Wow. So you guys want to know how I plan my meals? Me?!! The one who is a horrible cook? Alrighty then! Now I know what to blog about all week. This should be fun. As in let’s-make-fun-of-Brenda sort of fun. Ha ha! Bring it ON!
So uh. The above is my fancy plan. Do you like how Bug added her big “H” signature? She likes to contribute. Pretty much what I do is I have this pre-created sheet of things that I buy at the grocery store and off to the bottom right I have the days of the week listed and lines to write in. Before I finish up my grocery list and head off to the store, I quickly fill out those blanks and make sure I have all the ingredients. If I don’t I add them to my list. Sometimes I start on Monday, sometimes I start with Thursday. It doesn’t really have to be a set day, I just always shop for a week’s amount of food.
I’d love to shop every day and be that kind of cook who buys the freshest seasonal ingredients to inspire the day’s meals but I just can’t make that big of a time commitment. I don’t have time to shop every day. I’d also love to only shop once a month but then we’d have lots of nice vegetables for a week and the other three weeks we’d be living off canned goods and frozen food. I like fresh vegetables every day if I can manage it. Since vegetables don’t last much longer than a week for me, I shop for a week.
This is what my shopping list looks like. I created it ages ago before Bug was even born (back in the days when I had more free time, but I still think it’s worth making even if you are busy because once you make it, you can print it out until the end of time and save yourself lots of headaches). It’s not very fancy. I created it in Adobe InDesign and if any of you use that, I’d be happy to share that file with you. But it’s set up for my grocery store, which is Ralph’s, and catered to the things I buy so it probably won’t be all that helpful to you other than comparing and contrasting. Here’s a pdf for your snooping pleasure.
I made an illustrated one for you guys that asked for one but I don’t personally think it would work for me because I need those prompts to help me remember what I need to buy. But this can be a starting point. Try this out and let me know how it works.
After I’ve made my list and checked it twice, I head out of the house to go shop. Whatever you do, don’t forget your list! I do that all the time and then I royally fail. Maybe you have a photographic memory but I don’t. Good thing we have another market within walking distance that I can run off to if I need a missing ingredient. But it’s more expensive than my favorite grocery store and usually swarming with beach tourists.
Then we shop! With the list! Bug helps me all the time. I thought the little tiny cart would be a fading novelty but, no. She insists on pushing it every single time we visit. If they are out of small carts it’s a tragedy. The small cart is actually really helpful. It keeps her going in one direction (most of the time) and we get a lot of people remarking about what a good little shopper she is. She’s mostly learned the routine and isn’t throwing in every single green product she sees anymore.
This is what I bought this week (minus a few boxes of cookies for Toby the junk-food-aholic). No wonder I’m always broke. That’s a lot of food! I’ve tried to buy less and it never works. So this is what we consume. Sometimes I buy less meat but we were low since I have been out of town for two weeks.
This is this week’s plan:
Monday: Vegetable Pork Stir-fry and sticky rice
Tuesday: Meatballs in sour cream sauce with small red potatoes and a green salad
Wednesday: Green Enchiladas and a green salad
Thursday: *leftovers (or mac and cheese or ramen noodles with vegetables)
Friday: Roman Chicken with oven baked french fries and/or sweet potatoes and a green salad
Sunday: Lasagna and a green salad
*Thursday was going to be sausage and rice but I somehow flubbed up and forgot to buy sausage. So the list doesn’t always work perfectly but that’s okay because most of these meals will create another meal’s worth of leftovers. I like leftovers. I know some people don’t but I do. They mean less time in the kitchen and more time on my laptop!
This is what we ate last night. It was yummy. Recipe after the jump.
I’m terrible at recipes so you’ll have to improvise if I leave out an exact measurement or just use any simple Chinese-food cookbook. This is a pretty basic recipe found just about anywhere.
1. Vegetables: we like broccoli, bok choy, sugar snap peas, celery and green onions, but anything can go here. Sometimes I add red or yellow bell peppers for color.
2. Meat: we use pork because it’s usually cheaper. But any meat you can chop up and fry will work well.
3. Soy sauce
4. Sherry or white wine or even orange juice (I even used champagne once)
6. Chinese Five Spice powder
7. Brown Sugar
8. Garlic (I use paste because I’m lazy and a horrible cook)
9. Ginger (again, paste—see above)
- Chop everything up. Keep your meat separate from your vegetables (duh). I keep my green onions separate from the other veggies because I add them to the meat sauce.
- In a little bit of peanut oil (or vegetable oil if anyone is allergic) I fry my meat with a bit of ginger and garlic.
- Once it’s nearly cooked through I add the sauce: about 1/3 cup each soy sauce, sherry and water. Then I add a dash of Chinese Five Spice powder and a small spoonful of brown sugar.
- Simmer it a bit and then add the chopped green onions. I don’t know if this changes the flavor much but it looks pretty.
- Once the meat is done I transfer it to a bowl with a lid. (I think most people would just add the vegetables in on top and let them cook together but Toby is very picky about his vegetables being crunchy and not getting soggy. So we make them separate and then serve on top of each other on our plate or bowl.)
- Then I fry up the vegetables. I don’t bother cleaning out the pan. I just add a touch more of oil and fry them up. They make a wonderful sizzling noise. I let them steam for a few minutes and then I’m done!
- Serve with white sticky rice!
Bon Appetit! If you try this, let me know how it goes!