Home > Category: Meal Planning
Viewing the 'Meal Planning' Category
July 1st, 2022 at 07:04 am
So as we have eaten our way through the steer we bought last summer, we are now mostly left with ground beef. A lot of ground beef. 3 compartments in the chest freezer and 1/2 a bin of it in the upright. So I spent a good amount of time on youtube the last couple of days trying to find recipes that aren't all about Mexican food. My daughter is having issues right now with those spices so I've been trying to veer away from them, but the hugest number seems go there.
Taco Mac, chili mac, enchiladas, Taco spaghetti, Taco penne bake, Taco bowl, Taco salad, Chili, Tacos, Taco Mac and Cheese, Taco Chili, Taco Lasagna and on and on and on. The Italian ones are good, but are basically all variations on a theme, too, pasta or bread, meat, usually sauce, and cheese. And there is only so much spaghetti, calzones, stromboli, pizza, goulash, meatball sandwiches, baked penne or ziti, macaroni and cheese and Fettuine Alfredo that one can eat in a week without being bogged down by a wheat hangover.
I was on a mission to find some other recipes and it took a lot of weeding through it, but I found some Asian inspired ones and some German ones, and of course there is meatloaf and burgers, cabbage rolls, etc., but I'm still lacking in much else. I still have to do some recipe searching on google to see what else I can find.
But I have enough for a start and today I went to the grocery store and stocked up on what I needed to do this. The goal is to have ground beef three times a week, or two if we are having steak. Which we are just about out of, so probably not much of that will happen.
We've made a recommitment to cooking almost exclusively from scratch and eating healthy and not eating out for the month of July, because we really need to buckle down and stop spending money. There are a few things in the freezer that are convenience foods, like fish sticks, fries, hot dogs, sausages, and garlic toast, but not a lot of that. I'll be baking bread, rolls, and buns myself. Everyone has pledged to help me as much as they are able, so hopefully this time around things will go as planned. We have a good chance as summer tends to be the season I don't get badly sick in. So if I can refrain from falling down or hurting my back for the rest of it, we can get this done.
We had a deer in the garden again today. It had big abscesses on its face, poor thing and was bashing it's head against one of our trellises until one of them popped. It was really gross, but the thing needed to be drained. We had to spray things down to get the gunk off and the smell was atrocious. If I see it again, I will call animal control, because that is not a healthy animal. We will be getting some fencing up tomorrow to hopefully keep the the deer out of the garden, and building some more low tunnels and cages for the thornless blackberries. One day we will be able to fence everything tall enough to keep them out of the whole back yard, but this year is not that time.
We finally got DD's old doctor to fill out the forms needed for the insurance company and hopefully she will qualify to stay on our insurance. We also need to have the chiropractor fill out one, because he has been treating her for congenital hip dysplasia since she was 3 months old, and correcting for hypermobile joints since she was 3 years old. And he has seen first hand what her degenerative disc disease has done to her.
We had an online appointment with her new primary care doctor. This is her second appointment and it was so nice to be heard. Really heard. She put DD on a muscle relaxant that does not interfere with her other meds. It is actually the one I take, too. The doctor also brought up this new treatment for obesity. It is a diabetes drug that had a big side effect of weight loss. It's called semaglutide and it's a pen injection. They are very expensive, so I don't see us being able to do this for DD unless she is able to stay on our insurance and then they approve it. She is hyperinsulinemic, the step before diabetes, so maybe. If she doesn't we will be paying so much for COBRA or another insurance, we will never be able to afford it.
Prayers that the insurance company accepts from her reports that she is disabled enough to stay on it would be greatly appreciated.
February 4th, 2022 at 12:46 am
In my quest to make February a month of no eating out, I will be meal planning again. I started by picking out my main dish or main meat and built my meal plans around that. I wanted one fish meal, 2 beef, 2 chicken, 1 pasta, and 1 pizza, so from there I filled in the rest based on what I have in my fridge, freezer, or jars and cans of food.
Day One--Pizza with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, prosciutto, onions, and bell pepper (if we have one, I have to check still, but I think we do, or will use frozen), served with a salad
Day Two--Salmon (stuff we caught during the summer), fried potatoes from our home grown potatoes, broccoli
Day Three--Beef Pot Roast (from our steer), Mashed potatoes from our home grown potatoes, green beans (home grown and canned)
Day Four--Baked Penne with sausage, tomatoes, onions, sauce and mozzarella cheese, salad
Day Five--French onion chicken, cole slaw
Day Six--Steaks (from our steer), French fries, broccoli
Day Seven--Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes (from our home grown potatoes), green beans (home grown and canned)
Now to see if I can stick to it.
December 24th, 2021 at 01:01 am
I plan to do one big shop before January with the last of December's grocery envelope money. I'll probably go on the 30th. I'm figuring out my produce so we can make it through the month without going to the grocery store for more than milk.
