A blog by ordinary people about living an extraordinary life
Has this ever happened to you? You head to the store or the farmstand, and buy a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, only to leave them in your fridge and find at the end of the week that you are tossing most of them away. Those commercials on TV for food storage systems are tailored for the consumer who feels that they are throwing away groceries each week. That used to be us, until we started taking the time to prepare a menu for the week. One benefit is that you are only buying food you need for the week, which cuts down on those impulse buys. Another benefit is that it allows you to look for new recipes and try new food because each night you have something planned and are not simply rushing home from work to throw something quick in the oven.
So, let me take you through my process for preparing this weeks menu, in light of the fact that this past Saturday was the last Wakefield Farmer’s Markets of the season. I headed to the Farmer’s Market with my 2 dogs in tow. I knew I wanted to grab a few items that I could freeze and use in the coming weeks (pasture-raised beef from Charlton Orchards) and some items that I like to have as snacks (hummus, salsa), and of course my Saturday breakfast from Swiss Bakers (this week was the chocolate berliner, oh and a couple of chocolate wegli that I tossed in the freezer).
I picked up 2 pounds of pasture-raised beef and a little over half a pound of fresh caught haddock. These items can be frozen and used in the coming weeks. I pack the beef in half pound servings, since we usually use them for small burgers with a salad and another side. I grabbed some fresh mixed lettuce and water spinach, which I store in a vase with water in the fridge (a future post will talk about how to store a lot of items that people always wonder how you can keep fresh).
Heading over to Farmer Dave’s, I picked up my vegetables and fruits for the week. Apples and pears will make good snacks to pack for lunch. Already pealed corn is an easy side, which we will have with our vegetable tacos this week. I also grabbed some green beans, super easy side dishes (just saute with some garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper). A large green pepper and some swish chard, along with a package of already peeled and cut squash completed my purchase there.
Off to the hummus and salsa stands, for some jalapeno hummus and some red pepper hummus. Grabbing a package of pita bread I already have lunch for Saturday planned out (hummus wraps with cucumber and peppers). I added 2 packages of frozen pasta (spinach and goat cheese, and artichoke and asparagus), the pasta is fresh so it cooks in no time in some boiling salted water.
With the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, I work my week from Sunday to Saturday. The first thing I do is compare mine and Meghan’s schedules to see if there are nights when one of us is not home, or we are both out for dinner. In this case, Wednesday night Meg is at school, so I can prepare anything for dinner that I might want, usually something she doesn’t like as much. And, we have decided that we will go out for dinner on Friday, so no need to prepare a dinner.
Here was our planned dinner lineup:
Sunday: Spinach and goat cheese ravioli, green bean side dish
Monday: Stuffed swiss chard (stuffed with lentils, brown rice and goat cheese), side salad of arugala, Parmesan cheese and dried cherries
Tuesday: Vegetable tacos, corn a la Toro (I will post this recipe tomorrow night, you will want this one)
Wednesday: Pete’s choice, probably the remaining lobster raviolis I have in the freezer
Thursday: Stuffed portabello mushrooms (recipe courtesy Jenn), roasted squash
Friday: Out for dinner
Saturday: Pumpkin waffles (nothing like a delicious brinner)
So, as you can see from my dinner menu, all of the items I purchased at the market will either be used this week or stored in the freezer. On Sunday, I prepared a fresh batch of tomato sauce and a large batch of the stuffed Swiss chard. The Swiss chard made 3 dinners, one that we had tonight and 2 that are stored in our freezer for a quick weeknight dinner in the coming weeks. If you take a few minutes to check your pantry and check your freezer, I think you will see that preparing a menu for the week ahead of time will save you a lot of time (and maybe even some money), and allow you eat healthy, delicious food, even when you have no time during your busy week.