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Station Eleven

by: Emily St. John Mandel

Monday, May 28, 2012

Wrap up - meal planning Month One

As you can see I haven't posted about all the meals I planned to cook. This didn't necessarily go as planned this month but...I have learned what I would like to do for the month of June.

First, why didn't I didn't follow the plan. My husband would say it's because we never stick to a plan, but honestly I did not want have soup on a hot day. We had a week or two of hot weather here in the Pacific Northwest and it was the last thing on my mind. I am proud to say that we didn't just go out to dinner those nights we chose not to have soup. We had left overs (because I didn't factor in how fast my fridge would fill up after some of those freezer meals) or sandwiches (nothing like having a cold tuna sandwich on a hot day).

So I plan to do this meal planing again for the Month of June with some hot/cold weather options and still working on clearing out some of the meals I've put in the freezer. The first hiccup is that I am going to be gone friday - sunday on my "weekend off." I am checking into a hotel in Seattle and vegging out without distractions of toddlers or husbands, or roommates. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my time yet...but I'm certainly looking forward to it!

Okay...back to working on our grilling dinner of Antelope burgers with homemade buns (they are rising a second time right now) and corn on the cob (from my Bountiful Baskets Co-Op). 

I will admit to making one spur of the moment dinner for my husband on Saturday for his birthday. I bought salmon and asparagus and we had Sauteed Citrus-Herb Salmon with roasted asparagus and vegetable Quinoa (this was used with vegetables and quinoa from my pantry and fridge). DELICIOUS!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Okay so today is a brief departure from otherwise planned meals for the month. Our power went out at 5:45 and I didn't want to open the fridge for the chicken sausage and zucchini and squash.  So we went to Taco Bell. I'm writing it here because I feel like mis-steps are things people need to know about in challenges.  Tomorrow...tacos to celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 2 and 3

Day two of my challenge has me making Chicken Alfredo with home made Alfredo Sauce.

I used the Food Network recipe found fettuccine-alfredo.  Now the recipe doesn't have many ingredients but I found it a bit difficult to get the thickness I wanted without over-doing it. It tasted okay. I added a few crushed garlic cloves to the cream while it cooked for added flavor and then fished them out before pouring it over the chicken and pasta.

 I knew I was going to cook either broccoli or asparagus for the side dishes (turned out to steam both) and I was thinking what else I could do that would be easy and fun.  I came across this recipe Home Made Olive Garden Breadsticks, which were just what I was looking for. They tasted delicious and next time I might not cook them as long because I think they would have been even better!

So the first day and then again here Day Three I tapped into previously prepared freezer meals to stick in the crockpot from this BLOG. Today was Teriyaki Chicken. I had previously added yellow and orange bell peppers and an extra 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce and just put it in the crock-pot and left it.  I decided to again have some more steamed broccoli and asparagus and some long grain rice. This was a very good recipe. I'm excited to have it again near the end of the month. Here is a picture of my plated food:

The rice I shaped by using molds that have placed to press on in the back to help pres them out. I have to confess that I'm usually not very good at cooking rice. The rice you see in the above picture is long gain rice, not Minute Rice, not Boil-a-bag rice...but actual cooked on the stove rice. It turned out amazing like sticky rice. 

Tomorrow is suppose to be Spaghetti. I just realized I don't have any ground beef but right now I'm thinking maybe just boost the veggies with yellow squash, zucchini, and use some chicken/mozzarella sausages.  As a quick note I'm three days in and I'm already thinking about what to plan for next month...I like knowing what we are having and knowing that half my meals are easy to throw together!  Until tomorrow when I report what I did with the spaghetti.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Challenge - Month of May!

So as I was working on finances with my husband I realized that we had spent too much money this month. Nothing super drastic but it's easy to do if you aren't diligent.

So I started thinking about ways I can help cut back. Particularly I think I spend too much money at the grocery store and then eating out instead of cooking things. So I decided to plan out 31 meals using as much of what I had at home as I could.

Luckily I had just made 8 freezer meals for the crock-pot that have 4 servings a piece. So I was a bit ahead of the game. I added in a few favorites and what we have in our chest freezer!

Then I planned them out so we repeat each meal a second time during the month.  Next was plotting out how to make these meals so they weren't the same meal back to back. I did leave 2 days to have special eating out dinners because 4 of the 5 of us in our house have birthdays this month.

Today is day one. I have Savory Ground beef soup on the menu. It's on the counter thawing so I can get it out of the freezer bag and into the crock-pot.

Lunches are going to be primarily leftovers, salads, and sandwiches with what we have at home.  The goal before Saturday is to finish looking at my meal plan and make a list of what foods we still need to finish the rest of the meals. I'm going to get bulk meats and freeze them for the remaining meals and Produce from my weekly produce Co-op (Bountiful Baskets) to fill the meals and snacks in. I am hoping a side effect of this challenge will be more fruits and veggies eaten and hopefully healthier outlook on life.  I'm also going to keep doing this next month to see how much we can save and change up the meal plan with favorites not on the list yet.

Here goes my adventure! Wish me luck!