I can buy lettuce for the first two weeks. The vacuum sealed bags from Costco will last two weeks sealed, so we can eat one the first week and one the second week. We can get celery and bok choy for stir-fries for the first two weeks, carrots for the full month, frozen broccoli for the full month and frozen cauliflower if we can find it. Otherwise I may have to blanch and freeze two heads of cauliflower. We have plenty of home canned and non-home canned green beans to go through. I'll buy cabbage and break into it on week 3. I'll also buy some green onions for week one and some radishes for the whole month, eating the greens in the first week. I'd like some parsnips and turnips as well and a couple of sweet potatoes. We do not need potatoes, we are still working through what we grew. I will need onions, though. And two bags of mixed veggies for making stir-fried rice.
For fruit, we'll have apples and oranges for the last half of the month and for the first half I can buy 2 pineapples (there is a sale and hopefully they look good), using 1 the first week and 1 the second. For the first week I can buy bananas and golden kiwis. We have home canned pears, nectarines, peaches, and plums as well as store bought canned pineapple. I'll need to buy avocados in various stages of ripening.
I am going to make as much of our bread products as possible. Now that my daughter's gut has healed, we have reintroduced wheat into the diet and it seems to be going well. We still use a lot of gluten free things and will continue to do so, but she can have the occasional sandwich or hamburger bun or dinner roll made with wheat flour now. Or pizza. We try to keep it to twice a week.
I need to buy enough eggs to make it through the month and I need to see how much chicken is in the freezer and possibly a couple of hams. We don't have to worry about beef, although I might buy some more bacon. I need to check the freezer for that, too, and see how much sausage we have. We have some salmon and we have spot prawns in the freezer, too, so will do that a couple of times.
We'll need tortilla chips and I'll need to see how much cheese we have as I'll need enough for a couple of pizzas and a lasagna. We have lots of gluten free pretzels, but I'd like to have a couple of bags of potato chips and I'm sure DD will want her Simply Cheetos and I want to make sure we have the ingredients to make cookies. Oh, and we need peanut butter. We have lots of rice.
I can't think of anything else. I'm going to work on a meal plan for the month of November and that might make remember some other gaps to fill.
I'd like to keep as much of the money for groceries as possible. I budget $400 every two weeks, so if we can keep to the challenge, except for milk, that would be really good. I've managed to keep around $600 in the past because I didn't plan as well ahead of time, but still did pretty good. The main thing was making sure there were enough snack things to keep the other 3 happy.
But our goal in the new year is to improve our diets over all and a month without eating out will help with that by cutting out a lot of sodium. We need to eat more vegetables because we have been skimping lately, especially green ones, or in the case of cabbage, red and green ones. I will start my Aerogarden going tonight so that we will have salad greens by the start of week 4, maybe even week 3. Some varieties of lettuce grow faster than others.
I hope that a month without eating out will put us back on track all the way around, nutritionally and financially. And then continue on from there, maybe only getting take out once or twice a month. I have to get past my too tired to cook mentality, which I feel all too often, but then when I force myself to cook, I'm almost always just fine. It helps that I've been sleeping better since I got the adjustable bed frame. I can elevate my legs a little and my head a little and it makes a world of difference.
If anyone wants to join me on the eat from the pantry challenge, go ahead. There's a bunch of us doing it over on the Sutton's Daze facebook group and on youtube. The goal is to stay out of the grocery store as much as possible for the month of January and save as much of your grocery budget as you can. You can make exceptions for certain foods. Some buy produce only, some buy milk and eggs only, some only buy bread. You set your own challenge according to your ability.
December 16th, 2021 at 05:14 am
Physical therapy beat me up today and I really didn't feel like cooking when I got home, so it was kind of a leftover and canned food sort of meal tonight. DS had leftover pizza, DD had leftover chicken and potatoes, DH has leftover ravioli and a couple tuna fish sandwiches and I had a can of chili with a toasted cheese sandwich. DH made my food for me, since my left shoulder is not working today, which means pain medicine, which means no stove for me. It was good to get the leftovers out of the fridge and not create anymore. Not every dinner has to be gourmet or freshly cooked.
Hopefully, I will feel more like cooking tomorrow. I need to make up the lobster ravioli I bought from Costco, so it will probably be that. I plan on making a pesto but with parsly instead of basil and Romano instead of parmesan and garlic instead of pinenuts. I'll still use olive oil. Not sure if that actually counts as pesto, but it is what I have in the house and can be easily made in the blender. So basically all I would really have to do tomorrow is boil water and blend the pesto ingredients. I just don't think lobster ravioli would go well with a tomato based sauce and cheese, like the chicken ravioli does.
As for other upcoming meals I will make chicken and root vegetables, because I have some parsnips and turnips and a sweet potato that is starting to sprout and of course I'll throw in potatoes with it. Then maybe spaghetti with a chunky meat and vegetable tomato sauce that I simmer for a while. I'd also like to make a chicken curry, maybe on the weekend when I have help. Or possibly the Malaysian chicken. And we'll probably get a breakfast for dinner with either pancakes or waffles with ham, and cucumber slices (since melon is out of season).
