Homesteading In The Pacific Northwest

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Common Cents: Cooking for a Sustainable Lifestyle

Here it is, as promised.  Our goal is to have a pantry/freezer stocked with frugal, healthy meals using as few “processed foods” as possible. As we start this experiment (and I will be learning right along with you … and hopefully taking off a few pounds in the process!) I will try to give you two or three new recipes a week. Some will include prepping and preserving for future “Do Ahead” meals while others will be “Dinner Tonight” meals. So let's get started!

Thursday: Plan!
Gas is expensive! What you might save shopping from store to store for the best deals you can lose in the amount of gas used driving around (not to mention the loss of your valuable time!). Study the grocery ads carefully a decide on one, maybe two stores that have the bets bargains on things that your family likes to eat and make a meal plan around those items. Don’t forget to think ahead for freezer meals/do aheads or long term storage if you find a really great bargain. And forget about coupons! They are invariable for low nutrition packaged foods that you are better off without!

These are ads from my local QFC for May 16 - 22. They have local, free range chicken on sale for 25% off ... and it's all of that brand chicken including whole chickens, packages of thighs and skinless breasts.  I'm going to stock up! (I have plenty of freezer space ... we'll talk about that soon). That's an OK price on the rockfish so I'll buy enough for one meal.  And I'm almost out of mushroom blobs so I'll buy a couple of pounds of them.

Of course your ads may be different so you will have to plan accordingly.  For instance, if you don't see a good buy on chicken go ahead and plan you meals for this week as you normally would.  When chicken is on sale refer back to this week's meal plan.

Now it's time to make a meal plan based on the ads.

Sunday:  Roast Chicken
Monday: Chef’s Choice
Tuesday: Chef’s Choice
Wednesday: Chicken Cacciatore 
Thursday: Chef’s Choice
Friday: Baked Rockfish 
Saturday: Chef's Choice

So this week my shopping list will include:
Whole chickens: 1
Chicken thighs: 4 (a total of 16 thighs; one thigh per serving)
Rockfish: three quarters of a pound (Yes! Only three quarters of a pound! The recommended serving size of fish is three ounces ... so we need twelve ounces to feed four people. One of the most important things I hope we will learn is proper serving sizes and that if we are going to "super size" any portion of our meals it will be the vegetable serving!)
Mushrooms: 2 pounds
Lemons: 3
Carrots: 1 bag (organic)
Asparagus: 1 pound (Yay! My friends at S&S Produce have this for $1.99 a pound!)

From my pantry or garden (add to your shopping list if you don’t have these on hand)
Salad greens
Kalamata olives, capers, anchovy fillets (these are optional; I like a Putanesca style sauce)
Parmesan Cheese
Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce (homemade; substitute your favorite prepared sauce if needed)
Fresh parsley, basil and rosemary
Olive oil
Panko bread crumbs

Now the planning stage is over.  Next we need to forage (shop).  Pick a time that works for you, but you will be in and out faster if you shop at odd hours … late evening on Friday or very early on Saturday usually work for me.

Sunday is Prep Day. We prep food for our "Do Ahead" meals and also getting some advance prep done on our "Dinner Tonight" meals.   I plan on being in the kitchen for a while that day so I plan Sunday night dinner to be something that pretty much cooks itself (ie. Roast Chicken).  This is also a good night to plan on treating yourself and going out for dinner :)

Well, there it is.  I hope I've managed to get my concept across and that you will follow along as I work on filling my pantry and freezer with easy, healthy meals for my self and my husband.

Tomorrow the Roast Chicken and the prep for our first "Do Ahead" meal, Freezer to Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore.


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a winner to me! I'm looking forward to your recipe posts, especially the "do ahead".