Monday, April 2, 2012

Easter Week Short Meal Plan

On Thursday this week, we're headed to my parents' to celebrate Easter with them, so I am practicing restraint in my meal plan and trying my best not to have to go to the grocery store before then. Here's my (fairly) simple meal plan for Monday thru Wednesday:

Kale chips (my new favourite thing; and it's got my kids singing, "Yum! Yum!" when I drop a bundle of organic kale into the grocery cart. Everyone loves them. My husband missed my first two times serving them because the kids ate them all before he got home from work. When he finally did try them, he said, "What a great way to eat kale!" We have been having them at least once a week since the price of organic kale became more reasonable.)
Chicken vegetable stew, thickened with quinoa flour, recipe provided in an earlier post

A note on this stew: I thought that I had enough quinoa flour to make it (it requires a half cup), and it turns out I was wrong. Luckily, I have some experience with grinding whole wheat berries for a whole grain pancake recipe, and decided to try blending some whole quinoa grains and water together to create the required flour/water slurry. Success! Remember this if you ever require flour for thickening and you happen to only have the whole grains on hand.

My boys LOVE chicken soup, but they have not yet been convinced of the merits of chicken stew. D picked through to get at all the meat; G went for the potatoes and then called it a day. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

My parents just brought me a couple of cuts of bison meat, which they acquired in one of my dad's famous small town trades. I am going to make bison burgers tomorrow.

Because I'm trying to avoid the grocery store, I entered into an intense negotiation with myself over what kind of salad we're having. I have a whole cabbage in the fridge, so coleslaw is in order. My first urge was to make blue cheese coleslaw, a family favourite, but that would require me to go purchase mayonnaise and blue cheese. Or, I could make the mayonnaise, but I would still need to buy blue cheese. In my world, burgers MUST have cheese, but since I have some really good white cheddar, I don't NEED the blue cheese to make the burgers. I also have some leftover bbq sauce from a meal I made last week, as well as some coleslaw vinaigrette in my fridge. So I can still make coleslaw, just not my first choice. But I like the vinaigrette, too.

Coleslaw vinaigrette 
1/2 c. vineger
6 T. canola oil
6 T. sugar
2 1/2 t. dry mustard
1 t. celery seed
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan, then turn off heat, season with salt and pepper, and let cool before using. Pour over your favourite slaw ingredients. My favourite combination is fresh-cut cabbage, grated carrots, green onion and green pepper if I have it. Sunflower seeds, craisins or raisins are a great addition as well.

I have also decided to make hamburger rolls, since I have ingredients for bread, and have been enjoying that process. My dough is rising as I type this; I will shape the buns and let them rise overnight. I've never made larger kaiser rolls with my whole wheat roll recipe. I'll give a report tomorrow.

I've been growing my own sprouts and having fun with that too (how can you tell I'm ready to get back out in the garden?), and I think instead of going to buy lettuce, we'll top our burgers with them.

So what will go on these burgers? Thanks to what is in my fridge, here's the list:

Sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onion
Old white cheddar
Spicy home-grown sprouts
Tomatoes (NOT in the fridge)
BBQ sauce
...and the pièce de resistance...wild boar back bacon! (I have a few slices leftover from breakfast on the weekend)

Plus the coleslaw and some raw veggies for the kids to munch on. They are hamburger fiends, and they also go nuts for fresh bread, so it should be a good eating day for them.

Not bad for not having to go to the grocery store...


Did I say I'm trying not to go to the grocery store? Just as I wrote that, I realized I have scheduled the next phase in my adventures as a foodie for Wednesday night: I am teaching my 18 year-old cooking-illiterate nephew to cook. We're starting with a trip to the grocery store for an orientation, and then I am going to have him cook us some pasta. So I do have to go to the store after all. But I won't really be buying anything except pasta.

I made a dead-simple pasta sauce for dinner one night for my kids, involving a can of tomatoes and some butter (heat the tomatoes, mash them, simmer for a while, then stir in some butter and throw cooked pasta in to soak in it a bit while it simmers). I was amazed by how good it is. I'm thinking I might throw that at him, instead of letting him pick up a jar of sauce...unless he gets to buy a jar for a taste comparison...

So that's this week. I'll report back on the buns and how Wednesday goes.

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