10 June 2012

what we ate

It's the Afterburners and Aprons version of "What I wore"...

"What we ate" comes as I am gearing up to plan this week's worth of meals.  I thought I'd share what I cooked last week and why.  (It'll be more fun than it sounds, I promise!)

Since it's summer and fresh produce in North Texas is finally not only a mean rumor, I am cooking with less meat and muchos more vegetables (and fruit!) Butter has also almost disappeared from my everyday dishes (tear) and so has processed/icky starters/bases.   

I plan each week's meal on Sunday and go shopping that afternoon for the groceries.  Tyler and I worked out a great "agreement" that if I cook for the nights of Sunday-Thursday, he'll take me out to dinner either Friday or Saturday and the other night either he'll cook for me (aka-fire up the grill) or we'll polish off some leftovers.  This has been the standard since he started UPT, and I love our little schedule!

Sometimes it is hard coming up with 5 meals a week, but I have a few criteria to help me (some new, some old)

1. Meatless Mondays :) 
2. Taco Tuesday -- we love Mexican/Tex-Mex food and I have a hard time branching out to crazy other food like pasta or soup.
3. Once a week, cook with something I've never cooked with before (this has been fun!)
4. The meal should be big enough for three meals- one for Tyler and one for me the night we eat it and one for Ty to take for lunch the next day.  This is tricky because sometimes I make too much and sometimes I don't make enough.  It's a hard balance but we haven't gone hungry yet and I'm getting much better at not wasting food.
5. When I do cook with meat, I have a good variety so we're not eating chicken on both/all of the meat days of the week.
6. If I buy fresh herbs (I have long since given up trying to grow my own) I use them in more than one meal so they don't go to waste
7. My goal is to go through at least one container/bag of spinach a week and last week, I had to buy another bag on Wednesday!  So we're eating spinach a lot.  And in many different ways. 
8. Make a conscious effort to use everything in the fridge before it goes to waste. 

So those are the simply criterion I use to guide my meal planning.  I try to take requests from Tyler too (because I want to cook what he wants to eat AND sometimes it's just plain hard being so creative with meals!) but that usually means he thinks about it for a few hours and comes up with something I just made or nothing at all. Sigh.

This is what we ate last week...(I only took one picture but click on the links to get the recipe) By the way, unless otherwise noted, these are all new recipes.  I have a bad habit where most of the things I make are new to us, but I'm trying to recycle "old"/good recipes once a week. 

Meatless Monday:
Bulgur Salad with Cucumbers.  This fit under my vegetarian meal as well as cooking with something new--bulgur wheat!  And it is delicious! A lot like brown rice but with a different, unique flavor.  I would recommend this recipe but I will admit, it would have gone great with a pork chop. :)  I did make a spinach salad to go with this, as well.

Turkey Sausage and Arugula Pasta  I modified this recipe a bit--I used hot italian sausage and didn't do the weird pasta cooking water thing.  This was, however, delicious.  This is going in my go-to recipes.  I had never had/cooked with arugula before and cooked up so well with the tomatoes and sausage.  (I know I usually do Taco Tuesday but my Mexican meal this week was vegetarian as well so I wanted to spread out the meatless days for my husband's sake)

Black Bean Quesadillas I also modified this recipe: I made sure to mash up the black beans so they wouldn't fall out of the quesadilla and also made a great sour cream sauce (with chopped green onions from a different recipe and cilantro) to go with it.  these were good, and I might make them again.  The whole wheat tortillas were different for us and sadly, the list of ingredients was just as long and scary as the white tortillas so I was disappointed in that.

Pesto Turkey Burgers: Okay, I've made this before but we actually had all the ingredients except for the ground turkey so it was a no-brainer.  These burgers are marvelous.  They have a unique flavor with the feta and pesto and the texture is a little different than ground beef but so worth it.  I used my fancy quisinart griddler (Christmas present) and grilled these indoors with a side of grilled pineapple (and roasted corn on the cob)  This is the only picture I took of our food this week (sorry)

So there you have it!  What we ate.  And since Tyler left for his cross country on Friday morning, I have been finishing up the leftovers and mulling over next week's menu. 

My friend Misty and I drove to the town of Graham, TX, to enjoy a little date night of our own (her man is also out of town) -- we were shocked at the fresh choices at this little bistro, Neri's, (of course I ended up ordering fish and chips) and the cute atmosphere.  Then later that night we watched the avenger's at the drive-in movie theater with some other friends.  I can't wait to take Tyler back here-it was a fun little getaway from Wichita Falls.  Stay cool and I hope you're enjoying your summer!  


Amanda Clonts said...

Love your tips on meal planning :) And I always appreciate shared recipes! Mmmm I'm DEF going to try the turkey/feta/pesto burgers!! YUM!
Miss you :)

Holly Stavness said...

I have the SAME problem with Bryce. They are NO help with planning the menu! ;) What are we going to do with them? Wish I could cook with you. Miss you friend!