I think the only things I need to buy for those meals are lemon grass and fresh ginger if I decide to the do the Maylasian chicken. If I buy ginger, I think I will buy a bigger amount than normal. I'd like to try my hand at pickling ginger. I had some pickled ginger from a fantastic new local place that serves a mix of Japanese and Korean food and it was quite good (excellent non-raw sushi, the best tempura prawns and spring rolls I have ever eaten, and very tasty octopus balls) and it clears the sinuses right out (though not as much as the wasabi does). I figure if I have a jar of pickled ginger in the fridge than I can take a slice or two out as I need it when my nose gets stuffy, which is every morning, really.
I'd like to make up a batch of sauerkraut, too. I never liked the kind my mother made when I was a kid, because she boiled it and canned it. I'd be making mine using the fermenting method so it will never be cooked. I love cabbage, so I think it is really the way she made it that turned me off it. And if I don't like it, I'm still only out the cost of one cabbage. Cabbages, at least, are still fairly cheap compared to other produce.
I think I will go to bed early tonight. DD's doctor had to reschedule her telemed earlier this week due to an adverse reaction to the third Covid booster shot and it is very early in the morning, which sucks. There is a reason we make afternoon appointments.
I hope everyone is doing well. There hasn't been a lot of posting in the blogs.
October 26th, 2021 at 12:43 am
Now that I am starting to feel like a semi-normal human being again, (what a difference a mattress pad has made in my sleep!), I am going to attempt cooking for the whole week, which means planning a menu, based on ingredients that are already in the house, because I am not up for shopping. And I don't need to shop for meat, regardless.
Monday: Spaghetti, grass fed beef in a homemade sauce (onions, garlic, tomato paste and sauce, herbs, my tomatoes), home grown and canned green beans
Tuesday: Chicken and beef sausages, bell peppers, and onions, baked potatoes (home grown)
Wednesday: Maylasian Chicken Curry with root vegetables over organic herbed wild rice (from a box), salad
Thursday: Beef short ribs, baked potatoes (home grown), frozen organic broccoli
Friday: Chicken stir-fry with carrots, celery, onions, and cabbage, over white rice
Saturday: Ribeye steaks, mashed potatoes (home grown) and gravy, green beans (home grown, home canned)
Sunday: French onion chicken, gluten free brioche buns (homemade), and cole slaw
It's ambitious, but DS will be home at dinner time now to help me.
February 4th, 2021 at 01:48 am
I think the January Eat from the Pantry Challenge went really well overall. The best result for me is I am down to 20.2 pounds lost and I think no eating out (except when MIL bought us a pizza), is what really increased the loss. We were able to save $640 into the Beef Fund, bringing that to a total of $760. I kept $60 of the budget for the days February 1st through 5th for whatever we needed to buy before payday hits on the 5th.
We spent $100 on groceries for the month, mostly oranges, and recovery foods for DD. She needed some items I don't normally buy like lemon lime soda to settle her stomach while taking the Oxycodone, Welch's gelatine (like Jello, but not artificial dyes, no artificial flavors, and nothing else bad in it), pudding with no food dye, and a certain type of gluten free chip that seems to help mop up stomach acid in her case. We also bought gluten free, bread, regular bread, and milk.
Of the $60 I didn't put into the beef fund, I have $40 left. I went to the store yesterday and bought the 50 count bag of corn tortillas (and wow, have they gone up in price), pasture raised eggs, organic green onions (regular ones looked dinky), a bunch of organic cilantro, a lime, milk, and oranges. I also took back 3 milk bottles so part of that was paid with that $6 back. I don't think we will need to buy anything else before Friday, so I think the rest of that will go to the Beef Fund.
I learned a lot during the challenge and I am really glad I got control of our grocery spending. My plan for this upcoming paycheck is to take $100 of our grocery budget and put it directly into the Beef Fund and then with the remaining $300 buy our groceries, with any left over at the end of the pay period also going into the Beef Fund. If we can do that, even without any extra added, we should have $2300 for the Beef Fund, which ought to be enough to buy a half a beef and a half a hog, though I don't know about a lamb. Or a whole beef. Which might be better as I really only like bacon, ham, ribs, and sausage. I mean, I'll eat the other parts, too, but I much prefer beef and chicken, followed by turkey and lamb.
I did put up a youtube video on my channel on what I learned from this challenge if anyone wants to watch and like, or even not watch and just let run. I also put up weekly challenge videos if you want to see what I ate on the challenge. My channel has been struggling during the last year due to changes in the youtube algorithms. I'd like to get it back to where it was before all those changes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTa2UTcS8oE
It's a talking video, so if you've ever wondered what I looked like, here's your chance to see. Not really what I sound like though, since I had a very scratchy throat that day. But of course, you're under no obligation. I'm just really frustrated with youtube and its arbitrary changes.
I'm going to have to put a pause on the Emergency Fund. We need to come up with $1000 for a front door handicapped ramp. Mom will pay half like she did for the back door ramp. This was something we agreed to when we installed the first one. I just wasn't expecting to have to do it for another year. Two months of not putting money in the EF will pay for it. Or we could use our tax refund, which I had meant to go for building the garden and then an additional $200. I guess my goals for the year will be shot all to heck, but it is what it is.
