I 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.
Sarah: Week 3 Planning + Quick Veggie Chili May 12, 2014
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
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
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
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
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):
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).
7. Cover the pan, let the spinach wilt just a little, and then serve over rice.
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