I realize that Wednesday may seem like an odd time to plan meals, but I think that any day is a good day to plan. Today, our fridge is almost empty, but our pantry and freezers are still full. I feel like I need a plan. I never did a full pantry inventory, but I can assure you that we are well stocked in pasta, grains, beans and other such necessities. If oatmeal would go on sale, I’d be in heaven.
I went down to the freezer and pulled out a few items that looked good and here is what I came up with:
Tonight: Stephen picked up Subway for dinner at the museum. We are trying not to eat out much this year, but we had some money left on a gift card. I’ve been under the weather, and we’ve had a tough week with the kids. My extra time today needed to be spent elsewhere. I was planning on a nap during nap time, but Sally didn’t cooperate.
Breakfasts are fairly simple for us. Stephen and I usually have oatmeal. We always have yogurt, fruit and cereal available for the kids. I try to keep muffins and pancakes in the freezer, too. Tonight, I’m making a batch of baked oatmeal for tomorrow’s breakfast since we have to fast for blood work and need something easy and portable in the morning.
Lunches have their ups and downs. Stephen gets a packed lunch each day. For the most part, we all eat leftovers for lunch. Usually, I keep a few servings of soups and casserole items in the freezer to have these easily on hand.
Dinners get a bit more challenging. This time of year, we don’t have as much fresh produce to use up. Usually, it’s filling the fridge and what’s for dinner is obvious since we don’t want food to go to waste. So, after thinking about real food and looking around in our freezer, here’s my plan for the next several meals.
Turkey vegetable soup with whole wheat dumplings
I took a misc. piece of turkey (left from when we bought a fresh local turkey at Thanksgiving) out of the freezer. I guess it’s mostly the back, but it still has meat on the bones. I’m going to make stock with it. I’ll also add the usable meat to the pot. Our freezer has plenty of vegetables. Once the stock is done, I will season it and put it in a crockpot with lots of vegetables. I have a basic dumpling recipe that I think can be made whole wheat easily, so we are going to try it out with the soup. We usually open a jar of fruit to go with meals like this.
Fajita stuffed bell peppers
When I go to the freezers to figure out what to cook, I try to pick out things that are older and things that take up lots of room. I also like to use odd ball sized packages. Doing that helps rotate stock and gives me room for the next great stock-up deal. I took out 2 packages of whole bell peppers that were cleaned and prepped for stuffed peppers. I plan to make a fajita based stuffing with local ground beef, homemade tomato sauce, onions, peppers and fajita seasoning. I’m going to cook some quinoa for a grain and mix them together. I’ll stuff the peppers and bake them in the oven.
Black bean soup
I have a pork hock and local black beans to use. Although this won’t do much to empty out my freezer, we have a busy week ahead and this can be made in the crockpot with minimal effort. I don’t have an exact recipe picked out yet. I’m secretly hoping that my husband will pick this to make for his meal this weekend. He has been trying to cook one meal on the weekend to give me a break in the kitchen. He recently made an Andouille and sweet potato hash and a roast that was done with apples, onions and sweet potatoes.
Black bean burgers
I like Emily’s recipe for burgers that she has on her Daily Garnish site. I plan to make them along with some homemade wheat buns. I’ve never made the burger buns before and this is the perfect time to experiment with them. My dinner rolls turned out well, so I’m hopeful.
I found this recipe while searching for ways to use frozen spinach. Apparently, I was on a spinach kick at some point and we have several bags of it frozen along with some kale and other greens. I’ve made gnocchi before, so this looks simple enough. I picked up some ricotta at the store today.
We have whole wheat dough, sauce, cheese, mushrooms, and spinach all available so we’ll throw a pizza together one night.
I have a good recipe for whole wheat crust that I like for quiche. I’ll use spinach and mushrooms for the filling. It’s also a perfect opportunity to use up some of the egg beaters that are in our freezer.
I read several recipes for creamed spinach, baked spinach and spinach casserole. I’m going to create some time of concoction based on these ideas. I’m thinking veggie based chicken pot pie without the crust.
WOW! I’m so excited to spend some time in the kitchen now. I’ll be back with more meal ideas once we’ve cooked our way through this list.