I finally started writing again this week. I had really gotten out of the habit, but if I ever want to get this book done, I need to actually write every day. So that is my challenge for the month of February, to write every day.
January 13th, 2021 at 06:26 am
The Eat from the Pantry Challenge has been going well. We haven't bought anything at the grocery store since December. I had a massive I don't know what to cook/I don't want to cook moment tonight because I am just exhausted, but my son stepped up and listed ideas and then helped me do everything but chop the onion to get dinner on the table. He's been so good about that. He really wants us to get that grass fed side of beef. He's also been really encouraging when I want to eat gluten, by talking me out of it. I'm going to hold out as long as I can before I buy some fresh produce and milk. The challenge allows for that, just to keep any spending to a minimum. We still have both. I'll be baking gluten free bread tomorrow.
I've lost a total of 10.8 pounds since the start of my diet the day after Christmas. I'm happy with that and I'm past the point of wanting to cheat on my diet. My diet does allow for gluten, but my personal goal is to stay off it for the month, then possibly the year. It'll be a step by step, moment by moment journey. I hope I can hang with the diet for the whole year, even if I don't stay off gluten. I'm usually pretty gung ho for a while, but then life happens.
I'd like to stay away from eating out this year, too. I feel better after not having eaten take out at all this year. I know if we have to travel to Seattle and back for medical reasons there will have to be a meal somewhere, but MIL says she will pay for all travel costs related to DD's medical stuff and that includes food and lodging. She's also paying the Virginia Mason bill for surgery for us when it comes, too. So that will be DD's deductible and her out of pocket max and then we won't have to pay for any medical stuff for DD for the rest of the year.
Things are doing better here. My little grand niece has been home from the hospital for 2 days and is doing a lot better. Still waiting on the test results, though. My sister and her husband came for a visit today (they are the grandparents of my grand niece). I stayed six feet away from both of them and talked for a little while. They were just dropping off their son, who lives here, and then BIL has a doctor's appointment down this way on Thursday.
DD had her Covid test today and goes in for her liver tumor to be removed on Thursday. I am not going down, just DH. They won't let us in to see her at all and the last car trip I had to Seattle put me out of commission for weeks. It's what led to the pulled muscle. I can't just sit in the car for several hours and wait until the hotel room is ready. It hurts too much. And since I won't drive in Seattle traffic due to the lunatics (seriously, Orange County is sane compared to Seattle drivers), DH it is. And she is honestly a Daddy's girl.
They are keeping her for 24 hours observation due to the secondary adrenal insufficiency, but it is a laproscopic surgery, unless something makes it not be, in which case it will become a 3 day stay. I hope it is the former, because her anxiety levels will be very high not seeing one of us for 3 days. She hasn't had a panic attack in a long time, they were mostly related to cortisol crashes, but this is the sort of thing that might bring one on.
I start physical therapy again on Friday. I don't want to, because it didn't help last time and I am worse off now, but they won't do an MRI until I've done it. I know there is something going on with my left hip that is beyond degenerative rheumatoid arthritis. I think there might be a detached or torn ligament. So I'll go, I'll do the exercises, and I will hope against hope that they will work.
I am working on getting the kitchen organized and more disability friendly. We got some new shelves put up and the best part of that is I have the recycle bins at a level where I don't have to bend down to put stuff in them. They are at belly-height for me, so I can just pull the bin out and put something in it. Because of the damge to the L-4 and L-5 vertebrae, it was pretty hard to bend to the floor and they were under something so I couldn't just drop them straight down. DD is pleased with that, too. These are just our inside bins that we fill and then take out to dump in the bins that go curbside. We recycle more than anyone else on our block. We also only put out a garbage can every other week and every other house puts out one every week. It cuts our bill significantly.
Well, that's it for tonight.
December 30th, 2020 at 02:49 am
So I sat down with everyone today and had them tell me what they absolutely needed to have in the house, that we didn't already have enough of, to get through the January Eat from the Pantry Challenge. The kids said gluten free chicken tenders and cheese. The husband said hamburger patties, condiments, and hot dogs. I said bacon.
Then I sat down with the grocery ads and worked out what I was going to buy for this last shopping trip before January hits. I was really surprised with how little I need to actually buy, but I guess that comes from keeping a really well stocked pantry.
Tomorrow DS and I will do Costco and Winco and maybe Trader Joe's for the hot dogs. There is one package in the freezer so I'd only need to buy one and I am not sure that is worth me going with their ridiculous overkill to get in and through the store and their constant parking lot issues. A mask, six feet apart, and plexi-glass is sufficient everywhere else, but they go nuts with it well beyond that.
I'll just send DH on his own right before closing. I'd just as soon not step foot inside Trader Joe's until the pandemic is over. The employees were always a little rude at our store, which I understand is not the norm, but they've gotten much worse. I try to be patient and kind to store employees always, even when we are not in crazy times, but I also expect that in return.
Once I am done shopping and have a little energy again, which may not be until the next day, I will make up a meal plan for the month. I will be making up some freezer meals as well as the month goes along. For instance I will make two lasangas at the same time but put one in the freezer, two pans of enchiladas, two pans of leftover tater tot casserole. I will make enough meatballs for 3 meals and enough meatloaf for two, always freezing the extra.
