Monday, January 9, 2012

Menu Planning Monday

This week for my menu planning, I decided to focus on cleaning out what A and I already have in our kitchen. This winter, we decided to become members of the Community Supported Agriculture program through Grant Family Farms. With Community Supported Agriculture (or CSA's), people invest money in the farm pre-planting season to help cover the expenses of running a farm. Throughout the season, members receive a share of the crops from the farm. It is a great way to get a lot of high quality produce for a reasonable price, and support a local farm.

With our winter share, we receive a large box of storage-produce once a month. Since we are scheduled to pick up another box in just over a week, we really need to eat as much of what was in the last box as we can. Not only that, but I just realized my freezer door barely shuts! Whenever I buy meat that will be used more than 2 days in the future, I freeze it. That way, if I don't get around to making something, I can use it a different time. With all of this meat and produce, I decided it was more than high time to get to using everything up so that I have space in my kitchen again. In addition to the slow cooker soup I had planned for last week (didn't get prepared, so it was bumped to this week), I have chosen 5 other meals that I have most of the ingredients for already at home. My grocery list has less than a dozen items for the entire week!

Meal #1: Artichoke and Potato Soup from 12 Months of Monastery Soups. I plan to make this with kohlrabi, a tuber vegetable not unlike a potato. I've never worked with kohlrabi before, so I am very interested in seeing how it turns out. I'm going to serve the soup with sausages we have in the freezer.
Meet Kohlrabi.  Kinda cute, huh?

Meal #2: Indian Spiced Chicken and Spinach from Quick from Scratch Chicken Cookbook. I am going to serve this with rice and a salad with an Asian dressing.

Meal #3: Arroz con Pollo from Quick from Scratch Chicken Cookbook.

Meal #4: Spiced pork with Cabbage from 5 Ingredient Favorites.

one of 4 heads of cabbage we received in our CSA share

Meal #5: Tuscan White Beans with garlic and sage from Vegan Planet, served over couscous with roasted beets and turnips.

I am so excited to try everything out! I am also thrilled that we will be safely within our food budget this month, simply by being mindful of the items we already have. It gives me confidence that when I shrink our food budget next month, we will still be able to meet our goal.

Just an aside, the meatloaf I made last night turned out great! I made some major modifications to the recipe, but in the end, A and I both heartily approved of the recipe. I think with the book How to Cheat on your man in the Kitchen, the key (at least for A and I) is to use their recipes as a kind of jumping off point, but with the knowledge that some significant adaptations will have to be made to suit our tastes. We liked the idea of sneaking even more vegetables into our diet, we just weren't huge fans of a lot of their recipes. I will certainly give them another try down the road, but for now there are so many other great recipes to try, we are moving right on down the line.

Did you try any culinary experiments last week that fizzled? Did you have a major success? What meal are you most excited for this week?

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