Bear would eat it (she did…with her fingers).  I would normally have added a jalapeño into the sauté or added another 1/2-1 Tbsp. chili powder.  Also…I kind of think sweet potato would be amazingly delicious in here, but I had neither sweet potatoes nor the time to peel them.

Note: sometimes frozen/canned veggies are more tasty and healthier than eating off-season veggies, so it’s nice to have some recipes for not-so-fresh vegetables before the garden starts producing!

Quick Vegetarian Chili

It snowed today, yes, in May, so chili was good comfort food!

It snowed today, yes, in May, so chili was good comfort food!

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic
1 red pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp. chili powder (give or take)
1 large (32 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, drained/rinsed
1/2 package frozen corn
pinch of paprika
1/2-1 tsp. salt
a few squirts of ketchup, to taste

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil and sauté onion.  When translucent, add garlic and chili powder (sautéing spices gives them extra flavor).

2. Add in red pepper and sauté for another few minutes. At this point, I added about a cup of veggie broth because it was leftover in my fridge and would have gone bad this week and I just hate to waste things, don’t you?  But I don’t think the veggie broth was fully necessary, so you can omit as you see fit.

3. Pour in can of tomatoes (with all the juices), add the beans, and dump in the corn.

4. Put in the spices and a little ketchup, taste-testing as you go and adding more or less as needed.  Bring it to a boil and then turn down to simmer.

5.  The longer you simmer, the better the flavor, but I found that it took me less than 15 minutes to put it all together and that a 30-minute simmer was enough to make it decently good.  Also, serve with cheese on top, because everything’s better with cheese, right?

 

Sarah: Week 2 of Eat-In May May 5, 2014

Filed under: Eat-In May,Food & Cooking — suburbanpioneers @ 3:36 am
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Week 2: Eat-In May

Week 2: Eat-In May

We aim for a pattern in meal planning: big meal extravaganza on Sunday evening when we’re both home to wrangle our child while chopping veggies and washing dishes.  Usually I make Sunday evening dinner and Keith puts together a crockpot o’ something to cook all day Monday.  Voila!  Two hot meals with leftovers for lunches for the next few days.

Then we plan a quick-and-easy meal for Tuesday.  Wednesday is my day off (I work four tens), so I usually plan something a little more involved (again with leftovers for the next day or two of lunches).  Then on Thursdays, we often have smoothies (use up all that leftover fruit, yogurt, etc.).  It doesn’t sound very hearty, but kids LOVE that dinner and then you can pair it with cheese toast or crackers and cheese for quick additional oomph.

And then…sometimes nothing goes according to plan (such as tonight when we both forgot to make the crockpot).  No worries.  You just switch around as needed.  No need to stress.  As long as you have all your ingredients, it’s no big deal to move things around.

 

 

Sarah: Eat-In May Preparation May 1, 2014

Filed under: Eat-In May — suburbanpioneers @ 3:33 am
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Leave that restaurant table empty!  You've got a date with some fruits and veggies.

Leave that restaurant table empty! You’ve got a date with some fruits and veggies.

I feel the need to establish a little credibility, first.  I’m not one of those win-the-lottery type individuals paid for blogging and cooking.  I work forty hours a week and have a kid and a house to keep up with, so I wouldn’t say I have an abundance of spare time.  I’m also a fairly lazy person and much prefer reading to doing things around the house.

So…now that you know that, you can believe me when I say that, if I can do 7 home-cooked meals a week, you definitely can, too.  It really takes no special skills, just a little planning (which, by the way, I hate, but I’ve found to be necessary…I’ve mentioned that Keith’s in grad school, right?  A tight budget is a reality, so I’ve learned to be a planner).

The beauty is that once I do the planning and shopping, I’m done.  No special, last-minute trips to the store to get that one thing I don’t have to make the meal I just decided to make.  No standing in front of the refrigerator wondering what to make with the hamburger buns and two eggs inside (not that that’s ever happened to me).  I hate the planning process, but it’s kind of a pay-it-forward deal for a week with low stress.  So…on to the plan for the rest of the week.

And no, there’s nothing gourmet on here.  I aim for fast but healthy on weeknights, and I always make enough for leftover lunches the next day.  Here’s the menu, and if you scroll down, there are pictures of tonight’s meal (since it becomes tomorrow’s lunch):

MealPlan Week1

Tonight’s meal: Vegetarian Korma with Rice (we aren’t really vegetarians, but we try to only eat meat about once a week…for health, financial, and environmental reasons).

 

Ingredients:  rice 2 Tbsp olive oil 1/2-1 onion 2 sweet potatoes, peeled 1 jar Korma or Tikka Masala sauce 1/3 package of frozen peas or peas & carrot mix spinach a dash of extra yellow curry powder pepper to taste

Ingredients:
1 c. Jasmine rice in 1 & 1/2 c. water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2-1 onion
2 sweet potatoes, peeled
1 jar Korma or Tikka Masala sauce
1/3 package of frozen peas or peas & carrot mix
spinach
a dash of extra yellow curry powder
pepper to taste

To prepare:

2. Add chopped sweet potatoes and sautee for a few more minutes

2. Add chopped sweet potatoes and sautee for a few more minutes

1. Sautee onions in olive oil until translucent.

1. Sautee onions in olive oil until translucent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Add jar of korma or tikka masala + a half jar of water for a little extra moisture (I like the Seeds of Change brand because it's as good as anything I can make at home, much faster to prepare than from scratch, and has no high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated yuckiness in it).

3. Add jar of korma or tikka masala + a half jar of water for a little extra moisture (I like the Seeds of Change brand because it’s as good as anything I can make at home, much faster to prepare than from scratch, and has no high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated yuckiness in it).

4. While the sauce and veggies simmer, start a pot of rice (Jasmine rice cooks fast, so you don't want to do this too early).  For extra nutrients, use brown rice, but I'd start it before you start any veggies because it takes longer to cook.  Combine the rice and water in a pan, bring to a boil, and then turn down to simmer.  Let set ~15 min. for Jasmine rice, more like a half hour or 45 min. for brown.

4. While the sauce and veggies simmer, start a pot of rice (Jasmine rice cooks fast, so you don’t want to do this too early). For extra nutrients, use brown rice, but I’d start it before you start any veggies because it takes longer to cook. Combine the rice and water in a pan, bring to a boil, and then turn down to simmer. Let set ~15 min. for Jasmine rice, more like a half hour or 45 min. for brown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Add in as many frozen peas and carrots as you like.  I used about 1/3 a package.

5. Add in as many frozen peas and carrots as you like. I used about 1/3 a package.  Allow all to simmer until sweet potatoes are soft and peas are warm.

6.  Tear up and add in fresh spinach (I always keep a bag of spinach on hand--makes any dish healthier!)

6. Tear up and add in fresh spinach (I always keep a bag of spinach on hand–makes any dish healthier!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.  Cover the pan, let the spinach wilt just a little, and then serve over rice.

 

Total time:

30-45 minutes (depending on how fast you chop–I’m notoriously slow at it).

Total cost: $1.79 per meal!
$7.15 total divided by 4 meals–two adult dinners + 2 lunches…and a toddler-sized dinner, too)

1/2 onion: 50 cents
2 sweet potatoes: 66 cents
1 jar Korma: $3.99
1/2 bag rice: $1.50
1/3 bag peas & carrots: 33 cents
1/12 bag spinach: 17 cents

 

 
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