Sometimes I will also sit down and do up four bags of fajita meat with four bags of bell peppers and onions, or 4 bags of chicken shawarama meat for the Instant pot or 4 bags of stir-fry veggies and 4 bags of stir-fry meat pre-marinated and ready to thaw and dump in the skillet. Just anything that makes my life a little easier when I don't feel like doing all the prep for cooking and would rather get takeout. Plus I only get stuff dirty once. Now with the new freezer ready, this will be so much easier to do.
DS has agreed to help me as well as to make some individual tv dinners of chicken and brown rice pasta Alfredo (usually penne, but sometimes fussili), Cheesy Tomato rotini or farfalle, beef taco macaroni, and regular mac and cheese. And I will make some soups ands stews for the freezer that can't be canned due to flour or milk like baked potato soup and beef stew for sick days, or that have ham in them (too much fat for canning plus the preseving salts). Although that will be more like just freezing the leftovers.
I also want to do up some breakfast burritos, omelets, and breakfast casserole bakes. It wouldn't hurt to have gluten free pancakes, waffles, and French toast available either. And some cauliflower pizza crusts already cooked and then frozen for easy use.
I have lots of plans, but limited stamina, so we'll see how it goes.
I'm sure it will take me quite some time to put all these things in the freezer bank, but if I have enough for just two meals a week it will be so helpful.
December 28th, 2020 at 11:53 pm
I started the Beef Fund by putting $48 in leftover grocery money into an envelope. I will hopefully be able to continue to fund it this way by being tight on the grocery budget. And also since next month is the Eat from the Pantry Challenge, I hope to spend very, very little. I will still buy a few items of fresh produce like lettuce, celery, scallions, maybe bread if I can't keep up with making it, and milk in January, but hope to come away with at least 3/4 of the grocery budget for January.
I will be doing a stock up haul before the 1st to get enough eggs to last through the month and a bunch of long-lasting fruit, like oranges, lemons, and bananas, and then the regular amount of short lasting fruit, like bananas, grapes, and a couple of pineapples. Also I will make sure I have enough tortillas, onions, potatoes, and carrots to last all month.
Our freezer arrived today. It came in earlier than expected after being delayed from earlier this month. I am not complaining. I have to wait 24 hours before I can put anything in it and then I will start making freezer meals and soups I can't can.
December 7th, 2020 at 09:26 pm
It's been a while since I've posted a meal plan and even longer since I've made one. Some weeks have been so last minute lately and others so much easier to grab takeout, but we are on a firm no take out meals agenda for the next two weeks and I need to not have that last minute case of what do I make? So here we go:
Monday: Tacos (hard shells, lettuce, tomato, homemade seasoning, ground sirloin) and fresh pineapple
Tuesday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, grapes
Wednesday: BBQ chicken legs, fried potatoes, broccoli, bananas
Thursday: Cheese Ravioli with meat sauce bake, salad, apples
Friday: Rotisserie chicken, baked potatoes, Normandy vegetables
Saturday: Creamy chicken tacquitos (soft toritillas, cream cheese, salsa verde, scallions, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder), salad, fresh pineapple
Sunday: Baked potato soup (bacon, potatoes, scallions, whole milk, butter, GF flour, salt, pepper, sour cream, extra sharp cheddar), salad, apples
December 3rd, 2020 at 08:59 pm
I finally saved up enough to buy a new upright freezer and then I finally found one I liked that was available, so my new 20 cu. ft freezer will be arriving next week. And for $25 extra they will move the old freezer to a different location for us so we don't even have to do that part ourselves. Well worth it since where we want it involves two steps.
That means the one we have in the laundry room can be moved up to the main kitchen so Mom doesn't have to go down and back up the steps every time she wants something from the freezer and my nephew won't wake me up at 2 a.m. rummaging around in the freezer for ice cream since that freezer is on the opposite side of the wall where the head of my bed is. That one is Mom's anyway, but I was using two shelves in it. Now my nephew and my sister will be able to have those two shelves for their food.
I will be so excited to have this new freezer, because I want to do freezer meals, casseroles, and homemade TV dinners and freeze the kind of soups or stews you can't can because they include gluten free flour or dairy, as well as get a beef next year. This freezer will free up room in the chest freezer for that beef. And I will have more room to freeze zucchini. Having a freezer bank of meals goes far towards not eating out when I am exhausted and saves us a lot of money in the long run.
I am already planning on making meatloaves, lasagnas, ravioli bakes, enchilada casseroles, tauqitos, chicken Alfredo, Taco Farfalle, Chicken Mac and Cheese, and bags of chicken shwarma meat, chicken fajita meat, fajita peppers and onions, and jerk chicken all ready to be dumped in the Instant Pot. All of the pastas will be brown rice pasta. Oh, and I plan to brown up some beef, some seasoned for spaghetti, some seasoned for tacos, for really lazy days. Also I want to do baked potato soup and beef stew for the freezer as well.
