Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Shop at Home Meals

As a chef my greatest strength has always been prepping and planning ahead for the next week’s menu. I teach classes and write EBooks on this subject for the home cook. I also started this blog to help others be more successful in their home meal planning efforts.  Recently I found myself behind the eight ball and did not have time to shop nonetheless prep our weekly meals. Being so busy I decided I would skip grocery shopping for two weeks and make meals from food we had in our home. 

For the first time in a very longtime I would be cooking without a REAL plan and just living in the moment. YIKES! I know people do this all the time but that’s not how I roll.  This was very scary for me and I’m trained chef!   In addition to everything else I decided to take a blogging class; what was I thinking putting more on my plate right now? My first assignment is to write a post without a recipe or picture in it! This is my homework so I hope you like it!   

This is how I fed my family with almost no plan, no grocery shopping and no recipes for two weeks. 

1.      Evaluated what I had in my refrigerator, freezer and pantry.

2.      Wrote down simple dishes I could make from what was on hand just like when I was single, broke and didn’t feel guilty if I didn’t have a perfect meal on the table (Mommy guilt is a killer). Okay I admit it this is somewhat of a plan but I had to do it!  Ultimately I knew this would save me time and that was my goal.

3.      I accepted we might not eat 80/20 more like 70/30.  We strive to eat 80% REAL unprocessed food; which means picked, hunted, gathered or fished.  Picking up fast food, hunting for a cookie, gathering up snacks for a meal and fishing for excuse not to cook doesn’t count.

4.      I accepted that it is okay to live in the moment and not plan everything. People live and cook this way every day.  So could I! 

Our Meals (not in any particular order)


·         Apple, hard-boiled egg and nuts

·         Apple slices with almond butter and cheese cubes

·         Cheese stick (cut from a block of cheese) , grapes and hard-boiled egg

·         Cinnamon Ezekiel toast spread with Nutella and topped with apple slices (It’s made with nuts and cocoa so it was gathered right?)  

·         Cinnamon Ezekiel toast spread with peanut butter and on topped with banana slices

·        Egg, Cheese and Potato Quesadillas made from leftover scrambled eggs, potatoes, and cheese sandwiched between two tortillas; cooked in my Panini maker.  I really want to put a picture here. That darn assignment!  You’ll just have to picture this buttery yummy quick breakfast in your mind!  Okay you can stop drooling now and go make one!

·        Breakfast Burritos I made from leftover (“planned over”) sausage and eggs, I added cheese and just rolled it all up in a tortilla and then in parchment paper.  I reheated them in a steam basket.  They also could be wrapped in foil and baked.  I don’t microwave but if you do go for it! 

·        I had soups and meatloaf muffins from the freezer, leftovers and fresh and frozen steamed veggies.  Thank goodness for my friend Jen from the gym who gave me some extra veggies from her garden otherwise we would have been light in the fresh veggie department!  Of course it helps that I go to the gym at 6:00 am so I pretty much beat everyone to the free food!

·        Carson my son has been living on nuts, nut butters, apples, grapes, oranges, beef jerky, cheese and meat cubes.  He’s not a big veggie fan.

·        Bob my husband tends to fend for himself and just eats whatever’s available. He’s the gatherer in the family.  I’m lucky because I have friends who tell me they cook meat, potatoes and salad every night.  They even bake fresh bread after working all day!  I don’t have to tell you Mom’s that you have many jobs and are expected to do them all well.  What I will tell you is you are amazing for working or staying home, being the chauffeur, scheduler, counselor, cook and loving mate all with a smile on your face even if you are grumbling a bit inside both from hunger and frustration.  At dinner time Carson always quotes the movie A Christmas Story and says “my Mom hasn’t had a hot meal in 15 years” It cracks him up that her oldest son Ralphie is only 10 but she hasn’t had a hot meal in 15 years.  Hmm, wonder how long she’s been married? 


·        Pork Stew– From the freezer re-heated and served with baked potatoes.  I made a few extra potatoes so I could add them to a breakfast quesadilla and use as a side with another dinner.

·        Chicken Pot Pie Soup and Chicken Potpie from the freezer.

·        Tacos – Cooked taco meat from the freezer.  We made soft tacos and taco salad.

·        Oat Crepes with almond butter, apples and cinnamon, served with nitrate free bacon.

·         Scrambled Eggs with Sausage- I made extra for the breakfast burritos and quesadillas.

·        Nitrate free hot dogs that came back with us from our last summer hoorah at the beach house, thanks Chef Kelli!  Served with cucumbers and tomatoes tossed with a little vinaigrette.

·        Marinated (used vinaigrette) Grilled Chicken served with steamed organic frozen veggies and pan fried potatoes from my “planned over potatoes”. I made extra chicken for the chicken rice toss, quesadillas, cubed lunch meats and salads.

·        Chicken Rice Toss-Diced leftover grilled chicken, fresh and frozen vegetables and frozen cooked rice (yes cooked rice can be frozen; I always keep it on hand for a quick side or stir fry anytime). I reheated everything in a steam basket then tossed with pine nuts, dried cherries and vinaigrette. This was a hit!  Very easy, very inexpensive and tasted great cold the next day as a salad!  Really a double duty dinner!!  Maria (my blogging instructor) if you’re reading this that wasn’t really a recipe more like a quick dinner “suggestion”.

·        Quesadillas-Grilled chicken and leftover veggies tossed with cheese and sandwiched between two tortillas pan fried like a grilled cheese. Yes I buttered the tortillas!

·        Pizza and Salad- we pick up from a local pizza place.  This was not as quick as my other meals because of driving there and back but everyone loved it!

·        Leftovers and Salads

So many great things came from these two weeks.  We tried and like a new easy dinner, the fridge was easy to clean, I saved time and money. I learned that it is okay to plan a little or not at all.  My previously frozen meals saved the day and those were planned, see my freezer fall back post.  The unplanned meals force me to be more creative. This was a great experience and I PLAN to do it one week every month!  You know I can’t go too long without a plan! 

Take it one prep at a time,

Chef Jackie

FYI-There are some recipes from previous posts in the links if you click on them!  Maria I had to do it!

1 comment:

  1. gotta have the click over to other links! ;) yes, we want those recipes! thanks.