I can do all that with food I have on hand and will get going after the new freezer has been plugged in for 24 hours. I will likely start by cooking a triple batch of whatever I am making for dinner a coulpe of times a week, one for dinner and two for the freezer. I find that is the best way to do it without letting it get overwhelming. If I can build up to 30 dinner meals in the freezer plus some individual meals for DD and DS when they don't want to eat what DH and I want to eat, it will have my so far ahead of the game and my life will just get instantly easier when I don't feel like cooking.
September 7th, 2020 at 08:57 am
The eating out has just got to stop. There are 3 restaurants we can get gluten free food at and we have been abusing that way too much. It's expensive and it isn't as good as what I can cook. I just need to push myself through the exhaustion and do it. Part of my issue is that I keep skipping out on meal planning and not being prepared because of it. Having a plan means not staring at the wall trying to come up with dinner at the last minute. It means knowing what meat to take out of the freezer 3 days ahead to thaw. It means knowing what to prep for the week in the way of vegetables. It means not kicking myself for wasting money on take out.
Grilled ribeye steak
Grilled corn on the cob (garden)
Grilled Zucchini (garden)
Gluten free cheese ravioli with meat sauce
Green beans (garden)
Chicken stir-fry with broccoli (garden), carrots (garden), onions, celery, and orange bell pepper (garden)
Green beans (garden)
Corn on the cob (garden)
Gluten free naan bread (new recipe)
Tzatziki sauce (cucumbers from the garden)
Red onion shreds
Individual gluten free pizza (new recipe)
Topping choices: Pepperoni, saprasetta, sausage, Canadian bacon, bell peppers, onions, pineapple
Grilled beef kabobs
Grilled onion, bell pepper (garden), and zucchini (garden) kabobs
Grilled corn on the cob (garden)
Brown rice spaghetti
Salad with cucumbers (garden), tomatoes (garden), cabbage, lettuce, cheese
Corn on the cob (garden)
Smothered onion brined pork chops
Spot prawns (caught earlier this season by DH and DS)
Corn on the cob (garden)
Green beans (garden)
Easy chicken saltimbocca
French onion chicken
Corn on the cob (garden)
Beef Fajitas (bell peppers from the garden) in corn tortillas
Pico de gallo (tomatoes and jalapeno from the garden) with tortilla chips
Corn on the cob (garden)
July 17th, 2020 at 05:07 am
After I did my big chest freezer inventory, I took a half an hour to sit down and work out a meal plan based on the meats and some of the frozen and garden vegetables I have here. While I did not include it in the below meal plan, I also buy seasonal fruit or pick it. For example, watermelon and cherries are in season and cheap right now. Also, right now in the back yard garden I have ripe strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. So while I might jot it down on the meal list, I usually don't. We just pick whatever it is that is ready from the yard or what needs to be used up in the fridge to add to the meal. It just varies so much there is little point in adding it to the plan.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HViMJzRlkzI
So here is what I have been eating and will be eating soon. I thought it might give other people some ideas, especially in this time of eating more at home due to the pandemic. We save a lot of money by meal planning, making sure we properly use up what we buy or harvest, and cooking from scratch.
Japanese Chicken Curry (potatoes, carrots, seasonings)
Salad (from the garden)
Meatloaf (Hamburger, Italian Sausage, ground turkey, lamb, eggs, cheese, rice crumbs, onions, seasonings)
Steelhead Trout with Herbed Garlic Butter
Corn on the Cob
Green Beans (Home canned)
Beef Chuck Roast
French Cut Green Beans (Home canned)
Chicken Stir fry (broccoli, cauliflower, onions (freezer), bell peppers (freezer), carrots, celery, snow peas (garden)
Grilled Ribeye Steaks
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Grilled Zucchini (garden)
Grilled Snow Peas (garden)
Basil Pesto Chicken
Leftover Grilled Veggies
Roasted Italian Herbed Potatoes
Salmon (caught last season and frozen)
BBQ Pork Ribs
Green Beans (Home canned)
Spot Prawns (caught earlier this season and frozen)
Corn on the Cob
Gluten Free Naan Bread
Gluten Free Jovial Brown Rice Spaghetti
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Zucchini Shreds (frozen, last year's garden) and Home Grown Home Canned Tomatoes
Gluten Free Meatballs (same ingredients as my meatloaf but with different cheeses)
Homemade Gluten Free Pizza with pepperoni, sausage, bell peppers, and onions
Leftover Spaghetti Sauce for the Sauce
Pork Shoulder Roast
Homemade Gluten Free Gravy
April 8th, 2020 at 05:23 am
I've been getting so bored with my food. It's mostly because I don't feel like putting the effort in. We've been eating a rotation of about 4 different meals and I really need to snap out of this and get some variety back into our diets. I have the food, just not the usual inventiveness or energy to look through all my recipes. I'm wondering if this is just a sort of quarantine depression? I mean it's not full blown, but it is slightly worse than seasonal. I usually delight in cooking.
But maybe it is also that I am so tired of the limitations on my daughter's food. I don't want to be making two different meals so I've kind of been avoiding that type of food that she can't or won't eat. Tonight for dinner we had pancakes and ham, but her pancakes had to be gluten free, so while it wasn't making two different meals, we did have to make the gluten free ones first so we could use the griddle without a wash in between.
I think I will just have to buck up and do it or make her a bunch of freezer meals and us some of the foods she can't eat, like fajitas and tacos and jerk chicken.
I really shouldn't be complaining right now because we have food and we have an income and it's not like in the old days when women had to cook 3 meals a day. I do have some help from my son and sometimes my husband and I only need to make dinner, not lunches or breakfasts. I miss takeout and I miss the store's deli department more than I should. We are all losing weight though without those things.
DS had a telemedicine appointment today about a new medication. I sat in on it with him at his request. It was so nice to see a new face! He is the doctor for the whole family and he asked after all of our health at the end of the appointment and whether we were taking our vitamins A, C, D, and E, which we are. He also asked me about how often I was using the nebulizer even though it wasn't my appointment.
Tomorrow I am going to try to get out in the garden, weather permitting. I haven't been outside since Thursday and that is probably contributing to my closed in feelings.
I am debating on whether or not to cancel our rescheduled vacation that is mid-May. We are trying to cancel our gym membership, but their voicemail is full and so far no response to email. They charged us for April even though they won't be open at all during April. I know it is an autopay, but they should have stopped those when they know darn well they won't be open the whole month. We are not on a contract. I might end up disputing it if we can't get through to them.
February 4th, 2020 at 04:56 am
Although below is my plan for the week, with Mom's surgery and us unsure what day she is coming home for sure, things may get swapped around so that an easier meal is made that day. And there is the very real possibility that exhaustion may lead to one or two nights of take out. I hope not, though, because I feel much better when I cook myself. We do have two gluten free options for restaurants, though, so at least there is that.
I am trying to find other restaurants that have good options, too. I mean I know that any place that serves, steak, baked potato, and a veg is okay, but that gets pricey when feeding four people. We do have a gluten free burger place (beef, chicken, or turkey), although they do serve wheat buns as well, and a Polynesian place that does not use wheat flour. But I hope to avoid that. I am going to need as much nutrition as possible while taking on my mom's care. Plus it is always cheaper.
Chicken Rotini Alfredo (brown rice rotini)
Five Spice Chicken Stir-fry with broccoli, carrots, celery, and onions
Gluten Free Pancakes
Beef Chuck Roast
Black Pepper Chicken (onions, celery)
Home Canned Pears
Gluten Free Pizza
Home Canned Nectarines
January 17th, 2020 at 04:11 am
It has been snowing for the past 4 days and it has been bitter cold. Today is a little warmer, but we got down to 17 degrees F, which is darn cold for here. We've had the furnace at 75 just to feel like it is 68 at the far end of the house from the furnace. We are all wearing layers inside. I have on a long-sleeved shirt with a short sleeved shirt on over it and then a long sweater over that, heavy sweats and heavy socks. I just think about how much it would be if we hadn't had the insulation replaced under our part of the house last month. I wish we'd put plastic on the windows when I wanted to, but it got put off.
The gas bill will be high this month. Electric will be a little higher, too, because we are using the space heater in the rabbit shed to keep the water bottles from freezing. And I know my mom has been using her space heater, too. And we did have Christmas lights on for 3 weeks.
DH has been able to get out and go to work. We had about 8 to 10 inches of snow and they haven't done a great job about plowing the roads. But he is used to driving in the snow due to all the years of working in Alaska. DH has been authorized to do 10 hours of overtime a week for next week and the week after that. He could have some this week, but he has a cold and isn't sure he is up for it. He's barely managing to get in his 8 hours a day at the moment. Hopefully next week he will be better and he can take full advantage of it.
The extra money would come in handy because I would like to get an electric grain mill and the one I am looking at costs $263 if I want the attachment for small grains like millet, and I do. It's a big upfront investment, but it is a whole lot cheaper to buy rice and grind it into flour than to continue to buy rice flour at high prices. Even with a bulk source it still isn't anywhere as cheap as just buying the different rices to make sweet rice flour, white rice flour, and brown rice flour, so it will eventually pay for itself. Pretty quickly, too, within the year. And as far as I can tell millet only comes in grain form, not flour form so if I want millet flour I have to grind it myself. Sorghum flour I will still have to buy in bulk unless I can find a source of the grain itself, but I can deal with that.
Also both the husband the son need new belts and the son needs new farm boots. There should be some overtime money after that to throw at the mom loan or at the EF. I haven't decided quite yet. Of course, I won't count on it until he's worked it, but tentatively that's the plan.
On my weight loss goal I have lost 5.4 pounds since starting to eat right again. Today is day 4. I am tracking my calories and food with my fitbit. I am doing about 20 minutes of exercise a day. I will be working up to 30. I lost all of my stamina when I was in bed for 3 weeks and have been working at getting it back for the last week. They are careful exercises from my physical therapy time, ones that work with my rheumatoid arthritis and not against it.
DH said the IRA went over $10K today, so that was a nice milestone that happened. I have been anxiously awaiting that moment so I am glad it finally got here.
I've been kind of lazy about planning my meals out this week. Mostly I've just been taking meat out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge and then deciding what I am going to cook based on what has thawed out and then figuring out what is going to go with it. I usually like to plan better than that, but I'm still not up to snuff after being so sick for so long. I guess whatever gets homemade food on the table instead of takeout works, right?
Tonight I made meatloaf for dinner and roasted potatoes, bell peppers, and onions, with a bag of steamed broccoli on the side. It was my first time using gluten free bread crumbs. I didn't notice any difference in flavor at all, so that is nice. It didn't quite hold together as well as usual, but that might be down to the fact I only used 3 eggs instead of 4 and had an extra pound of meat in the mix, so I probably should have actually used five eggs for a five pound meatloaf (leftovers for lunches). Everything tasted great, though, even if it was a little messy to eat.
Well, I think that about wraps it up for today. If you all could pray for me that I start sleeping better, I'd appreciate it. Too many restless nights are running me down.
December 3rd, 2019 at 05:54 am
Garlic Herb Baked Chicken
Beef Stew with potatoes, carrots, celery, and parsnips
Chicken Stir Fry with broccoli, carrots, celery, cauliflower, cabbage
Zucchini and Yellow Squash
DH's work Christmas party
Baron of Beef
Roasted Red Potatoes
Green Beans with Almonds
There are lots of other choices, but none of them appeal to me. The kids will fend for themselves.
Pork Roast smothered in Onions
November 19th, 2019 at 08:05 am
Pork chops smothered in onions
Pico de Gallo
Stir-fried cabbage, onions, bell peppers, and carrot shreds
Leftover stir-fried veggies
Beef Stew with potatoes, carrots, and parsnips
Homemade pizza with pepperoni, sausage, bell peppers, and onions
Stir-fried cabbage and onions
November 16th, 2019 at 12:23 am
Last night my son helped me to inventory 3 of our freezers, the mini chest freezer, the spare fridge freezer, and the tall upright we split with my mother. We do have a massive chest freezer in the garage and our main fridge freezer we still need to go through, but the big one is mostly meat and butter and I have a rough idea what is in there, since I have it divided up in compartments, two of chicken, 1 of beef, 1 of pork,1 of lamb, 1 of vegetables, 1 butter, and 1 of fruit. The main fridge freezer is a big mess, but is mostly not meal making food. It is ice, ice cream, fruit bars, dumplings, fish nuggets, and more the quick fend for yourself foods I get for the kids. And lots of ice packs. That one really just needs to be reorganized.
I made room for turkeys by restacking and tidying up, although we did throw some stuff out. It was from 2014, 2016, and 2017 respectively, and at the bottom of the mini-chest freezer. I am going to buy 3, one for Thanksgiving, one for Christmas, and one for Passover. This is the only time of year Trader Joe's carries the organic turkeys, so I plan ahead. We can't afford the fresh off the farm ones anymore, but I still want to be sure my food isn't raised on soy or GMO corn, so I budget for the TJ turkeys which aren't as expensive, but are still much more than standard.
I also had more homemade premade meals than I thought. There was 3 mac and cheese, 6 chicken mac and cheese, 2 mini meatloaves (serves 2), 7 Alfredo chicken (no noodles), 1 baked penné (serves 2) and one pork roast dinner with potatoes and gravy. There was also a bag of cooked sausage crumbles for making breakfast burritos, skillet scrambles, and egg bakes, 1 package of seasoned shwarma chicken ready to be dumped into the crockpot or pressure cooker and 1 package of beef carnitas the same. I didn't realize I had any of those left. I need to make up more. I wish I had known because we spent a lot of money eating out the last 3 weeks and there could have been more easy at home meals if the freezers had been organized.
How much money did I waste on out to eat food, you might ask? We spent $566.97 on eating out the last 3 weeks. I was sick and I was (and am) in the middle of a flare for my two lovely autoimmune diseases, but I really still have to make the effort to cook. I feel a little better today so I am going to try to get some more freezer meals made up after we go grocery shopping. Although the shopping may wipe me out. I will get DS and DH to help with making premade meals.
Dinner tonight is already planned as sausage, peppers, and onions, all of which I found in the freezers last night. I like to do something very easy after expending so much energy shopping. I have to pace myself. It's just the way of it when you are dealing with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. I can't do all of what I did before, but if I pace myself and plan ahead, I can do more than I have been doing.
I did find a lot of things I was planning to buy, like bagged bell peppers and onions, roasted potatoes, and a bunch of ground meat (beef, lamb, turkey, chicken) that I was going to buy to make meatloaves and meatballs for the freezer and now I don't have to. And 3 packages of sausage links for breakfasts, too. That means there is the money to buy the 3 turkeys.
I've got my meals planned out until Sunday and then I need to sit down and do a meal plan for the next week. I don't think I posted a meal plan this week because I didn't make one.
Dinner on Saturday will be steaks, roasted potatoes, and a cabbage stir-fry. Dinner on Sunday will be onion smothered pork chops, baked potatoes, and broccoli. I do have apples if anyone wants fruit. At least I feel like the cold is mostly over and I can actually feel up to cooking again.